THE RIGHT BREED
"Are Australian Labradoodle's the right dog for me?", I hear you ask... Unlike most of the popular pedigree breeds recognised by the Kennel Club today, Australian Labradoodles have been developed and bred specifically to function well as a family pet, with the inclination for therapeutic service due to their high level of human focus and sociability. Further, whilst it is common for many KC recognised pedigree breeds to suffer from inherited diseases and poor health, it is mandatory for Australian Labradoodle breeders registered with the likes of the WALA or the ALAA to extensively health test their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of health issues and diseases to be passed from generation to generation.
Over the last century our whole way of being as a society has undergone massive transformation. Cars are commonplace, the vast majority of us no longer hunt or work in the fields for our food, and the rise of the Ring doorbell has meant we no longer need our four legged friends to alert us to visitors at the door! Our way of life is so far removed from what it once was, and our understanding of dog ownership has transformed with it.
Most dogs of breeds that, historically, were bred for specific purposes, e.g. to hunt, protect, retrieve, herd or perform other practical duties, are now living lives totally incompatible with their innate temperaments and characteristics, with the average dog owner finding themselves caretakers of a dog whose natural behaviour traits are not compatible with their lifestyle. Instead of giving these dogs grace, unfortunately the blame is placed squarely at the feet of the dogs themselves for not 'behaving' in a way that is socially acceptable to the humans they live in.
Realistically, the vast majority of people looking to welcome a dog into their home nowadays want a companion pet that has few known health risks/ issues, is friendly and sociable with other humans and dogs, likes to get out and about but doesn't require constant stimulation or physical exertion, will engage with their training and be fun to be around. They may want to try their hand at a specialist class such as agility, competitive obedience or fly-ball, but aren't looking for dogs specifically developed to excel in these activities.
The Australian Labradoodle fits this brief completely!
Possessing a low prey and protection drive, medium level of energy, and high pack / human drive, Australian Labradoodle breeders have, for generations, been choosing and refining the temperaments in their dogs to continue to propel their programmes forward, to ensure that the puppies being produced are able to fulfil their function of loving family companions in a modern world.
It's easy to list all of the wonderful traits that these dogs have to offer, and lovers of the Australian Labradoodle could go on and on forever! However, as with everything in life, they may not be suitable for everyone. Here are some things to consider when thinking about whether this is the right type of dog for you, your family and lifestyle:
- Australian Labradoodles have been bred to be highly sociable in nature, loving to spend time with their humans and interact with their family. This means that they will likely not do well in homes where they'll be left alone for prolonged periods of time. I would not recommend them to be left for any more than 3-4 hours at a time on a regular basis. If your schedule or work arrangements will not accommodate this, you will need to explore options including a dog walker and/or dog day-care, and be confident that you have the financial means to facilitate this now and in the future.
- They are highly intelligent, but this does not necessarily mean that they will be 'easy' or only require minimal effort from you to shape them into the well behaved dog they are known to be. You should be honest with yourself in terms of how committed you will be to their continued and ongoing training and enrichment. If left to their own devices with no rules or boundaries to follow, they will find ways to entertain themselves which may not be so entertaining for you(!). These dogs love learning new things, and thrive when engaging in activities that stimulate them mentally as well as physically.
- Australian Labradoodle coats, due to their low to non shedding nature, will require you to stay on top of their grooming regimen and they will need to visit the groomer approximately every six weeks in order to prevent matting and tangles taking hold. They are relatively straightforward and easy to groom - providing you don't let your routines slip, and treat their coat care as a priority. You should take the time to consider whether this is something you can commit to incorporating into your daily routine long term, as while the idea of a low shedding dog is attractive to many people, the trade off should not be underestimated.