The Goldendoodle is a “designer dog,” a hybrid dog breed resulting from breeding a Poodle with a Golden Retriever. Like all other designer “breeds,” the Goldendoodle is not truly a breed of its own, but is a crossbreed — and in this case, a cross that is enjoying growing popularity. As a crossbreed, the Goldendoodle is not eligible for registration with purebred registries such as the American Kennel Club, but it can be registered with the Goldendoodle Association of North America (GANA). The Goldendoodle is not considered a purebred because it doesn’t ‘breed true’, meaning that it doesn’t display a consistent set of characteristics.
First generation Goldendoodles are referred to as “F1.” These are the product of a pure Golden Retriever bred with a pure Poodle, making the resulting Doodle 50% Poodle and 50% Golden Retriever. F1 Doodles have all of the traits that make Goldendoodles such desirable dogs, including intelligence, a loving demeanor, and hypoallergenic qualities. However, it is important to note that most F1 Goldendoodles shed lightly to moderately. F1 doodles tend to have shaggy or wavy coats, but can occasionally have a very curly coat.
When a F1 Doodle is cross-bred with a Poodle, the term “F1B” is used to describe their resulting offspring. A F1B Goldendoodle is 25% Golden Retriever and 75% Poodle. This generation has become the most popular generational breed largely because F1B Goldendoodles are non-shedders 99% of the time. This makes them the most hypoallergenic of all the Doodle generational breeds. Even though F1B doodles are technically 75% poodle, they still exhibit the same favorable personality traits and behaviors as F1 Doodles (with the exception of shedding). F1B Doodles tend to have more variety and can range from long and wavy to short and curly.
Second generation Goldendoodles are referred to as “F2”. These are the product of two F1 Doodle parents. They are are equal parts Poodle and Golden Retriever and have similar qualities as the F1 Doodles.
This type of Doodle is a second generation backcross and are referred to as “F2B”. This means an F1 Doodle was bred with an F1B Doodle. This generation of Doodle is less common than the other generation breeds, but will still work well for families with moderate allergies because they are generally non-shedding.
The Goldendoodle has an average shoulder height of 20-29 in (51-74 cm) and weighs 45-90 lbs (20-40 kg); mixes with Miniature Poodles or Toy Poodles tend to be smaller. As a crossbreed, the Goldendoodle has a wide variety of appearances. Those with more Poodle influence tend to have a thinner coat and shorter muzzle, whereas the Golden Retriever influence results in a wider neck, and longer muzzle. Goldendoodles can have short or long ears; most have a ‘V’-shaped ridge from the forehead to the nose.
The Goldendoodle’s coat is a cross between the Golden Retriever and Poodle coat. It has fine hairs which appear quite thick. It can be curly or straight, most fall somewhere in the middle. Unclipped, the hair will grow about 4-7 in in length. Unlike the Poodle, the Goldendoodle should not be clipped any shorter than 2 in, as the coat provides natural protection in heat and cold. Depending on the Poodle influence, the Goldendoodle can come in a wide variety of colors including white, tan, chocolate, black, red, silver, or a mix thereof. A variety of colors and coat textures can appear in the same litter. Depending on the source breeds, the Goldendoodle may shed little to none like the Poodle or shed moderately like the Golden Retriever. Generally, the lower generations are better for allergy sufferers. Most Poodle crosses will go through various coat phases in their first year of life.
The Goldendoodle is intelligent, friendly, and family oriented. It is a highly social dog. Goldendoodles tend to follow their nose wherever it leads, so a fenced-in yard is recommended. They are always ready for a game; most Goldendoodles retain the natural retrieving instincts of the Golden Retriever. The Goldendoodle’s friendliness with strangers makes it a poor watchdog. Goldendoodles do not bark frequently.
Goldendoodles love to be with their family. They are eager to please and get along well with children, other animals, and strangers. They are social dogs and crave being around people.
The Goldendoodle requires regular brushing or combing every few weeks. Goldendoodles have a lifespan of 9-15 years. They are prone to most health issues affecting Golden Retrievers and Poodles, including hip dysplasia (malformed hip joint which can cause lameness or arthritis), ear infections (particularly for longer-eared dogs) and eye problems such as cataracts, but as a mixed breed they are somewhat less likely to suffer health problems than purebreds (known as ‘hybrid vigor’).
It is essential that the Goldendoodle be fed a high-quality diet of dry kibble. Foods that are specifically formulated for the dog’s activity level are best and will ensure that he is getting the optimum nutrition. Dry food will help to prevent plaque buildup, tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease and bad breath.
Goldendoodles take well to obedience training and because they are so bright and eager to please, they also do well in agility. Agility courses are a great place for the Goldendoodle to burn up his energy as well as reinforce the bond he has with his owner. He’ll also have time to socialize with other athletic dogs running the courses.
The Goldendoodle requires a moderate amount of exercise. Most enjoy swimming as both the Poodle and Golden Retriever are not averse to water. Goldendoodles can live happily on a farm or in a big city. They will thrive with daily walks or play time.