The 21st century has seen oodles of Doodles as more designer breeds appear on the canine scene. The Labradoodle is a darling combination between America’s most beloved dog, the Labrador Retriever, and the hypoallergenic Poodle. The characteristics of the parent breeds and individual personalities determine a dog’s appearance and behavior more than gender. However, male and female Labradoodles are notoriously different on a few different levels, including slight variations of size and temperament. Let’s talk more about what to expect from a male or female Labradoodle to determine which one is the right doodle for you.
At a Glance
Size & Appearance
Although there isn’t a noticeable weight difference between the genders, male Labradoodles tend to be a couple of inches taller than females. There are three main sizes of Labradoodles: Miniature, Medium, and Standard. The designation depends on whether the Labrador Retriever was bred with a Miniature or Standard Poodle, with the Medium Labradoodle being one or the other according to exact size.
As far as markings go, there isn’t a signature look for a male Labradoodle. Call us crazy, but sometimes you can just tell, whether they have bolder facial features or slightly heavier bones (or a bow tie on their neck from a doting pet parent).
A dog’s environment as they’re growing up impacts their personality the most. Genetics do account for some of the canine they’ll become, but the rest is largely up to how you treat them. That being said, male Labradoodles have a reputation for being more playful and affectionate than females. All Labradoodles need at least 1 hour of exercise each day, but males are likely to need a couple of hours. Like most male dogs and cats, male Labradoodles may also form closer bonds with female owners. While a female dog may be a little moody at times, males have more of a happy go lucky spirit that’s reasonably steady. However, male Labradors also tend to experience a more rebellious adolescence than their female counterparts that may last for a couple years.
In between their first and second birthdays, male Labradoodles may become a little angsty and difficult to train. They may also readily run away to seek a mate if they aren’t neutered. Most male Labradoodles calm down at least by the time they’re 4 years old. After their “teenage years” are behind them, male Labradoodles usually mellow out a little and display a consistent personality since their hormones are leveled out by then, regardless of reproductive status. Neutering before their first birthday may lessen the severity of the teenage phase, but it’s likely that you’ll still face some training troubles since Poodle breeds notoriously take a few years to mature.
Both male and female Labradoodles are quick to learn new commands and tricks. Historically, Poodles performed in the circus, and Labradors have been the chosen hunting companion for hundreds of years. As a result, the Labradoodle is a highly intelligent breed that’s eager to please and capable of learning many commands. There isn’t a known difference between the intelligence of male and female dogs.
Male Labradoodles may form closer bonds with female owners, but not always. A dog’s personality depends largely on how you treat them rather than genetics or gender. In general, male Labradoodles may have a longer and more tumultuous adolescence than females, but the trade-off is that eventually they develop a steady personality that isn’t fazed by heat cycles. Of course, dogs won’t show such clear differences if they’re spayed or neutered since the procedure takes away their hormones.
Males are a little taller than females but should weigh about the same. A male Labradoodle would be the perfect addition for an active family, especially if the mom has plenty of time to devote to her special fur baby who will likely choose her as favorite.
Size & Appearance
A female Labradoodle won’t differ much from males on the scale, but they’re likely to stand a couple of inches shorter and may have more petite features. Females have the advantage of being able to dress up in cute bows and fluffy dresses, which may be especially appealing if you have small children.
Female Labradoodles may form closer bonds with male members of the family. Even so, they’re likely to be playful and lovable to everyone if treated well. Girls are sometimes a little shyer than males, but not always. If they aren’t spayed, your female Labradoodle may experience mood swings as the result of her hormonal cycle.
Larger female dogs such as the Standard Labradoodle may take a year or more before they experience their first heat cycle. Smaller female Labradoodles like the Miniature could possibly go into heat as young as 6 months old. If you don’t plan on breeding your Labradoodle, you should get her spayed around 6 months old, or as advised by your veterinarian.
Recent studies show there may be some benefits from letting your female go into heat at least once. Early spaying depletes certain growth hormones that dogs really need in order to develop healthy bones, which results in higher risks of hip dysplasia and other joint issues. One study even showed that female Labradors who were spayed younger than 1 year were four times as likely to develop hip dysplasia than intact females. No matter what you decide, never allow your Labradoodle to mate during her first heat cycle. She’s too young at that point, and it’s very dangerous.
If you like to play dress up with your dog, you might like a female Labradoodle. While girls are playful and sweet, you aren’t as likely to deal with extremely rambunctious play or rebellious behavior like you might from a “teenage” male Labradoodle. Even so, you’ll have to be mindful of heat cycles unless you intend to spay. Heat cycles can result in mood swings that may make your female a little grouchy some days, so they may not have as steady personalities as males.
How to Care for Your Labradoodle
First-time dog owners love Labradoodles for their positive personalities and hypoallergenic nature. Both males and females require at least 1 hour of exercise each day, but males may need closer to 2 hours. Labradoodles are extremely clever dogs who might decide to misbehave if they’re bored, so it’s important to keep them active and engaged.
Like the Poodle, their fur is actually hair that doesn’t shed much. Their grooming requirements are relatively light as long as you brush them at least a couple of times a week to prevent their fur from tangling. Because they don’t shed much, they’ll also need a haircut every couple of months to keep looking fresh.
Depending on the type of Labradoodle you choose, they might eat a ton of food each day or have a smaller-sized serving. It’s important to choose a well-balanced diet so they can grow up healthy and strong, no matter what size they are. Your vet will be able to help you find the perfect meal plan that accounts for their life stage and nutritional requirements.
Finally, Labradoodles are a relatively healthy breed, but have been known to experience medical issues common to many dogs such as hip dysplasia. Securing a pet insurance plan while your puppy is young can help offset some of the medical costs they may incur down the road.
Which Breed Is Right for You?
Bouncy and beautiful, the Labradoodle is a popular choice for first-time and experienced dog parents. Both genders are known for being affectionate and playful, but males and females have some nuanced quirks which may make them a better choice for your family. The time you invest in your Labradoodle will make the biggest impact on their personality, whether they’re male or female. The love and energy you give your dog, they generally give back to you.