Australian Labradoodle Breed Standard

 

Information courtesy of Rutland Manor Labradoodle Breeding & Research Center - Australia.

1997 - Revised 2000, 2003,2005, 2008

BREED STANDARD FOR THE ASD AUSTRALIAN LABRADOODLE

 

The purpose of a ‘Breed Standard’ is to provide  breeders with a vision of Excellence towards which they should aspire.   It is not expected that any live creature will attain it in its entirety although individual dogs may come very close. The 2008 revision has excluded the  ‘Flatcoat’ from acceptable coat type although breeders should not  discard these dogs as potential breeding stock at this stage of breed development (as at 2008).    Some ‘faults’ are more detrimental than others, which is why some are called ‘serious’ or ‘disqualifying’  faults (which refers to the show ring).  Breeders should make every effort to exclude breeding two dogs together who both exhibit the same fault/s.

  The ASD Australian Labradoodle is still a very young breed.   When the day arrives that they are a ‘recognized’ breed for showing, big price differences will occur, with the more suitable types for showing, being much more expensive than the pet puppies as is the case with recognized pure breeds. In the meantime, no price differentiation is being made regarding adherence to Breed Standard type or otherwise.   Even in well established breeds there is not a puppy born in every litter who is suitable for breeding.  Breeding stock need to be thoroughly evaluated before being added to a breeding program.

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING PENDING BREED STANDARD AMENDMENT  (Breed Standard revised March 2008)

Rutland Manor has long opposed  parti colors and  phantoms in the ASD Australian Labradoodle. There was a sound reason for refusing to accept broken color in the breed.  Back in the early nineties there were only two serious breeders, who were the two Founders Tegan Park and Rutland Manor Breeding and Research Centers in Australia.  The ASD Australian Labradoodle had already become extremely popular and demand far exceeded supply.

Hardly anyone had ever seen a real Labradoodle in true life, and unscrupulous backyard breeders and puppy mills in Australia who had no Labradoodles were selling  cross bred puppies from Shih Tzu, Maltese and practically any other cross bred 'fluffy' puppy pretending they were Labradoodles in order to gain extra money for them.  Many pet shops in Australia were selling so-called Labradoodle puppies which were all kinds of crosses between these other breeds for a thousand dollars when they would have sold for only $200 or $300 if their true parentage had been represented.  Some people were  purchasing these cross bred puppies and breeding with them in the belief that they were Australian Labradoodles.  Because of their real parentage, most of these mis - represented puppies had white markings on head body and feet due to their mixed inheritance.

A steady stream of duped families bringing their expensive mongrel puppies to Rutland Manor for  assessment of their true breed status. Remember that in those days it was prior to the first Registry being set up for non-recognized new and/or developing breeds.  There were no pedigree databases, no registries, no DNA testing, no Microchipping and no way of tracking the parentage of the newly emerging Labradoodle breed.

The Founders of the breed decided that in order to protect the breed patched or multi colored dogs would not be accepted in the Breed Standard.  Undoubtedly there would have been numbers of pet shop puppies which slipped through the net if they were whole colored, but as public knowledge increased about the Australian Labradoodle, people were on the alert to avoid the numerous patched puppies which had been getting passed off as Labradoodles, so the refusal to accept patched and parti colored dogs helped in large measure to keep the breed on track.

With the advent of registries, microchipping,  and DNA parentage verification, these old problems have faded away into the breed's fascinating history and Rutland Manor no longer feels the need to protect the breed by  excluding parti colors and patched genes from the Breed Standard.

CAUTION:

Admitting Phantoms, Parti Colors and Patched genes into the breed does bring its own dangers however, some of which are the possibility of butterfly noses (broken pigment which can lead to skin cancers) and marble eyes ( a harsh staring expression which is foreign to the breed).  For these reasons, Merles especially should be avoided completely.  Brindling and Ticking when mixed into current whole colored dogs' lines can also produce muddied colors and set the breed back for many generations if purity of whole colors is a goal of the breeder.  It is important that colors should be entered on each individual's pedigree to ensure that future breeders using these bloodlines can avoid the pitfalls which can occur.

SUMMARY:

Following  research on color inheritance An  Amendment to the Breed Standard with regard to acceptable colors was first published in March 2008.

 

The Breed Standard

General Appearance

A compact dog, not exceptionally boxy nor long bodied. A galloping dog which gives the impression of light footed athleticism, and joyful bearing. Medium to light boning, graceful in movement and with vivacious expression. Coat should be non shedding, be of even length over body, on legs neck, tail and head, and should be as close to non allergenic as possible. Their unique traits of intuitive nature and the seeking of human eye contact should be easily discernable at a glance. Easily amenable to  training. 

Size (Three sizes:  Standard, Medium and Miniature)

There should be no appreciable difference in the general appearance  nor the temperament and nature of any of the three sizes except the size itself.  Size definitions  are only a guideline for breeders and  there will be many variations as the breed continues to develop over the years. 

STANDARD

MEDIUM

MINIATURE

 Over 19inches preferably not to exceed 22 inches  weighing between 20 kg and 50 kg.   (2.2 lbs = 1 kg) Over 16– not exceeding 19inches and weighing between 15 kg and 18 kg.   (2.2 lbs = 1 kg) 14- 16 inches and weighing between 10 kg and 15 kg   (2.2 lbs = 1 kg)

Temperament

Confident, joyful, vivacious, clown-like, sociable and friendly. Totally non aggressive, clever and extremely intuitive. Well suited for special work such as Therapy Dog, Assistance Dog, Hearing or Seizure Alert Dog, Guide Dog. Can try to outsmart their Owners just for fun, if not firmly disciplined when young. Respond well to positive Training methods. Loyal and devoted to family. Most love water and are natural Swimmers and retrievers. Affectionate and loving. Active and athletic when free, but should ‘melt’ into mellowness when touched by human hands.

Disqualifying Temperament Faults  - Timidity, (not environmentally induced) hyperactivity, aggressiveness to either people or other animals, are all serious disqualifying faults and dogs exhibiting these traits should not be bred from.

 

Movement

First impression should be of a dog whose feet seem to hardly touch the ground. Light, lithe, graceful and  athletic.  When trotting, should have the appearance of ‘going somewhere’ with energy and effortless drive and purpose. Looking like they are dancing and ballerina-like in motion.

When galloping, they should appear to float almost above the ground. Light and airy, flowing and free moving with a complete absence of apparent effort.

Body

Height to length ratio should be as ten is to twelve, being slightly longer in leg than deep in body, but still looking compact. Level top line, strong over loins and slightly sloping croup and with sloping shoulders flowing into firm elbows and front legs straight to the ground. Straight upright shoulders are a fault as are straight stifles.  Stifles should have medium  angulation and be long, with short strong hocks parallel and straight to the ground. Cow hocks are a fault as are toes turning either inwards or outwards. They are a galloping dog, so flanks should rise to a medium tuck up, from a deep brisket and well sprung ribs.

Head

The head should be in proportion to the rest of the body, being neither blocky, nor too fine or chiseled. Medium stop, length from nose to eyes should be only slightly longer than length from eyes to occiput.
Skull should be slightly rounded but not domed. Forehead medium breadth, muzzle not snipey, but should have depth and breadth. Weak underjaw is a fault. The head should flow naturally into a strong slightly curved and muscular neck and not appear to be ‘stuck on’. Long narrow or 'Poodley' head is a fault.

Ears

Well furnished, with fringing beyond the tip of the ear leather.  Wide apart and low set, below or level with the eyes and hanging flat against the sides of the head. The inner ear canal should not be too heavily coated. Ear ‘leather’ should be thinner rather than thick or spongy which will assist in keeping the ears cool and airy.

Eyes

Should be wide set, large and expressive, lustrous or sparkling, oval to round, and must not bulge (as in the Pekinese for example). Expression to be lively, curious, wise, full of fun and  with an intuitive expression, seeking contact with human eyes.  A sharp, piercing or expressionless eye is a serious fault.

Eye colors can be darkest brown, a transparent honey color, or shades of hazel. Protruding eyes, sunken or watery eyes are a fault. (note that puppies may sometimes have tear stained eyes during teething). Odd colored eyes (each a different color to the other) is a serious fault.  Marble eyes such as are found in Blue Merle dogs is a serious fault.

A feature of the eyes is their very long eyelashes which should never be cut.  They provide a 'verandah' to help keep the long coat out of the dog's eyes.

Nose

A definite feature.  Large square and fleshy in appearance. Must never be small, pinched, narrow or pointed. 

Brown dogs (Chocolate or Cafe au Lait) must have 'rose' or liver colored noses
Black or Silver dogs must have black noses
Red dogs must have black noses
Gold dogs must have black noses
Caramel dogs must have 'rose' or liver colored noses
Cream dogs may have Black, Rose, or Liver noses
Blue dogs should have bluish black noses
Apricot or Red dogs should have black noses

Tail

Ideally saber shaped as in the Labrador Retriever. But during the formative years of this breed the tail may be carried gaily and swirling over the back. Tightly curled teapot tails are a fault. Kinked tails are a fault. Tails must not be docked.

Feet

Foot pads should be thick and deep and close together. Weak ‘hare’s feet’ are a fault. There should be a definite ‘ankle’ between the feet and legs. Front dewclaws may be removed although it is not necessary. It is rare for an Australian  Labradoodle to have hind dewclaws but if puppies are born with them they must be removed at four days old.

Teeth

Scissor bite, meaning that the upper teeth fit closely over the tops of the lower teeth. Gaps between upper and lower teeth are a fault. Undershot mouths (where the lower teeth extend beyond the upper teeth) are a fault. Overshot mouths (where the upper teeth extend beyond the lower teeth) are a fault. Level bite, (where the biting edges of teeth meet but do not overlap) are a fault but not a serious fault. Crowded teeth in the adult dog are a fault  especially in Miniatures.

   

Coat Types 

 

FLEECE (wavy or curly)   WOOL  

The coat is always a single coat with a definite absence of fluffy undercoat.  Whether Fleece or Wool the coat must not shed and must be allergy friendly to the vast majority of persons with dog related allergies.  It must have no doggy odour.  The coat is one of the unique features of this breed and must be a priority coming close behind physical health and sound temperament.   A ‘change’ of coat is permissible from puppy to adult and due to hormonal changes in entire females. With the exception of the hormonal shedding, this should not shed itself out, but needs to be stripped out with grooming.  They have  a distinctly soft fleecy ‘feel’ like no other dog coat &  should be a single coat, with a complete absence of fluffy undercoat.  Ideally it should not be too thick, not dense nor fuzzy, but should hang in loose loopy spirals similar To that of the angora goat. Length is around four to six inches, on body, tail, head and face and on the legs.

 

WoolCoat. The wool coat has tight curls  and feels similar to that of a pure bred Poodle.  The Wool Curly Coat will often be very dense and it should be the breeders’ goal to breed a looser curl than that of the Poodle in the interests of lower maintenance.

 

Curly Fleece.  The Curly Fleece Coat grows into spirals much like braided hair in humans and is also a single coat with no fluffy undercoat.  When clipped short it should not grow back as curly as the Wool Coat.

Wavy Fleece.  The Wavy Fleece Coat is the ultimate coat type.  Single coat with absence of fluffy undercoat. As puppies they are not as 'pretty' as their curlier litter mates but mature into stunningly beautiful dogs with easier maintained coats.

Straightish and only slightly wavy as puppies more curl develops until the coat is a long swinging curtain of loose slightly wavy tendrils.  When clipped off short the coat should not grow back curly.

 

FlatCoat

Rarely, a Flatcoat may still appear.  They will shed to varying degrees.  if these dogs are exceptional in conformation, temperament and health, they can be valuable breeding dogs when mated to suitable partners and should not be discarded for breeding at this stage of breed development (2008).  They can not be shown in conformation classes in the Show Ring.

 

Pigment

Must be strong in all colors. Missing pigment around the eyes, or spots or patches of white or pink on the nose, (butterfly nose) eye rims, lips or pads are serious faults.

Rose pigment should not be confused with weak pigment such as a pink nose.  It must always be accompanied by translucent eyes with rosy pink rims.

Pigment is the same in the nose, eye rims and lip rims as it is on the pads of the feet.

RM Note 2007.  The ASD Australian Labradoodle has progressed well  beyond the coat variations found in many other Labradoodles.  Fleece coats may be either spiral curly or wavy, but hair coats combination coats or shedding coats are now  rare in Rutland Manor bred dogs.

 

Coat Colors

(Amended in the revised Breed Standard 2008)

Whole colors come in Black, Silver, shades of Cream,  Caramel, Gold, Red, Apricot, Apricot Cream, Chocolate, Cafe au Lait, Parchment, Blue, and rarely, a true Lavender.

As of March 2008, Parti Coloured, Phantom Coloured, Brindle and Multi Colored dogs are acceptable in the Breed Standard provided  their parentage is verified via DNA.

Color Definitions

A note about pigment. 

Pigment is skin color, especially when referring to the color of the nose and the skin lining around the eyes, lip rims, and on the pads of a dog's paws.  The 'rose' pigment found in the dilute colors is not a lack of pigment, but is a definite color.  This means that there is no predisposition to sun burning or cancer in the rose pigmented original Australian Labradoodle.

Rose pigment.  These blonde beauties are no more susceptible to sunburn or skin cancer than the darkest black pigmented dog.    Information on these pages applies to Rutland Manor bred dogs only, as  Labradoodles bred in different breeding programs  may have allowed lack of pigment to come into their  stock.

Chocolate

Chocolate  Starts off in puppies as a rich chocolate brown either the color of milk chocolate or dark chocolate.  Weather and age tips the coat with bronze/gold highlights.   Muzzle can have lighter colors such as a creamy gold or light brown.  Pigment (nose, eye & mouth rims and foot pads) must be rose  or liver colored.  During these early days of breed development, Chocolates and Cafes like other rich colors, can have a sprinkling of  silver through them as they mature.  Purity of color has taken a back seat  during the infant stages of breed development as other more important traits have been fixed in the breed such as allergy friendliness, health aspects and temperament.

Cafe au Lait

A true Cafe is a delicate beautiful shade the color of an Iced Milk Coffee. Pigment must be Rose or Liver and eyes hazel  honey or brown. 

When the coat is parted, you can see that Cafe is the same color from the roots all the way to the tips of the coat ends. 

Silver

Silvers are fascinating and stunning.  Born Black, the first signs of Silver start around the eyes looking like a pair of spectacles.  As it spreads on the face, silver also appears on the hocks (back knees) and center of the tail.  It then travels up the four legs, and begins silvering  from the roots outwards all over the body.  Silvers can go through stages of smoky blue  and many are a shimmering platinum silver at full maturity. Silvers must have black pigment.  Eyes should 'match' the coat tonings and must never have a staring or harsh expression.

 Apricot

When baby puppies, it takes a practiced eye to tell the difference between a Gold or Apricot, (both have black noses) and  a Red (black or red noses)  or a Caramel, as these colors can either fade, or deepen with maturity. They are a package of delightful surprises as some who fade, can return to an even more vibrant richer color when the adult coat comes through.  Pigment can help to decide which color  jacket a puppy will wear whenmature. 

These two photos show how two puppies born Apricot paled out and then grew back a beautiful rich color which starts from the roots on the top of the back.

Just as there are different shades of red with red haired humans so it is with dogs.  The basic difference between a Red and a Caramel is the color of their pigment (nose, lip and eye rims and paw pads).  Reds have Black pigment and dark brown eyes.  Caramels have rose pigment and honey to hazel eyes.   Very few people have seen a true Red Australian Labradoodle, with most mistaking a niceApricot for a Red.  However once seen the true Red can never be mistaken again it is so stunningly vibrant and deep in color.

Caramel

Caramel is a beautiful and delicate color of varying shades from a pale 'Iced Caramel'  to the darker Caramel.  It often darkens after about twelve months of age.  Although it is a dilute color, pigment is a rich rosy red color on nose lip and eye rims and paw pads.  Eyes are  a translucent hazel or greenish gold.

Red

The stunning true deep Red can have either  rich red pigment or black.  Eyes are always a dark brown, and the color looks unnatural as if dyed.  Many Apricots are mistaken for Reds, but once seen, the rare true Red is never forgotten nor mistaken again.

Shades of Cream  (incl Gold)

Creams range through a variety of shades.  If their noses are black, their eyes are shades ofbrown to black.  If their noses are rose their eyes are a clear hazel with a uniquely 'human' expression. 

A correctly coated Cream does not need bathing like other light colored breeds of dog. 

The ASD Australian Labradoodle's coat sheds dirt and mud all by itself.  Left to dry naturally, all traces of dirt completely disappears leaving no staining or smell behind.  It is just another amazing feature of the genuine Australian Labradoodle  as developed by and bred at Rutland Manor.

Black

Black is the most under appreciated color of all possibly because they do not alwaysphotograph as well as the lighter colors.  Countless times, when visitors to the Center see the Blacks in real life, many have changed their preference to a Black. 

There is something magical about the way the light catches the glossy black waves and ringlets as the dogs move about. Depending on the colors in their ancestry, Blacks can have a frosting of silver through their coats or Chocolate highlights.  Pigment must be black and eyes dark brown to brilliant black. Blacks sometimes  have shades of brown or silver sprinkled throughout their coats.

Parchment

Parchment is a relatively rare color which is mentioned in a two hundred year old PoodleHandbook.  It becameextinct but has re-surfaced in the ASD Australian Labradoodle.  Parchments begin life as a Cafe and the dusky cream begins at the roots and grows out until the whole dog is a delicate milky latte coffee color all over.  Pigment is liver and eyes can be hazel or honey colored.

Blue

Not all Blues 'look' blue.  When they are born they are 'almost' black but with a slightlysmoky appearance which is difficult to see unless in a good natural light. There are ways to tell which 'Blacks' are really Blue for an experienced breeder.  Some adult Blues look Black all the time, but are genetically Blue (useful to know for breeders).  Others are blue at some times of the year and Black at others.  Pigment must be either mauve or bluish as an adult. Eyes are a soft brown to hazel.

Lavender

Rare color.  Puppies are born looking like Cafe au Lait and it takes a practiced eye topick which Cafe puppy will become a Lavender.  Eyes are clear honey or hazel. Pigment mauve to rose.

Parti Colored

Parti Color - the name is self descriptive with different colored patches appearing invarious places on the dog's body head, face legs and tail.  Partis, Phantoms, and Factored dogs all have their place in the breeder's breeding program.

   
   

 

Parti Colour

A uniformed or set pattern is not required but symmetrical markings on the head are preferred. Colour should be balanced over the body of the coat ideally fifty percent white, fifty percent coloured as per other solid breed colours. Flecks or Freckling of the solid colour in the white of the coat is not encouraged but is acceptable. Abstract (less than fifty percent distribution of colour) is not a penalty but is not preferred. Merle Colours are a definite fault and should be penalised and bred away from. Pink or butterfly nose is a definite fault (not to be confused with the Rose pigment which is a rich acceptable pigment colour, whereas Pink noses are a lacking in colour and butterfly noses are broken coloured).

Phantom

Solid body colour with defined markings of a second colour as follows: The chest and throat or a chin and forechest pattern, second colour on the sides of the muzzle/cheek and above each eye, the underside of the ears, second colouring on the feet preferably up the legs, and below the tail in a diamond shape. Inside the flank and leg of the second colour is also acceptable. Any of the solid colour combination is acceptable.

It is preferable that the markings be clear and defined. Face markings of the second colour with the entire face coloured is not preferred but is acceptable, so long as  the other required body markings are also present.

Brindle
 

An equal distribution of the composite colours with layering of black hairs in regions of lighter colour (usually, chalk/cream/gold/red, cafe/lavender/parchment, or silver) producing a tiger-striped pattern.

Multi-Patterned

A Parti with incomplete phantom markings or full markings including no colour under the tail or facial markings.

The dog will clearly exhibit more than one of the acceptable colour patterns or a Phantom with abstract markings, etc.

Note: the Phantom and Brindle are acceptable colours as at 2008 during this stage of the colour development  and are necessary for the development of consistency in the Parti Colours

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Summary of Faults - Remember that no living creature will be 'perfect' by definition of its breed standard nor by any other definition.  The Standard of 'Excellence' which is the Breed Standard is designed as a guideline to breeders in their pursuit of excellence, and it should not be expected that any puppy born will ever match up to the Breed Standard one hundred percent.

Hyperactivity, shyness  (not to be confused with gentle aloofness) , timidity, aggressive to people or other animals, snappy, yappy, highly strung, missing pigment, weak pigment, wall or marble eyes, odd coloured eyes, overshot, undershot or crowded mouths,  kinked or teapot tails, weak or ‘hare’ feet, heavy or ponderous build, cow hocks, dippy backs, heavily shedding coats, absence of two fully descended testicles in males over six months of age, and any other  deviation from the Breed Standard.

Some Faults Illustrated

Under Shot Mouth. Lower jaw protrudes outward in front of upper jaw.

Over shot. Upper jaw protrudes outward in front of lower jaw. 

Level bite is not a disqualifying fault but is not desirable.

Lacking in overall Type, shedding coat - found in early generations. Not suitable for breeding

 

 

Thick stumpy neck, upright and loaded shoulders, (prone to Elbow Dysplasia), dippy back,  high rump and straight short stifles (prone to HD) ponderous build (prone to Torsion and OCD's). Not suitable for breeding.

 

Weak dippy back, straight stifles, upright shoulders,  long hocks, weak hare feet, unsound front. Smooth face. Overall appearance of weakness and lack of balance. Not suitable for breeding.

 

Information courtesy of Rutland Manor Labradoodle Breeding & Research Center - Australia.

 

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