You can expect your Labradoodle puppy -- a cross between a Labrador retriever and poodle -- to share your life for about 13 or 14 years. Poodles are usually longer lived than Labrador retrievers, so the genes that give your dog his curly coat may also add to his life span. He's susceptible to diseases plaguing both breeds, but his hybrid vigor might mean that he's less prone to either breed's genetic weaknesses.
Breeders primarily cross poodles with other types of dogs to create a canine with a curly coat that doesn't shed. While poodle also have a reputation for being hypoallergenic, there's no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic canine. Still, people with allergies may not react as strongly to poodle-type hair. Since Labs and poodle are both smart and relatively easy to train, your Labradoodle should make a fine companion or family dog. He generally gets along well with other dogs, cats and kids.
Standard vs. Miniature Poodle
Most Labradoodles result from a cross between a Labrador retriever and a standard poodle. However, there's always the possibility that a Labradoodle has a miniature -- or even a toy -- poodle parent. If that's the case, this much smaller canine might suffer from issues prevalent in small dog breeds. These include slipped kneecaps, tracheal collapse and *dental problems from 42 adult dog teeth fitting in a small mouth. Still, since small breeds often live longer than large and medium-size dogs, your smaller Labradoodle might have a longer lifespan than the typical standard poodle cross.
Labrador Health Issues
Long America's favorite breed in terms of American Kennel Club registrations, Labrador retrievers are a relatively healthy breed. Certain congenital orthopedic problems are common, including hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, or malformation of these joints. Labs are prone to eye issues, including cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy, which eventually causes blindness. Older Labs may develop diabetes or heart disease. It's important to keep your pet at a healthy weight to avoid some of these potential health concerns. The Lab's average life span ranges from 10 to 13 years.
Poodle Health Issues
Hip dysplasia is also common in poodles. Progressive retinal atrophy occurs in miniature poodles. Standard poodles have a higher incidence of specific cancers, including hemangiosarcoma, a deadly cancer of the blood vessels. Large poodles also suffer from the skin disease sebaceous adenitis. Von Willebrand's disease, similar to hemophilia in humans, also appears in poodles. A poodle might live as long as 18 years, although that great age is more common among the miniature and toy types than the standard poodle.