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Are Labradoodles Smart? – Here’s Why This Mixed Dog Breed is Highly Intelligent

Labradoodles are one of the most intelligent mixed dog breeds.
Written by Richard Jeng

The Labradoodle is the cross of the Labrador Retriever and Poodle. As you would expect, these mutts are friendly, affectionate and playful. But are Labradoodles smart dogs? How smart are Labradoodles? 

Labradoodles are highly intelligent mixed dog breeds. Both parent breeds, the Poodle and Labrador, rank in the top 10 for obedience and working intelligence. As a result, Labradoodles are some of the smartest dogs in the world, mutt or pure.

Though research on the intelligence of mixed breeds have not been done, we have a lot of information on the intelligence of the Labradoodle’s parent breeds. Let’s examine why this mutt is one of the most intelligent ever!

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Measuring a Dog’s Intelligence

Because they're mutts, we need to measure a Labradoodle's intelligence based on its parent breeds.

The study and research on dog intelligence has been primarily done by pHD and canine psychologist, Stanley Coren. In fact, the list of smartest dog breeds was published by Coren himself.

Unfortunately, the Labradoodle did not make the list as they never participated in Coren’s intelligence trials. However, both parent breeds (the Labrador and Poodle) did. 

The Canine Intelligence Criteria

Coren had the help of 199 obedience trial judges from North America. They helped him evaluate and rank individual dog breeds based on his criteria. His criteria was the following:

  1. The number of repetitions necessary for a dog breed to learn a new command. Fewer repetitions meant a more intelligent dog breed.
  2. The success rate in which a dog will obey a known command on the first attempt. A higher success rate meant a more obedient and intelligent dog.

Not all dog breeds made Coren’s smartest dogs list. Only breeds that received at least 100 evaluations were qualified. Similarly, only purebreds participated in the trials.

Though Labradoodles aren’t purebred dogs, we can make an educated guess on their intelligence based on the Labrador Retriever and Poodle.

How the Labrador & Poodle Performed

Both the Labrador and the Poodle performed exceptionally well in Coren’s dog intelligence trials. As a matter of fact, they’re both ranked as the top 10 smartest dog breeds!

To be specific, the Poodle ranked number 2. On the other hand, the Labrador Retriever was the 7th smartest dog breed. Being in the top 10 means they’re both in a class of their own.

This meant both the Lab and Poodle are able to learn a new command with less than 5 repetitions! You may be able to teach these dogs a new trick or command in less than 30 minutes.

Impressively, these dogs are able to obey a known command on the first try with an astounding 95% or better success rate. They’re the smartest, but also some of the most obedient dogs.

Just for reference, other dog breeds in the top 10 category include, the Rottweiler, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Doberman Pinscher and Border Collie.

Golden Labrador vs. “Average” Dogs

Now that we know just how smart Poodles and Labs are, how do they compare to the “average” intelligent dog? There’s nothing wrong with being average, but the difference is incredible.

Average intelligent dogs are able to learn a new command with 25 to 40 repetitions. This means that the Lab and Poodle are at least 5 times faster than the average.

Furthermore, average dogs will obey a known command on the first try with a 50% or better success rate. This means that Labradors and Poodles are much more obedient too!

Despite this gap, some of the most popular dog breeds are in this average intelligence category. For example: the Australian Shepherd, Siberian Husky, Dachshund, Great Dane, Shiba Inu and the Boston Terrier.

Owners: Is Your Labradoodle Smart?

We asked real Labradoodle owners if they thought their mutt was highly intelligent.

Based on Coren’s canine intelligence rankings, we don’t have conclusive evidence that Labradoodles are smart. However, to really gauge how smart these mutts are, we decided to ask real Labradoodle owners.

We surveyed the popular Labradoodle Subreddit and asked owners this question. Here’s what they had to say about their dogs:

1. Sefm2429 says YES: “I have an Australian Labradoodle. They’re hypoallergenic, have great temperaments, very smart, was easy to train, loves people and children and does very with with other dogs.”

2. Maindogdadd says YES: “Our Labradoodle loves people and other dogs. Not only is he great with kids, but he’s a little goofy but very smart.”

3. Justanotherdoodle says YES: “I have both a Labradoodle and a Poodle. Both super smart dogs with a great temperament around children. I think my lab poodle mix is a bit more obedient though.

4. Kimby_cbfh says YES: “Our pup is friendly, eager to please, very smart, and high energy.”

5. Eatthebankers says YES: “He’s 8 now, but he is so smart, and always surprises us. We learned last week that he looks at the clock and knows the time. Have fun, and never underestimate their intelligence.”

6. Anonymousdoodle says YES: “I can’t believe how smart our labradoodle is. She surpasses our expectations every day and we learn a lot from HER.”

7. Eerx3 says YES: “My Labradoodle is honestly one of the best things to ever come in to my life. Puppies of any breed can be hard but from my experience labradoodles can be trained pretty easily. They’re very smart and eager to please!”

8. Dcdogmom says YES: “Labradoodles are very curious dogs though, and very smart too. If not trained properly, they can become a problem.”

9. Kahlualualua says YES: “Max, our Labradoodle, is smart and absolutely trainable. But he’s got some behavioral issues which I blame on the previous owner. ”

10. Ezeki3lzak says YES: “Out of the 7 dogs that i’ve owned in my life, the labradoodle is hands down the smartest AND most obedient. I’ve had Goldens, a German Shepherd, Rottweiler and a Great Dane.”

What Makes the Labradoodle Smart

Labradoodles are highly intelligent because they have some of the best adaptive intelligence in the world.

According to Stanley Coren, there are three dimensions of dog intelligence. The first, obedience and working intelligence, was measured in the smartest dog breeds list.

However, there’s so much more to intelligence than just working / obedience. Namely, adaptive and instinctive intelligence. Both of which, are crucial components to measuring how smart a dog really is.

The Hypoallergenic Guide Dog

Instinctive intelligence refers to the innate ability and/or skill that a dog breed was bred for. What was the purpose of breeding a dog?

For example, Golden Retrievers were bred to retrieve game – hence, the name. They are natural at retrieving objects, which explains why they’ll easily play fetch from day one. The ability to do this without human training requires instinctive intelligence.

So what were Labradoodles bred for? In 1989, the Labradoodle was developed in Australia to be a guide dog for a blind woman with a husband that had allergies. Not only are they hypoallergenic dogs, but also some of the best guide or service dogs you can own.

Though being a guide dog does require additional human training, Labradoodles have the innate instincts to help and guide for their owners. As a result, this is their instinctive intelligence. 

Labradoodle’s Adaptive Intelligence

Another highly important dimension of dog intelligence is adaptive intelligence. This refers to the ability of your Labradoodle to learn for him/herself

Does your Labradoodle learn from previous mistakes and experiences? Is the dog great at solving problems on its own? All these questions pertain to adaptive intelligence in dogs. 

Unlike instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence can vary quite a bit among individual dogs of the same breed. Still, Labradoodles are generally dogs that excel in adaptive intelligence.

For instance, one owner tells us, “my Labradoodle is scary smart.” She continues saying, “he’s figured out a way to tell when were about to take him for a walk.”

By the time were getting ready, he’s already waiting at the door waiting or sitting next to his leash.” If this is not a sign of high adaptive intelligence, I don’t know what is. 

Another doodle owner tells us, “my dog loves his Greenie that I give him every night around 10 PM.” 

If I ever forget (usually because i’m working), he’ll come into my office and let me know at around 10 PM. I didn’t know these dogs had such amazing biological clocks too.

Of course, these are just some stories of high adaptive intelligence in Labradoodles. I’m certain if you ask a doodle owner yourself, you’ll hear lots of similar stories!

Smart Toys for Smart Doodles

One of the downsides to owning a smart dog, such as a Labradoodle, is that they require a lot of mental stimulation. This usually comes in the form of obedience training.

However, not every dog owner is able to provide enough obedience training and mental stimulation for their Labradoodles. The solution? Provide smart dog toys and puzzles to keep their minds busy.

Here are just a couple that my dogs absolutely loved, especially when they were younger. 

I think the Nina Ottosson Dog Puzzle is fantastic for any dog. It comes in three variations but I went with this one (the Hide N’ Slide): 

Put your doodle’s favorite treats in the hidden slots and let them go to work! They’ll have to move the knobs and sliders to get to their treats. Trust me, it’ll keep them occupied for quite a bit. I highly recommend taking a look at Amazon.

Another dog toy that my Corgi loves is the StarMark Bob-A-Lot. It’s essentially a bobbing toy that dispenses treats as your dog tilts it a certain way. 

There are two chambers too! Not only can you fit treats in there but also meals (kibbles). If your doodle eats a little too fast, then this can also help. 

Just make sure you get a size Large for your Labradoodle. If you’re interested in this, check it out at Amazon. There’s a reason why it’s so highly reviewed!

There are a ton of great smart dog toys and puzzles for your Labradoodle. You don’t need to settle for these two. Have a look around and pick for yourself.

What’s important is that you provide some toys that can mentally stimulate your Labradoodles mind. Without mental stimulation, it could lead to some destructive behavior.

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About the author

Richard Jeng

Richard has been raising dogs his whole life, including a Poodle, Pomeranian, Corgi and Australian Shepherd. He's always working with animal shelters and dog rescues because of his passion for all dogs. Fun fact: his all time favorite breed is the German Shepherd. Read More.

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