Miniature Golden Retriever – mini-me magic

Miniature Golden Retriever - mini-me magicWith its friendly and tolerant nature, it’s no wonder that the Golden Retriever breed remains one of the most popular dog breeds in both the USA and UK. Intelligent, family-friendly, and easy to train, the Golden Retriever is versatile as a working dog and a pet.

However, its size does mean that it’s just too big a dog to commit to for many families. So, what do you do if you want all the qualities of this favorite dog breed but don’t have room for a big hound? Enter the Miniature Golden Retriever. As with any dog, it’s a good idea to look at the breed history to gain valuable clues about your dog’s personality.

However, breed history isn’t as simple as looking at one breed with the Miniature Golden Retriever. Despite the name, the Miniature Golden Retriever isn’t just a smaller version of its larger relative but rather a crossbreed.

Breed history

So what dogs are used to produce a Miniature Golden Retriever, and what can we learn about them from their breed history?

The mini goldens story isn’t a simple one. While some breeders cross cocker spaniels and poodles DNA with the Golden Retriever, others stick to just a Poodle, Golden retriever mix. These differences in breeding have caused some controversy among Mini Golden Retriever breeders. It’s argued that the mix of golden retriever cocker spaniel produces a dog with an unpredictable nature, very unlike their purebred Golden Retriever cousins.

So, with that in mind, the Mini Golden Retriever may have two or three contributors to their DNA, and each plays a part in the temperament and appearance of the resulting dog.

Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers have a simple history. Bred to be the ultimate hunting dog, they can be traced back to 1864 and one man – the first Baron of Tweedmouth.

Powerful, energetic yet gentle, the golden retrievers were bred to cope with challenging terrain, including marshland, rivers, and all weather conditions. A hardy dog that was loyal, eager to please, and hard-working.



Like the Golden Retriever, Poodles were initially used to retrieve game and birds from the water. Available in three sizes; Standard, Miniature, and Toy Poodles originated in Germany but were later developed in France.

Well known for its intelligence, the Poodle is playful, loyal, and easy to train. Gentle, loving, and energetic, the Poodle is a hardy breed and is happy both as working dogs or family pets.


Cocker Spaniel

The spaniel family has a very long breed history. Believed to have originated in Spain, the word Spaniel means ‘Spanish Dog.’ With twenty-five recognized spaniel breeds, the Cocker Spaniel is primarily a hunting dog named Woodcock prey.

Sweet but sensitive, the Cocker Spaniel is playful, kind, and affectionate. Active and intelligent, their sensitive nature sometimes leads to fear-based aggression.

Miniature Golden Retriever appearance

As you would expect, Mini Golden Retrievers resemble its larger cousin. Coat color can vary but is any shade of gold, from deepest gold through to pale cream. The fur is long and wavy on top with a dense and soft undercoat.

As the Miniature Golden Retriever shares its genetics with the non-shedding Poodle, there is a possibility that your pocket-size retriever poodle mix will shed less. Although a Poodle/Golden Retriever cross could technically be called a Goldendoodle, they are bred selectively to resemble the Golden Retrievers as closely as possible.

With this in mind, the addition of Cocker Spaniel DNA often creates a dog with long ears and an altered face shape. So, if you want as close a copy as possible, choose a dog with Poodle and Retriever parents only. A miniature Golden Retriever weighs around twenty to fifty-five pounds compared with fifty-five to seventy-five pounds of the standard Golden.

Miniature Golden Retriever temperament

What can you expect when you cross one of the friendliest dogs and one of the most intelligent dogs on the planet? Miniature Golden Retrievers are smart dogs who are loving and loyal and eager to please their owners. They are energetic and playful and make excellent family dogs.

Outgoing and adaptable Miniature Golden Retrievers are easy to train. Although they don’t make good guard dogs, they will bark an alert when strangers approach the house.

Although calm and gentle, the Miniature Golden Retriever is the product of two hunting dogs that excel in their fields. Both the Poodle and Golden retrievers are water dogs so expect your small Golden to love water too. A working dog at heart, both physical and mental stimulation, is essential to keep this designer dog happy. Versatile as both a family dog and working dog, the miniature Golden Retriever is everything you would expect from two hard-working, friendly, and energetic parent breeds.

Miniature Golden Retriever exercise

Both the Poodle and Golden Retriever are high-energy, intelligent dogs. As such, the Miniature Golden Retriever needs at least two hours of daily exercise. Not only that, but to keep your dog completely happy, you need to give their brain a mental workout too.

Both parent dogs come from working stock and enjoy having a job to do.  If you don’t provide something for your dog to do, your dog will find their own entertainment. If you want a dog that chills on the sofa all day, then the Miniature Golden Retriever is not the right dog for you.

However, if you enjoy training, the outdoors, playing, and including your golden retriever puppy in family life, you could have found your perfect match.

Mini Golden Retriever grooming

Unlike the Poodle that doesn’t shed, Golden Retrievers are notorious for dropping a lot of hair. Even though Mini Golden Retrievers inherit some of its DNA from a Poodle parent, there is no guarantee that your dog will not shower you with fur.

The Miniature Golden Retriever coat is very much like its larger counterparts’ coat. So regular grooming is essential to keep it looking good whether your dog is a low or high shedder. With feathers on the legs, tail, and chest, weekly brushing is a must. What’s more, the undercoat may shed twice a year, and daily brushing will keep it under control.

Miniature Golden Retriever health issues

Golden Retriever and Poodle DNA combination produce a robust dog that you can expect to share your life with for ten to fifteen years. However, some health problems affect the parent breeds, and it’s always worth being aware of these common issues;

  • Cancer
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Sub-aortic stenosis
  • ​Skin Conditions
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Thyroid Issues
  • Hypoglycemia

Miniature Golden Retriever highlights

It’s easy to see why the Miniature Golden Retriever is becoming such a popular choice. The outstanding Golden Retriever personality packaged in a smaller animal is the perfect, compact family pet.

Patient, kind, and playful, the combination of Poodle and Golden Retriever creates a dog that gets on well with children, is adaptable, easy to train, and loyal. If you love the Golden Retriever but don’t have room for one in your life, then the Miniature Golden Retriever could be the perfect dog for you.

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