Goldendoodle Puppies Enrich Lives Worldwide
Paul Arnold and his wife, Emily, run an international breeding business in addition to raising 5-year old Averey, 3-year-old Evelyn, and 6-month-old Paul Ivo.
To describe Paul Arnold as a guy who loves dogs is an understatement. That goes for his family, too. “My oldest daughter’s first word was ‘dog,’” Paul says, “not ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad,’ but ‘dog.’”
Paul, a meter reader for Dominion Energy Utah in Cedar City, has had dogs at home his whole life. Now he has a side job breeding and selling “miniature goldendoodles”—a breed that mixes Golden Retrievers and toy poodles. The story of how he got there, though, has some twists and turns. “My parents bred beagles back in the day when that breed was popular,” Paul says. But it took him a while before he got into the dog business. After high school, he served a church mission, spent a summer as a bus driver and fly-fishing guide in Alaska (with his twin brother, Matt Arnold, also a Dominion Energy employee), was an electrician, owned a bait company—the exclusive vendor for selling worms on Lake Powell—spent years as a volunteer firefighter, and worked the graveyard shift at a dairy.
Only after all that did his life really go to the dogs, so to speak. “When I was newly married, I owned a prize beagle stud,” Paul says. “But my wife was allergic to him. So it was the dog or my wife, and I obviously chose my wife.” He spent six months without a dog, he recalls, “and I couldn’t stand it.” But as good fortune would have it, Paul was studying psychology at Southern Utah University and in one of his classes he heard about a possible solution to his no-dog dilemma. “I was in a class where they were talking about canine therapy,” he explains. “They mentioned a ‘labradoodle,’” a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a poodle. “Labradoodles were originally bred for a guy who needed a seeing-eye dog that didn’t shed. And so I thought, ‘Well, if they could make a lab hypoallergenic…’
“Then I just did some research and kind of dove down that rabbit hole and found out about goldendoodles.” The first dog Paul bought was a poodle. “I thought I had sold my soul, or something. I had this toy poodle, and here I am, this guy. But I’ve been nothing but surprised—I love all the dogs: the retrievers, the poodles and the doodles.”
Paul's oldest daughter’s first word was ‘dog,' not ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad,’ but ‘dog.’
The way he explains it, “Retrievers are just tender and nice and kind and sweet. But poodles are the second-smartest dog next to a Border Collie. So when you breed the brains of a poodle into a retriever temperament—that doesn’t shed and weighs only 30 pounds—it’s the ideal dog. It really is.”
Paul’s business model doesn’t include warehousing a bunch of dogs. “I decided to make sure all the dogs I breed are in-home pets that get individual attention and care,” he says. “I feel like the families who are involved with our kennel are a part of the whole process. They’re invested in it and they get a cut of whatever I sell the puppies for.” It’s a win-win because “the puppies spend time around kids and get socialized. It’s a good situation for the dogs and the families.”
Paul’s 7-year-old business is international. “We’ve flown dogs all over,” he says. “We have a dog in the Netherlands and in Mexico, Canada.” As far as the United States, he says, “It’d be easier to tell you the states where we don’t have a dog than the ones where we do.”
Delivering the animals to international clients and working with the airlines is tricky, Paul says. “There’s a lot of customs stuff, extra vet visits and paperwork. And, honestly, it’s probably more work than it’s worth when there’s a lot of people here in the United States who want them. I don’t know, there are some people who just gotta have a doodle, and I don’t blame ’em.”
He chalks their international success up to his wife, Emily. “My wife is a marketing-crazy, awesome person and she does our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube Channel, website, our store on our website, everything,” he says. “That’s what she does: She stays home with our kids”—two girls and a boy—“and markets; she loves it and I’m lucky to have her.” Last year, their Copper Canyon Doodles business sold 100-plus puppies. “This year,” Paul says, “we’re hoping to do 150. We’ll see.” Their waiting list currently stands at 90 people with deposits submitted. He says 40 percent are referrals and 60 percent are new inquiries. “I’m still considered a hobby kennel.”
So, how much do the puppies cost? “There’s money in dogs,” he says. “That’s not why I do it, but there’s money there.” Puppies sell from $1,500 to $1,800 each.
But, as he emphasized, it’s not all about the money. “There’s a group of families who has kids with sensory deprivation disorder that we were able to help sponsor and get them dogs that fit their needs and are smart enough to be trained to be a caregiving dog,” he says. “Things like that have been great. I mean, you wouldn’t think that dog breeding could mean so much. We also have diabetes dogs that detect when someone’s going to have an episode.
“I’m not trying to make it out to be more than it is,” Paul says. But “one thing that’s been great about this dog stuff is I have so many opportunities to enrich people’s lives through something that I love.”