How do I determine the size of my doodle pup?

  
Doodle

One can never- have too many- dogs!
 
 
Barked: Thu Jun 7, '07 7:34am PST 
We are asked on a near daily basis by those on a Doodle quest, "How can I determine how big or small a Goldendoodle puppy will be as an adult? Do I rely on the size of its parents?"
Well, if you want the brutal, most honest answer, it would be "You'll have to wait until your doodle turns 1 year of age!". Depending upon whether or not he or she has been spayed or neutered, you will have to take a few pounds off because nearly all altered pets gain weight AFTER being fixed. Hence, their weight at the age of 1 year would then NOT be genetic.
On a more serious note, It's very difficult to say with exact certainty what size your Goldendoodle will be as an adult and NO....its parents CAN NOT AND WILL NOT determine the size of Goldendoodle offspring. We have seen it time and time again where very large parent dogs produce a litter of Goldendoodles and we find out later down the road, one or two of them out of any given litter, has turned out to be small doodle dogs.

We had asked the same question to our original vet, Dr. James, when we first started creating Goldendoodles back in 1999. Here is a method he gave me to determine size:

(Our original veterinarian, Dr. James (Who passed away in April 2006) had given us the method below that he used to determine the "adult" size of a puppy. He provided this method to us back in 1999. So far, it has held as a good formula for not only our purebred pups....but for our hybrids as well)

AT THE AGE OF 2 MONTHS: MULTIPLY THE WEIGHT BY 4
AT THE AGE OF 3 MONTHS: MULTIPLY THE WEIGHT BY 3
AT THE AGE OF 4 MONTHS: MULTIPLY THE WEIGHT BY 2

Puppies go through a rapid growth spurt from 2 months to 4 months....but you should see some slowing down by the age of six months. Smaller to mid-size breeds are usually considered fully grown by the age of one year....while your larger breeds such as the German Shepherd, Mastiff & Rottweiler can continue to grow until the age of 2 yrs. Small boned dogs generally stop growing by the age of one year.

An international team of scientists, including researchers from Cornell University, has found a mutation in a single gene that plays a key role in determining body-size differences within and among dog breeds and may be important in determining the size of humans as well. The research, published in the April 6 issue of the journal Science, "is one of the first demonstrations that if you look at different dog breeds that share the same trait (such as large or small size or short legs or scrunched-up faces) due to human-directed selection, you will find genes that are likely to affect the same traits in humans," said co-author Carlos Bustamante, assistant professor of biological statistics and computational biology at Cornell. The researchers began by comparing the DNA of individuals within a single dog breed that shows great variation in skeletal size -- Portuguese water dogs -- and identifying regions of the genome that differ between small and large individuals. One of these regions included a gene that codes for a protein hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), which is known to play an important role in growth, body size and longevity in mice and in body size in humans. The researchers then analyzed this region in hundreds of dogs from 14 small dog breeds, such as Chihuahuas, toy fox terriers and Pomeranians, and nine large dog breeds, including Irish wolfhounds, Saint Bernards and Great Danes. Does this play a role for hybrids too? One can only wonder. "It is staggering to think that so many of the small dog breeds came about through selection on the same mutation in the same gene. These results suggest that while there are invariably differences among breeds (even in genes for size), IGF1 has played an important role in the evolution of many small breeds by being a gene that consistently affects body size," said Bustamante. "The research points to the utility of the domestic dog model system to identify genes that have a large effect."

From a personal standpoint and by experience since 1999, we have literally watched many of our large sized Golden Retrievers and Poodles produce small Goldendoodles. This can be attributed by the fact that the Miniature and Toy Poodle originated from the Standard Poodle. This was completed over time by breeders who "downsized" the dogs over many years. Breeders simply bred smaller Poodles to smaller Poodles until even Tcup Poodles were produced. The same could occur for the Golden Retriever or any breed for that matter. If a breeder were to have a small Golden Retriever from one litter and then use another small Golden Retriever from another litter that was not too closely related to the other dog and then bred them together, it is very possible for one or two...even more...of the offspring would be even smaller. Would this be logical? Depends on what the breeder is trying to accomplish. The same holds true for the Goldendoodle. If a breeder has a small adult Goldendoodle...lets say 26 pounds....and then breeds this small Goldendoodle to either a Toy Poodle or a Miniature Poodle, much smaller offspring could be produced. Just keep in the back of your head that NOT all of the offspring will be small. One or even several of the offspring could surpass the size of either parent. The reason for this is because you have to take their lineage into consideration and the fact that the small Goldendoodle parent had normal sized parents and ancestors and the same with the Miniature Poodle. Because of the fact Toy Poodles and Miniature Poodles originated from the Standard Poodle, size differences can occur even amongst the purebreds. This is why we now see "small" Standard Poodles. Some Miniature Poodles bred to other Miniature Poodles can have a puppy or two that exceeds "kennel standards" for their size category, thus they are deemed as "small Standard Poodles". With Goldendoodles, since 1999 we have seen two large sized parents produce a couple of small Goldendoodles within any given litter (and it doesn't matter if the dam is the Poodle or the Golden Retriever or vice versa) and we saw disparity in the sizes of the doodle siblings even when a Toy Poodle was naturally bred (Not AI) to a Golden Retriever. More can be ready about that pairing on our Goldendoodle World website. We created our smallest Goldendoodles (which we jokingly call the "World's first toy sized Goldendoodles" ) in 2006 by using a 13 pound Goldendoodle to a 6-8 pound purebred Toy Poodle. Every single puppy in that created litter has turned out to stay under 15 pounds as an adult. This particular litter is essentially a Toy sized litter...falls into the category of the Toy breed but because they are hybrids, we don't call them TOYS, only in jest! They are just simply very small Goldendoodles. While we did not see the disparity in sizes between that particular pairing, we do see it when one parent is a Poodle and the other parent is a Golden Retriever. We see LESS disparity in sizes between the siblings of a created litter, when a Goldendoodle is bred to a Poodle that is smaller than the Goldendoodle and is not closely related. So drum role please..............bbbbbbbbbbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.....is there a way to determine sizes in a Goldendoodle? The answer is YES...and NO. An experienced breeder who has created Goldendoodles for many years, using the same breeding stock can give you a much better "guesstimate" than a new breeder who has not had their breeding stock for very long. Keep in mind that even an experienced breeder must have feed-back from those who buy from them in order to help those who are in the "looking" and "deciding" phase, over many years. We have been very fortunate that many buyers of our Goldendoodles have stayed in contact and has been so kind as to send us photos and updates. Many people do not stay in contact with a breeder; they just purchase their pet and off they go to live their lives with their purchased pet. I would assume it is pretty much like a person adopting a baby. Some want to stay in contact with the birth parents and some don't want any contact...they just want to live their lives with their adopted child/ren and that's it. The same holds true for purchased pets. A person on a doodle quest is going to find a wide range of hybrid information with much of it clashing. Some breeders have on their websites that Goldendoodles are "X" height and "Y" weight if a male or female; Some breeders will claim that a Goldendoodle dog will vary in size and height that is dependent upon whether a Standard Poodle, Miniature Poodle or Toy Poodle was used. I nearly fell off my chair with laughter when I even stumbled upon on site that claimed they created the "World's first true Miniature Goldendoodle" because both parents were back-bred doodles. I know that people actually believe this sort of stuff and its no wonder they do. This sort of erroneous information is literally everywhere on the internet! Dogs have been with humans since prehistoric times. Over the years they have performed various services. Dogs have been various sizes since the beginning of time. They have pulled sleds over snowy tracts. They have delivered messages; herded sheep and cattle, and even rescued persons trapped in the snow. Dogs have served as a source of food in China and in Asian countries, too. Dogs have served as coats, handbags and souvenirs in Asian countries who kill them for marketing purposes. The ancient Romans are said to have prized certain types of dog stew. The Aztecs of ancient Mexico raised tiny dogs, thought to be the forebears of the Chihuahua, to feed the large carnivores in the private zoos of the Aztec rulers. In the past, dogs have even been worshiped as gods. Recently, they have been used in drug research, medical experimentation, and space science. Soviet scientists launched dogs into space to test the ability of mammals to survive the rigors of space travel before people were sent up. As you can see, dogs have served various purposes since the beginning of time. It has been said that the dog traces its ancestry back to a five-toed, weasel like animal called Miacis, which lived in the Eocene epoch about 40 million years ago. This animal was supposedly the forebear of the cat, raccoon, bear, hyena, and civet, as well as of the wolf, fox, jackal, and dog. Miacis, undoubtedly a tree climber, probably also lived in a den. In the evolutionary line from Miacis, was an Oligocene animal called Cynodictis, which somewhat resembled the modern dog. Cynodictis lived about 20 million years ago. Its fifth toe, which is called the dewclaw on canine, showed signs of shortening. Cynodictis had 42 teeth, just like dogs, and similar anal glands just like dogs have, today. Cynodictis was also developing feet and toes suited for running. The modern civet--a "living fossil"--resembles that ancient animal. The evolution of the dog moved on to the extremely dog-like animal called Tomarctus, which lived about 10 million years ago during the late Miocene epoch. Tomarctus probably developed the strong social instincts that we see in the dog and most of its close relatives, excluding the fox. The Canidae, the family that includes the true dog and its close relatives, stemmed directly from Tomarctus. Members of the genus Canis--which includes the dog, wolf, and jackal--developed into their present form about a million years ago during the Pleistocene epoch. As dogs became imbedded into the lives of humans, dog breeders and fanciers began mixing various breeds of dogs together to serve a purpose.
Whether working, hunting, companion or guarding....each "breed" of dog created by dog fanciers had a purpose. As their popularity rose, with various breeds of dogs created and becoming refined, dog fanciers then decided to form "Kennel Clubs". As the popularity of Kennel Clubs grew, the clubs (like breeders) began to pop up everywhere, all over the world. Unlike many breeders, kennel clubs were on the same sheet of music where sizes, categories, temperament and "breed type" was concerned. They all agreed that this and that breed would be defined by "X" height, "Y" weight; they would vary in size as per their gender; They would be defined by coat texture and so on. Kennel Clubs then decided what would best define the ultimate "show" dog for dog fanciers who wanted to show off their breed to the world and compete against each other and as such, kennel clubs then broke off into club groups. One of the largest, most well known kennel clubs is the American Kennel Club. While they were NOT the first kennel club to have ever began, many believe that unless a dog is registered with AKC (the American Kennel Club) that the dog is somehow not suitable for breeding, buying or somehow doesn't represent its breed group. However this myth began, I'll never know. AKC however, laughs itself all the way to the bank by raking in millions of dollars in revenue by those who hold dearly to this myth. Other kennel clubs around the world would disagree that AKC is the only kennel club that represents the canine and I also disagree with the notion that a dog has to be registered with AKC in order to represent their breed group. After all, AKC does not breed dogs nor do they have anything to do with breeding. They are merely a canine registrant service and when a breeder who participates with AKC has an issue, this kennel club will be the first one to tell them that this is what they are. They are NOT there to represent or assist the breeder, in anything other than providing registration documentation and the history/lineage of their registered dogs.
Size standards began when dog fanciers began to separate the canine by size groups. Lets take the English Springer Spaniel and the American Cocker Spaniel as an example. Originally, both dogs were one and the same. Dog fanciers eventually decided to separate the dogs by "name", "origin" and "size", thus calling the large Spaniels, "English Springer Spaniels" and the smaller ones "Cocker Spaniels". The spaniels who were larger but not as large as the English Springer, who had longer muzzles and were born in Europe were then named "English Cocker Spaniels". Those spaniels who were born in America...had shorter muzzles and were smaller than the English Springer Spaniel, were named "American Cocker Spaniels". It is no doubt that when dog fanciers began mixing various breeds together to create the ultimate purebred dog that there was alot of arguments about what made the ultimate purebred dog; What defined the ultimate purebred dog and how they were going to be classified. The same arguments are occurring with hybrid dogs and their breeders. Centuries past before dogs were refined and defined by size groups and breed type. The same will hold true for the "ultimate" hybrid. It is my personal opinion that a hybrid should always be a hybrid and this is what makes the hybrid stand out from the purebred dog. It serves no purpose to move the hybrid dog into the same path as that of the purebred dog. The original intention for the hybrid dog was NOT to follow the same path as that of the purebred dog, but here we are in 2007 watching many hybrid breeders lead their hybrid dogs down that dreary, horrendous path the purebred dog has been on for centuries. By this I mean that these breeders are backbreeding, linebreeding, inbreeding their hybrids as an attempt to define them into size categories causing the offspring to eventually see the same genetic flaws the purebred dogs have issues with today. They are creating a genetic bottle neck with their hybrid dogs just like the dog fanciers have done with their purebred dogs.
The sole purpose of the hybrid dog...ie...the Goldendoodle....was to have a dog that had fewer genetic issues by having a wider gene pool. This is achieved when two parent dogs come from two separate breed groups and no matter how far back a breeder goes back through researching their dogs' pedigrees, they will not find related ancestors. Well, perhaps if they go back to the origins of the "wolf", they'll find an eventual genetic link. This is where the term "hybrid vigor" came from. There's no scientific evidence that "hybrid vigor" exists....but it does make common sense that offspring who come from unrelated parents would be entirely healthier than offspring from related parents. So now that I've taken you down the historic road of the canine in general, the question still abounds "How can I tell if my Goldendoodle will stay small or become a large dog?" and "Can I tell how big or small my Goldendoodle will be if I look at the size of their paws?". For those who have just stepped into the Goldendoodle arena, I can only tell you what I know from experience. Regardless of the size of the Goldendoodle's parents, the entire litter will vary in size per sibling. I've personally seen puppies have as much as a five pound weight difference amongst themselves when one parent was a Golden Retriever and one parent was a Poodle. I've seen Goldendoodles be much smaller than either parent and I've seen some Goldendoodles become much larger than either parent and I'm talking about individual puppies from the same parents. Again, I'm talking about my own Goldendoodles and my own personal experience since 1999. I'm not talking about those created or bred by other breeders. I have witnessed Goldendoodle puppies varying in size and temperament widely when a Toy Poodle was bred naturally to a Golden Retriever. (yes, it can and has been done. We did it.). When I bred a Goldendoodle to a Poodle whom were not closely related, in 2006, I saw LESS size variance amongst the siblings and each had more of a similar Personality and disposition within the same litter. There was a variance in coat style (Some were shaggy and wavy and some were shaggy/wavy with loose curls), but I did notice that as far as size and temperament was concerned, each were closer in similarity. With one of the litters I created in late 2006, some seven months later, I have watched the remaining siblings stay close in size....close in coat type....close in temperament and so far, all have remained smaller than I had originally anticipated. This is not a bad thing. It's actually a good thing. When puppies sell and leave a breeder by 8 weeks of age, it doesn't help the breeder where research and documentation is concerned. While I wish every single puppy ever created would be out the door by 8 weeks of age (this is every breeder's hope and desire), the fact that I am able to still have some puppies available by 6-9 months of age actually helps me in my hybrid research and studies. I am able to take more and more photos of their coat changes and phases; I am able to personally observe the puppies for my research on the Goldendoodle and I am able to document more accurately my observations as time passes and the dogs begin to mature. A breeder who creates hybrids can't fully appreciate the dogs they create unless they are able to personally witness and document, research and observe every aspect of the dogs they bring into this world! I am able to personally witness, observe and document everything from coat, temperament, sizes to color changes each may go through. I am able to personally share with the general public who are on a doodle quest, what I have come to know through personal experience, over many years of just "doing". I've been called many things by hateful people across the internet (breeders, their groupies and forum mongers alike) but no one can take away my experience, knowledge and expertise on a subject that I have invested many years on nor can anyone take away the popularity of all the articles that are read by thousands of people, over the internet, that I have written over the years. Even when I retire from the breeding world, I do intend to continue my passion for writing....so all of the naysayers can continue to say "nay". My articles and written knowledge and experience will be carried on well past the day I die.

The only true thing I can say to anyone who desires to own a Goldendoodle and who is on a doodle quest or mission, is to NOT be a stickler for size. Unless you live in a condo situation and have size restrictions where you reside or you have other issues that would prevent you from keeping your Goldendoodle should he or she NOT stay small, you are going to fall in love with your doodle no matter how small or large that dog turns out to be. If you do have to be a stickler for size, then purchase a Goldendoodle that is 6 months or older. A Goldendoodle who is six months or older is half way to their genetic weight and height and its much easier to determine whether or not the dog will be the size that you desire to own. Too many breeders advertise "Miniature Goldendoodles" when in fact what they mean is that you will wind up with a dog that can range from 35-50 pounds and I don't consider that to be a Miniature sized dog. True miniature sized dogs do not weigh more than 25 pounds in genetic body weight. Not by Kennel standards anyway. Many Goldendoodle breeders have created their own size "standard" and I'm not sure how they got there. It certainly wasn't by "doing". If they create a size standard then it means that each puppy, out of the same litter, would fall into a different size category...per litter. Purebred puppies all fall into the same size category when coming out of the same litter, in general. As I said earlier, we saw less size disparity between siblings when a Goldendoodle was bred to a Poodle that was not closely related to the Poodle in the Goldendoodle and perhaps if each individual puppy out of the same litter were extremely close in size, they then could be placed into a size category...but we've always seen a very wide variance in size when a Golden Retriever was bred to a Poodle, with the offspring, thus making it impossible to place the pups into a particular size category. I personally believe that the Goldendoodle dog is the ultimate dog on the face of this planet, regardless of size and while some will disagree with me, those who have fallen in love with the Goldendoodle like I have, will agree with my feelings about this terrific hybrid. Too many people have expectations that are unrealistic after buying a Goldendoodle, thus, these are the people who have issues with their ability to own, train or fall in love with the Goldendoodle dog they purchased. If you do have size restrictions or personal issues that is your reason for owning a small Goldendoodle, then you should attempt to locate a Goldendoodle puppy that is 6 months or older. From a personal standpoint, It is easier for me to determine what size a Goldendoodle puppy will be when they are past 6 months of age or if the puppies are coming from parents who have been paired before. I have had great success over the years in determining sizes with younger Goldendoodle puppies, but I have still been fooled on occasion! This will happen to any hybrid breeder.
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