The Australian Labradoodle
History of Labradoodles
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’s) 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 socialization 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 realizing 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.'
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 Breedings 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 crossed 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 number of new breeders.
(Reprinted from the International Labradoodle Association, Inc.)