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Goldendoodle Breeding & Pregnancy FAQs (Veterinarian Advice!)

By Dr. Merliza Cabriles, D.V.M.

litter of goldendoodle puppies

Breeding Goldendoodles is both a science and an art. It comes with important and crucial responsibilities. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and will require total devotion and commitment.

Responsible dog breeders always share an underlying purpose—to improve the breed.  This is achieved by making sure that the parents have been tested for specific Goldendoodle health issues, including prenatal checks. 

Breeding Goldendoodles will entail devoting time to acquiring in-depth knowledge about the breed, including genetic testing and the standards established by the Goldendoodle Association of North America (GANA).

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A responsible Goldendoodle breeder is dedicated to learning about Goldendoodle pregnancy, health, breeding, and raising puppies. Goldendoodle breeders also recognize the importance of attending breed-specific events and establish good relationships with reputable Goldendoodle breeders.

In this article, I’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the breeding and pregnancy of Goldendoodles. While this isn’t a comprehensive resource, consider it a starting point in your journey.

How Long Are Goldendoodles Pregnant?

The average gestation period of Goldendoodles is 63 days, although it could vary from 58 to 68 days. 

When calculating the number of days of pregnancy, you should bear in mind that conception is often hard to ascertain.  After mating, the sperm could live for several days inside the reproductive tract of the female dog, and the female’s eggs can remain fertile for up to 48 hours.

This means the act of mating is not a reliable way to start measuring the gestation period. The best way to predict your pet’s length of pregnancy is to seek the assistance of a veterinarian. 

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What Does the Goldendoodle Gestation Period Mean?

The gestation period refers to the time between when the fetus was conceived and birth. 

The gestation period of Goldendoodles may vary if the female has been bred several times or if the eggs are fertilized by the sperm a day or two after mating. It is calculated from the first day of ovulation and not during the day of mating. 

In order for your veterinarian to accurately test for pregnancy and calculate conception dates, be sure to keep track of your dog’s heat cycle and breeding period. 

goldendoodle puppies

When Can Goldendoodles Get Pregnant?

The minimum age for Goldendoodles to get pregnant is 2-3 years of age. The maximum is 12 years old. 

The first heat cycle of female Goldendoodles takes place between 6 and 18 months of age. While they are able to get pregnant at this time, this is not the best time to start breeding your Goldendoodle.

When they reach 7 years of age or older, the length of time between heat cycles generally increases, and certain health issues may make your pet’s pregnancy riskier. 

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When Can Male Goldendoodles Breed?

The minimum age that male Goldendoodles can breed is 2 years old. The maximum is 10 to 12 years of age. 

Once male Goldendoodles become sexually mature, they will be able to mate every day throughout their entire lifetime. However, the amount and quality of the dog’s sperm will be less at the very start and at the very end of his life.

The viability and vitality of the sperm can be affected by the aging process, illness, or exposure to toxins. 

Read More: Male vs Female Goldendoodle: Which is Right for You?

What is the Best Age to Breed a Goldendoodle? 

For female Goldendoodles, veterinarians advise waiting until the dog’s second heat cycle, which usually occurs about 6 months after the first heat cycle, when the female dog is about 2 years old.

Female Goldendoodles can get pregnant throughout their lives.  They don’t go through menopause, but their fertility significantly decreases past a certain age. 

For male Goldendoodles, the recommended time for first breeding should be when they’re around 2 years old. This is to ensure that the dog doesn’t have any hereditary or behavioral issues that he might pass on to his litter.

How Often Can You Breed a Goldendoodle?

A Goldendoodle can be bred every 6 to 8 months. However, experts recommend letting one heat cycle pass in between each litter to avoid over-breeding your Goldendoodle. 

How Do I Know If My Goldendoodle Is in Heat?

A Goldendoodle that is in heat will exhibit both physical and behavioral signs that include the following:

  • Frequent urination
  • Blood-tinged discharge
  • Swollen vulva
  • Appear nervous or distracted
  • Show sexual receptiveness by raising her rear end towards male dogs and deflecting her tail to one side (also known as ‘flagging’)
  • May initiate sexual contact or actively court male dogs (this usually takes place from the middle stages of the cycle until the end of the cycle)

What Should I Expect During the First Goldendoodle Heat Cycle?

The earliest sign of heat in Goldendoodles is swelling or engorgement of the vulva. However, there are female dogs in which the swelling is not as obvious.

In this case, the first tell-tale sign of estrus that will catch a pet owner’s attention is a bloody vaginal discharge. 

For some female dogs that are in heat, the vaginal discharge will become apparent several days after heat has begun. The amount of vaginal discharge during heat varies from dog to dog.

As the cycle progresses, the color and appearance of the vaginal discharge change. The bloody discharge during the early part of the cycle eventually becomes thin, watery, and light red in color as days pass. 

pregnant canine

How Long is a Goldendoodle in Heat?

The estrus cycle of Goldendoodles can vary from 2-4 weeks with an average of 3 weeks.                

How Can I Tell If My Goldendoodle is Pregnant?

1-2 Weeks After Mating 

For the first several weeks after being mated, most dogs don’t show any signs of being pregnant. 

3rd week of Pregnancy (Second Trimester)

Some weight gain may be noticed as early as 3 weeks into the dog’s pregnancy. Morning sickness such as nausea and vomiting is rare but may occur in some dogs around days 21 to 25 as a result of hormonal changes. 

Days 25 – 30 of Pregnancy   

The dog’s teats or nipples become more prominent as a result of an increase in the blood supply. Around day 30, there may be a clear or mucoid discharge from the pregnant dog’s vulva. 

5th week of Pregnancy

Weight gain is more noticeable. 

Day 40 of Pregnancy

Mammary glands are noticeably enlarged and there may be some clear discharge from the dog’s nipples. The dog’s abdomen is distinctly enlarged. 

Closer to Full Term

The movement of the puppies inside the dog’s abdomen may be noticeable. 

When Does a Pregnant Goldendoodle Start to Show?

Signs of pregnancy in Goldendoodles are typically exhibited during the second trimester or during the third week of pregnancy. 

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How Do You Know When Your Goldendoodle is in Labor? 

When a pregnant Goldendoodle is on her ninth week of pregnancy, she will begin to exhibit signs of impending labor that include:

  • Restlessness
  • Nesting Behavior – She may scratch around to make a ‘nest’ for her puppies at least 1-7 days before actual labor begins. 
  • Physical Changes – The pregnant dog’s body undergoes distinct physical changes as labor time approaches. These changes include enlargement of the mammary gland, swelling of the vulva, and a vaginal discharge that’s clear to slightly cloudy. Two to nine days before whelping, milk may be present. 
  • Drop in Body Temperature – This usually occurs 24 hours before labor. A pregnant dog’s temperature will drop below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The normal temperature of Goldendoodles is between 100.5 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Abdomen Hardens – As labor approaches, the dog’s abdomen hardens at regular intervals because of uterine contractions.

Signs and Stages of True Labor

As labor becomes more imminent, the frequency and intensity of the contractions will increase. The dog may not have much of an appetite and her abdomen hardens like a bag of rocks. 

Stage 1 – Beginning of Labor

  • Dog appears agitated
  • Heavy panting
  • A glazed look in her eyes
  • May keep on staring at her abdomen 
  • Pacing
  • May look for a secluded place  

Stage 2 – More Subtle Signs of Labor are Manifested

  • Shivering
  • Refusal to eat
  • May vomit

Stage 3

As labor begins, there may be an increase in vaginal mucus secretion. Nesting may continue and the dog may keep on rearranging the bedding in her whelping box before a puppy is born.   

What is the Average Whelping Time of a Goldendoodle?

The average whelping time of a Goldendoodle is roughly 1 hour per puppy in the dog’s uterus. So, for a litter of 5, the whelping time normally takes about 5 hours total. 

How Many Puppies Do Goldendoodles Have?  What is the Average Goldendoodle Litter Size?

The average Goldendoodle litter size is 3-8 puppies. Several factors that can influence the Goldendoodle’s litter size include genetics, size, age, health, and diet.

average goldendoodle litter size

What Pre-Natal Checks Are Necessary for Breeding Goldendoodles?

The pre-natal checks that are necessary for breeding Goldendoodles include:

  • Hip Testing – OFA, Pennhip, or BVA Certificate
  • Elbow Grading – OFA Or BVA Certificate
  • Eye Screening – CERF Certificate
  • Thyroid Clearance – OFA Certificate or Dr. Dodds Thyroid Testing
  • Heart Testing – Heart Clearance by a Canine Cardiologist or OFA Certificate
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease – Tested by VetGen and cleared, tested by Cornell University and cleared, or cleared by parentage (both parents were tested and cleared).
  • Patellar Luxation* – OFA Certificate
  • PRA DNA Test* –  Testing by HealthGene or Testing by Optigen

*For miniature Poodles and decedents of miniature Poodles.

How Much Does it Cost to Breed a Goldendoodle?

Based on rates of various reputable Goldendoodle breeders, the computation of the average cost to breed a Goldendoodle include the following:

  • Prenatal Tests: $650-$1200
  • Stud Fee: $1000 – $3000
  • Test for Brucellosis (for Natural Mating): $75-$100
  • Progesterone Test (if Artificial Insemination): $300-$500
  • Semen Shipping (if Artificial Insemination): $300 
  • Materials and Supplies: $200-$300

What is the Average Goldendoodle Stud Fee?

The average Goldendoodle stud fee is $400-$3,000.

Where Can I Learn About How to Breed Goldendoodles Responsibly?

To learn about responsible Goldendoodle breeding, you should consider becoming a member of the Goldendoodle Association of America, which is the first and only breed club for the Goldendoodle. 

There are also a large number of Facebook groups where you can connect with and learn from other breeders in your area and across the world.

Read More…

Dr. Merliza Cabriles, D.V.M.

Contributing Professional

Dr. Merliza Cabriles is a licensed veterinarian and university professor with many years of experience in food animal and pet companion medicine. Her passion for writing as well as pet parent education and support is echoed in the articles and ebooks she has written.