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AKC Goldendoodles: Fact or Fiction? 🤔

With so many Goldendoodles happily flaunting their fluff around neighborhoods across the country, you may be wondering whether these teddy bear dogs are some sort of new AKC breed or a new purebred dog. Or, you may be wondering if you can adopt an AKC Goldendoodle.

Spoiler alert: None of these three scenarios is the case.

Adult cream Goldendoodle with fluffy tail and a cream coat color
Source: Deposit Photo

These Muppet dogs who are taking the world by smile-bringing storm, don’t appear on any AKC registry, aren’t an AKC breed, and are not a purebred dog.

But they are a-dood-able!

By the way, I’m over-the-moon for the comical, lovable, energetic Goldendoodle breed. And I don’t give a fluff whether they’re labeled purebred…or pure mutt.

Adult red Goldendoodle, a hybrid breed that is not recognized by the AKC, sitting in a chair

However, it is worth saying that there is plenty of confusion in Cyberspace about Goldendoodles. And the term “AKC Goldendoodle” is one example. (As an aside, there’s plenty of confusion around the question, “Are Goldendoodles hypoallergenic“, too. But I digress.)

So, as the mom of a Goldendoodle and as a research hound, I’m uncovering the “AKC Goldendoodle” myth and why Goldendoodles aren’t a purebred dog. So let’s spill the tea…

What is the AKC?

First, what does “AKC” mean? “AKC” stands for The American Kennel Club. The AKC is the largest not-for-profit registry of dog breeds in the U.S.

According to the AKC’s mission statement, the organization “advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion.”

This is just one facet of the AKC’s mission, but it’s key to understanding why Goldendoodles aren’t part of the registry.

Which brings us to the question…

Can Goldendoodles be AKC registered?

The short answer is “no.” Goldendoodles can’t be AKC registered. Wondering why? 🤔 Read on.

AKC registration is only for dogs who come from a long history of purebred dogs. That means the dog, the dog’s parents, and the dog’s ancestors are all purebred dogs. (As an aside, Goldendoodles don’t have AKC papers either because the breed’s not part of the registry.)

Purebred dogs include breeds like the Poodle, Labrador Retriever, and Golden Retriever, just to name a few. In all, there are over 197 breeds of all sizes, shapes, and colors on the AKC’s breed registry.

So why isn’t the Goldendoodle one of the 197 on the AKC? Since the Goldendoodle is a cross between the Golden Retriever and the Poodle, the Goldendoodle is not a purebred dog.

To take it a step further, if a Goldendoodle’s parents are a purebred Poodle or purebred Golden Retriever and the parents are AKC, that does not make the offspring purebred. Breeding two purebred dogs of different breeds results in a crossbred dog.

This is true for other Doodle dogs, too, such as Labradoodles and Aussiedoodles.

Which may leave you wondering…`

Why aren’t Goldendoodles considered purebred?

Let’s take a deeper dive into the Goldendoodle heritage to understand why Goldendoodles are not purebred dogs.

A purebred dog is bred from parents of the same breed.

Over may generations of breeding, there is no mixture of any other breed. This consistency of breeding brings conformation in size, shape, abilities, and temperament.

Since the Goldendoodle is a mix of two very different dog breeds—the Golden Retriever and the Poodle—Goldendoodles don’t fit the definition of a purebred dog.

An apricot Goldendoodle, a dog breed not recognized by the AKC, sitting in a chair
Source: Deposit Photo

Rather, because the parents are two different breeds, they are cross breeds or hybrids.

For example, a Goldendoodle may have a purebred Poodle as one parent and a purebred Golden Retriever as the other parent, or some combination of these two specific breeds.

The other terms commonly used to describe the Goldendoodle is “designer breed” or “designer dog.”

Typically, designer dogs vary in size, coat type, and weight because the parent breeds are not similar. I liken it to a box of assorted chocolates. You never know quite what you’re going to get.

While we’re on the subject of designer dogs, you may be interested to know that out of 100 Goldendoodle parents polled, not one of them used the term “designer dog” to describe their Goldendoodles. Most used words like “lovable” and “smart” and “teddy bear.”

Will Goldendoodles ever be recognized by the AKC?

Now, let’s get back to the AKC. You may be wondering whether—since the AKC recognizes over 197 breeds on their registry—the Goldendoodle will join the AKC’s pack of official breeds.

Personally, I wouldn’t hold my breath. To understand why, let’s look at the lengthy journey of two other breeds who have earned AKC breed status.

The Golden Retriever was originally a crossbreed, a cross between the Retriever and the Water Spaniel.

According to my research, crossing the Water Spaniel and the Retriever began around 1850. But it wasn’t until 1925 that the Golden Retriever was officially recognized by the AKC. That’s 75 years of breeding rigor.

Interestingly, in 2021 the AKC officially recognized the Brewier Terrier as an official breed.

But up until then, these dogs were “often regarded as mutts, designer dogs…” according to an article by the AKC. I mention this because Goldendoodles are often described as mutts and designer dogs, too.

As explained in the AKC article, Becoming Recognized by the AKC, the process for becoming recognized as a breed by the AKC is rigorous and lengthy. Even then, a crossbreed may go through the process and not ever receive AKC status.

But I saw an ad that says “AKC Goldendoodles”…

Still scratching your head wondering why you can find claims like “AKC Goldendoodles” or “purebred Goldendoodles” out in cyberspace?

If you come across claims like these, I suggest you question the source. Best case, the people making these claims are misinformed.

Worst case, these types of claims are intentional and a way to scam unknowing future pet parents.

Terms like “AKC Goldendoodle” or promises of receiving “AKC papers” when you adopt a Goldendoodle puppy may be a marketing gimmick.

If you’re searching for a Goldendoodle for adoption, reputable breeders care about Goldendoodles and work to ensure good health and good temperament. Here are just a few ways to recognize a responsible dog breeder:

  • Has health clearances (hips, eyes, elbows) of the parents and shares them with you
  • Offers a guarantee
  • Has a questionnaire or adoption application
  • Does not suggest you meet in a parking lot

While we’re on the topic of adoption, there are rescue organizations dedicated to protecting Goldendoodles. Doodle Rescue Collective and iDog Rescue are two. Fortunately, many Goldendoodles are adopted quickly so they aren’t in rescues or shelters for long.

Are there other ways your Goldendoodle can be part of the AKC?

Yes! While Goldendoodles can’t be AKC registered or part of conformation competitions (dog shows), Goldendoodles can be part of other AKC events.

In 2010, the AKC launched The AKC Partners program for any dog including all mixed breeds and hybrid dogs of all ages who aren’t eligible for AKC purebred registration.

The primary benefit of joining the AKC Partners program is participation in AKC-sponsored sporting events such as agility, dock diving, and nose work competitions.

Or, there are certification programs like AKC canine good citizen, AKC therapy dog, or AKC search and rescue dog.

Sound interesting? Learn more or enroll on the AKC Partners program page.

I ❤️ Goldendoodles

So, now that we have the facts about the term “AKC Goldendoodle,” here’s the big question:

While Goldendoodles aren’t “AKC,” does it really matter?

For me, it does not.

In fact, rather than focusing on the three little letters “AKC,” I’d rather focus on three little words…Love ❤️ My Goldendoodle.

Jeanine Cort

Sunday 27th of February 2022

Can you recommend a brush for a golden doodle?


Wednesday 23rd of March 2022

I'm so glad you asked! Yes, I have two grooming tools that I can't live without. One is my Chris Christiansen slicker brush (coral color handle) and the other is my Andis steel comb. I've tried many other brushes (and have a drawer full of them), but the Chris Christianson is the only one that I've found that I love. If you're interested, you can check out my article, The Brush Brush for Goldendoodle Grooming (Plus Tips). I hope you enjoy grooming your sweet Goldendoodle!

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