Goldendoodles are the adorable result of a cross-breeding between a golden retriever and a poodle. Hence the name, goldendoodle. While you might be picturing an exact hybrid between a golden retriever and a standard poodle, however, goldendoodles can vary quite a lot in appearance, according to Nicole Ellis, a certified professional dog trainer and pet lifestyle expert with Rover. "The size of a goldendoodle depends on the poodle part of their heritage," says Ellis in an email interview. "Poodles come in many different sizes, so goldendoodles do, too. Because of this, you'll meet goldendoodles ranging from small, at 15 to 30 pounds (7 to 14 kilograms), to very large, up to 100 pounds (45 kilograms)."
Contrary to common logic, goldendoodles don't always have golden fur, either. "Coloring can vary," says Ellis. "Like poodles, they range from light tan to apricot to chocolate and black. Goldendoodles usually have shaggy, curly coats, but the curl tightness can vary drastically as well."
According to Steffi Trott, owner of and head trainer at SpiritDog Training in Albuquerque, goldendoodles have been bred in the U.S. as guide dogs as far back as 1969. "In the 1990s, designer dog breeders picked up the cross and started to market them as perfect all-around family dogs," she says via email. "Later on, many other breeds were also crossed with poodles and became cousins of the goldendoodle, such as the labradoodle (labrador and poodle), sheepadoodle (Australian shepherd and poodle), Bernadoodle (Bernese mountain dog and poodle) and others. While goldendoodles were first bred in the U.S., they are popular all over the world today.
So, how did they become so popular? "Goldendoodles combine the very clever and silly characteristics that poodles are known for with the loyal, loving and friendly disposition of a golden retriever," says Ellis. They also shed very little, making them a great choice for people with allergies or those who don't like cleaning up much dog hair around the house, and finally, they exhibit an even temperament, trainability and super-cute looks.
Here are seven more fun facts about this cuddly canine.
1. They Have Unique, Humanlike Expressions
"Being a mix of two breeds, their personalities can vary," says Ellis. "But they are generally goofy, playful, puppy-like and full of love." Adds Trott: "Every goldendoodle owner will say that their dog is 'goofy;' it's the word that describes them best. They also tend to stay puppies for a very long time. Do not expect your goldendoodle to grow up and show maturity before he is about 3 years old."
2. They Make Great Pets ... as Long as You Keep Them Occupied
"They have a great temperament, but can be high-energy and do best in an active household," says Ellis. "Goldendoodles thrive in active homes that will spend time training them and doing activities together. They love doing things, have a lot of energy, and thrive with daily exercise and training." Many goldendoodle owners are surprised at how much exercise their dogs require, says Trott, adding they are not calm couch potatoes. "Goldendoodles need daily exercise and mental challenges," she says. "They have a tendency to be very destructive when left alone for too long or not receiving enough outlets for their energy."
3. They're Usually Quite Smart
That's because they're a mix of two very intelligent dogs. "They are one of my favorite breeds to train," says Ellis. "They are so happy to please and they work really hard to learn." With positive reinforcement and rewards-based training methods, Trott says these dogs learn very quickly. "Goldendoodles are often thought to just be funny-looking, clumsy dogs, but poodles especially are very smart dogs and they are great at problem-solving and learning behaviors," she explains. "You can teach goldendoodles hundreds of tricks, have them play Frisbee, try out dog sports, such as agility, with them ... the sky is the limit!"
4. Some Will Shed
"They are mixed with goldens, which shed a lot," says Ellis. "All goldendoodles need grooming and upkeep with brushing and combing at home." According to Trott, their coat tends to mat easily and needs to be brushed about twice a week, and many goldendoodle owners send their dogs to the groomer once a month for a bath and trim.
5. Being a Mix of Two Dogs, There Isn't a Breed Standard
Each will be a little different, according to Ellis, with common health issues including allergies, hip dysplasia and heart conditions. "That's why, if you are going to a breeder and not rescuing, it's important to support one that does health testing to prevent passing on these issues," she says. They also can easily become overweight, says Trott, adding that it's critical to discuss weight management and exercise needs with your vet if your goldendoodle is on the chunky side.
6. The Average Lifespan Is 10 to 15 Years
"With so many different sizes, this will vary," says Ellis. "In general, smaller dogs tend to live longer lives."
7. They Can Be Pricey
"They usually start at around $700 and can go all the way up to $3,000 for special colors or very small goldendoodles," says Trott. You can absolutely rescue one, though. "Because of their high energy level, they actually often end up in shelters when owners realize they are unable to meet their exercise needs," she adds. "Many areas have breed-specific rescues as well — just search on Google for 'goldendoodle rescue near me.'"