When finding the best dog breed to bring home, many pet owners will examine Labradoodles and Labradors to determine which is suitable for them. However, each species has its advantages, so it can be challenging to determine which is better.
While these types of dogs will have several resemblances, some significant differences may help you decide on your next pet.
Differences Between Labradoodles vs. Labradors
Once you are aware of the contrasting traits of these two dog breeds, you may have an easier time choosing your new best friend.
The Labradoodle breeding line began back in 1989 in Australia, whereas the Labrador Retriever has been around since approximately the 1830s in England and Canada.
Having a long stable breeding line is vital for health factors and temperament for some serious dog owners. Labradors are a purebred breed recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club), the United Kennel Club (UK), and many other worldwide clubs.
Because Labradoodles are a crossbreed between Labradors and Poodles, they are not a recognizable pedigree breed. However, even though the Labradoodle is a hybrid breed, they are still becoming increasingly popular with many pet owners.
Hair and Coat
One very distinct difference between these two dog breeds is their coat. Labradoodles can have three types of hair, depending on which attributes they pick up from their parents. Alternatively, Labradors will sport only one kind of coat.
Labradoodles can have straight hair, fleece, and wool. Each type varies in softness, shedding, and consistency of waves or curls. Because of their Poodle genes, Labradoodles with wavy or curly hair are less prone to shedding than straight-haired dogs, making them ideal for allergy sufferers.
Labradors sport hard, wiry, straight hair within a double coat. This breed feature helps keep them warm, especially when swimming. Unfortunately, the double coat is prone to shedding, typically twice a year when the seasons change.
Colors of Labradoodle vs Labradors
You can find Labradoodles in a large range of colors because of their Poodle parent’s genes. There are 14 recognizable colors for Labradoodles, including:
- Cafe Au Lait
- Parti (multi-colored)
Purebred Labradors come in only three standard colors, but many others you may find results from mixed breeding lines and are not recognized as purebred Labrador colors. These colors include:
- Yellow (purebred)
- Black (purebred)
- Chocolate (purebred)
- Fox red
You can see how combining the parents will produce a whole host of designer colors to choose from in a Labradoodle.
Grooming and Care
When comparing these two breeds, the contrast of coat types indicates the need for additional grooming.
Labradoodles will require regular brushing and care to ensure that their coat remains free from matting and stays clean. The curlier their coat is, the more regular attention their hair needs.
Labradors do not require much grooming, but they can shed excessively, which may cause some pet owners to want to groom them more often to cut down on the amount of hair in the home.
Size Difference of Labrador vs Labradoodle
How large a dog will grow can be a determining factor for many potential owners. Even though these two breeds are similar, their size can vary from each other.
Labradoodles can have a miniature poodle parent, medium, or standard size, giving this breed vast sizing potential. Typically, a female Labradoodle will be slightly smaller than a male when fully grown. Some general sizing for Labradoodles are:
- Mini Labradoodles: 14 to 16 inches tall and weigh 15 to 25 pounds
- Medium Labradoodles: 17 to 20 inches tall and weigh 30 to 45 pounds
- Standard Labradoodles: 21 to 24 inches tall and weigh 50 to 65 pounds
Alternatively, Labrador sizes do not range much due to their purebred lines. They will generally grow anywhere from 21 to 24.5 inches tall and weigh between 55 to 80 pounds. This sizing is also dependent on if you have a male or female dog.
Life Expectancy and Health
Dogs can live a long, healthy life, which is a big commitment when you bring a puppy home. But, they really are man’s best friend, and knowing how long you will have your pet with you can be a consideration when deciding on a breed.
The life expectancy for a Labradoodle ranges between 12 and 16 years. Of course, this is an average guideline as each dog’s health can vary, but with a healthy, active pet, your Labradoodle will be a part of your life for more than a decade.
A Labrador Retriever’s life expectancy is typically 10 to 12 years, which is relatively shorter than its Labradoodle counterpart. Although, with proper diet and exercise, Labradors can live a few additional years.
The overall health of your pet can be a determining factor for how long your dog will live.
Labradoodles are a generally healthy dog breed. They can inherit some health issues from both parents that could cause health problems later on in life. Labradoodles may be prone to these problems or others:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
Labradors are famous for some common ailments during their lifetime. Part of having a purebred dog like this minimizes the chances of health problems by getting a pet with good breeding lines. Even so, a Labrador may still suffer from these issues as well as others:
Temperament and Energy
How friendly and approachable a dog breed is can sway your decision on a pet, especially if you are looking for a four-legged family member when you have children in the home.
Both of these dog types are highly intelligent and love their human companions. They enjoy spending time with people and are common as service dogs due to their loving and friendly nature.
The Labradoodle is a people-pleasing dog and enjoys doing tricks or tasks that make its humans happy. They are full of life and are an energetic breed. This dog breed can be possessive of their human family because of their strong bonding nature.
Similarly, the Labrador has a calm disposition but can be stoic at times, depending on the dog. Labradors can still be energetic, but when compared to their Labradoodle counterparts, they can seem calmer in nature. In addition, this dog breed has an instinct to retrieve, making them fun animals for a game of fetch or to use as a hunting dog.
Knowing how to keep your dog healthy is critical for long life. Both of these dog breeds will need regular exercise and stimulation to promote good bone and joint health and avoid obesity.
Labradoodles and Labradors enjoy hiking, swimming, walking, and running, as well as agility activities. Because they are a larger breed, they will need anywhere between one to two hours of exercise each day as a fully grown adult.
Because these dog breeds are both incredibly intelligent, they also require mental stimulation alongside physical exercise. A bored dog or one with too much energy will turn to chewing, digging, or ruining your household items.
Whether you decide on a Labradoodle or a Labrador, keep in mind that they should have things to occupy their mind, like puzzle games or agility training to remain healthy and happy in your home.
Finding a pet that will understand commands and make training easier can be a determining factor.
With the addition of the Poodle genes with a Labradoodle, they can exhibit behavior, making them seem brighter than Labradors. In addition, Labradoodles may seem to pick up training methods quicker and more efficiently than Labradors, although Labs are generally easy to train already.
Labradoodles are not ideal for scent-detection animals as Labradors are. However, the Labrador is a better choice between the two breeds for search and rescue or bomb detection tasks.
No matter which dog breed you choose, either of these types will give you an intelligent animal that can be relatively easy to train.
Cost of Labrador vs Labradoodle
The price you will pay for a dog is highly dependent on the breeder, the breeding lines of the parents, and your location.
Labradoodles are a relatively newer hybrid breed, also known as designer dogs. This feature can bring a higher price tag than other breeds you may find, but it isn’t always the case.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $500 up to $3,000 for a Labradoodle. One factor that can also increase pricing is the color of your Labradoodle, as some colors are considered rarer than others.
Labradors are a purebred breed, and with that distinction, they may also have a higher price. This amount can be the result of kennel club registrations or pedigree status. Although, color and location may play a part in the overall price. You can pay between $500 and $3,000 for a Labrador, making it similar in cost to the Labradoodle.
Both the Labradoodle and the Labrador are terrific dogs to add to your home. Each breed has characteristics that make it ideal, depending on your needs and wants.
In the end, the Labradoodle comes in more sizes and colors, can be more intelligent and easier to train, and may be more allergy-friendly for owners who have sensitivities to dog dander and hair.