The Goldendoodle is a “designer dog,” a hybrid dog breed resulting from breeding a Poodle with a Golden Retriever. Like all other designer “breeds,” the Goldendoodle is not truly a breed of its own, but is a crossbreed — and in this case, a cross that is enjoying growing popularity.
Monica Dickens crossbred poodles and Golden Retrievers as early as 1969.
In the 1990s, breeders in both North America and Australia began crossing Golden Retrievers with Standard Poodles. The original purpose of the cross was to attempt to develop guide dogs suitable for visually impaired individuals with allergies. The goldendoodle is sometimes called a designer dog. The Encyclopædia Britannica traces the term "designer dog" to the late 20th century, when breeders began to cross purebred Poodles with other purebred breeds in order to obtain a dog with the poodle's non-shedding coat, along with various desirable characteristics from other breeds.
Some breeders prefer to restrict breeding to the first generation and first generation cross-back. This is done in an attempt to maximize genetic diversity and avoid the inherited health problems that have plagued many dog breeds.
Established breed associations such as the AKC, the UKC, and the CKC, do not recognize this hybrid, nor any other designer cross, as a breed. However, some major kennel clubs do accept registration of crossbreed and mixed-breed dogs for performance events such as agility and obedience such as the Continental Kennel Club. The Continental Kennel Club will accept and grant a pedigree on a goldendoodle as long as the parents have registration.
There are three main coat types. There is the straight coat, which is flat and resembles more of a golden retriever coat. The wavy coat type is a mixture of a poodle's curls, and a golden retriever's straighter coat. The last coat type is curly, which tends to look more like the poodle coat. A goldendoodle's size is generally somewhere between that of its poodle parent and golden retriever parent. The ranges of size include standard, medium, and miniature (if the poodle parent was miniature). Upon reaching adulthood, a standard goldendoodle will often weigh 60 to 100 pounds. A medium goldendoodle will weigh between 30 and 45 pounds and a miniature goldendoodle will weigh approximately 15 to 30 pounds. The standard in height at the shoulder for a male goldendoodle is about 24-26 inches. For females, it is 22-23 inches. Often, taller goldendoodles inherit more from the golden retriever and will weigh substantially more. It is very common for the goldendoodle to inherit the "golden retriever bump" on top of his/her head. Common coat colors include white, cream, apricot, gold, red, and sometimes gray and black (also called phantom). Goldendoodles may also be black or a light sandy brown.
With knowledgeable breeding, the goldendoodle tends to be a rather healthy dog, but Poodles and Golden Retrievers are both susceptible to hip dysplasia. Therefore, an OFA or PennHIP exam is highly recommended to check for this problem before dogs are bred.
Both breeds can also suffer from a number of inheritable eye disorders, so it is important that annual CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) exams are performed before breeding. The goldendoodle inherits the ears of Golden Retrievers; because their ears hang and do not allow water to drain, they are prone to ear infections and yeast infections in the ears from swimming. Von Willebrands disease (vWD), a bleeding disorder, can also be found in the Poodle and should be screened through DNA tests before breeding.