Hi all,

  We lost our Henry to a late stage insulinoma in February. He was the perfect family dog and left a vast hole in our family.  He was integral to every part of the day and went every where with us.   He was a large doodle , about 75 lbs and had just celebrated his 10th birthday.

 As we are still coping with our loss, I am trying to look forward to our next family member(doodle).  We are hoping to make this addition in the fall.... we loved Henry so much and his big body was only shadowed by the big love he gave us all.  As much as I would love the large full size that he was in the future pup, I am finding myself rethinking it.  

  Are the larger specimens more prone to getting the big health problems?  I realize hip dysplasia is always a concern for large breeds, but what about other stuff such as cancers etc?

Thank you


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  • Hi Paul, I am very sorry for your loss.
    Cancer is not related to size. In many cases, it is related to breed. While dogs of any breed can and do get cancer, it is especially prevalent in certain breeds more than others. With doodles, we have to look at the diseases common to the parent breeds. Golden Retrievers have a very high rate of cancer: 66% of all Goldens develop some type of cancer in their lifetimes. This doesn't mean that a labradoodle will not get cancer (we have members here who have lost their labradoodles to cancer), but your odds are worse with goldendoodles. Bernese Mountain Dogs also have a high cancer rate, so I would expect that bernedoodles would, too.
    Size does play a role with disease in Poodles. The Standards are prone to several different autoimmune diseases that do not occur in Miniature Poodles or Toys. (One reason that breeding a Standard to a Mini to get what the doodle breeders call a "Moyen" is a bad, bad idea.) But any size Poodle can get cancer.
    The bottom line is that whatever diseases occur in the parent breeds can also occur in the mixes, so it's important to look at the breeds being used and the pedigrees/family history of the parent dogs. Unfortunately, that's a lot harder to do with mixes than with purebreds. One reason I went with a purebred Poodle after I lost Jack.
    Again, I'm so sorry for your loss. It is always devastating to lose a dog.

    • Thank you for the reply,  your insight and kind words.   I look forward to continue to learn from great members like you. 

  • Googling it this is what I got.
    Big dogs in general appear to have shorter lives than smaller ones. This doesn't mean every big dog but as a group. It isn't really known why but it's thought that their bodies just wear out faster. 
    Interesting generality tidbit: the larger the animal species, the longer the lifespan but within each species the smaller ones have the longer life span. 

  • I'm sorry for the loss of your much-loved Henry. My Australian Labradoodle, Wally, is almost 16-years old, and has weighed right around 50 pounds throughout his long life. I understand that 50 pounds is smaller than 75 pounds, but he is a relatively large dog and we feel very fortunate to have had him as part of our family for so long. 

  • I'm sorry about Henry. 
    Agree wholeheartedly with Karen.  The best you can do is choose a breed with a low cancer risk and screen the breeder thoroughly and dig into the pedigree.  Nothing is for sure of course, dogs are always a risk to some degree.  I hate that aspect of dog ownership because I so like assurance, but all you can do is due diligence and hope for the best.  

    • A lot of the working/herding/hunting breeds seem to have lower cancer risks.  Huskies, Border collies, Aussies.. poodles are up there too for long life spans but when you introduce something like a Golden or Bernese that increases their risk.  


  • Thank you everyone for your responses and kind words.  We are going to start looking for another Goldendoodle maybe a little smaller,  and hopefully we can line up a good breeder in time to recurve the pup sometime in the fall. 

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