what is a goldendoodle?
W H A T A R E T H E Y ?
A goldendoodle is a mix of two breeds: a golden retriever and a poodle. They are also called Bearded Retrievers, which is a combination of at least 2 of the following 3 breeds: Golden retriever, Labrador retriever, and Poodle.
There are some pros and cons to every breed, including goldendoodles. We've owned, bred, trained, and groomed goldendoodles for 9 years now, so below are the pros and cons that we've found come with owning a goldendoodle:
1) Gorgeous teddy bear. This one is simple, they're gorgeous and nice to look at. You'll literally stare at your dog randomly throughout the day and tell them they're beautiful every time. You spouse may get jealous but he/she will get over it...eventually.
2) Overall healthy dog. Mixing two completely different breeds together gives the offspring "hybrid vigor". You've probably heard the term before, but what does it actually mean??? In the purebred world, line-breeding and inbreeding are common practices. This is done in order to preserve bloodlines with good qualities, but it can also intensify the bad qualities. At some point, a purebred breeder has to import a dog from another country in order to add a new bloodline into their lines. When a bloodline has a lot of inbreeding and line-breeding in it, the resulting offspring has a high Coefficiency of Inbreeding (also known as "COI"). The higher the COI, the high the chances of bloat, genetic deformities, and other things like cancer or addisons disease. Breeding two completely unrelated breeds together creates a COI of ZERO. That's the best COI you can have. Of course when breeding second or multigenerational goldendoodles, the COI can increase. But we're able to control that increase a lot better with a hybrid breed. Testing goldendoodles for dysplasia and certain genetic diseases is still necessary before breeding, as golden retrievers and poodles are susceptible to some of the same diseases. However, the lower COI in the breed reduces the long term health issues in the breed. Click on the following links for articles on COI: https://www.instituteofcaninebiology.org/blog/inbreeding-of-purebred-dogs-determined-from-dna http://www.dogbreedhealth.com/a-beginners-guide-to-coi/ https://www.instituteofcaninebiology.org/inbreeding-effects.html
3) Best temperament. Golden retrievers are one of the best companion dogs you can have. Their energy, intelligence, loyalty, laid back temperament, and goofiness adds to their wonderful personality. In our opinion, the only downside of a golden retriever is the shedding. Standard poodles are a very proud breed and very smart. Combining these two breeds creates one of the most perfect dogs you'll meet. Most goldendoodles are so devoted to their humans that they don't run away. There is no need for off leash training, because where you go, they go. We live on 1.5 acres of land without a fence. Our street is busy, but we have complete trust in our dogs to not go near the road. This is not something that we've had to teach our dogs, instead it's ingrained in them to follow our lead. If one of our parent dog's shows signs of wanting to run off, we hesitate to breed that dog. A goldendoodle is very smart and eager to please, which makes training relatively easy. The goldendoodles that I've owned and bred have the mindset of "be" with their humans, instead of "let's go". They're content to lie by your feet or next to you on the couch. They love fetch and can play all day, but their need for activity doesn't outweigh their need to be with you. They will hug you and hold you, just like you hug and hold them. Goldendoodles make AMAZING service dogs. In a nutshell, they're perfect.
4) Allergy friendly. If bred correctly, a goldendoodle can live easily with a family that has allergies. This has to do with the furnishing and shedding genes inherited from the poodle side. We coat test our puppies to find out which genes they've inherited, since you can't tell by looking at them if they have two furnishing genes (allergy friendly) or one furnighing gene. A goldendoodle with one furnishing gene won't noticeably shed, but it can still affect those with allergies since their shedding is mild.
1) Grooming. A goldendoodle's coat continues to grow until it is cut, so it needs to be brushed and groomed regularly. You have to either have the extra money to bring your dog to the groomer often, or you have to invest in good brushes and grooming tools and learn how to keep up your dog's coat. It is worth it to be able to run your hands through that velvety coat. Learn more about grooming and coat maintenance HERE.
2) Hip dysplasia. Golden retrievers and poodles are two breeds that are prone to hip dysplasia, so naturally a goldendoodle is predisposed to hip dysplasia. They also suffer from elbow dysplasia and if they have miniature poodles in their lines, they are prone to luxating patellas. Dysplasia is when the joint does not fit properly in the socket, causing the dog pain with each movement, eventually leading to expensive surgery before the dog is unable to walk. Hip and elbow dysplasia is genetic, so goldendoodle breeders MUST have their parent dogs' joints xray'd to rule out dysplasia before breeding. Hip and elbow dysplasia is also caused by environmental factors, but there are things you can do to reduce this risk: keep your dog fit and healthy - not overwieght, don't over exercise them before they're full grown - low impact exercises are key, keep your dog on a good dog food that has omegas in it or a good joint supplement, and don't spay or neuter him/her before they're finished growing.
3) Allergies. Most of the time, goldendoodles are allergic to chicken. You'll see them biting their paw pads a lot, scratch often, and you'll notice yeasty ears. Sometimes a chicken allergy will also cause digestion issues. This is a simple fix by switching to a poultry free food. Every now and then we see a goldendoodle that suffers from environmental allergies such as dust or pollen and needs a monthly shot from the vet, but that's not the norm.
4) They can be challenging puppies to raise. Goldendoodles tend to be "happy go lucky" as puppies. Manners need to be reinforced daily, because they thrive on human affection and contact and get excited to see you. We teach our puppies manners before they go home to make this easier. They will chew on everything and will nip constantly. Chewing and nipping are normal puppy behaviors, so if you've raised any puppy before you know what we mean. If you've never raised a puppy before, we highly suggest finding a good trainer, reading some good books, or signing up for online training courses to help you with those first few weeks. We give our tips and advice as well HERE.
5) The backlash. Just as the popularity of goldendoodles keeps growing, the dislike for the breed also keeps growing. Most of the dislike comes from purebred golden retriever and poodle lovers. They believe that their breed is perfect as is, and there is no need to change it. They are right - their breed is perfect, but not for everyone. People who love goldendoodles generally love both breeds: golden retrievers and poodles, and they want a dog that embodies all of their qualities. There are also people who love the golden retriever temperament that have allergies, and people who love the fluffy coats of poodles but want more of a blocky solid build and less curls. As a goldendoodle owner, you'll have to defend yourself at least once on this topic. People will ask, "why would you buy a mixed breed when you could buy a purebred or adopt from a shelter?". The simple answer is that you chose a breed that has all of the qualities that you need in a companion dog, a dog that will live a long and healthy life (if bought from the right breeder), and that it was your choice and no one else's. Mixed breeds are healthier than purebreds because they have a very low co-efficiency of inbreeding percentage (known as
"COI"), reducing the risk of cancers, deformities, and diseases that are commonly found in poodles and golden retrienvers. This is where the term "hybrid vigor" comes into play. Buying a healthy, beautiful, well tempered dog is a GREAT choice, no matter how you look at it. One of the best decisions that you can make when it comes to buying a dog is to buy one that will always be there for you and meets your needs as a person and family. You are buying a mix, but the mix that you are buying is bred ON PURPOSE FOR A PURPOSE. There are many goldendoodle breeders (including us) that do the same things that purebred breeders are doing: bettering our structures of our dogs always, bettering the temperaments in our lines, and making sure our dogs are happy and healthy so that we can produce puppies that are happy and healthy. We are not "greeders" that only see dollar signs. Instead, we are passionate about our breed and strive to always make it better.
6) Anxiety. Because goldendoodles thrive on human affection and contact, they hate when you're not there. If you don't teach your goldendoodle that they are ok to be alone by crate training and making their alone time a positive thing, then you may end up with a dog that suffers from separation anxiety. We're talking chewing a hole through a wall type of anxiety. This is another thing that doesn't happen often, but it can happen. Be prepared to know how to handle this as puppies in order to create a sound beloved pet.
G O L D E N D O O D L E S I Z E S ?
We currently breed mini, medium, and standard size goldendoodles. These sizes are determined by both weight and height. If a goldendoodle's weight is catergorized as medium, but his height is catergorized as standard, he'll be determined a standard size. Goldendoodles can be built like poodles (tall and slender), golden retrievers (short and solid), or anything in between. Two goldendoodles can weigh the exact same amount, but its their height that will ultimately determine their size (sometimes its a 4-5" difference!). We will always breed our goldendoodles down slowly, with no more than a 3-4" difference in height between parents. This is to protect the structure in our lines and reduce joint issues later on. Sometimes our puppies end up smaller or bigger than what we estimate based on the size of the parents, but we're able to tell at around 6 weeks old if they'll be bigger or smaller than we predict. We do not breed petite, which is any goldendoodle under 25lbs. There are other wonderful small doodle breeds that would be a good choice for someone wanting petite, such as cavapoos and maltipoos. If you're set on getting a petite goldendoodle, please find a breeder that has bred petite goldendoodles down very carefully over several generations while pairing their parents based on conformation, and find one that breeds multigenerational goldendoodles.
Mini Goldendoodle = 14 - 17" at the withers from the ground, or 25 - 35lbs.
Medium Goldendoodle = 17 - 21" at the withers from the ground, or 35 - 50lbs.
Standard Goldendoodle = over 21" at the withers from the ground, or over 50lbs.
G O L D E N D O O D L E G E N E R A T I O N S ?
Our goal for our puppies is to have the least shedding coats as possible, gorgeous straight, wavy, and curly coats, nice solid structures, and a good balance of poodle and golden retriever temperament. This can be done through any generation. Generation doesn't help when trying to choose the best puppy. You can get your desired coat type in any generation. Since we coat test our parent dogs, it's easy for us to predict what types of coats we will have in a particular litter. We also test their breed percentages, so we always have a good balance of both golden and poodle. We look at our parents' structures and pair them correctly to produce nice builds in our lines. Before coat testing, we produced F1b litters because we believed they were the most hypoallergenic according to other breeders' advice at the time. Now that we've studied the genetics behind what makes a gorgeous coat, we can breed ANY generation goldendoodle and produce the same look, same low/non-shedding coats, as long as we pair the parents well according to their coat tests. Our most common breedings are multigenerational goldendoodles, which are any generation past second generation. With coat testing, multigenerational goldendoodles will breed true. What does that mean? It means you can expect the puppies to look just like mom and dad. Here's a simple generation breakdown to help you understand:
Golden Retriever x Poodle = F1 Goldendoodle (first generation)
F1 Goldendoodle x F1 Goldendoodle = F2 Goldendoodle (second generation)
F1 Goldendoodle x Poodle = F1b Goldendoodle (second generation)
Any generation past second generation = Multigenerational Goldendoodle
G O L D E N D O O D L E C O A T S :
Goldendoodles can have plenty of different coat types. There's unfurnished coats (flat coat/no beard and eyebrows) and furnished coats (beard and eyebrows/fluffiness). Both unfurnished and furnished coats can be either straight, wavy, or curly. In an effort to remain consistent with the breed standard, we only breed furnished coats. By utilizing coat testing (cheek swab sent to a lab), we are able to produce only the coats that we want to. Below are the three types of furnished coats that we produce:
2 straight genes = loose wavy
1 straight and 1 curly gene = loose curls
2 curly genes = tight curls or ringlets
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