Is your mixed-breed a mistake of monumental proportions, or the crowning achievement of thousands of years of thoughtful selective breeding? despite millions of labradoodle owners across the planet who are convinced their pups are the greatest thing since sliced bread, the man credited with pioneering the breed has massive regrets about his involvement in the “oodle” craze. “I don’t regret the dog, not for the purpose I bred it for,” Wally Conron tells Paw Nation, “I regret all the people who got on the bandwagon willy-nilly. People who are breeding poodle crosses for the money, who have no concern for parentage.”
How was Conron to know that, by crossing one of his kennel’s best Labs with a standard poodle, he would unwittingly spark an international trend that would spawn the schnoodle, the groodle, the roodle and countless other similar designer breeds? In 1988, service-dog trainer Conron received a letter from a woman in Hawaii who needed a seeing-eye dog that wouldn’t shed, because her husband was highly allergic. At that time, no one had ever bred a Labrador Retriever with an allergy-friendly standard poodle, at least not on purpose. Now, only 22 years later, labradoodles have their own facebook pages. Labradoodle enthusiasts, along with other groups of “oodle” owners, are even vying to have the breed recognized as an official breed by the Kennel Council.
So, why is Conron so ashamed of his own creation? Like many others, he feels that the laradoodle trend started a gold rush for unscrupulous backyard breeders with no knowledge of proper dog breeding. “One of our litters had ten pups in it and only three were actually allergy-free,” says Conron. “Let’s face it: they’re a crossbreed. You never know what you’re going to get. It’s a bit like buying a pig in a poke, yet people all over are charging more for labradoodles than purebreds.” Two years ago, it was even rumoured that President Obama was considering bringing a labradoodle home to the White House. (Of course, he chose a Portuguese Water Dog instead.) “I actually wrote him a letter and said to be careful and check the parents,” Conron explains. “I never heard back.”