Ultimate Guide to Doodle Generations
Have you ever gone to buy a computer and were hit with a barrage of mysterious letters and numbers that have some meaning for the actual product? CPU, RAM, Gbh….what?
Buying a Doodle puppy can be a little bit like that. You’ve probably scanned the for sale ads and seen things like F1, F1b, F2, used to describe the little guys, but what could those actually mean? Well, I’m here to explain those letter/number sets to you as well as the implications they hold for your future pet. I’ll try to keep it simple.
The Art of Breeding
When looking for a purebred dog, you look to make sure both parents are the same breed. That’s easy enough. However, Doodles are a hybrid and result in a mix of two different breeds of dogs, such as a Golden Retriever and a Poodle.
The difficulty comes into play because not all Doodles are a perfect mix of a Golden Retriever (or Lab or Bernese Mountain Dog, or whatever) crossed with a Poodle.
Breeding dogs is as much an art form as it is science and good breeders usually have a vision of the dog they want to produce. In the case of Doodles, most are looking for lower shedding and that cute teddy bear look. Well, that requires a bit of creativity in what parent breeds you put together.
Purebred dogs suffer from many genetic ailments because the gene pool is small. It is commonly understood that by introducing a new gene pool through crossing two breeds that are prone to different sets of genetic concerns, the offspring will be healthier. This is a phenomenon termed as “Hybrid Vigor” and is one of the reasons people love Doodles.
Different generations of Doodles have varying degrees of benefit from Hybrid Vigor. Basically, the more percentage of one breed there is the less benefit they gain from the cross.
That isn’t to say that an F1b puppy is more likely to have genetic defects. If the breeder is conducting the proper health tests to reduce the spread of genetic disease, you shouldn’t worry.
Explanation of Generations
The generations are fairly easy to understand:
An F1 is a first generation dog, so a purebred Golden Retriever crossed with a Poodle.
F2 would be an F1 crossed with an F1.
F3 is an F2 with an F2 and so on.
What does the “b” mean?
The “b” in those descriptions is what makes things a little more complicated. See, F1 Doodles have 50% of Golden Retriever and 50% Poodle, so they do tend to shed a little more. Breeders will often breed the F1 back to a Poodle to help reduce shedding. The resulting puppy is called an F1b.
The “b” represents a backcross. As in it’s bred back to a parent breed, either Poodle or Golden Retriever. So an example would be a puppy that is 75% Poodle and 25% Golden Retriever.
You can backcross a backcross by breeding an F1b to a Poodle to get an F1bb puppy.
There are inconsistencies in the terminology when you get deeper into the generations with backcrossing. An F2b should be an F2 bred back to a parent breed, right? But some take an F1 crossed with an F1b and call it F2b.
Usually, when you get to the F3 generations with backcrosses, breeders call it a “Multigenerational” or “Multigen” doodle. F3s can be a cross of any of the following:
F1B x F1B; F1B x F2B; F2 x F2; F2B x F2B; etc.
But what does all that mean for you? Here’s a guide on the characteristics of each cross.
F1 - Golden Retriever x Poodle
This first generation is a half and half mix of the parent breeds.
These will be lower shedding than the Golden Retriever, but can still shed a little. They might be ok for people with mild allergies, but I would recommend a higher generation for more severe allergies.
Their coat might be wavy, loose curls, or tight curls. They have the best shaggy, Goldendoodle look.
These dogs benefit the most from Hybrid Vigor.
F1b - F1 Goldendoodle x Poodle
The F1b is my personal favorite because it gives the best likelihood of lower shedding while still retaining that cute Golden Retriever look and personality.
They are also better for those with allergies. Being 75% Poodle they may tend to have tighter curls than the F1 and have less benefit from Hybrid Vigor.
F2 - F1 Goldendoodle x F1 Goldendoodle
It becomes harder to predict shedding qualities in this generation. There is a gene that crops up causing 25% of the litter to have straight coats that shed.
These puppies will look more like Golden Retrievers than Poodles. The gene can be genetically tested for, but most breeders just choose not to produce this generation.
F2b - F1 Goldendoodle x F1b Goldendoodle
These dogs have better success with lower shedding and can have a bit more of the Golden Retriever look than the F1b alone. They are 5/8 Poodle and 3/8 Golden Retriever – which is 1/8 less Poodle and 1/8 more Golden Retriever than an F1B.
This is a desirable cross but is harder to breed to and takes longer to achieve so they tend to be more expensive.
F3 - F1b x F1b, F2b x F2b, F1b x F2b
This generation will produce an even higher percentage of puppies with the flat, sporty Retriever coats that shed more as opposed to the fluffy, curly Doodle coat most expect.
They still have the sweet Doodle personality so some people may prefer them to purebred Golden Retrievers.
Some people confuse these as a generation term, however, Double Doodle refers to a cross between Goldendoodles and Labradoodles.
Which Generation is Right for Me?
So how do you decide which generation to look for in your Doodle search? I would recommend thinking about what type of coat you want.
If a curlier, less shedding coat is very important to you, go with one of the backcrossed generations.
If you like the easier to maintain wavy coat that may shed a little, look for an F1, F2, or F3 Goldendoodle.
Usually, F1 and F1b generations are the best for everyone and have the most predictable traits.
It’s worth mentioning that your decision on which puppy is right for you shouldn’t be based solely off of the generation. Not every puppy in a litter will have equal genetic traits from the parent breeds. Some might display more Poodle traits and some more of the Retriever. Be sure to look over each puppy carefully and ask the breeder what they expect the coat to turn out like in the future.
Of course, there is a lot more that goes into the different generations such as personality and temperament that isn’t directly covered in this post.
In summary: Doodle generations exist because they aren’t purebred but a mix of two breeds. The levels of generation are termed as F1, F2, F3, and so on. A Doodle may be crossed back to one of the parent breeds which is denoted by a “b”, as in F1b.
Doodles benefit from Hybrid Vigor by introducing new genetics into the limited purebred gene pool.
Shedding and coat type vary from different generations.
Whatever generation you choose, you’ll love your sweet, spunky, adorable designer dog!
Now, if you are interested in learning more about Doodles, I put together a massive guide for understanding and learning more about them! It’s full of pictures, facts, and tidbits and laid out like a magazine. The Doodle Guide is free, so grab your copy today!