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Do Labradoodles Make Good Hunting Dogs?


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Are you looking for an amazing dog who can be both a beloved family pet and a retriever companion when you are out on the hunt?

Have you considered a labradoodle as your ideal hunting dog companion?

While you probably know that a Labrador retriever is a good hunting dog (the clue is in the name), you can be forgiven for thinking that a poodle mix might not be up for the job.

But poodles were, in fact, also hunting dogs when they were first bred, and their intelligence and eagerness to please mean that labradoodles are a welcome addition to the selection of hunting dogs currently available.

Labradoodle Hunting

They can be the ideal dog if you are looking for a pup that can hunt, get on with the family, and won’t leave their coat lying around your house.

Unlike Labrador retrievers, which are high shedding, many labradoodles inherit the low-shedding coat of a poodle. This is why they are often called a “hypoallergenic” dog, and they are certainly more vacuum-cleaner-friendly than Labs.

But let’s take a closer look at the labradoodle breed and why they make such good hunting dogs. We’ll also look at a few specialist breeders that breed labradoodles specifically for hunting. But don’t forget to check out your local shelter as well, as there are many labradoodles out there in desperate need of a happy home.

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Hunting Dog DNA

While it can be challenging to imagine today, labradoodles are actually a mix of two dog breeds that are ideal for hunting: the Labrador retriever and the poodle.

Labrador Retrievers

You are probably accustomed to seeing Labrador retrievers as working dogs, such as guide dogs for the blind, or as energetic family pets that love the great outdoors. But Labrador retrievers were actually bred to work as hunting dogs.

They were created in Newfoundland in Canada with the aim of breeding sturdy, hardworking dogs that are comfortable in the water so that they could help fishermen pull fish from nets and onto the shore.

It wasn’t long until hunters also started using them to retrieve downed prey, in particular birds, which they can do effectively on dry terrains or waterlogged areas.

These intelligent dogs are able to remember the locations of multiple fallen birds and wait until the end of a hunt to retrieve them.

Poodles

These days we mainly think of poodles as lap dogs that are best kept as family pets, but Poodles were actually used as hunting dogs in Europe from the middle ages. In fact, the name for poodles in French is caniche, which even means “duck dog.”

It was only later when people fell in love with the look of the breed that it became more greatly associated with other activities.

Poodles are one of the most intelligent dog breeds and can be trained to do pretty much anything that a dog can be trained to do. This, combined with their cute look, meant they quickly became popular in circus acts.

Their intelligence, trainability, and loyalty, along with their attractiveness, made them popular among the wealthy, and they began to be bred specifically as lap dogs.

It was a result of demand for poodles in this role that saw the creation of the smaller miniature and toy poodles breeds. And it was when these smaller breeds had been created that the poodles were removed from the sporting dog classification by the American Kennel Club in 1938.

But both the United Kennel Club and the North American Hunting Retriever Association still consider the poodle to be a sporting dog and allow poodles to participate in their retriever field tests.

Larger poodles, around 22 inches and up, are perfectly suited for hunting. They are highly intelligent and motivated to please, so they are easy to train to complete the required task. They also tend to have a lot of energy, so keeping up the pace is rarely a challenge.

Their curly coats can also be an advantage, as they can provide protection from the cold and other elements. During hunting season, poodles should have their coats trimmed down to around one inch all over.

Poodles are less naturally inclined to the water than Labs, but if they are trained to work in water from a young age, they won’t have any problems.

Labradoodle Breed

So, now that we have established that the labradoodle has an excellent pedigree to work as a hunting dog, being a mix of two different hunting dogs, let’s take a closer look at the dog, why it makes a good hunting dog, and what characteristics to look for when choosing a labradoodle for hunting.

This last consideration is important because when you mix two breeds, the results aren’t always the same, as the genetics of the two breeds can combine in different and unexpected ways. So, some labradoodles will be better suited to hunting than others.

Size

While labradoodles come in standard, medium, and miniature sizes, depending on the size of the poodle used for breeding, if you are looking for a hunting labradoodle, you will need a standard size dog.

These dogs will be somewhere between 21 and 24 inches tall, with the males on the larger side and the females slightly smaller. The majority will weigh between 50 and 65 pounds.

Coat

A labradoodle’s coat can be unpredictable. While they were initially bred to create Labrador retrievers with the low-shedding coat of a poodle, whether your labradoodle will be low-shedding like a poodle or high-shedding like a Labrador retriever is a bit of a gamble especially with first-generation pups.

The nature of their coat becomes more predictable as labradoodles with low-shedding coats are bred to create a second generation of labradoodles.

If you are looking for a hunting dog that also won’t shed throughout your house, you will want to speak to your breeder about second-generation labradoodles to increase your chance of getting a low-shedding coat.

Unfortunately, the nature of their coats is not apparent when they are puppies, and it can take until they are one year old to reveal whether they will be shedders or not.

Labradoodles come in a variety of colors, including gold, caramel, chalk, black, red, silver, chocolate, and blue.

You should expect to be required to brush your labradoodle at least two or three times per week and to cut their hair every six to eight weeks to keep it in an orderly state for hunting.

Personality

Labradoodles are both highly intelligent and eager to please, which means they are highly trainable and one of the reasons they make such good hunting dogs.

They are also excellent family pets because they are friendly and loyal. Their self-awareness means they are also very safe around children and rarely have accidents because they underestimate their size or weight.

Though don’t expect them to double up as a guard dog as they tend to be friendly with everyone.

To get the ideal labradoodle for hunting, try to choose a “middle of the road” pup from among the littermates. You don’t want the puppy that is picking on their sibling, but you also don’t want the one that is hiding in the corner.

Activity

Labradoodles tend to be high-energy dogs. While they don’t need as much exercise as Labrador retrievers, they do need a minimum of 30-60 minutes of intense exercise each day to keep their energy levels in check.

These dogs will struggle in an apartment, where they don’t really have room to stretch their legs. They thrive when they have yard space that allows them to keep active, and out of trouble, throughout the day.

Bear in mind that if these dogs become bored, they can be highly destructive. Boredom doesn’t relate just to getting enough physical activity but also enough mental stimulation.

You need to engage your dog and play games with them. Invest in products such as puzzle toys to keep them occupied if you plan to be out of the house for extended periods of time.

You will find that labradoodles become frustrated if they are left alone for more than four or five hours at a time.

Health

While labradoodles are a healthy dog breed, they can be prone to certain health conditions that affect them throughout their lives or in old age.

  • Their floppy ears mean they are prone to ear infections because moisture gets trapped in the ear canals. Regular monitoring and cleaning of the ears can make a big difference.
  • These dogs can also be prone to hip dysplasia in their middle to senior years. This is caused by the thigh bone not fitting snugly into the hip joint, which can cause pain, and makes the dog prone to arthritis as they get older.
  • Allergies are a common ailment in all dogs, including labradoodles. While they might develop an allergy to anything, foods are the most common source. This is especially true of the proteins they eat the most. Try to avoid this by feeding your pup a varied diet that also includes novel proteins.

Finding A Labradoodle Hunting Dog

If you are looking for a labradoodle that most likely has the ideal characteristics for hunting, you will need to speak to a specialist breeder. They have experience matching mom and dad to prioritize certain characteristics and suppress others.

While you might be able to find an excellent labradoodle hunting dog at a shelter, without good knowledge of their parents and the results of previous litters, it will be very difficult to predict whether they will make good hunting dogs.

There are a few breeders out there who specialize not only in labradoodles but labradoodles for hunting, and you will probably have the most luck finding your desired pup here.

Check out:

American Hunting Doodles

American Hunting Doodles are dedicated to breeding well-rounded hunters that are good waterfowl retrievers and conscientious upland flushers. As well as labradoodles, they breed goldendoodles and poodles mixed with Chesapeake Bay retrievers.

The organization guarantees that their pups have a strong prey drive and provide DNA analysis to back up their claims. They provide early neurological stimulation, alongside potty training and crate training.

Expect to pay between $3,500-$5,500 per pup from this organization. They are based in Oregon, but breed and ship around the country.

Country Doodle Dogs

Country Doodle Dogs specialize in medium- and standard-sized labradoodle puppies that are specially bred and trained for hunting.

Also based in Oregon, they provide puppies and stud services if you are looking to breed your own labradoodle for hunting.

Expect to pay between $3,000-$4,000 to adopt from this agency.

Local Shelters & Rescues

While you don’t get the same guarantees when you adopt from a shelter, it is worth checking whether any of your local shelters have labradooodles looking for a home. Most labradoodles are highly trainable and will be able to learn the functions of a hunting dog, and many are in desperate need of homes.

Check out our list of 30 questions to ask when adopting a dog to help determine whether the labradoodle you are looking at will be suitable for you.

FAQs

Can you teach labradoodles to hunt?

Labradoodles have a natural hunting instinct, and they are also among the most intelligent and trainable dogs, because they are eager to please and motivated by reward. This makes them ideal dogs to train as hunting dogs.

Choose a standard labradoodle rather than one of the smaller varieties to make sure that they have the size and strength to deal with game and birds.

Can labradoodles swim?

Yes, labradoodles can swim and are quite at home in the water. They aren’t quite as natural in the water as Labrador retrievers, but if they are introduced to water from a young age, they will feel comfortable there.

Just don’t forget to wash their coats after a swim, as bits of debris can easily get caught in their curly hair.

Are labradoodles good guard dogs?

Labradoodles don’t make great guard dogs because they tend to be friendly with everyone. They are just as likely to sniff an unexpected guest and flop down in front of their feet for a scratch as they are likely to start barking to raise the alert.

Can labradoodles be left alone?

It isn’t a good idea to leave a labradoodle alone for more than five hours. Firstly, they have relatively small bladders and they will very likely need the bathroom within that time.

But these dogs also need a lot of intellectual stimulation, and if you aren’t there to give it to them, they will find it for themselves, usually in the form of trouble.

Labradoodles left alone for long periods of time can be prone to destructive behavior. If this happens on a regular basis, they may also develop depression as they need human companionship.

Are boy or girl labradoodles better?

While personality depends on the individual labradoodle, many owners suggest that they prefer male pups as they tend to be more loving and affectionate.

They also have more energy, which may make them more well-suited to the role of a hunting dog.

But the difference between male and female labradoodles is not generally very great.

Do labradoodles sleep a lot?

While a labradoodle puppy might need to sleep for around 20 hours a day, don’t worry, this will reduce as they get older.

Adult labradoodles only need to sleep for around 10-12 hours a day, which is about average for medium- to large-sized breeds.

Be sure to wear them out during the day with a minimum of 30-60 minutes of active exercise so that they can sleep through the night and won’t disturb your sleep.

The Verdict

If you are looking for a dog that can be both a great hunting companion and an excellent family pet, then a labradoodle can be an excellent choice.

Both Labrador retrievers and poodles were originally bred for hunting, though poodles became more commonly used in circus shows and as lap dogs.

But this means that the labradoodle has all the right instincts to be an excellent hunting dog with the right training. Their intelligence and eagerness to please means they are also easy to train.

These are naturally friendly dogs, so they are great pets for active families who have the time to give them the exercise and stimulation they need.

If you find the right pup, they will also be low-shedding, which means they are less likely to set off allergies or clog up vacuum cleaners.

Speak to specialist breeders to find the ideal labradoodle pup with the ideal characteristics to work as a hunting dog.

Do you have any experience working with labradoodles as hunting dogs?

Share your experience with the community in the comments section below.

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Dog Labradoodles Make Good Hunting Dogs? - Two Labradoodles sitting in the grass.

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Do Labradoodles Make Good Hunting Dogs? was last modified: July 7th, 2021 by LTHQ



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