Chances are, you've heard the name Goldendoodle, even if you haven't seen one in person. If you have had the pleasure of meeting one, you may be having fantasies about adding a Goldendoodle to your own family. As with all life-altering decisions, though, it's important to look at this one from all angles before taking the plunge. Read on to find out whether this breed is the proper choice for you.
What is a Goldendoodle?
Standard Goldendoodles are a cross between a standard poodle and golden retriever. Standard Goldendoodles are typically 16-24 inches tall at the shoulder, weigh 50-80 pounds, and have a curly coat that doesn't shed very much. They make especially appealing puppies, with those expressive dark eyes set beneath long-haired brows. This makes them especially appealing to families, especially the youngest members.
However, it's important to remember that puppies grow up to be dogs, sometimes large ones. While golden retrievers and poodles are both typically friendly and intelligent breeds, their high energy combined with their impressive size when fully grown can sometimes lead to issues with families who weren't expecting their cute ball of fluff to grow into such a formidable beast.
Fortunately, properly trained Goldendoodles don't pose much of a threat, especially if they receive sufficient exercise. Make sure to teach puppies not to jump up onto counters, tables, or other people. If you have a rescue that's already picked up less than stellar habits, you'll have to work hard to ensure that they're weaned off of any unwanted behaviors.
This is an exceptionally social and affectionate breed, tending to get along well with most humans as well as other dogs. They're also highly intelligent, one of the top five smartest breeds in the world, according to the Goldendoodle Association of North America. As mentioned above, this typically means that they require a lot of attention, both as puppies and when they're fully grown.
Since Goldendoodles are unlikely to bark at strangers and other dogs, they don't make the best watchdogs, but chances are, that's not what you're looking for in a family pet. They tend to be extremely patient with children and therefore make excellent companions for families at any stage of life. However, they should get at least 20 to 30 minutes of exercise per day, so be sure you'll have enough time to devote to walking them.
Are They Actually Hypoallergenic?
Poodles and their hybrid breeds are often touted as being hypoallergenic, meaning that family members who suffer from allergies won't have to worry about Fido aggravating their symptoms. Because Goldendoodles don't shed much, many people assume that they must be one of these prized hypoallergenic breeds. This claim, however, is slightly misleading.
Allergic reactions aren't triggered by the dog's hair itself, but rather to their dander, a protein found in the saliva and dead skin cells (to which the hair is naturally attached). Though some people have milder reactions to certain dogs, people with severe allergies will likely have a hard time no matter what breed they select. Any breeder who claims that a Goldendoodle (or any dog) is 100% hypoallergenic is stretching the truth.
Let’s Talk Mutts
When purchasing a crossbred dog, it's important to remember that genetics can be a tricky business. You might assume that a Goldendoodle would possess all the best qualities of both golden retrievers and poodles, but the reality might be somewhat different. Genes can't be mixed and spliced like baking ingredients and any particular dog might turn out to have the hypersensitivity of a poodle and the troublesome health issues of a golden retriever. If you're looking for a specific temperament (not to mention appearance), you may be better off seeking out a purebred animal instead.
How to Find a Good BreederLet's say you've decided that a Goldendoodle would be the perfect fit for your family and you're ready to begin your search. The first thing you should do is seek out a reputable dog breeder, preferably one who specializes in this particular crossbreed. You can use a search engine such as Google, or rely on social media message boards to find out who breeds Goldendoodles in your area.
While you might think it's more convenient to stop by the pet store and see what they have available, this is an unsavory option for several reasons. First of all, many pet stores rely on "puppy mills," breeding facilities that force young animals to live in solitary and unsanitary conditions. The dog may not have had a proper health screening, either, and is likely to have developed psychological issues on account of the warehouse-style conditions. A good breeder, by contrast, can answer any questions you might have, as well as provide you with a clean bill of health for your newest companion.
As is the case with most dogs, what you get out of your relationship with your Goldendoodle depends largely on what you're willing to put into it. With the proper training and exercise, this breed can make a wonderful addition to the family.