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Goldendoodle Coat Phases and changes
 

Author: Dee of Goldendoodle World

About Goldendoodle Coat Phases



Since creating the Goldendoodle (we began in 1999); we have witnessed the Goldendoodle dog as having  three distinct  coat types:

1. Shaggy (The shaggy coat always has waves about the hair ends)
2. Curly
3. Smooth 

Since 1999, we have created the Goldendoodle in just about every way imaginable, except for AI (artificial insemination). We will proceed to tell you how we achieved our three coat types in our Goldendoodles and we will proceed to tell you what we know to be a fact and not rumored guesses.  Since we achieved the smooth coat doodle in 2007,  we don't have any photos of smooth coat adult doodles to show you.  Hopefully by 2008 we'll have adult smooth coat photos available.

The majority of our Goldendoodles are a 50/50 mix of Poodle and the Golden Retriever.  Our Goldendoodles  who are a 50/50 mixture (Golden Retriever/Poodle)  allows the majority of our doodles to have the  shaggy coat.  Every Goldendoodle that has a shaggy coat, regardless of breeder, will have waves at the end of each strand of hair giving the coat a "messy" appearance with the coat hairs going in all directions.  Let's say "messy" but very cute!   All Goldendoodles  with a shaggy coat have the same features (regardless of breeder)  which includes  a full facial beard;  thick plume  tail that rides high up over  the back; low thick, hanging ears;  almond shaped eyes and a near constant smile on their face.  We would like to add that some shaggy doodles can and do have short ears that tip over at the top with the coat hairs  being much longer than the actual ear.   
 
Regardless of coat type, Goldendoodles come in an assortment of colors and markings.  There are no rare colors or markings for the Goldendoodle dog.  The most common colors  for  the  Goldendoodle are  cream and apricot.  While some people assume that the Goldendoodle has this lovely thick shaggy coat as a puppy,  we will factually tell you that this does not occur all the time with every single doodle or litter of doodle pups.   Some doodles become quite shaggy by 8 weeks of age while others must grow into their coat.   Some doodles do not become very shaggy until six months of age.  Regardless of coat type,  the doodle is considered fully grown by the age of one year and the coat thickness as well as length  they have at age one year, is the coat they will have for life.  The features of the facial beard are evident at approx. 4 weeks of age. This feature at age four weeks of life is in the shape of an upside down "V".  Most curly doodles do not have a facial beard, rather their coat is curly from their head down to their tail.  Smooth coat doodles are completely void of the facial beard entirely.   A breeder will know at an early age whether or not their Goldendoodle puppy will be curly, shaggy or smooth in coat type.  It is quite rare to have an entire litter of smooth or curly coated doodles unless the parent  dogs are specifically smooth or curly themselves.  Offspring from a 50/50 pairing are mostly shaggy with perhaps 1 or 2 pups in any given litter as being curly.   All Goldendoodles  are  fully mature  by a year of age.  98% of the time, we see the shaggy coat type from a 50/50 mix. The other 2% have curls about the coat.  We never saw a smooth coat Goldendoodle until 2007.  This is mainly because we were not sure about taking the risk of breeding a Goldendoodle to a Golden Retriever due to not knowing what to expect out of the coat.  Since most of our  Goldendoodles were either a 50/50 mixture or came from a Poodle/Goldendoodle mixture, we had to do more research regarding genetics before delving into a Goldendoodle/Golden Retriever type pairing.
 


(Tucker...above photo... is a 50/50 mix but has the curly coat that we see in 2% of our 50/50 Goldendoodles.)
 
 
In 2007, we discovered that pairing two Goldendoodles together (both of whom were NOT closely related on the Retriever side  and both had different Poodle parents), that the majority of the offspring would be smooth coated doodles.   The two Goldendoodles we paired up had blue eyes and this is why we elected to breed them together.  It was our hope that we would achieve blue eyed offspring that had a smooth coat so that if we chose to keep one for our breeding program,  we would then use the selected dog as a mate for a non-related Poodle.  This pairing would then create shaggy offspring but would  also instill the blue eyed recessive gene further increasing our chances for more doodles with blue eyes.  The pairing up above did not give us an entire litter of smooth coated doodles or an entire litter of blue eyed doodles.  Although both parents have blue eyes and both carry the recessive gene for blue eyes, only 2 of the pups had blue eyes.  Both were smooth coated doodles.    Of the four pups that were born to that particular litter, 2 had  blue eyes;  1 had the usual brown eyes (and the usual shaggy coat)  and 1 had green eyes (as well as a smooth coat.).  We felt that because both parents had more Poodle within their DNA structure given the fact they both came from a Poodle/Goldendoodle mixture and both had the curly coat  (the usual indication that the doodle has more Poodle DNA.) that this would keep the low shedding factor for any smooth coats that would be produced but we had also thought that we'd have a 50/50 chance of having half with a smooth coat and half with a shaggy coat.   This was not the case for the coat type or eye color.   4 pups were born to the litter and only 1 of the pups had the usual shaggy coat.  The other three had a smooth coat.  At 10 weeks of age, the smooth coat doodles in this litter are void of the facial beard (and will be forever) but have maintained thus far a low shedding coat.   I am going to say that it is safe to say that should a breeder pair up two Goldendoodles for mating and if both of those Goldendoodles  have more Golden Retriever traits with the shaggy coat instead of the curly coat with more Poodle traits,  their offspring may not be so lucky as to have a low shedding coat and technically the offspring may not produce one single shaggy coat type in the entire litter.  I may be wrong, but I think I'm more right. 
 
  All of the offspring could be a smooth coated doodle with similar shedding as that of the Golden Retriever.  I personally would have never considered breeding two Goldendoodles together but because we specialize in  blue, green and multi-colored eyed doodles,   we wanted to increase our chances for lighter eyed doodles for the future by integrating the blue eyed recessive gene.  We are getting more requests for Goldendoodles who have a near identical appearance of a Golden Retriever but MINUS the shedding.  It is a fact that breeders will NOT have smooth coated doodles who have a near identical appearance of a Golden Retriever  unless they breed a Goldendoodle sire (who has more Poodle DNA) to a purebred Golden Retriever or unless they breed two Goldendoodles together who have more Poodle traits.   In our case, just this year (2007),  we achieved our first doodle who had a near identical appearance as that of a purebred Golden Retriever through the pairing of a Goldendoodle who had more Poodle DNA and a purebred Golden Retriever.   Our Goldendoodle sire had enough Poodle in him to allow the entire litter to stay low shedding that we normally  we see in our 50/50 mix doodles. Even so, it appears that   our Golden Retriever genes are quite strong and more dominant than the Poodle genes.  In this pairing, we achieved a smooth coat Goldendoodle who had an identical coat appearance as that of the purebred Golden Retriever but has thus far remained low shedding.  She was the only doodle in her litter to be a smooth coat.  Her brothers had the shaggy coat. (see below.)
 

(the doodle above left has a near identical appearance as that of the purebred Golden Retriever while her brothers (pup to the right)  had the usual shaggy coat.)
 

What is a "smooth coat" Goldendoodle? A smooth coat doodle is a Goldendoodle that has a soft coat similar to the purebred Golden Retriever. Some can have the same exact texture in the coat as a purebred Goldendoodle and some can have sort of a short fluffy texture with a bit of fluff about the ears.   As the doodle ages,  their ears will have evidence of some Poodle DNA, most of the time......meaning that the ears will be fluffy (sometimes thick with some curls) and their face will be void of the facial beard.  The coat is smooth upon the legs, body and tail.  Little hairs will stick away from the legs, body and tail but it will not be as long as the Golden Retriever nor will it feather like the Golden Retriever.   A smooth coat Goldendoodle will have some indication of Poodle in its genetic make up by having some curls or a bit of fluff about the ears, Possibly the legs and tail tip.  They will still sport the hanging ears as well as the almond shaped eyes.  The muzzle is somewhat slender,  similar to the Poodle's facial structure.  Most smooth coat doodles have nice long, slender  legs that is also a Poodle trait.    The majority of its entire body will be void of any curls or shag but the texture of the coat is not always identical to the purebred Golden Retriever.  Sometimes a smooth coat doodle will have a fluffy, short coat.  It is really dependent upon how many retriever genes have been picked up.  If the parent or parents  have  the blue or green eyed recessive gene or they themselves have blue or green eyes,  the offspring can pick up either blue or green eyes and if the dominant eye color is brown, then a smooth coat doodle could very well resemble quite closely the purebred Golden Retriever along with having brown eyes. 
 
 Should the breeder match a Goldendoodle sire who has more Poodle DNA, to a purebred Golden Retriever dam (which is what we did),  the majority of the litter will sport the usual  shaggy coat  with the exception of 1 or 2 pups who will have the smooth coat type. The nice thing about this type of pairing is that the breeder will achieve the Golden Retriever personality traits while forfeiting the shaggy coat by 1 or 2 pups.  It's a nice sacrifice and works out terrific for those seeking a smooth coated doodle that has low shedding and yet a Golden Retriever appearance.
 
The only way the entire litter would have  a smooth coat  is for the breeder to pair up 2 smooth coated doodles for mating  and unless the breeder has a request for quite a few smooth coated doodles, I would not recommend this sort of pairing.  It has been our experience that the majority of those seeking a doodle are seeking the usual fluffy, shaggy coat.  I don't even know if it is possible to have low shedding in the offspring of two smooth coated doodles bred together, nor would I personally want to find out.  The entire purpose for the doodle is the have low shedding and I'm certainly not going to take the risk of having doodles that shed like Golden Retrievers.  For all actual, honest  purposes,  if a breeder was going to pair up two smooth coated doodles for mating, why not just then breed 2 purebred Golden Retrievers together.  The outcome will generally be the same in the offspring.  No beard. No curls. No shag. No fluff. High shedding.

Breeders are able to achieve more doodles with the curly coat type by pairing up a Goldendoodle sire to a Poodle dam or vice versa. We literally saw Goldendoodles pick up more of the curly coat type with this sort of pairing, not to mention the fact the offspring had a very different personality than that of our Goldendoodles who picked up more Golden Retriever traits. Goldendoodle offspring who come from a Goldendoodle/Poodle pairing generally have a near identical appearance as that of a purebred Poodle right down to the personality, slender face, slender body type  and long legs.   It has been our experience that this type of pairing is not that desirable when families are seeking a Goldendoodle for their children or if a family is very active and has alot of contact with strangers. A Goldendoodle with more Poodle DNA seems to be more reserved around strangers than doodles who have more Golden Retriever traits.  We did see a complete difference in temperament and behaviour between the doodles with more Poodle traits and doodles with more retriever traits.   
 
We saw fewer doodles born with a shaggy coat if one of their parents was a Poodle and the other parent was a Goldendoodle. Often they had the same slender build, curly coat, slender facial features and long slender legs as that of the purebred Poodle. The difference in the  coat is that a Goldendoodle with a curly coat will not have the same "tight" curls as their purebred counter part. Their curls are relaxed and when brushed out, their coat is very fluffy like cotton candy.  A curly coated doodle also does not sport the facial beard since their entire face is curly and thick.   Even their tail is thin where the coat is concerned, very similar to the Poodle.  When shaved down, they will resemble a purebred Poodle with a long tail and they too will sport the long, hanging ears.  Their tail will be thin and in this case,  docking of the tail may be more desirable.

Some breeders dock the tail of Goldendoodle offspring who have a curly coat and this is because their tail will not sport the usual PLUME that is seen in a Goldendoodle who has more Golden Retriever traits. A Goldendoodle with a curly coat will usually have a thin tail that some may find unattractive due to the coat not being as thick in this region of the body.   Docking the tail that is not going to exhibit the usual plume does make the tail  more attractive, but this is just personal preference and not something all breeders do. Generally we do not dock the tail unless the buyer has paid for their doodle in full by the time the doodle is 2 days of age and this is what they have requested.

Since we now  know, after all of our years of research,  that the Goldendoodle does have three coat types, some will ask does the different coat types make a difference where shedding is concerned and my answer to this is, yes and no.   While many believe that multi-generation doodles shed less than first generation doodles, we know that to be completely false just because we have only created first generation Goldendoodles since 1999 and we have created first generation  Goldendoodles in nearly every imaginable way and know for a fact that all first generation Goldendoodles will still be a low shedding dog so long as the breeder pairs up their breeding dogs properly. This means that if you want to have low shedding offspring, don't pair up 2 Goldendoodles that have more Golden Retriever traits. Also do not pair up a Goldendoodle with more Golden Retriever traits to a purebred Golden Retriever.  While you'll get a terrific personality and temperament, you will have to forfeit the low shedding coat! Rule of thumb is that in order to keep the offspring low shedding,  there has to be enough Poodle genes  instilled into the genetic structure of the offspring.  The breeder has to decide what is more important in what it is they are attempting to achieve. If coat is the issue, then they have to focus on coat type. If temperament is the issue, they will have to forfeit something in order to keep temperament. We'd love to say that as a breeder we can have our cake and eat it too, but that's not reality. That's a dream.   I personally prefer my Goldendoodles have more Golden Retriever traits because we see them have the highest adoption success rate over the ones who have more Poodle traits.  I don't buy the theory that "perhaps its the temperament of the Poodle parent" causing the issue.  Nonsense.  If the Poodle parent was causing the "reserved" traits, then all of our Goldendoodles would have quirky temperaments.   As it is, we only see the doodles with twice the Poodle have unusual reserved issues with strangers.  Those who have more Golden Retriever traits would probably help a burglar load up the car with YOU stuff.
 

Author/Breeder: Dee Gerrish has been a professional, private breeder for 12+ years and has researched the creation of Goldendoodles extensively. Check out her website at http://www.goldendoodleworld.com for photos and more terrific doodle news!
 
 
View all of doodleplum's Blog Tails Date: 04/26/09
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