The alert and always fun Goldmation brings together the sweet, gentle nature of the Golden Retriever and the spirited, playful Dalmatian for a pooch that is ideal for an active family with kids that are young or old as well as other pets including dogs. He can be quick to bark which makes him a great non-aggressive watchdog for those who appreciate being kept aware of the mailman’s arrival! Ideally, this dog does best when his owner either works from home or can bring in a dog walker to get him out and enjoying some interactive playtime throughout the day.
The family-friendly Goldmation brings together the spirited, playful nature of the Dalmatian and the sweet, gentle personality of the Golden Retriever.
The Goldmation’s Designer Dog status refers to his having been “developed” almost 30 years ago when breeders first began crossing two or more pure-breds in order to produce a dog that was healthier, often non-shedding, smaller and sometimes gentler than many of the popular breeds of the day. With the Goldmation, his parent breeds are the Golden Retriever and the Dalmatian, and in spite of his relatively youthful lineage, he does in fact come from stock that has some pretty impressive history. The Dalmatian has evolved over the centuries without much change to his overall, spotted appearance. In fact, painted walls have been found in Egyptian tombs that show him running behind chariots. Fast forward and while his chariot-chasing days are long gone, he has been used for hunting, herding and as a working dog. The Golden Retriever was developed in Scotland back in the mid-1800s as a solution to the need for a dog that was adept at retrieving downed waterfowl on both land and in water. His gentle, keen-to-please nature made him a favorite companion with hunters.
As a result of his cross-bred or Designer Dog status, the Goldmation doesn’t quality to join the esteemed American Kennel Club (AKC), which is dedicated to promoting the standards and well-being of pure-bred dogs. That said, both of this dog’s pure-bred parents are long-time AKC members who are also highly popular breeds with families throughout North America. The Dalmatian became a member of the “non-sporting” group in 1888 and is considered, dignified, outgoing and smart while the Golden Retriever was inducted back in 1925 to the “sporting” group and is described as a friendly, intelligent and devoted dog.
Food / Diet
Your Goldmation is going to need a diet of top quality kibble that is rich in nutrients and designed to support his age, size and level of activity. Always opt for a food that is high in protein versus fillers such as carbohydrates that can leave him feeling hungry and cause him to either over-eat or become the family mooch. Because the Dalmatian side of this dog can be prone to urinary stones, a constant supply of fresh water is important to maintain good physical health. Joint issues can be a problem in larger dogs including the Goldmation as they age, so its important to established an ideal weight is determined and maintained for this dog. Overeating can result in obesity and painful senior years, so plan to feed him 2 to 3 smaller meals throughout the day versus free-feeding and always ensure that his treats are healthy and only doled out “as earned” versus as part of his daily diet.
The Goldmation is a spirited, friendly dog that is highly loyal to his human pack.
You’ll be working with offspring from two very bright dogs here and because one of his parent breeds loves to bark and howl (the Dalmatian side of this pooch is known to be a vocal boy), you’ll want to get his obedience training accomplished while he is still young and more inclined to pick up commands and obey. Patience will be needed and you will want to understand that when it comes to his barking, your goal is to control it versus try to stop it – it’s just part of his nature that will never change. With this dog, you have two breeds that love praise and being rewarded for having “done good”, so take a positive approach and heap on the verbal encouragement plus a few treats when he’s picked up and responded to your instructions. Be firm, consistent, always fair and remember that socialization is an important part of the training process. For the clever Goldmation, this can begin at just a couple months of age, by exposing him to new people, places and situations including training classes for puppies. All this will help ensure his comfort in different situations and with new experiences.
When fully grown, your Goldmation will typically weigh somewhere between 55 and 70 pounds depending on gender and whether his DNA picks up more of the Dalmatian or the heavier Retriever genes.
Temperament / Behavior
The Goldmation is a spirited, friendly dog that is highly loyal to his human pack and a great companion dog to families with kids of all ages, as well as other pets. He considers himself to be a key part of the family unit and thrives on human companionship and all activities that include his people pack. Because this intelligent dog has a highly social nature and the potential to inherit the Golden’s tendency to suffer from separation anxiety, he doesn’t do well when left on his own for long periods of time and can develop destructive behaviors that include chewing and constant barking. As the Dalmatian can already be prone to the latter, you’ll want to ensure he receives not only obedience training while he is young, but regular daily exercise to help him burn off any excess energy. And to help satisfy his need for mental stimulation, toys and puzzle games with hidden treats are a great choice that will give him a little reward for all his hard work. While Golden Retrievers were bred to be a quick study when it comes to fetching waterfowl and therefore thrive on accomplishing tasks and receiving praise, the Dalmatian was originally bred to be a watchdog and for that reason your Goldmation has a guarding instinct that can make him protective and quick to bark if he feels it’s warranted. That said, he isn’t considered aggressive and once a new face has been acknowledged and accepted by his humans, the super-friendly Golden side kicks in and he’s cool with backing off.
Common Health Problems
Because Designer Dogs are typically free of the health issues that can beset their pure-bred parents, they are a great option for new pet parents who may be concerned about the financial and emotional toil of caring for a dog that is suffering from a debilitating, congenital ailment. That said, prospective owners should always do their homework when it comes to learning more about what their new pup could inherit down the line. With the Goldmation, that can include heart disease and certain cancers from the Retriever as well as joint issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia from both parent breeds. From the Dalmatian, he can also be prone to not only kidney stones and deafness, but the breed has ranked 11th out of more than 3,000 dogs tested, for thyroid issues. But fear not. While this list may seem concerning, the Goldmation is still considered a healthy dog breed and you may never experience any of these issues throughout your pet’s lifetime.
By ensuring your pooch has a regular exercise regimen, a top-quality food suited to his size, age and activity level plus regular preventative maintenance check-ups with your vet, you can expect your Goldmation to live between 10 and 12 years; which is about average for a larger medium-sized dog.
The feisty Goldmation is a spirited dog who needs regular daily exercise including some fun agility work that can include simply throwing a ball in the yard, added to his long daily walks. Including him on your hikes, runs or jogs is another way to mix up his routine and help keep him physically fit and mentally stimulated – both of which are important for this particular dog. Because he is highly social he’ll enjoy the ability to run full tilt and explore the many interactive opportunities that a leash-free park can present however the Dalmatian side of him may result in an overly excited pooch that can be a nuisance to other animals, so you may want to monitor his actions to ensure he plays nice with the other dogs. Prospective owners need to appreciate the importance of meeting this dog’s exercise needs in order to avoid him adopting destructive behaviors such as chewing and incessant barking.
The Goldmation is a loyal, sometimes willful dog that is friendly, playful and loves to be part of all family activities.
The Goldmation (also known as the Goldmation Retriever) is the result of crossing two different pure-bred dogs which means he doesn’t qualify to join the coveted American Kennel Club (AKC) roster as they are dedicated solely to individual pure-bred lines. However, he is recognized by some of the lesser known clubs including the International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR), the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), the Designer Breed Registry (DBR), the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA) and the Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC).
You can bet that while your Goldmation may or may not pick up the longer coat of the Golden Retriever, he will inherit some of the iconic spotting that his Dalmatian parent breed is known for – as well as his tendency to be a heavy shedder. The markings may be pronounced and highly visible or subtle with just a smattering of darker spots on his lighter fur. To help keep this long, unique coat looking it’s very best, you should expect to brush him 2 to 3 times a week to prevent matting and tangles – more frequently during shedding season. And because Dalmatians are known droolers, you may need to bathe him more frequently than you would most other breeds of dog. Alternatively, you could plan to simply use a damp towel or washcloth to clean up his jawline as needed and throw down a couple of blankets or towels on his favorite nesting spot that can be tossed into the wash to prevent the “doggy” smell that often accompanies drool. While professional grooming won’t be necessary, he will have floppy ears which can harbor dirt and bacteria. To avoid the smelly yeast infection floppy-eared dogs can be prone to, you will need to inspect and do a light cleaning on a weekly basis. Just a quick wipe with a damp cotton swab that can be timed to coincide with his regular brushing regimen and your pooch will think he’s just been to the spa!
Your new family member will be a good-sized puppy that will grow into a medium-sized dog that leans toward the larger size, which is why its important to begin his obedience and socialization at an early age – while he is more likely to listen and learn new commands. Because the Dalmatian side of the Goldmation pup can be a bit high-strung, socializing him while he is still very young is ideal. Introduce him to new faces, the experience of being handled and the smells and sounds of other animals. Begin when they are just a few weeks old (with mom’s approval) by slowly building up his confidence through new, positive and controlled experiences. This little guy should also be tested for autoimmune thyroiditis which is common on the Dalmatian side of this dog. Additionally, a hearing test called a BAER can be conducted on puppies as young as five weeks that will identify whether he has inherited the Dalmatians propensity for deafness. And always remember that as he ages, he may be prone to joint issues so ensure exercise and playtime is never too rough on tiny limbs.
Photo credits: E. Kotsinova/Shutterstock; Clement Morin/Shutterstock; Eric Isselee/Shutterstock
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