Golden Retriever vs Goldendoodle – Pros and Cons of Each

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Many people have their heart set on a specific breed of dog, they know exactly what they want. However, for the majority of people, choosing the right dog to add to their family takes a bit of research. If you’re considering a Golden Retriever as your next pet, chances are you have also thought about a Goldendoodle.

In this article, Golden Retriever vs Goldendoodle, we’ll look at the pros and cons of each, as well as their similarities and differences. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of both breeds, and it just might help you decide which dog is right for you. Or, there could be a slight chance of you ending up with one of each.

Let’s get started.

Golden Retriever vs Goldendoodle, A Breed Overview

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever vs Goldendoodle - Close up of a Golden Retriever looking happy standing outside with the sunset in the background.

A Golden Retriever is a purebred dog that is officially recognized as such by the UK Kennel Club, The American Kennel Club and The Canadian Kennel Club. There are actually 3 types of Golden Retrievers, English, American and Canadian. Each type has slight differences in appearance.

The Golden Retriever originated in Scotland, in the mid 19th century. They were originally bred to retrieve shot waterfowl, and some are still used for hunting today. However, the majority of Golden Retrievers serve their purpose as wonderful family dogs, and some are even used as service dogs for the blind and disabled.

Goldendoodle

Golden Retriever vs Goldendoodle - Close up of a white Goldendoodle standing looking at you.

A Goldendoodle is considered a “designer breed”, they are a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle.

The idea behind the Goldendoodle is that you get the friendly and gentle nature of a Golden Retriever, mixed with the intelligence and allergy-friendly coat of a poodle.

Goldendoodles have only been around since the 1990s when designer dog breeders started deliberately breeding Golden Retrievers with Poodles.

Goldendoodles come in 3 different sizes, depending on the Poodle parent used for breeding. Standard, Miniature and Toy-sized Poodles can all be used, resulting in the 3 different sizes of Goldendoodle.

They are primarily bred to be companion dogs, but they are often used as guide dogs, therapy dogs, and other assistance dogs.

What’s The Difference Between A Golden Retriever And A Goldendoodle?

The major difference between the two is that a Golden Retriever is a purebred and a Goldendoodle is a crossbreed. Other differences include appearance and coat, how much they shed, their grooming requirements, size and temperament.

Appearance and Coat

You will certainly notice the difference between a Golden Retriever and a Goldendoodle, just in the way they look. Even though a Goldendoodle generally has about 25-50% of the Golden Retriever genes, they can look quite different than the purebred.

Golden Retriever

A Golden Retriever has a sturdy muscular frame, with a broad head and straight muzzle. The ears of a Golden are short and floppy, and the eyes are round and dark with a friendly expression.

The double-coat is water-repellent and ranges in colour from cream to dark golden. The most notable feature of a Golden Retriever is the long flowing coat with feathering along the neck, tail, and legs. The coat can range from wavy to straight.

Goldendoodle

A Goldendoodle’s appearance can vary depending on the poodle parent. Goldendoodles have a round skull with a broad muzzle. They have oval-shaped eyes which are most commonly brown, and their ears are floppy. The tails are feathered.

The Retriever parent in them gives the Goldendoodle a long, muscular body with a deep chest and wide stance.

Goldendoodles are long-haired and their coat comes in 3 different types; straight, wavy, and curly. The coat is also a double-coat just like the Golden Retriever. The straight coat resembles that of a Golden Retriever and will lie flat against the body. A wavy coat is the most common on a Goldendoodle and it features loose shaggy curls. A curly coat will resemble that of a Poodles.

There are several coat colours; cream, red, black, gold, apricot, brown or a combination (parti-coloured).

A black and white Goldendoodle walking together.

How Much Do They Shed?

Golden Retrievers shed, there is no doubt about it and there is no way around it. If you want a Golden Retriever you will have to put up with all of their hair.

Shedding is quite heavy twice a year, during Spring and Fall when they prepare for their new coats for the Summer and Winter. Throughout the rest of the year, shedding is moderate.

Goldendoodles will shed, but not as much as Golden Retrievers. It is a common myth for people to assume that Goldendoodles are hypoallergenic and do not shed, but in fact, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog.

How much a Goldendoodle sheds is dependant on the type of coat it has. The curlier the coat, the less likely it is to shed.

Grooming Requirements

Golden Retriever

Brushing a Golden Retriever regularly, at least twice a week (I recommend daily), will help to reduce shedding as well as remove any mats and tangles from the coat.

Weekly ear cleaning is a must for Golden Retrievers because their floppy ears tend to trap moisture and dirt, causing ear infections.

Golden Retrievers will need occasional baths as well, more often in the summer, especially when they swim often and develop that wet dog smell. In the wintertime, you can get away with not bathing them unless they get dirty.

A Golden Retriever’s coat should never be shaved, but the feathering can be trimmed to keep the coat looking neat and tidy.

Goldendoodle

A Goldendoodle requires more grooming maintenance than that of a Golden Retriever. Just like a Golden Retriever, regular brushing is beneficial. But, the coat of a Goldendoodle tends to matt and tangle more easily if it is not maintained by regular brushing.

Regular haircuts, every 6-8 weeks are required to keep the coat from getting long and messy and developing matts.

The coat can be clipped short, but it should not be shaved. Shaving can ruin the coat, as well as expose the dog to the elements.

Many people are under the impression that a Goldendoodle can be shaved, simply because they are part Poodle. However, a Goldendoodle’s coat is much softer and finer than a Poodles, and it includes a soft undercoat.

The undercoat of a Goldendoodle acts as a barrier of protection from the sun, insect bites, scratches as well as provides insulation from the cold and keeps your dog cool in the heat.

Without proper maintenance of the coat, matting can become so severe that shaving is the only option.

Size

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are considered medium to large-sized dogs. They are purebred, so the size they will become as adults are pretty much standard.

As previously mentioned, there are 3 types of Golden Retrievers. Each type has slight differences in size. Canadian Golden Retrievers are generally taller than English and American Golden Retrievers, and English Goldens are more muscular.

But, on average a male Golden will stand between 22-24 inches in height. A female will stand 20-22 inches.

Males weigh on average 65-75 pounds, and females 55-65 pounds.

Goldendoodle

Goldendoodles are not bred to any breed standards like the Golden Retriever, therefore their size will vary.

There are 3 sizes of Goldendoodles, large, medium and miniature.

Large Goldendoodles are bred from Standard Poodles, and they typically stand 20-24 inches in height and weigh between 50-80 pounds.

Medium Goldendoodles are bred from Miniature Poodles, and they typically stand 17-20 inches, and weigh 40-50 pounds.

Finally, the smallest Goldendoodle is the Miniature, which is bred from Toy-sized Poodles. They typically stand 13-20 inches and weigh 15-35 pounds.

Temperament

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are loving and gentle. They are easy-going dogs that love to be with their humans. In fact, these dogs need constant human interaction and are often referred to as velcro dogs. They love to be near you at all times.

They are intelligent, eager to please and easy to train. These dogs rarely bark, usually only when someone is at the door. Their bark is friendly and welcoming.

They love everyone, and will try to make friends with anyone or anything they meet along the way.

Golden Retrievers are very forgiving, which makes them ideal for first time dog owners.

Goldendoodle

Goldendoodles are a crossbreed, which means that their temperament is not always predictable.

In general, Goldendoodles are considered high-energy, loyal, and very playful. They make wonderful family dogs, and they get along well with children.

Goldendoodles are part Poodle, which may result in them being more vocal and barking more than a Golden Retriever. They also tend to be more high-strung, which can lead to nervousness, anxiety and sometimes aggression.

They tend to be harder to train than a Golden Retriever because of their independent nature and stubbornness. (Golden Retrievers have a tendency to be stubborn too!)

Do Goldendoodles Act Like Golden Retrievers?

Goldendoodles and Golden Retrievers do share some similarities. They are both friendly, great with kids and very playful. They also share a love for water and require plenty of daily activity.

However, as with all crossbreeds, there is no guarantee of temperament. Goldendoodles are part Poodle and part Golden Retriever, so they will not act like a purebred Golden Retriever. They will inherit some personality traits of each parent.

Golden Retriever walking on a beach while carrying a huge stick.

Do Goldendoodles Live Longer Than Golden Retrievers?

Healthy and well-bred Goldendoodles have a longer lifespan than Golden Retrievers.

The lifespan of Goldendoodles is 10-15 years, as compared to 10-12 years for Golden Retrievers.

Crossbreed dogs such as Goldendoodles generally live longer than purebred dogs, because they have a higher genetic diversity. Goldendoodles are less likely to develop genetic health issues as compared to the Golden Retriever.

That being said, Goldendoodles are still at risk of developing health conditions that are common among Golden Retrievers and Poodles.

Goldendoodle Health Conditions

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: A family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina, leading to vision loss.
  • von Willebrand Disease: A blood disorder that affects the clotting process.
  • Megaesophagus: When the muscles of the esophagus stop working and food and water cannot be moved into the stomach.
  • Cancer
  • Ear Infections

Golden Retriever Health Conditions

  • Cancer: The biggest killer among this breed. Common cancers include; Hemangiosarcoma, Osteosarcoma, Lymphosarcoma, and Mast Cell Tumour.
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
  • Eye Diseases: Cataracts are the most common.
  • Skin Diseases: Allergies and Hot Spots are common.
  • Heart Disease
  • Hypothyroidism

Are Goldendoodles Better Than Golden Retrievers?

If you ask me personally, the answer is no! However, that is my opinion being that I am a proud owner of a Golden Retriever. I would say that the majority of people considering these 2 dogs will heavily lean towards one or the other.

Those that lean towards the Goldendoodle likely do so because they shed less. Those leaning towards the Golden Retriever likely do so because of their calm, and friendly temperament.

If you are still undecided about these two dogs, I have put together a list of pros and cons of each.

Goldendoodle Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • They shed less than Golden Retrievers.
  • People have less of an allergic response to them.
  • They come in 3 different sizes.
  • Their coats are different colours and come in different types.
  • They are friendly and playful.
  • Great with kids and get along with other animals.
  • Enjoy swimming.
  • Less risk of developing genetic health conditions.

Cons:

  • Not an official breed or recognized by any Kennel Club.
  • Not bred to any standards.
  • There is no guarantee of temperament.
  • They bark more than Golden Retrievers.
  • More high-strung, they can be very anxious and nervous.
  • They still shed, there is no guarantee of getting a non-shedding coat.
  • Expensive due to a gain in popularity.
  • Their grooming requirements are high maintenance. They require daily brushing and regular haircuts to avoid matting.
  • Harder to train because they are independent and can be stubborn.

Golden Retriever Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • They are bred to standards.
  • Recognized as an official breed by UK Kennel Club, American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club.
  • You know what you are getting in terms of temperament and size.
  • They are easygoing, friendly and gentle.
  • Intelligent and easy to train.
  • Great for first-time dog owners.
  • They are great for families with kids, as well as seniors.
  • They adapt to any surroundings easily.
  • Get along well with other animals.

Cons:

  • They shed much more.
  • Always need to be near you.
  • Have a greater risk of developing genetic health issues.
  • Cancer is very common.
  • Shorter lifespan.
  • They are expensive.
  • Have a tendency to be stubborn.

Golden Retriever vs Goldendoodle Final Thoughts

With many traits in common, the choice between a Golden Retriever vs Goldendoodle can be a difficult one. Both are friendly and playful, get along with kids, are loyal, and make wonderful companions.

The differences between them might make the decision a lot easier for you. They differ in size, appearance, temperament and grooming requirements.

Goldendoodles can be unpredictable in their temperament, their appearance, and type of coat. With a Golden Retriever, you will pretty much know their size and temperament.

I hope this article has made the choice between a Golden Retriever and Goldendoodle a little easier for you. Both have their pros and cons that need to be considered before choosing the most suitable one to add to your family.

Do you have your heart set on a Golden Retriever or Goldendoodle? Do you love both, or do you prefer one over the other? Please share your thoughts and comments below. I would love to hear from you.

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I am the proud owner of a Golden Retriever named Ellie. She keeps me busy, and when she is resting, you can find me working on my blog. She is always close by though. I live in Stirling, ON Canada with my husband, and we both enjoy the never a dull moment life with our Ellie.

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2 thoughts on “Golden Retriever vs Goldendoodle – Pros and Cons of Each”

  1. Hi! I’ve just gone through your amazing article on the Golden Retriever vs Goldendoodle. I must say that it is true that many people just pick a pet and bring it to the family without even knowing its common behaviour.  I think it’s always important to do some research before owning a pet because adding another member to the family is a big decision to make.  I think everyone needs someone lovely and friendly to be a member of their family.

    I, therefore, found this article very helpful because given the features of these dogs – the Golden Retriever and the Goldendoodle, helps you choose the suitable pet for your family. Thanks for sharing this useful information with us.

    Reply
    • Hi Kokontala,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.  It is true that many people fail to research their breed of choice, to make sure the dog is compatible with their lifestyle.  Unfortunately, this is one of the many reasons why so many dogs end up in animal shelters.

      I am glad you found this article helpful, as it highlights the characteristics of the Goldendoodle and the Golden Retriever.  Both make wonderful companions, but their differences will make the decision between them easier.

      Jenny. 

      Reply

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