So why would a Doodle be any different? In this article, we are going to look specifically at Labradoodles. And we are going to answer two main questions: “Are Labradoodles good hunting dogs? and “What makes a good hunting dog?” To start, we are going to take a close look at the Labradoodle And Australian Labradoodle ancestry.
Labrador Retriever Origins
The first part of a Labradoodle is the Labrador Retriever. You can trace the Lab back as far as the 1700s in Newfoundland. It is unknown how the breed came about, but one thing is sure. They love to retrieve. Labrador Retrievers were initially used to fetch fish that had fallen off their hooks or bring them in fishing lines.
By the 1800s, hunters started to use them for retrieving waterfowl and other birds. Most people today think of the Lab as the perfect gun dogs. Since the Lab never tires and has high energy, they are great candidates for long hunting days. And they are so eager to please that they never give up. They love the drive and the thrill. Not to mention Labs are gentle dogs and can bring back sport without damaging it.
One half of a Labradoodle is the Poodle. People think of Poodles as being lapdogs. Sometimes a little prissy with a funny hair-do and silly name. But most people would be shocked to know that the Poodle has deep roots in hunting. The Poodle originated as a water retriever to nobility in Europe near the French and German border.
The Poodle made a great hunting companion because of their high intelligence and eagerness to please. They were explicitly good for water sport because of their waterproof coats and webbed feet. But as people started enjoying them as house dogs, they aren’t bred much for hunting anymore. There are still a few breeders that breed for hunting, but not as many.
The first Labradoodle cross was in the late 80s for a hypoallergenic guide dog. They are very in tune with their owners and are loyal. They have your well-being at the forefront of their minds most of the time. The Labradoodle is brilliant and also made a great house pet. Breeders in the US saw the potential for the biggest designer breed yet and took off with the market. Most Labradoodles that you see today are bred for being the perfect companion from parents with the mellowest temperaments.
Are Australian Labradoodles Good Hunting Dogs?
The Australian Labradoodle has slightly different origins than the American Labradoodle. The American version is a cross between only a Labrador and a Poodle, and the Australian has several parental breeds, like a little Cocker Spaniel and Irish Water Spaniel. The Australian Labradoodle still has strong roots in hunting with these breeds mixed in.
The Irish Water Spaniel has a name that speaks for itself. These dogs are a rare breed that has a fuzzy past. We don’t know too much about their origins, but we know what they became. The Irish Water Spaniel makes an excellent retriever in water sport much as the Poodle does. They have webbed toes, water-resistant coats, and eagerness to please.
The Cocker Spaniel is a hunting dog as well. When they first came about, they were perfect for hunting small birds. They can jump, chase, and track birds to bring back to their owners.
Are Labradoodles Hunting Dogs?
Both of the Labradoodle lineages suggests that they could make great hunting dogs. But, just because a lineage says they should be good doesn’t mean Labradoodle hunting dogs are common. Can Labradoodle dogs hunt? Yes, any dog of any breed can hunt. But are they designed for it? That is the better question.
What To Look For In Hunting Dogs
There is a lot to look at besides background when choosing a hunting companion. Having a family line that is good at hunting does help your odds. But other components of a dog’s personality can affect the way they hunt with you. Let’s take a look at a few in detail. Any dog of any breed is a good candidate for hunting if they pass all these tests.
As mentioned earlier, the Poodle isn’t typically bred to be the ideal hunting dog anymore. So if you have your heart set on a hunting Labradoodle, you will need to find the right breeder. Your breeder should have the goal of breeding for hunting. They have tried and tested their mating pairs to produce the best retrievers out there. The breeder will even use a Poodle with a strong hunting background and instinct to create the best pups for the job.
Labradoodles are an intelligent dog that catches on to commands quickly. This is an excellent attribute in hunting dogs because they need to have the drive to learn and improve. Training is about obeying commands and focusing. If your dog is stubborn or not bright, it will make the hunting process impossible.
Eager To Please
Having a pup that is eager to please will make the training process a lot easier. A puppy with an eagerness to please will gladly bring you your game if they think it will make you happy. Luckily for you, most Labradoodles are people, pleasers, by nature. They will always want to make you happy and will do anything to get that. The Doodle’s drive to please will make them a good hunting dog.
When choosing a Labradoodle puppy, you want to select one with a lot of body language. The more that a puppy is trying to tell you with sounds, whimpers, and movements, the better. Body language is key to a successful gun hunting dog. Without it, your dog will not be able to tell you where your game went. It also could mean that your dog might not get your body language, as well. By this standard are Labradoodles’ good hunting dogs? Most of them, yes! Labradoodles express their body language and will get your attention when the time is right.
You will also want to choose a puppy that can see, hear, and smell everything. If you see a puppy that loves to follow his nose, choose that one. Tracking abilities are something that some dogs have instinctually, and others need coaching to unlock this ability. But even if your puppy has those instincts, you will still have to train him to perfect it.
For a gun hunting dog, you will want a puppy with courage. Your puppy shouldn’t be afraid of loud noises or sudden movements. If your puppy doesn’t have courage, they likely will be too intimidated to excel. Are Labradoodles good hunting dogs with courage? Yes, a Labradoodle typically does not show fear of sounds or of doing things new. They usually embrace it and welcome new challenges.
Your Labradoodle will also need to have a lot of stamina to qualify for hunting. They need energy without tiring out, but not hyperactive. There is a balance between the focus and energy required for this job. Labradoodles are known to be very active, and as puppies, they can border hyperactive. Hunting can give your Labradoodle a chance to channel that stamina and put it to good use. Australian Labradoodles are calmer and more collected, but they still have the energy needed to become a great hunting dog.
Doodles are notorious for bad joints. When you are choosing a breeder, ask to see the health records on the joint parental history. A reputable breeder will have the x-rays and family history of both parents to prove their legitimacy. You can’t risk being out on the hunt and having a dog injure his leg. And you also won’t want to have to retire your dog early due to bad breeding.
If you plan on using your Labradoodle for water sport, you might want to make sure they enjoy swimming first. Choosing a puppy from early on that likes swimming can be challenging. Every dog has a unique personality, so not everyone will love it even if their parents did. The Labradoodle typically loves the water because of their lineage and breeding. But not all Labradoodles will like it just because their breed as a whole does.
For a retriever dog, you will also want to train them to have gentle mouths. Labradoodles are not known to be very mouthy or rough, so that instinct might help you there. Are Labradoodles good duck hunting dogs? Yes, they could easily retrieve a duck without damaging it.
Are Labradoodles Good Hunting Dogs?
The Labradoodle has excellent potential to be an excellent hunting dog if given a chance. They have inherited a lot of the same qualities their gun hunting ancestors possessed. The same conditions that people selectively bred to achieve for centuries. If you found the right breeder to unlock these traits, you could have the perfect pet and the ideal hunting dog.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Doodle Board!!