1. Are Labradoodles, Goldendoodles and Double Doodles
Sometimes. If you understand what 'non-shedding' really means. These are hybrids, and the shedding varies by generation
and by specific dog. Be aware that even 'non-shedding' dogs do lose hair. Everything that grows hair eventually has it come out...even you!! So I prefer the term 'low shed'. So in the case of non/low shedding Doodles, in it tends to come out during
brushing and bathing, as opposed to falling on the floor or coming out on your clothes when you hug them!
2. Do Labradoodles and Goldendoodles need much grooming?
This varies by generation and coat type. F1 Labradoodles with more 'labby' (hair) coats require almost no grooming at all...but their hair will come out on your clothes and floor. The F1 Doodles with the fleecier coats (rare in F1 Labradoodles but possible in F1 Goldendoodles) , or F1B and multigeneration doodles, require brushing frequently, ranging from every other day to once a week.
They also need to have their coats trimmed or thinned every month or every other month. Those dogs that do not shed, meaning their hair does not fall on the floor, do tend to matt more easily, as the dead hair remains in the coat until brushed out. So there is no free lunch. If you have a dog you will have to deal with hair in some way, either brushing and grooming, or vaccuming it off the floor!
3. Labby coat, fleecy coat, woolly coat...how do I decide what I want?
A labby (hair) coat is very low maintenance as far as brushing and grooming time. They do, however, usually shed some. The fleecier coats are OFTEN (not always) lower shedding, but require more grooming time to avoid matting. Wool coats are often allergy-friendly and low shedding, but require a lot of grooming to avoid matting. There are full coated, upper generation dogs that are NOT woolly but ARE allergy-friendly and low shedding. It takes an experienced breeder to recognize this. In any case, it is a personal decision about where you will spend your time in terms of dealing with dog hair...either in grooming the dog or cleaning up the hair it leaves behind on your clothes and floor.
4. Are Labradoodles, Goldendoodles and Double Doodles really hypoallergenic?
Sometimes. If you understand what 'hypoallergenic' really means. Dog allergies can be to dog hair/dander, or they can be to
dog saliva. If the allergy is to saliva the breed of dog doesn't make any difference. With hair/dander allergies, the woollier F1B and multigen labradoodles are more likely to be allergy-friendly than the F1 Labradoodles. F1 Goldendoodles are more often allergy-friendly than F1 Labradoodles. However, we do not recommend F1 Labradoodles OR Goldendoodles for families with allergies. The chances of reaction are just unacceptably high. For those families with dog allergies we recommend a SOME F1B or multigen Labradoodles or Goldendoodles, or Double Doodles. It is important to understand that not all F1B are allergy-friendly, and not all multigeneration dogs are allergy-friendly. Only an experienced breeder can recognize puppy coats that will be likely to develop into the allergy-friendly variety.
5. How important is health-testing of a puppy's parents?
This is a very personal choice. Many puppies from non-tested parents will never have a problem. However, we do know that there are health problems of genetic origin (here is an article on Genetics/Health Testing in Labradoodles and Goldendoodles) that Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and Poodles all share. Different sizes of dogs are at risk for different disorders. For example, minis hardly ever suffer from hip dysplasia, because there is so little weight placed on their joints. Many breeders are more flexible in their hip testing requirements for minis for this reason. But health problems can and do occur in Doodles, and in some cases can be very expensive and emotionally devastating. Testing doesn't guarantee that genetic problems will not occur, but it increases the chances your puppy will be healthy. And it does NOT affect the chances of non-genetically based health issues at all.
However, breeders who health-test for the genetic problems we know about (and have tests for) often charge more for their puppies and sometimes have waiting lists. Everyone has to balance for themselves the expense and time of a puppy from health-tested parents vs the expense and time of a dog with a significant health problem. It's the concept of a front-end loaded investment vs. a rear-end loaded investment.