Can Goldendoodles Be Black?

By: Ruth O'Neil
can goldendoodles be black

On paper, a black Goldendoodle sounds oxymoronic. Indeed the clue is in the name. 

Interestingly, that’s not how Goldendoodle colors work or even where the dogs get their name. We have comprehensively researched Goldendoodle genetics and the cross-breeding process that produces them. 

So, let’s break down how the answer to ‘Can a Goldendoodle be black’ could be yes. 

Where Goldendoodles Get Their Name 

Let’s start with a brief history of the Goldendoodle. These dogs are a mixture of Poodles and Golden Retrievers. 

They became popular in the 1990s as an alternative to the Labradoodle. The aim was to give partially sighted people another hypoallergenic option for guide dogs. 

Retrievers have a long history as service animals. The Poodle’s blend of brains, willingness to please, and low-shedding coat made them the ideal choice for cross-breeding. 

The resulting puppies became known colloquially as Goldendoodles, but not because they were golden. You see more brown, red, and cream Goldendoodles than truly golden dogs. 

Instead, the name is a spoonerism that combines the names of the canine parents. 

How Goldendoodle Coat Colors Work 

So, that’s where Goldendoodles get their name. But can Goldendoodles be black? 

Surprisingly, they can.

All dog coat colors can be reduced to two primary pigments; Eumelanin and pheomelanin. The former contributes to dark pigments like black and brown. At the same time, pheomelanin is responsible for lighter colors like reds and apricots. 

Despite their variations, all melanins have a base color. The degree of melanin in their coats gives dogs their variety.

Gene Modification 

The other factor that affects whether a Goldendoodle can be black is what genes a dog carries. Famously, the merle gene dilutes eumelanin and makes black dogs blue. 

Notably, an expressed merle gene can also pose significant health problems for dogs, the most obvious of which include:

  • Blindness 
  • Deafness 

A merle-expressing dog may not be born with these traits but can develop them over time. 

black goldendoodle
Goldendoodles Can Be Black With The Right Genetics

Are Black Goldendoodles Rare? 

So, Goldendoodles can be black, and the right level of eumelanin produces a black Goldendoodle. But surely, if all you need is a high eumelanin level, black Goldendoodles should be a dime a dozen? 

You would think that, but they aren’t. We tend to think of black as a dominant color because that’s how genetics work in people. 

To some extent, that’s even how genetics work in dogs. You are always more likely to get a black-and-tan Dachshund, for instance, than a piebald one. 

And while black can be dominant in dogs, the other dominant canine color is red. That’s important because while Goldendoodles aren’t named because of their color, Golden Retrievers are. 

Golden Retrievers showcase a variety of strong and dilute reds and creams. In Goldendoodle offspring, it’s common for those reds to be dominant over black. 

But that makes sense when you think about it because first-generation Goldendoodles express half of their Retriever parent’s genes. 

Generations Explained 

For that to make sense, you must understand what canine generations are. 

‘Generation’ is the term used by breeders to reflect how established their dogs’ lineage is. 

An F1 Goldendoodle is unlikely to be black as it’s part of the first generation of cross-bred puppies. 

Chances are fractionally higher in second-generation or F2 Doodles because it becomes possible to breed one Goldendoodle with another. But it depends on the colors and expressed coats available to the breeder. 

The offspring of F2 Goldendoodles get designated F3, as do all dog generations after that. 

How Do I Get a Black Goldendoodle? 

The best chance of creating a Goldendoodle emerges in a generation called F1B. 

Dogs with a B integrated into their generational designation are dogs with a particular parental strain re-introduced into their makeup. 

This loses some of the hybrid vigor specific to mixed-breed dogs. Still, it helps strengthen characteristics like hypoallergenic status or coat color. 

Consequently, breeders seeking to produce black Goldendoodles typically re-cross a Goldendoodle with a black Poodle parent. 

That integrates higher concentrations of eumelanin into the genetic mix and ups the chances of a black Goldendoodle. 

It would be inaccurate to say black is a recessive color, especially given its prominence in the Poodle world. But what is true is that it blends effectively with classic Golden Retriever colors to produce a rich, dark red or apricot Goldendoodle. 

And that is why, while Goldendoodles can be black, they usually aren’t. 


By now, we’ve established that the answer to ‘Can a Goldendoodle be black?’ is yes. 

But what else do prospective Goldendoodle owners ask? 

Do black Goldendoodles shed more than other Goldendoodles? 

One of the primary reasons people investigate Goldendoodles is their hypoallergenic potential. 

Typically, the farther you go into a mixed dog’s generations, the more hypoallergenic they become. So, what does that mean for black Goldendoodles? 

Owners are in luck. Because the best way to create a black Goldendoodle is by re-crossing a Goldendoodle with a Poodle, they are less likely to shed than other Doodles. That’s because they exhibit more Poodle characteristics, including their hypoallergenic fur. 

Do black Goldendoodles exhibit different personalities from other Goldendoodles? 

Goldendoodles are also beloved because of their playful, clever disposition, and color doesn’t change that. A black Goldendoodle is just as clownish and affectionate as its brighter-colored contemporaries. 

Why do people mix up black Labradoodles and Goldendoodles? 

Unless you are a Doodle expert, spotting a black Labradoodle and telling it apart from a black Goldendoodle can be tricky. 

That’s because both dogs display so many Poodle characteristics that while they’re not actual Poodles, it’s hard to discern what the second ancestral breed is. 

A brighter-colored coat alleviates some confusion because it makes it easier to determine coat length and density. 

If a Goldendoodle puppy is black, will it stay that color?

Yes, if your Goldendoodle puppy is born black, you can be confident it will stay that color through adulthood.

Can a Goldendoodle Be Black? Final Thoughts

Can Goldendoodles be black? Yes. But they’re the hen’s teeth of the canine world, and creating one requires commitment and patience from a reputable breeder. 

What’s important is that you get the Goldendoodle right for you. That means an affectionate, often ridiculous dog, irrespective of color. 

Photo of author


Ruth O'Neil
Owner of two bouncy Cockapoos, Jasper and Harley. whose energy knows no bounds!

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