Goldendoodles: Everything you need to know about goldendoodles.

With a huge surge in popularity, the goldendoodle is one of the world’s most fastly growing populations, and a gorgeous addition to any family.

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However, because of their cross-bred nature, and because they’re being bred at an astonishing rate, the needs of these dogs are often not as well known as either of their contributing breeds. 

Consequently, I really wanted to help you know a little bit more about this wonderful breed! 

(note, this piece is pro-doodle, sorry doodle haters! but to me? They can be fantastic dogs, like every other breed of dog out there)

What Is A Goldendoodle?

A goldendoodle is a hybrid dog, or a cross-bred dog, bred from some combination of a Golden retriever and a poodle. The name is a portmanteau of golden retriever and poodle, where the p is commonly exchanged for a d. These fall into the bracket of “Doodle dogs” that are all off bred from poodles. 

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What Does The F1, F1b, F2 Mean When Referring To Goldendoodles?

These terms are essentially details of the ‘breed’ or the content of your goldendoodle. Because goldendoodles are a cross breed, they’re not all 50% poodle and 50% golden retriever, the breed content can vary! So the F1, F2b, F1bb all mean something about what your goldendoodle is.

Let’s explore this a little bit:

F stands for “Filial”
B stands for “Back bred” 
But the easiest way to think about it is that the F1 denotes the generation of Goldendoodle, i.e. F1 is a first generation goldendoodle.

F1 – parents are poodle and golden retriever
F2 – parents will be F1 goldendoodle and f1 Goldendoodle
F1b – parents with be an f1 goldendoodle and EITHER a poodle or a golden retriever depending on the breeder’s choice.
F1bb – Parents will be F1b goldendoodle with EITHER a poodle or a golden retriever depending on the breeder’s choice.

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It’s complex when you first start reading it, but it does make sense. 

pair of Goldendoodles getting play time
pair of Goldendoodles getting play time – they do tend to be quite sociable dogs and it makes early socialisation really important – just remember to avoid becoming the “It’s okay he’s friendly!” dog!

What is an f2b goldendoodle?

The F2B Goldendoodle is the combination of an F1 goldendoodle and F1b Goldendoodle, Consequently what the puppy gains is a ⅝ (62.5%) of one breed and ⅜ (37.5%) of the other. 

After F2 Tends to come “Multi-gen”

Whilst you may see F3, as opposed to keeping listing what generation the dog is, after this the dog is typically called a multi-generational goldendoodle or “multi-gen”.

These dogs tend to produce much more “predictable” puppies. As opposed to having a dog who is distinctly a golden retriever in looks or personality, or distinctly a poodle, this begins to mix the breeds more thoroughly. They’re typically selectively bred for this feature or that feature as selected by breeder, though, now it should also be done with health and temperament in mind.

This was how all todays “breeds” came about, as it happens! We just know a lot more about the genetics of breeding now than they did in the Victorian era.

Why Do Breeders Backbreed Their Pups?

Back breeding can breed in more consistency, for example, an f1 goldendoodle is just as likely to look like a golden retriever as it is a poodle, to breed in a certain coat tendency (for example, the desirable curls and low shed tendencies) the breeder may choose to back breed an F1 goldendoodle with a poodle. 

Is A Later Generation Goldendoodle Desirable?

Yes! The ‘deeper’ the generation (e.g. f2 or multi-gen) the more consistent the appearance and temperament of the dog. These dogs are so much more consistent in what offspring they produce, in health and everything else, that this is what should be deemed “desirable” by a goldendoodle buyer, or breeder. 

Goldendoodle out hunting
it’s good to know that goldendoodles come from hunting stock! Both the golden retriever and the poodle are both hunting dogs in their origins, and this will likely be a ‘need’ of your goldendoodle.

What Were Goldendoodles Bred For?

Originally, the goldendoodle was bred to become a potential guide dog (around 1969), harnessing the intelligence and low shed of the poodle, and the intelligence and good temper of the golden retriever to create a more allergy friendly service dog (much the same as the labradoodle!). This sadly was not to be, as the early goldendoodles just didn’t do that well as guide dogs.

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As we reached the 1990’s these wonderful dogs began a resurgence of popularity as a household pet, cherished for their buoyant personality and steadfast nature, whilst giving a little bit of a change from the classic family Golden retriever.

However, with both of their parents being bred for similar purposes, a goldendoodle will likely have an undeniable love of hunting, water and retrieving, and have been known to excel at obedience and agility.

These days, however, like most dogs, the goldendoodle is primarily a companion dog.

Are Goldendoodles Good Or Bad?

It’s a really interesting question – and first off? No dog is bad. and as with all dogs, I’m going to encourage you to assess the dog vs your lifestyle. 

A well bred goldendoodles tend to be energetic, bouncy, fun loving, active and intelligent. They also have a high grooming demand and will require a good amount of training, so if you don’t have the time for a dog with these sorts of needs, then they’re not a good dog for you.

A poorly bred goldendoodle can be prone to everything from separation anxiety to reactivity (the same as every dog breed), and a whole host of health issues. So, I truly do advise that you stay clear of puppy mills and back yard breeders – Honestly? Go check with the Goldendoodle Association of North America if you’re in the US!

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If this question has been asked because you’re not a fan of goldendoodles (or other doodles), I’d really strongly suggest you project your distaste towards unethical breeders, not the dog themselves, mmkay? Cos the dog itself has done absolutely nothing wrong. 

What Colors To Goldendoodles Come In?

The golden retriever lends tones from “English cream” to “red”, and various honey gold shades between. Whilst the poodle gives grays, silvers, blacks and browns (and even, rarely, merles! Merles are a mottled black). They also occasioanlly get white spots or patches on their coat. These can make for some gorgeous colorings!

Can Goldendoodles Be AKC Registered?

No, however, a first generation goldendoodle puppy can be bred from AKC registered parents – this does not make this an AKC goldendoodle (and please, anyone who claims it about their puppies? Please avoid them!).

Interestingly, because the goldendoodle is a “Designer cross” or a direct cross between registered breeds, it will never be eligible to even begin becoming an AKC-recognised breed under current standards. 

“The FSS® is not open to “rare” breeds that are a variation of an AKC-registrable breed or the result of a combination of two AKC-recognized breeds.”

(akc foundation stock)

This said, there is a Goldendoodle Association of North America, which is pretty cool as it shows that there is custodianship for the breed. 

goldendoodle3
adorable goldendoodle puppies get away with murder, but it’s really important to start off on the right paw, why not try our pupdates to ensure you’re kicking off your goldendoodle the right way!

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Can Goldendoodles Be Ethically Bred?

Absolutely! A goldendoodle can be ethically bred. 

However, if we change the question to “are goldendoodles ethically bred?” Sadly because of their popularity it’s often neglected with the vision, instead, of money. 

This has nothing to do with the “breed” of the dog or the goldendoodle not being an official breed recognised by the AKC, it’s all to do with human greed. 

Instead, I would elect to find a breeder of the highest ethical standards, avoid puppy mills, and support the well bred dog, and their diligent breeders.

This will give you the best dog, too, and make them far less susceptible to health or behavioral issues.

If you want to read more about the ethics of breeding, check out:
How To Find a Great Breeder
The Puppy Mill Problem

How do I ensure my goldendoodle is ethically bred?

Ensure that your breeder is;

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  • Not breeding their female too young
  • Not breeding their female too old
  • Breeding for health
  • Breeding for temperament
  • Breeding at a reasonable pace
  • Socialising their puppies
  • Caring deeply for the mother
  • Following their progeny

These will begin to give you some wonderful clear signs that the breeder has the best in mind for their litters and the breed. They should also keep an eye on you, on your dog and how they turn out and should encourage you to discuss behavioural issues as well as health issues.

I’d also ensure that you’re looking at the poodle and golden retriever suggested health tests over on the OFA. 

If you want to read more about the ethics of breeding, check out:
How To Find a Great Breeder
The Puppy Mill Problem

goldendoodle2
Sofa access can actually be something that goldendoodles are great at – not just because they’re wonderful cuddle puppies (typically!), but because the poodle content can help them be low shed.

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What Health Testing Do I Need To See Before Getting A Goldendoodle Puppy?

Per the OFA a number of tests should be done on the ‘component’ dogs of the goldendoodle in question, and that would be the tests I would expect a breeder to commit to.

Golden Retriever

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • ACVO Eye Exam
  • Cardiac Evaluation

Miniature poodle

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • ACVO Eye Exam
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Hip Dysplasia

Toy poodle

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • ACVO Eye Exam
  • Patellar Luxation

Standard poodle

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • ACVO Eye Exam
  • OFA Thyroid evaluation
  • OFA SA Evaluation
  • Congenital Cardiac Exam

Goldendoodle

(not OFA listed, but compiled)

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  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • ACVO eye exam
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Congenital Cardiac exam
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia

GANA also have a list of what they expect their breeders to test for, which would be another good resource (though very similar to the above!).
Also, if your breeder has more history? Is a good thing! A true custodian of their bloodline is a desirable thing!

Why Do People Dislike Goldendoodles?

Other than the fact that we humans are passionate creatures and all hold opinions to the degree that pretty much every breed faces some form of prejudice. Whether it’s a pitbull for their so-called ‘aggressive’ nature, or a Goldendoodle for their ‘cross bred’ nature. 

But, this is mainly the case because “people” feel like there are alternative breeds that fulfil the needs of someone who wants a golden doodle, and that would help preserve some of the older breeds that are fading from popularity. 

To me, personally, as a dog mom and a trainer, I believe it’s a case that I don’t care what breed you’ve got, so long as you got it intentionally, responsibly and you continue to train, care and advocate for your dog. 

You can read more about this prejudice here: Why Do Dog People Hate Doodles?

How Do I Groom A Goldendoodle?

Regularly, diligently, with the right equipment and with a lot of patience. 

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It’s a really huge job though, especially if you have a larger dog. I really recommend reaching out to a professional dog groomer who can show you how to do it properly, and thoroughly.

Tip! I’d strongly encourage you to look into cooperative care and creating a relationship with a professional groomer from a young age. Grooming a goldendoodle is no easy task. (I’d also give the big chain superstore groomers a miss if I were you!).

Why Do Some Groomers Refuse To Groom Goldendoodles?

As a part of the pet service industry myself, I hear this a lot. Primarily, it’s because there’s not typically enough education around the goldendoodle coat, and how to properly care for it. 

That, in itself, makes it very difficult for a groomer. Their coat tends to take a lot of grooming, and if the dog parent doesn’t choose to groom regularly, or thoroughly enough, then it can create matting issues. This then can lead to tension with things like shavedowns, or inappropriate expectations of a groomer. 

Consequently, the relationships can easily become strained even though both parties want what’s best for the dog! This can cause some groomers to ‘ban’ doodles, or 

My tip for pet parents here is be open minded, if your groomer appears to be doing things you don’t want them to? Consider that they are telling the truth and that maybe you need to do something to facilitate your dogs welfare.

Goldendoodle puppies in the typical golden color
Goldendoodle puppies in the typical golden color – these three show how the different coat types form in an f1 generation. They’re stinking cute puppies though, huh? If you want help turning them into a great dog, check out pupdates!

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Are Goldendoodle Puppies Hyper?

Often this is because they are overtired.

If you’ve read elsewhere that they need constant stimulation, please do not listen. This is false! No dog needs constant stimulation. 

Whilst they do need mental and physical stimulation, they also need to be shown how to self regulate, and encouraging regular naps. You can do this by allowing for proper sleep (puppies need typically 18-20 hours a day, adult dogs need 14-16 hours).

Enrichment though, is always a good idea, and some ideas your goldendoodle may love? Will be things like Snuffle mats, Kongs, Lickimats and puzzle toys. 

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Are Goldendoodle Puppies mouthy?

All puppies bite, because that’s how dogs communicate, but goldendoodles can be more mouthy than the “average” puppy.

Because they’re bred from golden retrievers, (famous for their soft mouth!), and this means that they get satisfaction of having something in their mouth, that’s how we humans have selectively bred them. 

However, all puppies are still very trainable.

Remember to;

  1. Redirect
  2. Rest
  3. Repeat

And, go read up on puppy biting whilst you’re here.

It’s also good to note that your puppy will become more bite-y when they’re tired too, so go see if your puppy is overtired.

Goldendoodle coat example, see the more golden-retriever like tail here?
Goldendoodle coat example, see the more golden-retriever like tail here?

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Are Goldendoodles Hypoallergenic?

No, goldendoodles are not hypoallergenic.

This is incredibly important to realise, that neither goldendoodles, nor any other breed are hypoallergenic. Because all dogs shed skin cells, dust, and dirt, which inherently makes them not hypoallergenic. 

However, they can be low allergy if they inherit the hair coat of the poodle. That’s really important, because a goldendoodle puppy of a first generation coupling (F1, i.e. a pairing of poodle and golden retriever) can inherit either coat. 

It’s good to note that the higher the poodle content, the lower the allergy exposure.

Are Goldendoodles Considered Low Shed?

Again, this very much depends on their genetics, what their parentage is, and what coat the puppy throws. If the puppy is an F1 type puppy, bred straight from a golden retriever and a poodle, there is a chance that the puppy will develop a golden retriever style coat and shed the same as a golden retriever – which any golden retriever parent will tell you is quite significant!

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However, the more poodle content your goldendoodle has, and the further the generation (ideally multi-gen), the more reliable their “low shed” and “low allergy” can become.

Note; all puppies will shed their puppy coat and are likely to shed more twice a year. But the good news is that it’s not likely that backbred or second generation (f1b or f2) dogs will shed to the same level as a golden retriever if they’ve been well bred and with the desired low shed in mind. 

Goldendoodle running over the beach
Goldendoodle running over the beach, they do tend to love water, which is a really wonderful way to exercise them.

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Are Goldendoodles Smart?

Typically, yes, goldendoodles tend to be an intelligent breed.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s always the odd one out, but their intelligence (much like human children!) also needs to be shaped. The more you train them, the more you challenge them, the smarter your dog will likely become.

This will also ensure that your smart dog doesn’t end up getting into mischief with that clever brain of theirs…

Are Goldendoodles Large?

This is heavily dependent on the poodle that your goldendoodle was bred from. 

A standard poodle will likely create a bigger goldendoodle, whilst breeding with a toy poodle will likely breed a smaller Goldendoodle! And the consistency of size comes with multi-gen dogs, and the larger variation comes with first generation dogs.

With earlier generation dogs (F1/F1b or F2) genetics come into play as your goldendoodle is almost as likely to inherit the physical qualities of a golden retriever as a poodle (depending on the generation).

Essentially, a goldendoodle may vary from the size of a toy poodle, to a standard poodle, and everything in between.

black Goldendoodle, they can come in a whole host of colours! So be aware your goldendoodle may not be golden
black Goldendoodle, they can come in a whole host of colours! So be aware your goldendoodle may not be golden – they can be red, gold, brown, black, grey, or even a merle coloring

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How Do I Train My Goldendoodle?

I’m always going to advocate that you start with a well bred puppy. Then, next, use positive reinforcement from a very early age (Starting with pupdates is a fantastic starting point)

If you do that? And maybe sign up for pupdates, you’ll absolutely get the best chance to create that wonderful goldendoodle of your dreams.

Also! Where grooming is so important, practising a lot of cooperative care is really important, so make this a big priority in your training.

Will My Goldendoodle Change Color?

It’s possible. Your puppy’s coat may not reflect their grown adult coat. Usually their puppy coat is more downy and fluffy than their adult coat, and the colour can change entirely too. However, a good breeder will likely know what colors their pairing throws, and should have a rough idea what color your puppy will be.

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Do Goldendoodles Like To Swim? Do They Like water?

Typically, yes.

Something that often gets overlooked is that a poodle is actually bred to retrieve ducks from water – much like a labrador. The golden retriever is also a water-retrieving breed. 

So, guess what? 

The average goldendoodle is going to enjoy swimming.

And That’s The Goldendoodle!

If you take one thing away from this, is ensure you get a well bred one to avoid issues, train them well and let’s fight that negative stereotype that the “Goldendoodle” holds. Buy responsibly, own responsibly, and we’ll create a better, more understanding world for us and our dogs.

If you need help training your Goldendoodle, reach out! I love any dog parent who wants the best for their dogs.

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!

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