Have you ever wanted to own the cute, friendly, and intelligent Golden Retriever, but wished it was in a smaller and more manageable size?
Miniature Golden Retriever breeders had that in mind when they created this hybrid. They wanted a healthier and more compact version of the popular purebred.
In this article, we’ll find out more about this designer dog, from Mini Golden Retriever facts and the breed’s origin to the Mini Retriever’s pros and cons.
Table of Contents
What is a Miniature Golden Retriever?
A Mini Golden Retriever is a crossbreed between a Golden Retriever (Golden) and a Cocker Spaniel or a Poodle.
These dogs are also called Small Golden Retrievers, Petite Golden Retrievers, or Little Golden Retrievers.
The name ‘Comfort Retriever’ is trademarked for Mini Goldens bred only from Golden Retrievers and Poodles.
Breeders see to it that every Mini Retriever puppy gets 50% to 75% of the Golden Retriever’s genes so the pup is more likely to inherit the purebred’s traits and temperament.
This is a fairly new crossbreed. Kathy Burgess bred the first documented Comfort Retriever in 2003.
A Standard Golden Retriever was crossed with a Cocker Spaniel to create a miniature dog, which was called a Golden Cocker Retriever.
The controversy with designer dogs
Why is there so much talk going on about hybrids like the Mini Golden Retriever?
To understand the controversy with these popular canines, we have to quickly define what a designer dog or crossbreed is.
Designer dogs are the offspring of two purebreds. These hybrids rose to popularity in the 1980s and remain sought-after these days because they offer a balance of their parent breeds’ qualities.
On the other hand, purebreds – like the Shih Tzu and the Weimaraner – have a documented pedigree. Breeding is done carefully over generations to produce dogs that have the same physical features and temperament.
Purebreds are usually registered to breed clubs like the AKC and the United Kennel Club.
Many canine enthusiasts warn against breeders who care only about profit and not about the overall health and wellness of the designer dogs they create. They are worried about breeders who focus more on what looks cute rather than on crossbreeding to create a healthier new dog.
Meanwhile, designer dog advocates claim that crossbreeding will promote better health in canines because of gene diversity and encourage hybrid vigor.
Crossbreeding is said to reduce the chances of pups acquiring the genes that cause specific health issues for a dog breed.
As for the Mini Golden Retriever, a breeder’s main goal is often to create a tinier version of the Golden Retriever that also sheds less (thus the use of the Poodle).
Reputable breeders of these Petite Retrievers ensure that puppies are as healthy as possible and are screened to rule out genetic conditions.
Check out how cute the Miniature Golden turned out:
However adorable it is, this mini version of the Golden Retriever is not registered with the AKC.
The AKC promotes upholding specific breed standards for the Golden Retriever and does not support breeders who choose to deviate from these standards.
How is a Miniature Golden Retriever made?
So what makes a Miniature Golden Retriever puppy? The Cocker Spaniel and the Poodle are two of the more popular choices in creating this petite crossbreed.
But, first, let’s get to know the inspiration behind this miniature hybrid, the Golden Retriever.
The Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers were first bred in Scotland in the mid-19th century when hunting birds was a popular sport of the wealthy.
The nobility wanted to have a dog that was not only an excellent hunting companion but also enjoyed running and swimming. These dogs got their name from being able to “retrieve” shot birds without damaging them.
Nowadays, Golden Retrievers are one of the best-known dog breeds in the world. In fact, these friendly, even-tempered canines hold the 3rd spot in the AKC’s list of most popular dog breeds in 2017.
A full grown Golden Retriever can weigh up to 75 pounds (34 kg) and measure about 24.5 inches (62 cm) tall.
This is definitely a large dog that can be too much to handle for some people.
With the Golden Retriever’s great looks and agreeable temperament, it’s no wonder why breeders wanted these positive qualities in a smaller package
The sweet, playful Cocker Spaniel
First bred as hunting dogs in the 14th century, Cocker Spaniels were the first choice of breeders who wanted to create a smaller version of the Golden Retriever.
It’s not a surprising choice as there are a lot of similarities between a Golden Retriever and a Cocker Spaniel.
The Cocker Spaniel, whether an English Cocker Spaniel or an American Cocker Spaniel, generally has a happy, playful nature and is known for its ‘pretty’ appearance.
The breed’s popularity skyrocketed when the Disney movie Lady and the Tramp came out in the 1950s, and the Cocker Spaniel continues to enjoy the recognition today.
Half the size of a Golden, a full grown Cocker Spaniel weighs around 25 pounds to 30 pounds (11 to 13 kg) and measures 13 inches to 15.5 inches (33 to 39 cm).
Their more manageable size, along with their temperament, made Cocker Spaniels ideal mates for the Golden Retriever in the breeding of Mini Golden Retrievers.
The intelligent, loyal Poodle
Poodles were the second choice in creating the Mini Golden Retriever. Some breeders opted not to go with the Cocker Spaniel because of the Spaniel’s tendency to nip or bite.
Poodles have long been a favorite in Europe, where they enjoyed popularity even in the court of King Louis XVI of France.
Poodles are also known for their low-shedding coats, which is why these so-called hypoallergenic dogs are commonly used for crossbreeding
A full grown Standard Poodle weighs around 40 to 70 pounds (18 to 31 kilograms) and measures about 15 inches (38 cm) in height.
How big does a Mini Golden Retriever get?
The ideal Mini Golden Retriever weighs around 20 lbs to 55 lbs (9 to 25 kg), and measures 12 to 15 inches (30 cm to 38 cm) in height.
They are small to medium-sized dogs, and their exact size is dependent on their parent breeds.
Teacup or Toy Golden Retrievers
But can you really imagine a Teacup Golden Retriever? Neither can we.
Some breeders argue that this would border on unethical breeding as Golden Retrievers are meant to be medium-sized dogs who are active companions.
A teacup or toy Golden Retriever would be too far from the original size of a Golden Retriever, so it’s more likely to have health implications that could affect the dog for life.
Breeding down a medium-sized dog to a teacup size is not encouraged. Do not buy a puppy just because it would be nice to look at.
As a responsible dog owner, you also have to consider the quality of life a your pet will have.
Dwarf Golden Retrievers
Dwarf Golden Retrievers are Goldens affected by dwarfism. Dwarfism or achondroplasia is a condition that is defined as an underdevelopment of the bones. It is a condition where the bones do not grow into the expected size.
Dwarfism is a form of ‘osteochondrodysplasia’ or an abnormality in the growth and development of either the bone or cartilage or both.
Dogs who have osteochondrodysplasia can suffer from pain and discomfort depending on the severity of the condition. In some cases, dogs are required to undergo surgery.
There are a number of factors that cause dwarfism. Dwarfism is highly hereditary and it can be passed on from either gender. It only takes one parent to carry the genes for an offspring to be affected.
Some backyard breeders go as far as introducing the gene that causes dwarfism to create a miniature Golden Retriever.
This type of breeding is also not encouraged as the offspring can suffer from health issues because of this gene.
Some signs that your puppy may be suffering from dwarfism:
- Short legs with a long body
- Bowed legs
- A large and wide head
- Crooked teeth because of a shorter jaw
- Abnormal bone shape
- Enlarged joints
- Poor growth or lack of growth
These signs will be visible in dogs at 2 to 3 months of age. A definite way to ensure you’ll have a healthy dog is getting a puppy from a reputable breeder. Trustworthy breeders should be able to provide a thorough medical history of the pup’s parents and health clearances for the dog you’re considering, too.
What does a Miniature Golden Retriever look like?
Just like any hybrid, how your Mini Retriever puppy looks is largely dependent on its genetic makeup. They can look more like their Cocker Spaniel or Poodle parent than a Golden Retriever.
For us to get a better idea of these crossbreeds’ appearance, let’s discuss the looks of their parents.
Features the Mini Golden Retriever may inherit from its parents
The AKC’s breed standards have a more accurate description for the Golden Retriever, and a Golden’s offspring may get some of these physical traits.
Golden Retrievers have a broad skull with a straight muzzle. Their brown eyes are friendly and intelligent in expression. Other Petite Golden Retrievers may take after the Cocker Spaniel and have round, expressive eyes.
Many of these small crossbreeds have long, floppy ears, like the Golden, the Cocker Spaniel, and the Poodle.
Although they’re smaller, these hybrids may also have the well-balanced, compact bodies and the sturdy and muscular shoulders of their Golden parents.
Most Mini Golden Retrievers inherit the Poodle’s proud bearing, tempered by the amiable appearance of the Golden and the Cocker Spaniel.
Since their parent breeds have thick, long fur, these dogs often have coats with the same qualities. Many of them have golden-hued hair with a wavy, curly, or straight texture.
Thanks to their Poodle parents, they are also less likely to trigger allergies. Sometimes, Mini Golden Retrievers are considered a hypoallergenic crossbreed.
The Golden Cocker Retriever
Cocker Spaniels come in different colors, but Cocker Spaniels with gold coats are used for this hybrid to achieve the classic Mini Golden Retriever look.
Also known as the Dakota Sport Retriever, the Golden Retriever & Cocker Spaniel mix is likely to have floppy ears, long golden hair, and expressive eyes.
The Comfort Retriever
As we’ve previously mentioned, when they’re bred from Golden Retrievers and Poodles, these dogs are called Comfort Retrievers.
This hybrid may look a little different from the Golden Retriever, as Poodles and Golden Retrievers have different head shapes.
Expect for their coat to be curlier or have a wavy texture.
What’s the difference between a Mini Golden Retriever and a Goldendoodle?
Although the Mini Golden Retriever and the Goldendoodle share the same set of parents, they are not the same crossbreed.
The two dogs have a lot in common in terms of temperament and their grooming and exercise needs.
The main difference between these two is that a Mini Golden Retriever has more Golden Retriever genes, while Goldendoodles have more Poodle in them.
What is the temperament of the Miniature Golden Retriever?
But, just like its looks, the personality of a Mini Golden Retriever puppy is influenced by the nature of its parents.
Goldens are calm and tolerant around children, making them ideal family pets. These dogs take every opportunity to make their family happy and they thrive on human attention.
On the other hand, the Cocker Spaniel matches the affectionate and eager-to-please personality of the Golden Retriever.
Poodles are loyal and friendly like Golden Retrievers, but Poodles will usually be more wary around strangers.
The Miniature Golden Retriever definitely inherited the friendly, even-tempered personality of its parents.
According to the AKC, both Goldens and Cocker Spaniels are sporting dogs, a group known for being well-rounded pets. These likeable canines as naturally active and alert.
Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, and Poodles are good pets for first-time dog owners. These purebreds are also known for their ability to get along well with children.
It’s not surprising that Mini Golden Retrievers inherited all these positive qualities. Most of them have a playful, outgoing nature and make for excellent companions, especially for physically active owners.
Is the Miniature Golden Retriever a healthy dog?
A Miniature Golden Retriever has an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Hybrid vigor may make these crossbreeds healthier, but they’re still prone to the health issues of their parent breeds.
It’s definitely helpful to look at the health conditions their parents can suffer from.
Golden Retrievers’ most common health problems
- Subaortic stenosis
- Eye disorders
- Elbow dysplasia
- Mast cell tumors
Health issues of Cocker Spaniels
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Patellar luxation
Common health conditions for Poodles
How do you care for your Miniature Golden Retriever?
Caring for a Little Golden Retriever might take more time and effort than you expect.
However, these dogs will definitely make up for it with affection and companionship.
The Mini Golden Retriever’s grooming needs
Although the Mini Golden Retriever can be hypoallergenic, you can expect heavy grooming with this hybrid as all its parent breeds have high-maintenance coats.
Daily brushing of the coat should be a part of your routine should you decide to get a Small Golden Retriever.
Frequent brushing is important to make sure that their hair stays neat and tangle-free. It ensures that their hair does not knot, which could be painful for your dog.
Regular grooming prevents excessive shedding all over your house, too. You may also need to find a professional groomer in your area to occasionally trim your dog’s coat and keep it at a manageable length.
How much exercise does the Mini Golden Retriever need?
These canines are not couch potatoes, so don’t expect to spend a lot of time chilling at home with your dog.
Just like a standard Golden Retriever, expect your Mini Golden Retriever to be a highly energetic dog who loves the outdoors.
Expect to spend at least 30 minutes on active play to use all their pent-up energy.
Your Mini Golden Retriever will love spending time with you on walks or even runs.
Swimming is also something that this pooch will enjoy, especially for the Golden Retriever and Poodle mix, as both its parents were bred for water activities.
Training your Petite Golden Retriever
The Miniature Golden Retriever is easy to train as its parent breeds are smart with an eager-to-please personality.
As always, positive reinforcement is the best way to train your pup and make good behavior stick.
Comfort Retrievers are likely to inherit the intelligence of its parents, two of the smartest dog breeds today.
Golden Retrievers are highly trainable and make for excellent working dogs, often used as hunting companions, police dogs, therapy dogs, and guide dogs for the blind.
And, as we mentioned earlier, Poodles are well-known for their smarts, too.
Regardless of which Mini Golden Retriever variety you pick, you’ll have an obedient, well-behaved canine at home.
Where can I find a Mini Golden Retriever breeder?
Having a dog is a full-time commitment and it all starts with finding a reputable breeder to make sure that your pup has been cleared from genetic conditions.
Mini Golden Retriever puppies may be priced at up to $1500 each, although some Comfort Retriever pups have a higher price tag of up to $5000.
Here are a few breeders that have Mini Golden Retriever dogs for sale.
- Comfort Retrievers (Kentucky)
- Escondido Acres (Virginia)
- Taylormade Miniature Golden Retrievers (Utah)
Should you get a Miniature Golden Retriever?
It’s hard to go wrong with choosing these small dogs, as their parent breeds – the Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, and Poodle – all have even temperaments and great looks.
What’s not to love about a smaller version of the Golden Retriever?
These adorable canines are friendly and smart and they make for good family dogs that are perfect for owners who love to spend time being physically active.
However, these dogs also need plenty of grooming because of their thick coats.
Do you own a Mini Golden Retriever? We want to know about it! Tell us about your dog in the comments section.