Labradoodles are a cross between a labrador retriever and either a standard or a miniature poodle. The lifespan of a labradoodle is 12 to 14 years. Like other dog crossbreeds, Labradoodles can inherit the traits and health problems of either of their parents; or, the puppies may be free of the problems that plagued their parents. Reputable breeders should be able to produce documentation proving that their puppies' parents were screened for genetic defects and that your puppy is healthy. You can also potentially enhance your Labradoodle's lifespan by taking the proper steps to keep your dog healthy from the start.
Keep your labradoodle healthy
You don't have control over the genes your dog inherited and any health problems that may randomly occur. But, you have a lot of control over helping your Labradoodle stay healthy. Obesity is a big problem for all dogs and one that can definitely impact their health and lifespan. A UK study reported by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) found that obese dogs lived an average of 2.5 years less than dogs of a healthy weight. Over 50,000 male and female dogs of 12 popular breeds were studied, including labrador retrievers.
Your veterinarian can advise you of the appropriate weight for each of the Labradoodle life stages, and how to achieve and maintain that weight. If you adopted an older dog and therefore didn't have an impact during the puppy stage, you may need to trim weight by feeding smaller amounts, feeding less often and encouraging more exercise. The type of food you feed your Labradoodle is also important. Food that is designed to nourish dogs is usually recommended over people food, both for meals and treats.
It's also important to see your veterinarian for an annual checkup to find and treat any problems in the early stages and return for follow-up visits as recommended. Keep your dog clean with regular baths and grooming to prevent germs and find fleas and ticks before harm is done. Labradoodles typically have the poodle's curly or shaggy coat that requires care to keep it unmatted and tangle-free. In behavior training, practicing positive tactics will help to keep your Labradoodle happy, playful and free of anxieties.
Watch for signs of health issues
Labradoodles can inherit health problems from either parent or have some that are entirely their own. From their labrador retriever parent, Labradoodles may inherit allergic skin diseases, epilepsy, hip or elbow dysplasia, eye diseases like cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy, heart disease and osteochondrosis, or growing pains. Their poodle parent may pass down Addison's Disease, where the adrenal glands don't produce enough of the hormone cortisol, causing lethargy and depression; or the opposite, Cushing's Syndrome, where the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol and cause weight gain, noticeable thirst/hunger, panting, bladder infections and urinating in the house despite being previously house trained. Labradoodles are also prone to ear infections, so be sure to dry their ears completely after swimming or a bath.
Enjoy your labradoodle's fun traits
Your labradoodle most likely inherited personality traits from both parent breeds, too. Labrador retrievers are known for their easygoing, calm demeanor, which makes them ideal family dogs. At the same time, they are enthusiastic about doing just about anything with you, from fetching a ball to hiking and swimming. If they're outdoors and with you, labs are up for any activity. Both breeds are smart, but poodles are entertainers with great senses of humor and happy personalities. These traits make them great family dogs. Since they are both active breeds, your Labradoodle will probably have lots of energy, so take advantage of it to get a lot of outdoor exercise that will benefit you, your dog and your family.
- Vetstreet: What You Need to Know About Labradoodle Health
- Vetstreet: What You Need to Know About Labrador Retriever Health
- Vetstreet: What You Need to Know About Poodle Health
- American Veterinary Medical Association: Study Finds Overweight Dogs Live Shorter Lives
- The Labrador Site: Labradoodle Lifespan - How Long Does This Popular Mixed Breed Live?