Bringing a new dog into your family is always an exciting time, but with so many different breeds, hybrids, and mixed heritage dogs to choose from.
Choosing the right dog for you and your family can be a hard decision.
My name is Michelle Ropp, and I still remember the day that my parents surprised me and my sister with the introduction of a sweet Golden Retriever puppy.
We were just kids then, but meeting Maggie the Golden Retriever puppy was a magical moment.
By choosing the right dog for your family, you can bring a little bit of magic to your house, too.
Goldendoodle vs Golden Retriever
Goldendoodles and Golden Retrievers are both famously family-friendly dogs, which makes them excellent choices for almost any household.
Golden Retrievers are sweet, laid-back, and are so full of love. They stick close to their people and are always looking to please.
Golden Retrievers are well-known for their gentleness, and because of this, they are an excellent dog for kids.
In contrast to the beautiful (but constantly shedding) silky coat of Golden Retrievers, Goldendoodles have a charming coat of curls similar to the poodles that preceded them.
Because of this, they are far more allergy friendly due to minimal shedding.
Unlike the people-pleaser Golden Retrievers, Goldendoodles tend to be a bit more independent, or even stubborn.
They are incredibly clever dogs, though, and once you get past the stubbornness you’ll find there is no end to what they can learn.
Overview: The Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are beautiful, medium-size dogs with graceful, feathery tails and long golden fur as their namesake.
There is more to Golden Retrievers than good looks, though.
They have a rich history as Scottish gun dogs that dates all the way back to the 1800s when they were originally bred for the purpose of retrieving game on land and in water.
Their famously gentle mouths are a result of their popularity for retrieving birds without leaving a single mark.
Golden Retrievers have maintained their popularity throughout time. They were recognized as an official AKC breed almost one hundred years ago, in 1925.
Even today, they are one of America’s most popular dog breeds and have an equally enthusiastic following in Europe.
It’s one of the most popular breeds to train as service dogs and therapy dogs due to their gentle temperament, effortless trainability, and happy-go-lucky attitude.
Overview: The Goldendoodle
Unlike the Golden Retriever, the Goldendoodle is not an official dog breed.
Rather, it is a ‘designer’ hybrid between two dogs: the Golden Retriever and the Poodle (typically the Standard Poodle).
The first Goldendoodle was bred in 1969 by Monica Dickens, and the hybrid gained popularity in America and Australia the 1990s.
Because Poodles are relatively hypoallergenic due to their unique coat, Goldendoodles inherited some of these allergy-friendly traits.
This resulted in a curly coat which sheds very little and reduces danger a lot. The more allergy-friendly coat and friendly demeanor of the Goldendoodle have earned it a boom in popularity since 2000.
Because of massive popular demand, Goldendoodles demand a high price tag and often cost more than their purebred relatives.
Goldendoodles vary in size depending on what type of Poodle a Golden Retriever is bred with the most popular Golden Retriever and Standard Poodle hybrids coming in at a comfortable medium-sized dog.
The Goldendoodle’s temperament tends to be a combination of its two parts: independence, intelligence, and stubbornness from the Poodle side, and a cheerful, friendly demeanor that’s great with kids from the Golden Retriever side.
Goldendoodle vs Golden Retriever: Which is Bigger?
Although all Golden Retrievers and most Goldendoodles are medium-sized dogs, there is some difference in height between them.
Goldendoodles bred from Standard Poodles tend to be slightly larger than their Golden Retriever counterparts.
A typical weight for Golden Retrievers is between 55 and 75 pounds, while Goldendoodles can weigh from 50 pounds all the way up to 90 pounds.
The two dogs stand at similar heights, however. Both are typically between 1 foot, 9 inches and 2 feet tall at the shoulder.
Of course, not all Goldendoodles are bred from Standard Poodles. As a result, Goldendoodles usually come in one of three sizes.
Large Standard Goldendoodles are Goldendoodles bred from Standard Poodles, and they weigh in at the numbers above.
Small Standard Goldendoodles weigh a bit less at 40 to 50 pounds, and they stand between 17 and 20 inches.
Miniature Goldendoodles are bred from Golden Retrievers and Miniature or Toy Poodles, and they are significantly smaller in size. They stand between 13 and 20 inches tall and weigh just 15 to 35 pounds.
Of course, because Golden Retrievers are purebred and Goldendoodles are hybrids, Goldendoodles vary more drastically from dog to dog in size, temperament, and weight.
Golden Retrievers are bred to precise specifications, whereas Goldendoodles are not.
Also as hybrids, Goldendoodles may be close to a fifty-fifty split genetically between Poodles and Golden Retrievers, or they may take after one side more than the other—this also results in a lot more variety between each dog.
Goldendoodle vs Golden Retriever Shedding: What Kind of Coats Do They Have?
Despite sharing half their genetics, the curly coat of Goldendoodles is so much different than the graceful sweep of fur that Golden Retrievers are known for.
Golden Retrievers have long, majestic coats of lustrous fur that is surprisingly easy to maintain despite its length.
They shed heavily and can shed year-round, though, which may make them a poor fit for families with allergies.
When we brushed Maggie, our Golden Retriever, I remember balls of fur would fly through the air to scatter all across the grass like fuzzy clouds.
Golden Retrievers are definitely a dog you’ll need to vacuum or sweep with.
Goldendoodles are almost the exact opposite. They tend to have a curly, plush coat reminiscent of a Poodle’s and rarely shed, if ever.
Like Poodles, most Goldendoodles have indeterminate hair growth, meaning that each hair grows longer rather than shedding.
They are great dogs for people with allergies because of how little they shed, but they will require more grooming to maintain their coat.
Goldendoodle vs Golden Retriever Grooming: How Much Do They Require?
With such drastically different coats, it comes as no surprise that the Goldendoodle and Golden Retriever have vastly different grooming needs. Both dog types have long hair, so both of them require at least a little bit of maintenance.
Golden Retrievers benefit from regular brushing (at least once a week), though they do best with brushing every other day. This gets rid of shedding fur which keeps them looking beautiful and feeling comfortable.
Golden Retrievers’ fur doesn’t get matted as easily as you might expect, either. Although we brushed Maggie often in the summer (because of shedding), we hardly had to brush her at all during the winter.
The longer you wait between brushing them, the more your Golden Retriever will shed—but if you skip brushing for a couple weeks it shouldn’t do any damage to their fur.
And while taking your Golden Retriever to a groomer may make your life easier, from experience you can easily give the occasional bath and brush as needed yourself.
Goldendoodles are a different story entirely. Their curls demand regular haircuts, thanks to their indeterminate hair growth, and they should be taken to a groomer every six weeks.
They also should be brushed daily, or at least every other day.
If you neglect to groom or brush a Goldendoodle even for a short period, their fur can become matted, long, and messy.
Their fur naturally attracts a wide variety of objects—twigs, nettles, leaves, bugs, and many other things can get stuck in the tight curls.
This is another reason why frequent brushing, grooming, and haircuts are absolutely essential for the Goldendoodle.
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Goldendoodle vs Golden Retriever: How Do They Behave?
Goldendoodles and Golden Retrievers do have some similarities in temperament.
They are both great with kids and both tend to have a cheerful, friendly demeanor. They both tend to be gentle and smart, but they also have a few differences.
Goldendoodles can be harder to train than Golden Retrievers due to their independence and tendency for stubbornness.
Once you get past the stubbornness they are incredibly clever, however, and can be trained to do complex tasks if they are motivated to learn.
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Goldendoodles tend to be a bit higher-strung than Golden Retrievers, which can lead into nervousness or aggression in rare cases.
Golden Retrievers, on the other hand, are people-pleasers. They are very affectionate and stick close to their family.
They are considered very easy to train and will try their hardest to do ask asked, which has landed them in many positions as service dogs and therapy dogs.
Golden Retrievers are incredibly laid back and tolerant, and they are famous for their gentleness.
Both Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles should be taken for frequent walks and neither is suited to apartment life.
These are not small dogs, so they need space to run and play, and their ancestry as a working gun dog makes walking, playing fetch, or swimming a natural favorite pastime.
Goldendoodle vs Golden Retriever Costs: Are They Expensive to Look After?
Another thing to take into consideration if you’re debating between a Goldendoodle and Golden Retriever is the price tag that comes with each one.
If you get a Golden Retriever with AKC papers, it will cost you a pretty penny, but believe it or not Goldendoodles can cost as much as five times more than Golden Retrievers (especially for unusual types of Goldendoodles, such as Miniature Goldendoodles).
Even a Large Standard Goldendoodle usually costs more than a Golden Retriever.
Although Goldendoodles tend to be healthier on average, saving money in vet bills as hybrids and mixed breeds tend to be healthier than purebred dogs.
Though keep in mind that you will be paying a high, designer price tag for a dog that could be more Poodle or more Golden Retriever and anywhere in between.
I truly think that everyone should check local shelters and adoptable pets before they rush out to buy a dog from a breeder.
You’ll be giving a dog in need a home, and we currently have two incredible rescued dogs (Joey and Gunther).
Both purebred dogs like Golden Retrievers and mixed breed dogs like Goldendoodles, other types of doodles, and other Golden Retriever mixes are often available at shelters.
It’s worth checking to see if there’s a rescue or shelter with a Goldendoodle or Golden Retriever near you—you might be pleasantly surprised (and save a lot of money)!
Another cost to keep in mind with Goldendoodles and Golden Retrievers is the cost of grooming.
Golden Retrievers can be bathed with a hose or in your tub, and brushing them here and there yourself will keep their silky coat gleaming and healthy.
On the other hand, Goldendoodles absolutely must be regularly groomed and have their long hair cut. This cost can add up when you’re visiting the groomer every six weeks.
Final Thoughts: Goldendoodle vs Golden Retriever
With so many great traits in common, it can be daunting to choose between the Golden Retriever and the Goldendoodle.
Both are great with kids. Both are friendly and beautiful dogs.
If you’re worried about allergies or just looking for a dog that sheds less and is as independent as they are clever, the Goldendoodle might be for you.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a dog that requires little grooming and is incredibly sweet and gentle in almost any situation, the Golden Retriever could be your dog of choice.
One thing is for sure. Whether you choose the Goldendoodle or the Golden Retriever, you’re bound to meet an incredible dog full of love who will give your family the same magical moment that my parents gave us so many years ago.