Nearly 10 years ago, I met my first Golden-doodle patient and, having never seen one before, I can remember thinking to myself, “This Golden retriever is having a very interesting hair day!”
Fast forward to the present and I typically see a “doodle” patient multiple times a day. Furthermore, my personal family has grown as well to include 3 Golden-doodles of our own. If you have ever met one of these amazing creatures, you would probably define them as the perfect blend of two wonderful breeds of dog- that being the Golden Retriever and Standard Poodle. The positive qualities of this blend of breeds are numerous!
First of all, just by simply being a mixed breed dog they possess “hybrid vigor.” In short, this means that by combining genetics, there is less chance that a mixed breed animal will inherit breed-specific negative predispositions such as allergies, hip dysplasia and cancer. Secondly, almost all doodles tend to possess the positive traits that both of their parents are well known for- such as gentleness, intelligence and beauty. Third, most doodles tend to have “low shed” or “no shed” hair coats that make them less reactive to people with allergies.
These days, there are also many varieties of Golden-doodles and things to consider when looking for one. In terms of size, there are generally three “models”- small, medium and large. The smaller dogs are a result of one of the parents being a smaller poodle. When considering the small ones, it’s important to note that they tend to be a little more energetic than their larger counterparts. In terms of genetic combinations, we refer to them as F1, F1b and F2. The former is the most popular and is a combination of a pure Golden Retriever and a pure Poodle. F1b is a combination of either a pure Golden or Poodle mixed with a Golden doodle. Finally, the F2 is created by breeding two Golden-doodles. The third important characteristic to consider is type of hair coat. These can generally be divided into several categories: rough, curly-smooth and straight-smooth. Each of these coats will continue to grow throughout the pet’s life. Most breeders can typically predict coat type from their previous experience with breeding pairs.
This last point brings up one important requirement of a doodle owner- the need to schedule regular GROOMING. Most owners prefer that their doodles maintain long coats. However, it is very important to note that regardless of hair type, all doodles have a uniquely thin thread of hair that tends to mat very quickly (and permanently) without regular bathing, brushing and trimming by a professional groomer. Also, because their hair coat grows continuously, all doodles will need this treatment every 3-6 weeks! In general, the softer the coat, the closer to that 3-week mark they will need to be groomed. Once a doodle goes beyond the recommended grooming time frame, it can be IMPOSSIBLE to brush or trim the mats out (particularly those woven to the skin) and a groomer will be forced to shave the coat and essentially “start over.” Nevertheless, this one maintenance requirement is a very small burden compared to the tremendous amount of joy that they bring to the lives of their owners.
If you already live with a doodle or if you are considering becoming a proud parent to one ( or two, or three ), please don’t hesitate to call any of our doctors or professional pet groomers with questions.
All of our offices have 1-4 professional groomers who are very accustomed to grooming doodles and will be happy to meet your loved one and offer free advice.
Dr. Jimmy Murphy
The Pet Hospitals