Breed History

An Intriguing History How did the Labradoodle get its Name?

The Labradoodle first originated in Australia when the first intentional purpose – bred mating of a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle was initiated by Wally Conran of The Royal Guide Dogs in Victoria Australia. A vision impaired woman in Hawaii needed a Guide Dog which wouldn’t aggravate her husband’s allergies.

Over a period of two years, they had sent hair and saliva samples from 33 different Poodles across to Hawaii to test for allergic reaction with the lady’s husband, but without success. Eventually Wally Conran approached the Manager of Royal Guide Dogs with the suggestion that they try crossing one of their Labrador Retrievers with a Standard Poodle. He agreed.

The first litter had only three puppies. Hair and saliva samples were sent to Hawaii from all three, but only Sultan’s, the white dog, were successful. The other two also went on to lead useful lives, one as a Remedial Dog and the other as a Guide Dog.

There was always a long waiting list of families waiting to puppy walk Guide Dogs, but when these new cross breeds needed homes, no one was prepared to take them on. Wally knew that it was vital that the puppies got the right socialisation in a family unit, and once again his ingenuity came to the rescue. He went to the manager with the suggestion that they approach Channel 9 television station in Melbourne with a story about “the new breed of Guide Dog” and realising it needed to have a name, he coined the word “Labradoodle”. After the show aired on television, the phones rang hot with people wanting to puppy walk this amazing “new breed” of Guide Dog!

Wally Conran bred Labradoodles to other Labradoodles and called the offspring ‘Double Doodles’. He then mated Double Doodles to other Double Doodles and the progeny of these matings he called ‘Tri Doodles’.

Of the 31 Labradoodles bred at Royal Guide Dogs, a staggering 29 made it through as Guide Dogs….an allocade of unparalled proportion for this new ‘breed’ of Guide Dog.
When the Guide Dogs had Open Days, people fell in love with the Labradoodles they saw there and The Guide Dog Center was besieged with inquiries as to where they could get one. it wasn’t long before there was a huge demand, which was not being met. There was an obvious need for breeders to establish themselves and develop this fascinating dog, with the joyful intuitive personality, and the non shedding and allergy friendly coat.
When Wally Conran retired, a country vet in Condoblin New South Wales, Australia was in constant touch with him and started her own breeding program mating Miniature Poodles with Labrador Retrievers. She was very successful and as of 2004 is still breeding her Miniature first generation Labradoodles.

Two Breeding and Research Centers for the Labradoodle were established, both located in the state of Victoria and they continued on from where the Guide Dogs left off, with the intention of breeding through successive generations of Labradoodle bred to Labradoodle. Both of these Centers acquired their breeding stock from a gentleman named Don Evans in Northern Victoria, when he scaled down his activities pending retirement.

Don had also begun breeding through the generations, following the lead of Wally and he also called his bird dog crosses between Labrador and Poodle, Labradoodles.
The Labradoodle has experienced a meteoric explosion of popularity in countries across the world and their high profile and media exposure soon led to a rapid increase in the numbers of new breeders.

(Reprinted from the International Labradoodle Association,Inc)