Rare Goldens and Golden Mixes

Doodles--Not A Breed

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 emerging 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. Please inform yourself about the reality of these crossbreeds

1. Goldendoodles are not a breed.

Golden doodles are a first generation cross between a Standard Poodle and a Golden Retriever. In order for a type of dog to be 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 a breed. That means in a newly created breed (and there have been some since WWII, such as the Cesky 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 "doodle" puppies result from the mating of one breed to another, 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.

2. Goldendoodles are not guaranteed hypoallergenic.

The puppies may inherit the coat of either the poodle or the Golden or a mix of the two. You may get a pup that sheds, you may not. They tend to get a coat that felts close to the skin, easily causing matting that must be shaved to remove.

3. Goldendoodles are not free of the inherited conditions of poodles and Goldens due to "hybrid vigour."

Poodles and Goldens are actually prone to some of the same or similar inherited conditions, such as problems with skin, hips and eyes. These have mostly polygenic modes of transmission, meaning many genes are involved. Crossing these breeds together therefore means that you are potentially throwing more genes into the mix, and increasing your chances of ending up with one of these conditions. Doodles are already showing up in rescue with hip dysplasia, and terribly allergic skin conditions. They are proving wrong the doodlers who claim it is unnecessary for them to do clearances and genetic testing on the dogs they breed.

4. Doodles are not a legitimate breeding activity.

In order 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.

Please do not support the unethical practices of the doodle breeders by buying into their deception. If you want the Golden look and personality, get a Golden. If you need a non-shedding breed that is loyal and intelligent, consider a Standard Poodle, Barbet, Lagotto Romagnolo, or Portuguese Water Dog.

Protect the integrity of our breeds. Get your purebred puppy from a reputable breeder, or adopt a shelter dog and save a life.

For more information see:

GRCA Breed Education

GRCA Doodle Response

So-Called"Rare" Goldens

A Golden, is a Golden, is a Golden.

If you have researched Golden Retrievers online as you began your search for a puppy, you have likely come across websites that use the descriptive phrases such as “Rare White”, “Alpine White”, “English Creme”, “Irish Cream”, “Rare Russian White , “Platinum”, “Snowy” or “Ultra-pure White” to promote Golden Retrievers whose coat colour falls towards the lighter end of the breed’s colour spectrum. The same can be said for the terms "Rustic Red", "American Red" and other such descriptive words that are only being used as a marketing ploy describing Golden Retrievers who are a rich, dark, coppery shade of gold. There are even some trying to claim that there is a "Canadian Golden" who lies somewhere between "American" English" and "Rustic". Don’t be fooled by the slick marketing of these sites. These terms are used as a marketing ploy designed to mislead the public into believing that cream-coloured or dark reds are special and rare, and often imply that they are a separate breed in order to grossly inflate their prices and separate unsuspecting buyers from their hard earned money. Much of this fad began when Oprah bought her pale puppies and paraded them on her show. Those pups unfortunately came from a less than careful breeder, who was breeding for colour and profit above all else.

Contrary to what these people would have puppy buyers believe, cream and red are relatively common coat colours found in the Golden Retriever. Truthfully the Golden Retriever has a broad spectrum of golden colour ranging from extremely light to extremely dark, and while the extreme ends of this range are not always desirable in the show ring in terms of the breed standard of some countries, all shades can still commonly be found in the Golden Retriever worldwide. Both lighter and darker shades of gold can even be found in the same Golden Retriever family.

Many of these sites will also attempt to mislead you into falsely believing that one colour or style means a healthier, superior, rare or even a whole separate breed of Golden Retriever. Ironically, many of them are importing their breeding animals from kennels in relatively impoverished Eastern European countries where health clearances on breeding animals are spotty at best, and where some breeders have discovered there is now a lucrative export market to North America for pale dogs. Some of the larger promoters of the “Creme” dogs in the USA are not breeders, but brokers who bring in shipments of puppies for resale from these poor quality kennels.

For example, these two boys are littermates--yet one is rich deep gold, and the other is a pale creamy gold.

Many of these sites will also make false statements about the breed standards in the UK, FCI countries, Canada, and the United States, asserting that there are significant and substantial differences in those standards which justify treating the styles as if they were distinct breeds. These are not valid assertions. The various standards differ only in degree on on a limited number of points. There are unfortunately some misguided individuals who are actually promoting the idea of using colour and styles to separate the breed into two or more different and distinct breed varieties. The unacceptable consequence of this would be to drastically limit the genetic diversity in this breed that is so important to the health of the Golden Retriever as a whole.

So you may ask, why do some Goldens seem to be so different, then? Although there are many "styles" of Golden Retriever there is only one "type" of Golden Retriever. Type is the hallmark of a breed. A dog with type is readily recognizable as being a member of its breed. Style is the effect of the choices breeders make as they interpret the breed standard in terms of both form and function. Dogs can vary in style and still possess type. Dogs which diverge so greatly from the breed standard as to be hardly recognizable as the breed in question lack type, and those deviations should not be construed or promoted as a style. A breeder who focuses on producing functional hunting companions, as I do, will not select for as much length of coat as a breeder whose primary competitive focus is the show ring. Yet under our respective coats, the dogs are very similar in construction. There are many poorly bred Golden Retrievers out there--generally from high volume or backyard breeders who breed dogs who on pedigree are “Golden Retrievers” but are so atypical in terms of breed features they should never be bred. Similarly, many of the people breeding solely for extremely pale or extremely dark coat select their breeding stock solely on the basis of coat colour produced, rather than considering the strengths and weaknesses of individual dogs in relation to the standard and functionality, and making breeding decisions designed to enhance strengths and correct weaknesses.

In Canada no matter what pedigree line or style, all Golden Retrievers are registered as one breed with the Canadian Kennel Club. Canadian breeders have the option of registering each puppy as "light gold", "golden" or "dark gold". These options cover the broad range of colour from the lightest cream to a darker coppery gold colour that is allowed for in the CKC Golden Retriever Breed Standard and accepted in the CKC conformation ring. In the UK breeders register their puppies as either "Cream", "Gold" or "Golden" but this too covers a broad range of colour from very pale cream to rich lustrous gold.

Colour does not constitute for a separate or rare breed of Golden nor does breeding strictly American lines, English/UK lines, working lines, or a combination of these lines. So if in your research you come across websites that make these types of false claims please remember that while there are may be different styles based on regional trends and individual breeders` interpretations of the standard, there is only one Golden Retriever breed the world over.

You may also encounter sites promoting “Comfort Goldens” or apartment sized Goldens. These are simply a crossbreed between Golden Retrievers and a Cocker Spaniels, much as “Doodles” are not a breed but a cross of Poodles with Goldens.

There are a number of excellent resources you can consult prior to purchasing a Golden puppy to ensure you are dealing with a breeder who has strong breed knowledge and is breeding with the integrity of the breed first and foremost. Taking the time to do your research from well-respected sources in order to make an informed decision can go a long way towards protecting yourself from those who are less than reputable.

Is this dog "English" or "American"? Well, on pedigree, he is both! And a working hunting dog as well.

Please take the time to visit the following resources:

1. Golden Retriever Club of Canada website where you can read "The Golden Retriever: An Illustrated Commentary On the Breed Standard".

2. Golden Retriever Club of America website where you can read lots about the breed as well as their statement on “rare” Goldens.

3. The Golden Retriever Club of Greater Toronto is the affililate club of the GRCC in Southern Ontario. The GRCGT website also has some excellent resources for locating a reputable breeder.

Remember: a Golden, is a Golden, is a Golden.

P.S. On the business of calling them "English": the breed is Scottish in origin!