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Merle Labradoodle: Pictures, Facts & History

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

blue merle labradoodle sitting on flower bed

The Labradoodle is one of the most well-known and popular hybrid breeds and for a good reason! They are a mix of the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle, which are both amazing breeds, so you end up with the best of both in one dog.

They come in a wide range of colors, one being merle. If you don’t know much about this pattern, read on! We discuss how a Labradoodle ends up with this unique coloring and other interesting information about this breed.

Height: 21–24 inches
Weight: 50–65 pounds
Lifespan: 12–14 years
Colors: Wide variety
Suitable for: Active single people and families
Temperament: Loving, social, gentle, friendly, playful, intelligent

The Labradoodle comes in several colors—chocolate, brown, gold, white, black, cream, liver, and red—and various patterns. The merle coloring isn’t technically a color, but rather a pattern of colors.

Merle Labradors have the same temperament and other characteristics as other Labradoodles. They need the same kind of grooming and exercise and are just as sweet and loveable.

The main and most obvious difference is the coat pattern and a few potential health conditions that the merle versions might be susceptible to.

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Merle Labradoodle Breed Characteristics


The Earliest Records of Merle Labradoodles in History

Labradoodles originated in Australia, by breeder Wally Conron. In 1989, Conron was in charge of the Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia’s breeding program. He was faced with a dilemma in which a blind woman from Hawaii needed a guide dog, but her husband was allergic.

He attempted to train 33 Standard Poodles for 3 years with no success. Finally, Conron decided to pair the Lab, a breed that excels as a guide dog, with a Poodle and their hypoallergenic coat. He ended up mating his boss’s male Poodle, Harley, with a female Labrador named Brandy. After 9 weeks, the first ever Labradoodles emerged, which were named Sheik, Sultan, and Simon.

After exposing the client’s husband to all three puppies’ fur, only Sultan’s fur didn’t trigger an allergic reaction.

How Merle Labradoodles Gained Popularity

Following the success of the first Labradoodle guide dog, Sultan, Conron had two remaining puppies. He urged the public relations department of the Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia to advertise these special dogs.

From here, the Labradoodle’s popularity soared! Conron started to breed Labradoodles with other Labradoodles, all of which led to today’s well-known breed.

After his retirement, a veterinarian by the name of Kate Schoeffel, also from Australia, started breeding Labs with Miniature Poodles to great success and introduced the world to the Miniature Labradoodle.

Other dog breeders took to the idea and started breeding their own Labradoodles, all of which led to one of the most popular Doodles today! Many celebrities have adopted their own Labradoodles, which has contributed to their popularity.

blue merle labradoodle sitting on the ground
Image Credit: Tara Menefee, Shutterstock

Formal Recognition of Merle Labradoodles

Since Labradoodles are not purebred, they will never be formally recognized by dog clubs like the American Kennel Club. But there are associations and clubs that are devoted to the Labradoodle.

The Australian Labradoodle Association of America and the Worldwide Australian Labradoodles Association help bring recognition and are working toward standards for this breed.

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The 8 Unique Facts About Merle Labradoodles

1. Merle is not the color of the Labradoodle’s coat but the pattern on it, and most Merle Labradors have blue eyes.

2. Breeding Merle Labradoodles requires one merle dog and one solid-colored dog. Two merle dogs bred together will create double-merle puppies, which typically have health issues.

3. Merle puppies have a higher chance of being born deaf and/or blind, especially double-merle puppies.

4. There are red merle and blue merle dogs. Blue is more common, and red tends to be hard to find.

blue merle labradoodle resting in the grass
Image Credit: Tara Menefee, Shutterstock

5. Conron called the first Labradoodle-to-Labradoodle offspring, Double Doodles. When he crossed the Double Doodles, he called the puppies Tri Doodles! This led to the Australian Multi-generational Labradoodles.

6. Donald Campbell used the term “Labradoodle” in his 1955 book, “Into the Water Barrier.” He was a British speed record breaker with a Lab/Poodle cross dog named Maxie. Technically, he was the first person to use the term Labradoodle.

7. Not only does the Labradoodle come in a wide variety of colors, but they can also have varying degrees of a curly coat. It can be wiry, curly, or soft and wavy.

8. Many celebrities have fallen in love with the Labradoodle. Graham Norton, Tiger Woods, Jennifer Aniston, Bradley Cooper, and Lady Gaga have all owned Labradoodles!

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Does the Merle Labradoodle Make a Good Pet?

Regardless of the color, the Labradoodle is known to be an excellent pet! They are wonderful with children and other pets and are known to be gentle yet playful. That said, they are energetic dogs and might accidentally knock over a little one. Labradoodles are also known to be intelligent and easy to train because they are so eager to please. But if you’re looking for a guard dog, this breed is far too friendly for this job.

Also, the temperament of the Labradoodle isn’t always consistent from dog to dog. While for the most part, these dogs are exuberant, loving, and smart, some will take after their Poodle parent and others the Labrador Retriever.

Most Labradoodles tend to be fairly hypoallergenic, but it depends on how much Poodle contributed to their coats. There is no guarantee that any Labradoodles in a litter will help reduce the symptoms of an allergy sufferer. This also affects their care. Some will make for easy grooming, while others might need the same amount of grooming as a Poodle does.

Finally, both the Poodle and the Lab are active breeds that need a great deal of exercise, and the Labradoodle will need just as much. While they enjoy lying down and cuddling with their family, they are just as eager to get outside and run around.

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The Merle Labradoodle is just like any other Labradoodle, except for their color pattern and possible inherited health conditions like deafness and blindness.

These dogs need an owner who has a large space to live in due to their size and boisterousness and who is also physically active. Since they are smart and bond strongly with their owners, Labradoodles shouldn’t be left alone for long periods, or they become destructive.

Finding a Merle Labradoodle might not be easy because they aren’t the most common version of the Labradoodle. But whether you bring a merle or any other colored Labradoodle home, you’ll have a wonderful new companion.

Featured Image Credit: Tara Menefee, Shutterstock

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