The Labradoodle is a relatively new breed in the history of domesticated dogs, having only made its debut in the 1970s, and thus far without AKC acknowledgement. Initially developed in Australia by combining the strength, loyalty, and intelligence of a Labrador Retriever with the low-shed coat of a Standard Poodle, this breed was originally intended to produce an allergy-friendly guide dog. Today, these dogs have moved well beyond their initial plan to become beloved household pets throughout the world.
For first-time Labradoodle owners, research almost always includes questions on size. Without the decades or centuries of cultural knowledge associated with other breeds, pictures don’t always accurately capture their size and height. So what should a potential Labradoodle parent expect of a labrador full grown?
The practice of dog breeding as a whole has the same process, regardless of breed: selecting a parental pair with the highest level of positive characteristics and the lowest level of undesirable ones. In Labradoodles, the original goal was to create a guide dog with a pleasant and obedient demeanor and an allergy-friendly coat, but genetics aren’t always a perfect path. While labs as a whole are considered medium-sized dogs, the poodle has more available size variance built into its breeding bloodlines.
Labradoodles are bred according to three size guidelines per the Australian Labradoodle Association:
- Miniature Labradoodles have a height between 14 and 17 inches.
- Medium Labradoodles have a height between 22 and 17 inches.
- Standard Labradoodles have a height of at least 22 inches.
Previous traits and genetics of a breeding pair may point to the expected size of an individual puppy in a litter, but they aren’t foolproof. Because the difference in height between two sizes is relatively minor (e.g. not exactly Chihuahua-versus-Great Dane), potential Labradoodle parents should be prepared to have their dog grow slightly smaller or larger than a “best guess” at puppyhood.
On average, Labradoodles weigh around 50 to 65 pounds and do have consistent exercise and interaction needs. While they aren’t as prone to canine separation anxiety as some smaller breeds, they do not necessarily make for good “apartment dogs” because of their medium-to-moderate size. They do best with a yard they can run and play in, as well as pet parents that can give them simulation with love, treats, and training on a regular basis.
When Do Labradoodles Stop Growing?
Generally speaking, most Labradoodles stop growing at around 12 to 18 months. While they may reach their full height, they still tend to fill out and continue to gain weight past this age. Genetics are the sole determining factor of how large a Labradoodle puppy will get. Depending on his parents and the particular mix of genes he inherits, he may be miniature, medium, or standard. Naturally, feeding him a healthy diet will help him reach his full potential, but he’ll only be as big as he’s destined to be. In terms of height, “knee height” on an average 5 foot 9 inch person is approximately 21 inches from the ground, and the average Labradoodle stands 21 to 24 inches high at the shoulder. He will generally be tall enough to enjoy head pats with only a minor stoop, if any, required of his parent.
A Labradoodle’s size makes him easy to bundle into a vehicle for trips to the local dog park; a perfect outing for this active breed. He’s also an excellent height to play with grade school-aged children without bowling them over, though care should always be taken around younger children and playful pups to prevent enthusiastic collisions.
Labradoodle Care & Grooming
As larger dogs, Labradoodles benefit from regular grooming – either professionally, or at the hands of a loving – and patient – parent with a brush. This crossbreed has two recognized coat varieties: a lesser-known “hair coat” that hangs down straight from the body and the iconic “fleece coat” that mimics a poodle’s well-known curly coat. While Labradoodles are widely touted and sold as hypoallergenic dogs, their cross-bred origins mean that this property can vary from dog to dog.
Most allergies are triggered not by fur or hair from a dog, but from canine skin dander that is sloughed off along with the hair follicle itself. That’s why a dog that tends not to shed a lot of fur, like a poodle or Labradoodle, is also considered “allergy-friendly.” Even a dog that’s considered a low-shed or no-shed breed still needs regular grooming, however: consider it along the lines of someone with short hair still needing to shampoo their hair frequently. Curly-coated Labradoodles will also need brushing to remove dirt, debris, and mats from their coat, or else it may become painfully tangled.
Summary: Is A Labradoodle The Right Size Dog For Your Lifestyle?
While he may be a bit larger than a lapdog on average, the Labradoodle is a fantastic size for home and family life. He will fit into standard collars, leashes, and dog beds without a problem, although he will likely require a large-sized dog door, if one is being used. One thing is certain, however, in regards to Labradoodle size: no matter what his height, he’ll occupy a very big space in the heart of his human companions.
1) “History of the Labradoodle.” Australian Labradoodle Association, (no publish date), http://www.laa.org.au/index.php/about-labs/history. Accessed October 16, 2019.
2) “Labradoodle.” Dogtime.com, (no publish date), https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/Labradoodle#/slide/1. Accessed October 16, 2019.
3) “History of the Labradoodle.” WALA (Worldwide Australian Labradoodle Association), (no publish date), https://www.wala-Labradoodles.org/about-Labradoodles. Accessed October 16, 2019.
4) “Labradoodle.” Vet Street.com, (no publish date), http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/Labradoodle. Accessed October 16, 2019.