Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Goldador
Average Cost to keep/care for a Goldador
Breed Specific Buying Advice
Goldadors have been around for around ten years and are a result of crossing the Golden Retriever with the Labrador Retriever. Although, these intelligent dogs have not been as popular as other recent cross breeds, they have proved to be superb working dogs whether it's search and rescue, guide dogs, therapy dogs or bomb detection dogs because they are never happier than when they have something to do. Goldadors are super intelligent, not maturing until they are around 2 years old and being so versatile, they thrive in a home environment being particularly good when they are around children.
Although relatively new to the scene and not a Kennel Club recognised breed, the Goldador has found a large fanbase with many people whether as a family pet or companion. This is mainly due to Goldadors being so reliable and trustworthy, loving nothing more than to be in a home environment which makes them a great choice for first time dog owners.
Goldadors only appeared on the scene around 10 or 15 years ago when breeders decided to cross Golden Retrievers with Labrador Retrievers. The end goal of crossing the two breeds was to create a tolerant and sensitive dog and one that would be just as happy in a home environment as they would be in a working one. These lovely dogs were a real success with many being trained as guide dogs, bomb detection dogs as well as valuable and reliable search and rescue dogs.
Although they have proven to be a wonderful choice as a family pet, they have not as yet gained the popularity that many other "designer" dogs have enjoyed over recent times. Goldadors are not recognised as a breed by any of the major international breed organisations which includes The Kennel Club, but many local breed clubs have been set up with a view to ensuring these charming dogs are bred responsibly. However, for the moment no breed standard has been drawn up for Goldadors although because both parent breeds are similar in temperament and looks, puppies generally tend to inherit their parent’s kind nature and the charming appearance.
With this said, over the years, many Goldadors are now being trained and used as Guide Dogs and again, this is because they are so kind natured, amenable and reliable having inherited their intelligence, good characters and trustworthiness from both parent breeds.
Height at the withers: Males 59 - 61 cm, Females 59 - 61 cm
Average weight: Males 27 - 36 kg, Females 27 - 36 kg
Goldadors are well-balanced, powerful looking dogs that boast an intelligent and ultra-kind expression in their eyes, breeds thanks to the fact both parent breeds are very similar in size, looks and personalities. Their heads are well proportioned in relation to their bodies and they have strong, deep, wide muzzles with a black nose. Their eyes are deep set and a dark brown with black rims being set well apart on a dog's face adding to their charming, intelligent look. Their ears are medium in size and set quite high, but falling down each side of a dog's head.
A Goldador has a strong mouth with a perfect bite, yet like both parent breeds, they boast having very soft mouths. They have strong, muscular necks and nicely formed forequarters with their shoulders being well laid back. Their body is well-balanced and nicely proportioned boasting a deep, well sprung ribcage and nicely level sleek topline. Hindquarters are strong and muscular with powerful back legs and feet that are very cat-like in appearance.
When it comes to their coat, Goldadors can have short, close lying double coats or they can have slightly longer, wavier hair depending on which of their parent breeds they have thrown to. The most commonly seen colours include the following:
When a Goldador moves, they do so with easy and purpose covering a lot of ground in a gay manner when they do.
Prospective Goldador owners should be wary of any puppies or dogs that show any sort of exaggeration whether in their looks or conformation. A responsible breeder would always ensure that puppies they produce are of a good size and conformation. Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums.
The Goldador has inherited the kind and affectionate nature of both parent breeds namely the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever. They have also inherited their intelligence and eagerness to please. They are a very good choice for first time owners and more especially for people who like to spend as much time in the great outdoors as they can with an energetic, smart canine companion at their side.
They thrive in a home environment and enjoy nothing more than to be involved in everything that goes on in a household. Because they love to please, Goldadors are highly trainable, they adore the attention they are given when learning new things. They form extremely strong ties with their owners and don't like to be left on their own for any length of time. As such, they are best suited to families where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out of the house.
It's important for these dogs to be well socialised from a young age so they grow up to be confident, outgoing mature dogs. Their socialisation must include introducing them to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated. It's also crucial for their training to start early too and it should be consistent throughout a dog's life. A Goldador is never happier than when they know their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance. If they don't know who is the alpha dog in a household, they may quickly take on the role of dominant dog which can make them harder to live with and handle.
Goldadors are the perfect choice for first time dog owners because they are so amenable and people-oriented, loving nothing more than to please and to entertain their families. They are particularly good with young children and older people too although playtime can get a bit boisterous at times.
Goldadors are very social by nature and as such, they do not have a very high prey drive. However, this is not to say that a dog would not give chase to a smaller animal when the mood takes them and this includes squirrels and the cat from next door. The good news being that a well-trained Goldador would always listen to the “recall” command rather than take off after an animal they spot in the distance.
Goldadors are very playful by nature and adore playing interactive games. They are especially good at agility, flyball and other canine sports which they thoroughly enjoy. They are known to be a little mischievous when the mood takes them and being so clever, a Goldador quickly learns new things they are taught.
Goldadors are better suited to living in houses with nice, secure back gardens they can roam in whenever possible. They would adapt to living in an apartment, providing they are given lots of mental stimulation and daily exercise to prevent boredom from setting in.
Although Goldadors form strong ties with their families, they do not suffer from separation anxiety when left on their own, providing it is never for too long. Any dog that's left to their own devices for longer periods of time would be unhappy about the situation and would develop behavioural issues which includes incessant barking and being destructive around the home which is their way of relieving the stress they are feeling.
Goldadors are not known to be "barkers" and will typically only bark when they are playing or when they want to alert their owners about something that may be going on in their environment.
Most Goldadors love swimming and will take to the water whenever they can more especially when the weather is hot. However, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a Goldador off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own. It’s important to thoroughly dry off a dog’s coat when they have been swimming to prevent moisture from being trapped in their coats which could provide the perfect environment for a skin allergy to flare up.
Goldadors are not natural watchdogs although this is not to say a dog would not be quick off the mark to let an owner know when there are strangers about although they would rarely do this aggressively. In short, they are far too friendly and social to be good guard dogs although they would always protect their families when needed.
The Goldador is a smart dog and a fast learner. The downside to this is they are just as quick to pick up bad habits as they are the good. As such, their training must begin early and it must be consistent and always fair throughout a dog’s life so they understand what's expected of them. Goldadors are never happier than when they are given something to do which is why they are so amenable to learning new things.
They excel at many canine sports which includes activities like flyball, agility and obedience because they thrive on the attention they are given during their training and the one-to-one contact when competing with their handlers. The key to successfully training a Goldador is to make their training as interesting as possible and to avoid too much repetition. It's also a good idea to keep training sessions short which helps dogs stay more focused on what it’s being asked of them, bearing in mind that the more intelligent a dog is, the faster they get bored, bearing in mind that Goldadors are extremely smart dogs.
They do not answer well to harsh correction or any sort of heavy handed training methods, but they do respond extremely well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these intelligent and quick-witted dogs, especially when there are high value rewards involved, making sure not to give too many food rewards because Goldadors are prone to putting on weight far too easily which could have a serious impact on their overall health and wellbeing.
Like all puppies, Goldador puppies are very cute and it is all too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in their new homes. However, they are very clever too and are quick to pick up bad habits if allowed. As such, owners need to start out as they mean to go on which means laying down ground rules as soon as a puppy is settled. This helps them understand what is expected of them and what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. It also helps establish a pecking order and who is the alpha dog in a household. The first commands a puppy should be taught are as follows:
Goldadors are known to be wonderful family pets because they thrive in a home environment and love nothing more than being around kids. Younger dogs and puppies tend to be boisterous when they play which means any interaction between toddlers and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous which could end up with a smaller child being knocked over, albeit by accident.
When dogs have been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on well with other dogs they meet and if they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together. However, a Goldador would think nothing of chasing off any other cats they encounter because they would see them as fair game. Care should be taken when they are around any smaller animals just to be on the safe side, although Goldadors are generally very good when they are around them.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Goldador is between 10 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Goldador is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues that affect both parent breeds which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these handsome dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
Goldador puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
Goldadors are especially fond of their food and easily put on the pounds if they are not given enough daily exercise to burn off the calories. It is also worth noting that some Goldadors gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which could prove fatal.
Some Goldadors are prone to suffering from allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Goldador breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
The Goldador is not a Kennel Club registered breed, as such there are no breed specific breeding restrictions in place. However, all breeders should follow KC breeding guidelines to ensure the continued health of Goldadors and the wellbeing of any puppies they produce.
There are no Assured Breeder requirements in place for Goldadors because they are not recognised by the Kennel Club as a breed.
As with any other breed, Goldadors need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Goldador puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Goldador puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
As previously mentioned, Goldador puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be fully up to date.
Older Goldadors need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Living with a Goldador in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include taking a look at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Goldadors need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Goldadors don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
Goldadors have double coats which consist of a short, dense, close lying outer coat and a softer, denser undercoat and as such they are quite low maintenance on the grooming front. Their coats need brushing once or twice a week to remove loose and dead hair. They shed steadily throughout the year only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is usually necessary to stay on top of things and to remove dead and shed hair from a dog's coat.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections.
The Goldador is an energetic, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They need at least 1 hour's exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible in a safe environment. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Goldador would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they are feeling and not necessarily because they are being naughty.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must with as much off the lead time as possible. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing must be extremely secure to keep these active, high-energy dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape and could get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Goldador puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Goldador puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Goldador puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 15 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Goldador must be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult dog can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Goldador, you would need to pay anything upwards of £500 for a well-bred puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Goldador in northern England would be £24.87 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £43.76 a month (quote as of January 2018). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £40 - £50 a month. On top of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Goldador and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £1100 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Goldador would be between £70 to £110 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a healthy, well-bred Goldador puppy and one where the parent dogs have been tested for health issues known to affect them.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Goldadors have fast become a popular breed both in the UK and elsewhere in the world which means that healthy, well-bred puppies can often command a lot of money. As such, with Goldadors there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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