Have you ever heard of a Mini Golden Retriever? What about a Comfort Retriever or a Petit Golden Retriever? Yes, there is such a thing as a smaller version of one of the world’s most popular purebreds.
But before you get super excited, we should warn you that not everything that glitters is gold. (See what we did there?) And while the Mini Golden Retriever may look like the ideal dog on paper, there are some things you should consider about this new designer dog before you decide to commit.
And this is what today’s article is all about. Let’s get started!
The Mini Golden Retriever – A Breed Overview
The Mini Golden Retriever is not an official size variety of the Golden Retriever breed, nor is he always a purebred Golden Retriever.
Height: 14 to 20 Inches
Weight: 20 to 45 Pounds
Temperament: Playful, Sweet, Intelligent, Affectionate, Family-Oriented
Best Suited For: Families, Singles, Retirees, Couples, Novice Dog Owners
Health Issues: Hip Dysplasia, Skin Issues, Lymphoma, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Epilepsy, Collapsed Trachea, and Bloat
Lifespan: 10 to 15 Years
Breed Clubs That Recognize The Mini Golden Retriever: The Designer Dog’s Kennel Club (DDKC)
Mini Golden Retriever Overview:
Unlike some dogs who come in different size varieties, the Golden Retriever is known for his standard, larger dog size across the board. That is, until Kathy Burgess entered the scene. While this has yet to be officiated, this breeder claims to have created the first ever Mini Golden Retriever or, as she called them, the first ever Comfort Retrievers.
These dogs are not always purebred, but they are still what they sound like – smaller versions of Golden Retrievers designed to have the same type of temperament, look and lovability as their standard sized counterparts.
While Mini Golden Retrievers do sound alluring, it’s important not to get swept up in a name and consider the implications of what it takes to breed standard sized dogs into smaller, more lap-friendly versions.
Luckily, there are a few ways you can go about obtaining a Mini Golden Retriever without sacrificing health, but it’s going to take time and research on your end.
The good news is that you’ve found yourself here, so you’re already on the right track. With that in mind, let’s jump in and learn all about the Mini Golden Retriever.
The Mini Golden Retriever – What You Should Know About Controversial Breeding Practices
There are a few ways breeders can go about creating a mini Golden Retriever, and not all of them are widely accepted.
The Mini Golden Retriever packs everything you love about the standard Golden Retriever into a pint-sized package. But is it just too good to be true?
There is some controversy surrounding the breeding and selling of “miniaturized” dogs, though this practice has been ongoing for centuries.
Still, some breeders are more careful than others when it comes to ensuring your Mini Golden Retriever is produced safely, so it’s important you know about the different methods some use to go about creating that desirable mini dog.
One of the less talked about ways some breeders have gone about breeding mini sized dogs is that they have selected and bred runts. Although the term “runt” is not an official term widely used by most professionals, it is a recognized term that we understand in society to mean the smallest or weakest puppy of the litter.
These puppies are often runts due to underlying health issues, and these health issues can sometimes be passed on, especially if two runts are bred to produce smaller puppies in the next generation.
This is a practice that is typically frowned upon, as it could mean that breeders are purposefully breeding puppies that will likely be sick.
The good news is that, while breeding runts can occur when it comes to producing the Mini Golden Retriever, it is not as likely these days as there are other ways to go about this process.
Another way some breeders might produce Mini Golden Retrievers is by breeding dwarfism into their litters. This is another highly controversial method some breeders use and is often frowned upon by most experts and pet health care professionals.
While many breeds have a form of genetic dwarfism in their DNA, (breeds like Dachshunds and Corgis, for example), the Golden Retriever does not. Breeding dwarfism into a Golden Retriever litter can lead to a number of serious health issues including bone and joint problems, spinal issues and more, especially in the first and second generation puppies.
The healthiest and most common way breeders can go about producing Mini Golden Retrievers is through crossbreeding. Crossbreeding is also a controversial practice these days, but it is much safer and has many more pros than cons when it comes to the development of a dog like the Mini Golden Retriever.
There are quite a few combinations of purebred dogs that can be used to create a smaller version of the Golden Retriever, though the most popular tend to be Golden Retrievers and Miniature Poodles, Golden Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels, and Golden Retrievers and Mini Goldendoodles.
Most breeders who are serious about the Mini Golden Retriever work to perfect their dogs and ensure they come from quality breeding stock. In fact, there are a good number of Mini Golden Retriever breeders who are pushing for the dog to be recognized as a purebred.
Today, if you go through a reputable breeder, you will likely be able to find a Mini Golden Retriever that, while being a crossbreed, has more Golden Retriever than Poodle or Cocker Spaniel in its DNA.
The Mini Golden Retriever – Temperament and Personality Traits
Mini Golden Retriever temperaments can vary if your dog is a crossbreed like the Mini Golden Retriever pictured here. But for the most part, these dogs behave like standard Golden Retrievers. (https://unsplash.com/photos/LU0sr6IVMRY)
One of the most desirable traits about the Mini Golden Retriever, aside from his smaller size, is his incredible temperament. These dogs are designed to be just like their standard sized Golden Retriever counterparts, though they are less energetic, require less exercise, and are easier to travel with.
The Mini Golden Retriever therefore makes a good apartment dog, so long as his needs are met. He also does fabulously with children and other pets in the home. Mini Goldens can also make a good addition to homes with singles or couples, and they may even be a good companion to seniors or reiterates.
Friendly, outgoing and very playful, Mini Golden Retrievers are the ideal family dog for anyone looking for that quintessential puppy.
However, they can be prone to hyperactivity and anxiety, especially if their mental stimulation and exercise needs are not properly met.
Let’s learn more.
Mini Golden Retriever Exercise and Mental Stimulation Needs
Mini Golden Retrievers are still Golden Retrievers, and they require routine exercise every day.
While Golden Retrievers are one of America’s most popular dogs, according to the American Kennel Club, they are also notoriously active and energetic.
This is one of the draws of the Mini Golden Retriever, as this dog does not require as much exercise in order to stay healthy and happy as his standard sized counterpart.
Still, like all dogs, the MIni Golden Retriever is going to need routine daily exercise each and everyday to help prevent health and behavioral issues down the road.
The ideal exercise for a Mini Golden Retriever will include a good walk twice a day that is about 30 to 40 minutes in length. Your Mini Golden Retriever will also enjoy having free playtime outside either in a backyard or at a dog park.
Along with routine exercise, it’s also important to make sure your MIni Golden Retriever is kept mentally stimulated. Golden Retrievers are intelligent dogs, and if your Mini Golden Retriever is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel or a Poodle, he is going to be even brainier.
It’s important to keep his mind active to help reduce anxiety, depression and behavioral issues and to ensure your Mini Golden Retriever stays well-rounded.
You can help encourage mental stimulation by ensuring training is kept consistent and fun. Another way to ensure your Mini Golden Retriever is kept mentally active is to provide your dog with things to do like puzzle toys or interactive toys.
Nina Ottosson Interactive Puzzle Toy
For clever dogs like the Mini Golden Retriever, we recommend investing in interactive puzzle toys like the one listed above by Nina Ottosson. This puzzle toy is available at different levels and types depending on your unique dog’s abilities. Best of all, these puzzle toys utilize treats and food to keep your dog actively engaged and motivated.
Be sure to monitor your Mini Golden when using puzzle toys to help reduce potential choking hazards or to keep your dog from chewing on the toy itself.
You can also help keep your Mini Golden Retriever busy by providing him with a KONG toy for medium sized dogs. KONG toys are excellent tools to help reduce boredom and destructive behaviors, and can even aid in crate training.
Mini Golden Retriever Socialization and Training Requirements
Like all dogs, Mini Golden Retrievers do best with positive reinforcement training techniques.
Speaking of crate training, you’ll want to ensure you take time to train and socialize your Mini Golden Retriever. While these dogs are famously family-friendly, without proper training and socialization they can grow up to be anxious and can even develop potential behavioral issues like fear-based aggression.
Proper socialization of a Mini Golden Retriever will include making sure you introduce your dog to as many new experiences as possible at an early age. Try and ensure these first impressions are positive for your dog and refrain from forcing your Mini Golden Retriever into a situation that he is obviously nervous about.
If you plan on raising your Mini Golden Retriever with children, it’s important to get your dog used to being handled and played with by youngsters. Of course, it’s equally important to help young children understand how to gently and respectfully interact with the family dog.
We also suggest you work with age appropriate children and other family members to learn some basic canine body language. Understanding how your dog communicates can not only help reduce potential behavioral issues, but it can also help build a stronger bond between you and your four-legged friend.
Along with socialization, you’re also going to want to begin training your Mini Golden Retriever at an early age. The sooner you begin training, the easier it will be to communicate with your dog what you want from him.
Experts agree that positive reinforcement training is best, especially when it comes to dogs that are as people oriented and eager to please as Golden Retrievers. For the most part, the Mini Golden is easy to train and a joy to work with.
He will respond most favorably to treats and praise, and will enjoy training sessions that are kept short, repetitive and gamelike.
Zuke’s Mini Training Treats
Some of our favorite training treats for dogs like the Mini Golden Retriever are natural training treats that are low in calories and highly palatable. This is what we like about Zuke’s Mini Training Treats listed above.
These dog treats are specifically designed for training and will help keep your MIni Golden Retreiver’s attention, especially if you only pull them out during training sessions.
Remember, try to refrain from scolding or punishing your Mini Golden Retriever during training sessions, as this could lead to a breakdown in the bond between you two. It could also cause him to shut down, which will hinder his learning process.
Health Issues and Lifespan of a Mini Golden Retriever
Depending on how he was bred, the mini Golden Retriever may have more or less health issues than a standard Golden Retriever.
Sometimes, unofficial “mini” Dogs can be unhealthy. This is not the case with the Mini Golden Retriever. In fact, a responsibly bred Mini Golden Retriever has been found to have a longer lifespan than that of his standard counterpart, with a lifespan of between 10 and 15 years.
Furthermore, if responsibly bred, a Mini Golden Retriever is less likely to suffer from many of the same genetic health issues as his standard sized counterpart, thanks to responsible breeding practices and the fact that (hopefully) your Mini Golden is a crossbreed.
Still, like all dogs, the Mini Golden Retriever can be predisposed to a few genetic health issues that owners should be aware of.
These health issues include:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Skin Issues
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Collapsed Trachea
- And Bloat
You can help combat certain health issues in your Mini Golden Retriever by ensuring you not only get him from a reputable breeder that understands the importance of responsible breeding practices, but by also following the below tips.
Make And Keep Routine Vet Visits
All pet parents know that vet visits can be expensive, but just like wellness exams are important for us, they are also important for our pets. Ensuring your dog is seen for basic check ups at least once a year may not only help catch any potential health issues early, but even save you money down the road in treatment.
If you’re concerned about the costs of medical care for your pet, you always have the option of investing in pet health insurance.
Invest In A Quality Dog Food For Your Mini Golden Retriever
The Mini Golden Retriever can be prone to a few health issues related to diet, so it’s important to keep your dog on a quality dog food specified for his age, weight and activity level. Avoid dog foods full of fillers, additives, by products, corn, soy, wheat or gluten.
Instead, pick healthy dog foods that are made with real animal protein and that are a good source of vitamins, minerals, carbs, fatty acids, and even water.
You also have the option of choosing between wet food, raw food, draw food or homemade dog food. The best dog food for your unique dog is going to depend on your lifestyle and what your vet recommends, though it’s important to keep in mind that there are pros and cons to all of those foods listed. Just be sure to do your research.
Follow Healthy Grooming Practices
Grooming is incredibly important for dogs not only to help them feel and look their best, but also to help you keep an eye out for any sudden physical changes. Grooming can also help prevent certain skin and ear infections, especially when done properly.
Best grooming practices for a Mini Golden Retriever would include routine brushing, bathing once every couple of weeks, and monitoring your dog’s ears for buildup of debris. It’s also important to trim your Mini Golden Retrievers nails routinely to keep them from splitting and to brush your Mini Golden Retrievers teeth once a day using a dog safe toothpaste and toothbrush.
Don’t Slack On Exercise and Mental Stimulation
Exercise and mental stimulation not only help keep your dog happy, but also healthy. Ensuring your dog is both mentally and physically fit will reduce potential bone and joint issues as your dog ages while also preventing depression and anxiety, which can weaken your dog’s immune system.
Consider Having Your Mini Golden Retriever Health Screened
Most reputable breeders will be able to provide you with paperwork proving your dog’s pedigree. They should also be able to provide you with paperwork proving your dog has been screened and cleared of any major health problems.
However, if you did not receive this information from your breeder, it’s a good idea to have your Mini golden Retriever health screened. There are a number of ways you can go about doing this, but one of the easiest is to invest in a dog DNA kit, like the one listed below.
Embark Dog Breed and Health Kit
The Embark Dog DNA Kit can help you determine not only which types of dogs your Mini Golden Retriever has been crossbred with, but also what his potential health issues might be based on his genetic history.
This is one of the most popular dog DNA kits for a few reasons, but we also like that it’s priced competitively and not only offers you a database of 350 other dog breeds, but it also allows you to connect with others who are raising dogs with your dog’s same DNA. How cute is that?
Mini Golden Retriever – Pros and Cons To This Unique Dog
While the Mini Golden Retriever can make an excellent companion, there are pros and cons to investing in one.
Like all dogs, the Mini Golden Retriever is not everyone’s cup of tea. There are certain owners and families he will do better in than others, and if you’re on the fence, we’re here to help.
Are you considering investing in a Mini Golden Retriever? If so, we are going to summarize the pros and cons of this adorable yet controversial canine to hopefully make your decision a little bit easier.
Take a look.
- Mini Goldens Have A Longer Lifespan On Average Than Standard Goldens
- Minis May Shed Less Than Standard Golden Retrievers Depending On Their Mix
- Minis May Be Healthier If They Are Crossbreed Dogs
- Mini Golden Retrievers Are More Compact and Easier To Travel With
- They Are Highly Intelligent and Family Oriented
- Mini Golden Retrievers Are Easy To Train And Eager To Please
- These Dogs Are More Adaptable To Smaller Spaces
- Mini Goldens Require Less Exercise Than Their Standard Counterparts
- They May Be Less Expensive To Keep
- Some Breeders May Not Follow Responsible Breeding Practices For Minis
- The Mini Golden Retriever is Controversial Because Of Some Breeding Practices
- Some Mini Golden Retriever Traits Could Be Unpredictable
- The Mini Golden Retriever Is Still A Heavy Shedder
- Mini Golden Retrievers May Struggle With Unique Health Issues
- Mini Golden Retrievers Can Be More Costly Than Standard Golden Retrievers
- Mini Golden Retrievers Cannot Be Registered By Most Breed Clubs
What To Look For When Looking For A Mini Golden Retriever To Call your Own
Try and look for breeders or shelters that understand the importance of responsible breeding practices.
While there are a few well-known breeders that call themselves the pioneers of the Mini Golden Retriever movement, it’s important to remember that research, word of mouth and patience can go a long way.
Because Mini Golden Retrievers may not always be reasonably bred to achieve their more petit appearance, it’s imperative that you take the time to ensure you are going through quality sources.
It’s unlikely you’ll find a Mini Golden Retriever at a rescue or shelter, as these dogs are fairly new, more costly than average Golden Retrievers, and generally only sold through breeders.
With that said, it may be possible to find a Mini Golden Retriever at a rescue or shelter that specializes in Golden Retriever dogs or mixes. Remember, many Mini Golden Retrievers are crossbreeds mixed with smaller Golden Retrievers and smaller Goldendoodles. Others might be crossed with Cocker Spaniels.
If you are interested in going through a shelter to adopt your Mini Golden Retriever, prepare to spend an adoption fee of around $250 to $500. This fee covers the overhead cost of what it took to care for your dog before you rescued him or her.
There are plenty of benefits to rescuing a dog that go far beyond saving money. Along with providing a dog in need of a good home, you may also be able to get a dog that has already undergone some behavioral testing and training. Some shelters will even provide you with a free initial vet exam, and many of their dogs over the age of two will have already been spayed or neutered, and may have even been microchipped.
On the other hand, if you prefer to go through a breeder to find your Mini Golden Retriever, prepare to spend between $1,500 to $5,000.
Beware of breeders selling Mini Goldens for a price that seems too good to be true, and avoid breeders that are selling Mini Goldens for a price that seems astronomical.
When you do find a breeder you trust, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Reputable breeders should be able to provide you with paperwork proving your puppy’s pedigree, as well as paperwork proving your dog has been screened and cleared of any serious health issues.
Some breeders might also be able to connect you with other resources to help ensure you raise the happiest, healthiest Mini Golden Retriever possible, and that is certainly invaluable.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on the Mini Golden Retriever. Now we want to hear from you! Did you realize that the Mini Golden Retriever was not really a purebred dog?
Tell us what you think below in the comment section.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.