One of my oldest Doodle dogs came in for his regular checkup earlier this week, and his family asked me “How long can we expect Snickerdoodle here to live?” How long do Golden Doodles live?
As a veterinarian with over 20 years experience, I expect this particular Doodle dog breed to live anywhere between 11-13 years with otherwise great health. This can be shortened if certain health conditions emerge.
What Can Shorten A Golden Doodle’s Life?
There are two very broad ways to look at this question:
- Conditions which can affect any dog breed
- Conditions that Golden Doodles are more prone to because they are mixed with Golden Retrievers
Conditions Which Can Affect Any Dog Breed
Even dogs that are mixed breeds are still capable of developing cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, and other conditions simply because they grow older. These chronic diseases can wear them down and shorten their lives.
Being a Doodle won’t protect a dog from any of these issues. Much of it has to do with a genetic variance that (as of yet) can’t be predicted.
Conditions That Will Affect Golden Doodles Because They Have Golden Retriever Genetics
I absolutely love Golden Retrievers, and I know this is a very popular opinion. Unfortunately, the popularity of this breed coupled with the large litters that are produced have diluted the great qualities for which this breed is famous.
The over-breeding of Golden Retrievers have also allowed certain (formally recessive) inferior genetics to trigger chronic health conditions far more commonly than they used to.
Let’s list these health conditions:
- Degenerative Joint Disease
- Cancer (Neoplasia)
How Do Breeders Make Golden Doodles Healthier?
There are two major ways that Doodles can be healthier than regular Golden Retrievers:
- Start with the healthiest Golden Retrievers possible to initiate Golden Doodle lines
- Create high-quality F2 Doodle lines
If you’re an experienced Golden Doodle owner, you likely know what an F2 or F1 Doodle is. For the rest of the world, let’s break it down.
How Are Golden Doodles Graded?
In order to create a Golden Doodle, you need a purebred Golden Retriever and a purebred Standard Poodle to mate. The puppies of this mating are called F1 Golden Doodles.
When two F1 Golden Doodles are mated with each other, the puppies of that litter are called F2 Golden Doodles.
The goal, as stated by the Goldendoodle Association of North America (GANA) in regards to the development of this breed is:
GANA’s goal is to guide the development of the Goldendoodle breed in the best possible way using current science and technology available to enhance health, raise puppies with the best possible temperaments, and avoid the mistakes of many of the AKC breeds regarding genetic diversity.Golden Doodle Association Web Site
Golden Doodles are not just 50% Golden and 50% Poodle. There’s a whole range of possible mixes depending on whether the parents are F1, F1B (where a F1 is mated with another purebred Poodle), or F2.
“Multigen” Doodles are ones born to Golden Doodle Parents (F2 or F1B) and are where the difficulty lies in producing the healthiest puppies with the best personalities.
With the advent of genetic testing, it’s more possible than ever to screen parent dogs for diseases to try and weed out poor breeding candidates.
How Can I Get My Golden Doodle To Live Longer?
There are 3 main ways that I advocate my Doodle parents
- Keep your doodle at an optimal weight (varies per dog). The goal is a bit of an “hourglass” shape where you can also feel the ribs with your fingers but not see them through the skin.
- Regular Checkups At The Vet – Stay On Top Of These Issues:
- Kidney or Liver Disease
- New lumps
- DON’T FEED GRAIN-FREE DIETS!!!!!
I know I’m going to get a lot of grief for this last statement, but to be perfectly honest – there is ZERO scientific proof that grain-free diets are good for dogs.
In fact, there is one recently discovered study linking the feeding of grain-free diets to the development of heart disease in dogs that normally don’t see heart disease. One of those breeds? Golden Retrievers.
Can Doodles be susceptible to this? Why not? They have some level of Golden Retriever in them so they are going to be vulnerable.
Why All Of This Is Just Theory
My oldest living Doodle patient is now
12 13 years old. I know this because I just saw him last week. We really don’t know how long this particular cross-breed will live because we don’t have much evidence one way or another.
It will likely take another decade or two to really formulate an idea on how long these dogs will live on average and what we see them die from. During that time, the genetics of the Golden Doodle will evolve and change to suit each breeder’s desired characteristics in their dogs.
Whether or not the Golden Doodle can ever become an AKC-recognized breed depends a great deal on how much of the science behind the breeding is used to create the “perfect” Doodle. The popularity of this “breed” is so great right now and the sheer amount of variety you can get from mating one Doodle to another will make this difficult.
Golden Doodles should live to an age of 11-13 years. This is my own personal assessment based on how long Standard Poodles and Golden Retrievers usually live. If we want them to live longer, breeders need to follow DNA-backed science to produce the best possible litters.