Recently, the media has hyped the emergence of a number of designer dog “breeds.” These include the long popular cockapoos, and other small breed crosses, and now the newly popular large breed doodles. Much of what these breeders say to promote their puppies is misleading, if not downright false. The breeders of the various “doodles”, including the Goldendoodle, which most concerns fanciers of the Golden Retriever breed, perpetuate a number of myths in their quest to sell puppies.
The Goldendoodle, like the Labradoodle and other Poodle cross breeds, was initially bred to be a low shedding assistance dog for individuals who suffered from allergies to shedding hair or had other problems with excessive shedding. However, not all Goldendoodles exhibit the “hypoallergenic” coat style of the poodle; as a mixed breed dog, the traits of puppies cannot be accurately predicted. While some Goldendoodles are low-shedding, many others shed a small amount and still others shed as much as a Golden Retriever. While some breeders claim that the Goldendoodle is a hypoallergenic canine, allergists believe that there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic animal. There have been no studies to date verifying whether any canine is completely hypoallergenic. Furthermore, the assistance dog programs that began these breeding programs have since abandoned them as the puppies produced were not consistent enough in physical type or temperament.
The Goldendoodle is not a purebred; rather, it is a mixed-breed dog or crossbreed. As such, it is not accepted for registration by mainstream registries of purebred dogs such as the American Kennel Club or Canadian Kennel Club. Goldendoodles are a first generation cross between a Standard Poodle and a Golden Retriever. In order for a particular group of dogs to be classified as a breed, there must be a written standard describing the conformation of the breed, and a studbook must be maintained listing all members of that breed registered. In order for that studbook to be accepted by the kennel club, breeders must have gone through a rigorous process by which the breed is accepted for consideration for recognition and voted on by the club membership. Before even getting to that stage however, the breed club must provide evidence that the dogs in question are indeed a breed. That means in a newly developed breed, such as the Cesky Terrier or Black Russian Terrier, records of the breeding program resulting in the new breed have been maintained, and once the phenotype has been set, like bred to like produces like for several generations, proving that genotype has also been set. This is a very simplified explanation of a complex process. But essentially, since most “doodle” puppies result from the mating of Golden to Poodle, and not back into each other with an eventual goal of setting breed type in mind, and the puppies produced vary wildly in conformation, they are not a breed.
Another “benefit” that is often raised is the notion of better health resulting from “hybrid vigour.” The term “hybrid vigour” technically refers to crossing different species within a family, such as a dog (Canis familiaris) to a wolf (Canis lupis). Poodles and Goldens are both breeds within the same species, so hybrid vigour would not result. Furthermore, Poodles and Goldens are actually prone to some of the same or similar inherited conditions, such as problems with skin, hips and eyes.
The final issue in this breeding activity lies with the ethics of the doodle producers.
To obtain their breeding stock these people have either bought poorly bred dogs from backyard breeders or puppymill auctions, or lied to reputable breeders. No reputable breeder of Goldens or Poodles would sell a puppy to someone who had told them they intended to use the dog for crossbreeding. Member breeders of the CKC cannot be involved in the breeding or selling of non-purebred dogs. To do so can result in the loss of registration and competition privileges.
Within the Golden Retriever community, this has become such a concern that the Golden Retriever Club of America issued an official statement in 2006. It states in part:
The Golden Retriever Club of America is dedicated to the health and welfare of the Golden Retriever breed while conserving the original breed function – that of a “working retriever.” A purebred dog offers to his owner the likelihood that he will be a specific size, shape, color and temperament.
…The Goldendoodle is nothing more than an expensive mongrel. Because the genetic makeup is diverse from the Poodle genes and the Golden Retriever genes, the resultant first generation (F1) offspring is a complete genetic gamble. The dog may be any size, color, coat texture and temperament. Indeed Goldendoodles do shed. Their coat may be wiry or silky and may mat. Body shape varies with parentage but tends to be lanky and narrow. Behavior varies with the dog and within a litter with some puppies poodle-like in attitude and others somewhat like the Golden Retriever.
The Golden Retriever Club of America is opposed to cross-breeding of dogs and is particularly opposed to the deliberate crossing of Golden Retrievers with any other breed. These crossbreds are a deliberate attempt to mislead the public with the idea that there is an advantage to these designer dogs. The crossbred dogs are prone to all of the genetic disease of both breeds and offer none of the advantages that owning a purebred dog has to offer.
Please do not support the unethical practices of the doodle breeders by buying into their deception. Protect the integrity of our breeds. Get your purebred puppy from a reputable breeder, or adopt a shelter dog and save a life.
Article edited by Shelly Blom