Goldendoodles are beautiful dogs, but do they also make good pets? Let’s find out.
Happily, this lovely new hybrid dog immediately caught on with dog lovers and breeders, and is now so popular there is even an association dedicated to Goldendoodles.
But the Goldendoodle is not without its detractors.
And there are some important things to know if you are thinking about inviting a Goldendoodle to join your family.
So without further delay, let’s jump in and take a look at the Goldendoodle dog, including information about a Goldendoodle pup, adult Goldendoodle and what you need to know about Goldendoodles.
Designer ‘Hybrid’ dogs: What Does Science Tell Us?
So-called “designer” or “hybrid” dog breeds are actually not new in the canine world, although having an official name for them is relatively new.
In fact, every single purebred dog breed we know today, including the Goldendoodle parent dogs (golden retriever and poodle), began as some form of hybrid dog breed.
This makes sense once you realize that the definition of a hybrid dog breed is a dog from mixed parentage (i.e., a mutt).
Every purebred dog today descended from the same original ancestor: the gray wolf (Canis lupus).
This lineage is so intact that the scientific name for the domestic canine is Canis lupus familiaris (the familiar wolf).
What’s All the Fuss About?
So why are some people, and in particular certain dog breeders, upset about the introduction of hybrid dog breeds like the Goldendoodle?
The thinking here is that hybrid dog breeds dilute the very purebred dog lines breeders have worked so hard to create.
However, since many purebred dogs can suffer from health issues caused by a less-diverse genetic pool.
Enter the hybrid dog breed, which in essence reintroduces some much-needed genetic diversity back into the gene pool.
This is called “hybrid vigor” and, as its name suggests, this refers to how diversifying the gene pool for future generations can help guard against known health weaknesses (more on this in another section here).
The Goldendoodle: Golden Retriever Poodle Mix
Learning the Goldendoodle information you need to know before making a commitment to a pup of your own starts with learning more about each parent dog: the golden retriever and the poodle, respectively.
Origins of the Golden Retriever
The golden retriever gets its name honestly.
It has a golden-colored coat and was originally bred as a sport dog for retrieving game.
The golden retriever dog breed first arose in the early 19th century out of an unusual yellow retriever dog crossed with a tweed water spaniel.
Today, the golden retriever is the third most popular pet dog on the American Kennel Club’s annual “most popular dogs” list and has been for the last five years and counting.
Origins of the Poodle
The poodle we know today comes in three sizes (toy, mini, standard) and arose out of the same water spaniel/retriever canine group that the golden retriever came from.
Like golden retrievers, poodles are highly intelligent. Standard poodles can be excellent swimmers.
The poodle is currently ranked 7th on the AKC’s list of most popular pet dog breeds.
Is the Goldendoodle a Hypoallergenic Dog?
One of the key reasons why the Goldendoodle dog has become so well-known and popular is because this dog has a reputation for being hypo-allergenic.
You might be wondering exactly what that means.
Is it possible that people with pet allergies can have a Goldendoodle and not suffer?
Unfortunately, there is no truly hypo-allergenic dog breed.
All Dogs Can Cause Allergies
This is because all dogs produce some measure of the protein that triggers allergies (fel D 1) in their saliva, skin and urine.
In fact, many people don’t realize that pet allergies are caused by coming into contact with this protein and not simply by bringing home a pet that sheds.
Goldendoodle allergies can be less problematic for some pet allergy sufferers because these dogs have a tendency to shed less due to their poodle parent influence.
However, as we will talk about in later sections here, not all Goldendoodles will take after their poodle parent.
This is important information to consider when selecting a Goldendoodle puppy.
Your Goldendoodle could have a coat more like a golden retriever or more like a Poodle.
Either way, they are going to need some serious grooming.
Although how to do so will depend upon which coat your adult doodle ends up with.
For information on how to groom a poodle style coat, click here.
You will need to familiarize yourself with both methods, as either one could be required for a Goldendoodle.
What Are Goldendoodle Dogs Like?
Goldendoodle breed info and firsthand accounts from owners tell us that the Goldendoodle is a reliably bright, sociable, friendly and affectionate pet dog.
Here, it helps that the Goldendoodle’s parent dogs, the golden retriever and the poodle, are each well-established breeds in terms of personality and temperament, so the chances of a Goldendoodle puppy being ill-tempered or aggressive are very slim.
The Goldendoodle is frequently recommended as a service and therapy dog because they truly have never met a stranger, and are not at all shy or reserved in the company of people they don’t know.
Goldendoodle Size and Weight
A full-grown Goldendoodle can vary quite a bit in size and weight depending on whether the poodle parent is a toy, miniature or standard breed. Mini Goldendoodles (sometimes called “mini Groodles”) typically stand 13 to 20 inches tall (paw to shoulder) and weigh between 15 and 35 pounds.
The standard Goldendoodle can also vary somewhat in adult size and weight depending on the size and weight of both parent dogs.
For general purposes, a standard Goldendoodle can stand anywhere from 17 to 24 inches tall (paw to shoulder) and weigh anywhere from 40 to 90 pounds.
Clearly, it is important to study the parent dogs closely so you can guesstimate what to expect when your puppy grows up.
The Goldendoodle truly has a “golden” personality, so much so that these dogs will make poor watchdogs at best. They are just too friendly and sociable.
Goldendoodles are smart just like their parents and can get into mischief without early training, socialization, sufficient daily enrichment and activity.
Also, because the Goldendoodle is so friendly and exuberant, socialization with people and other dogs is vital to help your pup understand how to behave when out and about.
Although Goldendoodle dogs in general have a fabulous reputation for sweet personalities and temperaments, the best way to assess this for yourself is to meet and spend time with each parent dog.
Many different factors can influence the temperament of a puppy, including birth order, gender, parent dog temperament, breeder early training and socialization, the weaning process and more.
Both the golden retriever and the poodle have certain known health issues that occur more frequently within each dog breed.
As mentioned earlier here, this is thought to be a result of focused breeding to match an ideal appearance standard.
Any reputable breeder will take care to test all parent dogs to rule out passing on any known genetic health issues to puppies.
However, not all health issues currently have reliable tests, which means it is wise to learn all you can about potential breed health issues before you make a commitment to a particular puppy.
Golden Retriever Health
Golden retrievers have several potential health problems, those with genetic tests include hip dysplasia and PRA blindness. The golden retriever parent must be tested for both of these.
In addition, golden retrievers have a higher than average incidence of cancer, to the point where it is the number one cause of death in adult goldens today.
The Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study aims to better understand cancer in the golden retriever breed and work toward preventative measures.
The golden retriever is also at greater risk to develop bloat (gastric dilation), a potentially life-threatening condition in which the stomach twists.
The Poodle Club of America’s official breed health statement states that there are 18 known genetic health issues that poodle breeders need to test for before clearing a poodle to breed.
The poodle is also at greater risk to develop bloat (gastric dilation), a potentially life-threatening condition in which the stomach twists.
Learning about all the potential health concerns of each parent dog can be pretty overwhelming.
However, if you recall the discussion earlier here about “hybrid vigor,” you remember that outcrossing (mixing) a purebred dog’s bloodline can result in a healthier dog.
But this is not guaranteed.
Goldendoodles bred by a responsible breeder should have parent dogs that have been tested and cleared of known genetic health issues.
This leaves bloat and cancer as the two most pressing possible health issues you may face with your new pup.
Goldendoodle Life Span
The average life span for a golden retriever is 10 to 12 years. The average life span for a poodle is 10 to 18 years.
This basically means your Goldendoodle’s average anticipated life span could range from 10 to 18 years depending on which parent dog your pup most closely takes after.
Other important factors that can influence expected life span include diet, enrichment activities, exercise, access to preventative veterinary care and lifestyle.
When you first begin researching Goldendoodle breeders, your main question will probably be about Goldendoodle price.
But how much are Goldendoodles is a question that can have different answers based on the generation of the puppies.
By “generation,” we mean f1 versus f1b. F1 Goldendoodle puppies have one parent dog that is a poodle and one parent dog that is a golden retriever.
F1b Goldendoodle puppies have one or both parents that are also Goldendoodles.
Not surprisingly, it is easier to control important issues such as coat shedding, personality, temperament, health concerns and adult size when breeding f1b Goldendoodle puppies.
With f1 Goldendoodle puppies, you really have no way of knowing whether a given puppy will predominantly take after the golden retriever parent or the poodle parent.
This, as you might imagine, can result in puppies that vary quite a bit in size, coat type, coat shedding and health issues—even within a single litter.
Most breeders will choose to specialize in either f1 Goldendoodles or f1b Goldendoodles, although some breeders will breed both dogs.
Future litters of f1b Goldendoodles (two Goldendoodle parent dogs) will be f2b, f3b, f4b and so forth.
In terms of price, you can expect to pay more for mini-Goldendoodles than for standard Goldendoodles. You may also find you will pay slightly more for an f1b Goldendoodle than for an f1 Goldendoodle.
Pricing in general starts around $1,000 and can be as high as $5,000+ depending on the kennel, the parent dog lineage and other factors.
Another option to consider is Goldendoodle puppy rescue.
This can be an especially viable path if you have your heart set on a nonshed/low-shed Goldendoodle because you have pet allergies.
A Goldendoodle puppy to full growth can change quite a bit in the course of a year or two, and it can be very difficult to know in advance whether a particular puppy will take after the golden retriever dog parent or the poodle dog parent.
Plus, it is important to remember that Goldendoodles are lively, active and energetic dogs in general.
This does not always work out well once the owner discovers how much time and energy their new puppy requires.
This can result in a Goldendoodle puppy being returned to the breeder or relinquished to a shelter or rescue center while it waits for a new home.
Under the right circumstances, that new home could be yours.
Is a Goldendoodle the Right Pet for Me?
We hope you have enjoyed reading this article on the history and evolution of the Goldendoodle, which is one of the most popular hybrid dogs in the world today.
Do you share your life with a Goldendoodle now? What helped you to know for sure that this was the dog for you? Please drop us a comment to share your story and help other prospective Goldendoodle owners.
References and Further Reading:
“History of the Goldendoodle,” Goldendoodle Association of North America
Jefferson, J., “About the Goldendoodle,” Jefferson Doodles
Melina, R., 2010, “The Incredible Explosion of Dog Breeds,” Live Science
Morley, F., et al., “What About Goldendoodles,” Prairie Chime Farms
Rupke, S., “About Goldendoodles,” SwissRidge Kennels
Smith, F., DVM, PhD, et al., “About Golden Retrievers/GRCA’s Position on Goldendoodles,” Golden Retriever Club of America
Thomas, R., et al., “Poodle History,” The Poodle History Project