Our journey with Australian Labradoodles began with our love of Labrador Retrievers. For nearly 20 years all we only ever owned was Labs (with the exception of one Basset Hound rescue). We have adored the dogs we raised and bred. If anyone told us we would be raising any other type of dog, we wouldn't have believed them. We love their loyalty, their happy, upbeat nature, their energy, their friendliness, gentleness and the devotion Labs are known for.
There were, however, two things that kept traditional Labrador Retrievers from being the perfect dog for us. While we enjoyed their energy level, we sometimes were disappointed in what we would find when we returned home after a day's work. The garbage was turned over or the leg of a chair was chewed. Sometimes stuffed animals were torn apart and strewn around the floor. Despite our 140 acre farm and lots of time outdoors running free, our Labs still seemed to have too much energy for us to handle.
The other issue we faced with raising Labs in our home was the amount of fur that forever was present on our floors. It didn't matter how many times I swept or vacuumed, with 3 full grown Labs running around our home, there always was huge fur tumbleweeds rolling around our hardwood floors.
Although Labradoodles seemed like an obvious answer, we weren't so sure. Some of our friends had labradoodles that had just as much (if not more!) energy than any Lab we owned. Other friends had Labradoodles that were cute as puppies, but when they grew up, they looked more like a poorly bred Labrador Retriever who shed almost as much as one. We wanted the consistency of both look and temperament that a purebred dog provided. Labradoodles were just too much of a risk. You just couldn't count on what you would get look-wise or temperament-wise from puppy to adulthood.
When we began researching Australian Labradoodles, our lives forever changed. Australian Labradoodles come from lines that have been constantly bred for a gentle, calm temperament & for a hypoallergenic, non-shedding coat. Because they are multi-generational and backed by well respected national organizations like the ALAA (Australian Labradoodles of America) Australian Labradoodles consistently produce puppies that resemble their parents - toting the attributes we value in Australian Labradoodles.
The differences can be broken down into a few simple catagories:
Labradoodles come from either a poodle/lab cross or from first or second generation crosses where consistency is an issue. Puppies come in considerable different sizes, temperaments and coat types. As genetic variance continues, often times negative undesirable traits begin to manifest - perhaps not until you've brought your puppy home.
Australian Labradoodles, on the other hand, have been bred since the 1980s. They are the careful compilation of actually six different breeds - Labradors, Poodles, English Cocker Spaniels, American Cocker Spaniels, Curly Coat Retrievers, and Irish Water Spaniels. Australian Labradoodles consistently reproduce themselves with their offspring - both in their temperament and their non-shedding coats. Australian Labradoodles have become more like a standard breed rather than a novelty hybrid consistently reproducing the attributes people so desire.
Because Labradoodles are only a few generations away form a Labrador, it is no surprise that the vast majority of early generation Labradoodles do shed. Australian Labradoodles, on the other hand, are many more generations away from the shedding Labrador. Their coats have been developed over the past 35 years such that they do not shed. Therefore, they are the perfect dog for allergy and asthma sufferers. This also has made my life so much easier. No more fur tumbleweeds rolling around my floors! Having a dog that doesn't shed makes it so much easier to welcome her on the couch or even my bed knowing there won't be a fur blanket left from her when she is gone.
Early generation Labradoodles tend to be hyperactive, which is simply too much for a lot of families. Hyperactive dogs require almost constant attention and exercise. This is in sharp contrast to the calmer, better-balanced Australian Labradoodle who are particularly intuitive, very intelligent, easily trained and especially good with young children. They are not lazy; they just won't tear up your house when they get bored. Our Australian Labradoodles love to go for walks with us, play and fetch when we're outside and chase balls and sticks. They are athletic and can be slightly comical to watch.
Like I'm sure is true with you, our dogs are part of our family. Our dogs tend to live about 15 years; that is a long time. We wanted to be sure we had a dog whose personality and temperament would be a compliment to our busy, outdoor lifestyle and whose fur wasn't going to be shedding so much I needed to vacuum every day. Because of our extensive background with breeding alpacas for fleece traits, when we began researching Australian Labradoodles, we were hooked. We know by way of our own breeding experience the importance of careful, selective breeding to produce consistency.