Goldendoodles are a cuddly cross between golden retrievers and the standard poodle. They have the best traits of both breeds: intelligence, loyalty, and an active lifestyle. Each parent breed has different fur types, making the Goldendoodle’s fur type a gamble, but that doesn’t make them any less popular among dog owners.
A Designer Breed
Goldendoodles are defined as a “designer breed.” These specialty breeds are created intentionally by breeders. This is becoming a popular practice as breeders move to produce some of the most desirable dog breeds. The Goldendoodle’s teddy bear appearance has made them a desirable designer breed.
There are several organizations that help breeders who produce designer breeds. Hereditary conditions are recorded to make sure that these mixed-breeds don’t inherit health problems. The registering of mixed-breed dogs can also help breeders isolate the traits and genes that get passed along.
Since Goldendoodles are a mixed breed, the type of fur they have is a genetic gamble. Since the 1990s, breeders have worked to accommodate consumer demand regarding the breed’s size, coloring, and coats.
No Shedding vs. Hypoallergenic
One of the appeals of Goldendoodles is that they are believed to be hypoallergenic. Many dog breeds — including the Goldendoodle parent breed, the poodle — are advertised as hypoallergenic. Unfortunately, no dog breed is truly 100% hypoallergenic.
When a breed is called hypoallergenic, they shed less than normal and produce less dander, the primary antagonist for your allergies. But even “hypoallergenic” breeds can still cause allergic reactions. Goldendoodles, even though one parent breed is hypoallergenic, aren’t totally off the hook.
A pet’s dander is only one of many possible allergens that may set off your allergies. Others include your dog’s urine, saliva, and fur. While dogs who shed less may not release as many allergens, you won’t be totally free from allergies around them.
Golden Retrievers vs. Poodles
Golden retrievers and poodles have different grooming needs. A Goldendoodle’s fur can be more like one than the other. Understanding the fur of your Goldendoodle’s lineage can help you prepare for the kind of care they’ll need.
Golden retrievers shed. Originally bred for colder weather, they have a double coat that they shed once or twice a year. This second coat is thick and water-repellent, so it’s usually a heavy shed. Generally, golden retrievers shed a moderate amount on a regular basis.
During periods of heavy shedding, you should brush a golden retriever daily to keep its coat healthy. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a layer of dog hair on all your furniture.
Some people may be tempted to shave their golden retriever’s hair, but that can put them at risk from the elements. Shaving their coat will make them more susceptible to heat, sunlight, and cold. Even with short hair, they still shed.
Poodles don’t shed, but do need more maintenance. Their nearly non-shedding coat makes them a great breed for people with allergies, but caring for their coat is necessary. They require almost daily brushing and combing to prevent matting of their fur. If you can’t commit to regular brushing, trips to a professional groomer are often needed.
The Role of Genes
The type of fur your Goldendoodle has is a matter of genes. Breeders used to believe that there was a shedding gene present in Goldendoodles that determined if they would shed or not. But they then realized that it wasn’t an isolated shedding gene.
Instead, there are visible features that determine if a Goldendoodle will shed. These visible signs are called “furnishings” or an “improper coat.”
A Goldendoodle’s furnishings are their facial hair. If they have furnishings, they’ll have furry mustaches, goatees, and eyebrows. If they lack furnishings, they have an “improper coat” or an “open face” like a golden retriever.
So, if a Goldendoodle has a face like a golden retriever, they’ll shed more. If they have facial hair furnishings, then they’ll shed very little or not at all, like a poodle.
Since shedding is based on the furnishings’ gene, the best odds for having a Goldendoodle that is hypoallergenic and sheds very little is to make sure they come from a line of Goldendoodles with the furnishings gene. It’s best to consult a breeder who tests for furnishings genes in their Goldendoodles.
Since the average Goldendoodle doesn’t shed much, the necessary grooming is similar to their poodle parent. They typically require almost daily brushing and combing to prevent their coat from matting. It’s a small price to pay to avoid itchy, watery eyes.