Pet of the week: The Labradoodle
Saturday 10 January 2009
And who's this? A labradoodle, quite possibly the soppiest dog on the planet. Although still a relative newcomer to theses shores, the labradoodle is well-established in his native Australia.
Australia? You mean he's descended from a dingo? No. The original Labradoodle was bred some 20 years ago in Victoria and is a cross between a Labrador and a poodle. This perfect match ensures that the labradoodle (why isn't it a poodrador?) has a gentle temperament, is very intelligent, and crucially, doesn't leave his hairs everywhere, making him an instant hit with people who are allergic to dogs (and messy furniture!)
Are there any other cross-breeds? Indeed. So successful was the labradoodle, that they now breed cockapoos (cocker spaniel/poodle cross), goldendoodles (golden retriever/poodle cross), and pandadoodles (giant panda/poodle cross). Not really – just checking you're still paying attention.
Why cross with a poodle? Poodles have been bred for centuries for their hunting skills and they are good at working in water. They are also considered to be very intelligent. In marriage terms – and if one were being uncharitable – one might suggest that the labrador had married "up".
What does the doodle do? He's a good guide dog and is great for families due to his biddable nature.
Where does he live? He will be happy in most climates, though he prefers not to sleep outside as he is not really a "working" dog.
Who would own a labradoodle? Anyone would be proud to own a doodle: Tiger Woods has two, Jennifer Aniston has one, and so does Jeremy Clarkson.
Where can I get one? There are dozens of breeders around the country – visit the Labradoodle Association's website (labradoodle.org.uk). I would never encourage anyone to invite a hound into their home, however, without giving the matter very careful consideration. A labradoodle will cost between £500 and £1,200.
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