What Exactly is a Goldendoodle?

The Goldendoodle is a cross between a purebred Golden Retriever and a purebred Poodle.

This is a mixed-breed dog, though some breeders market it as a “designer dog”. In reality, designer dogs are nothing more than crossbreeds, sometimes called mutts.

Before getting a Goldendoodle, or any type of dog, it is wise to learn everything you can to make sure that the breed is a good fit for your family.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict what a Goldendoodle will be like when it grows up since it is a cross of two different breeds.

While it is difficult to tell exactly what your Goldendoodle will be like in terms of size, appearance, personality, and temperament you can make some predictions given the characteristics of the two parent breeds.

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Characteristics of a Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is a large-breed dog and easily one of the nicest, sweetest dog breeds you will ever come across. These dogs are known just as much for their friendly personalities as for their beautiful gold-colored coats. The Golden Retriever was originally developed as a gun dog to retrieve downed waterfowl over land and water. The breed was developed in Scotland during the mid-1900s when waterfowl hunting was an incredibly popular sport for the Scottish Elite. At the time, existing retrievers were not skilled in retrieving over both land and water so they were crossed with the best water spaniels to create the breed that is now known as the Golden Retriever. The breed was first accepted by The Kennel Club in England in 1903 but it didn’t make its way to the U.S. until 1925. Today, the Golden Retriever is consistently ranked as the third most popular breed according to AKC registration after the Labrador Retriever and the German Shepherd.

As a gun dog, the Golden Retriever has a large, strong build and a thick, water-repellent coat. Golden Retrievers generally stand between 21 and 24 inches tall and they weigh anywhere between 55 and 75 pounds at maturity. These dogs are known for their beautiful golden coats, though the actual shade can range from very pale yellow to a deep gold color. The Golden Retriever has a medium-length double coat with a soft undercoat and a wavy, water-resistant topcoat. This breed sheds a moderate amount throughout the year and it sheds its undercoat twice a year, in the spring and fall. Regular brushing and grooming is necessary to control shedding and to maintain coat quality in this breed. The Golden Retriever generally does not require trimming except between the toes to prevent matting.

In terms of temperament, the Golden Retriever is easily one of the gentlest and most mild-mannered breeds in existence. These dogs are exceedingly popular as family pets because they are very people-oriented and incredibly patient around children. Golden Retrievers generally get along well with other dogs and pets – they even do well around livestock. In addition to being very friendly, Golden Retrievers are also very intelligent which makes them highly trainable. The intelligence of this breed combined with its eager-to-please attitude makes it a great choice for therapy and assistance training as well as search-and-rescue and various dog sports. Golden Retrievers are very social and people-oriented, so they should not be left alone for long periods of time.

As a large-breed dog, the Golden Retriever has a median lifespan around 11 to 12 years, though it is possible for them to live up to 15 years in good health. Golden Retrievers are susceptible to a number of inherited conditions, so careful breeding is incredibly important for this breed. Some of the most common conditions to which the breed is prone include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, cancer, and heart disease. Some Golden Retrievers are also at-risk for various joint diseases like patellar luxation and osteochondritis. It is also important to feed Golden Retrievers appropriately to maintain a healthy weight because obesity is a common concern for the breed.

Characteristics of a Poodle

Just as the Golden Retriever is known for its friendly temperament and golden coat, the Poodle is known for its intelligence and its curls. There are three different size variants of the Poodle – the Standard Poodle, the Miniature Poodle, and the Toy Poodle – but the Standard Poodle (the largest of the three) is most commonly used in breeding Goldendoodles. The exact origins of the Poodle breed are up for debate, though it is commonly thought to have been developed in Germany as the Pudelhund. Though developed in Germany, the Poodle breed was standardized in France where it was widely used as a water retriever. In fact, the Poodle became the national breed in France before making its way across the European mainland and in to England.

The modern Poodle is a medium-sized breed, standing over 15 inches tall and weighing between 40 and 55 pounds at maturity. Standard Poodles have a trim, athletic build with a somewhat square frame and long legs. Poodles have dark, oval-shaped eyes and an intelligent, alert expression. The Poodle’s muzzle is long and tapered with a dark nose while the ears are long, folding close to the head, and set at or below eye level. The most identifiable physical characteristic of the Poodle is its long, curly coat. Though it might look otherwise, the Poodle’s coat is a single not a double coat, but it is very dense. Poodles come in a wide range of colors including black, white, brown, gray, silver, apricot, cream, red, and sable as well as some parti-color patterns.

The Poodle’s coat grows very quickly so it requires frequent brushing and grooming to maintain quality and prevent matting. Some Poodle owners choose to cord their dog’s coat into rope-like mats similar to a dog version of dreadlocks. Poodles kept for show usually have their coats brushed out and kept long while pet Poodles typically have pet or puppy clips to keep the coat more manageable. The Poodle’s coat is very dense but the hairs are fine. Poodles are often regarded as a hypoallergenic breed because they shed minimally and much of their hair gets caught in the curly coat.

In terms of temperament, the Poodle is a friendly and gentle breed though it can develop a vain or arrogant air if you aren’t careful. Poodles are very intelligent so they require plenty of mental stimulation in addition to daily exercise. These dogs are very social so they may be somewhat reserved around strangers but they make friends quickly and they get along well with other dogs. Standard Poodles generally get along well with children and they are unlikely to bother other household pets. In terms of health, Poodles are fairly healthy though they are prone to several serious conditions including Addison’s disease, von Willebrand disease, epilepsy, and Cushing’s syndrome. Poodles have also been known to develop skin problems, hip dysplasia, gastric dilation volvulus, and renal disease.

Goldendoodle Characteristics and Temperament

Because the Goldendoodle is a mixed-breed dog, each litter of puppies will be completely unique depending on which genetics they inherit from which parent. The two parent breeds, the Golden Retriever and the Standard Poodle, do have some similarities, however, so you can make a few predictions about the Goldendoodle breed. For example, both parent breeds are medium- to large-sized dogs so the Goldendoodle can be expected to reach an average size between 40 and 70 pounds. It is not uncommon, however, for Goldendoodles to be much larger than that if both parents passed along strong genes for size. It is also possible for Goldendoodles to be much smaller if they are bred from a Golden Retriever and a Toy or Miniature Poodle.

In terms of appearance, the Goldendoodle comes in three different coat types: straight, wavy, or curly. The straight-coated Goldendoodle resembles the coat of the Golden Retriever while the curly coat resembles the coat of the Poodle. The wavy-coated Goldendoodle falls somewhere along the line between the two coat types. Similar to Poodles, Goldendoodles come in a wide range of colors including everything from gold or tan to red, gray, and black. Many Goldendoodles exhibit a sandy brown coloration similar in appearance to the Golden Retriever’s coat. The length of the Goldendoodle’s coat varies depending on breeding, though it is generally medium-long and fairly dense but soft in texture. Regular brushing and grooming is a requirement for this breed, though the need for trimming will depend on how much Poodle the dog inherited. Goldendoodles are not as “hypoallergenic” as Poodles in many cases, though they still tend to shed a little less than Golden Retrievers.

The Goldendoodle is generally a very friendly and people-oriented breed, much like both of its parents. In cases where the Goldendoodle is bred from a Toy or Miniature Poodle, however, this may not always be the case – these dogs are more likely to be inpatient around children and they may be less tolerant of other dogs. Most Goldendoodles, however, make excellent family pets because they do well around both children and other dogs. Goldendoodles are also very intelligent dogs which makes them highly trainable. These dogs do very well as assistance and therapy dogs, plus they can be trained for various dog sports like obedience and agility. Early socialization and training is needed for this breed, however, though that is true for all dogs.

Goldendoodles are fairly active dogs and they require a good deal of daily exercise to remain fit and in good health. These dogs also require mental stimulation to prevent them from getting bored and developing problem behaviors, plus they do not like being left alone for long periods of time. In terms of health, Goldendoodles are extremely variable depending on their genetics. Both Golden Retriever and Standard Poodles are at-risk for certain conditions like hip dysplasia and gastric dilation volvulus which could increase your Goldendoodle’s susceptibility to these conditions. Other problems your Goldendoodle may be at-risk for developing could include Addison’s disease, epilepsy, allergies, skin problems, and hypothyroidism.

How Much Do Goldendoodles Cost?

When you start looking around for a Goldendoodle puppy you shouldn’t be surprised to find a wide range of different prices from various breeders. Some breeders who consider the Goldendoodle to be a “designer dog” will sell their puppies for much higher prices than a breeder who considers the Goldendoodle to be a mixed breed. You should always avoid buying mixed-breed puppies from a breeder who makes specific claims in regard to the puppy’s size, appearance, or temperament because these things are nearly impossible to predict with a mixed breed. In order to determine a fair price range for the Goldendoodle you should consider the average price of Golden Retriever and Poodle puppies.

If you consult AKC-registered Golden Retriever breeders, a puppy will cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 or more. Most pet-quality Golden Retrievers sell for between $1,000 and $1,500 while show-quality dogs sell for $2,000 to $3,000. It is possible to find Golden Retriever puppies in a lower price range, even as low as $500, but these are likely inexperienced backyard breeders who do not screen their breeding stock for congenital diseases. Purebred Poodles fetch a similar price to Golden Retrievers for show-quality dogs, somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000. Miniature Poodles and pet-quality dogs may cost a little less, between $800 and $1,200. Given this information you should never spend more than $2,000 for a Goldendoodle, though a price range between $800 and $1,500 is considered standard.

What is a Goldendoodle’s Lifespan?

The Goldendoodle is a cross between two different breeds, a purebred Golden Retriever and a purebred Standard Poodle (sometimes a Miniature Poodle). In order to determine the Goldendoodle’s lifespan, then, you must think about the lifespan of the two parent breeds. The average life expectancy for the Golden Retriever is 10 to 12 years while the average for the Standard Poodle is 10 to 12 years. Given this information, you can expect your Goldendoodle to live between 10 and 12 years. In cases where the Goldendoodle is bred from a Miniature Poodle the lifespan could be a little longer, between 12 and 14 years on average.

How Big is a Full-Grown Goldendoodle?

Because genetics are so complex and variable, it is difficult to predict the adult size of a hybrid dog like the Goldendoodle. When the Goldendoodle is bred from a Golden Retriever and a Standard Poodle, the two parents are of very similar size so you can make fairly accurate predictions about the puppy. In crossings like this, the adult size of the Goldendoodle is likely to be somewhere between 40 and 70 pounds. If the Goldendoodle is bred from a Golden Retriever and a Miniature Poodle, however, it is likely to be a little smaller – around 30 to 45 pounds. The only way to really know the full-size of your Goldendoodle, however, is to wait for him to mature.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a freelance writer and a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine, Dog News. She is the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Adoptashelter.com award-winner for 2013. Additionally, Carlotta is the author of Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Health and Happy, as well as other books about pets. She is a guest writer for numerous website and blogs and a frequent pet food reviewer.

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  • It’s good to know that Goldendoodles are highly trainable. My kids really want a family dog, but I want to be sure that it won’t be too hard to train. Plus, I love the curly hair in poodles, so I definitely wouldn’t mind it in a Goldendoodle! When I get a chance, I’ll show some pictures of Goldendoodles to my kids, and see what they say. I have a feeling they’ll like this breed!

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