What is a Goldendoodle? There’s more to these Muppet dogs than just their cute, fluffy faces. These loveable Doods have captured the hearts of their pet parents (including mine) for a multitude of reasons beyond their comical good looks. But are they right for everyone?
If you’re researching Goldendoodles to determine whether they are the best pupper to add to your pack, you’ve come to the right dog house 😀.
My Goldendoodle dog and I put our hands and paws 🐾 to the keyboard to share all things Goldendoodle, and help you determine whether or not these comical dogs are the breed for you
Years ago, when our family chose a Goldendoodle, I became that crazy dog mom obsessed with everything Goldendoodle. I learned my fair share about these hybrid or designer dogs through doing my homework, through my own personal experiences as a mom and aunt to Goldendoodles, and from connecting with Doodle parents. My fluffy pup and I are happy you’re here as we share what we’ve dug up. ❤️
So hold on to your dog leash! Let us lead you through the ultimate guide to Goldendoodles. By the end of this article, you’ll have the tea on types, characteristics, temperament, care, and even how other Goldendoodle parents describe the heart and soul of their dogs.
Table of contents
- What is a Goldendoodle?
- Goldendoodle appearance
- Goldendoodle health issues
- What do Goldendoodle parents say?
- So here’s to all the slightly derpy and completely loveable dogs!
What is a Goldendoodle?
First, with so many varieties of Doodle dogs trotting around, you may be wondering, “Exactly what is a Goldendoodle?” The answer to this question is in the name.
“Goldendoodle” is the term that was coined from combining the names of the two parent breeds—the Golden Retriever and the Poodle.
So, the Goldendoodle (also known as a Groodle) is a hybrid breed or crossbreed between the purebred Golden Retriever and the purebred Poodle. Also, these fluffy puppers may be some combination of the two parent breeds. For example, a Goldendoodle may have a purebred Poodle as one parent and a Goldendoodle as another parent. Some sources describe these dogs as designer dogs.
What do the terms “hybrid” or “designer dog” mean and why are they used so often in conjunction with Goldendoodle dogs?
A hybrid is an intentional cross between two purebred dogs. A “designer dog” is a label that has crept into our vocabulary to describe hybrid dogs.
Personally, I prefer to call Goldendoodles “family members, ” “best friend,” or “lovable” rather than “designer.” And many Goldendoodle parents agree—as you’ll see in the list of descriptive terms for Goldendoodles listed at the bottom of this article. BTW, not one parent described their puppers as “designer.”
Goldendoodle dogs versus Doodle dogs
Before we move on, you may also be wondering what the difference is between a Doodle dog and a Goldendoodle dog. “Doodle dog” is the term that’s used to cast a wide net to describe all Poodle mixes—Labradoodles, Bernedoodles, Aussiedoodles, etc. If you’re curious, please check out my article on Doodle dogs.
Golden Retriever + Poodle = Goldendoodle
Now, back to the Golden Retriever and the Poodle parent breeds. Because Goldendoodles are hybrids of these two breeds, traits (i.e. size, weight, coat type, color) are not as predictable as with purebred dogs. However, you can look to the parent breeds for some commonalities.
Since the Poodle parent breed is known for intelligence and the Golden Retriever is known for friendliness, Goldendoodles tend to be smart, happy, friendly family members.
In fact, these traits are the reason why many Goldendoodle puppies grow up to become working dogs including service dogs, therapy dogs, or guide dogs.
With the personality of the Golden Retriever and Poodle in mind, you can start to imagine Goldendoodle characteristics, appearance, and traits. Let’s dive into these topics next.
Unlike many purebred dogs who have a predictable appearance, Goldendoodles vary greatly in appearance.
In fact, you’ve probably seen Goldendoodles in a variety of sizes, coat colors, and even coat types—from super curly to straight to so tousled that you’d mistake them for a Muppet.
Some of this variation in appearance may be attributed to the type of Goldendoodle. You may have seen this information broken down into F1, F1B, F2, etc. This is simply a way to explain the cross between the Golden Retriever and the Poodle. Here’s a summary:
F1 Goldendoodle = Purebred Golden Retriever x Purebred Poodle
F1B Goldendoodle = Purebred Poodle x Goldendoodle
F2 Goldendoodle = F1 Goldendoodle x F1 Goldendoodle
If you’ve seen one Goldendoodle who’s 80 pounds of lap-sitting love and then you come across another who is a 30-pound mini teddy bear, you may be wondering why there is so much size variation in the Goldendoodle.
Interestingly, the range in size stems from the Poodle breed. According to the American Kennel Club, the standard Poodle is over 15″ at the shoulder, but the toy Poodle is no more than 10″ at the shoulder.
Therefore, the Poodle parent breed brings the range of sizes to the Goldendoodle breed. There are three popular sizes:
Now, from a completely logical stand point, please don’t imagine full-grown Miniature Goldendoodles as being the size of a teacup or small enough that you can fit in the pocket of your hoodie. Here’s why:
Since the Golden Retriever parent breed is a large dog ranging in size from 55 to 75 pounds, common sense tells us that miniature Goldendoodles aren’t tiny, but they are miniature in comparison to their standard Goldendoodle counterparts. By the way, if you have your heart set on a tiny dog, the Goldendoodle may not be the choice for you.
You may have seen a lot of Goldendoodles sporting a cream or white coat, but did you know that there are almost a rainbow of coat colors?
Since the Poodle breed brings a wide variety of coat colors (black, red, cream, apricot, ivory) to the mix and the Golden Retriever brings a range of golden coat colors (from red gold to cream), Goldendoodle coat colors vary. You may fall in love with the ivory or cream Goldendoodle, chocolate (brown), apricot or red Goldendoodle, parti (two-colors or a patchwork of colors), and black Goldendoodle. The chart below outlines coat color based on the parent breeds so that you can see how this all comes together:
|Parti (two colors)
Also, coat color tends to lighten and change as a Goldendoodle matures. For example, both the red Goldendoodles in our pack have gone from deep cinnamon to almost a cinnamon and sugar color over time.
I like to compare Goldendoodles to opening a box of chocolates. You never quite know what you’ll get. But, hey, it’s all goodness inside!
Coat type: What the fluff!
Finally, you may be wondering why some Goldendoodles look like a fluff ball and others have sporty or smooth coats. Since the Golden Retriever brings a smooth coat to the gene pool and the Poodle brings a curly coat, there can be a lot of variety in Goldendoodle coats. Coat types fall into three basic categories:
Goldendoodle personality and temperament
Now that you have an idea of physical appearance, let’s move on to personality. If you’re searching for a watch dog, the sociable Goldendoodle is not your dog. With the Poodle and Golden Retriever temperament in the family lineage, Goldendoodles tend to be smart, easy-to-train family companions who like to please their humans.
However, all that intelligence also means they need plenty of mental stimulation, or they will come up with other methods to satisfy their curiosity (i.e. eating socks or chewing sticks).
If your smart pup needs some brain games to prevent boredom, check out my article, 14 Games to Play with Your Dog.
Additionally, Goldendoodles tend to have a higher energy level than many new dog parents expect. Especially during the first two years, don’t be surprised if your dog has two speeds—Energizer bunny and sleepy peepers.
But by focusing some of that Goldendoodle energy level by providing puppy training, plenty of brain games, and by offering a variety of dog-safe toys, you’ll be able to manage the puppy years.
Just don’t be surprised if you do feel some puppy overwhelm! It is a real thing! To help you prepare for puppy days, please check out my Goldendoodle puppy tips.
Of course, it’s fun to imagine your Goldendoodle’s personality, coat color, and size, and look at adorable pictures of Goldendoodle puppies.
But, when the puppy paws hit the road, your puppy’s health is a critical consideration when choosing a Goldendoodle to bring home.
I can’t stress enough the importance of doing your homework to find a reputable breeder who does health testing and who cares about the future of our beloved Goldendoodle dogs.
Our Goldendoodles are counting on us to protect their futures and choose a well-bred Goldendoodle from an up-and-up, reputable breeder.
A reputable breeder is committed to your puppy’s health, the puppy’s parents’ health, and the long-term health of the breed.
How can you tell whether a breeder is reputable? A red flag should go up if you’re asked to meet in a parking lot, you receive vague answers about the puppy’s parents, there are a lot of puppies to choose from, or a breeder reassures you that the puppy is healthy and there’s no need for testing.
On the other hand, reputable Goldendoodle breeders will often have a puppy waiting list, will ask you to apply, and will have answers to and documents on health testing information. Similarly, reputable shelters or rescues (there are a few Goldendoodles who are being relinquished or rehomed), won’t rush you into a decision and will want the best match for the dog and human.
Goldendoodle health issues
Next on your mental checklist of determining Goldendoodle pros and cons and researching Goldendoodles, it’s smart investigate Goldendoodle health issues. As with all dogs (and humans for that matter), there are common conditions that come through family history.
This is why it’s important to ask about screenings for hips (hip dysplasia), elbows (elbow dysplasia), eyes (progressive retinal atrophy), and the heart. For a complete list of types of health issues, please visit the Goldendoodle Association of North America.
Finally, if you’re considering a Goldendoodle, ask your veterinarian for his or her wisdom on Goldendoodle health issues. There’s no better place to get an experienced perspective than from someone who has cared for Goldendoodles and knows what types of health clearances, genetic health screenings, and testing to look for.
History of the Goldendoodle
Next, let’s look at the history of the Goldendoodle. While the popularity of these Poodle-Retriever mixes has grown since the time they were first conceived in the 1990s, they are not without a little canine controversy.
According to an article from Psychology Today (and recently The NY Post), the man credited with inventing the Labradoodle (the crossbreed that preceded the Goldendoodle) regrets his decision. In fact, he believes he created a “Frankenstein” as declared by the article’s subtitle.
But if this is the case, the loveable dogs are just too happy-go-lucky, positive, carefree, smart, and energetic to notice. And, so are the Goldendoodles’ people.
Dog parents are donning T-shirts that express their happy “Doodle Dog Mom” or “Proud Parent of a Goldendoodle” status. They are joining Facebook communities, creating Instagram profiles, and participating in Doodle meet-ups and romps.
They’re even tackling Goldendoodle grooming and care—from learning how to trim a Goldendoodle face to overcoming fears of trimming dog toenails. Dog moms and dads are having so much fun that I think it’s safe to say that they are living a new lifestyle…the “Life is Golden with a Doodle” life.
Together with their goofy, comical, and loveable Doodle dogs, they are bonding with each other and having a ball!
By the way, if this describes you, check out Top 10 Signs You Might be a Goldendoodle Fanatic.
What do Goldendoodle parents say?
Finally, you may be wondering how other Goldendoodle parents describe the heart and soul behind these comical canines. What do dog moms and dads see in their oodly family members?
I reached out to Goldendoodle parents on social media and asked them for one word that best describes their Goldendoodles.
After receiving over 100 responses, it was clear that these dogs are undeniably loveable. And, just like every pupper is unique, so were the answers!
Goldendoodles described by parents in one word
The word cloud below is a visual summary of how Goldendoodle owners described their loveable dogs in one word. The words in larger type were the most often repeated. Smart, loving, joy/joyful, goofy, and loyal were some of the most frequently used words to describe Goldendoodles.
And I compiled the entire list of words Goldendoodle owners used to describe Doodle dogs here:
|Derpy (they’re cartoonish)
|Pure Utter Love
So here’s to all the slightly derpy and completely loveable dogs!
What is a Goldendoodle? For me, if I had to choose one word to answer the question, I’d pick “happiness.”
There’s rarely a time when my Goldendoodle and I have been out and about together that she doesn’t bring a smile to a stranger’s face—simply by being her happy, slightly goofy self.
And, as my fingers tap out this article on my laptop, she is “happiness” at my feet and “joy” warming my heart on a chilly day.
For me, the happy, energetic, derpy, smart, silly, goofy, gentle, loveable Goldendoodles are the most adored little Frankensteins the world has ever known!
Would you like to know more? Check out my additional articles:
- New Goldendoodle Puppy? 7 Golden Lessons This Dog Mom Learned from Raising a Doodle
- What the Fluff? Goldendoodle Stuff You’ve Always Wanted to Know About the Doodle Dog
- 101 Goldendoodle Dog Names That Are Adorable
- Best Goldendoodle Names for All Types of Doods
Are you considering bringing a Goldendoodle home?
Please comment below. We’d love to hear!