Have you ever wondered how the doodles craze began? As it turns out the origin of Labradoodles and the current trend to crossbred Poodles with other breeds is relatively new.
It all started in the early 1980’s, when Pat Blum who lived in Hawaii was searching for a guide dog. Blum was blind and was looking for a seeing-eye guide dog that would not make her husband sick. Pat’s husband suffered from severe dog allergies, but she wanted a dog to help her get around. So she wrote a letter to the Royal Guide Dog Association in Australia and asked if they could produce an allergy-free guide dog for her.
Wally Conron, a breeding expert who worked for the association, thought it would be an easy assignment. He knew that Poodles were non–shedding, trainable dogs that many people with allergies could live with. He sent 33 hair and saliva samples from different Poodles to Mrs. Blum to see if one of the dogs could be used. Unfortunately, her husband was allergic to all of them.
Two years of searching
After two years of searching for the right dog, Conron crossbred a standard Poodle with a white Swedish Labrador Retriever. Conron’s aim was to combine the low-shedding coat of the Poodle with one of the associations best Labrador Retrievers. Since both breeds where highly intelligent and trainable the hope was to provide a guide dog suitable for people with allergies to fur and dander. In 1989 three puppies were born. Hair and saliva samples of the three pups were sent to Blum. One of the puppies was able to pass the sniff test with Blum’s husband.
Just the begining
However this was just the beginning. The puppy named Sultan still needed to be placed in a foster home, socialized and trained. But no one wanted to foster the crossbreeds. They all wanted purebreds. With time running out Conron decided to call his allergy friendly dogs Labradoodles and it worked. The puppy was trained as a guide dog and found to be compatible with Blum and her husband. Mrs. Blum enjoyed her companion for 10 years.
It is very important to note that although the first Labradoodle guide dog was a success, the next litter of Labradoodles bred at the Royal Guide Dog Association in Australia only produced 3 allergy free pups out of a litter of 10.
Royal Guide Dog Association
The Royal Guide Dog Association in Australia no longer breeds Labradoodles, but they are still bred by other guide and assistance dog organizations in Australia and other places. They have also become very popular family pets for people who are looking an allergy friendly dog.
Conron has stated he regrets starting the trend to crossbreed Poodles with other breeds. He maintains that it caused “a lot of damage” together with “a lot of problems”. He is further quoted as claiming: “For every perfect one, you’re going to find a lot of crazy ones.”
As noted above, not all doodles will be allergy friendly. In the end doodles or any designer dogs are simply mixed breeds that do not have consistent characteristics. While they may have some common traits, their appearance and behavioral characteristics remain, to some extent, unpredictable.
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