10 Dog Breeds Similar to the Goldendoodle
Goldendoodles are designer dogs descending from Golden Retrievers and Poodles. Due to that, they possess a somewhat unpredictable mix of characteristics from both sides of their ancestry. However, since both Golden Retrievers and Poodles consistently make great pets, Goldendoodles also consistently make great pets. If people don’t want to get one of these dogs for whatever reason, they have plenty of similar-acting and similar-looking alternatives.
1. Bedlington Terrier
Bedlington Terriers are very distinctive-looking dogs. To an extent, that is because of their egg-shaped head. Said feature isn’t unique to these dogs, but it is still a strange and striking sight. With that said, Bedlington Terriers are even more recognizable because of their remarkable resemblance to lambs. Much of that comes from their shaggy coat, a mix of hard and soft hairs that start dark but lighten up over time.
Personality-wise, Bedlington Terriers take after a different animal. Specifically, the AKC says the Bedlington Terrier Club of America boasts about these dogs taking after lions. Fortunately, they are talking about symbolic lions rather than real lions. Otherwise, it is hard to imagine anyone wanting one of these dogs. After all, real lions don’t have the most admirable set of behaviors from a human perspective. Meanwhile, Bedlington Terriers have more than enough strengths to compensate for their weaknesses.
As a rule, these dogs are brave and tenacious. Those characteristics make them very well-suited for hunting vermin. The issue is that those characteristics have also sometimes seen these dogs get into dog-on-dog fights with their dominant counterparts. Something that won’t necessarily go against Bedlington Terriers because they are much better fighters than what their lamb-like appearance would suggest. Despite this, these dogs are soft and mild towards their human family members. As such, they are more than capable of being household pets, though they will need some way to work off their excess energy.
Goldadors are also designer dogs. In their case, they descend from Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers. Reputedly, Goldadors are amazing family dogs that get along well with everyone. On top of that, they also do well as guide dogs, service dogs, and in other working roles, which is wholly unsurprising considering their ancestry.
3. Golden Retriever
People used to tell exciting tales about how Golden Retrievers came into existence. Then, a couple of individuals published a very detailed and thus very informative studbook from their creator Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, which made it clear that these dogs descend from a Flat-Coated Retriever with a yellow coat named Nous. Of course, Golden Retrievers aren’t just Flat-Coated Retrievers with yellow coats. They also descend from other dog breeds such as Tweed Water Spaniels and Labrador Retrievers.
Origins aside, Golden Retrievers are some of the most popular dogs on the planet. Marjoribanks intended them to be the ultimate retrievers. The same characteristics that made these dogs well-suited for their titular task also made them well-suited for a wide range of others. Their popularity as guide dogs and therapy dogs proves it. Simultaneously, plenty of people like Golden Retrievers as household pets.
These characteristics are the same reason Golden Retrievers see so much use in designer dogs. After all, they are smart, obedient, and gentle-mannered animals. Even if people don’t necessarily like their appearance, many of them like that combination of characteristics. Designer dogs are an obvious way for people to have their cake and eat it by getting a dog that looks like one dog breed while behaving like another.
4. Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish Water Spaniel isn’t the largest of the spaniels. That honor goes to the Clumber Spaniel, which is a very different-looking animal. However, the Irish Water Spaniel is the tallest spaniel with an average height of 22 to 24 inches for males and 21 to 23 inches for females. Other than this, it is also notable for being very similar-looking to the Poodle. Luckily, there are a couple of things that stand out about the Irish Water Spaniel. They have a densely-curled, liver-colored coat. That coat covers neither their face nor their tail, which is why some people compare the latter to a rat’s tail.
Generally speaking, Irish Water Spaniels are eager to please their human family members. The same is less true for other humans and other animals. Some of these dogs are suspicious of strangers. Similarly, some of these dogs are unreliable around smaller animals. Still, Irish Water Spaniels are capable companions, though their energy level is a bit of a mixed bag for interested individuals. These dogs need at least an hour of daily exercise, so they are better for people with an active lifestyle than those without one.
Historically speaking, people took their livestock very seriously. That makes sense because their continuing survival often depended on the well-being of their livestock. For instance, Silk Road Seattle says nomads relied on meat and milk-based products while supplementing those with other sources of food. Even when people weren’t reliant on their livestock to that extent, they still cared because their livestock represented wealth. Under these circumstances, it is no wonder that a wide range of cultures bred their livestock guardians for courage, reliability, and initiative.
Once upon a time, the Hungarians were nomadic pastoralists. When they settled in what is now Hungary, they continued to rely on their dogs to watch over their livestock. Moreover, they also entrusted some of those same dogs with other vital responsibilities such as guarding and hunting. The Kuvasz is a direct descendant of those dogs. Sadly, its numbers plummeted during World War Two, so much so that they were down to the low double-digits by the war’s end. Enthusiasts ensured their survival, but the nature of their work meant there were necessary compromises. These dogs have a small gene pool. Some people also speculate that they aren’t purely descended from the ancestral Kuvasz because some dog breeders might have used imported dogs.
Whatever the case, the Kuvasz is a solid choice of dog. They are very dedicated to their families. In contrast, they are much more suspicious of strangers. Both of these things make perfect sense considering people expected the Kuvasz to take on serious threats to their charges’ well-being. Interested individuals must be capable of treating these dogs in a firm, consistent manner while winning their respect. If they make mistakes with training and socialization, they could wind up with a fearful or even aggressive dog of considerable size and strength. Something that will mean trouble for them and potentially for people around them.
Labradoodles are yet another kind of designer dog. Chances are good that interested individuals can guess they descend from Labrador Retrievers and Poodles. Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers aren’t identical, but Love Your Dog says they are very similar. As a result, Labradoodles are like Goldendoodles in a lot of respects. That makes these dogs a good alternative if people want a Goldendoodle-like dog without just getting a Goldendoodle.
7. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers came into existence before Golden Retrievers. Marjoribanks couldn’t have used them to create the latter if they didn’t already exist at the time. In the case of Labrador Retrievers, they trace their roots to a couple of groups. First, Labrador Retrievers descend from the St. John’s Water Dog from Newfoundland, introduced to the United Kingdom by ships traveling between the two regions. Second, Labrador Retrievers descend from British hunting dogs. The result is another gun dog that has weathered the general decline in hunting with minimal issue.
Like Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers are friendly creatures with a fair amount of brains. They are a great choice of dog for people who like to have fun. Sadly, they are less well-suited to people with a sedate lifestyle because of their need for exercise.
8. Lagotto Romagnolo
The Lagotto Romagnolo came into existence in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna. Specifically, it traces its roots to the eastern part of the Romagna region, which is marshland because the Po River splits into a wide delta towards the end of its course. As such, the Lagotto Romagnolo started as a water dog. Its name supports this. The first part comes from the Romagnol can lagòt for “water dog.”
Of course, a dog’s original role isn’t necessarily indicative of a dog’s modern role. For proof, interested individuals can look at the dozens and dozens of working dogs that are now pets more than anything else. In the case of the Lagotto Romagnolo, Robb’s Report says it sees much use for truffle-hunting in Northern Italy. Theoretically speaking, any dog with a good nose could do the job. Once upon a time, people used female pigs for the task, though Modern Farmer says the practice has waned because female pigs are too hungry, too noticeable, and too damaging to the mycelia of the treasured fungus. The Lagotto Romagnolo stands out because it has undergone generation after generation of selection for truffle-hunting. That selection gives these dogs a real advantage compared to relative newcomers.
As a pet, the Lagotto Romagnolo is smart, loyal, and lively. A lot of people will consider these dogs to be too lively. They like to run around in the mud, so they aren’t a good choice for people who want to keep their homes as clean as possible. Similarly, they like to dig, so they aren’t a good choice for people who maintain gardens. Keeping the Lagotto Romagnolo indoors isn’t a solution because these dogs need both physical exercise and mental stimulation. If people can’t meet these needs, they shouldn’t get one of these dogs.
Poodles are one of the most recognizable dogs. Partly, that is because of their curly-haired coats, and partly, that is because of their often unusual-looking haircuts. Those haircuts are meant to make Poodles better swimmers. Despite that, they are very funny-looking, thus contributing to these dogs’ charm.
In other respects, Poodles are well-liked for much the same reason as the two retrievers on this list. They are smart but obedient. Better still, they are fond of their human family members, thus making them a wonderful addition to the family.
10. Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water Dogs originated in the Algarve. That is the southernmost part of continental Portugal, which tends to be best-known for its thriving tourism industry in modern times. Still, the Algarve is a coastal region, so it makes sense that Portuguese Water Dogs adapted for fishing work. From the Algarve, these dogs spread to the rest of the Portuguese coast. Like a lot of other working dogs, Portuguese Water Dogs came close to extinction in the 20th century. Fortunately, timely intervention saved them. Unfortunately, that came late enough that these dogs have a small gene pool from a small number of ancestors.
Thanks to that, Portuguese Water Dogs are susceptible to several inherited medical conditions. One example would be hip dysplasia. Another example would be juvenile dilated cardiomyopathy. Good practices by dog breeders can do much to reduce the chances of these issues coming up. For instance, the PennGen laboratory says there is a test for the gene for juvenile dilated cardiomyopathy. If dog breeders care, they can test their Portuguese Water Dogs to see which ones are carriers. Afterward, they can prevent juvenile dilated cardiomyopathy in their dogs by just not breeding two carriers together.
In any case, Portuguese Water Dogs have much to recommend them. They tend to bond with a single human family member, but they are friendly towards other humans. Moreover, Portuguese Water Dogs are intelligent animals that are highly trainable despite their relative independence. These dogs do have a couple of notable issues. One is their need for company. The other is their need for stimulation. Bored Portuguese Water Dogs are just as problematic as other dogs, meaning people need to prevent them from reaching that point.