I love all the funny breed names that are created by cross breeding. I mean, seriously, a Labradoodle, Bascottie, and Cockapoo…it can make you want to adopt one of these breeds just so you can say those names. Yet, most of these furry creatures are also adorable to look at, and a real stand out among them is the “Golden Doodle” also referred to as Goldendoodles, Golden Poos, Goldie Poos and Groodles (my personal favorite).
As the name implies, they are a blend of Golden Retriever and Poodle (either standard or miniature), and they are enjoying a surge in popularity and interest.After all, the cross breeding of these two types of dogs means that they are likely to both smart and friendly, and also quite reasonably active. And according to experts, “Well-bred Goldendoodles are outgoing, social dogs and often have an uncanny ability to communicate with their people. Some Goldendoodles have even been trained as guide dogs.”
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History of the Golden Doodle
Trying to unwind the history of the Golden Doodle is difficult because people have been cross breeding dogs for centuries – often with the goal of creating a dog with a certain capability, temperament or look. After all, this is precisely how purebreds like Doberman Pinschers and charming Brussels Griffons came to be.
But, as one writer explained, “crossing two breeds over and over does not a breed make. A breed is a group of animals related by descent from common ancestors and visibly similar in most characteristics. To achieve consistency in appearance, size, and temperament, breeders must select the puppies with the traits they want and breed them over several generations for the traits to become set.”
Another Golden Doodle expert said that “First-generation Goldendoodles are highly variable in appearance and coat. Multi-generation Goldendoodles – whose parents both are Goldendoodles – are much more consistent in type.” And by this they mean their appearance and personalities as well as their levels of intelligence and capability.
Since the Golden Doodle has been popular for less than 30 years, they have only that brief period to count as their authentic backstory. What has developed around the Golden Doodles is a reputation for intelligence, appealing dispositions, few health issues, and a hypoallergenic coat. It is why, even in their short history, they have been put to work as guide dogs, therapy dogs and noted as incredible companions.
Yet, interestingly enough, they first appeared around 1970, when breeders were looking to breed dogs well suited to working with visually impaired individuals who also suffered from dog allergies. As poodles are naturally hypoallergenic, they were chosen as an ideal partner to the traits of the Golden Retriever as guide.
Though a “designer dog”, they have served in that capacity for which they were intended and became popular in North America beginning in the 1990s, with the term Golden Doodle first appearing around 1992.
Golden Doodle Appearance
Their looks live up to their names, and Golden Doodles are often a picturesque blend of the golden hue of the Golden Retriever with the silky, curly coat of the poodle. However, in terms of build they can and do vary widely. This is due to several factors. The first is that they can be bred to three different sizes – as miniatures, medium and standard poodle cross breeds.
The average or standard Golden Doodle is about 21” tall and weighs around 50 pounds. This can vary widely though with some as small as 14” tall and weighing only 25 pounds, will mid-range dogs might stand 17” tall and weight 35 to 50 pounds.
Thus, they have no “standardized” weight or size range. If interested in adopting a Golden Doodle, it is best to know the size and weight of the parents in order to have an accurate idea of your pup’s potential size, too.
Another factor is that “Breeders tend to develop their own style and look of dogs”. Though most have specific parental traits in mind, there is a recognizable “look” to the Golden Doodle, though pups from the same litter can be a blend of stocky dogs and slight dogs, straight-haired pups and curly haired dogs.
And as already noted, lots of people think of Golden Doodles as, well, goldenin color. However, breeders can tell you that litters will appear in a variety of colors, “including cream, gold, apricot, red, chocolate, brown, black and grey. They also come in color combinations, called ‘parti colors,’ which look patchy in appearance.”
However, the history of Golden Doodles, now running into several decades, means that there are many “multigenerational” dogs and they tend to be somewhat predictable. Breeders can often count on “medium-sized dogs with extremely soft, wavy-to-curly coats that typically hang in loose ringlets everywhere on their bodies.”
And what seems to win over most dog enthusiasts, in addition to the sturdy build and appealing coats of Golden Doodles, are their endearing faces. They have cheerful, even soulful eyes that can range from joyful to mischievous. They are utterly adorable, “teddy bear” like dogs, and many people describe them as “happy”, “expressive”, and “friendly”.
Golden Doodle Personality
And just as the looks of the Golden Doodle are based on a number of factors, so too are their personalities. While the temperaments of a pup’s parents play a role in their traits, you also have to consider the socialization your dog receives.
Typically (because of their origins in Golden Retrievers and Poodles), a Golden Doodle is dedicated to its family and extremely friendly with people and other animals. They are actually quite mindful around babies and children, careful to never knock them down or step on them. They make fantastic playmates for older kids, and seem able to easily “communicate” with most people.
One expert said that most Golden Doodles are “friends of everyone and strangers to no one,” making them perfect in a family setting. However, this attitude also makes them perfect companions for those with disability.
Described as “cheerful, trustworthy, gentle, affectionate, smart and highly trainable animals” their one goal seems to be to please their human companions. With a low to non-existent prey drive, they are also some of the best dogs for adding to a family of other pets, including cats and small dogs.
They are usually very intelligent and easily trained, and enjoy such experiences. They can be trained from puppyhood and onward, and from eight weeks in age they are able to learn a great deal. It is entirely acceptable to see a pup of only 12 weeks already in a training class or formal training program.
In fact, if not kept busy and given enough training and attention, they may develop behavioral problems or make mischief indoors. They require a moderate amount of exercise, making them ideal for both rural and urban homes.
Though descended from hunting and retrieving breeds, they are happiest when paying games and/or romping. They are avid swimmers and yet are also content to go for a vigorous daily walk to burn off their energy.
This is why anyone considering a Golden Doodle should also be ready to provide the dog with mental and physical stimulation. They are easy to train and very eager, but like many breeds, respond best to positive reinforcement and a gentler hand. Shouting or harsh training does not work with them, and may lead to withdrawn behaviors or acting out with digging, destroying or barking.
It is also important to note that the smaller Golden Doodles are noted for having higher energy levels, so the household that wishes for a moderately active Golden Doodle will want to consider adopting a standard-sized dog.
Golden Doodle Grooming and Care
As some of the lowest maintenance dogs, Golden Doodles don’t require an excessive amount of grooming. They are, as noted, typically described as hypoallergenic. This means their levels of dander are low and they are not likely to shed excessively (even in typical shedding seasons). They do need a regular (daily or at least twice-weekly) brushing to eliminate any loose or dying fur and to stop any matting from starting.
They benefit from bathing, but just once every other month. They have good coats and healthy skin if groomed regularly and fed a healthy diet, and are not prone to odors or other issues. It is a good idea to train them from a young age to allow the fur around their eyes to be trimmed as this can become an impediment to vision. Their nails may need trimming if not worn down by exercise, and you may want to have a professional groomer tackle this (and the trimming of their “bangs”) on a regular basis.
You will also want to keep an eye on a Golden Doodle’s ears as they are prone to ear infections, especially if they are big fans of swimming. Keeping their ears both clean and dry is a good way to overcome any issues. If you notice odors or redness around the ear, it is time for a visit to the vet.
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Common Health Concerns
One of the main benefits of Golden Doodles is the simple fact that their two parent breeds – Poodles and Golden Retrievers – have few genetic health issues. In other words, Golden Doodles are usually healthier than their parent breeds. This does not mean that they have no potential risks.
For example, small dogs (and by that I mean, almost all small dog breeds) seem to have higher rates of periodontal issues, so you may need to incorporate a regular routine of dental care, including brushing, for your smaller Golden Doodle.
Experts also noted that the Golden Doodles may still be prone to:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Eye problems
- Skin disorders such as ichthyosis
- Von Willebrand’s disease
- Patellar luxation
Additionally, Golden Doodles are prone to weight gain as they age, and so a careful diet is essential. This is not just for general health, but obesity in a Golden Doodle can also cue orthopedic problems and joint issues. With an average life expectancy 10 to 14 years, it is a good idea to get any Golden Doodle on a regimen of good diet, regular exercise and ongoing training to keep weight and diet at the right levels.
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The Final Word
Highly socialized and people oriented, Golden Doodles are a wonderful choice for families, as service dogs, and for those who want a pal who is active and intelligent. They are not a good fit if you are going to adopt a single dog and be away from home for many hours since the breed can develop separation anxiety easily.
As the ideal family dog, the Golden Doodle is easily introduced to other dogs and pets, is mindful of even very young kids and sure to be a delight, if chosen properly. Because the breed is not yet AKC recognized, you will want to contact organizations like the GANA or the Goldendoodle Association of North America for the name and number of the most trusted breeders.
The better breeders should be able to show you certification that both parents have been screened for specific genetic issues and deemed healthy as breeding partners. Also ask for parental certifications for issues like orthopedic, eye and other potential issues. As one expert stated, “Careful breeders screen their dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best looking specimens.” You can demand the documentation (and should) to know if that is the case with your puppy’s parents.
With its hypoallergenic coat, growing popularity and longer history of successful breeding, and even official associations around the breed, the Golden Doodle is a good choice. They have wonderful temperaments and high intelligence, making them an all-around good dog for most settings. Use the information here to determine if a Golden Doodle is right for your household. It is not easy to say of many breeds, but this particular breed really is one of the most universally adoptable, lovable and amenable choices, capable of fitting in to almost any living arrangements and households.