Colours of Goldendoodles for Breeders

This document is aimed more at Breeders and will have genetic terminology used. But, for those not familiar with these, I will give a brief outline of some basic meanings.

A capital letter means it is a dominant trait, ex. B= dominant.

A lower case letter means it is a recessive trait, ex. b = recessive.

Genetic carrier (Carrier), means that the dog has an inherited recessive trait that it does not display, but can pass on to offspring.

Black = Black Coloured Dog

Chocolate = Brown Coloured Dog

White, Creme, Apricot or Red = White, Creme, Apricot or Red Coloured Dog, but could have either Brown or Black pigmentation.

Phantom = Either a Black Dog with Tan/Silver points on face, inner legs, chest and under tail or a Chocolate Dog with Tan points on face, inner legs, chest and under tail.

Brindle = Either Black with light coloured tiger striping over entire body or Brown with light coloured tiger striping over entire body. This can be in varying degrees of light to dark colouring.

Sable = A Black or Brown dog that will fade to a light (usually) tan or silver body, with dark tips only remaining over time. As a puppy you will see the lighter colour coming into the coat as the base of the hair.

Parti = Parti is when any of the above colours also have white markings. Parti’s generally have more than 30% white on them.

Abstract = Abstracts when there are white markings present on the face, chest and/or paws of a dog.

Silvers (or Silver Beige) = A Dog that started out as either Black or Brown and faded over time, starting at points with silver hairs.

All dogs have a base coat of Black or Chocolate (Brown), you can tell whether they are Black or Chocolate based on their pigment on their nose. If there are no other genes acting on the Black or Chocolate, you will see a solid Black or Chocolate dog. Black in dominant to Chocolate, so it requires only one copy of the Black gene to give you Black. Chocolate is recessive and requires two copies of the gene and therefore both parents need to carry Chocolate. It is very, very rare to find a Golden Retriever that carries for Chocolate, therefore in order to get Chocolate you need to have a F1b or higher generation. F1’s should not be Chocolate. I have been told of rare occurrences of Chocolate carrying Golden Retrievers, but this is very rare and most breeders selling F1 Chocolates are not purebred lines. The gene that determines Black or Chocolate is the B locus.

B/B or B/b = Black

b/b = Chocolate (Brown)

The most common Goldendoodle colours are White, Cream and Apricot. The same gene also produces Reds. You need two copies of this gene for it to be seen on their coat, as it is a recessive gene. These dogs can have either Black or Chocolate pigmentation. This gene gives a range of shades within it, going from white to red. If you breed a white to a red, you will generally get a range of colours between those colours, but many would fall into the cream and apricot colours. If you are wanting light white, breed white to white, if you are wanting darker reds, breed darker red to darker red. The gene that determines whether a dog is White, Cream, Apricot or Red is the E locus. It is also important to note, that the K locus and A locus will not be expressed if a puppy is genetically e/e.

E/E or E/e = No White, Cream, Apricot or Red

e/e = White, Cream, Apricot or Red

In order to get Phantom, Brindle and Sables you need the combination of two genes working together. The first gene is the K locus. There is the dominant gene Kb and the recessive gene Ky. Kb is a blocking gene that does not allow expression of the A locus (second gene needed to produce phantoms/sables), so if you have even one Kb gene the A locus can not be expressed no matter what the genes are on that locus. Also, Brindle is believed to be found on the K locus and only needs one copy to be expressed.

Kb/Kb, Kb/Kbr or Kb/Ky = No expression on A locus

Kbr/Kbr or Kbr/Ky = Brindle Expressed (not all companies do this test though and it is controversial to the validity of this gene with regards to Brindle)

Ky/Ky = Expression of A locus allowed

Secondly the A locus is what will determine what colours we see on the solid black or chocolate colours. This is a tiered system as follows:

Ay/Ay = Sable

Ay/At = Sable Phantom

At/At or At/a= Phantom

a/a = Solid Coloured

Parti is a colour that is becoming more and more popular. It is white markings on any other colour already noted above. Parti is another gene that is not found in Golden Retrievers and because it is a recessive gene you will not see it in F1’s, but can get parti’s in F1b or above generations. Solid colour is dominant and parti colour is recessive.

S/S or S/sp = Solid Colour

sp/sp = Parti Colour

Abstracts are often a result of a dog carrying one parti gene, but not all abstract carry parti and not all parti carriers have abstract markings.

Silvers were thought to be caused by the D locus and a recessive gene, but this is not widely accepted, as the D locus has only been proven to produce blues, charcoals and lilacs. This is more likely in our opinion, as many breeders have noted that silvers come in such varying degrees, that they might not be a straight dominant/recessive relationship. Also, it is highly likely they are caused by a completely different gene than blues, etc.

If you put all these genes together, by using this flow chart, it will give you what the combination of these genes will give you colour wise.

Flow Chart for Colours



8 thoughts on “Colours of Goldendoodles for Breeders

  1. I absolutely love all the information you have on your website about genetics. I am a new small breeder and have a question. We had our first litter of F1 Goldendoodles earlier this year… they were all black. haha. We bred an AKC Golden Retriever with our AKC Standard Parti Brown/White Poodle. Needless to say, we were surprised when all 8 puppies were black. Some had very small white markings. I am currently looking at new puppies to breed in the future. I love the merle goldendoodles. Here is my idea.

    I found a breeder fairly local that has a blue merle F1B stud. I am still waiting on the DNA test results to come in on our Brown/white parti poodle, but my idea is to breed her with the blue merle F1B. I know we don’t have all the pieces to the puzzle, but with that limited information that I have given do you have any idea if some of the puppies from this litter would carry the merle gene. I read your post on merle genetics. I understand some of the puppies would have the merle gene, but could be cryptic merle. Obviously, the purpose is not to have cryptic merles and want to produce merles that are visible.

    I cannot believe the complexity of all the genetics that go into producing specific colors, patterns, and coats.

    Another question. If my objective is to produce merle goldendoodles, my idea was to get a merle F1B Goldendoodle stud to breed with future Goldendoodles. I was leaning toward F1 Goldendoodle females to breed with the merle male. What should I be looking for in a female? A certain coat color better than another? Should I be looking at F1 to breed with F1B? Or F1B to F1B?

    Sorry for such a long post. I find this so interesting and I’m excited about learning more and breeding in the future.



    1. So, the whole black litter makes sense if your chocolate parti doesn’t carry apricot. But, the nice thing is that all the black puppies would carry chocolate, parti and apricot. If you are planning to breed this same chocolate parti to a merle F1b you will get 50% merles and 50% non merles. It will depend on the colour the merle carries what variety of merles and solid you will get though. Specifically chocolate and the parti gene would be good to know. You will want to make sure that the F1b carries two furnishings if you are planning on breeding back to an F1 due to not wanting unfurnished puppies. Ideally with breeding merles if you want less cryptic merles, you will want to avoid cream, apricot and red colours and heavily marked parti’s (extreme parti). I personally love F1b bred to F1, but you always need to make sure that the F1b has two furnishing genes, but F1b to F1b is also a really nice cross. Hope this helps. If you have any other questions let me know.


      1. Thank you SOO much! I love digging into the genetics, but I have to admit it is a little confusing. So I purchased a Standard Male Poodle to use for our stud. My Plan is to breed F1BB Goldendoodles puppies. He is AKC and a Blue(Black) Merle. He is only 2 1/2 months old but have already go his DNA test results. He is dominant Black and carries two tan points, 1 Chocolate (variant 3), 1 recessive black, 1 recessive red, 1 Merle, 1 Piebald, and 1 Saddle Tan. He has 2 copies of furnishings

        If you were looking for an F1B Goldendoodle to breed with him what traits would you look for? Besides temperament. If he was to breed with a red, apricot, or cream goldendoodle would there be a higher chance of cryptic merles? Any possibility to have a red apricot or cream puppy based on his DNA? I want to try to avoid having solid black puppies. I know with the Merle that roughly 50% could carry the merle gene.

        Hypothetical – If I was to breed him with a Chocolate abstract F1B (father chocolate parti poodle and mother carries chocolate F1 Goldendoodle). Can you tell me what type puppies you would expect from this combination?

        Thanks again for your willingness to educate us beginners!


        1. Is he KbKb or KbKy? If you bred to an apricot you would get 50% apricot, half of which would be cryptic merles. So, only 25% of the litter would be visible merles. If you bred to a chocolate abstract that carried parti and not apricot (assuming stud is KbKb). You would get 18.75% each of Chocolate, Chocolate Merle, Black and Blue Merle, then 6.25% each of Chocolate Parti, Chocolate Merle Parti, Black Parti and Blue Merle Parti.


          1. Awesome! He is KbKb. Based off my limited understanding so far I believe my male is BbEeKbKbSsM. I used Optimal Selection through Wisdom Panel for his DNA tests. Do you recommend a better DNA test?

            So if I bred him to a bbEEKbKbSs I would get 18.75% each of Chocolate, Chocolate Merle, Black and Blue Merle, then 6.25% each of Chocolate Parti, Chocolate Merle Parti, Black Parti and Blue Merle Parti?

            What if she was bbEeKbKbSs? Would that mean 25% of the litter would be apricot and half of those 25% would be cryptic merle?


            1. I personally love Paw Print Genetics, as it is easy to read and they use two different methods on every test, so it is very accurate as well, but most labs give you a general idea colour wise. Yes, if she was Ee, you would get 25% Apricot, with half being cryptic merles.


  2. I have an F1B, and I am thinking about breeding him with an F1 brindle. Her mom is a golden retriever, and her dad is a parti poodle. We are wondering what the colors of the offspring will be.


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