Oh. My. Goldendoodle! With so much information swirling about Goldendoodles, how do you ever find a reputable Goldendoodle breeder? Where do you start? How do you avoid a scam? Even for the savviest dog parents, it’s easy to get overwhelmed in the search for a good Goldendoodle breeder.
That’s why my Goldendoodle dog and I put our hands and paws to the keyboard to play a small part in guiding you on your journey. By the end of this article, you’ll have qualities to look for in a good dog breeder, how to start your search, and even a 19-point responsible breeder checklist to help you cover your bases.
So, without further a-doodle, 😉 let’s get started.
Why finding a good Goldendoodle breeder matters
Let’s start by getting the big picture about Goldendoodles, and why choosing a responsible breeder is important.
You probably already know that Goldendoodles, one of many types of Doodle dogs, are a hybrid or crossbreed between a Poodle and Golden Retriever. For this reason, they vary greatly in size, weight, coat type, and coat color—just to name a few traits. So, what does this have to do with finding a reputable breeder?
First, with so much to learn about Goldendoodles, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. A reputable breeder will be able to share their extensive knowledge about Goldendoodles with you—everything from explaining all the types of Goldendoodles to the importance of Goldendoodle grooming. Plus, since they likely have years of experience, they can match you with a puppy that fits your family’s lifestyle.
Second, by choosing a good breeder you are supporting responsible breeders and not supporting the puppy mill industry.
Third, you may have very specific needs for your family situation. Maybe you’re a first time dog parent. Maybe you have an interest in a therapy dog. Maybe you have young children. These are all situations where a reputable breeder can help match you with a puppy for your unique needs.
Finally, and most importantly, the little bundle of fluff you hope to adopt will be an integral part of your family. You probably want that puppy to grow into a healthy adult and be by your side for, well, forever. Or, at least as close to forever as possible.
For the best chance at giving your puppy a long, happy, healthy life, you could leave it up to chance. Or your can do your best to find a breeder who wants a long, happy, and healthy life for the puppy, too. A reputable breeder strives to:
- Give a puppy a healthy start in life. (This begins long before the puppy is born.)
- Provide enrichment and socialization during the early puppy days
- Support and educate families on the puppy’s care
How to find reputable Goldendoodle breeders
Sadly, there are many scammers who are ready to take your money. And the scale often tips in their favor because they are very savvy.
And it seems like separating the quality breeders from scammers has gotten more and more difficult.
However, the more educated you are, the more you know about Goldendoodles, and the more you know about what to look for in a reputable breeder, the easier and clearer it is to find the gems and avoid the jerks.
By doing your homework, taking your time, and putting in some effort, you can find the puppy that’s a good match for you from a responsible breeder. You’ll learn to recognize them because they:
- Put the health of the puppy, the puppy’s parents, and the entire breed first.
- Want to match you with the puppy that will fit in with you and your family.
- Focus on health and temperament, including testing for genetic conditions that could be inherited.
With patience and education on your side, finding a good breeder is possible. Let’s look at geographic location next.
How to find Goldendoodle breeders near me
Finding a reputable Goldendoodle breeder near you seems like a logical choice. But before you settle on searching your immediate surrounding area, I do want to mention all your options.
Some reputable breeders offer puppy nannies who will fly with your puppy to the airport nearest your home.
Or, you may want to consider making a weekend road trip to pick up your new puppy.
By looking at your options, you can expand the number of reputable breeders to include in your search.
Here are some tips:
- Decide how far you’d be willing to drive or fly to pick up your furry family member.
- Determine whether you’re open to having a puppy nanny fly with your puppy to the airport in your area where you can meet them.
- Chat with other Doodle parents and learn about their experiences adopting a Goldendoodle puppy.
- Visit with your veterinarian. They are a great resource. After all, they’ve cared for a lot of puppies in your area.
- Visit with a dog trainer in your area. Like your veterinarian, they’ve probably had interaction with a lot of puppies, and may have some guidance.
Before we go on, it’s important mention that there are reputable shelters and non-profit rescue organizations where it’s possible to find Goldendoodles, too. If you’re ready to rescue, you can check with local shelters in your area.
Alternatively, there are a number of Goldendoodle rescue organizations like IDOG Rescue. And it’s also worth checking with Poodle and Golden Retriever rescue organizations. Some, like Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue, rescue Goldendoodles and Labradoodles in addition to Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers. For a complete list of rescues that focus on doodles, retrievers, and poodle mixes visit 14 Goldendoodle Rescues: Your Resource Guide.
Now that you have a general idea of where you’ll begin your search, let’s look at some signs of a reputable breeder.
What are the signs of a reputable Goldendoodle breeder?
As, mentioned above, a good Goldendoodle breeder cares about the puppy, the puppy’s parents, and the future of the breed. But what does that look like in real life?
4 main things to look for in a reputable breeder
We’ve broken it down into four main categories—health, environment, breed knowledge, and dog parent support/education.
1. Goldendoodle health
Since Goldendoodles vary in size, color, and coat type, these physical traits get a lot of airtime. However, physical health is the place to start.
Without a good start in life—without a solid base of good physical health—all the other physical traits don’t matter.
Choosing a reputable breeder who cares about the future of the Goldendoodle breed and who places the upmost importance on good health tops our list of qualities to look for in a reputable breeder.
Unfortunately, unscrupulous breeders that breed without regard to health and genetics are out there ready to tell you anything.
However, reputable breeders:
- Focus on both the puppy’s and the puppy’s parents physical health.
- Screen for diseases and conditions that could be inherited from the Poodle and Golden Retriever sides of the families.
- Are keen on reducing the chances for inherited problems by testing hips, eyes, patellas, elbows, and heart in their parent dogs. (For more on this, Goldendoodles of North America (GANA) offers a comprehensive list of health conditions and health tests.)
- Ensure their puppies receive regular veterinary care.
- Provide the appropriate vaccinations and deworming at the appropriate times by their veterinarian.
- Are knowledgeable about and make sure their puppies have proper nutrition.
From my research, physical health is one aspect under the “good health” umbrella. Equally important is socialization. I was curious to learn more about the role early socialization plays on puppies and found this research article on the National Library of Medicine’s site, The Role of Early Socialization on Adult Dog Behavior.
“Dogs who are appropriately socialized as puppies are less likely to exhibit behavioral problems as adults, including aggression and fearfulness.”Vet Med Auckl 2015; 6 143-153
Next, I was specifically interested in learning the importance of early socialization in puppies. The article goes on to emphasize the important role the breeder plays in socializing a puppy in the first weeks and couple months of life. This excerpt summarizes the importance of the breeder’s role in early puppy socialization:
(during the neonatal period)…must receive regular human contact of an appropriate kind during the socialization period. This information is particularly important for breeders, given that puppies are generally still in the litter during these periods.Vet Med Auckl 2015: 6 143-153
There’s so much information on the science behind a puppy’s early socialization. It’s impossible to cover the topic here. In summary, reputable breeders are knowledgeable about and provide proper puppy socialization.
Next, let’s imagine the type of environment around the little newborn bundle of fluff when snuggled next to mama and littermates. A clean, healthy environment may seem obvious, but none-the-less, it’s another factor in trying to sniff out the good breeders who care. You can observe or inquire about cleanliness, notice the puppy’s appearance, the bedding, the floor, the cleanliness of any dog toys lying about, etc.
3. Breed knowledge
So far, we’ve been focused on the puppy for insight into a responsible breeder. Now, let’s take a look at the caretaker behind the puppy.
One way to tell a responsible Goldendoodle breeder is by listening to them. They are passionate about the breed and knowledgeable about Goldendoodles. They will be dedicated to improving the quality of the Goldendoodle breed. They will have plans and goals.
As mentioned earlier, a reputable breeder will focus on health and temperament. They health test the parent breeds, so that the puppies have less chance of developing genetic conditions such as hip dysplasia.
They work to reduce the chance for inherited problems through health tests or genetic tests for their parent dogs.
They do everything in their power to ensure their puppies are healthy, socialized, and have good temperaments.
They are proud of their puppies and want to find good homes for them. This means they are selective or have questionnaires for you to fill out. This gets us to our next factor—client communication and support.
4. Client communication and support
If a breeder you’re working with asks you just as many questions as you ask them, you’re probably on the right track to finding a good breeder.
Responsible breeders work their tails off to make sure potential buyers have the information they need about the breed, the puppy, and their program so they can make an informed decision.
They will vet you just as much as you vet them.
Most likely, you will be asked to complete an application, and you may have to wait until a puppy that’s a good match for you comes along.
Additionally, they share take-home information about puppy care, so that the transition from their home to your home is a smooth one. And they welcome your questions before, during, and after the puppy has gone home.
Additionally, the last thing a responsible breeder wants is for one of their puppies to go to a home, and then end up in a shelter. Should disaster happen and you must give up your dog, most reputable breeders would prefer you contact them first.
Reputable Goldendoodle breeder checklist
With health, environment, breeder knowledge, and client support in mind, we hope you’re better prepared in your search for a responsible Goldendoodle breeder.
Next, having a checklist of the qualities you’re looking for in a breeder for can help during your search. We’ve created one below, or you may want to come up with your own. Also, along with this checklist, it’s helpful to be prepared with a list of questions to ask a Goldendoodle breeder.
|Goldendoodle Breeder Checklist||Yes/No|
|Breeds for health and temperament above all else.|
|Tests the parent dogs for genetic conditions (i.e. hip, elbows, heart, eyes).|
|Provides puppy health records.|
|Provides puppy socialization.|
|Gives appropriate vaccinations for puppy’s age.|
|Provides vaccination and de-worming records to you.|
|Won’t release the puppy to you before 8 weeks of age.|
|Does not overpromise or give absolutes.|
|Requires you to spay/neuter your puppy at the appropriate age.|
|Works closely with a veterinarian and provides you with puppy medical records.|
|Dedicated to improving the quality of the Goldendoodle breed.|
|Knowledgeable about Goldendoodles and specializes.|
|Matches you to the puppy and the puppy to you.|
|Provides a written contract.|
|Has an application process, screens applicants, and interviews you.|
|Welcomes your questions—even after adoption.|
|Often has a waiting list.|
|Provides you with photos or videos of your new puppy.|
|Sends you home with details on how to care for your puppy.|
Signs of an unscrupulous breeder or puppy mill
Lastly, I’d like to leave you with some red flags that you may come across in your quest to find a reputable breeder.
If you’re online at all, you’ve already read about pet parents who’ve been scammed and left with an empty pocketbook and no puppy. Beware of situations where the seller:
- Offers the puppy at a deeply discounted price that’s too good to be true.
- Will only communicate with you via email or text.
- Wants you to wire the money (think Venmo).
- Doesn’t ask or want you to sign a contract.
- Has a wide variety of breeds of puppies available.
- Asks to meet you in a parking lot.
Wishing you many “Golden” adventures with your puppy
We hope that by sharing the qualities of a reputable Goldendoodle breeder, you’re one step closer on your journey to becoming a Goldendoodle parent.
With patience, by educating yourself, and a little determination, you’re sure to find the puppy that’s right for you. And you’ll enjoy a long, healthy, and happy life together.
Thanks for stopping by our little cozy spot for Goldendoodle parents.