The Labradoodle is a wildly-popular cross between the lively Labrador Retriever and the graceful Poodle. As you would expect, these hybrids are friendly, affectionate and playful. However, are they just as smart as their parent dog breeds?

Labradoodles are some of the smartest hybrid dogs thanks to their highly intelligent parents, the Labrador and Poodle. Both breeds are among the top-10 smartest dog breeds for “obedience & working intelligence.” And given both parent breed’s long history in retrieving, Labradoodles tend to have high instinctive dog intelligence.

However, there’s much more to dog intelligence than just obedience and work. For example, there’s also adaptive and instinctive intelligence. Both of which, are crucial to measuring how smart a dog really is.

Labradoodles have superb retrieving intelligence

Instinctive intelligence refers to the innate ability or skill that a dog breed was bred for. So what exactly was the purpose of breeding this dog? Nearly every dog was once bred for a role in society. Some dogs were bred to be guard dogs, retrievers, herders, companions and much more.

For example, Labrador Retrievers were bred to retrieve game – hence, the name. It means that they’re naturally inclined to retrieve an object. Haven’t you ever wondered why they do so well playing catch or frisbee? It’s because they were literally born for it.

Likewise, Poodles were also bred to retrieve waterfowl. In fact, both parent breeds are some of the best retrievers in the game. This innate ability to retrieve with little to no human training requires high instinctive intelligence.

Now you may be wondering how retrieving skills are helpful in gauging dog intelligence? Knowing how to maneuver through water and bring back a prey without damaging the animal’s body requires high intelligence. Not all dogs can do this, even with extensive training.

“Mild-mannered breeds like the Labradoodle make great therapy dogs, but that is not all they are good for – they can also be trained as guide dogs.”

– PetGuide (Labradoodle

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. As such, these dogs had to be hypoallergenic dogs, but also some of the most companionable and trainable dogs.

Though being a guide dog does require additional human training, Labradoodles are born with the innate instincts to help and serve their owners. They always want to help! Pus, they’re incredible at reading emotions and could double as an excellent companion dog.

The Labradoodle is excellent at learning from the past

Another important dimension of dog intelligence is adaptive intelligence. It may be the most important aspect, as it refers to the ability of your Labradoodle to learn for him or herself. While some dogs rely a lot on the guidance of their owners and the prompting of cues from their owners, adaptively-intelligent dogs rely more on themselves. This is an especially helpful trait when working with service-prospects.

Does the Labradoodle learn from his or her past mistakes and correct them? Are they good at solving problems on their own? All of these are good questions when assessing their adaptive intelligence. 

But unlike instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence can vary quite a bit among individual dogs – even from the same breed. Labradoodles, being hybrid dogs, are no exception, so it is important to ask the breeder about their temperaments. That being said, this mix tends to excel in adaptive intelligence.

For instance, one owner tells us:

My Labradoodle is scary smart. He’s figured out a way to tell when we’re about to take him for a walk. By the time we’re ready, he’ll be waiting at the door next to his leash.

His Labradoodle figured out the small actions of the owners leading up to taking the dog out for a walk. It could be simple actions, such as putting on sunscreen or rolling up socks.

Whatever the cue is, this Labradoodle was able to learn from past experiences and associate these actions with a consequent action. This is a prime example of adaptive intelligence in dogs.

Another doodle owner tells us

My dog loves his Greenie and I give him one every night at 10 PM. If I ever forget, 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! And we did just that!

Is Your Labradoodle Smart?

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

Real Owner Answers:
  • Sefm2429 says Yes: “I have a Labradoodle! They’re hypoallergenic, have great temperaments, very smart, was easy to train, loves people and children and does very well with other dogs.
  • Maindogdadd says Yes: “Our Labradoodle loves people and other dogs. Not only is he great with kids, but he’s a little goofy and very smart.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.”

Ask The Breeder

Here at The Dood Ranch, we only produce 1-2 litters a year, and never at the same time. We want to give our full attention and focus to the pups, and this allows us to give you the puppy you deserve. We intensely monitor each litter and are actively involved in their rearing, so we are able to make recommendations on which temperament would fit your family best.

Our parent pairings give way for excellent genetics and smarts for our pups, and we look forward to talking with you about them!