John Walton
Written by John Walton

The Goldendoodle is not actually a pure dog breed, but a hybrid breed that combines a poodle and a golden retriever. These hybrid breeds are known as designer breeds, as now the crossbreeds are being used to create a standard. Regardless, it’s a crossbreed that has been growing in popularity.

Breed Characteristics

TrainabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessHighest
Exercise NeedsHigh

Dog Breed Group:Hybrid dogs
Height:Twenty to twenty-four inches at the shoulder
Weight:Fifty to ninety pounds
Life Span:10 to 15 years

This breed is also known as the groodle, and it ranges in a variety of sizes, from small to large depending on the kind of poodle that has been used to create the mix. It was originally bred as a larger alternative to the designer breed the cockapoo, which is a cross between a poodle and a cocker spaniel. As a result, the goldendoodle became one of the more popular family dogs.

Along with being a loving companion in the home, they are also versatile working dogs. They have worked well as guide dogs, service dogs, sniffer dogs, and therapy dogs. They also do quite well in agility courses, as it keeps their minds active while they get their exercise. The goldendoodle is an affectionate and loving dog, and has gained a lot of popularity since it was first developed in the 1990s.

They are highly social dogs and are known to get along with everyone. This makes them not very suitable as a guard dog or watchdog, as they are eager to greet everyone that they meet. They do well in both country and city settings, but apartments don’t afford the space that they need to get in the recommended amount of exercise. They thrive most when they have contact with humans, so they don’t do well living outside in a kennel all day.

They’re extremely easy dogs to train, and are a good fit for those who are first-time dog owners or who are timid. They have no aggressive traits to speak of, but they do require some amount of socialization in order to prevent shyness or fearfulness of new people. They do require contact with their owners on a daily basis, and will suffer from separation anxiety if they are left alone for too long. A crate is recommended in these circumstances in order to prevent destructive behaviour, as well as toys and treats that can keep them busy throughout the day. Leaving the television or the radio on can definitely keep them happy, as it provides them with the company of some human voices.

When it comes to grooming, they are extremely light shedders, and some may not shed at all. This makes them a good fit for those who are prone to allergies. A brushing once a week or every other week is enough to maintain the goldendoodle’s look.

Main Highlights
  • Because designer breeds are still cross breeds, keep in mind that the temperament, size and look of your dog aren’t going to be as predictable as pure breeds. It’s difficult to tell which traits are going to show up in your designer dog, so it’s always a good idea to meet both parents if you’re getting your dog from a breeder.
  • Instead of brushing, many people choose to clip the coat short to make it easier to manage. To maintain the look, it should be clipped every six to eight weeks.
  • The goldendoodle is not a watchdog by nature and won’t make a lot of noise. He may not even bark if there is someone at the door.
  • The goldendoodle has average energy levels, but he is not recommended for apartment living. He needs about twenty to thirty minutes of exercise each day.
  • Given he’s an extremely friendly dog, he does well with children and other pets that you have in the family.
Breed History

The goldendoodle has a very recent history and is considered to be one of the newest poodle mix breeds. After the cockapoo and labradoodle had already taken off as designer breeds, the goldendoodle began to be developed with the intention of creating a larger doodle breed that had low shedding and still maintained the intelligent and friendly nature of the golden retriever.

Due to how young the designer breed is, there are very few puppies that are the results of more than first-generation breeding. Many of them are still the results of poodle and golden retriever mixes, with very few being born from actual goldendoodles.

Though the breed has gained some popularity, it has not been recognized by any breed club or registry.


Goldendoodles are known to vary in size, depending on the kind of poodle that is used to create the mix. There are no breed standards either, so not all dogs are going to be similar. The goldendoodle is available in three different sizes: miniature, small, and large. The miniature tends to be about thirteen to twenty inches in height and weighs about 15 to 35 pounds, the small is seventeen to twenty inches and weighs 40 to 50 pounds, and the large stands at twenty to twenty-four inches at the shoulder and weighs 50 to 90 pounds.

Personality and Character

It’s not just his charming good looks that made the goldendoodle popular. He has plenty of positive traits that make him a good family dog, and he endears himself to anyone that meets him, even strangers. He’s very accepting of new people that come into the home, so you won’t have to expect your dog becoming wary of anyone he meets. For this reason, however, he doesn’t make a good guard dog or watch dog for the home.

He is highly affection, gentle and very patient, especially with children. He enjoys human company most of all, so he will follow you around the home wherever you go. He can be loyal to a fault and very obedient with the proper training. When the mood is right, he can be somewhat mischievous and become extremely playful.

Health and Potential Problems

Goldendoodles are known for being extremely healthy, as many of the negative traits can be eliminated from the cross breed. However, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t without their health problems. It can be difficult to determine which conditions they are most prone to, given that there is no breed standard for them, so it’s important to look out for any signs of illness and contact your veterinarian immediately. To reduce the chances of these conditions, always do some research to find a reputable breeder who invests the time and proper care of their dogs in order to ensure that you’re getting a healthy puppy.

  • Patellar Luxation: also known as slipped stifles, this is a common problem in small dogs. The patella is the kneecap. Luxation means dislocation of an anatomical part. Patellar luxation is when the knee joint slides in and out of place, causing pain. This can be crippling, although many dogs lead relatively normal lives with this condition.
  • Ear Infections: these can be a problem for goldendoodles because of their floppy ears, which trap moisture. Check and clean the ears regularly.
  • Hip Dysplasia: this is an inherited condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don’t display outward signs of discomfort. Either way, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred
  • Elbow Dysplasia: similar to hip dysplasia, this condition is also a degenerative disease. It’s believed to be caused by abnormal growth and development, which results in a malformed and weakned joint. The disease varies in severity: the dog could simply develop arthritis, or he could become lame. Treatment includes surgery, weight management, medical management, and anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: this is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, affected dogs become night-blind; they lose sight during the day as the disease progresses. Many affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision, as long as their surroundings remain the same.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease: found in both dogs and humans, this is a blood disorder that affects the clotting process. An affected dog will have symptoms such as nosebleeds, bleeding gums, prolonged bleeding from surgery, prolonged bleeding during heat cycles or after whelping, and occasionally blood in the stool. This disorder is usually diagnosed between three and five years of age, and it can’t be cured. However, it can be managed with treatments that include cauterizing or suturing injuries, transfusions before surgery, and avoidance of specific medications.
  • Allergies: allergies are a common ailment in dogs, and the goldendoodle is no exception. There are three main types of allergies: food allergies, which are treated by eliminating certain foods from the dog’s diet; contact allergies, which are caused by a reaction to a topical substance such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemicals; and inhalant allergies, which are caused by airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, and mildew. Treatment varies according to the cause and may include dietary restrictions, medications, and environmental changes.
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus: also known as bloat, this is a life-threatening condition that can affect large, deep-chested dogs such as large goldendoodles. This is especially true if they are fed one large meal a day, eat rapidly, drink large volumes of water after eating, and exercise vigorously after eating. Bloat is more common among older dogs. GDV occurs when the stomach is distended with gas or air and then twists. The dog is unable to belch or vomit to rid himself of the excess air in the stomach, and the normal return of blood to the heart is impeded. Blood pressure drops and the dog goes into shock. Without immediate medical attention, the dog can die. Suspect bloat if your dog has a distended abdomen and is salivating excessively and retching without throwing up. He also may be restless, depressed, lethargic, and weak, with a rapid heart rate. It’s important to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible if you see these signs.
  • Hypothyroidism: this is a disorder of the thyroid gland. It’s thought to be responsible for conditions such as epilepsy, hair loss, obesity, lethargy, hyper-pigmentation, and other skin conditions. It can be treated with medication and diet.
Care Features

The goldendoodle can be quite easy to train, due to his high intelligence. He’s eager to please his human, so long as you continue to exercise positive reinforcement. He works well with first-time trainers or trainers who are too timid to be sterner with their dogs. Refrain from using harsh corrections, as this can result in damage to his self-confidence.

He has average energy levels, and requires exercise on a daily basis. A good walk or some playtime in the yard is enough to suffice. Keeping him from becoming bored is a key way to ensure that he doesn’t become self-destructive and end up chewing on the contents of your home. Swimming is also a good exercise for him to engage in, as he has a love of water.

As some goldendoodles may grow quite large, he does require some room to move about. Apartments are not ideal living spaces nor should he be forced to live outside in a kennel, giving his affinity for human contact. Without this, he can develop separation anxiety and make things miserable for everyone.

Feeding Schedule

Depending on the size of your goldendoodle, he should get about 1 to 4 cups of food per day. This should be divided up into multiple meals throughout the day to maintain his energy levels, and to ensure that he doesn’t succumb to bloat. The age and build of your dog should also be taken into account when determining how much food should be provided, as not all dogs, even of the same breed, require the same needs.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The goldendoodle is known for having a wavy to slightly curly coat, about three inches in length. The hair becomes longer on the tail, body, ears and legs. The goldendoodle comes in a variety of colors, including copper, white, cream, golden, grey, apricot, and red. Whatever coat color of your dog, it tends to become lighter as he ages.

The goldendoodle still requires some grooming, even though he is a light shedder. Many owners choose to clip the coat in order to make it easier to maintain, but he still needs brushing every few weeks to eliminate loose hair and dead skin. Baths are only as needed; too often can result in his hair and skin being stripped of the essential oils that keep them moist.

His teeth should be brushed on a regular basis, or dental chews can be provided for those who can’t maintain a regular schedule. Removing the tartar and buildup prevents gum disease and tooth decay, which can be quite painful for dogs. The nails should be trimmed once or twice a month if they’re not being worn down themselves on walks. Keeping them short will prevent tearing in the future. Be wary of cutting the nails too short, as they have blood vessels within them. If you’re wary of how short to cut them, it may be a better idea to bring them to a professional groomer to have them done for you.

The ears should be checked on a weekly basis to ensure that there is no build-up or infection occurring. If the ears feel hot or smell bad, or if you’ve noticed that he’s been scratching at them more often, then you should take him to the vet to assess the situation. It’s likely that you’ll be provided with special ear cleaning solution to take care of the problem for you. Using a cotton ball, only the outer ear should be cleaned; do not insert it into the ear canal.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

The goldendoodle is a wonderful family pet, and takes many of these friendly features from the golden retriever parent. He has a lot of patience, which makes him work well with children of all ages. Children should still be taught how to interact with dogs, and to leave them alone when they are sleeping or eating. They should be taught not to try and take the dog’s food away from them, as even the friendliest dogs can lose their patience. Supervision is always recommended.

In regards to other pets, the goldendoodle rarely ever shows aggression towards them. Proper socialization is required in order to ensure that all of the pets within the home get along well with each other.

With the influx of designer dog breeds that are being developed, it can be difficult to tell one from the other. Poodle mixes have made it easier for those who have problems with allergies to find a dog that is right for them. The goldendoodle is one of the best choices of dog breeds for those who are getting a dog for the first time, as they don’t require high maintenance and are always eager to be around their humans. They’re a family dog at heart, but if you’re looking for a pooch to guard the home when you’re not there, then the goldendoodle is not for you.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.