AT A GLANCE: The goldendoodle
- Sweet, active, and intelligent
- Usually 13 to 24 inches tall, depending on cross-breeding
- Small (about 15 to 30 pounds), medium (approximately 30 to 45 pounds), or large (usually 45-plus pounds)
- Long, lean build
- Long, often curly hair coat
- Golden, red, white, gray, or cream-colored
- Average lifespan of 10 to 14 years
Physical characteristics of the goldendoodle
The goldendoodle is a small to large dog with a lean build and a fluffy hair coat. Since these dogs are a hybrid or cross-breed, their size depends on whether the poodle used in the line is miniature or standard. However, no traits are guaranteed, so if you are in the market for a goldendoodle puppy, you should know that size can be predicted, but not ensured.
Larger goldendoodles look similar to their golden retriever and standard poodle descendants—tall and lean, with long legs and an average-to-large build. They can be stocky or thin, again depending on the family line.
Smaller goldendoodles resemble slightly larger miniature poodles. They are shorter, but have a similar, lean build.
Most goldendoodles, regardless of size, will have some form of a long, curly, or shaggy hair coat that requires regular grooming. While no breed is actually “hypoallergenic,” their coats are often less bothersome to people who are allergic or hypersensitive to animal fur. Goldendoodles have long, relaxed ears, an average-sized muzzle, and a long, feathery tail. They come in a myriad of colors, including golden yellow, deep orange or red, white, cream, gray, or black.
Personality and temperament of the goldendoodle
Goldendoodles are sweet-natured, affectionate, sometimes goofy dogs who are eager to please. They are the combination of two particularly smart dog breeds, making them easy to train and to assign a job. They make excellent therapy or guide dogs and can excel in agility training if these pursuits interest you. As with most breeds, early, consistent obedience training and socialization are key to yielding a well-mannered adult dog.
The goldendoodle makes a wonderful family companion, as they are good with children and enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, or swimming. They are generally friendly with other dogs and cats and can be added to households with other animals, although there are always exceptions.
Common health concerns for the goldendoodle
Canine hip dysplasia (CHD)
This is a relatively common disease most often seen in medium- to large-breed dogs, characterized by malformation or degeneration of the hip joints that can lead to arthritis, lameness, and pain.
Dogs can have any number of environmental allergies, from grasses to fleas to certain foods. These hypersensitivities often manifest as itchy skin and ears, hair loss, ear discharge, reddened areas of the skin or ears, or a foul skin odor. When dogs compromise the skin barrier with their scratching, secondary bacterial and fungal infections can result.
Subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS)
This congenital heart condition, characterized by a narrowing of the aorta above the aortic valve in the heart, can cause changes in blood pressure and increase the heart’s workload. This can cause serious problems, including sudden death, although some dogs live long, otherwise healthy lives without intervention.
Other health concerns may include:
- Cancer, such as hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, osteosarcoma, and mast cell tumor
- Addison’s disease
- Cushing’s disease
- Elbow dysplasia
Caring for the goldendoodle
Goldendoodles have long, full hair coats that require regular brushing—ideally, every couple of days—and bathing and clipping by a professional groomer every 8 to 12 weeks. Given their predisposition for ear infections, their ears also should be cleaned regularly.
Goldendoodles are active, relatively high-energy dogs with generous exercise requirements. Without adequate play time or activity, pent-up energy can result in destructive behavior or a poor attitude, and less active, older families or couples who cannot adequately exercise a larger goldendoodle may find this breed too active or hard to control.
The goldendoodle is the perfect dog for you if:
- You have the time and/or financial capability to commit to grooming
- You have a moderately active lifestyle and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, or camping
- You have sensitivities to certain types of animal fur or hair
- You have a family with older or younger children
- You are a younger single person or couple
- You have an interest in dog agility or obedience training
- You have the time to regularly exercise a high-energy dog