Goldendoodle Puppies: What type is for me?
As many seek a Goldendoodle puppy, Sunshine Acres uses this article to explain the various types one will encounter in their search and hopefully help others make an educated decision.
The Goldendoodle is the hybrid of the purebred Golden Retriever and Poodle breeds. With both of these breeds ranking near the top of the list for intelligence and trainability, its no wonder many breeders have decide to make a Goldendoodle their designer dog of choice. There are many makes and models of Goldendoodle puppies, ranging in type from a 50/50 cross to nearly inbred like the purebred breeds. Here is a brief introduction to the various types of Goldendoodle puppies.
The first type of Goldendoodle puppy available is the 50/50 hybrid where one parent is a purebred Golden Retriever and the other parent is a purebred Poodle. This mix is called the F1 Goldendoodle. This is the puppy mix that turned the purebred world upside down starting in the early 2000’s. Its initial claim to fame was, “the best of both worlds”, or “allergy-friendly”. These Goldendoodle puppies became the favored cross of those seeking to avoid congenital health issues found in purebred dogs, while maintaining a low to non-shedding coat, and keeping as much of the loveable Golden Retriever in the mix as possible. Good parent selection was invaluable for maintaining personality, coat quality and historical health. This 50/50 hybrid Goldendoodle puppy has an improved chance of a long healthy life due to the hybrid vigor and genetic diversity of its mixed breed genetics. However, since hybridization is not a silver bullet for all genetic defects, we still emphasized the importance of testing for health issues to make the healthiest Goldendoodle puppy possible.
As Sunshine Acres bred it’s first F1 Goldendoodle puppies in 2002, we discovered through trial and error that some poodle lines made gorgeous Doodles and some Poodle lines didn’t. We have carefully maintained the poodle lines that made exceptional doodles and today our poodle studs exclusively go back to the “Gorgeous” lines. Their F1 Goldendoodle puppies have a distinctive, Sunshine Acres, style.
Once challenge the 50/50 Goldendoodle pupppies face is the incidence of cancer. Unfortunately, cancer is prevalent in the Golden and this trait does pass on to their hybrid offspring. While advances in cancer research are phenomenal, there are no genetic tests available to pinpoint the risk a dog carries. Sunshine Acres has been able to choose lines of Golden Retriever using the CHIC (Canine Health Information Center) database where health and mortality are tracked so we have lines which are much less susceptible. When it comes to the best choice for a healthy Goldendoodle puppy with high health, a beautiful coat and sweet personality, the 50/50 mix, an F1 Goldendoodle is clearly the cross of choice.
The second type of genetics for a Goldendoodle puppy is the F1B Goldendoodle puppy. In this cross, one parent is a purebred Poodle and the other parent is an F1 Goldendoodle (50/50 cross). This is a favorite among allergy sufferers, mostly because the percentage of puppies that are allergy friendly in a litter is higher than the 50/50 F1. Each individual puppy is not necessarily more allergy friendly as we can be led to believe, but a larger percentage of the litter will have characteristics that make them more suited for someone with dog allergies. If I had severe allergies and I really wanted a doodle, this is the mix I would choose. The amount of tight curl the puppies have will be increased, so if kinks are not for you, the 50/50 F1 Goldendoodle puppy may still be a better a choice. Since this cross necessitates the breeding back to a poodle, some hybrid vigor and genetic diversity is lost in the F1B cross. However, as long as the breeder is carefully testing their lines and paying attention that the poodles in the family tree are not closely related, the risk is still favorable for an F1B Goldendoodle puppy’s long term good health and predictable traits.
The third option after an F1 or F1B Goldendoodle is the Multi-generation Goldendoodle or F2 Goldendoodle. A multi-generational Goldendoodle, or Multigen Goldendoodle for short, is when a Goldendoodle is bred to a Goldendoodle. This worst case scenario of F2 Goldendoodle puppies is what happens when someone gets the bright idea of mating their beautiful 50/50 F1 because he or she is the best dog ever. However, F1’s do not breed true. This means, they will fall back to their original parents. Statistically, the F2 litter will be 25% purebred Golden Retriever, 50% like the F1 parents, and 25% purebred Poodle. Genetic succotash is what this F2 is termed -or unknown genetics. Now, while there is value in the breeding of an F2 Goldendoodle puppy to the breeders committed to making the Goldendoodle into a purebred dog, the risk due to the unknown is huge. F2 Goldendoodle puppies may shed just like the Golden Retriever or they may have all the qualities of the Poodle. While the desire for the hybrid is still high, the risk of taking home a puppy that is something else is much worse than a F1 Goldendoodle puppy who is a 50/50 cross.
The final option for a Goldendoodle puppy’s genetics is an F3 (or F4, F5 or F6 etc.). This cross would be a multi generational Goldendoodle bred to a multigen Goldendoodle. The higher the generation number they higher the degree of purebred. The multi gen goldendoodles join their purebred parentage as the inbred coefficient of the multigenerational goldendoodle puppy skyrockets and congenital health is of the greatest concern. There are not any advantages over the F1 or F1B, only disadvantages. Actually, I would have to say, the more inbred or multigenerational they are, the greater the predictability of outcome. I would not cross two Goldens and expect to get poodle puppies. So inbreds are more predictable than hybrids.
A multigenerational Goldendoodle flies in the face of the original reason the Goldendoodle puppies became so popular. Wasn’t their popularity due to the attracting of knowing the puppy did not carry the genetic health risks found in their purebred parents, since the puppy had the advantage of hybrid vigor and genetic diversity? Unless there has been careful selection, a close watch to pedigrees, and a good dose of accountability through purebred registries, the risks of passing on congenital health issues take on a new dimension in multigen breedings. Just think, those that deal with purebreds can at least use a 4-generation pedigree at a minimum to make mating decisions. My question for the multigenerational doodle breeder is,”can you provide at least a 4 generation pedigree with genotypic and phenotypic testing results? Your responsible purebred breeders can. The purebred breeders have way more resources for maintaining a purebred at their disposal than a mixed breed breeder, if they choose to use them.
On a side note, I have found that a carefully bred poodle is actually a better choice than a multi generational doodle puppy. Sunshine Acres realized this nearly 20 years ago as we started noticing the direction the Goldendoodle was going splitting between inbred and hybrid. Some breeders greatly valued the reduced risk of genetic defects found in a F1 hybrid puppy. Other breeders valued turning the Goldendoodle into a purebred- going back into a higher level of inbreeding. Since most multi gen Goldendoodles are a very high percentage poodle, and since these multi-gen Goldendoodle puppies very rarely have the pedigree and genetic testing to back them up that a purebred poodle breeder would have for their puppies, perhaps a purebred poodle would be the better option- especially for those families who have severe dog allergies.
So, as we consider the different types of Goldendoodle puppy genetics that are an option, our experience has been that the hybrid vigor found in the F1 Goldendoodle and the F1B Goldendoodle give the puppies the best chance for a long healthy life, without the inherent genetic defects found in their purebred parents. These happy, healthy goldendoodles with the beautiful coats and sweet dispositions rank at the top of our list:) This sweet natured, fun loving, smart, family friendly puppy is our designer dog of choice.