What is a Goldador?
A Goldador is often referred to as a Golden Retriever Lab Mix because they are a cross-breed from two excellent bloodlines, the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever. Their coats tend to be light yellow, white, or even silver; like their parents, they grow to be large dogs. A Goldador will grow to 50 - 80 lbs and stand 22 - 25 inches at the shoulder (from the paw).
AKC recognizes both parental bloodlines as pure-bred dogs but has yet to approve the Goldador. While the crossbreed has only existed for about a decade, the hope that the best traits from both bloodlines would find their way into new designer pups paid off. Even though the AKC does not recognize this designer breed as a distinct breed, its popularity continues to grow.
The history of Labrador came from Newfoundland. Initially, the dog was raised as a hunting dog to fetch waterfowl in the Canadian wilderness. The Golden Retriever is from Scotland and was raised as a gundog, with soft-mouthing abilities.
Initially raised as hunting dogs, both parent breeds are active retrievers, who love water, so expect your Goldador to acclimate to the idea of fetching and returning instantly. The breed is very comfortable in the water, and many Goldadors are natural-born swimmers. A wonderful excursion to the park (with a lake they can swim or jump off of a pier) is a perfect place to provide the needed exercise your pet needs.
Goldadors have a gentle disposition, love family and other pets, and like to be the center of attention. They tend to view themselves as members of the family pack and will strive to exert equal treatment. While willing to share the limelight, they can dominate attention and monopolize the time if they feel warranted. This tendency is often exhibited if they cannot exercise during the day.
As active dogs, they do need adequate exercise, about 2 hours per day. Many families fail to realize how much these dogs need walking and exercise, and cannot make the time commitment to achieve this. Without adequate exercise, a Goldador can become overweight from a sedentary lifestyle and even develop joint issues later in life.
These dogs have a longevity of 10 - 12 years. Many non-profits have used Goldadors as service dogs to assist individuals.
Ten Amazing Facts About Goldadors
There are some interesting qualities concerning this very popular mix-breed. While there are a lot of positive traits, there are several things that are good to know when considering a Goldador.
Goldadors Have Mild Dispositions, But …
Both parents tend to be the type of dogs with a quiet disposition, making them the perfect pets for families. This gentle temperament lends itself to a calm nature and a willingness to be sociable. A Goldador will love being around humans and is content snuggling on the sofa or just chilling in his bed. They love to interact with their owners. Because they are active dogs, they should be adopted by families with time to devote to daily interactions.
This need for human interaction can also mean that this breed loves to be around its owners and has difficulty when left alone. Their parent, the Lab, tends toward separation anxiety and can be somewhat destructive when left to their own devices. Unfortunately, many owners return their Lab mix puppies because they cannot devote enough time to ensuring their pet gets enough attention to produce a healthy disposition when left alone for extended periods.
Goldadors benefit from crate training as a puppy. The space will provide a place to reduce any anxiety but also a place the dog can become familiar with right from the start. It also provides a place to protect the sofa your grandmother gave you from being destroyed while you are away.
Goldadors Have Beautiful Coats, But …
Chances are your white Goldador is a beautiful cross between a lighter-colored Labrador and a Golden Retriever. Generally, a Godlador is between 50 - 85 lbs, which makes them a relatively large dog. Both parents have double coats, which means they have a natural defense against winter cold and a natural condition to help them tolerate hotter climates. The outer coat is waterproof, which means that your Goldador will love going for a swim whenever a lake or stream is close by. Both parents are natural hunters and fetchers, so take something that your dog can fetch and swim after when you go for a walk.
A Goldador may not have as long a coat as their Golden Retriever parent, but the fact that it is a double coat means that they are prone to shedding and may need additional grooming.
The inner coat is shed twice a year, in the spring and fall. In the warm spring months, the heavy inner coat that they have grown to insulate them from colder temperatures dies and thins, releasing hair follicles. During the fall, the inner coat thickens as temperatures begin to drop, and the summer hairs are replaced with a much thicker, denser layer of hair. Because they tend to shed, this is probably not the breed to adopt if you or your family suffers from allergies.
You can do things to manage the shedding, and shaving your Goldador is not part of the solution. As a general rule, these types of dogs should not be shaved because it can affect the ability of the inner coat’s natural process to grow hair. In addition, shaving your Goldador will expose the epidermal layer of your dog’s skin to sunburn and harmful UV rays. Don’t plan on giving your Goldador a haircut.
There are better methods for dealing with excessive shedding. Here is a simple list.
- Regular brushing (Three Times a week)
- Increased baths (Warm water can loosen dead hairs)
- Change in Diet
- Adequate Exercise (Hair released outside rather than inside)
- Medications up to date (Flea and tick medication is critical)
Increasing the frequency of baths, brushing several times a week, working with their diet, or getting plenty of exercises outdoors can help reduce the amount of fur flying around your home.
Goldadors Love Exercise and Are Very Social, But …
Like its parents, the Goldador is an active dog that requires a fair amount of exercise and fresh outdoors daily. Ideally, a fenced backyard with room to run is exactly what they need, although many apartment owners have had luck with this mixed breed by walking them regularly. Because these dogs are natural fetchers, plan to spend a lot of time with a tennis ball or toy, throwing it and watching your dog retrieve the prize just to hear your praise.
However, A Goldadors’ inclination to go outdoors can also lead to hole digging. Because they are social dogs, don’t be surprised if your Goldador continually finds ways to dig holes under your fence. This trait can be particularly true if backyard dogs are in your neighbors' properties. Your Goldador simply chooses to be friendly and wants to play with someone (some dog) they smell close by.
Many Labradors dig holes in their backyards as a way of helping their bodies cool down from overheating. This is also a trait for Goldadors. Because churned-up dirt is cooler than surface dirt and grass, your dog will be attracted to it. So, if you have a pristine backyard with a garden, you should take measures to protect anything you’ve planted from the frantic paws of your puppy.
Goldadors Love Activity, But …
One of the things that you will notice right away from your Goldador is that they are prone to lots of activity. They love to play, run and fetch, with a willingness to please their owners.
However, don’t be surprised if your Goldador tires or acts indifferent afterward. This breed is distracted easily, loves to chase squirrels or rabbits, and will drop a toy to do so in a heartbeat. An owner may carry various toys or treats to keep the dog focused during playtime.
Because these dogs love the water, their owners often plan on a beach or lake trip where their dogs can jump in and fetch a floatable item. (Use caution because any local ducks, swans, or other waterfowl will be a tempting target to investigate).
Another characteristic that Goldadors tend toward is that they tend to be very comfortable putting all kinds of things into their mouths. While they will have a favorite toy (a tug rope makes a great item), don’t be surprised if it takes on some odor afterward. In addition, a Goldador will bring you back surprises as an offering, so if your neighbors have lots of stuff in their backyards, expect some of it to make its way onto your premises.
Goldadors Love to Eat, But ….
Both parent breeds tend to be active and healthy dog breeds, and the Goldador is often energetic and active. Because they are larger dogs and to fuel this kind of active lifestyle, a Goldador can also consume a healthy amount of food, leading to them being overweight if their intake is not monitored. The expense can also put a strain on the family budget.
No question is that any pet needs a nutritious and wholesome diet, a Goldador even more. A large dog will eat food for the same reason most humans do; it is available and tastes great. Most vets recommend at least two meals a day for dogs, spaced about 12 hours apart, and there are specific guidelines by the AKC on the amount of food you should deliver to your pet dish. For a look at the guidelines for the proper amounts of food, see the chart on petmd.com.
Unfortunately, most families do not follow any food regime for their pets. They simply fill up the bowl every time it is empty. Just like humans are prone to eat more food at a buffet or on holidays when more food is available, a dog feels the same way. If your pour it, they will eat it.
One of the other mistakes that owners make is substituting cheaper, less nutritious dog foods for healthier and more nutritious options. Just as the human body has daily requirements for vitamins and nutrients, so do dogs. For a list of the best dog foods, check out the list on petmd.com.
Goldadors Love to Share Meals, But …
Speaking of food, it doesn’t take long for any dog to learn that your meal time is also their meal time when just a little bit of prodding will make you turn over a delicious morsel of human food.
Like the dog in Pavlov’s famous experiment, they will associate your mealtime with food intake and find themselves pulling up a chair or, at the very least, sitting close to your chair with a longing look in their eyes.
Goldadors will become beggars if you allow it. Typically, these breeds are not aggressive beggars, preferring to sit quietly and stare intently while you eat. But they will ensure you know what they want (with a slight nudge or bark). Owners who reinforce this kind of bad habit should expect to spend extra time undoing the tendency with extra training or dealing with the aggravation during every meal time.
There are some excellent reasons not to feed your dog from the table. Human food is made with grease and ingredients that can harm your dog’s digestive system. While humans can tolerate certain foods, dogs have more delicate systems that are more easily disrupted.
Some of the foods that should never be fed to dogs are -
- Macadamia Nuts
- Ice Cream
- Artificial Sweeteners
- BBQ sauces
Check out the list on the ascpa.org website for a more detailed list.
Goldadors Can have Long healthy Lives, But …
Both parent breeds have good longevity as adults. They can provide excellent companionship for active adults. These dogs love to be adventure buddies and are good joggers and hiking partners. Owners who love to hike or enjoy the outdoors have found Goldadors excellent partners in recreational activities.
However, both parent breeds are prone to hip issues, especially during the latter years. Hip dysplasia is when the hip socket fails to grow and stay connected in the joint as it should. It can create stiffness and pain, particularly for larger breed dogs. Golden Retrievers can suffer from this condition.
While most hip dysplasia is diagnosed during puppyhood, if you notice any difficulty with your Goldadors mobility, seek a vet’s diagnosis as soon as possible. Many medications can be prescribed to ease symptoms, and there are treatments to ensure that your puppy is on the proper diet, is not overweight, and gets enough exercise. (Please note: overexertion and too much activity can cause hip dysplasia, so exercise your Goldador between one and two hours per day).
There are other ailments that a Goldador can suffer from, including
- Skin Irritations
- Eye problems
- Digestive Disorders
Goldadors are Intelligent, But …
This mixed breed gains its parents' intelligence, which is a good thing. Both bloodlines are smart dogs who are quick learners. They are easily trained to basic commands and have a willingness to please.
However, they still need to be trained, which will require some dedication and time on the owner's part. Do not expect your dog to do what you say if you haven’t taken the time to train them properly. (this is particularly true of housebreaking - many owners are not willing to invest the time to train their dogs and then are surprised when their pet uses a door jamb as a place to relieve their bladder.
Start Training Early
The best training begins as a puppy, as you are housebreaking your pet. Incorporate basic commands like sit and stay and lie down, and reinforce the positive behavior with treats. During the formative months as a puppy, your dog is in a learning mode to find out what pleases its master.
Train Without Distractions
A Goldador can get distracted easily if you allow it. While obedience classes can provide lots of socialization for your dog, they may not be the right spot for practical training.
Use Treats To Reinforce
Goldadors love treats, not just because they taste good, but because they offer a time of praise from masters they long to please. If your dog begins to associate treats with certain behaviors, they will become the obedient canines you hoped for when you brought them into your home.
Goldadors are Great Designer Dogs, But …
While Goldadors make for fantastic family pets and bring lots of joy to owners and homes, they can also be costly. The average cost for a Goldador will be between $600 and $1000. Because of the popularity of both parental bloodlines, many breeders are capitalizing on increasing demand and are charging accordingly. You can expect to pay more for a litter produced by two AKC-registered parents.
One thing to note is that Goldadors are not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), even though both parent breeds have been. This means that you may not use your dog for breeding or have litters fetch as high a price as breeders using registered bloodlines.
If you are unable to afford the price of a Goldador from a breeder, consider adopting from a shelter. The Lab mix may not be a direct cross between a Lab and a Golden Retriever, but you will give a deserving pet a good home. Be sure to have your pet spayed or neutered so that you do not have to deal with unwanted puppies in the future. For a list of shelters near your location, see the ascpa.org website for more information.
Goldadors Love Their Family, But …
Because of their gentle disposition, Goldadors tend to be very affectionate not just to family members but to everyone they meet. Do not expect this breed to be an effective watchdog. While they might bark if startled, if someone breaks in, your Goldador will greet them with a wagging tail and a lick on the hand.
Do not expect a Goldador to fend off any attack or drive away an intruder. The advantage they have is that they are large dogs, which certainly makes them better than a high-strung chihuahua.
About THE AUTHOR
Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.Read more about Mark Brunson