A labradoodle is the result of crossbreeding a Labrador retriever with a poodle -- hence the name. First bred in the 1980s, temperament, coat type and size were unpredictable. But as the breed has developed, the weight and size of these dogs is becoming standardised.
The first labradoodles were bred by Wally Conron of the Guide Dog Association of Australia in response to a search for a hypoallergenic dog that could be trained as a guide dog. A Labrador is a relaxed and easy-to-train dog, but has a coat that sheds. On the other hand, poodles are clever with a curly coat that does not fall out and cause allergic reactions. The first labradoodle litter of eight puppies was produced from a standard poodle and a Labrador. Since then, other sizes have been introduced into the mix and there are now three recognised sizes of labradoodles.
According to the Australian Labradoodle Association, a standard labradoodle should stand 22, to 24 inches high and weigh in at between 22.7 and 29.5 Kilogram. The medium size labradoodle grows to between 18 and 20 inches, with a weight of 15.9 to 20.4 Kilogram. There's also a miniature labradoodle with an average height of between 14 to 16 inches and a weight ranging from 6.8 to 9.07 Kilogram, which is about the same size as a cocker spaniel.
Whatever the size, a labradoodle from a scrupulous breeder will have inherited the best traits from both a Labrador retriever and a poodle. They generally are sweet natured, easy to train and a good family dog. They do not shed, so are a boon for people with allergies, and do not emit a damp doggy smell. Labradoodles excel at agility and fitness training and are often trained as therapy or assistance dogs.
Labradoodles have become very popular very quickly, which has caused some unscrupulous breeding. Labradoodles are so far unrecognized by The American Kennel Club, which in 2011 considers it a hybrid or crossbreed. Any time a Labrador is mated to a poodle, the resulting progeny can be called a labradoodle and without knowing the dog's bloodlines, it's impossible to know the dog's temperament, if it's allergy friendly, or indeed what size it will be. A conscientious breeder will be able to tell you the 'F' code of their dogs: F1 being first generation labradoodle; F2 second generation and so on.