Welcome To Our Complete Guide To The Mini Labradoodle.
Labradoodles Have Taken The World By Storm In The Past Few Years. Most Of These Are Produced By Crossing A Standard Poodle With A Labrador Retriever.
But Did You Know You Can Also Get Mini Labradoodles? Created By Mixing The Lab With The Miniature Poodle Instead?
In This Article We’ll Take A Look At Why People Love Miniature Labradoodles, And What You Can Expect In Terms Of Health, Temperament And Care.
Designer dogs can be a little divisive, some of us love them and some of us don’t.
When these dogs are a cross between two well-known breeds, they’re bound to cause a commotion.
Mixed breeds are definitely becoming more and more popular.
But they are controversial.
Let’s take a look at why.
Designer dog controversy
A lot of people believe the mixing two purebred dogs is a bad idea, and they are pretty loud in sharing those opinions.
They feel that they are
But are they right?
We think not, and here’s why.
The use of the word ‘designer’ makes it seem like these mixes are somehow unnatural.
However, it’s worth remembering that all dog breeds were created by deliberate selective breeding overseen by humans.
So none of them are natural, and at this point all of them could be considered ‘designer’ in some sense of the word.
In actuality breeding two dogs that have formerly been bred apart from one another has significant benefits.
This is an emerging area of study, but the current research has come out hugely in favor of mixed breeds.
Pedigree vs Mix
Pedigree dogs exist on a closed register. This means that no new blood should ever get into the mix.
While this keeps dogs of a certain type, it restricts the gene pool. Bringing forth genetic problems, and even worries about the ultimate survival of smaller breeds.
There is some compelling evidence to suggest hybrids are generally healthier and as long as you health tests for diseases relevant to each parent breed and choose your breeder carefully, there is no reason not to end up with a lovely healthy pet.
You can find out a lot more about the Purebred vs Designer Dog discussion here, if you’re interested.
But in this article now we’re going to look at an exciting mixed breed that’s currently rising to prominence, the Miniature Labradoodle.
What is a Mini Labradoodle?
The Miniature Labradoodle is a cross of a Miniature Poodle and a Labrador Retriever.
Labradoodles are one of the more enduringly popular cross breeds, and this mini version is likely to be just as well received.
The AKC don’t consider Miniature Poodles a separate breed, but instead lay out different size brackets to help determine what denomination your poodle is.
Any Poodle under 10” at the shoulder is a toy, 10-15” is miniature, and larger than 15” is a Standard Poodle.
This means that far from a new mixed breed, the Mini Labradoodle is just a Labradoodle where the Poodle parent happens to be Miniature.
This creates some uncertainty when it comes to size that we’ll look into later.
Miniature Poodle Characteristics
Poodles and Labradors are both family friendly happy-go-lucky breeds.
We’re perhaps most familiar with heavily groomed and styled Poodles, but they naturally have a fluffy, shaggy coat over their entire body.
Mini Labradoodles in their most conventional appearance will have this coat, coupled with some more ‘Labradorish’ physical features.
Labradoodles, and consequently mini Labradoodles, are commonly brought up as an example of ‘designer breeds’, which seem to be a source of some controversy.
So, how big exactly will a mini Labradoodle, full grown, be?
Mini Labradoodle size
One of the most surprising things about buying a Mini Labradoodle is that they won’t necessarily be … well … mini.
Within any given litter there will inevitably be a huge variance in size, with different pups taking after different parents, and some landing somewhere in the middle.
In fact, your Miniature Labradoodle full grown, might be as large as it’s Labrador parent.
Miniature Poodles can be as small as 10 inches at the shoulder, and Labradors as tall as 25.
An adult mini Labradooodle, directly crossed between a Miniature Poodle and a Lab will be anywhere within these size ranges.
To further conflate the matter it can be really difficult to know what size a puppy will grow into before it’s at that point.
If you are dead set on your Mini Labradoodle being mini, you could make this more likely. Buy looking for a second generation Miniature Labradoodle.
If two genuinely small mini Labradoodles are bred, their pups will be much more likely to carry this size trend on with them.
This is the only way to almost guarantee Mini Labradoodle size. With this being said it’s always possible one will still come out Lab sized at this stage.
We’ve looked at size, now lets take a look at what sort of dog the Miniature Labradoodle is on the inside.
Is it a fierce protector, or a soppy family pooch?
Miniature Labradoodle temperament
Mini Labradoodles in general are friendly, playful family dogs.
They owe this in no small part to their parents breeds.
Both are energetic but social breeds, with either one considered to make an excellent family pet.
Labs can be a bit more pushy with strangers, and Poodles a little more aloof. Your pup’s personality could go either way.
Labradors are also prone to boredom and loneliness if left for long periods, so even a Lab mix isn’t ideal if you work full time or are away from the home a lot.
You’ll want to raise a confident dog too.
Even a usually sweet tempered mix like the Mini Labradoodle could end up unpredictable through poor raising.
Dogs usually get aggressive not out of any misplaced sense of dominance, but because they feel scared.
Miniature Labradoodle Socialization
Socialization plays a huge part in stopping this from ever being an issue. From the moment you bring your Mini Labradoodle puppy home you should be exposing it to new places, people and dogs, and continue in this fashion for the whole of it’s young life.
This interaction will help teach your pup that the worlds full of friends, not enemies, and that strangers aren’t a cause for concern.
Failure to do this can result in a dog that’s fearful of new people in the house, and nervous and insecure when out in public.
Both of these scenarios can lead a dog to attack, not because it’s evil or nasty, but because it’s understandably terrified.
Until relatively recently people regularly hit their dogs and used punishments as the main reinforcement in their training, we now know this is not a good idea.
Studies have shown punishment based training methods create aggressive dogs.
Fortunately there’s a better way. Positive training methods are not only more effective, but don’t result in a nervous dog.
A confident, well socialized mini Labradoodle will be as friendly a dog as can be!
So how healthy are Miniature Labradoodles, and is there anything we should be looking out for?
Miniature Labradoodle health
Despite what some examples of bad journalism would have you believe, mixed breeds are generally healthier.
There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is a practice common in non-mixed dogs called ‘line-breeding’.
Essentially this means inbreeding, and is done to help enforce certain features in pure bred dogs, but is sadly at the detriment of their health.
More and more genetic diseases will accumulate through successive generations of inbreeding.
Mixed breeds are spared the brunt of these ailments by a phenomena called hybrid vigor.
When two dogs are bred that are genetically distinct, this can actually undo some of the damage of inbreeding.
With this being said, there is still the chance that they might inherit a genetic disease from either their Poodle or Labrador parent.
You can reduce the chances of your Miniature Labradoodle inheriting their parents genetic diseases by only choosing a puppy from a litter where both of their parents were health tested.
Labradors and Poodles commonly suffer from hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip joint.
This disorder will gradually put extra stress on their joints, and can lead to a dog that’s much less physically able.
The extent to which a dog has hip dysplasia can be examined through an x-ray, and a hip score given.
It’s important to point out that, while poodles are at risk of hip dysplasia, the miniature size bracket of poodles seems to experience lower instances of this disorder.
The Lab parent must have good hip and elbow scores. The Poodle parent should ideally have good hip scores.
Labradors often carry a gene that predisposes them to a condition known as ‘exercise induced collapse’.
It’s important to spot this early on so we can take measures against it with our vet, but as the name suggests it involves dogs becoming suddenly unable to stand after exertion. Don’t buy a pup whose parent has suffered from this.
On top of all this poodles regularly suffer from progressive rod cone degradation.
Dogs with this inherited condition will gradually lose their vision in later life
Labs can also suffer from PRA blindness. Make sure both parents are DNA tested clear.
Some purebred breeders argue that this presence of two different sets of diseases will make mixes less healthy, but this is a misunderstanding of genetics.
Outbreeding will mean less of the genes for these conditions have a chance to match up. But not impossible, which is why you should still have each parent health tested for their own conditions.
With this being said, with Mini Labradoodles being given pedigrees of their own by independent organizations, this issue may have a chance to rear up again.
If Miniature Labradoodles are treated as an independent breed, they may eventually be line-bred back into the state of disrepair we find modern purebreds in.
Even so, having the genetic diversity of two breeds of dog does stand them in better stead than most.
Miniature Labradoodle life expectancy
The Mini Labradoodle lifespan will be a product of the parents’ lifespans and potentially will be increased a little by being a cross.
Labs live on average 12.5 years and Miniature Poodles an impressive 14 years.
So you can hope for your Mini Labradoodle pup to experience somewhere in that region.
Mini Labradoodle puppies
Mini Labradoodle puppies are adorable!
As with any puppy they will need a lot of socializing and training, but if you’re willing to put the work in you’ll have a great family dog.
When you go to see a prospective pup, always ask to see the parents.
You can gauge their temperament, and if it is a second generation mix even make sure of the size.
You should also ask for the medical history of the parent dogs, to see if there might be any nasty inherited surprises.
Choosing the right breeder is very important.
Mini Labradoodle breeders
Labradoodles, and their miniature varieties, are one of the most popular mixed breeds so finding a breeder shouldn’t be too difficult for aspiring owners.
But finding a good breeder might be a bit trickier.
Good breeders don’t churn out puppies with cash as their only motivation.
The mother should be a treasured pet, know her own name and have a clear bond with the owner.
They shouldn’t have too many other dogs, and they should be treated as members of the family.
The breeder must keep the puppies in excellent conditions, and ask you lots of questions as well as being happy to answer yours.
They will also thoroughly health test.
As we’ve said, to be more sure that your mini Labradoodle puppies will actually be small, you’ll need to go for dogs bred from two genuinely miniature Labradoodles.
This may sound obvious but, as we’ve said, first generation cross between Miniature Poodle and a Lab could be considered a Miniature Labradoodle, but might be the size of a Labrador.
Mini Labradoodle price
A Mini Labradoodle puppy will range in price from hundreds to a couple of thousand dollars.
It’s worth pointing out that although some of the cheapest dogs might be tempting, there might be something you’re not being told.
Mini Labradoodles are really popular, so there’s plenty of incentive for puppy farms and unscrupulous breeders to breed unethically.
As well as puppies from breeders, in most countries there are huge amounts of abandoned dogs looking for a home in shelters.
One of the best things about rescue dogs is, shelter fees and donations withstanding, they’re free! But is there more to this than meets the eye?
Is a Mini Labradoodle right for my family?
Are you happy to exercise, train and socialize your dog every day?
Do you spend plenty of time in the home, and are happy to do lots of grooming?
Are you family all on board with the idea of getting a dog?
If you can happily answer yes to all of the above, the Mini Labradoodle should be a good choice.
This dog happily benefits from the health of a mixed breed, and the pleasant temperament of two beloved family dog breeds.
Your must important first step is to find a good breeder. One who health tests, cares about temperament and treasures the mother as their own pet too.
Then it’s just selecting the right pup!
There are tons of coat color possibilities, drawing from all the Lab and all the Poodle colorations.
You could have a miniature chocolate Labradoodle, a black mini Labradoodle, or just about any color Labradoodle you want!
But remember, health should be a number one priority.
If you put in the work, you’re sure to be rewarded with one of these healthy happy pups.
- Evaluation of risk factors for degenerative joint disease associated with hip dysplasia in German Shepherd Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Rottweilers
- The myth of hybrid vigor in dogs … is a myth C. Beuchat PhD – The institute of canine biology
- Sewall Wright and evolutionary biology W. D. Proven
- The relationship between training methods and the occurrence of behavior problems, as reported by owners, in a population of domestic dogs E. J. Blackwell
- Dog training methods: their use, effectiveness and interaction with behavior and welfare E. F. Hiby
- A canine DNM1 mutation is highly associated with the syndrome of exercise-induced collapse E. E. Patterson et al
- Canine hip dysplasia, breed effects The canadian veterinary journal S. W. Martin
- Segregation distortion in inheritance of progressive rod cone degeneration (prcd) in Miniature Poodle dogs Dr. G. M. Acland et al
- AKC O’Neill, DG. et al. 2013. Longevity and mortality of owned dogs in England. The Veterinary Journal.