HISTORY OF THE AUSTRALIAN COBBERDOG
The Australian Cobberdog is a pure breed Labradoodle
Wally Conron was the creator of the Labradoodle breed, and his work was continued by Ruthland Manor and Tegan Park Labradoodle Breeding & Research Centres.
They were able to make the Labradoodle into a purebred with the Australian Cobberdog.
A MEETING WITH WALLY CONRON, THE CREATOR OF THE LABRADOODLE
When we started our study of the Australian Cobberdog in Australia, the most interesting person we wanted to meet was Wally Conron
, creator of the Labradoodle
(cross between the Labrador and Poodle
that ultimately became the Australian Cobberdog breed). Much has been written about him, and we wanted to discover firsthand what he thought of the breed. It was important for us to learn as much as possible about its history and his experience with it as an assistance dog. Without a doubt, he is one of the most knowledgable people on the Labradoodle. Although Wally Conron
is considered to be the father of the breed, his main work was always as an educator for therapy and assistance dogs
The first Labradoodle
worked with an association for the blind with a breeding and training programme for guide dogs. One day, he received a special request. It came from a blind Hawaiian woman whose husband was allergic to dogs. For 3 years he worked with poodles, since they have hypoallergenic fur, but none of the Poodles showed the necessary attributes to become guide dogs. So he made an unprecedented decision: to cross one of his Labradors with a Poodle to create a new hypoallergenic breed, the Labradoodle
Development of the Labradoodle
Wally Conron had his Labradoodle litters and selected stupendous assistance dogs from them. However, since he began his breeding programme, Wally Conron was threatened, sued and even beat by pure breed breeders who accused him of perverting their work. This was clearly a reaction of fear on the part of the breeders to the international attention that the Labradoodle
had received. Ultimately, Wally Conron
gave up and retired, leaving a generation of power to register the breed in the Kennel Club.
Wally Conron's opinion on the Labradoodle
In his own words, the Labradoodles
he created were brilliant. He never had any problems with their temperament, they were very intelligent and easy to train. This was the case because he took great pains to carefully select the parents of the puppies. The problem with the Labradoodle was its success.
The Labradoodle became very popular,
and breeding kennels began breeding the dogs without any type of criteria. They simply put two dogs together without studying possible hereditary health or behaviourial issues. They didn't test to verify that they had hypoallergenic fur, either. Thus, little by little, the breed became contaminated and generated a perception that the dogs were too nervous, took too long to learn orders and did not serve as assistance dogs. Witness to this, at times Wally Conon regretted having started a fever that also gave way to the senseless crossing of breeds. For him, the cross between the Labrador and the Poodle only made sense as long as it produced good assistance dogs that did not provoke allergies
. When this was no longer the case, the Labradoodle had no reason to exist. Fortunately, after Wally Conron retired, there were other breeders such as Mellodie Woolley who continued to follow the original criteria, achieving great results.
The popularization of the Labradoodle
quickly spread in popularity. However, high demand for these dogs led to serious consequences: many breeders caught Labradoodle fever
, and started to breed them with money as the priority. Unscrupulous breeders and a lack of genetic knowledge began to produce crossbreeds whose purpose was to create a high number of puppies that could be sold under the name Labradoodle, all without ensuring that the puppies complied with breed standards ( hypoallergenic fur
, even temperament
, adequate build…) and that the parents had no hereditary problems.
The Labradoodle crisis
One of the first breeders who worked hard to develop the Labradoodle breed was Mellodie Woolley
. Along with her mother, Beverley Manners, she took it upon herself to develop and consolidate a breed that went further than simply crossing a Labrador with a Poodle. Nonetheless, witnesses to the overexploitation of the term Labradoodle
and how it was losing its original significance, they reframed the original concept of the breed. They decided to disassociate it from all the negative connotations the Labradoodle had unfairly acquired, creating a new breeding programme with other criteria and a different name (Australian Cobberdog
), so it would no longer be associated with unscrupulous breeders.
The rebirth of the Labradoodle
Beverley and Mellodie, breeders of the Ruthland Manor
and Tegan Park Labradoodle
Breeding & Research Centres decided to restore the Authentic Labradoodle's lost essence. They reinitiated the breeding programme with different genetic diversity, under the criteria used to originally create the Labradoodle: hypoallergenic dogs that did not shed hair, endowed with great intelligence and intuition, a gentle and generous nature, very easy to train and with great potential to beome therapy and assistance dogs. Thus, the Australian Cobberdog
was born, a name referring to the purebred Labradoodle that complies with the original objectives of the breed.
IS A LABRADOODLE AN AUSTRALIAN COBBERDOG?
No, a Labradoodle
is a cross between a poodle and a labrador, or a multigenerational cross (the so-called Australian Labradoodles). An Australian Cobberdog has a pedigree recognized by the Australian MDBA
, in addition to its own stable DNA sequence. This is especially important, because the stable DNA sequence means that it maintains its characteristics, generation after generation. This helps to predict its qualities. With Labradoodles, this cannot be predicted, and there will always be uncertainty regarding how the puppies will turn out. If you are thinking about having a Labradoodle
at home, you are most likely looking for an Australian Cobberdog. In actuality, the Australian Cobberdog is exactly what the Labradoodle should have turned out to be if it had not fallen into crisis, even though the essence of both names is the same: a hypoallergenic dog with enormous potential to carry out therapy and assistance work.
The main difference is that the Australian Cobberdog has a quality guarantee (it is what you expect it to be), while a Labradoodle can never be guaranteed.
Information and enquiries about the Australian Cobberdog