If you are reading this article perhaps you are seriously thinking about adding a Goldendoodle to your family. Our aim is to give you a completely honest and unbiased guide to Goldendoodles and how they might fit into your lifestyle. We hope that after reading our ‘no holds barred’ guide, you will be in a position to make a decision knowing without a doubt that a Goldendoodle is the dog for you, or not as the case may be.
Table of Contents
What is a Goldendoodle?
The Goldendoodle is a cross between two of our best-loved pedigree breeds, the noble Golden Retriever and the charismatic Poodle. The aim of this deliberate crossbreed is to combine the best features of both breeds in one wonderful dog. Doodles were originally bred in the 1980s when a need arose to create a hypoallergenic guide dog. An Australian called Wally Conron crossed a Labrador Retriever with a Poodle to create a guide dog for a blind woman whose husband had an allergy to dog hair.
Love them or hate them, we are very glad he did. The Golden Retriever has been a popular choice as a family friend for many years as well as a great working gundog due to his amiable temperament and his beautiful looks and soft golden coat.
The Poodle is one of the most easily recognizable breeds in the world today and is regularly seen winning prizes at prestigious dog shows but perhaps not so many people know that underneath his glamourous looks is a loyal, intelligent and courageous gundog bred to retrieve fowl from water. The Poodle has always been a popular choice as a pet for people that don’t like dog hair or suffer from allergies. He also comes in three sizes, Toy, Miniature, and Standard, so there is a size to suit every home.
So why is the Goldendoodle so popular today? Many people love the idea of having a Golden Retriever that doesn’t shed hair everywhere and it’s fair to say that the Goldendoodle can (but not always) fulfill this wish.
Goldendoodles are also popular, as, like the Poodle, they come in all sizes. They also come in many colors other than golden due to the Poodle influence. Black, brown, cream, white, grey, parti, merle, phantom, sable, and even brindle. Many people also love the idea of a Poodle type non-molting coat but shy away from the ‘prissy’ show dog image or perhaps like the looser shaggy curls that Goldendoodles often sport and the stockier build often seen in crosses.
So, is this wonderful crossbreed the perfect friend for your family? Let’s find out.
Why are Goldendoodles So Popular?
Goldendoodles combine the silly, funny, clever personality of the canine clown the Poodle with the loyal, loving, and easy-going personality of the Golden Retriever, a mixture sure to appeal to many people when they decide to add a dog to their family.
Taking into account their cute and often teddy bear-like looks it’s not difficult to see why they have become one of the world’s best-loved canines. Another possible reason for the huge surge we have seen in popularity is minimal or lack of shedding that you get with the curlier coated Doodles.
Different Types of Goldendoodle
When we think of a Goldendoodle the first thought that comes to mind is the 50/50 cross between a Golden Retriever and a Standard Poodle, this is the F1 Standard Goldendoodle. F1’s (meaning first generation cross) are a great choice and quite reliable regards to looks.
All F1 Goldendoodles will be furnished (furnished means have the typical shaggy Doodle look with a mustache, beard, and eyebrows) unless……….. the Poodle parent carried a gene for an improper coat. Improper in terms of a dog like a Poodle means does not have eyebrows and mustache. Whereas all Poodles are furnished it is possible for them to carry the gene for no furnishings). If this were to be the case it would still be possible for some of the pups in a litter to have flat coats like a Golden Retriever.
If you prefer a smaller dog, there is the F1 Miniature Goldendoodle. This is still a first cross between a Poodle and a Golden Retriever but in the case of the Mini Doodle, the Poodle parent would have to be a Miniature Poodle. This would mean the Goldendoodle had a Golden Retriever mom and a Miniature Poodle dad. The F1 Mini Goldendoodle has very similar looks and temperament to the Standard, just on a smaller scale. It is important to note however that even with an F1 Mini Doodle you could still end up with a large Retriever sized dog as it depends on which parent the pup inherits his size from.
Now it gets even more complicated as you can also get F2 or Multigenerational Goldendoodles. This means that both parents were Goldendoodles so F2 stands for second generation and so on for F3 and multigenerational Goldendoodles.
Whilst there is no real difference between an F1 and an F2 Doodle you do get greater diversity in the appearance of the puppies within a litter due to an effect known as the grandfather effect. We can’t control how the genes split and as the F1 Goldendoodle parents each carry one furnishing gene and one non-furnishing gene, it is luck of the draw whether the pups inherit one copy of each, two copies of furnishings or two copies or non-furnishings.
It is impossible to tell this by looking as every dog that carries even one copy of the gene for furnishings will be furnished itself. The only way to know what genes any particular dog carries is by DNA testing. Therefore, in an F2 or Multigenerational litter, it is common to see some pups that have very curly coats, some that are wavy or shaggy, and some that have coats exactly like a Golden Retriever. If non-shedding is important you must take great care to choose a curly or wavy pup.
Then we come to F1b Goldendoodles, this is where it gets even more complicated. F1b (or F2b and so on) means first generation back bred to one of the parent breeds, usually a Poodle. F1b is a more consistent mix as unless the Poodle was only carrying one furnishing gene as discussed earlier, all pups will have wavy or curly coats. F1b Goldendoodles are the best choice for allergy sufferers as the more Poodle-like the coat the less chance there is that your Goldendoodle will shed. F1b’s also come in a variety of sizes as like F1’s, they could be back bred to either a miniature, Standard, or occasionally even a Toy Poodle.
Occasionally you will see reverse F1b Goldendoodles which come from breeding a Goldendoodle back to a Golden Retriever. This is not often done as unless the Goldendoodle parent has inherited two copies of the furnishing gene , many of the pups would have Retriever type coats which for most people would defeat the object of choosing a Goldendoodle.
I personally have four Goldendoodles, three of which are F1’s and one F2 who is the daughter of one of my own Doodle girls and my F1 boy. In looks and personality, there is no difference between my F1’s and F2 however I did find that while breeding F2 Doodles I felt slightly guilty if a new parent ended up with a flat-coated Doodle (although I must add that no one was ever disappointed or misled and I do actually have people specifically asking for flat-coated Goldendoodles).
Going forward I will be breeding F1b’s from my Standard Poodle stud and F1 girls. The reason for this is the consistency in coat type and I also think an extra helping of the wonderful Poodle personality is an added bonus.
I often say that when people choose a Goldendoodle they do so thinking that they are getting a non-shedding Golden Retriever when in reality they are getting a chunkier, sometimes slightly shorter-legged, less tightly curled Poodle. The Doodle personality which we have come to know and love, I find comes mainly from his Poodle ancestors. Not to say that Golden Retrievers aren’t wonderful in their own right but the jolly clownish antics that Doodle owners talk fondly of are definitely Poodle in origin.
The Pros of a Goldendoodle
Let’s look at all the good points of the Goldendoodle, the reasons you might enjoy living with and loving him.
The Goldendoodle is undoubtedly a beautiful looking dog. Whichever variety, size or colour you choose he is sure to turn heads wherever you take him.
Variety is the spice of life and whether you want a large dog, a small dog, or somewhere in between there is a Goldendoodle who is the perfect size for you. The same goes for color, whatever color catches your eye you can find a Goldendoodle to suit. Again, when it comes to coat type whether you like tight Poodle curls, shaggy beach waves, or silky-smooth locks there is a Doodle out there for you.
The Goldendoodle is known for his friendly people-loving personality. You will never be lonely with a Doodle around. Trust me I never so much as go to the bathroom alone! Wherever you go he wants to go and whatever you are doing he desperately wants to be included. He is usually friendly with people of all ages and other animals in the household too.
Low or non-shedding
It has to be said that however much you love dogs of all varieties it’s certainly a plus not having to hoover up so much dog hair or lint roller yourself before you leave the house.
Goldendoodles are a mix of two sporting breeds and as such are lively, energetic, and always up for a hike in the countryside or indeed anywhere else you might go. You never need to worry about becoming a couch potato if you choose a Goldendoodle as he needs at least one good long walk and a shorter one every day. He is also always up for playtime and will often bring you a favorite toy and try to encourage you to join in a game. It’s hard to sit down with a Goldendoodle around.
It is often mentioned that a crossbred dog can be hardier than a purebred and, in some instances, (if from health-tested parents) this is true. There is much less chance of a dog being inbred or line bred if his parents are two different breeds. Poodles are also known for their longevity so hopefully with a large dash of Poodle in his bloodline your friend will be with you for many years.
Easy to train
There are some breeds of dogs that are known for being easy-going and suitable for first-time dog owners and others that are more suited to experienced handlers. The Goldendoodle is one of the former. Neither of his parent breeds is known for aggression or stubbornness and as gundog breeds, they are bred to be trainable and will generally want to please you.
Poodles are also great at learning tricks and used to be seen regularly in the circus so your family friend will be easy to teach cute and funny tricks to. One of my Goldendoodle girls likes to ‘tidy up’, she will go around the house collecting items that have been left lying around and put them all in her bed, a great source of entertainment for visitors.
The Cons of a Goldendoodle
Let’s talk about the downside of owning or being owned by a Goldendoodle. Believe it or not there are some. Many of the pros can also be described as cons.
Firstly, you will never get anywhere in a hurry while walking your Goldendoodle as everyone will want to say hello to him. Similarly, he will want to say hello to everyone and without lots of training he may jump up at and run up to strangers whether they want him to or not. It is important to nip this in the bud when your Goldendoodle is a puppy as not everyone is a dog lover and while to you he looks like a cute living teddy bear some people are afraid of dogs, especially if your Doodle is Standard sized.
Doodles are also known for selective deafness so unless his recall training is on point he will likely tear off across the park ignoring your call to greet another dog he’s spotted in the distance.
We discussed in the ‘pros’ section how your Goldendoodle will always want to be with you and go wherever you go. This can also be a problem for some Doodle owners. The Goldendoodle is often nicknamed a Velcro dog and can become very distressed if you do need to leave him home alone. We all need to leave the house sometimes and not everywhere is dog friendly, so it is important to teach your puppy from day one that it is OK to be alone sometimes.
Start by leaving him for very short periods and gradually build up to a couple of hours, however, if you are a full-time worker and your home is one where everyone is regularly out for long periods of time then the Goldendoodle is not for you. I will never place my puppies in a home without at least one member being home for most of the time.
A lonely or bored Goldendoodle is a destructive one and they can really chew! Poodles are also known for being vocal and most Goldendoodles also have this trait so if he left alone too often your neighbors might not thank you for it.
You may be thinking that exercise was mentioned in the pros section of this article and you are right. The Goldendoodle is a high-energy, active breed and this can either be a pro or a con depending on your lifestyle. For me, this is a huge plus point as I am never happier than when taking long walks in the countryside and my Doodles give me the perfect excuse to do this day in, day out whatever the weather but if you are not the outdoorsy type and prefer a stroll down to the shop or to collect the children from school rather than a five-mile muddy hike then the Goldendoodle is not for you. Don’t get me wrong, my Doodles are happy to chill around the house or snuggle up on the sofa but only if they’ve had their daily run.
That beautiful low shed coat is another point that can be either a pro or a con. Whilst you won’t have to spend so much time cleaning up dog hair you will need to spend time every single day thoroughly grooming your Goldendoodle to prevent matts and I really do mean every day. On top of this, he will need regular baths as long coats become dirty and smelly.
Your Goldendoodle will also need full grooming, clipping and trimming every six to twelve weeks depending on his coat and how thoroughly you brush him. This means either a trip to the grooming salon which can cost upwards of $50 a time or you will have to invest in grooming equipment and learn to do it yourself at home.
So, in summary, while Goldendoodles are undoubtedly wonderful dogs they are not for everyone. We hope you have found this article honest and informative and if, after reading it you still want a Goldendoodle then there is no doubt that he is right for you and you for him.