The Goldendoodle world is a vast and confusing one, as soon-to-be puppy parents desperately research, gather information, and try to determine which “type” will be best for their family. There are all kinds of conflicting terms, opinions, and rumors that will make it feel impossible to come to any sort of correct conclusion. In this article, we are going to discuss why generations tell us very little and why genetics are where the gold mine of information lies. Breeders often receive requests for specific generations, based on incorrect or biased information discovered online or from other sources. The problem is, this information is not based on science, is quite unreliable, and sometimes biased.
We are going to begin this article by clarifying that a Goldendoodle is a hybrid cross between the Golden Retriever and Poodle. There can be NO OTHER breeds introduced or it is NOT a Goldendoodle. We also need to establish that the F1 generation is the very first generation produced, in which a Golden Retriever is bred to a Poodle. If bred correctly, this generation produces a lovely Goldendoodle but at it's best, genetically, will not be good for a family who has dog allergies.
The next generation is the F1b generation. Breeders often receive requests for a puppy in the F1b generation because they heard that it's “THE GENERATION” if someone has dog allergies in a household. While an F1b might be a good choice, there are potential reasons why it might not. It is widely assumed that an F1 Goldendoodle bred back to a Poodle is how to produce an F1b generation Goldendoodle. While this is one way to get an F1b Goldendoodle, we are going to look at the genetic possibilities of this generation and then it will become clear that this is not automatically the best option for those are trying to avoid allergic reaction. This may come as a huge surprise but did you know that an F1b can come from an F1 Goldendoodle bred back to a Golden Retriever? In this type of breeding, there would be very little Poodle genetics and the outcome would produce something more akin to the Golden Retriever, complete with allergy inducing, heavy shedding and dander. If someone wants a smaller Golden Retriever type, this might be a great option. However, these two, very different breedings, are both considered F1b generation Goldendoodles. An F1b is simply an F1 that is backcrossed with one of the original parent breeds. Hopefully, you can start to see why genetics are more important than simply labeling a puppy by generation.
Next, let's discuss a genetic trait called Furnishings. It has been determined that there is a direct correlation between a Goldendoodle being +/+ (having both alleles) for Furnishings and being the most hypoallergenic option among Goldendoodles. Not only that, but if we want to be sure all of the puppies in the litter will have Furnishings, complete with facial fur development and that adorable, shaggy, doodle look that we all love, at least one parent must be +/+ for Furnishings. For a genetic trait, there can be two (+/+), one (+/-), or no (-/-) alleles. You may also run into the terminology, IC aka Improper Coat. This describes a dog who is -/- for Furnishings, like coat type of the Golden Retriever, where they have a flat coat that sheds and will not grow long fur on the head/face and fronts of legs. This is considered desirable in the Golden Retriever breed. By crossing the Golden Retriever with a Poodle, and through genetic testing, we are able to work towards the +/+ Furnishings status that “most” Poodles have. Please be aware, to make this even more complex, it is quite possible for a Poodle to be +/- for Furnishings (same meaning as IC carrier). This tells us, once again, assuming coat traits through generation labeling is highly unreliable.
Now, let take a closer look at genetics through the generations. We are going to assume that we have a Poodle that is +/+ for Furnishings (even though some can be +/-) bred to a Golden Retriever that is -/- for Furnishings. This would result in F1 generation Goldendoodle puppies that will all have +/- results on a Furnishings test. Now, let's assume that we are going to take one of those F1 puppies (+/-) and breed it to another +/+ Poodle. This is going to produce a litter that has puppies that will be a combination of +/+ or +/-. Again, let's remember that it has been determined that the best option for someone who has dog allergies is +/+ for Furnishings. Without testing the entire litter, you will not know which puppies are +/+. Regardless of popular rumor, you cannot determine this by how much curl a puppy's coat has. In fact, their coat can be straight and still be +/+ for Furishings and completely non-shedding. The above example is the most desireable approach in reaching the F1b generation. Now, what if one of those Poodles, just mentioned, was one of the +/- types? If you breed that +/- Poodle to a Golden Retriever (-/-) or an F1 Goldendoodle (+/-), it's highly likely that some of those puppies to be -/- for Furnishings aka IC affected. Again, the IC trait or lack of Furnishings is what a Golden Retriever has. Therefore, if what you are in search of are those Golden Retriever qualities, you may be happy with this non-traditional type, which is outside the standard for the Goldendoodle. With this type, there is a high risk of moderate to heavy shedding. So, if you are indeed concerned about shedding and allergic reaction, you can see how just labeling a generation “F1b” offers zero promises without genetic testing.
We are going to talk more about generations but before moving forward, let's establish the meaning of the term “hypoallergenic” which is “to be less likely to cause allergic reaction.” It's important that this is not misunderstood to mean there is no chance of causing allergic reaction. Also, if someone is allergic to dog saliva or something a dog brings in from outside, those issues are outside of this discussion on genetic coat traits and how they determine hypoallergenic qualities of the Goldendoodle coat.
Moving on, we are going to cover the F2 generation, which is also commonly misunderstood as being highly hypoallergenic. Due to the vast genetic possibilities of the F2, this is a false claim. There are so many different breedings, between generations, that will create an F2, that you can expect a huge variety of types. For example, the following, are a few example breedings that will result in an F2: F1 x F1, F1 x F1b, F1 x Multigen, and so on. Example A: If you breed F1 x F1 (remember...the F1 is always +/- for Furnishings), you are going to end up with some IC (improper coat) puppies and they will likely shed quite a lot. Example B: In another scenario, let's assume that we breed an F1 to either an F1b or Multigen. Let's also assume that the F1b or Multigen have been tested for Furnishings and are +/+. (NOTE: When breeding any generation to an F1, it is require to test the other parent for Furnishings to make sure he/she is +/+. An F1, as previously stated, is always, at best, +/-. Breeding two +/- dogs together will result in puppies with Incorrect Coat.) Now, we can know, through the genetic testing of the parents, that all of those puppies will have visible Furnishings. However, you still must test the offspring because you'll always have a mixture of +/- and +/+ when one parent is +/- like the F1. The interesting part in all of this is that we can get anything from heavy shedding -/- to non-shedding +/+ and all withint the F2 generation! This is why, and it cannot be stressed enough, relying on generation labels is a faulty and unreliable way to determine which litter or puppy will be best for your family.
Let's look at one more “generation”...the Multigen. This is the generation label that has many people stumped and in most cases, scared to move forward with reservation/adoption. Multigen isn't a specific generation as it's meaning is “multiple generations.” In fact, if a responsible breeder, that started from the ground floor, with Golden Retrievers and Poodles, and spent years health testing, coat trait testing, and choosing the best of the best for breeding stock, etc., the Multigen should be the result of that. This is the point that every breeder, who is breeding for the development and betterment of the Goldendoodle, will eventually reach. Now, the purebred dog breeds that we see today, were once going through this very same phase of development. They are also Multigen which again, means “multiple generations.” We don't use the term Multigen when referring to our purebred breeds today. Therefore, they are simply a Poodle, or a Golden Retriever, and so on. Technically, we don't really need to say Multigen Goldendoodles. They are simply, Goldendoodles. It is also important to note that Goldendoodles should be traced to only Golden Retriever and Poodle breeds, used in their creation. No other breed should have ever been introduced. In conclusion, just as we should focus on the genetics behind early Goldendoodle generations, the Multigen should be scutinized in the same way.
Given all that we've learned in this article, it is the hope of this author that you will ask your breeder about the genetics behind the litter rather than just what generation it is. In closing, here are the important points to remember: 1) Generation labels will not tell us what to expect, with regards to coat traits in the Goldendoodle. 2) Genetics are the key to determining coat traits. We have the technology, through DNA testing, to help us predict coat types and greatly reduce the risk of allergic reaction. 3) There is no subsitute for working with a reputable breeder, who is knowledgeable in genetics. GANA (Goldendoodle Association of North America) sets education, and knowledge of genetics, as a priority.
From a buyer's standpoint, it would be wise to work with a breeder who understands what we've covered in this article. You should then be able to simply state your needs/desires so your breeder can point you toward a litter that will meet those needs, based on reliable science, not a vague, unreliable generation label. Now that you know all about the importance of Goldendoodle genetics, you will hopefully be able to avoid potential incompatibility issues with puppy adoption.
Author: Christy Stevens of Winding Creek Ranch Goldendoodles
However, you may link to this page so proper credit is given to the author. Thank you.
So, through learning about coat traits, do you have an idea of what your family needs? Keep in mind that most people do perfectly well with a Goldendoodle that is +/- for Furnishings. If both parents are +/+ for Furnishings, then all of the puppies will be as well. However, most breeders haven't reached a point where all of their breeding dogs are +/+. It takes years and years to reach that point, without compromising on other important traits. Breeding dogs should, first and foremost, be sound in temperament, structure, and health. Coat traits are pretty low on the list of priorities, as long as breeders are careful to not produce IC affected puppies. So, many of the litters at Winding Creek Ranch will produce a combination of +/+ and +/- puppies and typically both are non-shedding. If you have fairly severe allergies to dogs, I would recommend making sure you get a +/+ puppy. Also, if your allergies are that severe, be prepared to pay for testing the entire litter of puppies. This is not something that breeders do automatically so if it's your need, it's your cost. Keep in mind that it adds a great deal of work for the breeder to send in DNA on every puppy in a litter so it's a sacrafice on the part of the buyer and breeder. On the flipside, if your allergies are not all that bad, most people do great with a +/-. This article should not create a panic situation where everyone thinks they need +/+. As previously mentioned, most of our Goldendoodles are non-shedding so it's up to you to weigh the situation and decide what's best for your family.
Thank you for stopping by and taking time to educate yourself on Goldendoodle coat trait genetics! :)
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Psalm 27:4 One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.