Mini Golden Retrievers: The Complete Guide (Pros, Cons & Differences) – Golden Hearts

Mini Golden Retrievers: The Complete Guide (Pros, Cons & Differences)


mini golden retriever

What are mini golden retrievers?

Are they just like golden retrievers with the same loving temperament, just miniature-sized?

Are they actually healthier?

Do they shed less?

Are they even golden retrievers?

In this post, we’ll break down everything you need to about these mini adorable dogs.

Let’s dive in!

What Is A Mini Golden Retriever?

Let’s begin this section with what a mini golden retriever is not…

A mini golden retriever is not a purebred golden retriever.

It’s also not a golden retriever with dwarfism.

The name “miniature golden retriever” is misleading because these dogs are actually a crossbreed.

A miniature poodle is a poodle, and a miniature schnauzer is a schnauzer, but a miniature golden retriever is a designer breed.

It’s usually a mix between a golden retriever and some combination of poodle, goldendoodle, and/or cocker spaniel.

And since mini goldens are actually a combination of breeds, their size, personality, and healthiness mostly depend on what breeds their parents are and how much of their genes are from them.

Since a golden retriever poodle mix will be different than a golden retriever cocker spaniel mix, it’s tough to make generalizations about these dogs if we don’t know what their lineage is like.

Kathy Burgess from Comfort Retrievers is said to have created the first mini golden retriever and calls them Comfort Retrievers (which is a trademarked name).

Mini golden retrievers, like most designer breeds, are not recognized by the AKC.

Cooper The Mini Golden Retriever [VIDEO]

What a cutie!!

The Truth About Designer Breeds

There is some debate about the legitimacy and ethics of designer breeds, but we should keep in mind that 150 years ago, golden retrievers were a designer breed, too.

Lord Tweedmouth wanted a dog that could retrieve gunned down birds on land and in the water, so he mixed a Tweed water spaniel with a wavy-coated retriever.

People are doing the same thing today.

They want a golden retriever that is healthier, sheds less, and is smaller, so they’re creating the mini golden retriever.

The issues that come into play here are whether or not these dogs (and the breeders) can deliver on this promise, and whether the breeders are prioritizing a specific size and look over health and temperament.

When two golden retrievers have a litter of puppies, you pretty much know exactly what you’re going to get.

But when you mix two breeds, everything is not a 50/50 mix.

In the case of a golden retriever and cocker spaniel mix, some of the puppies may be bigger than others, some may look more like cocker spaniels, and others may look more like golden retrievers.

And when you add a poodle into the mix, some puppies may inherit the poodle’s trait of shedding less, while others may inherit the golden retriever’s trait of shedding a lot.

Another thing to consider about designer breeds is the price.

Some designer breeds may sell for twice the cost of purebreds (which may attract breeders with the wrong priorities).

All this to say, be careful about which breeder you choose if you decide to get a mini golden retriever (more on this later).

Mini Golden Retriever Personality & Temperament

Like all puppies, temperament depends largely on what their parents, grandparents, etc. were like.

The twist with mini golden retrievers is, what breed were their parents and grandparents?

Golden retrievers are obviously loving, loyal, and playful, but what about poodles and cocker spaniels?

According to PetMD, miniature poodles are loyal family dogs and typically shy with strangers, as well as playful, eager to please, and smart.

Cocker spaniels are gentle, obedient, and cheerful, but can be known for their excessive barking.

The personality of the mini golden retriever you bring home will be highly dependent on their lineage, as well as how well they’re socialized.

Mini Golden Retriever Size

Just like mini goldens’ temperament, their size depends on their lineage.

If they have more golden in them, they’ll be probably bigger, but if they have a lot of mini poodle in them, they’ll likely be smaller.

Here’s the size range to expect for these goldens:

  • 20-45 lbs
  • 12-20 inches tall at the withers (shoulders)

This is a pretty big range, but talking with the breeder can help you get a good feel of what size puppies they produce.

Mini Golden Retriever Shedding

Poodles shed a lot less than golden retrievers and cocker spaniels, so if your mini golden has a good amount of poodle in them, then they’ll likely shed less than one who is mostly golden retriever and cocker spaniel.

Having a lot of poodle in them will also change the texture of the coat, given that poodles have curlier and more coarse coats than golden retrievers or cocker spaniels.

Another good thing about mini golden retrievers in regard to shedding is that they just have less volume of hair to shed no matter what their lineage is.

A 75 lb golden retriever with long flowing locks has a lot more fur to shed than a 30-pound dog.

P.S. Click here to learn more about golden retriever shedding.

Mini Golden Retriever Health Issues & Lifespan

miniature golden retriever

Golden retrievers have an average lifespan of 10-12 years.

Miniature poodles have an average lifespan of 13-15 years, and cocker spaniels have an average lifespan of 12-15 years.

Typically, smaller dogs live longer than bigger dogs, so you can expect mini golden retrievers to have similar lifespans to those of mini poodles and cocker spaniels.

As far as health issues go, each breed in this mix has its own common health issues, and cross-breeding can potentially decrease the occurrence of many of these issues.

Part of the reason that golden retrievers have so many health problems is because of inbreeding.

Most all golden retrievers come from the same few dogs 150+ years ago, so most of them have the same genes that are causing these issues to show up.

When you introduce a new breed, a lot of these issues may be stamped out because they’re recessive traits.

This is great news, but…

If a breeder is breeding together closely related mini goldens to produce more consistent puppies, then the issue of inbreeding repeats itself and mini golden retrievers will have their own set of common health issues.

Mini Golden Retriever Exercise Needs

Mini golden retrievers will need a lot of exercise, mostly thanks to their golden retriever heritage.

And in addition to exercising their bodies, they’ll also need to exercise their minds.

Walking will contribute to these needs, but you’ll likely need a little more, especially when these dogs are in their puppy and adolescent stages.

Here are two good ways to stimulate your mini golden’s mind:

  • training
  • puzzle toys, like frozen kongs

And here are two good ways to satisfy their exercise needs:

  • playing games like fetch or tug
  • doggy play dates

Should You Get A Mini Golden Retriever?

If you’re looking for a loving family dog in the 20-40 pound range, then maybe you should consider getting a mini golden retriever.

To help put things in perspective, below is a chart comparing golden retrievers and mini golden retrievers.

 Golden RetrieverMini Golden Retriever
Height21.5-24 inches12-20 inches
Weight55-75 lbs20-45 lbs
Lifespan10-12 years12-15 years
Exercise NeedsLotsSlightly less
TemperamentLoving family dogsLoving family dogs
Easy to train?YesYes
SheddingLotsSlightly less
Price of puppy$500-3,000$1,500-5,000
Yearly cost$1,506-2,464Likely slightly less (they eat less food)

If you’re still interested, the next section will be extremely important.

P.S. Click here to learn more about how much it costs to own a golden retriever.

Choosing A Mini Golden Retriever Breeder

Choosing a breeder is one of the most important decisions that you can make in regards to getting your puppy.

The truth is, unwanted traits, like bad temperament or poor health, are hereditary, so if you want to avoid them, you need to choose a breeder that breeds good-tempered, healthy dogs.

Good breeders breed primarily for health and temperament, then looks or other traits secondary.

You’ll need to be careful with choosing a mini golden retriever breeder for several reasons:

  1. The name “mini golden retriever” itself is misleading since they’re actually crossbreeds, and you don’t want the breeder to mislead you about other things
  2. Mini golden retrievers are very expensive (up to twice the price of normal golden retrievers), so breeding them could attract people who are in it for the money more than a love for the breed
  3. Mini golden retriever breeders are going for a very specific look and size, so inbreeding could become an issue as these dogs get more popular

To find a good breeder make sure to:

  1. Ask what the puppies are bred for (if they prioritize looks and size over health and temperament, you might want to go somewhere else)
  2. Ask for information about the health and temperament history of each parent (and their parents and other family members as well)
  3. Ask about how they’re socializing and stimulating the puppies before adopting them out
  4. Ask for references from other puppy owners
  5. Ask about other puppies they’ve produced

Good breeders care a lot about their puppies, so another thing to look for in a breeder is that they ask you lots of questions as well to make sure you’ll provide a good home.

Conclusion

mini golden retrievers

Although mini golden retrievers aren’t actually golden retrievers, they sure are cute!

Have you ever had a mini golden?

Do you have any questions about these tiny pups?

Let us know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who is thinking about getting a mini golden, please share this with them!

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Jake & Oliver

Jake (the human) and Oliver (thinks he's a human) are the two behind Golden Hearts. Jake believes that golden retrievers are the best dogs, and that you should always check your poop bags for holes. Oliver believes every day is the best day. Learn more about Jake & Oliver here.

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