With the people-pleasing temperament of the Retriever and the intelligence and light shedding of a Poodle, Doodles have become immensely popular family pets and companion animals. See the YouTube review by Dr Ian Dunbar: Labradoodle vs Goldendoodle.
A Goldendoodle is a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle. A Labradoodle is a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle. These hybrids were first introduced several decades ago. In terms of light shedding, hypoallergenic benefits, care, appearance and personality there is little difference between Goldendoodles and Labradoodles.
Doodles are affectionate dogs with a playful, easy-going temperament. They are extremely intelligent and trainable. Doodles are highly social and tend to get along with everyone. They make great family pets. They are good with children, and— if introduced properly—with other pets.
The Doodle’s hybrid nature provides great genetic variability, not only in coat type and color, but also in personality. Some individuals exhibit more of their Retriever ancestry, and others more of the Poodle.
My Goldendoodle Lacey is calm and affectionate. She is attentive and wants to be always at my side. My Labradoodle Tessa is curious and alert. She likes to roam the yard for squirrels and is content to sit outside listening to the sounds of the neighborhood. In the evening though, she wants to be on the couch with her head in my lap.
Doodles combine the eager-to-please nature of the Retriever with the intelligence of the Poodle. They are easy to train and are often recommended for first-time pet owners.
Brief, consistent commands and positive reinforcement are the essential keys to training your Doodle. See the book I recommend on my Things You Need page. There is also an excellent TED talk on Dog-Friendly Dog Training on YouTube.
Doodles, especially the F1b generation and multi-gens (see below), are famous as low-shedding dogs. No dogs are non-shedding, and there is individual variability among Doodles. Nevertheless, Doodles with their curly and wavy coats are considerably less shedding than breeds with flat coats.
My Lacey and Tessa are both extremely low shedding. Normal house-cleaning has always been enough for them, whereas my Labrador Retrievers required daily sweeping and collection of hair bunnies.
Because they are low-shedding, Doodles are considered "hypoallergenic." This means they are less likely to cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to dog hair or dander. However, no dogs are non-allergenic. People have tremendous variability in their sensitivities—both what they react to and how severely they react to it. If you are allergic to dogs, you probably know it. If you still want a dog, you should consider a Doodle. Spend some time with a Doodle and see how you feel. Only you can tell what is suitable for you. (My 2019 buyers who were concerned about allergies tell me they are experiencing no problems with their puppies.)
Doodles tend to be energetic, especially as puppies. They require morning and evening half-hour walks to keep them in good health and spirits. Additional walks and outside play will help your puppy develop strong muscles and bones for a healthy adult life. If you live in an apartment, you will want easy outdoor access and time to exercise them regularly.
Doodles are fascinated by water and most love to swim, or at least get their feet wet. Catching and returning a tennis ball or flying disc is a great exercise that will keep your Doodle fit and happy. These activities also build trust and communication for a lifetime bond with your Doodle.
Doodles normally live 10 to 15 years.
Sizes and Colors
My Doodles are in the medium weight range (30 to 50 pounds). Lacey's Goldendoodle puppies are likely to have curly or wavy coats in shades of cream and apricot. Tessa's Labradoodle puppies are likely to have curly or wavy coats in shades of chocolate and caramel. This variability is due to the genetic combinations possible from them and their mates.
Doodles need a thorough brushing or combing every week. Because of their thick coats, trimming is best done by a professional, preferably every other month. Groomers will bathe your Doodle after its trim. Otherwise, bathe your Doodle only when necessary, like after a muddy hike, so you don’t deplete the essential oils necessary for a healthy coat.
Check your Doodle’s nails frequently. With sufficient walks and exercise, the nails may wear enough on their own, or you may trim them. Most groomers trim nails, clean ears and express the anal glands as part of their standard grooming routine.
Doodles make great family pets. They are affectionate and have amusing personalities. They are highly social and will thrive on positive interactions with you and your children. All puppies must be conditioned to not chew, nip or jump up, and to eliminate outside. Engage your children in your puppy’s socialization and training, and make sure they are involved in feeding and caring for your Doodle. Teach children to not over-excite puppies and to be gentle with them.
These are life lessons for your children. They will learn from you how to be responsible and to care for another living being. They will be rewarded with your Doodle’s love and playful companionship.
Generations and Pedigrees
I keep track of my Doodles’ parentage in order to find them appropriate mates to produce sound, healthy puppies. See my Things to Know: Care in Breeding page.
For those who are curious, there is lots of information online about canine genetics and hybrid generations. Basically, an “F1” is a first-generation hybrid of two different breeds. An F1 Doodle is one-half Retriever and one-half Poodle. More commonly available as pets is the “F1b” generation which is a cross of an F1 with one of the parent breeds, usually the Poodle. The F1b puppy is one-quarter Retriever and three-quarters poodle. Terminology for further Doodle generations is inconsistent among breeders, and is commonly summarized as multi-generational, or “multi-gen.”
I breed multi-gen Doodles in order to produce puppies that are dependably low-shedding and hypoallergenic, with the coats and personalities that are most suitable as family pets and companion animals.
Doodles aren’t eligible for listing in purebred registries such as those maintained by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Those registries are important to breeders who need to confirm a pure (within a single breed) bloodline, either for show or for buyers who insist on a purebred.
As hybrids, my Doodles are registered with the Continental Kennel Club (CKC) to maintain a record of their parentage, or pedigree. The breed parentage of my girls and their mates is indicated on my Parents page.
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A typical young Doodle.
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