Can you breed a Labradoodle with a Labradoodle?February 19, 2022 2022-02-19 7:01
Labradoodles are one of the most popular crossbreeds of all time. They combine all of the energy, lovability, and loyalty of the Labrador with the playfulness, intelligence, and gorgeous, hypoallergenic curls of the Poodle. But can you breed two Labradoodles together?
Yes! There is no reason that you cannot breed a Labradoodle with another Labradoodle, so long as they are both healthy dogs and not closely related. Let’s take a look at some of the specific factors that may affect whether or not you should breed two Doodles together.
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The most important thing to remember when breeding Labradoodles is that both of the parent dogs are free of all hereditary diseases which may be passed down to the pups. The most common genetic conditions that occur in the breed are hip and elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, Addison’s disease, and progressive renal atrophy.
Hip & elbow dysplasia
Hip and elbow dysplasia are separate conditions that make the hip or elbow joints grow abnormally, causing them to become loose, wobbly, and eventually leading to arthritis. Symptoms include:
- Limping or bunny hopping
- Loss of muscle mass
- Low energy and irritability
- Limited mobility
- Unable to get comfortable
- Licking the affected joints
Vets can usually diagnose dysplasia following a simple examination and x-rays. Treatment will be lifelong and will depend on the severity of the symptoms. It may include lifestyle adjustments, non-surgical therapies, and pain medication, and in extreme cases, surgical correction. With treatment, the length and quality of your dog’s life should not be affected.
That said, you should try to prevent Labradoodle pups from inheriting the condition by x-raying your parent dogs for signs of dysplasia before breeding.
Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder in dogs and affects around 0.75% of the canine population worldwide. The most obvious symptom of epilepsy is seizures which tend to start happening at around 6 months of age. Common seizure triggers include stress and tiredness. Signs of an epileptic seizure include:
- Loss of bodily control during seizures
- Irregular seizures that start and finish suddenly
- Short seizures that range from seconds to minutes
- Similar and repetitive seizures
You should contact your vet immediately if your dog has a seizure. They may ask you to record or recall the details of their seizures and run brain scans to aid diagnosis.
Dogs with epilepsy will be prescribed medication that they must take every day for the rest of their lives. With treatment, epileptic dogs can live long, healthy, happy lives. To avoid passing on the condition to puppies, you should not purposefully breed an epileptic dog.
Congenital Addison’s disease is a complicated autoimmune condition that can be deadly if left untreated. It occurs when the adrenal glands don’t produce enough of the hormones that the body needs to function. Clinical signs are vague and can come and go, which makes it hard to diagnose. So, it’s important to keep track of strange symptoms, such as:
- Low energy
- Upset stomach
- Increased thirst and urination
- Unexplainable weight loss
- Shaking episodes (less common)
Addison’s disease can sometimes be caused by trauma, an infection, or a cancerous tumor, all of which can usually be treated, but more often than not, it is congenital. Congenital Addison’s is incurable but easy to manage with monthly injections of desoxycorticosterone pivalate. These can be done at home or at the vet’s office, and there is an oral medication option for dogs that don’t like injections. It’s diagnosed via blood and urine tests, and these tests should also be done on potential parent dogs to prevent passing on the disease.
Progressive retinal atrophy
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is the malformation or deterioration of the retina over time. This is one of the most important parts of the eye, and it’s responsible for seeing in low light, as well as detecting color and following movement. PRA can be inherited or late-onset and age-related, but both lead to complete blindness over a period of 1-2 years.
Pups with inherited PRA will begin showing signs of vision loss at 2-3 months of age. Symptoms include:
- Loss of vision, starting with night blindness
- Anxiety about dark rooms or nighttime
- Dilated eyes that are very reflective of light
- No eye contact
- General anxiety and clinginess
PRA can be diagnosed following a veterinary eye examination and ERG testing. Although there is no cure, it is not a painful or life-threatening condition, but it can be frightening. Owners should invest in some anti-anxiety products if their dogs are showing signs of stress and talk to their vet about adapting their dog’s home and life.
Double merle genes
Merle is a genetic pattern that affects the pigment in a dog’s skin, coat, and eyes. It creates a dazzling, light-colored, mottled effect in the coat that is very striking and beautiful to look at. It’s more common in some breeds than others, and it’s not particularly common in Labradoodles. However, it does occur, and it’s important to not intentionally breed two merle Labradoodles – or any two merle dogs together.
When two dogs carrying the gene are bred together, the pups have a 25% chance of inheriting it twice, resulting in what’s known as double merle genes. This is dangerous because the lack of pigment doubles, which affects the eyes and ears and often results in vision loss, hearing loss, or both.
A dog’s temperament can be determined by a mixture of genetics, life experiences, and the environment that they were raised in. Even so, it’s a good idea to only breed dogs of good, friendly temperament. Most Doodles are sweet-natured, so this is not usually a problem!
How to breed Labradoodles
When looking to breed Labradoodle pups, you first need to make sure that your parent dogs are healthy and of good temperament, as discussed above. It’s a good idea to register your dogs with your local or national kennel clubs and make sure you have any necessary breeding licenses if you’re a first-time breeder.
Your Labradoodle mom’s pregnancy will last around two months. Pregnant Labradoodles should attend regular vet check-ups and have their food intake gradually increased by around 25-35%. Visible signs of pregnancy such as a swollen belly will develop at the 4-6 week stage, and a veterinary ultrasound should be done to clarify the number of pups. The average litter size for Labradoodles is 4-8 puppies.
Birth can take 3-12 hours. Signs of labor in dogs include restlessness, discomfort, contractions, and dilation. Breeders should have the number of the emergency vet on hand just in case, and be familiar with the signs of dystocia, or difficult birth. These include strong contractions for more than 30 minutes with no delivery, straining for more than 2 hours with no delivery, more than four hours between puppies, and blood with no delivery.
Breeders should also have the necessary supplies for whelping, including a whelping box, medical scissors, blankets, and towels.
Good breeding practices with Labradoodles
When breeding Labradoodle puppies, breeders should adopt good breeding practices only. This means no inbreeding, or breeding of related dogs, and no breeding runts of litters. Some breeders do this to create smaller and “cuter” dogs, but both of these practices can result in pups with birth defects and health issues such as low fertility and an increased risk of inheriting genetic diseases.
All parent dogs and their puppies should be treated with the highest quality of care, with safe, spacious housing, clean bedding, healthy food, and constant access to water to drink. They should also be sufficiently groomed, walked, socially and mentally stimulated, and receive all of the necessary medical care, such as vaccinations, check-ups, and preventative parasitic medications.
Top tips when breeding Labradoodles
When breeding your Doodles, be sure to take their genetic traits into consideration. For example; what size Labradoodle do you want? Which color? Be sure to research dominant and recessive genes in dogs to know what kind of dogs you’re breeding. For example, the merle coat is dominant over the brown coat, so if you bred a merle Doodle with a brown Doodle, you’d more than likely get merle puppies.
What is backcrossing?
Backcrossing is a technique used by Labradoodle breeders in which you breed a Labradoodle with one of the mix’s parent breeds; a Labrador or a Poodle. This means that the gene pool is kept large and healthy.
How much is a Labradoodle puppy?
Labradoodles are known as “designer dogs” – and they have the price tag to match. According to WeLoveDoodles, the average cost of a Labradoodle puppy in the US is between $1,500 – $2,000 as of 2021. That said, they can sell for up to $4000. The exact price tag will depend on a number of factors, including the breeder.
However, prospective owners should know that a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily mean better quality of care. In fact, smaller breeders tend to provide a much higher and personal level of care to their dogs than big-time breeders.
Unfortunately, puppies are twice as likely to come from illegal breeders and inhumane puppy farms than legal breeders in the US. These breeders use dogs as breeding machines and keep them in horrible conditions, so it’s best to only buy from breeders with good, solid reputations and lots of positive reviews and recommendations.
The pup’s lineage and coat color can also affect the price. Pups bred from show dogs and working dogs will always be more expensive than those bred from regular pets, and rarer or more desirable coat colors such as pure-black Labradoodles, or the merle-patterned ones will be more expensive than more common colors or those considered less desirable such as the brown coat.
Size can also play a part, as these days, Labradoodles come in all shapes and sizes, including the micro Doodle and the teacup Doodle, both of which are highly desirable and highly costly because of their trendiness and cuteness. When looking for a micro or teacup Doodle, extra care must be taken when selecting a breeder to ensure good breeding practices.
Rescue Doodles will only cost the shelter’s adoption fee. This may be anywhere from fifty dollars to a few hundred dollars. The exact price will depend on the shelter you adopt from.
Rescue centers that are well-known nationally may charge lower prices as they receive a good amount of publicity and donations. Whereas smaller, localized shelters may be more expensive. Breed-specific shelters also tend to be pricer than generic shelters housing different dog breeds because they’re more exclusive and provide breed-specific care.
How to make sure your Doodle pup is healthy
When you buy a Labradoodle pup from a breeder, always remember to ask for proper health documentation that proves they have been tested for the genetic conditions mentioned above and received all of their essential vaccinations. Make sure that the breeder was providing a high-quality food for Labradoodle parents and puppies, too!
Ask if you can meet the puppy’s parents!
The adult dogs should look happy and healthy. They should be in good condition, have clean eyes and a shiny, well-groomed and clean coat.
Puppies that come from puppy farms are over 40% more likely to have health problems than those that are bred ethically due to the lack of care and cleanliness. Some illegal breeders even forge health documentation, so you should always have new puppies checked over by a vet, just in case. With Doodles, your vet should pay particular attention to their joints and eyes.
Young Doodles who haven’t received yet any veterinary care will need vaccinations, and microchipping.
The bottom line
Whether you’re looking to breed or buy a Labradoodle, it doesn’t matter if they’ve been bred with another Labradoodle. Just as long as they are healthy and well cared for, that’s all that matters!