Selecting the perfect Goldendoodle: a How-To Guide

The following is an excerpt from "The Complete Guide to Goldendoodles" by Erin Hotovy. For more information visit the books Amazon Page.

Author Credit: Erin Hotovy

These days, it’s not too hard to find someone who’s selling Goldendoodles. Their popularity means that there are more breeders selling this adorable dog. However, this also means that there are more backyard breeders and Goldendoodles in shelters than ever before. Once you decide that a Goldendoodle is right for you, it’s time to figure out where to get your perfect Goldendoodle. Choosing a breeder can be a daunting process, but this chapter will give you some tips and tricks to making the buying or adopting process as smooth as possible.

Buying vs. Adopting

Before picking out the first available Goldendoodle, it’s important to decide if you’d rather buy or adopt your dog. Both options have their pros and cons. People can be passionate about one side or the other, so it’s important to ultimately do what’s best for you and your household. When it comes to something as serious as picking out a new best friend for life, no one should pressure you into making a decision you would not choose without their input. It’s great to consider both options so your informed choice is the best choice for you.

When buying a dog from a reputable breeder, you should have a general expectation of what your dog is going to be like. Good breeders put a lot of care and expertise into breeding the best dogs they can. This means that their pups have excellent temperaments and their coat type is compatible with owners who have dog allergies. These dogs often come with health guarantees that let you know that the dog should be free from any genetic health issues that can create devastating loss or enormous vet bills. Buying a dog from the right breeder may ensure that your dog is healthy and well-bred. Also, if you’re set on showing your dog in competitions, you’ll probably want a dog from champion stock.

Goldendoodle puppy
Photo Courtesy – Ashley Anderson

Also, there are some benefits to bringing a puppy into your home, as opposed to a dog with previous owners. It’s hard to know what commands the previous owners have taught, along with bad habits they have instilled in their dog. With a new puppy, you’re the only one responsible for their behavior. Your puppy won’t come with weird behaviors that have been tolerated and ignored for too long. Instead, you’ll be able to correct any unwanted behaviors from an early age.

However, there are some benefits to adopting a dog. Puppies are notoriously difficult to keep up with, so an adult dog may better fit your lifestyle. Many re-homed dogs come from owners who treated their dogs well and did a good job training them. So, it’s possible to welcome into your home a dog that is already potty trained and knows a few basic commands. Also, adult dogs are generally calmer than puppies and require a little less supervision and fewer bathroom breaks. In many cases, you’re simply bringing a good dog into your life that someone else has already done the hard work for.

Perhaps the biggest reason people choose to adopt is because there are so many wonderful dogs out there that need a good home. Many times, the dogs in rescues and shelters are perfectly good dogs, but their owner was unable to keep them. Even if the dogs were given up for behavioral reasons, a different owner or household could turn the dog’s life around. Also, when more people adopt than buy, it puts puppy mills and unskilled breeders out of business. If you’re interested in saving a dog’s life and you’re flexible in the kind of Goldendoodle you bring into your home, then adoption is a great choice.

How to Find a Reputable Breeder

Once you decide you want to buy a Goldendoodle puppy, you’ll want to find the right breeder. It’s tempting to buy a dog at a discount, but these generally come from backyard breeders. In order to find the best Goldendoodle, you’ll need to do some research.

First, you might want to try talking to other Goldendoodle owners. You can take recommendations for breeders and learn more about their kennels. If a dog owner had a fantastic experience with a breeder, then you might want to contact them. Ask owners questions about price, health of their pets, and ease of communication. If a fellow Goldendoodle owner raves about how great their breeder is, there’s a good chance they care a lot about their business and the dogs they produce.

Goldendoodle indoor
Photo Courtesy – Katie Carlson

Your local dog organization is another great place for recommendations. A ton of networking goes on in the dog training and showing world, and if the person you contact doesn’t know a breeder, there’s a good chance they can put you in contact with someone who does. These people are very passionate about dogs and want to see you make the right choice when it comes to picking out a new buddy.

A veterinarian may also be able to help you find a great breeder. Vets have a large network in their community and may even work with Goldendoodle breeders. Even if they don’t have names for you, they may offer tips for choosing a breeder in your area and tell you what to look out for with Goldendoodles. Anyone in your community who cares about dogs is a fantastic resource for your journey as a Goldendoodle owner.

When all else fails, a simple internet search can bring forth the kind of information you’re looking for. Be careful, because even the worst breeders can create a flashy website. At the same time, a well-established breeder may not be up to date on their technology. Take the websites you find with a grain of salt. It may not be the quickest way to sort out the inexperienced breeders, but it’s a start.

Researching Breeders

Once you’ve narrowed down your selection of potential breeders, do some research to make sure they’re the right one. The main thing you want to look for is some sort of proof that the breeder is in the business for the right reasons. Oftentimes, people pick up on a trend and try to capitalize on it. People with no breeding experience see that Goldendoodles are popular and want to breed their own to make money. While some of these breeders mean well and take care of their puppies, they don’t necessarily have the knowledge to produce good, healthy pups. There are also breeders out there who do not treat their puppies well and are only in the breeding business to make money. These kinds of breeders should be avoided at all costs.

Goldendoodle black
Photo Courtesy – Gabrielle Pawelko

A well-bred Goldendoodle puppy is not cheap. Expect to spend anywhere from $600 to $1,600 for a puppy. If you see a price that’s suspiciously low, there’s a good chance that there’s something wrong with the dog or breeding operations. That sort of dog might still make a good companion, but you’ll end up paying more in healthcare costs later on. Plus, if you have your heart set on a well-bred dog, you certainly won’t be getting that for a much lower price.

You also want your breeder’s dogs to have some success in the show ring, especially if you want to show your new Goldendoodle. While there is no purebred classification for Goldendoodles, puppies can still be produced by award-winning stock. Ask the breeder if their dogs or their puppies have gone on to win any awards. Also ask for details about their dogs’ health. They should know which genetic illnesses are common in these breeds and be able to tell you how they avoid those illnesses in their breeding.

Finally, see if they’ll let you visit their kennel. Some breeders may be hesitant to show you their dogs because they’re not up to snuff. If the place where they keep the dogs is not clean, it may be safe to assume that they don’t take very good care of their dogs. Since breeders generally work out of their home, it may not always be easy for a breeder to allow visitors at all hours of the day. However, a good breeder will probably be willing to spend time talking to you about their dogs, either in person or over the phone.

Health Tests, Certifications, and Contracts

As stated earlier, Goldendoodles do not have purebred designation because they are crossbreeds. However, there are still organizations that allow for crossbreeds and even set standards for appearance and behavior. The Goldendoodle Association of North America is one such club that offers membership to breeders and registers pups. Through membership, the organization supports breeders through providing learning opportunities. In return, the organization vouches for breeders. So, if your breeder is a member of a Goldendoodle organization, that means that they have spent the time and money to learn more about the breed and are working toward the set standards.

Goldendoodle puppies
Photo Courtesy – Cherrie Mahon

If your breeder is involved with one of these organizations, there’s a good chance that they also register their pups. This means that they have a pedigree for their pup that goes back several generations. This is just another level of identification that shows you that your pup comes from good stock. The Goldendoodle organization with which your dog is registered will give you a certificate of pedigree in exchange for a fee that helps keep these breed organizations running.

Your breeder may also offer health tests and contracts. The breeder will have their dogs checked over by a vet to test for common genetic diseases. Some tests may also be done on the puppies so the breeder can sell them in good conscience. Once you buy the dog, your breeder may request that you also take the dog to your vet in the first few months, just to ensure that the dog is in good health. Later on, if your dog becomes ill, your breeder will not be responsible for it because your dog was healthy at the time of the sale. So, to protect the breeder and your new dog, you may be asked to complete a contract to have your dog checked out by a vet.

Choosing Your Pup

Once you’ve picked a breeder, it’s time to pick a dog. Because this breed is in such high demand, it may be hard to get your pick of the litter. These days, dogs are often spoken for through the computer. After seeing a litter of adorable pups, people quickly claim them and choose by appearance. However, there’s more to a good dog than just their cute looks. A dog’s personality is also extremely important. Even at just a few months old, these pups start showing some character and disposition. When it comes to choosing the best personality, it’s wise to choose a personality in the middle of the pack.

For example, you don’t want a dog that’s too shy or too aggressive. You want a dog that’s curious enough to greet you, but not so overbearing or clingy that they can’t be alone. You also want to make sure that the dog is comfortable being around you and other dogs. Also, don’t overlook instinct. If you have a special connection with a dog, then it’s probably the right one for you!

Tips for Adopting a Goldendoodle

Perhaps you’ve decided that you’d rather adopt than buy a pup. It may be difficult to find a Goldendoodle ready for adoption when you decide you want a dog. Dogs come in and out of shelters, so you may have to wait a while for a Goldendoodle to arrive into a local shelter. In the meantime, do some research to see if there are any Goldendoodle rescues in your area. These are special shelters that are breed-specific. Volunteers will help you find the right Goldendoodle for your home because they get to know their dogs before adopting them out.

Adoption is more than paying a fee and picking up your new Goldendoodle. Because these dogs were once surrendered, the volunteers who run these shelters are very particular about the homes they go to next. Too much change can be hard on a dog, so they want their last home to be their only home for the rest of their life. With Goldendoodle rescues, you can expect a detailed application form and home visit. These organizations will want to know who lives in your home and if you have any other pets. They’ll want to know where you live, what kind of experience you have with dogs, and if you have a backyard fence without any gaps for a dog to squeeze through.

Don’t settle for any dog, just because they’re available at the time of your search. Perhaps you had your heart set on an adult dog and the one in the shelter is a puppy. Or, maybe the dog cannot be around children and you have kids at home. It can be hard to wait for the right breed to appear in a shelter near you, but it’s best not to force a dog into a situation that isn’t right for it. You’ll only end up with problems and will have to return the dog to the shelter. It may take a little time to find the right Goldendoodle to adopt, but it will absolutely be worth it when you’re able to bring your dog to their new forever home.

It’s hard not to buy the first dog you see, but try to resist rushing into things. After all, this decision will affect the rest of your dog’s life. Take your time and explore all of your options. Not only does this allow you to get the best pup for you, but you’ll have time to figure out what you need to make your future dog’s life as perfect as possible. Support good breeders who use ethical practices, instead of funding backyard breeding operations. Also, ask as many questions as possible. A breeder is a great source of knowledge for everything you need to know about your Goldendoodle. Learn as much as you can from them, so your dog’s transition into your home is as perfect as your dog.

To read more from "The Complete Guide to Goldendoodles" by Erin Hotovy, or purchase on Amazon, visit the link below:

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