Vital Stats:Dog Breed Group: Hybrid Dogs
Height: 1 foot, 8 inches to 2 feet tall at the shoulder
Weight: 50 to 90 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 15 years
- Also known as the Groodle, the Goldendoodle ranges in size from small to large, depending on the variant of Poodle that the Golden Retriever is crossed with. Originally bred as a larger alternative to the already popular designer breed known as the Cockapoo, the Goldendoodle has proven to be an excellent family dog. They're also versatile working dogs. Goldendoodles have achieved success as guide dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs, and sniffer dogs (one study tested their success at sniffing out peanuts in foods for owners with nut allergies). Goldendoodles have also done well in agility. The Goldendoodle is an affectionate and gentle dog that has gained popularity since he was first developed in 1990s. He's still a young cross compared to other designer breeds, and many of today's litters are the results of first-generation breedings between Poodles and Golden Retrievers. Goldendoodles are usually highly social and get along well with everyone. They don't do well in any type of guarding or watchdog role and should not be used in that capacity. They can thrive in both city and country settings, but they're not well suited to apartment living, since they do better with the space provided by a fenced yard. Goldendoodles should not live outside or in a kennel, however, since they thrive when they are in contact with the people they love. Goldendoodles can be very easy to train and are a good match for first-time or timid owners. They're not known to have any aggressive traits, but they do need proper socialization to avoid any shyness or fearfulness. Goldendoodles also need daily contact with their owners; they'll suffer from separation anxiety if they're left for too long. The best way to avoid any destructive behavior is to crate them and to provide toys and treats to keep them busy throughout the day. Keeping the radio on when you're out is another great way to keep them happy. Goldendoodles are considered to be non- to light shedders and may be a good match for people with allergies. They do require weekly or biweekly brushing, and many owners opt to have them clipped. Although Goldendoodles are a young designer breed, that hasn't stopped people from understanding their worth. They have become popular quickly, and their star is still rising. They make excellent family dogs and provide gentle, intelligent companionship throughout their lifetimes.
- Designer dogs, also called hybrids, aren't true breeds — they're crosses of two specific breeds. If you're interested in a Goldendoodle puppy, understand that his looks, size, and temperament aren't as predictable as those of purebreds, since you don't know which characteristics from each breed will show up in any given dog.
- The Goldendoodle is the result of Poodle to Golden Retriever breedings. So far there are very few multigenerational breedings (crosses between two Goldendoodles).
- The Goldendoodle is considered to be a non- to light shedder, but he requires regular grooming and clipping. If the coat is kept short, it should be clipped every six to eight weeks and brushed every few weeks. If the coat is kept in its natural state, it should be brushed once every week or two.
- The Goldendoodle is not a watch dog, and he's generally not known to be noisy. He may not bark even if someone knocks on the door.
- Although he's got an average energy level, the Goldendoodle is not recommended for apartments. He does much better in a home with a fenced yard.
- The Goldendoodle requires about 20 to 30 minutes of daily exercise.
- Being a wonderful family companion, the Goldendoodle generally gets along well with children and does well with other dogs and family pets.
- The Goldendoodle is a very social dog who should not live away from his family. He's are not suited to living in a kennel or outside; he wants to be in the house.
- The Goldendoodle can suffer from separation anxiety if left for long periods at a time.
- The Goldendoodle may make an excellent companion to people with allergies.
- To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. 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 that they have sound temperaments.
HistoryThe Goldendoodle is considered to be one of the newest of the "Doodle," or Poodle mix, breeds. Breeding began in the 1990s, after both the Cockapoo and the Labradoodle gained footholds. The theory behind the Goldendoodle's development was to create a larger Doodle that maintained the desired low-dander, low-shedding coat and that possessed the intelligent and friendly nature of the Golden Retriever. The fact that the Goldendoodle is still a fairly young cross means that most pups are the result of first-generation breeding. That is, most are Golden Retriever and Poodle mixes; as of yet, breeding rarely occurs between pairs of Goldendoodles. Despite the fact that the Goldendoodle has gained some popularity, especially in Australia, there is still no breed club or registry in existence. There are, however, several online communities for the Goldendoodle lover and owner. The Goldendoodle's popularity is still on the rise, and many believe that it will surpass that of other Doodle breeds.
SizeGoldendoodles vary in size. This is because, at this stage, they're rarely the result of multigenerational breedings (in which one Goldendoodle is crossed with another), and there are no breed standards that Goldendoodle breeders are aiming for. However, the Goldendoodle tends to come in three different sizes: Miniature, Small Standard, and Large Standard. The Miniature Goldendoodle is the result of a Miniature or Toy Poodle crossed with a Golden Retriever. These dogs tend to range in size from 13 to 20 inches in height and 15 to 35 pounds in weight. The average height for a Small Standard Goldendoodle is 17 to 20 inches; the weight is 40 to 50 pounds. The Large Standard Goldendoodle averages 20 to 24 inches in height and weighs 50 to 90 pounds.
PersonalityThe Goldendoodle has not become popular for lack of good reason. His positive personality traits are numerous — he endears himself to everyone he meets with his friendly, intelligent, accepting nature. Usually highly affectionate, he's gentle and patient and makes a wonderful family companion, especially since he actively enjoys human company. He is loyal and, with proper training, can be highly obedient. He does have a playful side and can be mischievous if the mood hits. Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the one who's beating up his littermates or the one who's hiding in the corner. Always meet at least one of the parents — usually the mother is the one who's available — to ensure that they have nice temperaments that you're comfortable with. Meeting siblings or other relatives of the parents is also helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when he grows up. Like every dog, the Goldendoodle needs early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they're young. Socialization helps ensure that your Goldendoodle puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. Enrolling him in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.
HealthGoldendoodles are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Goldendoodles will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed. If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition. In Goldendoodles, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).
- Patellar Luxation: Also known as slipped stifles, this is a common problem in small dogs. The patella is the kneecap. Luxation means dislocation of an anatomical part (as a bone at a joint). Patellar luxation is when the knee joint (often of a hind leg) slides in and out of place, causing pain. This can be crippling, although many dogs lead relatively normal lives with this condition.
- Ear Infections: These can be a problem for Goldendoodles because of their floppy ears, which trap moisture. Check and clean the ears regularly.
- Hip Dysplasia: This is an inherited condition (though it's also sometimes triggered by malnutrition) 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 others don't display outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem.) Either way, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred — so if you're buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.
- Elbow Dysplasia: Similar to hip dysplasia, this condition is also a degenerative disease. It's believed to be caused by abnormal growth and development, which results in a malformed and weakned joint. The disease varies in severity: the dog could simpy develop arthritis, or he could become lame. Treatment includes surgery, weight management, medical management, and anti-inflammatory medication.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, affected dogs become night-blind; they lose sight during the day as the disease progresses. Many affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision, as long as their surroundings remain the same.
- Von Willebrand's Disease: Found in both dogs and humans, this is a blood disorder that affects the clotting process. An affected dog will have symptoms such as nosebleeds, bleeding gums, prolonged bleeding from surgery, prolonged bleeding during heat cycles or after whelping, and occasionally blood in the stool. This disorder is usually diagnosed between three and five years of age, and it can't be cured. However, it can be managed with treatments that include cauterizing or suturing injuries, transfusions before surgery, and avoidance of specific medications.
- Allergies: Allergies are a common ailment in dogs, and the Goldendoodle is no exception. There are three main types of allergies: food allergies, which are treated by eliminating certain foods from the dog's diet; contact allergies, which are caused by a reaction to a topical substance such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemicals; and inhalant allergies, which are caused by airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, and mildew. Treatment varies according to the cause and may include dietary restrictions, medications, and environmental changes.
- Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus: Also called bloat, this is a life-threatening condition that can affect large, deep-chested dogs such as large Goldendoodles. This is especially true if they are fed one large meal a day, eat rapidly, drink large volumes of water after eating, and exercise vigorously after eating. Bloat is more common among older dogs. GDV occurs when the stomach is distended with gas or air and then twists (torsion). The dog is unable to belch or vomit to rid himself of the excess air in the stomach, and the normal return of blood to the heart is impeded. Blood pressure drops and the dog goes into shock. Without immediate medical attention, the dog can die. Suspect bloat if your dog has a distended abdomen and is salivating excessively and retching without throwing up. He also may be restless, depressed, lethargic, and weak, with a rapid heart rate. It's important to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible if you see these signs.
- Hypothyroidism: This is a disorder of the thyroid gland. It's thought to be responsible for conditions such as epilepsy, alopecia (hair loss), obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma ,and other skin conditions. It is treated with medication and diet.
CareThe Goldendoodle can be easy to train. Intelligent, he's usually eager to please — a perfect combination for either first-time trainers or experienced trainers. He should be trained with positive reinforcement, since harsh corrections could damage his confidence.Socialization is important for all breeds, but for a gentle dog like the Goldendoodle it can be instrumental in discouraging any shyness or timidity. The Goldendoodle has an average energy level and will require daily exercise through walks or a good romp in the back yard. Generally speaking, 20 to 30 minutes of daily exercise will be enough to keep a Goldendoodle from becoming bored. He's known for his love of water, so swimming provides another opportunity for appropriate exercise. Since the Goldendoodle may grow large, he does require room to move. He's not recommended for apartments but should have a home with some type of fenced yard. He's not an ideal pet for outdoor or kennel living, since he thrives when he's with his family, so owners should expect to keep him primarily in the house. The Goldendoodle can also suffer from separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behavior, if he's left alone for long periods at a time.
FeedingRecommended daily amount: 1 to 4 cups (depending on adult size) of high-quality dry food a day, divided into multiple 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. Keep your Goldendoodle in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. If you're unsure whether he's overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test. First, look down at him. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can't, he needs less food and more exercise. A Goldendoodle should also be fed several small meals per day instead of one large one, since the Golden Retriever can suffer from gastric torsion, or bloat, a trait that can be easily passed on to any Goldendoodle offspring. For more on feeding your Goldendoodle, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.
Coat Color And GroomingThe Goldendoodle should have a wavy to curly coat of about two to three inches in length. He has longer hair on the tail, body, ears, and legs (legs may be slightly feathered); the hair on the head and muzzle tends to be shorter. The coat can be black, copper, white, cream, gray, golden, apricot, or red, although golden seems to be the common coat color. White can often be found on the feathering, and the Goldendoodle's coat tends to lighten with age. Although he's considered a non- to light shedder, the Goldendoodle still requires some grooming to keep his coat in the best shape possible. Owners generally opt to clip the coat for easier maintenance; but if you choose to leave it in its natural state, expect to brush it about once every week or two. If he's clipped, he'll still need a good brushing every few weeks. The Goldendoodle requires a bath only when it's absolutely necessary, or his coat and skin will lose necessary oils and moisture.Brush your Goldendoodle's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.Trim nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally to prevent painful tears and other problems. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. Dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and if you cut too far you can cause bleeding — and your dog may not cooperate the next time he sees the nail clippers come out. So, if you're not experienced trimming dog nails, ask a vet or groomer for pointers. His ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. When you check your dog's ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don't insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear. Begin accustoming your Goldendoodle 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. 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. As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.
Children And Other PetsThe Goldendoodle makes a wonderful family pet, especially if his nature takes after the Golden Retriever parent. He's likely to be highly patient and gentle and to get along well with children of all ages. As with every breed, you should 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 eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child. He does well in homes with other dogs and pets and doesn't actively show aggression toward other animals. Of course, as with all dogs, it's important to properly socialize your Goldendoodle from puppyhood.
Rescue GroupsGoldendoodles are often purchased without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many Goldendoodles in need of adoption and or fostering. There are a number of rescues that we have not listed. If you don't see a rescue listed for your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward a Goldendoodle rescue.