The Golden Doodle is a friendly, low-shedding cross between a Golden Retriever and a Standard Poodle. When properly bred, this dog has a terrific personality, combines the very best qualities of its parent strain, and is a wonderful addition to any family.
Since so many of our clients ask about this breed (and it happens to be one of the dogs that Dr. Keith Manning and his family own), we decided to answer any questions that you might have. If we miss anything, please add your additional thoughts in the comments section below!
How Did the Golden Doodle Get Its Name?
The name is analogous to the first Retriever/Poodle cross, the Labradoodle, a dog bred from a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle. In Australia the a Golden Retriever and Standard Poodle cross is called a Groodle. Many breeders and pet owners abbreviate the name to just Doodle. The name was conceived by the breeder as a way to adopt out two of the three puppies that were originally bred for the purpose of serving as guide dogs for the blind, but who were determined to be not suitable for training. According to the originator of the breed, Wally Conron, it was the name that started the Doodle craze; prior to that, no one wanted the mixed breed. More on this below.
Where Did the Golden Doodle Originate?
The idea to cross Retrievers with Poodles originated when a blind woman, living in Hawaii, reached out to the master breeder at the Royal Guide Dogs of Australia. The woman’s husband was allergic and she needed a guide dog that her husband could tolerate living in their home. The breeder, Wally Conron, originally tried to train purebred Standard Poodles for the guide dog job, but found the breed not suitable for training. It was then that he had the idea to cross breed the traditional work dog for the job, the Retriever, with a Standard Poodle.
Parents of the Original Labradoodle
The original Labradoodle was bred by master breeder, Wally Conron, by crossing a male Standard Poodle named Harley, with a female Labrador retriever named Brandy. The female produced three puppies, one of which was named Sultan who was trained to be a guide dog and sent to Hawaii where he served his blind charge until he was retired and sent back to Australia. There, he lived the remaining portion of his life with Mr. Conron. It is common practice for guide dogs to be retired once they reach old age. There are typically long lists of people willing to adopt these elderly, but well trained, loyal dogs.
Labradoodle Breeder Says He Regrets Creating The Breed
In an interview with the Australian Broacasting Corporation, the man responsible for creating the Labradoodle cross was quoted as saying, “I opened a Pandora box and released a Frankenstein monster…I bred the labradoodle for a blind lady whose husband was allergic to dog hair (but) I find that the biggest majority of the Doodles that are now being bred are either crazy or have a hereditary problem… People ask me, ‘Aren’t you proud of yourself?’ I tell them: ‘No! Not in the slightest.’ I’ve done so much harm to pure breeding and made many charlatans quite rich,” he said. “I wonder, in my retirement, whether we bred a designer dog — or a disaster!”
People ask me, ‘Aren’t you proud of yourself?’ I tell them: ‘No! Not in the slightest.’
It’s important to note that Mr. Conron is mostly concerned that the popularity of the breed incited a number of unscrupulous breeders to turn out Retriever-Poodle crosses without paying enough concern to hereditary issues like hip and elbow dysplasia. He too is concerned that the breed is ‘crazy’ (his words), but it’s important to note that many owners, breeders, and trainers disagree. They believe that behaviors that pet owners may associate with ‘craziness’ are due to a lack of stimulation in the dog’s life.
How Big Do Golden Doodles Get?
Golden Doodles and all other Retriever crosses are bred from Retrievers and either Standard, Medium, or Miniature Poodles. Thus, the breed comes in a range of weight classes from 15-100 pounds! There are no standards for the ‘breed’ since it is not officially recognized by any of the major dog organizations.
Are Golden Doodles Bred with Other Golden Doodles?
Yes. Breeders sometimes cross Labrador/Poodle hybrids with one another as they try to improve upon characteristics like temperament, size, coloring, coat, and vigor, but most breeders stick with a Retriever/Poodle parent set. If the offspring of a Retriever and a Poodle are crossed, breeders typically don’t breed beyond the second generation to avoid genetic issues related to inbreeding. Today, Poodles are crossed with a number of other breeds to produce low-shedding dogs: Cocker Spaniel + Poodle = Cockapoo; Schnauzer + Poodle= Schnoodle; Yorkshire terrier+ Poodle= Yorkipoo. You can find a full list of Poodle crosses on Wikipedia.
Are Golden Doodles Hypoallergenic?
Dogs like Golden Doodles that have a low shed rate are often referred to as hypoallergenic because people with allergies to dog hair, skin cells, and other proteins found on dogs tend to tolerate them well, but no dog is really hypoallergenic. Purchasing a dog that sheds less than other breeds reduces your exposure to the allergens that are causing you to have your allergic reaction, but it doesn’t guarantee that you will be immune.
What is the Personality of a Golden Doodle Like?
In general, the Golden Doodle is a friendly, outgoing cross, but all personality traits are governed by genetics, parenting, and socialization. Puppies born to aggressive parents, especially if the mother is aggressive, tend to be aggressive. Puppies that are not socialized at a young age or ones that are mistreated also tend to grow up with behavior issues.
Aggression and poor temperament are the number one reason why families abandon their dogs or turn them over to shelters. If you have just acquired a Golden Doodle, or any other young dog, we invite you to come to East Side Animal Hospital where we can assist you with an understanding of basic dog training and get you started out on the right footing with your new pet. Dog crosses like the Golden Doodle are incredibly intelligent and respond well to training. They’ll thank you for investing the time into making them responsible members of your family.
Do You Have A Well Behaved Labradoodle? Try Giving Him the ACK’s Canine Good Citizen’s Test!
“Whether you and your dog have completed CGC classes or practiced at home, when you’re ready, the next step is to take the 10 point CGC test. Find an evaluator in your area to administer the exam so you and your pup can test for your CGC award.” From the AKC’s website page ‘Canine Good Citizen’
Is the Golden Doodle an Active Breed?
Generally this breed requires an outlet for its exuberant personality and energy levels. If your lifestyle prevents you from exercising this dog, you should probably choose another kind of pet. Smaller Doodles usually aren’t as needy when it comes to exercise, but you should still expect to provide at least 4 hours of exercise and interactive time per day.
Do I Have To Have My Labradoodle Groomed?
It depends. Some Doodles inherit more of their parent’s Poodle coat and others the flat, short coat of their Labrador parent. Owners of very curly-haired Doodles often have their pets professionally groomed and the results are amazing. Already a beautiful pet, a professional grooming will really rock this dog’s look.
How Long Do Golden Doodles Live?
The average life expectancy of a Doodle is 12-16 years. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger dogs. As with any breed, preventative care, good nutrition, and exercise are imperative to a long, healthy life.
Do Golden Doodles Have Health Issues?
Generally, this is a robust breed with few health issues. The most common health issues that you are likely to have with a Doodle is obesity, dental disease (especially the smaller crosses), and arthritis with age. Since Retrievers are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, you should bring your young Doodle to East Side Animal Hospital for a radiographic evaluation of his or her hips at a young age.
Doodles are also prone to skin growths as they get older. Though skin growths are often benign, a significant portion of them are cancerous and, unless removed, can grow, spread, and be fatal. Since nearly 20% of all skin growths are cancerous and almost all can grow to be quite large, they should be evaluated by an East Side Animal Hospital veterinarian as soon as you notice them.
Where Can I Purchase a Golden Doodle?
East Side Animal Hospital encourages you to use services like Petfinder to locate a Golden Doodle that may available for adoption (see more links below). Adopting a Doodle can save you hundreds (or even thousands!) of dollars and save the life of a beautiful animal that will be eager to join your home and show off his or her gratitude for the rescue. Use the links below to explore Doodles that are currently up for adoption in our area.
Have a Doodle Story? Please Share!
East Side Animal Hospital veterinarian Dr Keith Manning owns a Golden Doodle and is especially familiar with and drawn to the breed. Share your stories below or use the contact form to reach out with any questions. He and his colleagues will be happy to help you out!