Labradoodle - breed information and advice

The Labradoodle – a cross between a Labrador and a Poodle – has been around for more than 50 years and was originally bred to be a low-allergen guide dog. Since then, its popularity as a family pet has soared because the breed is intelligent, friendly and fun. Labradoodles come in different shapes and sizes, and a wide variety of colours, but they all share the same cheeky personality and a joyful love of life.

Breed information


Size: Medium to large

Coat: These dogs require weekly grooming, whether the Labradoodle’s coat is as short as a Labrador or long and curly like a Poodle

Exercise: Up to an hour a day for adult dogs

Life span: 12+ years. Both Labradors and Poodles are long-living breeds, so a 15-year-old Labradoodle is not unusual.

Breed group: The Labradoodle is a cross-breed

Ear conditions

Dogs are susceptible to various common ear diseases. These can affect the external ear flap (such as haematoma), the middle/inner ear (vestibular disease, for example) or the ear canal (otitis). A haematoma is a blood-filled swelling that occurs in the ear flap, while the ear canal can become irritated by grass seeds, parasites, allergies or infections. Irritation can lead to a condition called otitis, which simply means ‘inflammation of the ear canal’. It causes an intense itch, leading the dog to shake its head, flap its ears and scratch them using its back paws. If the otitis is due to an allergy, treatment is required for the lifetime of the dog.


Otitis is the most common illness we see in Labradoodles

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Skin conditions

The skin is the largest organ of a dog’s body and a number of disorders can affect it. Like other dogs, Labradoodles can suffer from allergies that lead to dermatitis (skin inflammation). Allergies can be caused by many different items, including things that are inhaled (such as pollen or dust mites), items that are eaten (for example, wheat), items that the dog comes into contact with (for example, washing powders), or bites from parasites such as fleas. Another skin problem, pyoderma (meaning ‘infection of the skin’) is usually caused by bacteria, fungi (‘ringworm’) or yeasts. Skin disorders can be managed using various treatments, usually required long-term, which means the dog can get on with enjoying life.


We paid £2,174 to treat Lola the Labradoodle for skin allergies in 2016

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Lumps and bumps

Like all dogs, Labradoodles can develop masses (lumps and bumps) in the layers of fat, skin and muscle that cover their bodies. These might be warts, cysts or tumours such as mast cell tumours, while lipomas (soft fatty lumps) or abscesses can form in the layer under the skin. Treatment of lumps depends on their size, location and exact nature, but almost always involves surgical removal.


We paid £2,357 to treat Tayto the Labradoodle for lumps in 2016

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Gastrointestinal disorders

Labradoodles, like all dogs, can suffer from problems affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract is a long, winding tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus, with various twists and turns along the way. Conditions such as gastroenteritis or an obstruction within the bowel (due the dog to eating stones, cloth or string, for example) commonly cause vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Because of their big appetites, Labradoodles are particularly prone to eating things they shouldn’t, in which case veterinary advice should be quickly sought. Surgical removal of obstructions usually means a dog will go on to lead a normal life.


Gastrointestinal disorders are the second most common illnesses we see in Labradoodles

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Cruciate ligament rupture

The cruciate ligaments are found inside the knee joint and hold it stable. These ligaments can fray and rupture, leading to a lack of stability in the knee. Rupture can occur as a result of a physical injury, such as landing awkwardly when running and jumping. It can also happen more gradually, where the ligament slowly degenerates and weakens over time, particularly if the dog is overweight. Treatment usually takes the form of surgery to stabilise the knee joint.


We paid £3,921 to treat Bonnie the Labradoodle for cruciate ligament damage in 2016

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