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Labrador Retriever vs. Labradoodle: Breed Differences & Similarities

Comparing the Labrador Retriever vs the Labradoodle as a potential fit for your next four-legged family friend? These two dogs are very similar in nature, with slightly different grooming habits and temperaments. Find out which breed is better for your lifestyle.

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Last Updated: July 14, 2021 | 10 min read

Labrador Retriever vs Labradoodle

The Labrador and the Labradoodle are the original version and the remix of the doggy world. The Labrador Retriever is the number one canine sweetheart of the American nation. The Labradoodle is possibly the favorite designer doggo and most popular doodle dog that exists.

Although they are very similar, there are a few differences between them everyone should know. Especially those who are trying to decide between these two adorable pups.

The Labrador is a purebred pooch described as friendly, active, and outgoing. He is a top choice for fisherman working the cold waters or families looking for a fun family pooch. The Labradoodle is a designer dog breed known for its fun and silly ways and curly, teddy bear coat that sheds less than the Lab. But there’s a lot more to it, so let’s take a closer look.

Breed Comparison

Labrador Retriever

  • Height 21.5-24.5 Inches
  • Weight 55-80 Pounds
  • Temperament Friendly, Active, Outgoing
  • Energy High
  • Health Average
  • Lifespan 10-12 Years
  • Price $800 and Up

Labradoodle

  • Height 22-24 Inches
  • Weight 30-60 Pounds
  • Temperament Affectionate, Intelligent, Friendly
  • Energy High
  • Health Above Average
  • Lifespan 12-16 Years
  • Price $1,000 and Up

Breed History

To help you understand the difference between these beautiful dogs, you need to understand their history. A dog’s history will help you to understand its original breed purpose, and this will usually determine its personality and whether it will fit well into your family and lifestyle. A dog’s history is a HUGE part of the research all soon-to-be dog owners must do, so let’s see how these guys are related.

Labrador

Large Brown Dogs Lounging Outdoors
The Labrador is regularly ranked the #1 dog in the United States.

The Labrador is the most popular dog in America and many parts of the world. He has consistently ranked as the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) number one breed for three decades! Which is a big accomplishment in itself. So, it’s safe to say he makes a great canine companion (for most families). He is a purebred dog that is also a top choice for assistance dogs, therapy dogs, and other professions.

He is the traditional waterdog of Newfoundland, and his specialty is retrieving ducks and his master’s quarry from the water. Labs are also the fisherman’s chosen canine to round up fishnets and stray fish that had escaped. He is a relatively old breed that dates back to the 1700s, and it is thought that he descends from the now-extinct St John’s water dog. His intelligence and obedience make him a prime breed for making designer dog mixes.

Over the last few decades, the Lab has further diverged in their genetic appearances. There are two distinct versions of the same breed, one that’s meant for show, and the other that’s meant for field activities like hunting. These are the same dog, but with just some different behavioral traits.

Labradoodle

Fluffy Brown Dog in a Desert Garden
This designer dog has become increasingly popular for carrying the best traits of its parents, the Lab and Poodle.

The Labradoodle is a recent doggy creation, and he is a mix of the Lab and the Poodle. In 1989, the Royal Guide Dog Association in Australia sought to create a guide dog for a blind woman with allergies. They chose the Labrador Retriever and the hypoallergenic Poodle to create a well-versed guide dog that would be gentler on allergy sufferers.

The Labradoodle’s Poodle parent comes in three different sizes; toy, miniature, and standard-sized. And this will have a big influence on the size of Labradoodle you choose and his energy levels. Designer dogs tend to inherit the best traits from both breeds. There are three different types of Labradoodle mix, the F1, F1B, and F2:

F1: 50% Lab, and 50% Poodle

F1B: 75% poodle and 25% Labrador (One poodle parent and one F1 Labradoodle parent)

F2: 87% Poodle, and 13% Lab (One poodle parent and one F1B Labradoodle parent)

F2 Labradoodles are generally better for allergy sufferers as they are more Poodle than Lab. As a designer dog breed, Labradoodles cannot be registered with the AKC as the Lab can. So, if you are interested in having a show pooch or entering AKC competitions, the Lab is your only choice out of the two dogs.

Appearance

Black and Brown Dogs Standing Outside
The most obvious difference between these dogs is their coat.

Both of these dogs are similar in appearance, mainly because they both have Labrador genes. But the Poodle influence of the Labradoodle means they are easy to tell apart.

The easiest way to tell these guys apart is their coat. Lave have a thick coat that is straight and coarse in texture. The Labradoodle’s coat tends to be slightly longer, softer, and curly or wavy in appearance. They also often gets mistaken for a Goldendoodle!

Labradors have the option of only three AKC recognized coat colors; yellow, brown, and black. They can have silver coats, and red coats, but these coats are not “officially” recognized by the AKC or most breeders. This has led to some controversy within breeders and breed enthusiasts.

Labradoodles have a much wider color selection to choose from, thanks to the Poodle rainbow. In addition to yellow, brown, and black, he also has blonde, charcoal, and apricot. He also has the options of multi-colored coats that come in different patterns or a solid coat color like the Lab.

When comparing a Labrador to a standard-sized Labradoodle, they are very similar in size. These medium-to large-size dogs both measure up to approximately 24 inches in height. Labs are the thicker of the two dog breeds, and he weighs up to 80 pounds. Compared to the more slender Labradoodle, who weighs up to 60 pounds. Labradors are averagely larger than Labradoodles. Labradoodles also have a miniature version, whereas Labs do not.

Temperament

Happy Dogs Looking at the Camera
Though their temperaments are very similar, the Labrador tends to be the friendlier of the two.

Both dogs have very similar personalities, but there are subtle differences between them. The most appealing trait of the Labrador’s personality is that it is stable. Because he is a purebred pooch, his temperament is almost guaranteed to be super friendly, active, and outgoing. It’s worth remembering his training and environment will have a huge effect on his personality.

A Labradoodle’s personality is less stable because it is a mixture of the Poodle and Labrador temperament. Like all designer dog breeds, it is never guaranteed which parent he will take after more. This is especially true for F1 Labradoodles, who are an even mix of parentage. If you seek a Labradoodle with a more guaranteed mix of personality traits, work with a breeder who has bred several generations of Labradoodles.

The main difference in their temperament is the Lab tends to be the most friendly and sociable out of the two. Labradoodles sometimes inherit a more aloof style and can be suspicious of strangers. This means he can be the more barky pooch out of the two, which is something to consider if you live in an apartment or somewhere with noise restrictions.

Both dogs are energetic dogs who need plenty of exercise, translating to tons of fun. This and their friendly, biddable, and affectionate personality are what make them both a fantastic choice for many families across the globe. Overall, as long as you can meet their basic doggy needs, they are both adaptable and will slot themselves into your family life.

Exercise

Dogs Running Outside
Sixty minutes of daily activity is recommended for both the Labrador and Labradoodle.

There is little difference between the two dogs when it comes to their exercise needs. both dogs are both very active, have working genes, and neither are couch potatoes by any stretch of the imagination. They both need around 60 minutes of exercise every day to remain healthy and happy.

They are also both very clever canines who need a lot of mental stimulation. This means you’ll need to play with them throughout the day and make sure they have access to dog toys to keep themselves entertained. Without adequate levels of stimulation, they will both become unhappy and destructive.

They are both very intelligent, but the Poodle is often cited as the second most intelligent dog breed in the world. Compared to the Lab who is ranked as the seventh. This means Labradoodles are is likely to solve puzzles a little bit quicker in competitions.

Both dogs love water, meaning your pup is bound to be a water baby whichever one you choose. To keep them both happy, be sure to involve water sports in their exercise routine. Just be aware of ducks and other water creatures who might excite them both a little too much!

Training

Dogs Sitting in a Forest
These dogs are often seen as therapy dogs because of how well-behaved they can be, as well as their calm demeanor.

Both dogs are both consistently chosen as assistance and therapy dogs, and for good reason. The Lab is the original assistance dog, but Labradoodles are just as obedient and capable. When it comes to training, they are both obedient, eager to please, and willing to learn. Making them both doggy dreamboats to train and fab choices for first-time dog owners.

They both need socializing at an early age if you want them to turn into the polite pups we all know and love. This is especially true for Labradoodles, who are more likely to be aloof and suspicious than the Lab. A top-quality breed will start the socialization process young, and it’s your job to continue the hard work.

Positive reinforcement training is the best way to train both of these guys. The Lab will likely be motivated by food more than the Labradoodle. Labradoodles will be motivated by anything exciting, such as yummy treats, exciting toys, and squeaky objects. The Lab has a bottomless pit for a stomach, so be sure not to overdo it with the scooby snacks.

Health

Mature Brown Dogs
The Labradoodle usually outlives the Labrador by a few years.

Both dogs are relatively healthy dogs, but the Labradoodle tends to be the longer-living pooch out of the two. The Labrador has an expected lifespan of 10 to 12 years. And Labradoodles have an averagely longer lifespan of 12 to 16 years. Whichever pooch you decide to invite into your life, it’s important to work with a reputable breeder who only breeds healthy dogs.

Labs are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, which is a joint problem caused by improper bone growth and gene inheritance. The Lab is also prone to various eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts.

Exercise-induced collapse is also a condition that should be tested for. And finally, obesity is more common in Labs, so keep an eye on that waistline of his.

Labradoodles are also prone to these conditions and other concerns that affect his Poodle parent. Poodle health conditions to be aware of in addition to the above are sebaceous adenitis, thyroid concerns, and von Willebrand’s disease. Overall, the Labradoodle is a longer-living dog and is generally healthier than the Lab.

Nutrition

Black and Brown Dogs Chewing on Sticks
Kibble formulated for large breeds is recommended for both dogs when they weigh more than 50 lbs.

Both dogs are both active pups who need the right fuel to keep them happy and healthy. Labs will consume between two and four cups of Labrador breed-friendly dog food per day.

The Labradoodle eats slightly less dog food, at around two to three cups per day. Of course, this is all dependent on what size your pooch is. As well as what their energy levels are, their age, and other factors.

The Labrador will need a large breed kibble, whereas Labradoodles will only need a large breed kibble if he is expected to be greater than 50 pounds at maturity. This may or may not determine which brand of food you choose, but it’s wise to always choose a high-quality kibble.

Both of these dogs are at risk of gastric torsion. This is linked to feeding routines and exercise times, and it is a life-threatening condition. Never feed your pooch immediately before or after exercise. And split their food consumption across several meal sittings to lower the chances of bloat.

Grooming

Dogs Being Groomed
Labradoodles shed much less than Labradors, which makes them lower maintenance when it comes to grooming.

Both dogs have different coats. Their grooming schedule or coat type is often the biggest deciding factor between the two. The Lab has a thick, dense coat that sheds moderately throughout the year. During the shedding season, in the spring and fall, the Labrador sheds profusely. If you aren’t a fan of doggy hair hurricanes, the Lab is not the breed for you.

Labradoodles, who are part Lab and part Poodle, sheds much less than the Lab. The Poodle is a hypoallergenic breed, meaning Labradoodles are much easier on allergy sufferers. Although he will shed a little across the year, it is hardly noticeable. It’s worth noting here it is a myth that some dogs are completely hypoallergenic. Because the Labradoodle is a mixed pup, you cannot guarantee a Labradoodle will be hypoallergenic.

Despite their coat differences, they both need lots of grooming, but for different reasons. They both need brushing several times a week. Labs need it to manage their coat and Labradoodles need it to prevent their long locks and wavy hair from tangling. Labradors will be better suited to de-shedding brushes, and Labradoodles will do well with a slicker brush.

When it comes to bathing, do not excessively bathe either of these dogs. Never bathe them more than once every month. The Labrador’s thick coat would benefit from a natural, concentrated doggy shampoo to reach his undercoat. The Labradoodle and his sensitive skin would much prefer a gentler formula made from soothing ingredients such as oatmeal.

Puppy Prices

Yellow and Black Puppies Sitting Outside
Expect to pay at least $800 for a Labrador and $1,000 for a Labradoodle.

The Labrador’s puppy price is slightly lower than a Labradoodle, but it can vary depending on many factors. Your location, demand at the time, and the breeder you choose to work with can determine the puppy cost.

The average price of a Lab starts from approximately $800, and the average price of a Labradoodle starts at around $1,000. If you are seeking an AKC registered Lab, especially a puppy from an award-winning lineage, you can expect to pay several thousand.

The Labrador is the most popular dog breed, so you shouldn’t struggle to find a quality breeder. The same goes for the Labradoodle, a very popular designer dog breed. Being popular comes with the heightened risk of backstreet breeders and puppy mills. So, whichever pup you decide on, make sure you carry out your research and only work with a reputable and recommended breeder.

Final Thoughts

Both of these two family-friendly pups are very similar. And this is because they are related by blood. The Labrador is, well, pure Labrador, and the Labradoodle is part Lab and part Poodle. Both are gorgeous, family-friendly dogs that provide lots of affection and fun. This is why they are so popular in their own right. They both need lots of exercise and stimulating activities throughout the day to keep them happy and healthy. And neither of them are couch potatoes.

The main differences between the two dogs are their appearance and coat. With the Lab being a stockier and larger canine with a thick, straight coat. Whereas the smaller Labradoodle is more teddy bear-like in his appearance thanks to his curly or wavy locks. The Lab sheds heavily, and the Labradoodle does not, which often means Labradoodles are the better option for slight allergy sufferers.

Many dog owners prefer purebred breeds because you can be more certain about what characteristics to expect. Whereas some owners like the idea of playing the gene lottery. But when it comes to the question, ‘Which one makes the better family pet?’, the answer is there is no right answer. It all depends on which pooch better suits your family and lifestyle. But whether you Labrador or Labradoodle, know that both of these guys make awesome canine companions!

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