In the search for a dog that is low shedding, intelligent and loyal, your journey will most likely lead you down the path of Poodle versus Labradoodle. These breeds share a lot of traits, but which dog makes the best pet?
A poodle is purebred, whereas a labradoodle is a hybrid mix between a poodle and Labrador retriever. The poodle has a high pedigree and is a high maintenance breed. Labradoodles lack the status of purebred but maintain many qualities of the poodle breed with less maintenance. Both breeds make great family pets.
There really isn’t one defining quality that makes a poodle better than a labradoodle or vice versa. But, there are certainly some traits of both dogs that might sway you one way or the other. So let’s figure out how to tell the difference in a poodle and a labradoodle in this article.
Is a Poodle or Labradoodle Right For Me?
The good news is that either dog is great for most any household. So, to help you make up your mind, let’s take a look at what each dog does best.
Here are Some Poodle Positives
- They Have Pedigree: This means they are an AKC recognized breed. The poodle was originally bred in France and is also the official dog of France. Responsible breeders can trace that lineage and will test their pups for health issues that can appear in a stagnant gene pool. This kind of testing is not standard with mixed breeds.
- Hair Not Fur: Poodles have hair, not fur. Yes, you read that right. Like you or me, they have a single layer of hair, where most other dogs have a separate undercoat layer that really contributes to shedding. Thanks to this single, curly, silky coat, poodles shed very little. This is especially important for those that suffer from dog allergies.
- High Intelligence: A poodle is the second most intelligent breed, after the Border Collie. They are exceptional in their ability to learn tricks and tasks. If you’re looking for a companion animal that can master every trick, every step of obedience training, and really show off at the dog park, a poodle might be for you.
- Nice And Quiet: While they do sometimes bark, poodles often keep to themselves. This makes them great for apartment living and great on walks. They are graceful, sometimes shy dogs, that aren’t too vocal, like a Husky. For those that value peace and quiet, they are a top pick.
- Adaptable To Any Situation: Given their advanced intelligence, they are a flexible breed. They will acclimate well to most environments if they get enough exercise. This makes them a great choice for apartment living, but they are just as happy in the suburbs or on a ranch.
- An Ancient Hunting Breed: Although most people associate poodles with being fancy, prim, and proper, they were actually bred for hunting. They are natural swimmers and retrievers. Most American hunters turn to the labrador retriever for their waterfowl hunting needs, but the poodle is just as good and possibly better. With high intelligence and a lighter frame, they are great hunting dogs. Though, a toy poodle might not cut it.
- Size Variability: You can get all of the attributes of the poodle in three distinct sizes. The breed comes in Standard, Miniature, and Toy. They range from just a few pounds up to 80 pounds. This means you can have the second smartest dog small enough to fit in a handbag, or large enough to retrieve a goose.
The Downsides of the Poodle
- They Fetch A High Price: Because of their pedigree, it can be on the pricier end to get a purebred poodle from a respected breeder. Because of the genetic screenings and testing performed by a breeder, you could pay anywhere from $1,200 to $10,000 for a top of the line dog from an excellent lineage.
- Purebred Health: While most responsible breeders should take the time to do screenings for disease, there are unscrupulous breeders out there that will skip these screenings. There is evidence that with extensive inbreeding, dogs can develop a lot of health problems. If a deal on a poodle seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- High Maintenance: Poodles are a high maintenance dog which means they should receive regular baths, grooming, and very high-quality food. Not only this but they need a lot of stimulation, both physical and mental, in order to stay in tip-top shape. A poodle is not a great choice for those that are looking for a lazy, low maintenance pet.
- Too Smart For Their Own Good: With great power comes great responsibility. For you, the dog owner. Poodles need daily mental stimulation to stave off boredom. They are prone to anxiety, stress, and other destructive behaviors when they lack mental stimulation. This adds further to their high level of required maintenance.
- Not A Good Guard Dog: While they make a good watchdog, and can be trained to alert their people of an intruder on the property, they are not a great guardian for home defense. They are far more likely to greet a burglar like a new friend than attack the intruder. They may be super smart, but they are still dogs after all.
- Loaded With Labrador Traits: Thanks to the two different breeds that make up this hybrid dog, you get the best of both worlds. You get the intelligence and the lovely, low shedding coat of the Poodle as well as the amicable, goofy nature of a labrador retriever. Those that inherit the traits from their lab heritage also tend to be a bit more muscular and sturdy than a poodle.
- Hybrid Health: Although responsible breeders will make every step to ensure their dogs are healthy and don’t pass on poor genetics, hybrid breeding takes that out of the equation. Labradoodles are a healthy hybrid that does seem to benefit from the cross-breeding of the two different types of dogs.
- Designer Dogs: Labradoodles are all the rage these days. And it is mostly due to their curly or wavy coats. Though they aren’t recognized as a pure breed, they are instantly recognizable due to their unique hairstyle and thicker frame.
- Less Maintenance: Thanks to the addition of labrador genetics, Labradoodles benefit from a lower level of required maintenance than their poodle counterparts. But, that mostly comes down to their temperament and exercise needs. While they still require regular brushing and physical and mental stimulation, they tend to be less needy than their purebred poodle parents.
- People Pleaser: Labradoodles love their humans. They are great with kids, adults, and animals. If you’re looking for a cuddler, you’ve got one. If you’re looking for a playful, goofball, look no further.
- Cost: By skipping the AKC requirements of notable poodle breeders, you can save some money. But that’s not to say that they can’t be expensive. Expect $1,000 to $3,000 to be the norm.
Labradoodle Have Negatives, Too
- Shedding Is Possible: Notable breeders breed their pups from parents that come from second or third or even fourth generation dogs, so both parents are Labradoodles. This can help to ensure that you get a low shedding dog, but it is not completely accurate. It is still possible that a labradoodle could shed just as much as its labrador parent.
- Not Truly Hypoallergenic: Because of this manner of cross-breeding, these dogs are not considered to be truly hypoallergenic. While they are less likely to cause allergic reactions, it is still entirely possible that they may in some individuals.
- No Pedigree: Labradoodles are not a breed, but a crossbreed. There aren’t required screenings in place to protect pups from diseases and health problems. Always make sure a breeder of Labradoodles is on the up and up.
- Need More Space: While they can do fine in an apartment, Labradoodles tend to do better in a house with a yard.
Understanding the Differences Between Poodles and Labradoodles
Poodles are a top pick for those looking for a loyal, loving family dog with endless smarts. This is especially true for people who are looking for a dog that sheds extremely little and may be looking for a dog that won’t trigger their allergies. They can make brilliant hunting dogs and their ability to learn is boundless. People without time to dedicate themselves to their maintenance routine might not be a good fit for this breed.
Labradoodles have unique personalities, lower costs, and are less maintenance. They are great for people who want a cuddler that is good with kids. They are more likely to shed than a poodle. They are more suited to living in an area with a yard instead of an apartment and though they are lower maintenance overall than a poodle, they still have a lot of needs.
In conclusion, they are both very similar dogs. Intelligent and loyal and they aren’t going to fill your house with dander and shed hair. If you’re still on the fence, the two types get along great together, so why not get both?