In 1988, Australian breeder Wally Conron first crossed a Standard Poodle and a Labrador Retriever in an effort to breed a highly intelligent, extremely friendly dog with an allergy friendly coat. He was asked to find a solution for a blind woman who needed a guide dog who would not cause her allergic husband to suffer. The resulting litter yielded the perfect pup, Sultan, who had not only a stellar personality for a working dog, but a no-to-low shedding coat that produced less dander (and less wet-dog smell) than a Labrador. People were amazed at Sultan’s success, and the reputation of the Australian Labradoodle as an incredible working dog began.
Temperament for the Job
The Australian Labradoodle is friendly and loyal, easily and effortlessly bonding with both long-term owners and short-term patients. This joyous demeanor makes them ideal for any family especially those with individuals who have special needs. Some Australian Labradoodles go into full-time service as guide dogs or companions. Many are employed as therapy dogs, who travel to hospitals, assisted living or mental health facilities, and hospices, along with learning centers, libraries and schools. Their friendly, funny temperament makes them a perfect candidate for a teaching assistant or a smile distributor.
Trainability is Important
Australian Labradoodles are astoundingly intelligent. Their quick wit and sense of humor are assets in their own right, making them fantastic at providing love and companionship to those who need a heartfelt connection (or a good laugh). Their amazing intellect also means that they take to training very well, with obedience and more complicated service related commands a breeze to teach. They appreciate a challenge and love to play games, making them perfect for interactive therapies. But, perhaps most importantly, Australian Labradoodles have an empathetic, intuitive ability to sense what patients need, something that is inborn to the breed that just cannot be taught.
The Australian Labradoodle has a balanced energy in its temperament that helps to make it a perfect candidate for therapy work as well as assistance. These pups are quite athletic with an almost infectious joy, so traveling around from place to place, room to room, and person to person isn’t an issue. You may think that a highly energetic dog would be ill suited to working with the ill, the elderly, or children, but the Australian Labradoodle is quite gentle, well mannered, and soft when being handled. They are amazingly patient and can be still for long periods of time, so patients and pupils can pet them as long as they need.
Australian Labradoodles have all the traits that make a great therapy dog, and they have a unique advantage as well. As allergy-friendly pups, they can give their love and affection to patients and students who have dog allergies as well as those who don’t, so they’re ideal for mixed (allergic and non-allergic) groups of people. If you are interested in adopting an Australian Labradoodle to train as a therapy dog, or as a full-time service dog for you or someone you love, you can fill out our adoption application here.