Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Goldendoodles have quickly become one of America’s most loved dog breeds and it’s easy to see why! Whether it’s the non-shedding coat, their eternal loyal and friendly temperament, the active lifestyle or the drop-dead gorgeous looks, it seems the Goldendoodle has captured America’s heart and is here to stay!
Many first-time doodle owners begin by asking what they need to know before joining the Goldendoodle family. That’s a great question and at Jenna Lee Designer Doodles we think it’s always a smart move to understand what you’re getting into before welcoming a new pup into your home. In this article, we’ll discuss some initial concepts to familiarize you with what can you expect with a Goldendoodle.
Let’s start with some breed basics about Goldendoodles. The Goldendoodle is a cross between a Poodle and Golden Retriever and can come in a variety of sizes, colors and coat types. The goldendoodles’ incredible temperament combined with its minimal shedding are two of the main driving factors behind this breed’s recent surge in popularity.
You Should Know the Temperament of Goldendoodles
Both the standard poodle and golden retriever were originally bred as a sporting breed. The Standard Poodle was originally bred as a retrieving dog (specifically for the water!). The Golden Retriever (as its name would suggest) was also bred to accompany his master on the hunt to retrieve game. Retrieving is a skill that requires dutiful obedience on the part of the dog and an active, alert disposition.
In recent decades, the vast majority of poodles and golden retrievers have been bred for family pets rather than hunting companions, but their original roots remain. Both breeds rank very high in obedience/trainability and intelligence. Golden retrievers in particular have been frequently bred for their obedience and service dog potential. And both breeds are quite athletic, tend to like retrieval games like fetch, and are overall moderately active dogs.
Also, it’s important to understand that the standard size Goldendoodle uses a Standard Poodle and the miniature size uses a Miniature/Toy Poodle. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, the Miniature Poodle and Standard Poodle have some similarities but are two completely different breeds. Unlike its larger counterpart, the Miniature/Toy Poodle was not bred for a sporting purpose, but rather came into existence once the Standard Poodle made its way into France where it was bred down to become a prized pet of 18th-century European aristocracy. Bred specifically for its small size and companionship, the Miniature Poodle tends to be more demanding of attention and can be more excitable and less docile than their standard-sized counterparts. Miniatures are still known for their intelligence and affection and combined with the little extra spunk they pack, they can make an ideal addition to the right family. This is something to consider if you are wanting a smaller version of the doodle. For families with young children and/or wanting a more mellow dog, we recommend a larger medium or standard size doodle.
So what do you get when you combine two breeds both known for intelligence, trainability, and sensitivity/intuition with people? An amazing dog! Goldendoodles are known for their friendly, gentle dispositions and their eager-to-please attitudes. They are incredibly people-oriented and easy to train! They have a charming sense of humor and an uncanny ability to know when their humans could use an extra snuggle.
Know the Difference Between Low-Shedding Coats, Flat/Straight versus Wavy versus Curly Coats
Overall, doodles tend to be very low shedding, although, in the first and second generations a puppy with a very flat, straight coat will shed. This type of coat is very similar to the Golden Retriever (hence the shedding).
Wavy coats are still prone to some shedding but are fairly easy as far as grooming - typically only requiring brushing a couple times a week to avoid matting. This type of coat is a good middle blend between the two breeds.
The curly coat will be ultra-low shedding and is best for people with allergies, but it will require more frequent brushing to prevent matting. We find that they shed about as much as a human — so you will see hair in the brush when you comb them, but it will not be all over your floors and furniture as with most other non-doodle dog breeds.
Your breeder should be able to tell what type of coats the pups have from an early age. If you are looking to avoid potential for heavy shedding, look for breeders who do coat testing on the parents dogs and/or are breeding past the first and second generations. At JLDD we love our multigenerational litters.
Adding more poodle generally equates to a curlier coat and less shedding as seen in a F1b or multigenerational doodle. A multigenerational goldendoodle refers to any Golden Retriever/Poodle combination past the third generation. When bred down correctly (such as coat testing completed on parent dogs) then a breeder can ensure to only pass on the non-shedding gene to the next generation, so the result is an ultra low-shedding dog!
Helpful Tip Alert! We often get specific requests from people wanting a dog with a “round teddy bear face” or a pup that looks “more like a retriever and less like a poodle.” Coat type can definitely have an effect on your doods’ appearance, but did you know that a lot of what makes a doodle appear one way or the other is his hair cut?
We have fooled many people with our full bred poodles by letting their hair grow out into a more typical “doodle cut.” Cutting the hair all one length will definitely give your dog a rounder/fluffier appearance regardless of coat type, whereas grooming your doodle with a more traditional poodle cut or sporting clip will make him/her look much more like a poodle.
Are There Any Downsides to Goldendoodles You Should Know?
The trademark temperament and low-shedding coat of this breed do not necessarily mean this is a low-maintenance dog. When considering the athletic breed backgrounds of this dog as well as their very high intelligence, its no surprise that goldendoodles do require a lot of human attention. This is what makes the breed incredibly easy to train and great for first time dog owners but it also means that your goldendoodle will not be happy to spend his days alone in the backyard. The same intuitive, sensitive nature that makes the goldendoodle an excellent therapy dog candidate, also means that your pup will want to be with you all the time! If you are not prepared to never watch Netflix alone again, then the goldendoodle may not be the best fit for you! Most goldendoodles tend to be a second shadow to their owners and follow them around the house and are up for being a companion on any adventure!
Your doodle will crave being near his pack and his breed makeup means that he’ll be a fairly active and athletic dog that will need regular exercise of some kind. Hint: Hiking, playing fetch, visiting the beach or dog park and running are among doodle’s favorite activities! This is not a sedentary dog and will require some kind of physical exercise several times a week in order to be at his best.
Finally, many people are attracted to the Goldendoodle for its minimally shedding coat. But this does not mean the coat is low maintenance. The doodle’s hair will continue to grow unless it is cut, so regular grooming is a must.
Depending on how long you like your doods’ hair, you may opt to have your doodle groomed every 6-12 weeks or so - which can definitely add an extra expense to the yearly budget. We have had owners groom their doodles themselves to save on costs, but it is certainly still a significant commitment to keep your dood looking fresh and mat-free!
In conclusion, if you are prepared for a dog that enjoys an active lifestyle, lots of human interaction and mental stimulation and you have a plan for coat maintenance, the Goldendoodle is a great fit for you!
Jenna and the JLDD Team