The black Labradoodle—a cross between the Poodle and the Labrador Retriever—is a great family dog. But how do you know that this teddy bear dog is the one for you? What sets the black Labradoodle apart?
Hold on to your dog leash! We’re about to find out.
Let’s embark on a journey to discover everything you’ve been wondering about the beautiful black Labradoodle. And even some things you might not have thought about too.
What is a black Labradoodle, anyway?
To get to know the black Labradoodle, first we need to know a bit about Labradoodles. The Labradoodle is a hybrid or a cross breed between the Poodle and the Labrador Retriever.
A hybrid or crossbreed is an intentional crossing of two different pure breeds. Essentially, a Labradoodle has a Poodle and a Labrador Retriever (or some combination) as parents. Their black coat color is one of many colors of Labradoodles. (We’ll get into that in a minute.)
Every Labradoodle is unique. This is due to their Labrador Retriever and Poodle heritage. Since the two parent breeds differ in size, coat color, and coat type (just to name a few characteristics), the Labradoodle is not as predictable when it comes to traits. Labradoodles have a wider variety of traits than their purebred parents.
Next, for a better understanding of the Labradoodle, let’s take a look at the parent breeds—the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle.
Labrador Retriever: Parent breed
Labrador Retrievers are known for their athleticism and friendly, affectionate personalities. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) these purebred dogs are, “friendly, outgoing, and high-spirited companions who have more than enough affection to go around.”
These water dogs with their famous “otter tails” and dense water-resistant coats were bred to retrieve waterfowl and even work alongside fishing anglers. It’s not surprising then, that the breed is classified as a sporting dog by the AKC.
Sporting dogs are a group of purebred dogs who are active and have natural instincts in the outdoors.
The physical size of the Labrador Retriever makes them natural athletes—sturdy and strong. For these dogs to live their best life, they need daily exercise.
The coat is short, dense, and water-resistent. Labrador Retrievers shed a lot, and that’s an understatement. However, most parents embrace the pet hair that floats through the air like the snow in a just shaken snow globe.
Labrador Retrievers are large in size weighing in at 55 to 80 pounds and standing inches 21.5 – 24.5 inches tall from paw to shoulder. (Females are on the lower end of both spectrums.)
Poodle: Parent breed
Poodles stand apart from other breeds for their unique combination of low-allergen and low-shedding coats, amazing athletic skills, and incredible intelligence. Additionally, Poodles are one of the few dog breeds that have been bred to three AKC-recognized sizes: standard, miniature, and toy.
No matter the size, Poodles are energetic, active companions. Originally bred as hunting dogs, many Poodles enjoy games of fetch or retrieving any ball or frisbee you’ll toss in the air.
15 things you’ll love knowing about the black Labradoodle
Now that you have a brief overview of the Labradoodle and the Labradoodle’s parent breeds, here are 15 things about the black Labradoodle that you may not know.
1. Black Labradoodles can get their coat color from both sides of the family—the Poodle and the Labrador Retriever parent breeds.
Where does the Labradoodle’s shiny, black coat come from? Unlike some other types of Doodle dogs like the Goldendoodle, both sides of the Labradoodle’s family can bring black coat colors to the mix.
In other words, both the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle breeds include black as one of several coat colors. (You’ve probably seen black Labrador Retrievers and black Poodles trotting around your neighborhood.)
By contrast, if you look at the Goldendoodle (a crossbreed of the Poodle and Golden Retriever), only the Poodle side of the family brings the black coat color to the mix. Unlike the Labrador Retriever which can have a black coat color, the Golden Retriever only has shades of golden coat colors.
2. Black is one of many coat colors for Labradoodles.
3. Black Labradoodles and black Goldendoodles are easily mistaken.
“Is that a Labradoodle or a Goldendoodle?” It’s a question I hear almost every time we’re out and about town with our Doodle dogs. Since Goldendoodles and Labradoodles both share the Poodle parent heritage, they have some similarities including coat colors, coat types, and size ranges.
Interestingly, black Labradoodles are more common than black Goldendoodles. This is because both the Labrador Retriever and Poodle parents bring black coat colors to the gene pool. However, for the Goldendoodle, only the Poodle (and not the Golden Retriever) breed brings black coat colors to the gene pool.
4. Muddy puppy paws aren’t as obvious on black Labradoodles.
After a romp in the yard on a dewy morning or running around outdoors, the black Labradoodle’s dark-colored paws won’t show dirt or even grass stains as much as their light-colored Labradoodle buddies. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s not there! There are many ways to manage those muddy puppy paws from grooming “clean feet” (shorter hair on the paws) to keeping a paw washing station by the door.
5. Black coat colors don’t show tear stains or stains around the mouth as much.
When it comes to caring for those adorable Doodle beards, the black Labradoodle may have the edge over the cream Labradoodle or those with lighter coat colors. Just like food or spots show up on our own white clothing, stains and dirt show up more on the lighter coats on our lovable pups.
6. Black nails tend to be harder to trim because it’s harder to see the quick.
It’s more common for dogs with darker coats to also have darker toenails. So if your black Labradoodle has dark nails, you may want to learn how to cut your dog’s black nails or plan to take your pupper to the vet or groomer for monthly nail trims.
7. Both parent breeds—the Poodle and the Labrador Retriever—are high energy breeds.
As mentioned above, the Poodle and Labrador Retriever are two different breeds. However, they both are high energy. For this reason, giving your Labradoodle plenty of outlets to release energy (both physical and mental) is important.
Also, behaviorally don’t be surprised if your Labradoodle acts like a puppy for the first two to three years of life.
8. All Labradoodles, including black Labradoodles, require daily exercise (both physical and mental).
If you enjoy the idea of daily walks, playing fetch, or maybe even enrolling in agility training, then black Labradoodles may be fitting for your lifestyle.
Also, because Labradoodles tend to be smart, physical exercise is just one piece of the “enrichment” puzzle. Additionally, Labradoodles might crave mental stimulation and spending time with you. There are many dog enrichment activities you can do together to keep your Labradoodle happy and healthy.
Related: Games to Play With Your Dog
9. Black Labradoodles have a unique origin story.
Wally Conron is credited for introducing the Labradoodle in the 1980s. He was asked to breed a non-shedding service dog for someone who’s wife had pet allergies. Try as he might, the allergy-friendly Poodle just wasn’t able to meet the stringent needs for a guide dog.
Finally, in his work with the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia, he crossed the low-shedding, allergy-friendly Poodle and the highly trainable, friendly Labrador Retriever. The puppy, Sultan, was the first Labradoodle to serve as a highly-regarded guide dog for many years!
So the first-ever Labradoodle was not deemed a “designer dog” at all. But rather, Sultan had the title of “guide dog”—some of the most beneficial work a dog can do.
10. Some black Labradoodles go on to become therapy and service dogs.
Sultan, the world’s first Labradoodle guide dog, opened the door to other people with allergies benefitting from Labradoodles serving as guide dogs, therapy dogs, PTSD dogs, and everything in between. This is largely due to the unique combination of the Labrador Retriever’s friendliness and trainability and the Poodle’s intelligence.
11. Black Labradoodles (and Labradoodles in general) aren’t the best guard dogs.
Dogs like the German Shepherd and the Australian Shepherd were originally bred to guard property. This isn’t the case for the parent breeds of the Labradoodle.
Neither of the Labradoodle’s parent breeds (Poodles and Labrador Retrievers) were bred for that kind of work.
With the Labrador Retriever breed’s affectionate nature and the Poodle’s openness to strangers as part of the Labradoodle gene pool, it’s more natural for most Labradoodles to be friendly and affectionate. They are not natural guard dogs.
12. A black Labradoodle’s adult size is not as predictable as other purebred dogs.
Since the Labradoodle is a hybrid or crossbreed, traits like size are not as predictable as with purebred dogs. Why? It goes back to the parent breeds—the Poodle and the Labrador Retriever. Since the Poodle breed standard includes three variations in size (toy, miniature, standard), adult Labradoodles have more size variation too.
In general, the full-grown black Labradoodle ranges in size from 21″ to 24″ inches and weighs 45 to 75 pounds.
13. In comparison to the parent breeds, the black Labradoodle is a fairly new “breed” of dog.
When you look at the number of years the Labradoodle has been around (about 40) compared to traditional breeds, Labradoodles are a fairly new “breed” of dog. (The word “breed” is used loosely here since the Labradoodle is considered a crossbreed or hybrid.)
In comparison, the Poodle has been a recognized breed since 1887, according to the AKC’s article, Breeds By Year Recognized. Also, according to the AKC, the Labrador Retriever has been a recognized breed by the AKC since 1917.
14. The AKC does not recognize the black Labradoodle as an official breed.
The Labradoodle, including the black Labradoodle, is not recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club. This is because Labradoodles are not purebred dogs. That’s why you won’t see Labradoodles competing in events like the Westminster Dog Show, which are conformation events for purebred dogs. However, Labradoodles can participate in other AKC activities like obedience and agility through the AKC Canine Partners program.
15. Grooming requirements vary based on the black Labradoodle’s coat type.
Labradoodle coat types range from fleece to wool (curly). If the Labradoodle puppy takes after the Labrador Retriever side of the family, the coat may be shorter. However, Labradoodles of all coat types and lengths do need frequent grooming. Plan on at-home brushing and scheduling regular grooming appointments.
Bonus! Use natural lighting to photograph your black Labradoodle.
Be prepared to fill your phone with pictures of your lovable Labradoodle. Use natural lighting help you create stunning photographs of your black Labradoodle. Lighting will be your friend to help you capture the details that can get lost when taking pics of black dogs.
Related: How to Take Cute Photos of Your Dog
Summary: The black Labradoodle
Thanks for taking valuable time out of your day to learn about the black Labradoodle. By now you can probably see that there’s so much to love about these Poodle-Retriever mixes.
Whether your Labradoodle’s coat is black, gray, cream, or somewhere in between, it’s what’s underneath that fluffy coat that will tug at your heartstrings and bring countless smiles to your face. With your love , time, attention, and patience, your Labradoodle will be eager to fit in with your pack.