If you are here because you hate-doodles and you hate doodle breeders, then you are wasting your time. Really, why put so much energy into the hatred of a dog and those who love that breed? If you are open to new information, and intelligent enough to challenge your own cognitive dissonance then welcome!
Why yes, I'm so glad you asked! Looking solely at poodle-mix breeds now recognized by the AKC let's dive in!
Yes. A goldendoodle can be either a hybrid or a purebred. A hybrid is the offspring resulting from the cross of two different breeds. F1 goldendoodles are hybrids. Today, breeders are producing multigenerational goldendoodles, which are the result of crossing two goldendoodles over multiple generations. AKC recognizes new breeds with a 3 generation pedigree. Despite meeting the below requirements [taken from the AKC website], the AKC has not recognized the goldendoodle.
AKC BREED RECOGNITION:
The recognition process begins with a written request to compete in the Miscellaneous Class from the National Breed Club. To be eligible for consideration to become an AKC recognized breed, the following general criteria must be met:
If a substantial nationwide interest and activity in the breed is demonstrated and the above criteria met, the information is presented to the AKC Board of Directors for consideration to compete in the Miscellaneous Class.
With or without the AKC, the definition of a breed of dog remains the same - and multigenerational goldendoodles meet that definition. So yes, there are purebred goldendoodles.
The Definition of a breed:
Yes, the Goldendoodle Association of North America.
Yes, see the breed club.
Yes, see the breed club.
Yes, we do the required health screens per the breed club (and more)
Yes, they are temperament tested using Volhard and CARAT tests (service dogs)
Goldendoodles were originally bred for service work. They make excellent companions, service dogs, water fowl retrievers, they also excel in agility, dock diving, and rally.
#1 - We have a strict spay/neuter clause in all our puppy contracts, and we enforce it.
#2 - We have a lifetime promise to our dogs. If they owner can no longer care for them, we will take them back. They are contractually prohibited from bring the dogs to a shelter.
#3 - We produce HEALTHY dogs - Of the top 3 reasons dogs are surrendered to shelters, one of them is health. Our dogs are DNA tested and OFA tested to prevent preventable diseases. We also guide our clients on diet to prevent diet induced illnesses like diabetes.
#4 - We enrich and socialize our puppies, and they are temperament tested during puppy selection. The parents are also temperament tested. Our dogs are not aggressive (another reason for surrendered dogs).
#5 - We send every puppy home with 4 weeks of training for the family to do with their puppy. Behavioral issues are one of the top 3 reasons dogs are surrendered to shelters. Most owners NEVER do any formal training with their dogs.
#6 - We interview every client. We do not sell a puppy to just anyone. The clients need to understand what puppy ownership is, what their responsibilities are, AND be able to rise to the occasion of raising a puppy.
#7 - We keep waitlists. Our litters are planned 6 months to 1 year in advance and we take deposits well in advance of our litters. Our puppies are wanted, and have homes waiting for them long before they are born. We do not produce puppies to be sold off to pet stores.
And finally, we have to understand that responsible breeders AND responsible owners must work together to combat puppy mills. Rescuing dogs is ADMIRABLE, and for those who want to do that we commend you. Going to a responsible breeder is also admirable. For those who have purchased puppies from pet stores, backyard breeders or puppy mills, we don't condemn you. We are all doing the best we can with the tools and information we have at the moment.
Goldendoodles, by the very nature of taking two completely unrelated dogs and breeding them together will have a lower COI that their purebred ancestors or parents. What is COI? Coefficient of Inbreeding. The higher the COI the higher the rate of congenital defects and genetically inherited diseases.
Closed books limit the gene pool, and the only possible result is a higher, and higher COI, resulting in poorer and poorer outcomes with each successive generation. Don't believe me? This is an excerpt from COI FAQS: Understanding the Coefficient of Inbreeding - The Institute of Canine Biology
"The deleterious effects of inbreeding begin to become evident at a COI of about 5%. At a COI of 10%, there is significant loss of vitality in the offspring as well as an increase in the expression of deleterious recessive mutations. The combined effects of these make 10% the threshold of the "extinction vortex" - the level of inbreeding at which smaller litters, higher mortality, and expression of genetic defects have a negative effect on the size of the population, and as the population gets smaller the rate of inbreeding goes up, resulting in a negative feedback loop that eventually drives a population to extinction.
So, in terms of health, a COI less than 5% is definitely best. Above that, there are detrimental effects and risks, and the breeder needs to weigh these against whatever benefit is expected to gained. Inbreeding levels of 5-10% will have modest detrimental effects on the offspring. Inbreeding levels above 10% will have significant effects not just on the quality of the offspring, but there will also be detrimental effects on the breed. "
Do AKC breeders who DNA test have to be worried about high COI? YES! There are many, many more genetic diseases than can possibly be tested for. If you a breeding from a closed gene pool, the chances of you breeding two dogs that have the SAME untestable genetic disorder is much higher than breeding two dogs that are not the same breed.
To breed healthy animals, you need to worry about ALL of the potential risks, and the one thing we can be sure of is that there are many more recessive mutations than the ones we have DNA tests for. Why would you invest in the DNA tests available for your breed, then produce a litter in which 15%, or 25%, or 40% of the other mutations in every animal will be expressed?
You must remember that the coefficient of inbreeding is not a measure of health. It is a measure of RISK, and with or without DNA tests, it is the best way to judge the level of genetic risk you are taking when you breed a litter.
That being said, intervariety breeding such as breeding a miniature to a standard poodle can improve COI the same way that cross breeding can.
But how inbred are purebred dogs? VERY: Inbreeding of purebred dogs determined from DNA - The Institute of Canine Biology
You'll have to comb through that page yourself - it's quite comprehensive. This is a direct result of the policies of the AKC and other breed clubs, which stifle genetic diversity resulting in the unnecessary suffering of thousands of dogs. Closed books are NOT beneficial to the dogs.
Rather than taking a reactive position to the ill effects of inbreeding in a closed genetic pool, and only opening the books to new blood AFTER seeing a decline in health in the population [which predictably and unnecessarily harms the dogs and the owners who care for them], The Goldendoodle Association of North America has taken a pro-active preventative approach to maintaining genetic diversity. Through this open book approach GANA preserves the health of the breed, generation after generation.
We start breeding at about 18 months old, depending on the dog. We do not breed dogs that have not been health screened. Before you ATTACK me for "breeding before two", please read the following. Based on the available studies, we believe this is the safest protocol for our girls and their puppies.
The image to the right is taken directly from the AKC poodle club. This club allows dams to be bred and registered anytime between the ages of 8 months and 12 years old! In my mind, that is outrageous. An 8 month old female puppy should NEVER be bred intentionally under any circumstance. She is simply not developed. Likewise, a 12 year old female dog is a senior, and no matter how fit she is her uterus has been through too many cycles to safely carry a litter. The AKC has no legal limit on the number of litters a single dog can produce. These rules leave puppy mills open to breed the same dog, twice a year for over a decade - it reasonable to conclude that puppy mill AKC breeders would then produce 20+ litters from the same dog, and be able to register every puppy without issue.
There is a difference between breeds, particularly between large dogs and small dogs. Small breed dogs develop and mature faster than large breed dogs. While a miniature or toy poodle may be fully grown by a little over a year, a standard poodle may not finish developing until 2 years of age.
The argument for waiting until 2 years old to breed a female stems from the fact that the OFA has raised their age for certification (of certain health screens) to 2 years old. Historically, these screens could be certified by 18 months old. Hips for example are now certified after two years old, unlike heart and patella certifications which are done at 1 year. It is true that small dogs can develop hip dysplasia, but it is not common. Among all poodles (toy, miniature and standard), the rate of developing hips dysplasia is relatively low (about 11%), and standard poodles are more at risk than their smaller counterparts. Golden retrievers have about a 20% risk of developing hip dysplasia. Still, the risk pales in comparison to the stocky breeds that are most at risk like the bulldog (nearly 73%) and the Neopolitan Mastiff (48%). [incidence rates reported by OFA].
It is also important to note a little known fact about canine reproduction, particularly female reproduction. Every heat cycle that a dam is not bred damages her uterus. In the wild, dogs would not elect not to breed while they were in heat, they would go into heat, mate, and have pups. It would be abnormal for a dog to go through a heat cycle without trying to conceive, and since dogs are very good at reproducing, they have about a 90% chance of conceiving when they breed naturally. Nature did not intend the uterus to go through a heat without conceiving, and when it does it releases the hormone progesterone. Overtime, whether you are breeding or not breeding over the course multiple heats, this hormone wears out the uterus. At a certain point, the dog may have stalled labors, difficult pregnancies, and may even experience infertility or cancer. So while it was once believed to benefit the dam to allow her to "rest" every other heat cycle, we now know that resting should be very limited, and it is best to breed "back to back" when possible and when the health of the dam permits it. Furthermore, the fact that the uterus effectively takes a beating each heat cycle, whether the dam has been bred or not tells us that for the health of the dam, and for the health of the puppies it is better to start earlier and retire her earlier. In my own breeding program, I have witnessed the difference between 18 month old first time mothers and 3 year old first time mothers.
I also believe in limiting the number of litters a dam should produce in her lifetime. Dogs go into heat anywhere from one to three times a year or every 4 - 8 months. Personally, we feel that our girls work hard and 3 - 4 litters makes sense for us. Some breeders prefer to do 5 or 6 litters with their females, and that's about where I would draw the line. If you are skipping her first, and possibly her 2nd and 3rd heat so that she is over 1 year the first time she is bred, her uterus is the same "age" as a dam that hadn't started her cycle until 2 years of age, and was bred on the 2nd heat at 3 years old. But waiting an additional 2 -3 heat cycles for her to get over that 2 year mark, now you have a dam with a uterus that's gone through 4 -6 heat cycles, and is effectively as "old" as a 5-6 year old dog. This is NOT good for your female, and it is NOT good for your dog. Allowing your female to breed when her body is at it's most fit is better for her and it is better for her puppies than waiting for them to reach a blanket age that has been arbitrarily applied to all breeds. Our females retire at about 3 - 4 years old, while they are still young, able to bounce back easily, and while they still have the energy to enjoy raising and playing with their puppies and the rest of their lives as family pets. A 6 year old dam has already entered middle age, and simply doesn't have the same energy - a litter of puppies is more taxing on her. As humans we can choose to have children whenever we want in life (within certain limitations), but our dogs don't get that choice. We decide for them when they're fit to be bred, when they're mature, and when they may be past the point that they should be bred.
So what about health screens? If hips can not be certified by OFA until 2 years old should you breed them? That depends on what you're breeding. If you are breeding a mastiff or bull dog, prone to hip dysplasia then no, you should wait and screen for hip dysplasia (or better yet, breed for slimmer, healthier dogs within your breed rather than extreme looks that compromise the health of the dog). Otherwise, pre-lims are acceptable. OFA states that their pre-liminary evaluation are 98% accurate for the life of the dog, meaning that in the vast majority of cases, their scores will not change.
While I do not recommend breeding a dam under a year or over 6 years old for that matter, I do agree with Dr. Hutchinson [an expert in his field of theriogenolgy - aka canine reproduction]. Below is an excerpt from his seminar with Gooddog:
Dr Judi Stella [00:19:44] So based on that. What? At what age do you think you should start breeding and when. You said six years of age is that when fertility starts to decrease, you're going to have less and less litters or less success at that point. But there's this whole idea that we can't breed until they're two years of age. Is that I mean, do you recommend that, again, based on the biology vs. when we can do, you know, certifications? And is there breed differences play any role in that?
Dr Hutchison [00:20:15] Well, I'm I'm old enough that I go back when the OFA, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals in the United States, would certify a bitch's hips at 18 months of age 18 months was a great time to breed a bitch. Yeah, as I said earlier, youth, to a point, is a friend of reproduction. It's only the OFA found out, hey, we're passing bitches who ended up dysplastic. They moved their time to 2 years of age. They didn't move bitch biology. So, to answer the question, in my mind, it really comes down to what breed you have. Not so much physiologically. Well, what breed? What breed do you have as far as passing their health clearances? So, if you have a small dog where we check things that are all passed that a year of age, the bitch comes in at 15,16 months. No reason not to breed. If you have a breed that has to have OFA for a hip certification before they can breed now, of course, we have to wait till after 2 years of age. But none of that's really based on biology. And as I tell my clients and I do this somewhat facetiously, is it a bitch in the wild - mother Nature doesn't care about health tests. A bitch comes in in the wild, she's going to be pregnant. So, do I think bitches should be bred at 7 months of age? I probably do not, because there is just maturity factors that need to come to play. But on the other hand, for us to say there's some magic about waiting till 2 years of age to breed a bitch, that this is somehow best, this has to do with OFA, it has really nothing to do with the bitch or physiology. So, to me, if I get my choice, I mean 18 months was a great age to be breeding bitches. They were mature, as they say most of we could tell by their health clearances, tell them if they change your time. We had success. The uterus was healthy, whelping times were shorter. It's a lot of it were things that we chose as humans, we chose it suddenly.
This is taken directly from the OFA website:
A previous OFA veterinary journal publication* compared the reliability of the preliminary evaluation hip grade phenotype with the 2 year old evaluation in dogs and there was 100% reliability for a preliminary grade of excellent being normal at 2 years of age (excellent, good, or fair). There was 97.9% reliability for a preliminary grade of good being normal at 2 years of age, and 76.9% reliability for a preliminary grade of fair being normal at 2 years of age. Reliability of preliminary evaluations increased as age at the time of preliminary evaluation increased, regardless of whether dogs received a preliminary evaluation of normal hip conformation or HD. For normal hip conformations, the reliability was 89.6% at 3-6 months, 93.8% at 7-12 months, and 95.2% at 13-18 months. These results suggest that preliminary evaluations of hip joint status in dogs are generally reliable. However, dogs that receive a preliminary evaluation of fair or mild hip joint conformation should be reevaluated at an older age (24 months).
*Corley, EA, et al. Reliability of Early Radiographic Evaluation for Canine Hip Dysplasia Obtained from the Standard Ventrodorsal Radiographic Projection. JAVMA. Vol 211, No. 9, November 1997.
The blow excerpt is from an article by midwoofery.com and discusses the increased risk waiting just an additional 6 months from 18 months to 2 years of age poses to our dogs (240% increased risk of difficult labors "dystocia):
Besides breeding back-to-back, Dr. Hutchinson also advises to start breeding at a young age. While I can’t find any reference where Dr. Hutchinson gives a specific age to start, there are a couple of studies on the subject that suggest breeding your female dog between 1 and 2 years of age.
A Cornell University study presented at a Theriogenology conference in 2016 studied dystocia (difficult birth) in almost 700 litters. The study showed that bitches having their first litter after 2 years of age were 2.4 times more likely to experience dystocia compared to those having their first litter between 1 and 2 years of age. Dystocia risk decreased with age and successive litters. Dr Cornelius had a journal paper in 2019 on dystocia risk, however the 2019 paper did not include age of first litter data.
(While not related to this post topic, I think it’s important to note that in the 2019 study, litter size was also highly correlated to dystocia, and dystocia is highly correlated to having stillborn puppies. According to this study, we’re looking for the “goldilocks” zone with litters—between 5 and 9 puppies—if we want to reduce risk of dystocia and stillbirth.)
You don't have to like doodles - but that is not a measure of my responsibility.
Despite the evidence, you may not "like" doodles. But chances are that I don't like what you're doing. I don't agree with giving toxic chemicals to our dogs, or feeding them foods (like all kibbles) that we KNOW shorten their lifespan, or breeding dogs that are inherently SICK and inbred (bull dogs, king charles spaniels, and many giant breeds, dogs that can't give birth naturally etc.) - but Doodle Haters and many in the AKC hold fast to these practices which are questionable at best. I'm not here to judge you. I just can't help but notice that overwhelming hypocrisy - you don't seem to care about any of the issues on your side of the fence, you don't go after the AKC for allowing unlimited litters from the same dog, you don't challenge the closed books that lead to inbreeding and countless health complications - it goes on and on. Keeping an open mind, and leading with respect is the only way forward. We aren't going anywhere. Let's not attack eachother for our differences, and instead let's rally behind THE DOG. Afterall the goal is to protect and preserve and IMPROVE THE DOG and all the beautiful skins they wear, isn't it?