Mini Golden Retriever: Breed Info, Size, Pictures, Traits & Facts

Mini Golden Retriever with yellow flowers on the background
Image credit: rebeccajenkins81 / Instagram

The mini Golden Retriever is a smaller version of the working breed we know and love. It is perfect for small apartment living and for carrying around town. 

Miniatures have the same personality as standard Golden Retrievers, but at the same time, some distinct characteristics make them even more special.

If you want to learn more about these petite Goldens, consider it your lucky day! In this article, we’ll give you all the fun and interesting facts about this sought-after furry friend. Let’s dig in!

What Is a Mini Golden Retriever? Are Miniature Golden Retrievers Real?

Mini Golden Retriever exploring outdoors
Image credit: basiltheminigolden / Instagram

A mini Golden Retriever is an actual dog breed produced from crossing a Golden Retriever and a Cocker Spaniel or, sometimes, a miniature Poodle. This adorable designer breed has around 50 to 75 percent Golden Retriever lineage, so you can expect them to look and behave more like a standard Golden.

The first mini Golden Retriever was produced in 2003, and it was a cross between a standard Golden Retriever and a Cocker Spaniel. 

However, most breeders weren’t particularly fond of the mix because of the snappish tendencies of the Cocker Spaniel.

Over time, the breeding process was improved to produce small companion dogs with sweet personalities. Aside from their convenient size, they possess the best traits of their parent breeds.

Other Names of the Mini Golden Retriever

Due to their sudden popularity, mini Goldens were given a bunch of delightful names by breeders. 

These include Comfort Retriever, Golden Cocker Retriever, toy Golden Retriever, Golden Cavalier, or petite Golden Retriever.

Many people also confuse them for a dwarf Golden Retriever. However, this is another smaller variation of the standard Golden. 

Dwarf Golden Retrievers are affected by a genetic defect called dwarfism, which hinders bone growth in dogs.

Miniature Golden Retriever Size and Weight

Mini Golden Retriever resting on a bed outdoors
Image credit: basiltheminigolden / Instagram

Compared to standard Golden Retrievers, mini Goldens only grow between 14 and 20 inches tall and weigh around 20 to 40 pounds when fully grown. 

The genes of the smaller dog used in breeding, whether it is a Cocker Spaniel or a mini Poodle, create a tiny version of the famous Golden Retriever breed.

There is also an even smaller variety called the teacup Golden Retriever that only grows 13 inches tall when fully matured.

As small Golden Retrievers, both mini and teacup Golden Retrievers suit owners living in small apartments or houses. 

Because of their size, they are also easier to manage and take care of. They are the perfect choice for anyone who prefers a small, low-maintenance dog as a pet.

Miniature Golden Retriever Appearance

Mini Golden Retriever sitting on dried leaves
Image credit: basiltheminigolden / Instagram

A mini Golden Retriever resembles the standard Golden in almost every aspect except its size. 

They have a proportional body, a deep, broad chest, and a muzzle that slightly narrows on the tip. Their floppy ears hang on either side of the head.

Their eyes are medium in size and dark brown in color. They carry an intelligent and approachable expression. Meanwhile, their nose is all black and sometimes with a brownish tint.

The miniature Golden Retriever’s coat can be straight, wavy, or even wiry. They either have a single or double coat. 

If they have a double coat, the undercoat is usually dense and resistant to water, while the outer coat is firm and resilient.

Their primary coat color is a rich, lustrous golden shade ranging from light cream to a deep rust color. Feathering on the ears, chest, and legs can also be exhibited by this crossbreed.

If you’re feeling gloomy, this video of a mini Golden Retriever will make your day:

A Day in the Life of a Full Grown Mini Golden Retriever

How Are Mini Golden Retrievers Bred?

Breeding mini Golden Retrievers is often frowned upon by many since it isn’t always ethical.

Here is a detailed description of how breeders usually produce mini Golden Retriever puppies:

Breeding With Other Smaller Breeds

Producing miniature Golden Retrievers is mainly achieved by breeding purebred Goldens with smaller dogs like Cocker Spaniels. In other cases, a Poodle or Poodle mix is used as an alternative.

Although this is the widely accepted breeding method, some breeders found other ways to produce mini Goldens.

Introduction of Dwarfism Gene

Dwarfism is an autosomal condition that causes a hampered growth rate in dogs. This is marked by a deficiency in pituitary hormones caused by a mutation in the LHX3 gene

While this is a hereditary condition, many Golden Retriever breeders purposefully introduce the dwarfism gene into their breeding practices. 

This creates litters of Golden Retriever puppies with a predisposition to intervertebral disc disease.

Even though this practice successfully yields miniature Golden Retriever puppies, it’s considered highly unethical.

Breeding Runts Together

In every litter of Golden Retrievers, there is always that one pup that turns out to be the smallest. This puppy is called the runt of the litter. Because of their size, they are deemed unhealthy and prone to various diseases.

Later on, breeders figured out that breeding two Golden Retriever runts together would produce a mini Golden puppy. 

However, this practice is also frowned upon because most puppies of later generations suffer from different health issues.

Do Kennel Clubs Recognize Miniature Golden Retrievers?

Miniature Golden Retriever sitting on a couch
Image credit: basiltheminigolden / Instagram

Even though they are just a smaller version of the standard Golden Retriever, mini Goldens are not recognized by kennel clubs like the American Kennel Club (AKC)

Dog registry is only possible in designer dog clubs or organizations like the Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC) and International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR).

Since the American Kennel Club only allows the registration of purebred dogs, a designer dog like the mini Golden Retriever can’t compete in conformation shows or dog sports hosted by the AKC itself. 

However, an organization called Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America (MBDCA) started hosting competitions for mixed breeds and mutts. 

Depending on their requirements, miniature Goldens can be enrolled to join conformation, agility, and obedience dog events hosted by a kennel club.

Miniature Golden Retriever Temperament and Personality

Despite looking almost exactly like their Golden Retriever parent, most miniature Golden Retrievers will get their personality from both parent breeds. 

If you ask any mini Golden owner, you’ll be sure to get a pup made in heaven. 

Generally, they are perfect family pets that are gentle and eager to please their owner. They would also bring you random things like the standard Goldies.

If you cross a Golden with a small Poodle, you can expect a highly intelligent and energetic dog. 

They may have a stubborn and hard-headed side, but they do well with children and other household pets. But then again, supervision is still highly advised.

Meanwhile, a mix between a Goldie and a Cocker Spaniel will produce a miniature Golden Retriever that is cheerful and even-tempered. 

They are also excellent with kids and make great guard dogs. Aside from getting attention, these pups love to play fetch and do water-related activities.

As Comfort Retrievers, miniature Goldens are not only the perfect household companion, but they make good therapy dogs for those who need emotional support.

Miniature Golden Retriever Lifespan and Health Issues

Mini Golden Retriever puppy with pink harness
Image credit: rebeccajenkins81 / Instagram

For dog owners, a whole lifetime is not enough to be with their beloved pets. A miniature Golden can live around 10 to 15 years. However, unhealthy dogs will live for a much shorter time.

On the brighter side, having a mini Golden Retriever means that your dog is not prone to suffer from conditions common to large breeds, like hip dysplasia, arthritis, and heart ailments. 

However, as crossbreeds, there are still some health issues that may target them.

To make sure that your dog will live a long and happy life, watch out for the following health issues common to small Golden Retrievers:

  • Lymphoma: This is a collective medical term used to describe a group of cancers affecting the immune system. Very little is known about the cause of lymphoma, but it is most likely due to genetic and environmental factors. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are methods used to treat this condition.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is another general term used to describe a group of degenerative diseases that deteriorates the photoreceptor cells. The early onset of progressive retinal atrophy is detected in puppies aged two to three months, while late onset is diagnosed in adult dogs aged three to nine years.
  • Von Willebrand disease (VWD): When a dog is found to have an insufficient amount of protein that aids in blood clotting, it is said to suffer from Von Willebrand disease. Affected dogs usually suffer from spontaneous hemorrhages and prolonged bleeding after trauma or injury.
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM): This is a heart condition marked by the deterioration of the heart muscles. As blood enters the heart, the pressure causes the thinned walls to expand. Dilated cardiomyopathy is a severe illness that needs prolonged intensive treatment.

Designer dogs like miniature Golden Retrievers can still inherit diseases. However, their suffering can easily be prevented. 

If you want the healthiest puppies, refrain from buying from backyard breeders who can’t provide a guarantee for these health issues.

How to Take Care of Your Mini Golden Retriever

It’s no easy task to be a dog parent. While it’s a huge responsibility, it’s also a fulfilling job. Knowing how to take care of your mini Golden Retriever is something you should aim for even before getting one.

This section will help you know the do’s and don’ts when feeding, grooming, and training your cutesy pup.

Feeding and Diet

Small dogs like miniature Goldens are prone to obesity. Sure, they are pretty irresistible but feeding them too many treats will take a toll on them in later life. 

As for meal servings, two cups of dog food daily is enough for adult dogs. You may also feed them chicken and other food that is high in protein.

Their diet should also be rich in vitamins and healthy carbs and fats. This will ensure that they get enough nutrients to grow healthy. Remember also to consider their current size when feeding. 

Cleaning and Grooming

The frequency of cleaning and grooming mini Golden Retrievers depends on their parents’ genes. If they have Poodle blood, their fur will be short and much more manageable. Shedding is also low for these dogs.

Mixes from Cocker Spaniels generally have longer and thicker fur that needs to be brushed three times a week or more to prevent matting. 

Professional grooming is also needed every month if you don’t have time or the skills to groom them at home.

Bathing your mini Golden should be done every week, depending on the condition of their coat. Nail trimming and ear cleaning are also required every two weeks as part of their grooming routine. 

As much as coat maintenance is essential, oral health shouldn’t be ignored. Despite having a good set of teeth, brushing them at least twice a week is vital.

Training and Exercise

In terms of trainability, mini Golden Retriever dogs are on top of the list. However, there are times when their stubbornness will show. 

Persistent training using positive reinforcement is always an effective way to get past their hard-headed tendencies.

Being highly active dogs, a good game of fetch can keep a miniature Golden Retriever physically active. On top of that, daily exercise or walks should last around 15 minutes.

How Much Does a Mini Golden Retriever Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

Mini Golden Retriever puppy sitting on a camping chair
Image credit: louietheminigolden / Instagram

You can expect to pay around $1,500 to $6,000 for a miniature Golden Retriever dog breed. 

Compared to purebreds, miniature Golden Retrievers are much more expensive because of the work responsible breeders put into producing them.

Simply put, the smaller the puppy, the higher the price point. The good news is, because of their small size, you can cut down on their initial expenses. Smaller beds, feeding bowls, and crates mean affordable prices.

For a complete list of essential items for your mini Golden, refer to the table below:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$30 – $110
Bowls$10 – $30
Toys$20 – $60
Beds$30 – $200
Collars and Leashes$15 – $50
Crates and Carriers$30 – $370
Grooming Essentials$50 – $160
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $500
Initial Vaccine Shots$50 – $300
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$40 – $300
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Microchipping$40 – $60
Dog License$10 – $20
Other Essentials$20 – $50
Total Initial Cost$495 – $2,470

The total initial cost stated above is just an estimation. You may need to spend more depending on your dog’s needs and how much you want to splurge for your mini Golden Retriever puppy. 

Regardless, you should only buy top-quality products that will last for a long time.

Places to Find Mini Golden Retriever Puppies for Sale or Adoption

If you’re financially and mentally prepared to become a mini Golden Retriever owner, you are now ready to hunt for places to buy or adopt the right dog. 

These days, reputable breeders are hard to come by. It’s easy to fall prey to cheap backyard breeders or online puppy sellers. However, buying from these sources has its own consequences.

For secure transactions, check out the list of mini Golden Retriever breeders below:

  • Taylormade Miniature Golden Retriever – This is a kennel located in Utah that breeds top-quality and healthy miniature Golden Retrievers. As early as 3 to 16 days old, all puppies are given neurological stimulation to develop their socialization skills. Puppy prices start at $5,500.
  • GoldenQuest Comfort Retrievers – This breeder trademarked the term “Comfort Retriever” in 2003 when the first miniature Golden Retriever puppy was developed. Aside from producing a small dog, all of their pups have hypoallergenic qualities, and they are brilliant.
  • Pacific Northwest Mini Goldens – This is another reputable breeder based in Washington that specializes in breeding mini Golden puppies. They ensure that all of their puppies are socialized, potty trained, and crate trained before being taken home at eight weeks old. The price tag for each puppy is $3,500.

Another trusted method of acquiring mini Golden Retriever dogs is through adoption. This helps you save a mini’s life and at the same time, cut your expenses in purchasing.

Check out the list of mini Golden Retriever rescues below:

  • Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue – This is the third largest Golden Retriever dog rescue in the United States. They find permanent homes for around 300 designer dogs per year. Golden mixes like the mini Golden Retriever can easily be adopted from this group.
  • Golden Retriever Rescue of Mid-Florida (MFGRC) – Since 1991, MFGRC has saved thousands of Golden Retrievers and mixes through the determination of over 200 volunteers. The adoption process takes around two weeks. 
  • Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue (YGRR) – This is a Golden Retriever rescue with a facility based in Massachusetts. All of their rescued Goldens can enjoy running in open spaces or staying in their spacious kennels. They have been rescuing this breed and its mixes for over 30 years.

You may also want to connect with mini Golden Retriever owners on Facebook and Instagram to ask where they got their puppies. This is probably the easiest way to find this little pooch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Mini Golden Retriever running under the sun
Image credit: louietheminigolden / Instagram

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Hypoallergenic?

When a miniature Golden Retriever has a Poodle parent, the dog can be said to be hypoallergenic. This is because they have low-shedding coats. 

However, it’s important to note that no dog can ever be 100% hypoallergenic even if it is a Poodle mix.

Do Mini Golden Retrievers Shed?

Yes, mini Golden Retrievers shed their coats to adapt to the changing climate. 

Brushing should be done at least three times a week to keep their hair healthy. Whether they have a single or double coat, grooming should be done regularly.

Do Mini Golden Retrievers Bark a Lot?

Your miniature Golden will occasionally bark to communicate or get your attention. They are generally quiet dogs unless they have a good reason to bark.

For instance, they may bark when there are strangers around. They also howl like a wolf in response to noise.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Aggressive?

Despite being the friendly and gentle dogs we all know, mini Goldens tend to become aggressive. Some warning signs include snapping, growling, snarling, and barking. 

However, your dog’s temperament will depend on the breeder and the owner themselves.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Calm?

Similar to standard, mini Golden Retrievers are far from being calm, especially during their puppy phase, whether male or female. 

This breed is known to be very hyper, and it only tones down a little when the dog reaches maturity.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers Easy To Train?

Yes. Mini Golden Retrievers are some of the easiest breeds to train because they love pleasing people and they are inarguably smart. They’re also originally bred to be working dogs so it is in their genes to be obedient.

Can Mini Golden Retrievers Be Left Alone?

Yes. Mini Golden Retrievers can be left alone for two to four hours, depending on the preparations and precautions you make. 

Exceeding this time limit may cause separation anxiety, similar to what happens to other dog breeds.

Final Thoughts

A mini Golden Retriever is the perfect dog if you want a smaller dog that can live with you in a small apartment. They also make great family pets because of their enthusiastic personality.

You should also get a miniature Golden if you want a smart pet that is highly trainable. Compared to other dog breeds, they are also suited for first-time dog owners.

Ready to own a mini Golden Retriever? Let us know in the comments below!

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