Mini Golden Retriever: Dog Breed Guide

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Golden retrievers have long since been one of America’s favorite dog breeds, as this calm, friendly pup fits in perfectly with families and makes a wonderful companion to any individual. Golden retrievers are also known for their ability to be trained and are regularly used as service dogs, which attests to their helpful and intelligent nature. A mini golden retriever, created by mixing a golden retriever and a cocker spaniel or a poodle, shares many of these same traits, with the main difference being the pup’s size.

If you are considering adopting a mini golden retriever, there are some things that you should keep in mind about this breed. Our article gives you the complete rundown on this breed and tells you everything you should know before you head out to adopt one of these wonderful, friendly dogs.

A Quick Look at Mini Golden Retrievers

The quick facts below about mini golden retrievers can help introduce you to this breed and help you to understand some basics about their appearance, temperament, and care needs.

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Weight/Height 20 to 45 lbs/14 to 20 inches
Coat Type Straight to wiry, depending on the mix
Grooming Needs three out of five bones
Shedding four out of five bones
Temperament  Friendly, playful, and energetic
Good With Kids five out of five bones
Good With Other Animals four out of five bones
Intelligence four out of five bones
Easy to Train four out of five bones
Energy Level four out of five bones
Barking Habits two out of five bones
Lifespan Between 10 and 15 years


What Is the History of the Mini Golden Retriever?

Mini golden retriever on patio with human

Mini golden retrievers are a newer designer dog breed, though this miniature version of the standard-sized golden retriever is quickly gaining popularity. The first known mini golden retriever was created by breeder Kathy Burgess in 2003; her mix was between a full-sized golden retriever and a poodle with the trademarked name of ‘comfort retriever.’ Her goal behind creating this breed was to pack all of the amazing things about the popular full-sized golden retriever into a smaller package.

Today, most mini golden retrievers are created by combining a full-sized golden with a cocker spaniel or a miniature poodle. These dog breeds are chosen specifically for their smaller size, playful and friendly natures, and generally above-average intelligence. And, because there are no specific breeding guidelines and restrictions due to this breed’s fairly new and designer nature, mini golden retrievers may also be created by mixing full-sized golden retrievers and other smaller dogs. However, this is not as popular as the spaniel or poodle mixes.

There is a slight amount of controversy around the mini golden retriever due to the health issues that may be created by downsizing the standard golden retriever and certain breeding practices that some breeders may undertake to achieve the mini golden retriever. Practices such as breeding dwarfism into the dog or using the runts of the litter to breed are frowned upon and should generally be avoided as a reputable breeder will not use them. More information about both the pros and cons of dog breeding can be found here.

All of this being said, the mini golden retriever is a wonderful crossbreed of some of the world’s most popular, friendly, and intelligent dogs. This pup is still gaining popularity but is on course to take the spotlight with its loyal, loving nature packed into a lap-friendly package.

What Do Mini Golden Retrievers Look Like?

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Mini golden retrievers look exactly how you would expect them to look, based on their name. They are a smaller version of the standard golden retriever, and many have the same golden or white fur coloration, though darker bronze or rust colors are sometimes found. Their hair can range from silky and straight to wirier and curlier based on their mix. Their face shape will often be reminiscent of the full-sized golden retriever while carrying slight characteristics of their parents around the ears and nose, be that a spaniel or a poodle.

What Size Is a Mini Golden Retriever?

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The exact size of a mini golden retriever varies from pup to pup, but you can expect this dog to be small to medium-sized on average. They grow between 14 and 20 inches tall and usually weigh between 20 and 45 pounds. They are the perfect size if you want a dog that is bigger than a toy or teacup breed but not quite as large as a purebred golden retriever.

What Is a Mini Golden Retriever’s Coat Type?

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The mini golden retriever has a coat ranging from silky and straight to wiry and curly; the exact coat type depends on whether they are mixed with a spaniel, a poodle, or another smaller breed of dog. Mini golden retrievers can have a single or double coat, which also depends on their parent’s lineage.

What Is a Mini Golden Retriever’s Temperament?

The mini golden retriever has a wonderful temperament reminiscent of the full-sized golden retriever breed. They are affectionate, friendly, and loving and tend to get along with most people, children, and animals. Mini golden retrievers are especially playful and enjoy spending time outdoors with their families or sitting near their owners and playing with their toys. This breed is known for its loyalty and general happiness, making them a great choice for someone who wants a calm, loving, active pup.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Affectionate?

Mini golden retrievers are a very affectionate breed of dog. They love their owners and enjoy spending quality time with their families. You can expect your mini golden retriever to be happy cuddling up with you for an evening, spending their time playing with you, or simply staying close by in order to give and receive as much affection as possible.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Good With Kids?

Due to their calm temperaments, playful nature, and protective traits, mini golden retrievers are good with kids. They don’t have much prey drive and are not very aggressive, making them fit seamlessly into families with small children. A mini golden retriever is a great choice as long as you teach your children how to respect your pup and behave around them.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Good With Other Animals?

In general, mini golden retrievers are good with other animals and can learn to get along with both dogs and cats. They are friendly and inquisitive, likely to want to play with other animals, and will have no problem adapting to new friends. Just make sure that the other animal you are introducing is also ok with meeting new friends to prevent any issues.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Aggressive?

Mini golden retrievers are not known for being an aggressive breed. They have a calmer temperament, almost no prey drive, and are friendly with other dogs or people. Barring any behavioral or training issues, mini golden retrievers do not typically have problems with aggression.

Do Mini Golden Retrievers Bark a Lot?

Golden retriever puppy with grey background

Because mini goldens are generally calm, friendly, and sociable, they also are less likely to bark up a storm. However, your mini golden retriever may bark a bit when they get excited or to alert, as most dogs do. If you find that your mini golden retriever is barking an excessive amount both at home and when out playing, you may need to train this behavior out of them to regain peace and quiet; this is a rarer occurrence with this breed, though.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Intelligent?

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Mini golden retrievers are known for having average or above-average intelligence. Of course, your dog’s intelligence depends on them individually and their parents’ lineage. But for the most part, you can expect your mini golden to pick up training easily, understand what you want from them, and be fairly attentive when you teach them, spend time with them, or interact with them.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Easy To Train?

Mini golden retrievers tend to be easy to train. This is because they are relatively eager to learn and please, are quite intelligent, and love spending time with their owners. These factors make for a dog that loves training sessions and picks up skills quickly. However, you should keep in mind that this pup can be stubborn from time to time, so be sure to maintain patience if they are exhibiting a strong will.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Energetic?

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This breed is quite energetic and fairly playful. They will need at least two 20 to 30-minute walks a day to stay happy, supplemented with toys they can play with during the day and visits to parks or dog play areas so they can socialize. When adopting a mini golden, you should be sure that you can provide them with the proper amount of exercise; otherwise, your pup may develop anxious or destructive habits as a result of boredom.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Good Apartment Dogs?

Due to their smaller size and calmer temperament, mini golden retrievers make good apartment dogs. They can adapt easily to apartment living, even in smaller spaces, as long as they have plenty of toys, are able to spend time with their owners, and have plenty of access to exercise opportunities and the outdoors.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Good Watchdogs?

Golden retriever puppy sitting outside

Unfortunately, mini golden retrievers do not make very good watchdogs. They are too friendly and sociable, and will likely see an intruder or other threat as a new friend. This dog breed is also not known for barking a lot, so they are unlikely to alert you to the presence of a threat or danger the way a good watchdog would.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Good Service Dogs?

While the full-sized golden retriever makes for an excellent service dog, mini golden retrievers don’t quite have the size needed to act as mobility service dogs or guide dogs. However, they may be able to help individuals when it comes to alerting about medical conditions or acting as a psychiatric service dog. They may also make excellent therapy dogs due to their loving and friendly nature.

How to Care for a Mini Golden Retriever

Mini golden retrievers are an average to low-maintenance dog breed, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need dedicated care. This pup should be fed two high-quality meals a day of dry food, receive brushing at least twice a week, and get semi-regular bathing. You will need to take your mini golden retriever out for two to three 20-to-30-minute walks per day and make sure that they have toys to play with at home, especially when you are not around.

You should also supplement their exercise with trips to dog parks at least once a week so they can socialize and play with other dogs. Not only is this important for their exercise, but socializing them is important for their overall mental health.

Make sure that you also take your dog to a local veterinarian on a routine basis and monitor their health to catch potential problems before they become more serious.

Do You Need to Groom a Mini Golden Retriever?

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The mini golden retriever doesn’t really have the extensive grooming needs that other dog breeds may need, but they do need to be bathed semi-regularly and require brushing several times a week. This brushing helps remove any knots and tangles from their fur, and regular baths help to keep them clean and decreases shedding. You can take your pup to be groomed and trimmed up, but this may not always be necessary.

Do Mini Golden Retrievers Shed?

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How much your mini golden retriever sheds depends on their specific coat type. Because this pup isn’t recognized by the American Kennel Club and doesn’t have an exact breed standard, coat types can range between straight, wiry, and thick, with dogs having single or double coats. Naturally, double-coated dogs will shed less than the single-coated ones, but, in general, you can expect your mini golden retriever’s shedding to be average or above average.

What Should a Mini Golden Retriever Eat?

Mini golden retrievers should be fed a high-protein diet of quality dry food that helps to support their bones, joints, and muscles, something that is helpful with their active lifestyle and high energy. You can supplement this diet with treats based on your dog’s caloric needs, which change based on how large your pup is. In general, mini golden retrievers will need to eat between 1.5 and 2.5 cups of food per day, spaced out over two meals.

What Health Problems Do Mini Golden Retrievers Have?

Like their standard-sized counterparts, mini golden retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia. Other health problems plaguing this breed are skin issues, bloat, epilepsy, and lymphoma. It is vital to keep an eye on your dog’s health and take them for routine veterinary visits to catch health issues ahead of time. Also, regular exercise and feeding them quality food are excellent ways to ensure your pet stays healthy.

How Long Do Mini Golden Retrievers Live?

While the full-size version of this pup lives between 10 and 12 years, mini golden retrievers will typically live between 10 and 15 years; dogs that are of a smaller size generally live longer. You can ensure that your mini golden retriever has the most comfortable, extended life possible by taking proper care of them, exercising them often, and getting any medical problems evaluated or treated right away so they stay healthy.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Expensive?

Due to their incredible popularity and status as a ‘designer’ dog breed, mini golden retrievers can be quite expensive. You will most likely need to adopt this dog from a reputable breeder, and, depending on the cross of the puppy, you will end up paying between $1,500 and $5,000 for a puppy. That being said, most mini golden retrievers will cost around $2,000.

How to Find a Mini Golden Retriever Breeder?

If you are settled on purchasing a mini golden retriever, you will need to find a reputable breeder. This can be done by speaking with local dog breeding organizations, performing internet searches, and even reaching out to local veterinarians to see if they know a breeder.

Make sure when purchasing your pup from a breeder that they treat the animals humanely, have proper certifications, and that the living conditions are acceptable for both the parent dogs and their puppies. You can ask for a tour of the breeder’s facilities to check out these items and speak more with the breeder about your potential new puppy.

Can You Adopt a Mini Golden Retriever?

While it may be possible to adopt a mini golden retriever from a shelter or other rescue organization locally or nationally, this is not as common. Mini golden retrievers are a designer breed, and it is unlikely for them to turn up in shelters or rescue organizations, though this does happen from time to time. However, you may consider checking out standard golden retriever rescues as they sometimes have mixes and minis available for adoption.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Purebred?

Mini golden retrievers are not purebred dogs. They are created by crossing a golden retriever with a cocker spaniel, a poodle, or another type of small dog. This means that they are a mixed breed, sometimes referred to as a ‘designer’ breed or a crossbreed.

Can You Show Mini Golden Retrievers?

Happy golden retriever puppy being held up outside

Mini golden retrievers are a mixed breed and not recognized by the American Kennel Club. So they cannot be shown at official AKC events. However, they are a recognized breed with the Designer Dogs Kennel Club; you may be able to find some show events through this organization or through a local organization.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Good for New Dog Owners?

Mini golden retrievers make an excellent choice for new dog owners. This is because they are calm, friendly, sociable, and good with most other animals and children. All they want is to play, spend quality time with their owners, and live their happy lives, making them perfect for someone looking for a low-maintenance and easy first dog. Just make sure that you can give them the exercise and toys they need, and this dog will show you nothing but loyalty and love throughout your time together.

Is a Mini Golden Retriever the Right Dog for Me?

When making your final decision on whether or not to add a mini golden retriever to your family, there are a few things that you should consider.

A mini golden retriever is right for you if:

  • You are looking for a dog that will fit into a family with small children or other pets, or you are going to be a first-time dog owner.
  • You want a friendly, sociable dog that loves to spend time with you, enjoys taking long walks or visiting outdoor areas and is easily trained.
  • You love full-sized golden retrievers but can’t commit to owning a larger dog due to space or time restraints when it comes to caring for the dog. A mini golden retriever has many of the same traits as a full-sized one, just in a smaller package.
  • You want a loving, loyal dog that will give you and your family just as much affection as you give them on a daily basis.

On the other hand, a mini golden retriever is not the dog for you if:

  • You cannot provide it with adequate exercise or socialization opportunities. These are especially important if you want to keep your pup in a smaller space, such as an apartment.
  • You want a dog that can be trained to help with mobility issues or act as a somewhat of a service dog – mini golden retrievers are too small to help with most service or assistance dog tasks.
  • You cannot commit to looking out for the health issues that this pup might develop and don’t want to take your pup for routine veterinary visits. This type of care is important if your dog is to live a happy and healthy life with you.
  • You will be leaving your dog at home for long hours. Mini golden retrievers need to be around their people, and more than eight hours home alone each day is not suitable for this breed’s physical and mental health.

Keep all of these factors in mind as you finalize your choice on whether or not to adopt this lovable dog breed. And remember, no matter which type of dog you choose to add to your family, as long as you care for them and show them lots of love, you will receive just as much affection in return.