What is a Multigenerational Australian Labradoodle?
You’ve probably heard of Labradoodles; they’re a cross-breed of Labrador Retriever and Poodle…right?
Well, yes–that’s technically a Labradoodle. But it turns out that there are lots of really important nuances and differentiating factors between a “labradoodle” and a Multigenerational Australian Labradoodle. Let’s break this apart and talk first about “Multigenerational”, and then “Australian Labradoodle”
First, though, let’s talk about why we’re interested in a cross-breed in the first place!
If you were to make a list of all the attributes you’d want in a perfect dog, what would they be? You probably have a number of attributes on your list–but imagine this was your list:
- loving and affectionate
- intelligent and easily trained
- gentle and wonderful with children
- potential therapy dog
- moderately, but not overly, active
- outgoing and friendly–not nervous
- minimal risk of genetic disease
It turns out that this dog is pretty difficult to find! Each of these traits is characteristic of some breeds, but no breeds meet all these characteristics. And, ironically, most pure-breeds, because of extensive inbreeding, suffer from high incidence of genetic diseases!
So researchers, in search of a breed that meets all of these criteria, began cross-breeding dogs that have some of the traits, in hopes of finding a cross-breed that checks most or all of those boxes! Labrador Retrievers have some of these attributes; poodles have others. So many breeders began cross-breeding these two dogs, yielding “Labradoodles”.
Ok; that makes sense. But what does “Multigenerational” mean?
This is an important–maybe THE important–question! These various characteristics we desire are the consequence of particular gene pairs. Without getting too technical, a puppy will receive one of its pair of genes in any particular category from its mom, and the other from its sire. Think about non-shedding as a desirable attribute: Labrador Retrievers shed; Poodles don’t. But because each puppy will randomly receive one of it’s coat pairs from mom, and one from dad, in practice, only 25% of the first generation puppies (those born of this initial cross-breeding) will actually be non-shedding! Now, if we can identify, using genetic testing, which 25% is non-shedding, then breed them with others that are non-shedding, in that next generation of puppies, we should have about 75% of our puppies that are non-shedding. Finally, by the third generation away from the initial cross-breeding, we will have a litter that is entirely non-shedding.
This same principle applies to all of the various genetic characteristics listed above: by the time we reach the third generation, if we’ve ensured each generation we select and breed only those with the desirable genetic features (and without the undesirable–e.g. markers for genetic diseases), we should have a litter that universally meets our characteristics!
So, as a multigenerational breeder, we are only breeding puppies that are at least four generations away from that initial cross-breeding. This is our way of ensuring that our puppies consistency and reliably meet the breed expectations, and are relatively disease free!
What about the “Australian” term? Is there Aussie in there somewhere?
We breed a particular type of multigenerational Labradoodle. In the 1980s, a few researchers in Australia, interested in finding this ideal breed, began experimenting with various cross-breeds. The name Australian Labradoodle isn’t an indicator that there’s Aussie in the breed lineage; rather, it’s an homage to the breed’s Australian heritage. These researchers began experimenting with infusing other breeds into the primary Labrador/Poodle cross. They ultimately aligned on an infusion of Spaniel–either English or American Cocker Spaniel, or Irish Water Spaniel–into the breed.
Ultimately, this leaves us with not a cross-breed (not merely a Labrador/Poodle cross–with the resultant mixed results described above), but rather a new breed–one with origins tying back to the Labrador Retriever, the Poodle, and the Spaniel. But because of the multigenerational nature of the breed, is ultimately a breed of its own, with the consistency inherent of pure-bred dogs, but without the genetic risks or abnormalities, and which fulfills the goals of our ideal dog!