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What Were Goldendoodles Bred For? Breed History Explained

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By Nicole Cosgrove


Intelligent and eager to please, Goldendoodles are among the most well-loved hybrid dog breeds. With the best traits from both their parent breeds, the Goldendoodle was originally bred to be a guide dog.

These days, Goldendoodles are familiar sights among working and companion dogs. Their ancestry and their curly golden fur make them popular among families of all types and in agility and obedience competitions.

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What Are Goldendoodles?

Also known as “Groodles,” Goldendoodles are a hybrid or “designer” breed. So, while they’re not a true pedigree breed, they are half-Poodle and half-Golden Retriever.

While purebred dogs have a standard that they must meet to match the expectations of the breed, hybrid breeds can have more varied appearances and temperaments. Goldendoodles can take after either their Poodle or Golden Retriever parents. They might not be officially recognized by the AKC, but Goldendoodles are a favorite among dog lovers of all ages.

About the Poodle

Native to Germany, the Poodle’s name comes from the German word, “Pudel,” for “splash in the water.” The French, however, refer to them as, “Caniche”, from, “Chien Canard,” which means “duck dog,” a nod to their past as waterfowl retrievers.

The Poodle is favored for their intelligence and low-shedding fur. Among breeders, the Poodle is a common sight among many crossbreeds. Alongside the Goldendoodle, the Poodle has been bred with many other dogs to create new designer breeds.

Popular Poodle crossbreeds include:
  • Labradoodles
  • Bernedoodles
  • Schnoodles
  • Newfypoos
  • Yorkipoos
  • Maltipoos

About the Golden Retriever

First introduced in Scotland, the Golden Retriever is known for being super-friendly, eager to please, and loving to their family members. Their gentle temperaments and intelligence make them perfect for families with young children and as service dogs.

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The History of the Goldendoodle

As one of the youngest hybrid breeds, Goldendoodles have only been around for the past 40 or so years. Unlike their parent breeds, the Goldendoodle’s history isn’t nearly as rich or lengthy. That doesn’t mean they don’t have their own story to tell, though!

Goldendoodles were inspired by the success of the Labradoodle, a cross between the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle.

Photo Credit: Erdenebayer, Pixabay


Although many people believe that Goldendoodles came about later, they were first bred in the United States in 1969. The original breeders wanted to utilize the intelligence of both the Poodle and the Golden Retriever while taking advantage of the Poodle’s low-shedding fur and the Golden Retriever’s calm temper.

Goldendoodles were originally intended to be a new breed of guide dog. The eagerness-to-please trait that both the Poodle and Golden Retriever are known for makes the Goldendoodle obedient, placid, and easy to train. Their adoration of their human owners also makes them perfect companions.

The 1990s

Goldendoodles might have been developed in 1969, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the breed increased in popularity and became an official hybrid breed. Goldendoodles were inspired by Labradoodles and other hybrid Poodle breeds. The success of these other breeds encouraged dog breeders to explore new “designer” breeds. Popularity-wise, the Goldendoodle was one of the most successful.

The fascination with hybrid dog breeds, including the Goldendoodle, has a downside, however. Many dog breeders resort to puppy mills to meet the demand for these dogs. We encourage visiting shelters over buying dogs, but if you do choose to visit a breeder, make sure they put the safety and health of their dogs first.

F1B mini goldendoodle female dog in a winter setting with snow
Photo Credit: Marcello Sgarlato, Shutterstock

Present Day

From their original intention as a guide dog to a sought-after designer breed, the Goldendoodle has quickly become one of the most well-loved breeds among dog owners. While they haven’t yet been inducted into the ranks of registered pedigree dogs by the AKC, Goldendoodles are making their mark among canine society.

These days, Goldendoodles are frequent sights in obedience and agility shows. They’re also beloved companions for both experienced and amateur dog owners due to their easy-going natures and calm temperaments. This steadfast loyalty and gentleness also make them safe family pets, especially around small children.

Outside of family life, Goldendoodles are well-known in the working dog world. Along with being used as guide dogs, they’re also used as service dogs, therapy animals, and search-and-rescue dogs.

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Exploring the Goldendoodle’s Parents

While the Goldendoodle might be too young to have much history to discuss, their pedigree parents have both been around for over a century. Understanding the Goldendoodle means looking into their ancestry, so here’s a brief look at the history of the Poodle and the Golden Retriever.

A Brief History of the Poodle

The Poodle, despite being the national dog of France, was first introduced in Germany over 400 years ago. They were bred to help during hunts for waterfowl, their dense coat perfect for keeping them warm as they splashed through water to retrieve ducks and other fallen prey.

Despite being native to Germany, however, it was the French who made the Poodle the breed that they are today. It was France’s interest in these dogs that made them increasingly popular across Europe.

The Poodle also took a step back from water retrieval with their place among the French nobility. Their place among the aristocracy is what gave them the prim and proper haircuts that many Poodles are known for. The Miniature Poodle was also introduced by the French. The United States has a part to play in the history of the Poodle. American breeders introduced the Toy Poodle to the world in the early 20th century.

Training Goldendoodle_shutterstock_W.H. Photography
Photo Credit by: W.H. Photography, Shutterstock

A Brief History of the Golden Retriever

These days, Golden Retrievers are known as family members or service dogs. They weren’t originally bred to be guide dogs, though. They have a similar story to the Poodle in that they were first intended as retrieval dogs, both for waterfowl and land-based hunts.

They’re not quite as old as the Poodle, but they’ve been around for over 100 years. Native to the Scottish Highlands, Golden Retrievers were introduced during the reign of Queen Victoria by Dudley Majoribanks, the first Lord Tweedmouth. It was his desire for a gun dog that could handle Scotland’s wet climate and harsh terrain during hunts that inspired him to breed the Golden Retriever.

The Golden Retriever is the result of a mixture of breeds still around today: the Irish Setter and the Bloodhound, along with the Yellow Retriever. An extinct breed, the Tweed Water Spaniel, also played a part in the Golden Retriever’s introduction.

Unlike Poodles, which were lucky enough to become prominent members of France’s royalty, the Golden Retriever had a much slower rise in popularity. It wasn’t until the 1970s when President Ford introduced his Golden Retriever, Liberty, that the breed became a favorite in the U.S.A.

Red Golden Retriever gog standing in front of a pond
Image Credit: Hollysdogs, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Hybrid breeds are crossbreeds between two pedigree dogs. They were only introduced within the last 50 or so years and don’t have as much history as their purebred ancestors. The Goldendoodle, despite its popularity, is no exception to this.

Despite only being around since 1969 and only recognized as a “designer” breed in the 1990s, Goldendoodles are well-loved among families as low-shedding, obedient companions. They were first bred to be guide dogs and are now used for a range of jobs, including search and rescue, but they also love staying at home with their family.

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Featured Image Credit: Josh Fields, Pexels

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