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Can Labradoodles Be Service Dogs? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

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By Nicole Cosgrove

labradoodle walking with the owner

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Labradoodles are the gorgeous, affectionate, and energetic dogs you get when you mix a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle. Since the first Labradoodle was developed in the 1980s, this cunning and cute canine has, not surprisingly, become the darling of the dog world. As a mixed breed, one question you might have is whether Labradoodles can still be service dogs. The answer is a resounding yes! Labradoodles make outstanding service dogs, thanks to the intelligence, loyalty, dedication, and high trainability they get from their Poodle and Labrador Retriever parents! The very first Labradoodle was bred to be a service dog and did the job like a champ.

Want to find out more about Labradoodles being service dogs? Maybe you’re wondering how long it takes to train a Labradoodle to be a service dog and which traits trainers look for. If yes, read on! We have answers to your questions, insights, and tips about training a Labradoodle to be a service dog waiting for you below.

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Which Characteristics Make Labradoodles Excellent Service Dogs?

All service dogs share common traits such as easy trainability and a highly social, affectionate demeanor. Those basic traits, and many more, are found in the average Labradoodle. Indeed, practically all the characteristics that make a dog an excellent service dog are evident in the Labradoodle, including the following:

  • Labradoodles establish strong bonds with their handlers
  • Labradoodles are extremely friendly, affectionate, and social dogs
  • They have a very strong and dedicated work ethic
  • They are the epitome of people pleasers
  • Labradoodles have very high energy levels
  • They are highly intelligent and eager to learn new things

One last factor that makes Labradoodles good service dogs is that they’re low shedding and almost hypoallergenic dogs. However, you should note that this isn’t a prerequisite to being a good service dog. Many dogs that shed heavily still make excellent service dogs as long as the person who owns them doesn’t have an issue with allergies.

labradoodle dog and woman owner at the park
Image Credit: Lopolo, Shutterstock

How Long Does It Take to Train a Labradoodle to Be a Service Dog?

It takes a minimum of 120 hours of training and another 30 hours of public practice to train a Labradoodle to be a service dog fully. These numbers are typical for all breeds, not just the Labradoodle. They’re based on the guidelines handed down by the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP)1. The time it takes to complete the full training process can take anywhere from 6 months to a year, during which time a Labradoodle will usually live with its handler.

Where, When, and Why Was the First Labradoodle Bred?

The story of how, when, and why the first Labradoodle was bred is fascinating. The mix was first bred by an Australian man named Wally Conron. In the late 1980s, Mr. Conron was a guide dog trainer and breeder working for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia (known today as simply Guide Dogs Australia)2.

One day Mr. Conron received an inquiry from a visually impaired woman living in Hawaii. She inquired whether a service dog could also be hypoallergenic so it wouldn’t trigger her husband’s dog allergy. The problem Conron faced was that no dog at the time fit that description.

Labradoodle and woman outside at the park
Image Credit: Lopolo, Shutterstock

Not a person to give up easily, Conron had what, at the time, was a brilliant but controversial idea; breed a Labrador Retriever with a Poodle. He theorized this would give the resulting puppies the sought-after qualities that make Labs such great guide dogs while also giving them the Poodle’s low-shedding, nearly hypoallergenic traits.

Not surprisingly, Conron’s theory proved correct. The resultant three puppies from the union of a Poodle and Labrador Retriever had some of the coat characteristics of the former and the affectionate, sweet nature of the latter. Even better, one of the three puppies from that first litter caused no allergic reactions in the woman’s husband. The Labradoodle was born and changed the dog world forever3.

How Much Does a Fully Trained Service Labradoodle Cost?

The cost of a fully trained service Labradoodle is similar to the cost of training any breed to be a service dog, approximately $17,000. However, the price for ongoing training, licensing, registering the animal, and other expenses typically increase the total cost to upwards of $40,000.

You should also note that the training time for a Labradoodle depends on what it’s trained to do, which can also affect the cost. For example, a dog trained to retrieve things dropped on the floor and bring them back to its owner will be significantly easier and cost less than a dog trained to alert its owner if their blood sugar drops to a dangerous level.

labradoodle dog walking outdoor
Image Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

Are Labradoodles Good for Anxiety?

The attributes that make a Labradoodle a fantastic guide dog, including affection, intelligence, and eagerness to learn, make them excellent emotional support dogs.

Anecdotal evidence shows that Labradoodles help their owners feel safer, calmer, and less anxious. The gentle and affectionate way most Labradoodles treat their owners is why. Most are sweet as sugar and love nothing more than spending the entire day with their favorite person.

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Final Thoughts

As we’ve seen today, Labradoodles make excellent service dogs thanks to the many fine attributes of their parent breeds, the Labrador Retriever and Poodle. Labradoodles are intelligent, quick-learning, affectionate dogs that are nearly hypoallergenic, ticking all the boxes for those who need a guide dog but can’t handle dander.

Labradoodles are the first mixed-race dogs specifically bred for their ability to become guide dogs that don’t cause allergic reactions. Much to Wally Conron’s chagrin, they also started the “oodle” craze that’s still sweeping the United States and many other countries. Whether you want a Labradoodle as a guide dog or simply as a pet, their kind, gentle and caring ways will make you a Labradoodle fan for life.

Featured Image Credit: Jon Osumi, Shutterstock

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