If you think that Labradoodles are just goofy-looking dogs with an even goofier name you are, we’re sorry to inform you, woefully ill-informed. They’re actually Frankenstein’s monster. And you don’t have to take our word for it, just ask Wally Conron, the guy who invented the breed and the name.
In 1989, Conron was the breeding manager for the Royal Guide Dogs Association in Melbourne, Australia, because no other country could produce a guy named Wally Conron. Anyways, as detailed in a delightfully comprehensive story from the ABC (no, not that one), Wally bred the first litter of three Labradoodles for a blind woman in Hawaii who needed a non-allergenic dog to appease her husband’s allergies.
Out of the initial trio, only one made the trip to Hawaii. Conron was left with two more Labradoodles, but no one wanted them as their guide dogs, for reasons passing understanding.
Flummoxed, Conron went to the PR department and gave them the name “Labradoodle” in an effort to build buzz for the breed.
“It was a gimmick. No-one wanted a crossbreed but everybody wanted a labradoodle. Same dog, different name,” Conron recalled. Unfortunately, it was a wildly successful gimmick, one that Conron immediately regretted.
The ethos of a good professional dog breeder is that your goal is to bring the healthiest pups into the world. His creation of Labradoodle the dog and Labradoodle the name led to lots of other breeders copying his work.
“I realized the reason for these unethical, ruthless people [was] to breed these dogs and sell them for big bucks,” Wally says.
The issues with the breed are bad enough that Wally says, of himself, “I opened a Pandora’s box and released a Frankenstein’s monster.”
“I find that the biggest majority are either crazy or have a hereditary problem. I do see some damn nice Labradoodles but they’re few and far between.”
So there you have it. Be extra nice to the Labradoodles in your life. There’s a guy in Australia who’s worried about them.