A look at Doodles

This is the second installment in our ongoing series on popular dog breeds. This week we take an in-depth look at doodles … a.k.a. Labradoodles and Goldendoodles.

Doodle isn’t just a funny word to say – it’s a pretty fantastic kind of pooch, if you ask us at Good Dog. There are two types of doodles, and both share a very similar heritage. The Labradoodle (or poodle/lab hybrid) was originally bred as an allergy-friendly seeing-eye dog by the Australian Guide Dog Association in 1989, then grew in popularity in North America in the mid-90s thanks to the breed’s allergy-friendly, family-friendly reputation. Similarly, the Goldendoodle (golden retriever/poodle mix) got its start around the same time, as many families sought an allergy-friendly version of the popular Labrador retriever. Doodles fit their niches perfectly and have been popular ever since.

Poodle crosses usually inherit the fur qualities of the poodle, though not the texture, which means most doodles don’t shed or shed lightly, and don’t produce high levels of the dander that causes allergic reaction in humans. Their coats can be cream, gold, tan, brown, gray, black, or a combination, depending on parentage, of course. But their beautiful shed-free appearance isn’t the only reason doodles are popular. According to AKC statistics for 2011, labs are the most popular dog in America, goldens are fourth, and poodles rank eighth. The hybrid cross between these parent breeds make terrific family dogs – they are incredibly friendly, intelligent, affectionate and easy to train.

We have more than 200 doodles at Good Dog – 120 goldendoodles and 95 labradoodles – and they are all equally amazing in their own ways. Our daycare regular Lucy Neville (below) is a relatively small goldendoodle with a quiet, gentle, friendly personality. She has one of the most beautiful coats we’ve ever seen — silky and slightly wavy, with a reddish tint that obviously comes from her red golden parentage.

Darwin and Wally Houchin (below, exercising in the woods) are larger goldendoodles with a blondish-white coat more resembling a poodle’s. They are outgoing, talkative and energetic, and they make exceptional ‘big brothers’ to the many rescue dogs that their owner often fosters.

Millie Welch, a daycare favorite pictured below, is wonderfully congenial and sweet – so much so that she was voted Prom Queen of Daycare in Good Dog’s 2001 yearbook poll! Her coat is the perfect shade of grayish black (from her black lab side) and perfectly curly (from her poodle genes).

As you can see, doodles can be very similar yet vastly different – and not just when it comes to the color of their coat. Their size can vary significantly according to parentage, for instance. Typically there are three ranges for the breed: standard doodles weigh about 50 pounds or more — and some can reach 100 pounds if mom and dad are large specimens for their breed. Medium doodles range from 30 to 50 pounds, and small or miniature doodles between 15 and 30 pounds. (Miniatures come from a miniature or toy poodle parent).

Overall, doodles are people-oriented, friendly, smart and social — though like all dogs, they come with their own challenges. Labs and goldens are famously energetic and intelligent, as are their offspring, so doodles can require a lot of exercise and may need to be occupied often. As with any dog, if you’re considering a doodle, do plenty of research before you bring one home and chat with our dog trainer Adam Moos, who has trained many doodles and has plenty of knowledge and advice on the breed. Better yet, come visit us and observe our doodle regulars as they’re playing in daycare. We always love visitors, and so do our daycare dogs!

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