In the late 1980s, when the first standard Labradoodle was bred, it was pitched as being a low-shedding or ‘hypo-allergic’ guide-dog. So when I start breeding Miniature Labradoodles in 1994, people had certain expectations about the cross. Over the next few years is became apparent these expectations were unfounded, as 70% of my F1 Labradoodles did shed to some degree.
Fortunately, because of these Labradoodles’ intelligence, temperament, health and longevity, my owners overwhelming forgave the shedding. But the findings prompted me to look for ways to reduce my dog’s shedding without forsaking these wonderful qualities – which were the reason I’d started breeding dogs in the first place.
As I came to understand the genetics of shedding better, I realised that the long-haired dogs, when crossed with Poodles, reliably produce puppies with variably wavy, low or non-shedding coats (often described as ‘Fleece’). Looking around for long-haired dogs which – like my original Labradors – are smart, affectionate and amiable, I was drawn to Golden Retrievers and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
While the names have changed (and got somewhat sillier), the principles underlying my breeding program have remained the same for the past 25 years: I still endeavour to ethically breed medium sized, healthy, amiable and affectionate family pets.