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Loving, devoted, and energetic, Goldador mixed-breed dogs are prized for their good-natured trainability. They make great family members — a natural with kids and social with other pets — as well as valuable guide, service, and bomb detection dogs.
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The idea was to create a working dog with the sensitivity of the Golden Retriever and the tolerance of the Labrador Retriever. It worked. Cross them, and the result is the unequivocally genial Goldador. Thanks to their easygoing nature and keen intelligence, Goldadors have proven outstanding guide dogs, service dogs, search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs, and bomb detection dogs. But like their parent breeds, Goldadors are happiest simply working alongside a person they love.
Goldadors are active and require at least half an hour of daily exercise — most enjoy retrieving games as well as hiking and swimming. Once they've reached physical maturity (between 18 and 24 months), Goldadors make excellent jogging companions.
Training the eager-to-please Goldador is relatively easy - they come from a long line of dogs who work closely and willingly with people. This makes them an excellent choice for first-time owners, provided they get the exercise, structure, and positive reinforcement they crave. Goldadors are also a good option for families with children (though they can be a bit rambunctious for toddlers), as they want nothing more than to be part of family activities.
The ideal residence for a Goldador is a home with a fenced yard, but with regular exercise and companionship they can live and thrive in apartments and condos. Whatever his home, a Goldador should live indoors with his people.
- Goldadors like to eat and can easily become overweight if they don't get enough exercise.
- Goldadors are good family dogs and generally do well with children of all ages.
- The Goldador sheds moderately and requires weekly brushing.
- Goldadors usually get along well with other dogs and pets, especially when they're raised with them or socialized to them at an early age.
- Goldadors require about 30 minutes of exercise per day. They enjoy being outdoors and can make excellent jogging companions.
- Although a house with a fenced yard is the ideal home for a Goldador, he can do well in an apartment or condo with proper exercise.
- Goldadors can be a good choice for first-time dog owners.
- To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from a puppy mill, a pet store, or a breeder who doesn't provide health clearances or guarantees. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies and who breeds for sound temperaments.
The Goldador was first developed more than a decade ago: the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever were crossed with the hopes of creating a sensitive, tolerant working dog. The effort proved successful. Organizations that train guide and assistance dogs often use these Lab/Golden crosses.
As a companion, the Goldador has not yet gained the popularity of some other so-called "designer" dogs, such as Labradoodles. At this time, there are no breed clubs or any efforts to create a breed standard for the Goldador.
The Goldador is one of the few designer breeds with a fairly predictable size, as both parent breeds are large and similar in size and shape. The Goldador is usually 22 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 60 to 80 pounds.
The Goldador is affectionate and loyal, alert enough to make an excellent watchdog, but too friendly to be an effective guard dog. He loves children and gets along with other animals, especially when he's been raised with them.
His intelligence and desire to please render him highly trainable, and he responds best to positive reinforcement techniques. He's capable of working and thinking independently - and does so beautifully as an assistance dog - but he prefers to have guidance and structure in his life. This is a people-loving dog who won't be happy left to himself in the backyard.
Like every dog, Goldadors need early socialization: exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences when they're young. Socialization helps ensure that your Goldador puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.
Goldadors are prone to certain health conditions. Not all Goldadors will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this mix.
- Hip Dysplasia is a heritable condition in which the thighbone doesn't fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia. As the dog ages, arthritis can develop. X-ray screening for hip dysplasia is done by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHIP). Hip dysplasia is hereditary, but it can be worsened by environmental factors, such as rapid growth from a high-calorie diet or injuries incurred from jumping or falling on slick floors.
- Elbow Dysplasia is a heritable condition common to large-breed dogs. It's thought to be caused by different growth rates of the three bones that make up the dog's elbow, causing joint laxity. This can lead to painful lameness. Your vet may recommend surgery to correct the problem, or medication and weight loss to control the pain.
- Cataracts are an opacity on the lens of the eye that causes difficulty in seeing. The eye(s) of the dog will have a cloudy appearance. Cataracts usually occur in old age and sometimes can be surgically removed to improve the dog's vision.
- Diabetes mellitus is a disorder in which the body cannot regulate blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels are regulated in part by insulin, which is produced in the pancreas. Glucose (sugar) is needed by the cells of the body to burn for energy; insulin is the key that lets the glucose into the cell. Without insulin, the glucose cannot enter the cell, so the cells are hungry even though there are high levels of glucose circulating in the blood. A diabetic dog will eat more food to try to compensate, but he will lose weight because food is not being used efficiently. Signs of diabetes are excessive urination and thirst, increased appetite, and weight loss. Diabetes can be controlled by diet and daily insulin injections.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is a degenerative eye disorder that eventually causes blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. PRA is detectable years before the dog shows any signs of blindness. Fortunately, dogs can use their other senses to compensate for blindness, and a blind dog can live a full and happy life. Just don't make it a habit to move the furniture around. Reputable breeders have their dogs' eyes certified annually by a veterinary ophthalmologist and do not breed dogs with this disease.
Before purchasing a Goldador, it's important to research the health concerns that occur with both the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever. Both parents should have health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for hips, elbows, heart, and thyroid and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that the eyes are normal.
The ideal home for a Goldador is a house with a fenced yard where he can play safely; however, he can do well in an apartment or condo if he gets daily walks or runs. Either way, exercise is very important for a Goldador's health and happiness — at least 30 minutes per day is ideal. Interested in dog sports? Goldadors make formidable competitors in agility and flyball.
Mental stimulation is crucial as well. Teach your Goldador to fetch the paper or your slippers, practice obedience training regularly with him, and put his mind to work from time to time with an interactive dog toy.
As with all dogs, positive reinforcement techniques (praise, play, and food rewards) work best with the Goldador. He's sensitive, and harsh corrections will damage his confidence.
Recommended daily amount: 3.5 to 4.25 cups of a high-quality dog food daily, divided into two meals.
Note: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference-the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.
Coat, Color and Grooming
A Goldador should have the same double coat as a Labrador Retriever, with a short, thick, straight topcoat and a soft, dense undercoat (some have a slight wave down the back). Generally, a Goldador's coat color ranges from yellow to gold to reddish gold, but because the Goldador is a crossbreed, he may inherit the black coat of a Lab parent.
Weekly brushing with a rubber curry brush will remove dead hair, helping to keep it off your clothes and furniture. During seasonal shedding periods, however, daily brushing is recommended. Bathe your Goldador as needed, and be sure to give him a thorough freshwater rinse any time he goes swimming.
The Goldador can be prone to ear infections, so check and clean the ears weekly. Other grooming needs include dental hygiene and nail care. Brush your Goldador's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the accompanying bacteria. Trim his nails once or twice a month, as needed. If you can hear the nail clicking on the floor, they're too long. Short nails keep the feet in good condition and won't scratch your legs when your Goldador jumps up to greet you.
Begin accustoming your Goldador to being brushed and examined when he's a puppy. Handle his paws frequently - dogs are touchy about their feet - and look inside his mouth and ears. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he's an adult.
Children and other pets
Goldadors are an ideal family companion and are generally gentle and loving toward children of all ages. As puppies, they can be a bit rambunctious and may knock over smaller children unintentionally, so close supervision is important. Social and easy-going, Goldadors do well with other dogs and pets, especially when raised together.
Always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's sleeping or eating or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog, no matter how good-natured, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
There are no official rescue groups for the Goldador, but this cross is frequently available at private and municipal animal shelters. If you're interested in adopting an adult Goldador who's already gone through the destructive puppy stage and may already be trained, your local animal shelter is a good place to start.
All Breed Characteristics
Measures how well this breed potentially adapts to different environments
Measures the amount and difficulty of training potentially required for this breed
Health & Grooming
Measures how much effort this breed potentially needs to keep a tidy hound and home
Measures this breed's potential to get along with other dogs and humans
Measures this breed's potential to require lots of physical activity
Adapt well to apartment living
Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn't necessarily an apartment dog make -- plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents, are all good qualities in an apartment dog.
Affectionate with family
Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they've been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn't the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.
Amount of shedding
If you're going to share your home with a dog, you'll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds: Some dogs shed year-round, some "blow" seasonally -- produce a snowstorm of loose hair -- some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you're a neatnik you'll need to either pick a low-shedding breed, or relax your standards.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs even if they're love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn't the only factor; dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least 6 to 8 weeks of age, and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you've got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you're a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog that rates low in the drool department.
Easy to groom
Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog that needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.
Easy to train
Easy to train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word "sit"), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training. Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a "What's in it for me?" attitude, in which case you'll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.
High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they're more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells. Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you'll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise -- especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, such as herding or hunting. Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.
Friendly toward strangers
Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with a wagging tail and a nuzzle; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult.
Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn't mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they're at an increased risk. If you're buying a puppy, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in, so you can ask the breeder about the physical health of your potential pup's parents and other relatives.
Good for novice owners
Some dogs are simply easier than others: they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They're also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies. Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time owner to manage. You'll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.
Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don't get the mental stimulation they need, they'll make their own work -- usually with projects you won't like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.
A vigorous dog may or may not be high-energy, but everything he does, he does with vigor: he strains on the leash (until you train him not to), tries to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who's elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who's on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (aka pit bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren't so family-friendly.
**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they're not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.
Potential for mouthiness
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn't puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or "herd" their human family members, and they need training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a chew toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.
Potential for playfulness
Some dogs are perpetual puppies -- always begging for a game -- while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.
Potential for weight gain
Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that's prone to packing on pounds, you'll need to limit treats, make sure he gets enough exercise, and measure out his daily kibble in regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.
Dogs that were bred to hunt, such as terriers, have an inborn desire to chase and sometimes kill other animals. Anything whizzing by -- cats, squirrels, perhaps even cars -- can trigger that instinct. Dogs that like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you'll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren't a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won't chase, but you'll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.
Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called "easygoing," "tolerant," "resilient," and even "thick-skinned," can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.
Dogs come in all sizes, from the world's smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if he is compatible with you and your living space.
Tendency to bark or howl
Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how the dog vocalizes — with barks or howls — and how often. If you're considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you're considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious "strangers" put him on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby?
Tolerates being alone
Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive, barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.
Tolerates cold weather
Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks.
Tolerates hot weather
Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can't pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, the dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you'll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.
Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they'll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses, or that bunny that just ran across the path, even if it means leaving you behind.
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