In the mid 1970’s, The Australian Guide Dog Association received an inquiry from a blind lady in Hawaii, requesting a guide dog that would not cause her allergies to flare. The Australian Guide Dog Association did not have anything meeting her needs, so they set about trying to breed such a dog. Their Labradors were tried and proven, so breeding with them was the obvious choice. To achieve a hypoallergenic dog they needed to breed their Labradors to a dog that was already non-shedding, hence the Standard Poodle. The Guide Dog Association sourced an imported white dog from Sweden, as he was a quality dog from working bloodlines. The gentleman in charge of the operation was Mr. Wally Conran.
When the first litter was born he christened it LABRADOR-POODLE, and so the Labradoodle was born. The Guide Dog Association had minimal success, as they too never recognized the importance of the mutated gene that would go on to be the building block of the allergy friendly Labradoodle as it is seen today. Interest in the Labradoodle soon become apparent, and forward thinking breeders in Australia started to breed these dogs with a deliberate plan in mind. Within a few short years other breeders joined in, and together they developed the Australian Labradoodle we all know and love today.
The main attraction to the Labradoodle was the low and non-shedding coats, but more and more people were won over by the wonderful disposition and kindness the Labradoodle possessed. These dogs were becoming so versatile, their intelligence and tenacity started to attract people and trainers’ wanting special dogs for sports and assistance/therapy dogs. Today you can see the Australian Labradoodle around the world as an allergy friendly soul mate, family companion, seizure alert dog, agility dog, assistance dog to the physically and mentally disadvantaged, guide dog, and in the not too distant future a gun dog and show dog.
In the late 1980’s, Tegan Park Research Center and Rutland Manor, the two founders of the Australian Labradoodle as we know it today, began carefully infusing several other breeds into early generations of their Lab/Poodle crosses, to improve temperament, coat, conformation, and size. The infused breeds include Irish Water Spaniel as well as the American and English Cocker Spaniel and in some lines the Wheaten Terrier. The resulting labradoodles subsequently have been bred to each other, continuing the multi-generational tradition without ever having to go back to the parent breed of the Labrador or Poodle.