When people think of service dogs, they often conjure up images of Saint Bernards in the Alps with barrels around their necks or German Shepherd Dogs leading people who are blind. But there are plenty of other dog breeds that can make fantastic service dogs, Labradoodles being one of them.
Labradoodles were initially bred to be guide dogs, so they naturally fell into the role as the breed grew in popularity. In addition, the two parent breeds—Labrador Retrievers and Poodles—individually make great service dogs, so it only makes sense that the Labradoodle would, too.
Read on to learn more about Labradoodles and their service work.
What Makes Labradoodles Good Service Dogs?
Labradoodles make great service dogs for many reasons beyond their strong genes.
Poodles are one of the most intelligent dog breeds, so it stands to reason that their offspring will inherit some of their brains. While Labrador Retrievers aren’t as smart as Poodles, they’re still highly receptive to task training, making them ideal for service dog work.
2. Affectionate Temperament
Labradoodles are very easygoing and friendly thanks to the Labrador Retriever genes in their blood. They’re also highly loyal, loving, and eager to please their owners, all traits that lend themselves well to the service dog job.
3. Physical Size
Standard Poodles and Labrador Retrievers are medium to large dog breeds, so their offspring will result in similarly sized pups. Dogs of this size are fantastic for folks who need a service dog to help with mobility tasks, such as supporting their handler’s weight and helping them balance.
However, breeding a Miniature Poodle with a Labrador Retriever can result in a smaller-sized dog. While most people think of large dog breeds as being the best service dog, there are advantages to having a smaller dog. Not only will a smaller pup be cheaper to care for, but their physical activity needs are much less demanding, which can benefit handlers who can’t take their pet out to exercise often.
The first Labradoodle was bred in the late 1980s as a solution for people with allergies who needed the assistance of a guide dog. Wally Conron, an Australian breeder, introduced this at-the-time unique crossbreed to the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia, hoping that the Poodle’s low shedding coat and the gentleness and trainability of the Labrador Retriever would result in a suitable guide dog for folks with pet allergies.
While it’s true that no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, the Labradoodle is probably about as close as they come.
What Kind of Work Can Labradoodles Do?
Labradoodles can perform all different types of work depending on the needs of their handler. This can include tasks such as:
What Makes a Good Service Dog?
The best service dogs have easygoing temperaments and are easy to train. They’re calm, reliable, and not easily distracted. They must be attentive, responsive to their owner’s needs, and focused on the task. They won’t react negatively to attention from strangers and genuinely enjoy being around people.
Dogs undergoing temperament screenings will be exposed to different noises as they sometimes need to assist their owners in noisy situations. Service dogs cannot be anxious or fearful of loud sounds.
Other traits and skills may be necessary depending on what type of service is required. For example, guide dogs support people with low or no vision. They will need to be good at things like reliably leading their handler, stopping for obstacles and stairs, and assessing for dangers before crossing the street. A seizure dog is trained to respond to seizures in people with epilepsy. They’ll need to learn how to alert family members when seizures occur and will even know to put their body between the seizing person and the floor.
What Other Breeds Make Good Service Dogs?
Labradoodles aren’t the only dog breed that makes good service dogs. Other options include:
Labradoodles were bred to be guide dogs, so it only makes sense that they do fantastic work in the entire service dog world. A Labradoodle can do it all, whether they’re assisting their handlers with mobility issues, calming them during an anxiety attack, or protecting them during a seizure.
Featured Image Credit: Ann Lillie, Shutterstock