Goldendoodles have gained a lot of popularity as designer-mix dogs, and rightfully so. Not only do they make loveable and welcoming companions, but they’re smart and can be easily trained. Plus, they come in a variety of colors and patterns- Merle being a popular option among them.
However, before you go ahead and get a Merle Goldendoodle, it’s always advisable to learn about their temperament, build, grooming needs, and health issues, so you can better decide whether or not this breed is right for you.
Merle Goldendoodle Origin
The Merle Goldendoodle is a designer dog bred with a gorgeous marbled coat and sparkling blue eyes. It’s a cross between a Poodle and a Golden Retriever- the Poodle gives it a hypoallergenic coat while the Golden Retriever gives it a playful temperament, both of which are perfect for a family dog.
These dogs get their marbled coat appearance from the Merle gene, which causes irregular color dilution on the coat. This gene is semi-dominant and only one parent pup needs it. However, Merle Goldendoodles aren’t bred together as there’s a high chance to get a shedding dog in the next generation.
Personality And Temperament Guide for Merle Goldendoodles
As Merle Goldendoodles are a hybrid breed, their personalities aren’t as predictable as purebred dogs. Still, they’re very friendly and cheery dogs that will thrive with a loving family. Merle Goldendoodles are very social, and they get along well with strangers and other pets in the house. They easily learn greeting tricks as well. They’re affectionate, loyal, and welcoming dogs.
Goldendoodles aren’t loud but can have a small tendency to bark. As they’re not bred to stand watch or guard, this barking doesn’t get out of hand as long as you’ve trained your pup well. For proper training, it’s imperative you start early and have the dog socialize. Make command-learning rewarding by using toys and treats. Positive reinforcement is the best learning strategy for playful dogs like Goldendoodles.
Merle Goldendoodles are also obedient and highly observant. They possess greater intelligence and can learn new tricks quite easily. Plus, these dogs are playful and have average-to-high energy levels, making them excellent for children to play with. Merle Goldendoodles require an hour or two of exercise each day, and playtime will cover most of it. Overall, they are excellent pups for first-time dog owners and large families with several other pets.
Merle Goldendoodle Appearance, Colors, & Size Info
Another great thing about Merle Goldendoodles is that they are bred in several different sizes, so you can pick a suitable dog for your living arrangements. There are 4 Merle Goldendoodle sizes- Standard, Medium, Mini, and Toy. Standard is the bulkiest, being around 21-24 inches to the shoulder and weighing a solid 50-75 lbs (22.5-34 kgs).
For a Medium Merle Goldendoodle, the average height is 16-20 inches and the weight is 30-45 lbs (13.5-20.5 kgs). Mini Goldendoodles are 12-15 inches in height, and weigh 15-30 lbs (7-13.5 kgs) only. Toy size is the smallest, and dogs are 11 inches or under in height, weighing less than 15 lbs.
As for their appearance, Goldendoodles have differing coats depending on the genes they inherit. They can have shaggy Retriever-like coats or a wired and woolly one, like Poodles. The average length of the coat is around 2-3 inches long. Woolier coats need more maintenance, though both are hypoallergenic and low-shed. The marbled coat comes in a variety of colors, including golden, gray, blue, red, chocolate, black, and cream.
Common Health Issues & Lifespan of Merle Goldendoodles
Typically, a Merle Goldendoodle has an average lifespan of around 11 to 15 years. To ensure your dog has a longer life, be regular with exercise and give your pup a nutritious and well-balanced diet.
While Merle Goldendoodles are generally healthy dogs, there are a few health problems that may appear in this breed. These require proper vet diagnoses and treatments.
Much like other designer breeds, Merle Goldendoodles are more susceptible to allergies. Allergies are typically divided into inhalant, food, and contact allergies. Inhalant allergies are caused by dust, pollen, and seasonal changes, leading to sneezing and sore throat. Food allergies to ingredients like gluten can cause indigestion and food poisoning. Contact allergies usually occur as a reaction to a shampoo or flea powder.
Merle Goldendoodles are more prone to an ear infection than some breeds as they have droopy ears. This ear shape leads to greater moisture retention, which gives bacteria room to grow and causes a painful infection. Ear infections can give your pup trouble chewing, barking, and resting, and not treating them promptly can lead to partial or complete deafness. Ear infections don’t occur if you clean the ears regularly.
Bloat is a dangerous condition for dogs in which built-up gas in the pup’s stomach isn’t excreted, leading to irregular blood pressure and shock. Since Goldendoodles are deep-chested, there’s a higher risk of bloat in them. Symptoms of bloat include unrest, weakness, and excessive salivation. Bloat can be avoided by feeding your dog portioned meals and keeping a check on excessive eating and drinking.
Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
These inherited conditions are common in all medium-to-large breed dogs, so Goldendoodles, especially Standard-sized dogs are prone to it. In hip dysplasia, the hip bone is dislocated and the thighbone can’t fit properly, causing mobility issues. Elbow dysplasia is similar- it’s a degenerative disease where the elbow is dislocated. Both can cause lameness and arthritis.
Retinal Atrophy, Glaucoma, And Cataract
These are different eye conditions that can partially or fully impair your pup’s vision. Retinal atrophy (PRA) is the gradual deterioration of the eye retina, causing vision loss. Glaucoma is a build-up of abnormally high fluid pressure in the eyes that needs prompt treatment. Your vet will prescribe topical CAIs. As for cataracts, they can be noticed during regular vet check-ups and surgery may be recommended for a developing cataract.
When a body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones, it leads to hypothyroidism. This gland disorder can cause obesity and lethargy in your dog. Some skin conditions may also develop as a result.
Merle Goldendoole Grooming Needs
Merle Goldendoodles aren’t very high-maintenance, but they do require some attention with regards to grooming. To keep your puppy’s coat healthy and free from painful knots and mats, it’s important to brush it twice a week, using both a brush and a detangler. You can keep the hair trimmed for ease of management. Bathing should be limited to once every few months.
To avoid dental issues and tartar buildup, brush the pup’s teeth 1-2 times a week. Trim the nails twice a month, but be careful when using dog clippers as Goldendoodles have sensitive nails. Lastly, for ear cleaning, use a commercial pH-balanced ear cleaner with cotton balls every week and go over the ear’s surface. This is essential to avoid infections.
Merle Goldendoodles are warm and affectionate dogs that easily fit right in any family. They get along well with other pets and come in different sizes, perfect for any living arrangement. They also boast a gorgeous marbled coat that’s not very high-maintenance.
The only downside to this breed is that it’s more prone to a few health issues like allergies, ear infections, and bloat. However, it’s easy to manage the pup’s allergies, and a proper diet, grooming schedule, and regular vet checkups can help your dog live a long, healthy life.