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Some of the most frequent questions we receive involve coats, generations, and shedding tendencies in Doodles. There are so many contradicting things online. Below is a simplified version of the genetics game we play, written by our resident genetics gal, Kelsey.
So, a low-shedding F1 momma with a genotype of NEGATIVE/POSITIVE is bred to a non-shedding Poodle with a genotype of POSITIVE/POSITIVE for an F1b litter.
Each parent contributes only ONE gene to each puppy, remember. So the Poodle daddy will definitely contribute a POSITIVE gene to each one of his puppies, but the F1 momma should contribute her POSITIVE gene 50% of the time and her NEGATIVE gene the other 50% of the time.
This means in an F1b litter 50% of the litter will be non-shedding with a POSITIVE/POSITIVE genotype like their Poodle daddy, and 50% of the litter should be low-shedding with a NEGATIVE/POSITIVE genotype like their F1 mother.
Whew…. Okay, now that we’ve established that. What about the F2’s and F2b’s and F1bbbbbb’s….. Crazy, life, right? How much will they shed?
An F2 is the product of an F1 and F1 parent. Because each parent could contribute either a POSITIVE or a NEGATIVE in this case, there is a 25% chance the puppies will have a POSITIVE/POSITIVE match up and be non-shedding, a 50% chance they’ll have a POSITIVE/NEGATIVE match up and will be low-shedding, and a 25% chance their parents NEGATIVE/NEGATIVE match up, in which case those F2 puppies will still dump hair like a regular Retriever (even more than both their parents do).
An F2b litter is usually an F2 (one of the ‘grab bag’ puppies from above) bred back to a Poodle. As long as there’s a Poodle daddy in the mix, you’re guaranteed at least one POSITIVE gene, so it will at least be lower shedding, but depending on what genotype the momma has, she could be an F2 that carries anywhere from 0-2 NEGATIVE Retriever genes. It’s totally dependant on the parent!
So, as a breeder, this question of ‘What’s the generation least likely to shed?’ is a difficult one to answer. Anything with a ‘b’ in it has the best potential for being LOWER-shedding (because you'll at least have one POSITIVE), but really the only way to guarantee a NON-SHEDDING puppy is to find a breeder who does coat testing on the parents.
For example, a non-shedding F1b genetically tested and known to be only a POSITIVE/POSITIVE carrier paired with a Poodle or another POSITIVE/POSITIVE F1b or F2b is really the only guarantee of a 100% non-shedding litter. But there has to be coat testing involved.
Anytime a Doodle is bred to a Doodle, it's blanket called a Multigenerational Doodle (Australian Doodles fall into this category). But, of course, if the breeder doesn't coat test correctly, you can STILL have a Multigenerational puppy that sheds, anywhere from a little to tons if two recessive NEGATIVES match up incorrectly.
(Please keep in mind that Coat Testing, as well as Health Testing, is expensive and is usually incorporated into the price of the puppies. Breeders offering their puppies for less will likely not do this testing)
WHAT GENERATION DOODLE IS LEAST LIKELY TO SHED?
As a long-time breeder, I get this question all the time. With so much misinformation out there, I thought I’d write up some clarification.
F1, F1b, F2b, Multigen, Australian, etc… What do all these fancy number/letter combinations mean and which one is the ‘right’ one to choose for a family with allergies or wanting a lower-shedding indoor dog?
It’s important that adoptees do their research on this subject, because many hobby breeders who may be having their first, second, or third litter may not even realize this themselves. There is a TON of false advertising of ‘It’s a Doodle, so it doesn’t shed!’ done by good-intentioned, well-meaning, but clueless breeders out there as well.
For those who don’t know much about genetics, I’m going to try to simplify this explanation as much as possible. I’ll be heading back to the original breeds.
Once upon a time, there was a Retriever momma who, although she had the sweetest disposition and gorgeous blocky head, happened to shed buckets. As a full Retriever, she carried TWO shedding genes, represented by the ‘genotypes’ (fancy genetics word) NEGATIVE/NEGATIVE.
Then came along a handsome, non-shedding Poodle daddy. He didn’t shed at all and carried TWO non-shedding genes, called POSITIVE/POSITIVE.
Now, this Retriever and Poodle were bred together for a litter of first generation Doodle puppies (F1’s). Each parent can only contribute ONE shedding gene to each of its offspring. That means the Retriever momma, with only negatives, gave ONE NEGATIVE gene to each puppy, while the Poodle daddy gave ONE POSITIVE gene to each puppy.
This means that every single F1 puppy by default, has a genotype of NEGATIVE/POSITIVE. These puppies *usually* don’t shed as much as a regular Retriever, but definitely won’t be as non-shedding as Poodle.
Any F1 breeder advertising their puppies as non-shedding is either lying or misinformed. (Again, there are many honest newby breeders who just DON’T KNOW this)
Okay, onto F1b’s… An F1b litter is the product of an F1 being bred back to one of its original breeds. Usually, this is the Poodle, since a low/non-shedding coat tends to be the goal, however a Retriever bred to an F1 can also technically be called an F1b (but those will definitely shed).