Updated: March 11th, 2023
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Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles and two of the most popular dog breeds on the market. Golden Retrievers are purebred dogs with a long history and a reputation for being intelligent, loving, and highly trainable. Goldendoodles are a designer breed that aims to match the intelligence and lovability of the Golden Retriever with the low-shedding coat of a Poodle.
Both of these dog breeds make fantastic family dogs. They love being around their humans, they are intelligent and easy to train, and while they need lots of love, exercise, and grooming, they aren’t hard to live with, even for first-time owners.
But which of these two breeds would make a better addition to your family? Read on as we take a closer look at the similarities and differences between these two dog breeds and help you decide which might be a better fit for you.
Double coat, long with feathering, high-shedding
Likely curly and low-shedding, tends to be long
Various shades of gold
Commonly: black, white, brown, cream, gold, red, silver, and sable
Always friendly and sociable, likes to complete tasks
Always friendly and sociable, likes to complete tasks
Around 1,200 calories per day depending on weight
Around 1,200 calories per day depending on weight
45-60 minutes per day minimum
20-30 minutes per day minimum
History Of The Breeds
Golden Retrievers are hunting dogs that were originally bred to retrieve game. They were developed in the Scottish Highlands, most likely from now-extinct Russian tracker dogs. The Baron of Tweedmouth, Dudley Marjoribanks, played an important role in the creation of the breed, looking for a dog that could handle the cold, wet, and rugged terrain of the highlands and retrieve from both land and water.
They were eventually called Golden Retrievers for the color of their coat and were recognized by the Kennel Club in 1903. These dogs are highly intelligent and motivated by work, which immediately made them attractive to work in roles such as guide dogs. However, Golden Retrievers shed a lot, which can make this a little problematic.
Meanwhile, Poodles seem to have been around as intelligent lap dogs in France and Spain since the 15th and 16th centuries. They are intelligent and loyal like a Golden Retriever, but they also have a dense, curled coat that does not shed very much.
In the late 1960s, breeder Monica Dickens bred the first Goldendoodle in the hope of creating a large, loyal dog ideal for working with the non-shedding coat of a Poodle. By the 1990s, they became popular as service dogs and are sometimes described as hypoallergenic.
Today, you can find various different mixes of Goldendoodles, including smaller breeds made by mixing with smaller Poodles. A 50-50 Golden Retriever-Poodle mix is called an F1. You get an F1B Goldendoodle when an F1 is mixed with a full Golden Retriever of Poodle. An F2 dog comes from two Goldendoodle parents.
Golden Retriever vs. Goldendoodle: Size & Appearance
While we tend to think of Golden Retrievers as larger than Poodles, they are actually very close in size. This makes them excellent for crossbreeding. Your average male Golden Retriever will measure 22-24 inches tall, while the females are a bit smaller to 20-22 inches. They will weigh somewhere between 55 and 75 pounds.
Standard size Poodles (as opposed to Miniature Poodles) measure between 18 and 24 inches and can weigh up to 70 pounds. Mix the two, and you get a dog of a very similar size. They are usually 17-24 inches in height and will weigh somewhere between 40 and 85 pounds, though it is not uncommon to get the occasional large Goldendoodle weighing around 100 pounds.
Both Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles have strong, athletic bodies, though you can expect a Golden Retriever to be a bit more muscular and dense.
While Golden Retrievers always have a golden coat of some shade, as their name suggests, Goldendoodles can vary much more in color thanks to their Poodle parents. They can be golden but also black, brown, or sable.
But more important than the color of their coat is the texture. Golden Retrievers have a double coat which can be either flat or wavy and tends to have quite a bit of feathering. This double coat offers them nice protection from water, but it also sheds a lot!
Goldendoodles can inherit this high-shedding coat from the Golden Retriever side, but most breeders try to encourage them to develop a curly and wiry coat like a Poodle. These coats don’t shed very much. This is not because Goldendoodles don’t lose their hair, but rather than falling out wherever they flop down, it gets caught up in their coat. They need to be brushed regularly to remove the dead hair.
Golden Retriever vs. Goldendoodle: Temperament & Trainability
Golden Retrievers are considered among the most intelligent, loyal, and trainable dogs. They are eager to please and learn quickly, which is why they can often be trained to complete complex tasks, such as those required from a guide dog.
Poodles are equally loyal and may be more intelligent than Golden Retrievers, so Goldendoodles are smart and loyal. However, they can be a bit more independent than Golden Retrievers. This means it can take a little bit longer to train them.
Both Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles are gentle and playful. They are good around children and other animals and don’t tend to be territorial. The only problem with these dogs around small kids is they are big and full of energy, so they can be a little overwhelming for very small children.
Golden Retrievers tend to find strangers interesting rather than threatening. They are more likely to start licking someone new than bark at them. Goldendoodles are like this too, but they can be a bit more wary around others thanks to their Poodle blood. This does mean they can be more likely to bark when they encounter something new and different.
Both breeds are very social dogs that need lots of love and attention. They don’t do well being left at home alone for long hours each day. This can lead to depression and separation anxiety. However, Goldendoodles tend to handle periods alone better than Golden Retrievers.
Golden Retriever vs. Goldendoodle: Grooming, Diet & Exercise
Both Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles are a big commitment when it comes to care. They are social animals that need lots of love, and they are energetic animals that need a lot of exercise. They both have fairly heavy grooming requirements, too.
Both Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles need lots of exercise. Standard size Poodles are almost as active as Goldens, which is why their shared offspring are also very high-energy.
Golden Retrievers need a minimum of 45 to 60 minutes of exercise per day. Goldendoodles can get away with 20 to 30 minutes a day but do better with more. They also do best when they have an outdoor space to move around in when they are at home, but this is no substitute for proper exercise.
They also benefit from longer periods of activity on the weekends, such as hikes and swims. Both Golden Retrievers and Poodles were bred for the water, so both Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles love a good dip and are excellent swimmers.
Neither dog does well when left at home alone for long periods of time. They do best in homes when there is always someone around rather than when everyone is out of the house at school and work most of the day.
Grooming is a major time commitment for both dogs. Both need regular brushing to keep their coat in good condition. With Golden Retrievers, this will also help control shedding. Goldendoodles with a low-shedding coat need to have dead hair removed regularly, and they should probably have a trim every 6 to 8 weeks to keep things under control.
On top of this, there is regular teeth brushing, nail clipping, and ear cleaning that all dogs need. Read our full guide to Golden grooming here.
Both Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles have a healthy appetite and need to eat around three cups of food a day depending on their size. Because they are active dogs, they benefit from diets with lots of animal-based proteins and healthy fats to give them energy. However, it is important to watch what they eat. They will over-eat if left to their own devices.
Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles are both healthy dogs, but like other large dog breeds, they suffer from a few common health problems. Both have a tendency towards hip dysplasia and eye conditions. You can expect a Golden Retriever to live for 10 to 12 years, while a Goldendoodle might live a little longer to about 15 years.
Golden Retriever vs. Goldendoodle: Cost
Both Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles are in high demand, so you can expect to have to wait for a puppy from a good breeder and to pay quite a bit. A puppy of either type will probably cost between $1,000 and $2,000.
Goldendoodles can be a little more expensive, since it can be complex to control for that low-shedding coat. Depending on supply and demand where you live, you can find yourself paying around $3,000 for a Goldendoodle puppy.
Because these dogs are so popular, they also tend to show up in shelters as people move away or otherwise can’t continue to care for them. It is always a good idea to check with your local rescue and shelter first.
Golden Retriever vs. Goldendoodle: Which Is Better For Your Family?
Both Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles make great family pets since they do well around children and also tend to get on well with other animals, so you can introduce them into a home that already has pets. But both require a big commitment, so you should ask yourself the following questions before adopting either breed.
- How big is my home, and does it have an enclosed outdoor space? Big dogs tend to need a big space to call home, including some natural space. They won’t adapt well to apartment living.
- Do I have time to spend with my dog? Both Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles are sociable dogs that need to spend a lot of time around their people. They won’t thrive if they are left at home alone for 8 to 10 hours a day. Goldendoodles handle this slightly better but still don’t do well.
- Do I have an active lifestyle? These dogs need lots of exercise and thrive when they can go out and about regularly with their owners. Do you have the kind of active lifestyle that matches that need?
Once you have answered these more general questions, you might be able to choose between the breeds by asking yourself the following questions.
- Do I have a problem with dog hair? Golden Retrievers shed a lot. This is a problem if you have allergies but also if you just like to keep your home clean and hair-free. If you would prefer to avoid the dog hair question, choose a Goldendoodle.
- Am I ready for the unexpected? While we generalize about the characteristics of Goldendoodles, because they are not purebred dogs, they can be quite unpredictable. Their size and temperament can be different than expected, and they might even turn up with a high-shedding coat. If you want to know what to expect for your pup, then a Golden Retriever may be a better choice.
But the reality is that first-time owners, provided they have the time, space, and energy, will probably be very happy with both of these breeds.
Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles are both very popular dog breeds that make excellent pets for families and first-time owners. So, how do you decide which is right for you?
Both breeds require quite large homes, lots of exercise, and plenty of love and affection from their families. After that, there is not much to divide the two with the exception of their coat. While Golden Retrievers have high-shedding coats, Goldendoodles are bred to have the low-shedding coat of a Poodle.
It is worth noting, though, that this is not always the case. Goldendoodles are not purebred, so their appearance and even temperament can be unpredictable. If you want to be sure what to expect from a pup before you bring them home, you might be happier with a purebred Golden Retriever.