Goldendoodles are an extremely popular choice of a family pet. These kid-friendly, active dogs are sociable, affectionate, trainable, and lots of fun.
But despite being called “Golden,” these pups come in an amazing variety of awesome colors!
Goldendoodles are designer dogs with parents of two different pure breeds, and that means you can never exactly predict what color your puppy will turn out to be! So, is the vast range of different Goldendoodle shades and patterns all down to genetics?
Read this article to find out why there are so many Goldendoodle colors and more!
Why Are There So Many Goldendoodle Colors?
The American Kennel Club (AKC) sets “standards” for all purebred dogs. Those standards dictate what colors and coat types are acceptable for each breed.
Goldendoodles have one Golden retriever parent and one Poodle parent.
To further add to the potential puppy color palette, there are several unofficial “parti” or bi-colored Poodles and Golden Retrievers variants that can be passed on to Goldendoodle puppies.
You can also find other unofficial colors such as white Poodles and black Golden retrievers, which have the scope to produce yet more color variants in their puppies.
Rare Goldendoodle Colors
As you can see, the Goldendoodle can come in a pretty much infinite range of colors.
However, the rarest shades and coat patterns are the results of breeding multiple generations of dogs whose recessive coat color traits are not masked by dominant genes. Those colors include silver, grey, and blue. Other rare colors include multi-colored Goldendoodles, including the phantom Goldendoodle and parti Goldendoodle.
Because of their ongoing popularity, Goldendoodles are expensive dogs, and rare color morphs can cost anything up to two or even three times the usual price you’d expect to pay for a puppy.
How Do Goldendoodles Get Their Colors?
Different coat colors and patterns are created by using dogs with a certain base coat and also through generational breeding. Interestingly, the Poodle parent usually carries the dominant gene for coat color.
Dog color genetics is a pretty complicated field. But, to put it simply, the different colors and patterns are created through generational breeding and by using dogs with particular base coat colors.
All Goldendoodles have a base coat that is either black or chocolate. You can tell the color of the base coat by looking at the pigment of the dog’s nose. Basically, genetics work like this:
- If a black or chocolate Goldendoodle has no other genes acting, the puppy will be either black or chocolate.
- As black is the dominant gene and chocolate is recessive, the puppy only requires one copy of the black gene to be a black dog. However, for the puppy to come out chocolate, he needs two chocolate genes.
- Both parents must carry a chocolate gene to produce a chocolate puppy. Golden retrievers rarely carry a chocolate gene, so it’s extremely rare to find a chocolate Goldendoodle puppy unless the breeder used an F1b or higher generation dog.
What’s an F1b Dog?
An F1b dog is created by crossing an F1 (50% Golden retriever and 50% Poodle) with a Poodle.
The Merle Gene
Merle is a very attractive dappled coat color that is seen in all dog breeds, including some designer dogs. The coloration is caused by a genetic mutation that basically causes the color to be diluted.
There are three variants, or alleles, for merle:
- Merle allele (M)
- Cryptic merle (Mc)
- Non-merle (m)
Merle dogs carry one allele for merle and one for non-merle expressed as Mm.
The term cryptic merle refers to a particular pattern called ghost or phantom merle. These dogs generally carry the M genotype without expressing it. These dogs are usually either black or liver-colored with small merle patches.
The inheritance of Mc and M is very unstable. Sometimes, M produces Mc and vice versa. That makes the merle genetics very complex and can also lead to health problems.
What’s a Double Merle Dog?
A dog that carries two copies of the M allele is referred to as a double merle, MM. These dogs tend to be mostly white with colored patches.
Unfortunately, MM dogs are the most likely to suffer from serious health issues, including blindness and deafness, so professional Goldendoodle breeders would never use this combination for breeding purposes.
What Color Will My Goldendoodle Puppy Be?
It’s almost impossible to tell what color your Goldendoodle puppy will be without a DNA test of both parents.
A DNA test shows the different kinds of alleles that the dog carries and whether they are recessive or dominant genes. Alleles come in pairs. So, B represents a dominant black allele, and b represents a recessive black allele.
Thanks to a combination of the recessive and dominant alleles, it’s relatively common for two black dogs to mate and produce a brown puppy.
Do Goldendoodles Change Color as They Grow Older?
So, will your pretty, fluffy bundle be that same delightful color for his whole life?
As the puppy begins to develop his adult coat, you may notice that certain areas of his fur keep more of their color than others, usually around the ears and muzzle. However, the coat color often changes.
“Holding” is the term that’s used when a puppy retains his coat color into adulthood. However, the coat often fades, lightens, or dulls to a different color in a phenomenon referred to as “clearing.”
That’s worth bearing in mind when choosing a puppy, and we recommend that you pick a color that’s a little darker than you want, as the color is likely to fade as it clears.
Types of Goldendoodle Colors and Patterns
What color Goldendoodle puppy are you going to choose? Check out our list of colors and patterns to help you decide!
1. Brown Goldendoodle
Brown is an extremely popular color for Goldendoodles. As the AKC recognizes brown as an official Poodle color, you will see plenty of these pups at your local dog park. Café-au-lait is also an official Poodle color, so you’ll spot quite a few of these pale brownish colored dogs, too.
The brown color usually comes from the dominant Poodle genes. That said, brown often carries a recessive gene of silver or black, so parents with two recessive genes could produce a phantom, parti, or sable puppy.
2. Apricot Goldendoodle
Apricot Goldendoodles look just like cute teddy bears, which is why the color is so sought-after. The AKC recognizes an apricot Poodle color; you can find apricot Goldendoodle puppies quite easily.
Apricot Goldendoodles always have certain black points, including the eyes, eye rims, nose, and nails. You may also find that your puppy’s coat clears to a cream or tan color as he matures.
3. Cream Goldendoodle
You rarely find two cream Goldendoodles that are identical! That’s because these pups’ physical makeup varies widely. Although these dogs are sometimes referred to as “white,” they’re officially known as cream because the AKC recognizes the cream Poodle.
So, you can find some cream Goldendoodles with lighter eyes and nails and with light brown noses. Many cream Goldendoodles also have pinkish colored skin beneath their coats.
4. Red Goldendoodle
The red coat color is the brightest of all the Goldendoodle colors. Red Goldendoodles are super-popular, largely because these pups look very much like teddy bears.
Although red isn’t an officially recognized Golden retriever or Poodle coat color, it’s frequently achieved by breeders through mixing a regular colored Golden with a darker shaded Poodle.
5. Black Goldendoodle
Yes, there is such a pup as a black Goldendoodle!
That said, these are quite unusual color morphs that come about because of a recessive gene that’s found in either the Poodle or Golden retriever. To produce a black Goldendoodle puppy, both the parents would need to carry the recessive black gene. So, black is a pretty rare color when compared to the cream or apricot Goldendoodle.
Black Goldendoodles usually have black paw pads, noses, eyes, and other physical attributes, unlike the other color variants where those areas are more randomly colored.
6. Parti Goldendoodle
Parti Goldendoodles have bi-colored coats, one of which is at least 50% white. The other shade can be any color, but you most commonly see tan and apricot.
This color morph is created by recessive genes that override the solid color coat. For that reason, it’s very rare to find parti pups that are not multi-generation with more Poodle genetics in their makeup. To create this pretty color variant, you need to breed rare recessive genes with other rare recessive genes.
Predicting the color of a parti Goldendoodle is extremely tricky without a DNA test, and it’s extremely rare to find two partis that look exactly alike.
7. Tan Goldendoodle
Tan Goldendoodles are one of the most commonly seen colors and are extremely popular because they resemble teddy bears.
These pups are usually produced through a combination of cream and apricot Goldendoodles, and you’ll see shades of pale apricot and white in their coats, both these attributes coming from the Golden Retriever parent.
8. Black and White Goldendoodle
Black and white Goldendoodles are also known as Tuxedo Goldendoodles and are very rare.
Black and white Goldendoodles have a white chest, white nose, and a streak of white across the top of their heads. Tuxedo Goldendoodles are different, having a white belly, white bib, white hind legs, and being black down their whole back.
This unusual coloration is achieved by breeding a parti Poodle and a Golden retriever and keeping your fingers crossed that the genes did their magic.
9. White Goldendoodle
White Goldendoodles tend not to be so popular with breeders. That’s because these dogs can be more sensitive than other colors.
White dogs can be susceptible to skin conditions and sunburn if their skin is pinkish. They can be temperamentally more skittish and may suffer from sensitive digestion and tummy upsets.
10. Sable Goldendoodle
The sable Goldendoodle is unique in that these dogs are born dark brown or solid black, clearing to a lighter cream or tan color with black tips to the hairs of the coat as the dog matures.
It’s little wonder then that these dogs are sought-after, although you might think you’re buying a black puppy, only to be amazed and delighted when his coat fades to sable!
11. Brindle Goldendoodle
Brindle is the term used to describe a striped coat pattern and is very rarely seen in Goldendoodles.
Dogs with a brindle coat pattern have a specific recessive gene. The markings have red shades as a base color with black stripes on top. However, the extent of brindling varies tremendously, depending on the other genes present. Sometimes, the stripes are no more than a flecking pattern throughout the coat.
12. Merle Goldendoodle
Merle Goldendoodles are usually the result of crossing a Poodle with an Australian Shepherd or a Border Collie. Occasionally, you can get a merle Goldendoodle from crossbreeding Goldendoodles with Goldendoodles.
To produce a merle puppy, you need one parent to be merle colored to mask the recessive genes of the other parent. You should never breed two merle Goldendoodles. The result can be puppies that are deaf, blind or have other physical deformities.
13. Phantom Goldendoodle
Phantom Goldendoodles are another very rare color morph. These dogs must have two colors in specific locations to be classified as a phantom.
The main color must cover the majority of the dog’s body. The second color appears in the dog’s eyes, on its muzzle, and on the lower part of the legs. Phantoms are usually black and tan, although mixtures of red, black, and silver are also seen occasionally. Not surprisingly, no two phantom Goldendoodles are exactly the same.
14. Chocolate Goldendoodle
Chocolate Goldendoodles are essentially a shade of brown. This is a pretty common color, largely because the AKC recognizes brown as an official Poodle color.
15. Grey Goldendoodle
The grey Goldendoodle looks very similar to the silver Poodle in that they are frequently born dark black, clearing to grey by the time the puppy reaches two years of age. You can usually tell by the time your puppy reaches six weeks of age whether his coat will clear to grey.
16. Blue Goldendoodle
Blue Goldendoodles are similar to the grey Goldendoodle in that they often begin as black puppies, clearing to a very dark, steel blue-grey by the time they reach adulthood.
Again, these color variants are very hard to find. It’s really just a matter of picking a black puppy and waiting to see what happens as he grows up!
17. Silver Goldendoodle
The silver Goldendoodle is a rare color that begins as a black puppy, clearing to a pretty silver color as he grows up.
Silver and blue Goldendoodles are often produced from multiple generations of breeding where the recessive coat color genes come to the fore rather than being masked by dominant genes.
I hope you enjoyed our overview of the different colors and patterns of Goldendoodles that you can find.
As you can see, when you buy a puppy, you never quite know what color he will turn out to be when he’s fully grown. And that’s all part of the fun of owning a designer dog!
If you have any questions about Goldendoodle colors, ask them in the comments box below. And please share the article if you enjoyed it!