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Inheriting Gold! Genetics of Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles Explained

Updated: Jan 23

All living beings inherit traits from their parents, which is no different in dog breeding. Particularly when it comes to two popular breeds, Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles, while it's common to notice varied features like coat color, pattern, and puppy size within a litter, understanding the genetics behind these variations can be quite fascinating.


In the 19th century, Gregor Mendel's experiments using pea plants laid the foundation for modern genetics. While Mendel observed pea plants, our interest today lies in the genetics of Golden Retriever and Goldendoodle puppies.


Mendelian Inheritance Explained with Genetics of Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles


Regardless of how different they might appear from their parents, every Golden Retriever or Goldendoodle puppy carries genes inherited from both the mother and father. The expression of these genes in diverse ways is majorly influenced by alleles.


An allele is a variant of a gene. Consider the B-locus as an example, which affects the coat color. Since dogs inherit two alleles for each gene—one from each parent—the combination of these alleles determines the trait's expression.


Dominant and Recessive Alleles


Some alleles exhibit dominance, while others are recessive. For coat color, the dominant allele might be represented as an uppercase B and the recessive as a lowercase b. The offspring's genotype, a combination of these alleles, can be BB, Bb, or bb.


For instance, in the context of our Golden Retriever and Goldendoodle puppies:

  • A puppy with a BB or Bb genotype might have a distinct golden or doodle coat.

  • A puppy with a bb genotype might exhibit a different shade or pattern.


Genotype and Phenotype


While genotypes represent the genetic code, phenotypes are the visible traits. Think of a website: what you see on screen is the phenotype, while the background coding acting as the blueprint is the genotype.


For instance, four Goldendoodle puppies with a dominant B genotype might all exhibit similar golden curly coats.


Visualizing Mendelian Inheritance with Punnett Squares


Punnett squares provide a visualization to predict potential genotypes and phenotypes in offspring. For example, if a Golden Retriever with a BB genotype is bred with a Goldendoodle with a Bb genotype, the square helps determine the likelihood of their puppies exhibiting specific coat patterns or colors.


Inheritance Across Generations


It's intriguing to note that certain traits might not be evident immediately but can appear in future generations. A specific coat pattern, for instance, might skip a generation but show up in the next litter or the one after.


If you're keen on exploring further, delve into how recombination can lead to variations in Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles or examine coat color genetics in depth.


Are you a Golden Retriever or Goldendoodle enthusiast? Check out our available puppies or get in touch for more details on our breeding practices and the unique traits of each puppy. As the leading Golden Retriever and Goldendoodle breeder in Amite, Louisiana, we are passionate about every puppy we raise.

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