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History of the breed

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History of the breed


Man has learned to use the dog for a variety of purposes by selective breeding and by training these dogs for specific tasks. During the domestication of dogs, people have crossed dogs deliberately for a special purpose.
In addition to the traditional tasks such as herding, hunting, tracking and being a guard dog, the dog has been assigned to other tasks as well during the last century . For example: companion dog, guide dog, sniffing dog for drugs or explosives, medical alert dog, therapy dogs etc. The authentic Australian Labradoodle is what we call a companion dog. Some bloodlines possess special skills concerning assisting humans as a service or therapy dog.

The development of the Authentic Australian Labradoodle started as a hybrid, a cross between two purebred dogs: a Labrador Retriever and a standard Poodle. During the last decades different breeds have been infused. The development is fairly well known.

History

In the seventies of the last century the Australian Blind Organization had already experimented to combine the intelligence of the Poodle with the eagerness to learn and the "will to please" of the Labrador Retriever. The offspring of this crossing seemed easy to train. Some dogs did not shed and did not have that typical dog smell.

Picture of Wally Conron found in an interview from Stanley Coren with Wally Conron

Initially, these positive properties were not really noticed until 1989 when the Institute got a request for a guide dog for a blind woman that would not cause an allergic reaction. Her husband had a dog allergy.

Wally Conron, the responsible breeder at The Royal Victorian Guide Dogs Association (the name of the Australian assistance dogs organization at that time), remembered those crossings and decided to repeat that combination with one of his best Labrador bitches and a Standard Poodle imported from England.The first litter consisted of only three puppies. Not all of them had the desired qualities.

Standard white poodle

Black Labrador retrieverWally Conron gave the offspring the name Labradoodle. After extensive testing, only one dog appeared to be
really allergy friendly, although the dog shedded.
By the way, all three dogs were successfully trained to become a guide dog for the blind.

With great enthusiasm this success was published in the Australian media. Due to the media attention for the so-called special qualities of the Labradoodle, the breed suddenly became a very popular family dog. Wally Conron repeated the combination several times. But in an interview with Reader's Digest (downloadable at the end of this article) Wally Conron told the interviewer that a lot of labradoodles had a difficult and stubborn character and after several trials he decided to stop with this particular breeding program.

Because of the publicity stirred up around Labradoodles, the Labradoodle became a popular pet dog overnight in Australia as well as in the US. The publicity inspired two Australian dog breeders, Mrs. Beverley Manners and her daughter Angela developed the Labradoodle further into a trainable family dog. Mother and daughter wanted to develop a dog that would show no any aggression, have allergy friendly features, would like to work for you and would be easy to train as a service dog or therapy dog.

Both breeders bought their first Labradoodles and some other crossings from a farmer named Don Evans, who already bred several generations Labradoodles. These Labradoodles and some other dogs (probably poodle or Labradoodle-crosses) became the first "root stock" for their breeding program.

Cocker SpanielsIn order to enhance the gene pool, both breeders also created new Labradoodle foundation stock by introducing the miniature poodle to the existing Australian Labradoodle breeding lines. This is how smaller versions of the Labradoodle were created. The medium size was created by crossing the small with the large variation. The offspring of medium sized dogs could become small mediums, mediums as well as large sized dogs.

Despite selective breeding with the best offspring, the hyperactive and stubborn character remained. Mother and daughter decided, that in order to soften the character, a crossing with another breed was necessary.

Irish Water spanielThe gene pool became more diverse by extending their Golden doodle mix (golden flat coat according Mrs. Manners)
foundation stock even more by using the Irish Water Spaniel, the English and American Cocker Spaniel and even Golden doodle mixes.
We can conclude that the genetic variety of the root stock is huge in comparison with purebred dogs.

Unforunately in several litters, some puppies had a parculiar coat.
It was not until July 2012 that Cymbrogi, a Dutch breeder of authentic Australian Labradoodles, discovered that the strange coat was caused by a genetic mutation in the RSPO2 Gene, a gene that determines the coat trait. read more...

Breeders in Australia, the United States, Great Britain and other countries began to copy the successful breeding program of these Australian breeders. In order to distinguish their unique dogs from other Labradoodles, Mrs. Manners and her daughter called their breeding lines Australian Labradoodle, later on they called their breeding lines ASD Australian Labradoodles. ASD is the abbreviation of Australian Service Dog.

Irish Soft-coated WheatenGrooming problems were the reason that Mrs. Manners decided to introduce another breed in her breeding program.
In 2004 two original bloodlines of the Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier were chosen to be infused into two different breeding lines.
Australian Labradoodles which have the Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier among their ancestors have a coat that is much easier to groom.

 

Sources:

My story - I designed a Dog - Wally Conron (Reader's Digest Magazine)
The art of development of a new breed - Mrs. Beverley Rutland Manners 2006/9 (Website Rutland Manor)
The Irish connection - Beverley manners 2010/2011(website Rutland Manor)
Personal communications with Mrs. Rutland Manners - Angela and Pako Verkoelen 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013
IC13 Improper coat test - Angela and Pako Verkoelen (Website Cymbrogi Australian Labradoodles 2012)

 

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