Updated - Jul 1st, 2021
A Goldendoodle is a cross between a purebred Golden Retriever and a purebred Poodle. Goldendoodles are friendly, intelligent dogs that train easily, and they’re often recommended for allergy sufferers. For these reasons and others, they’ve grown more popular in recent years.
Both of the Goldendoodle’s parent breeds are among the AKC’s top 10 most popular breeds. However, because they’re produced by crossbreeding, the AKC considers the Goldendoodle a hybrid or designer breed.
They’re hard to beat as family pets or service dogs. What makes this designer breed so appealing? Here are some amazing facts you might not know about the Goldendoodle.
1. Origins of the Goldendoodle
In the 1960s, the Labradoodle and Cockapoo gained popularity as guide dogs for people with visual impairment. Later on, service dog trainers requested a larger dog, and Breeders answered the call by combining the Golden Retriever’s sunny disposition with the Poodle’s intelligence and propensity for low shedding. The dogs they produced are kind, intelligent, allergy-friendly, and larger than both of their predecessors.
Sometimes called a Groodle, the Goldendoodle was first bred in 1989 by Wally Conron of the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia. They made their first appearance in the United States in the early to mid-1990s. Although they’re a newer hybrid, they quickly earned a following of devoted pet parents.
Fun Fact: It’s claimed that Monica Dickens, the great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens, bred the first cross between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle in 1969. This hybrid didn’t become popular then, but it sure took off in the 1990s!
Because they’re a crossbreed, the AKC doesn’t recognize the Goldendoodle as an official breed. However, they do allow them to compete in agility and obedience at AKC events. The Goldendoodle Association of North America is an excellent resource for Goldendoodle parents.
2. “Hybrid” and “designer dog” mean the same thing
Hybrid or designer breeds are the result of controlled breeding between two purebred dog breeds. To get hybrid vigor, you need to cross two purebred breeds. Reputable breeders control the breeding and generations in their litters. They also test for genetic predispositions, common health issues between the breeds, and the relative health of their parents.
3. Goldendoodles come in three sizes
The standard Goldendoodle is a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Standard Poodle. Once this dog became popular, breeders got requests for smaller, more versatile versions of the Goldendoodle. They bred Golden Retrievers with Poodles of different sizes to make the breed more diverse without diluting the desired characteristics and personalities of the dogs. Now Goldendoodles have three sizes:
Miniature Goldendoodle 13-20”, 15-35 lbs
Small Goldendoodle 17 – 20” 40-50 lbs
Large Goldendoodle 20 – 24” 50-90 lbs
The size of their Poodle parents determines whether a Goldendoodle will be large, small, or in between.
4. Goldendoodles are not hypoallergenic
No dog is hypo-allergenic (or non-shedding). Contrary to common belief, allergic reactions result from exposure to dander, not fur. Dander is composed of dead skin cells that slough off and gather on the fur. Shedding releases dander and fur into the air, causing allergic reaction in dog allergy sufferers.
The Poodle has tightly curled hair — it doesn’t shed as much as a Golden Retriever with straight fur does. Mixing them can reduce the Goldendoodle’s shed, so allergy sufferers may experience fewer allergy symptoms.
5. The Perfect Family Dog
Known for being happy, friendly, and intelligent, Goldendoodles are easy to train. They’re also very gentle and devoted to their family, including its younger members. This gregarious breed will charm the pants off your guests, and will eagerly take part in family activities.
They also get along with most other four-legged family members. They tend to be social butterflies, and get along well with anyone they meet.
The downside of them being so social and bonded to their family is that they can suffer from separation anxiety. Leaving them alone too long or keeping them separated from their family can cause them to experience anxiety and loneliness. If you have to leave them alone, give them mental stimulation in the form of toys and plenty of exercise to reduce the likelihood that they’ll feel separation anxiety.
6. Goldendoodles can be healthier than their parents
A Goldendoodle enjoys the benefits of “Hybrid Vigor.” When you mix two unrelated breeds, their offspring enjoy increased health benefits, studies show. This hybrid vigor gives the Goldendoodle the ability to outlive both of their parent breeds. Conducting genetic tests for inherited diseases their parents might have in common increases the likelihood that a Goldendoodle will have hybrid vigor. Breeders will have records of these tests, as well as certifications on genetic disease genes.
7. The many aliases of the Goldendoodle
In Australia, they call Goldendoodles Groodles. Other names for them include Goldenpoos, Goldiepoos, and Doodles. Because Goldendoodles are bred from Golden Retriever and Poodle parents, they differ from labradoodles, Bernadoodles, or Aussiedoodles.
8. Most Goldendoodles are First Generation
Since the Goldendoodle is a hybrid breed, many are first-generation, and these dogs are referred to as F1 Goldendoodles. A puppy’s classification shows which breed mix or generation they come from. It’s relatively uncommon to breed two Goldendoodles together.
Their classifications break down as follows:
- F1: Golden Retriever (50%) + Poodle (50%)
- F1B: Poodle (75%) + Goldendoodle (25%) (F1) This is the most allergy-friendly classification.
- F2: Goldendoodle (F1) + Goldendoodle (F1)
- Multigen: Goldendoodle + Goldendoodle (F1B, Multigen) or Poodle
For a more detailed explanation of the generations of puppies, consult this article.
9. The Goldendoodle Coat of Many Colors
The most common color for a Goldendoodle is golden, after their Golden Retriever parents. Many also have poodle colors – they can come in orange, apricot, cream, dark brown, gray, and black. Some Goldendoodles even have multi-colored coats!
The colors of your Goldendoodle puppy – with the exception of gold – result from the colors of their Poodle parent.
10. So much fur, so many curls!
A Goldendoodle’s coat type can be wavy, straight, or curled. Some Goldendoodles can have tight curls like poodles, too.
The tighter the curls, the less they shed. When dogs have wiry or tightly curled coats, they hold their fur better than straight-coated counterparts. Since dander can accumulate on the fur, people who have dog allergies may have fewer symptoms around low-shedding breeds.
11. Grooming is relatively easy
A low-shedding coat means the Goldendoodle needs less grooming than many dogs. Brush them every few days with a slicker to remove any loose hairs, and bathe when needed. When your dog gets shaggy, have them clipped every 8 weeks.
Doodles with straighter coats need more frequent brushing because they shed more, especially during the fall and spring, when dogs shed their coats.
Ear infections are common among Goldendoodles. There’s a LOT of hair around, and hair in their ears can allow bacteria to grow. When you’re visiting the vet or groomer, have them pull the hair inside your dog’s ears to reduce the incidence of ear infections. Cleaning their ears once a week will also reduce the chance of infection.
12. Goldendoodles can live longer than their parents
Since this hybrid is healthier than their parent breeds, they live for an average of 10-14 years. The smaller your Goldendoodle, the longer their lifespan, on average. (This is also true with regular dog breeds: the larger the breed, the shorter the lifespan.)
13. Goldendoodles need space to roam
Goldendoodles are companion dogs. They’re not meant to live alone, outdoors or in kennels. If they need to live in apartments, they can be apartment dogs, as long as they have the right environment enrichments. Your neighbors will appreciate that your dog is friendly, quiet, and not prone to loud barking. But—and this is an important but—they fare better when they have space to roam. A fenced yard, regular exercise, and plenty of time with you will keep your doodle happy and well-adjusted, no matter where you call home.
14. Goldendoodles are motivated by food
Training is easier when dogs are food-motivated and smart, like Goldendoodles. However, food-driven or bored dogs can sometimes eat things they shouldn’t, like your couch or shoes. Only give them access to foods and chewing materials that won’t harm them, and be sure to enrich their environment with toys and exercise to help them stave off boredom.
15. Energy and playfulness
Goldendoodles are playful clowns that require socialization to thrive. They crave attention and can be camera hams too. Goldendoodle parents have filled the internet with videos of their dogs performing tricks, competing at agility events, and being their silly selves.
Their energy levels are in the moderate to high range. Thirty minutes of daily exercise is good for them, as well as plenty of time with their humans.
Intelligent dogs can become bored easily, and Poodles and Golden Retrievers are two of the top five most intelligent dog breeds. For this reason, keeping Goldendoodles busy helps keep them out of trouble! Trick training, toys that provide mental stimulation, and tasks that keep them active will make them less likely to misbehave out of boredom.
It’s best to give them positive reinforcement training during puppyhood. Goldendoodles want to do whatever makes you happy, so they’ll learn tricks and commands quickly, and perform them for an audience!
16. Keeping your Goldendoodle busy
If you’re looking for ways to help your Goldendoodle get out some energy, try these activities:
Reading with Rover
Search and Rescue work
Constant companion and trusted confidant (this is their favorite😊)
17. Goldendoodles love having jobs to do!
Goldendoodles descend from hunting and water dogs. (Did you know they have webbed feet too?). This puts them in the working dog category – and that means they LOVE having jobs to do.
As family members, they’re constant companions who want to be included in all activities. If you leave your Doodle alone too often, they can develop anxiety. They NEED to be with their family, or other four-legged friends. They see their role as your companion as a job, and they LOVE taking care of their people.
For this reason, Goldendoodles are excellent service or therapy dogs. Being easy to train, intelligent, and calm, they have a devoted following as service animals. They provide services as companion and PTSD dogs, leading visually impaired individuals, working as trauma and depression companions, and working alongside humans during search and rescue missions.
Many Goldendoodles are sniffer dogs too. Dogs have sensitive olfactory receptors, and Goldendoodles are no exception. They can train these dogs to sniff out disease, nuts or eggs in foods – even in minute amounts. Some are trained to detect seizures before they happen, or to alert diabetics when their blood sugar is dangerously low.
Doodles also love to swim, and they make excellent water rescue dogs or companions in the swimming pool. They excel at many other jobs, too – this is only a short list of their accomplishments as service dogs.
Lulu, the first funeral therapy dog, used her skills to offer comfort at funerals and during times of extreme grief or trauma. Unfortunately, she passed away, but her legacy as a funeral comfort dog lives on.
18 .Goldendoodles aren’t good watch or guard dogs
Goldendoodles are beloved for their pleasing personalities and intelligence. These dogs have never made an enemy – they’d rather make friends than defend themselves or anything else. Because of this, they’re terrible watchdogs or guard dogs. They’re unlikely to bark when someone knocks on your door, and they’re likely to greet whoever’s there warmly.
19. Common Health Problems
Thanks to their aforementioned hybrid vigor, Goldendoodles are healthier than their parent breeds. That said, they can still have health problems.
The most common are:
- Ingesting foreign materials
- ACL injuries and ruptures
- Lameness and limping
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Hip dysplasia – check for certification from breeder
- Subvalvular aortic stenosis – check for certification from breeder
- Sebaceous adenitis – benign growths on the skin
- Eyelid entropion – eyelids curl inward and may require surgery
- Cataracts, glaucoma
- Dental Disease
Checking your doodle’s parentage and finding reputable Goldendoodle breeders helps to narrow down the list of genetic health issues. But all dogs can have accidents or unexpected illness or disease crop up. When this happens, your Pumpkin plan can help you focus on what’s best for your dog’s health.
Conclusion: Goldendoodles in my family
Two Goldendoodles have blessed my family over the years – they both served as companion and service animals for my disabled granddaughter. I can’t stress enough how caring and diligent these dogs are, nor how well they fit into all family events and activities. If you’re looking for the perfect new family member or a devoted, trustworthy service dog, you can’t go wrong with a Goldendoodle.For more about the Goldendoodle breed, go here!