Mini Labradoodles: The Perfect Family Pet?
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Labradoodles have been a popular breed for almost 50 years as they combine the loyalty, trainability, and playfulness of a Labrador retriever with the intelligence and low-shedding coat of a poodle.
They are quite big, though, and are not ideal for every home, which is why many labradoodle breeders have started to breed mini Labradoodles.
These breeders partner a Lab with a miniature or toy poodle to produce a significantly smaller pup. They still have all the same great characteristics as their larger cousins, including lots of energy, but are noticeably lighter and more diminutive.
Have you always wanted a labradoodle but didn’t have the space? The miniature labradoodle might be exactly what you are looking for. Read on as we go through everything you need to know about these amazing dogs.
- Crossbreed: Labrador retriever with miniature or toy poodle
- 14-16 inches tall
- 15-30 pounds
- 10-18 year lifespan
- Low-shedding coat
- Intelligent, trainable
- Active and needs lots of exercises
History Of The Breed
The labradoodle has been around since the 1950s as a mix of the Labrador retriever and a full-size poodle.
This breed was developed to create dogs with the loyalty, intelligence, and trainability of the Labrador retriever, with the low shedding coat of the poodle. The loyalty and high intelligence of poodles made them a great personality match for a Lab as well.
Despite being bred as companion dogs, standard poodles are actually pretty big. They are at least 15 inches tall and can weigh anywhere from 45 to 70 pounds.
When you combine that with a Labrador, which is 22-24 inches tall and can weigh 70 pounds, you get a pretty big dog. They tend to be around 20-22 inches tall and can weigh 50-65 pounds. They are dogs that take up quite a bit of space!
Of course, you can get a smaller labradoodle by breeding a Lab with a miniature or a toy poodle.
This is not as easy to do as there can be a huge size difference between the pure-bred parents, but some breeders have been working for several generations to gradually reduce the size of their labradoodle pups.
Mini Labradoodle Appearance
There is still quite a bit of size difference between the miniature Labradoodles that you can get from a breeder; they can weigh anything from 15 to 30 pounds, and most will measure somewhere between 14 and 16 inches tall.
The appearance of miniature Labradoodles can be more predictable than that of standard Labradoodles as they are usually bred from two labradoodle parents, rather than directly from the parent breeds.
They will almost certainly have the low-shedding coat of a poodle since this is one of the principal traits that is controlled for.
They could have a wool coat that needs daily brushing to release hair that gets caught up in the wiry texture or a fleece coat that is wavy. These may shed slightly more, but this coat is easy to care for.
They can vary significantly in color since poodles come in a variety of colors, unlike Labradors which are yellow, black, or chocolate.
They can be apricot, black, blue, brown, cream, gray, red, silver, silver-beige, or white. They may also be bicolor, though this is relatively rare.
Labradoodles are highly intelligent dogs. Both Labradors and poodles are considered among the most intelligent breeds and can learn a new command with as few as five repetitions. Their offspring will certainly inherit this intelligence.
Labradors are also highly trainable because they are eager to please and love having something to do! They are also reward-driven.
Poodles tend to be slightly more independent in their thinking and stubborn if they don’t want to do something, but because they were bred as lapdogs, poodles are also eager to please their humans so a willingness to deliver tends to win out in the end.
This means that mini Labradoodles will be highly trainable as well.
Both parent breeds love people and tend to form tight attachments with their families quickly. They are also pretty relaxed with strangers and are more likely to want to make friends than raise the alarm when someone shows up at the door.
This means that they aren’t the best guard dogs, but can be taken most places without raising a fuss. This is one of the reasons that they make excellent guide dogs or other working dogs.
This lackadaisical attitude means that they don’t tend to be barkers, and will only raise their voice when playing or if they really want your attention. You should always pay attention when your miniature labradoodle starts barking.
They can be a bit more standoffish with other pets, but socialization from a young age can teach them to make friends.
You should take the time to introduce new pets into the home and let them get to know each other from a distance first when dealing with these dogs.
Because both parent breeds love being around people, so do their miniature Lab children. This means that they aren’t the type of dog that you can leave alone for extended periods of time while everyone is out of the house at work or on holiday.
They can become highly stressed and even develop depression. It is also common for them to become destructive when they feel frustrated.
Since they are highly intelligent pups, they need a lot of mental stimulation. Teaching them tricks can be a great way to activate their minds, and puzzle toys can keep them distracted for a while, though they tend to figure things out pretty quickly.
Be warned that they are also excellent escape artists, so all escape routes from the house need to be secured.
Labradoodles love children and instinctively know how to be careful and protective of them.
Of course, you should never leave children unattended with any dog for the safety of both, but a miniature labradoodle will love playing with kids, and the two high-energy forces can work to wear one another out.
Despite their smaller size, miniature Labradoodles need almost as much exercise as their larger labradoodle cousins.
They need at least an hour of active exercise each day, preferably split into two 30 minute periods. A leisurely walk probably won’t be enough; they need active play and the ability to run around off-leash.
In addition to formal exercise, they do best when they have some outdoor space at home that they can potter around in and use to let off a bit of energy throughout the day.
Nothing will make these dogs happier than accompanying the family on hikes and other adventures. Thanks to their Lab parent they also love the water and tend to be excellent swimmers.
A miniature labradoodle may live as little as 10 or as long as 18 years, which can be very difficult to predict, but you should expect your canine companion to be with you for quite some time.
While they are generally healthy dogs, they can be predisposed to a few health conditions that pet parents should be aware of.
The first is gastric dilation, which is basically bloating.
You can protect against this by choosing good quality food that won’t irritate their stomach, and feeding them smaller meals more often rather than letting them gobble everything down in one or two sittings.
If they have a tendency to eat quickly, you can try a slow feeder to make sure that they aren’t inhaling too much air with their food.
Miniature Labradoodles can also be predisposed to hypothyroidism, which can cause their body’s metabolism to slow down. Gaining weight can be an immediate sign of this, but it wreaks havoc with many of their systems.
This is another good reason to watch what you feed them, and consult your vet about relevant medication. It can also be worth screening your dog for Addison’s Disease, which is another hormone production disorder.
They can also be susceptible to exercise-induced collapse, as they can have a tendency to over-exert themselves and don’t know when they have had enough.
These collapses can be life-threatening, so it is important to monitor your dog during exercise and rein them in if they show any sign of muscle weakness or lack of coordination.
Consult your vet for long-term treatment. This can also be a sign of centronuclear myopathy, which is not unknown in this breed.
Hip dysplasia can be another common issue, which is exacerbated if you overexercise your dog as a puppy. Restrict exercise until they are fully grown to ensure against abnormal growth.
Eye conditions including cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy are also pretty common, but most breeders should be screening for this.
How To Find A Mini Labradoodle Puppy
Labradoodles are a popular breed, so there are many active breeders, but finding one who specializes in miniature Labradoodles can be more challenging.
Thankfully, there is a big community that loves this type of dog so there are many forums where you can ask around and get advice.
Depending on the supply and demand where you live, you might be able to find a puppy for as little as $1,000 but they can also cost upwards of $2,500 if there are limited breeders in your area.
Should I Adopt A Miniature Labradoodle?
Having read our guide to the miniature labradoodle, are you considering whether you should adopt one? Consider the following to make your final decision.
How Large Is Your Home And Do You Have An Outdoor Space?
One of the benefits of a miniature labradoodle is that they are pretty small dogs, so they will feel quite at home in relatively small places and your space won’t feel overwhelmed by their presence; however, their high energy levels mean that they do best when they have access to outdoor space on a regular basis.
Your yard doesn’t need to be large, but it should be big enough for them to blow off a little bit of steam, especially when they are home alone.
How Much Time Do You Have To Spend With Your Dog?
Labradoodles love human company and they can’t tolerate being left at home alone for 8-10 hours a day while everyone is out and about.
This can lead to destructive frustration and serious depression. They do best in households when there is nearly always someone about, or when they can go to work with you.
Their good behavior and low shedding mean that they are good dogs to take with you to other places.
You also need to take the time to train these dogs, as they need lots of mental stimulation to keep them entertained. Are you willing to commit the time to their development?
Do You Have An Active Lifestyle?
Despite their small size, these are high-energy dogs. As well as formal exercise, they will love joining you on weekend adventures and would rather be on the trail than sitting in front of the TV watching Netflix with you.
Do you have the type of lifestyle that your dog will enjoy?
Do You Have Kids?
Miniature labradoodles are great with kids and they know how to both be protective and play gently. The key is to teach children how to treat dogs gently as well.
They might not be the best fit for very young families just because they have lots of energy and need lots of attention. It can be a challenge to juggle the needs of young children and an energetic young pup at the same time.
Are You An Experienced Dog Owner?
Miniature Labradoodles are highly trainable pups and even people who don’t have much experience with dogs should be able to train them with a little guidance.
They also tend to have easy personalities, so they don’t need the firm hand of some breeds.
There are, however, lots of things to look out for to make sure these pups stay healthy and happy. If you aren’t very familiar with dogs, it is a good idea to speak to your vet regularly to monitor your dog’s health.
Miniature Labradoodle FAQs
Do mini labradoodles bark a lot?
Miniature Labradoodles tend to be quite tranquil, so they aren’t likely to start a barking fit every time someone comes to the door or a cat walks across the windowsill.
They will bark during play or if they want to get your attention, but excessive barking is uncommon and is normally something that you should pay attention to.
Do labradoodles chew furniture?
While all puppies have a tendency to chew anything and everything in sight, happy Labradoodles aren’t big chewers and you should be able to teach them what is theirs to chew and what they should leave alone.
If they don’t stop chewing by the time they are about one year old, it could be a sign of a problem such as boredom, frustration, or anxiety. Find our recommendations for the best puppy chew toys here.
Can mini labradoodles be left alone?
If you need to go out for a few hours and leave your mini labradoodle at home you shouldn’t expect any problems, though they will likely be very happy to see you when you get back.
These dogs should not be left at home repeatedly for long workdays, though. They love human companionship and won’t be able to cope with just a few hours of attention in the evening. These dogs do best when they have company for most of the day.
This will result in a happy pup that won’t destroy your house on the occasions when you do need to leave them alone for longer.
Do labradoodles bond with one person?
All dogs have a tendency to bond more strongly with one person than everyone else. This is usually their principal caregiver, but they have big hearts with room for everyone in the family, plus most of the strangers they meet.
While they may have a preference for one person, don’t expect them to be aloof and standoffish with other people.
Labradoodles are among the most desirable breeds as they mix a loyal and loving personality with intelligence and trainability and often the low-shedding coat of their poodle parent, but they can also be large dogs which just doesn’t work for everyone.
The miniature labradoodle is a smaller version of the original labradoodle that can do better in smaller family homes; however, they still have the same high energy and need at least some outdoor space to call their own.
If you have always wanted a labradoodle, but resisted adopting one because of its size, the miniature labradoodle might be exactly the dog you are looking for.
Do you have experience with miniature Labradoodles?
Share your thoughts with the community in the comments section below.
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