Labradoodles mostly poodle, study suggests
A study by US researchers has concluded that Labradoodles are mostly poodle.
Writing in the journal Plos Genetics, scientists report how they analysed the DNA of 21 Australian Labradoodles and compared it with the DNA of pure-bred labs and poodles.
As the Guardian reports, the offspring of labradors and standard poodles were found to be genetically a 50:50 mix of the parent breeds. In Australian poodles, however, the results were surprisingly different:
“The thing that we didn’t expect to such a degree was that the Australian labradoodle retains a huge amount of poodle genome and doesn’t retain a lot of the Labrador retriever genome," said study co-author Dr Elaine Ostrander.
The team attributes their finding to how Labradoodles were developed. Instead of breeding Labradors and poodles together, new pure breeds were introduced into the mix over generations to maintain consistent traits and keep the dogs healthy.
“People have been doing planned and deliberate crosses with the idea of having it eventually recognised on a registry as an established breed,” Ostrander said, adding that the Australian Labradoodles in the study were at least four generations away from the original Labrador-poodle cross.
Labradoodles were first developed in 1989 by Wally Conran, an Australian who set out to create a guide dog appropriate for people with asthma or allergies.
The study compared more than 150,000 positions in the genomes of Australian Labradoodles, with the same positions in the genomes of Labradors and standard, toy and miniature poodles. Researchers also analysed these positions in American cocker spaniels, Irish water spaniels and English cocker spaniels.
Researchers suggest that more poodles and Labradors may have been introduced over the years because their coats are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.