When we think of good hunting dogs, Labrador Retrievers instantly come to mind and Poodles probably not so much. Labradoodles have gained popularity for their attractive and non-shedding attributes and all-around loving temperament.
But can Labradoodles make for good hunting dogs? Yes, they can certainly be good hunting dogs. While hunting may not be the Labradoodle’s strong suit, they are the result of combining two incredible hunting breeds; the Labrador Retriever and Poodle. With Selective and Multi-generational breeding programs dedicated to producing top-notch Labradoodle hunters, a growing number of hunters are considering Labradoodles for their next hunting dog.
What Labrador Retriever Qualities Make Good Hunting Dogs?
Considering that the Labradoodle is half Labrador Retriever, it’s not surprising that they might make good hunting dogs. While there is a never a 100% guarantee of what a dog will turn out to be when they’re fully grown, Labrador Retrievers have a reputation for being excellent hunting dogs not just because they’re trained to hunt but because they love it. They love the outdoors, love being with their owners, have almost endless energy and love to retrieve. After all, they didn’t get the name “retriever” for nothing. It almost seems like Labs love chasing and retrieving from the time they begin moving around.
In addition to being one of the most popular all-around dog breeds, the Labrador Retriever is also one of the most popular gun dogs. They are especially popular for duck hunting. One of their best qualities is that they possess an equal amount of agility, toughness, and grace needed to be able to maneuver through almost any terrain. Once they’re out hunting, they seem to want to go on and on and seldom tire out. Labrador Retrievers possess the very qualities necessary for hunting.
- Great swimmers in cold water
- Can withstand cold temperatures
- Good fetching instinct
- Strong body
- Strong work ethic
- Possess agile and
What Poodle Qualities Make Good Hunting Dogs?
When we hear the name Poodle, what often comes to mind are cute little lapdogs adorned with professionally-groomed haircuts and performing in the show ring. What would ever make people think that Poodles could make excellent hunting dogs? The answer is history! Surprisingly enough, Poodles have been historically known as hunting dogs. Poodles are the national dog of France, and they’re known as the Caniche, which means “duck dog.”
They acquired this name because of their use as water retrievers, especially for duck hunting. Before the Standard Poodle ever became known as a lapdog, it was known as a retrieving water dog. It originated in Germany and was bred as a water retriever more than four centuries ago. They got their name “poodle” from a German word Pudelhund. The “pudel” part means “to splash” and the “hund” part means “dog”. Rather than use the whole word, it was shortened to just Pudel and changed to Poodle in English.
The Poodle haircuts, which we still see today, were designed to provide certain parts of the body with extra protection against the elements. Despite being classified as a non-sporting dog, the Poodle is eligible to participate in the American Kennel Club’s Retriever Hunting Tests. They are the only dog in that classification to be eligible to compete in these tests. The Poodle’s sharp nose made them the ideal truffle-hunting dog. However, today they are used for various types of hunting. Like the Labrador Retriever, the Poodle also possesses many qualities that make them good hunting dogs.
- Off-the-charts intelligence
- Thick coat that protects the body from the elements
- Excellent retrieving ability
- Superb swimming ability
- Desire to be in the spotlight
- High level of trainability
Although Poodles were initially used for hunting, a lot of their hunting abilities were bred out them in favor of creating a family dog or show dog. However, Poodles do still have the instinct to hunt, which works favorably for those wanting Labradoodles for hunting dogs. A combination of dogs with proven hunting abilities and the right breeding program can produce Labradoodles with outstanding hunting abilities.
The Perfect Hunting Combination?
Although Poodles are not the dog that typically comes to mind when you’re thinking of hunting dogs, they possess many of the qualities necessary to make them excellent hunters, which can also be said of the Labrador Retrievers. Poodles have been ranked by several canine organizations, including the AKC, as one of the most intelligent dog breeds for many years. The Labrador has not only been ranked as the No. 1 most all-around popular dog for more than a decade but has also been listed as the most popular hunting dog.
When you combine these factors and throw them into a breeding pool, it’s not hard to understand why Labradoodles would make fantastic hunting dogs. They both possess the drive, ambition, intelligence and trainability to make the right combination for hunting. Unfortunately, the reputation Poodles have gained as lapdogs and small house dogs often make hunters skeptical of their abilities as hunters even when they are mixed with Labrador Retrievers. This skepticism often disappears when they see the Labradoodle in action.
Watch Haley The Hunting Labradoodle
Breeding Programs to Create Labradoodle Hunting Dogs
Labradoodles have the potential to be bred to be perfect hunting dogs. In a breeding program, breeders choose dogs that have specific qualities needed to perform certain tasks. For instance, if a breeder is looking to create intelligent dogs with a good temperament and with a certain coat, they find a sire and dam that possess these qualities. This type of breeding requires diligence, research and years of breeding experience. Even with careful study and practice, they’re not guaranteed to get the perfect dog, but their chances are very good. Breeding programs like multi-generation breeding is often used to create the “ideal” dog for a certain purpose.
It is wise to remember that not all Labradoodles are created equal just as no Poodles or Labrador Retrievers are created the same. However, multi-generational breeding gives breeders the best chance to create a good hunting dog. They look for dogs that possess the hunting drive, intelligence, work ethic and trainability to make them good hunting dogs.
An F2 Generation Labradoodle is 50% Poodle and 50% Labrador Retriever while a F1b Labradoodle is 75% Poodle and 25% Labrador Retriever. Since Labrador Retrievers historically make better hunting dogs than Poodles, the F2 Generation Labradoodle might make for a better hunting dog. The same can be said for F3 Generation Labradoodles, which are a combination of two F2 Generation Labradoodles and are 50% Labrador Retriever and 50% Poodle.
How much training is involved in making a Labradoodle a good hunting dog?
Training a Labradoodle to become a good hunting dog is not much different than training any other dog. The dog should be given exposure to guns, hunting and obedience training from an early age. You do have the advantage of working with a dog that has intelligence, trainability and good hunting drive in its breeding line and from both sides. If you’re buying a Labradoodle for a hunting dog, it’s important to see other hunting dogs the breeder has developed.
What does a Labradoodle hunting dog cost?
Despite the Labradoodle being a mixed breed dog, they often come with the price tag or a purebred and registered dog because of their popularity. The two things that will most determine the price is the amount of training the dog has received and the genetic line. An F1 Generation Labradoodle, which is a mixture of a Poodle and a Labrador Retriever, will typically cost less than an F1b or an F3 Generation Labradoodle. The more multi-generation breeding involved, the higher the price. Depending on the breeder, you can expect to pay from $800 to $3,000 or more.
How does the Labradoodle’s coat affect them as hunting dogs?
The Labradoodle’s coat is usually either wool or fleece. The fleece coat may have a spiraling curl or soft waves. It’s easy to manage and mostly hypoallergenic. The wool coat, similar to the Poodle’s coat, is soft but needs more maintenance and brushing, which can be problematic if the dog is hunting in the woods. The fleece coat is preferred for hunting dogs. The fact that they’re odor-free is another plus when considering Labradoodles as hunting dogs.
That’s A Wrap!
If you’re looking for an all-purpose dog that can be used as a pet, therapy dog, and hunting dog, you’ve probably guessed that the Labradoodle just may fit the bill. If you were to make a list of all the qualities you want in a dog, you’d probably also find the Labradoodle possesses most if not all these qualities. And with some specific training, they can make a truly fantastic hunting dog.