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Are you thinking about getting a Goldendoodle? A cross between the Golden Retriever and Standard or Miniature Poodle, the Groodle can be a great family dog.
But they aren’t for everybody.
We want to give you as much information as possible about this increasingly popular hybrid dog breed so you can decide whether a Goldendoodle is the best fit for your family.
Height: 13 to 24”
Weight: miniature, 15 to 30 pounds; medium, 30 to 45 pounds; standard, 45 to more than 100 pounds
Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
Origin: United States
Alternative Names: Groodle, Golden Poo, Goldie Poo
Energy Level: 4/5
Bonding Level: 5/5
Amount of Shedding: 2/5
Tendency to Bark or Howl: 3/5
Goldendoodle History and Origin
Goldendoodles, also commonly referred to as Groodles, were developed in the 1990s in the wake of the growing popularity of Labradoodles and Cockapoos (other Poodle hybrids). Goldendoodles are quickly becoming one of the most popular hybrid dog breeds.
While Goldendoodles were traditionally Golden Retrievers mixed with Standard Poodles, smaller Goldendoodles that are the result of crossing Goldens with Miniature or Toy Poodles are becoming increasingly common so that the fun-loving personality of the Goldendoodle can be better suited to life in an apartment or with owners who have less time or energy to exercise a super energetic large dog.
Most Goldendoodles are still first-generation, meaning one parent is a Golden Retriever and one parent is a Poodle, although second-generation Goldendoodles, where a first-generation Goldendoodle is paired back with a Poodle, are becoming much more popular. Goldendoodles are rarely bred to each other.
Goldendoodles come in three sizes based on what size of Poodle their parent is: Miniature, Medium (also called Small Standard), and Standard (also called Large Standard).
While Miniature Goldendoodles max out at 30 pounds, Standard Goldendoodles can be larger than either Golden Retrievers or Standard Poodles and can top the scales at more than 100 pounds. That’s why you need to find a reputable breeder who keeps the parent dogs on-site, so you have a reasonable idea of how large your Goldendoodle puppy may grow to be.
Goldendoodles are extremely friendly dogs, especially if they are well socialized as puppies. They make terrible guard dogs because they typically love everybody, from kids to other pets to strangers. You could joke that a Goldendoodle would not only let a robber into your home, but they would lead them straight to your valuables in their desire to please!
On the other hand, Goldendoodles who don’t receive enough socialization as puppies can be nervous around strangers, possibly hiding their fear behind aggression. That’s why it’s so important to introduce your puppy to a variety of people, places, and other animals when they are young.
Training a Goldendoodle
Goldendoodles are fairly easy to train because they generally have the intelligence of the Standard Poodle with the eagerness to please of the Golden Retriever (although genetics don’t always work out so perfectly, so you could wind up with a stubborn dog, instead).
With their high energy levels, Goldendoodles may be resistant to training if they don’t get enough exercise. Training is likely to be more successful after a walk to burn off some of their excess energy.
For best results, start training your puppy as soon as you bring them home. Even young puppies are trainable and tend to be more eager to learn than older dogs. When your puppy is old enough and has received required vaccinations, a group training class is a great opportunity to combine training with socialization.
It’s important to note that a Groodle may become destructive if bored, anxious, or lonely during the day. Be sure they get plenty of exercise, and when you leave them alone, give them treat puzzles and other interactive dog toys to keep them busy while you’re away.
Common Health Issues
While Goldendoodles may have a certain amount of hybrid vigor, meaning they tend to be healthier than either of their parent breeds, they are still prone to some common large breed health issues like:
- Patellar luxation (more common in Miniature Goldendoodles)
- Ear infections
- Hip dysplasia (more common in Standard Goldendoodles)
- Elbow dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Von Willebrand’s Disease
- Bloat (more common in Standard Goldendoodles)
- Atopic dermatitis
- Cranial cruciate ligament rupture
How to Care for a Goldendoodle
We’ll talk more about specific care requirements in a minute, but the most important thing to know is that the Goldendoodle requires much more grooming than many breeders and informational websites would have you believe. Even with a short haircut, they need to be brushed at least 2-3 times per week, and longer haircuts need daily brushing.
Don’t let anybody convince you that Goldendoodles are low maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming – you will wind up the sad owner of a shaved naked Groodle wondering where you went wrong.
READ MORE: 6 Home Remedies to Stop Dog Shedding
Food and Diet Requirements
Since Goldendoodles are prone to allergies, you may need a limited ingredient or grain-free diet. You don’t necessarily need to start your pup on those type of diets, just know that if your Goldendoodle starts to get itchy, their diet is the first thing you should check.
Standard Goldendoodles can grow to be 100 pounds or more, so you should consider feeding them food designed specifically for large breed dogs. If you’re interested, you can check out our recommendations on the best dog food for Goldendoodles.
Bloat is also a concern for Standard Goldendoodles, so you should feed your dog at least twice a day from bowls on the floor (not in a raised feeder). If your dog likes to scarf their food as quickly as possible, puzzle feeders and slow feeder bowls are a great way to slow them down to prevent them from swallowing air, which is one of the causes of bloat.
A food that’s fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin can help prevent or reduce the symptoms of joint problems like arthritis or hip dysplasia, and food that’s fortified with omega-3 can lead to a healthier skin and coat.
Goldendoodle Exercise Requirements
Goldendoodles are a very energetic breed that requires a lot of exercise, and the larger the dog, the greater their exercise needs. You should plan on at least two long walks every day, and a game of fetch in the backyard or a run around the dog park are even better.
If a Goldendoodle doesn’t get enough exercise, they will be more prone to destructive behaviors when left alone and jumping on you when you are home. Rather than letting your Goldendoodle expend their extra energy by tearing apart your sofa, make sure you burn off some of their energy before you leave them home alone.
Goldendoodle Training Requirements
Goldendoodles are relatively easy to train with positive reinforcement. They can be very sensitive to scolding, so you should focus more on rewarding good behavior rather than punishing negative behaviors.
These dogs tend to be very eager to please, so use that to your advantage in your training sessions and find out what motivates them best. While it may be treats, it may also be a game of fetch or even simply praise and affection.
I was a dog groomer for more than 12 years, and I have to tell you, Goldendoodles have one of the worst coat types of any breed. Their hair is nearly as curly as a Poodle, with more undercoat than a Poodle that just gets stuck in the curls.
They require frequent, proper brushing to avoid mats and should visit a groomer for a trim at least every 4-8 weeks.
While the “traditional” Goldendoodle look is fluffy with about 1-3 inches of fur left, that look is very difficult to maintain, so most pet owners go for shorter cuts that are easy to maintain. My personal recommendation is to tell the groomer to leave 5/8” and get your Goldendoodle groomed every 6 weeks. This is the best way to avoid severe matting that would cause your dog to be shaved naked because brushing out severe matting is just plain cruel.
Check out my brushing tips and grooming tool recommendations here.
If you prefer that fluffier look, I recommend getting into the habit of brushing your dog every day. Maybe you’ll brush your Goldendoodle every night while watching TV. Maintaining your dog’s coat is much easier than trying to demat it after the fact.
If you would like to learn more, I cover how to groom a Goldendoodle in detail in the following article: 5 Best Brushes for Goldendoodles (Plus Grooming Tips).
Goldendoodle Breeders & Rescue Groups
Since Goldendoodles have become one of the most popular “designer dog” breeds, there are a ton of breeders and rescue groups out there. The trick is to find a reputable breeder who cares about the health of their puppies rather than making a quick buck by churning out a large number of puppies rather than a high quality of puppies.
Here are some tips to help you find a reputable breeder:
- Make sure you can visit the site and see the puppies (and at least one of the parents) in person. Don’t trust anybody who is willing to ship their puppies or refuses to let you come to their property to see the puppies.
- Ask for health certifications for the parents. Reputable breeders will have certifications proving the health of the parent dogs’ eyes, hips, thyroid function, and more.
- Ask how long they’ve been breeding Goldendoodles and how many generations of the parent breeds they have on-site. Ask whether the puppies are a first-generation (F1, a Golden Retriever mixed with a Poodle), F1b (a Goldendoodle mixed with a Poodle), or another generation type. The personalities of F1b or later generations tend to be more predictable than F1 dogs.
- Never buy a puppy from a pet store. With the exception of cities or states where pet shops are required to adopt out dogs from shelters, most pet stores get their animals from puppy mills, where the animals are kept in tiny crates and never get any human interaction. They are more likely to be sick and have personality problems. Also, even though you think you are rescuing that one puppy, you are actually supporting the puppy mills and imprisoning further dogs.
Sadly, many people don’t know what they’re signing up for when they bring a Groodle home. Thanks to the breed’s increasing popularity, more Goldendoodles are finding themselves in shelters and rescue groups all the time. Before buying a puppy, won’t you consider adopting or rescuing one?
Here are some rescue groups and other resources for finding adoptable Goldendoodles near you:
- Adopt a Pet
- Doodle Rescue Collective
- IDOG Rescue – Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Rescue
- Poo-Mix Rescue
Common Questions About Goldendoodles
Since Goldendoodles are a hybrid dog breed, there isn’t centuries’ worth of information about them, and some information is not reliable. Here are the answers to some common questions about Goldendoodles.
Are Goldendoodles hypoallergenic?
Breeders often claim that Goldendoodles are hypoallergenic, but the truth is that people are allergic to the dander and saliva of dogs, not their fur. As a result, no dog is truly hypoallergenic.
With that being said, the less a dog sheds, the less dander falls around the house leaving allergens in their wake. Many Goldendoodles shed at least a little bit since they are ¼ to ½ Golden Retriever, and Goldens do shed. Generally, though, Goldendoodles shed much less than Golden Retrievers.
Do Goldendoodles enjoy swimming?
Since Golden Retrievers and Poodles both love to swim, Goldendoodles also enjoy swimming. Be warned that water makes their hair become matted, so if you allow your Goldendoodle to swim, you should brush them extra before and after their swim to prevent and remove mats.
How much energy does a Goldendoodle have?
Since both Golden Retrievers and Poodles were bred to work, Goldendoodles have a lot of energy and need a good amount of exercise to keep them healthy and happy. Plan on lots of fetch and long walks to tire them out. Doggie Daycare and intense hikes are also great exercise options.
What is “hybrid vigor” and how does it apply to Goldendoodles?
Each dog breed is genetically prone to certain diseases and health conditions. The term “hybrid vigor” refers to the phenomenon where the offspring of two different breeds tend to be healthier than either parent breed because they have half as much chance of inheriting each parent’s genetic issues.
With that being said, the puppies will be just as prone to genetic health conditions that are common to both parent breeds. For Goldendoodles, that means they are somewhat less prone to the high rates of cancer that Golden Retrievers suffer from, but they are just as likely to suffer from hip dysplasia since both Goldens and Poodles are prone to it.
Wrapping Up: Is the Goldendoodle right for your family?
With their friendly, easy-going personalities, Groodles are a great choice for many families and can even do well with first-time dog owners. There’s little need to worry about problems with aggression, and they generally do well with children.
Goldendoodles do require a lot of grooming, however. You will need to brush your dog regularly, and a trip to the groomer for a haircut could cost up to $100 or more depending on where you live. It’s important to take these factors into consideration before bringing a Goldendoodle into your life.
Goldendoodles also require a lot of exercise. If you don’t have the time or energy to exercise your Goldendoodle, they may become destructive. Don’t get a Goldendoodle if you can’t commit to at least two 30-minute walks per day.
As long as you can meet their grooming and exercise needs, Goldendoodles are great dogs for most families.