I remember looking into getting a Labradoodle as a potential companion for Molly. Researching them was overwhelming! I was bombarded with different types of Labradoodles – F1 and F2 being the most common. What I found, was that if you’re choosing between the two, it’s important to know which will make the better pet. I did the research so that you don’t have to!
So, which one is better – F1 or F2 Labradoodle? In most cases, it’s better to pick an F1 Labradoodle over an F2 because they’re more predictable. You can’t be certain of the traits and appearance of an F2 because it’s a mix of two F1s. Experienced breeders don’t usually sell F2 Labradoodles because they are aware of this inherent randomness.
But what exactly is the difference between an F1 and F2 Labradoodle? What are their characteristics? What about other generations like F1b and F2b? In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about F1 and F2 Labradoodles and answer these questions in detail.
Understanding Different Labradoodle Generations
There’s a lot of confusion and misinformation on the internet regarding the different generations of Labradoodles (or any other designer breed for that matter). F1, F2, F3, F1b, F2b – this is the accepted nomenclature to distinguish any designer dog breed between different generations.
F1 is the first generation of Labradoodles, F1b (not F2) is the second generation, and F2 is the third generation. From the third generation onwards, they are known as multi-generation Labradoodles. A multi-generation Labradoodle is one whose parents are both Labradoodles.
But what’s the difference between these generations? How are they bred?
To answer this question in simple terms, here’s a table explaining the different generations of Labradoodles, how they are bred, and what percent of Labrador and Poodle they are:
|F1 (first cross-generation)||Labrador + Poodle||50% Labrador & 50% Poodle|
|F1b (back cross-generation)||F1 + Poodle||75% Poodle & 25% Labrador|
|F2||F1 + F1||Unpredictable|
|F2b||F1 + F1b||62.5% Poodle & 37.5% Labrador|
|F3||F2 + F2||Unpredictable|
Related article: What is an F1 Labradoodle?
Common Traits in All Generations
Before we discuss the differences between F1 and F2 Labradoodles, let’s look at some common traits of all Labradoodles:
- They have lots of energy. Be prepared to play with them a lot and give them plenty of exercise.
- They make great family pets. They’re gentle and loving with children. They’ll quickly become an essential part of your family.
- They’re easy to train. Since Labradoodles are quite intelligent, they can be taught to do tricks and tasks easily.
- They shed less. When compared with Labradors or any other non-doodles, they’re low shedding dogs. But a particular Labradoodle may shed more than others.
- They make an excellent guide and therapy dogs. Labradoodles were originally bred for being a guide dog, and they’re wonderful at it. Their loving temperament also makes them ideal therapy dogs for people with depression, autism, or other issues.
- They’re not watchdogs. Labradoodles are excellent family pets, but they’re not the best breed for protection. They’re bred not to be aggressive.
This is the first-generation Labradoodle, a product of mating a purebred Labrador Retriever with a standard or miniature Poodle. It’s 50% Labrador and 50% Poodle.
With an F1 Labradoodle, we move away from the flat coat of a Labrador and the curly face of a Poodle. We end up with something in-between – an adorable puppy with a rocking wavy coat. The coat isn’t always wavy, though; it can also be smooth like a Labrador, shaggy, or wiry.
As first-generation hybrids, the F1 Labradoodles are believed to be healthier than their parents. These added health benefits are associated with heterosis or hybrid vigor. It means that the first cross between two unrelated purebred dogs results in a puppy that’s healthier and grows better than either parent line.
However, for the puppy to enjoy these health benefits, both parent dogs need to be thoroughly tested for diseases. Labradors are known to have hip problems, and Poodles can also suffer hip dysplasia and eye disorders.
F1 Labradoodles can easily live in families with mild allergic reactions. If someone in your family is highly allergic, getting an F1b Labradoodle is preferable as they are more allergy-friendly or hypoallergenic than F1.
Some F1 Labradoodles don’t shed at all, while others may shed a low-moderate amount. They’re quite loving, energetic, and an excellent choice for families.
As we’ve said, F2 Labradoodles are a mix of two F1 Labradoodles. Both parents of an F2 Labradoodle are 50% Labrador and 50% Poodle themselves. When you do the math, you will end up getting another dog that’s 50% Labrador and 50% Poodle. If that’s true, there’s no need to breed F2 Labradoodles in the first place.
Now, it’s virtually impossible to predict which side the new puppy will go to. Instead of a 50% Labrador and 50% Poodle, we could get any percentage of the two breeds. The puppy could go back toward either of its purebred parents, and we can’t be sure what we’ll get.
The only difference between an F1 and F2 Labradoodle is the genetic mixture. In an F2, the genes are mixed further, resulting in a lot more color variants than an F1 Labradoodle. The tendency to breed F2 Labradoodles is just to get a specific color or a fleece fur.
F2, F3, and other higher generation Labradoodles are much more random in terms of appearance and other traits. There’s a high chance that you’ll get puppies who in appearance are pure Labrador Retriever or pure Poodle. Their shedding and temperament are also hard to predict precisely.
In an F2 puppy, you’ll typically see many variants of fur, ranging from very curly fleece to very short-hair types. Higher generations like F2 or F3 can look more Labrador-ish or Poodle-ish. Labradoodle puppies get their adult coat only after 12 months of age. So, it’s quite difficult to tell what an F2 Labradoodle will look like as an adult dog.
An experienced, reputable breeder won’t breed F2 Labradors. Breeders need consistent results to sell, and F2 Labradoodles are the most unpredictable of all generations.
So, Which Labradoodle Should You Get?
You have all the information to answer this question for yourself. If you’re looking for a typical Labradoodle to have in your family, an F1 Labradoodle will do the job.
On the other hand, if you want a dog that’s more hypoallergenic and sheds even lesser, you should opt for an F1b Labradoodle. They’re the second or back-cross generation of Labradoodles and perfect for this purpose.
However, when comparing F1 and F2 Labradoodles, we recommend not to go for F2. You don’t know what you get in case of an F2. The traits can be unpredictable, and no responsible breeder would breed two F1 Labradoodles to produce a puppy with random characteristics.
Regardless of which puppy you pick, remember to get all the details about their ancestors. Make sure the puppy’s parents were vaccinated and tested for diseases before breeding.
Labradoodles are sweet and adorable, but there’s a lot to consider if you’re thinking of getting one for yourself. You’ll have to put in a special effort to reduce the risk of allergic reactions or to find a Labradoodle that doesn’t shed.
F1 and F1b are usually thought to be decent choices when it comes to bringing a Labradoodle home. You can even look at F2b If you want some specific traits.
Always make sure that you get your Labradoodle from an experienced, reputable breeder. There are lots of irresponsible breeders who only want to make money. They don’t care about the puppy developing serious health complications later on in its life.
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