Mini Golden Retrievers: Complete Guide (+ Differences From Full-Size)

In recent years, many variations of the Golden Retriever breed have been developed through cross-breeding. Golden Retrievers have been cross-bred with Poodles to create the popular Goldendoodle and with Dachshunds for the Golden Dox. 

Among these variations, Mini or Miniature Golden Retrievers have also gained attention. This article aims to provide a complete guide on mini Golden Retrievers and compare them with full-size Golden Retrievers.

What Are Mini Golden Retrievers?

Origins and Breeding

Mini Golden Retrievers are typically created by crossbreeding Golden Retrievers with smaller breeds like Cocker Spaniels or Poodles. 

The intention behind creating these mini versions is to produce dogs that retain the beloved characteristics of Golden Retrievers but in a smaller, more manageable size. This smaller size makes them ideal for apartment living and for families who prefer a dog that doesn’t require as much space.

Physical Characteristics

Mini Golden Retrievers are smaller in size compared to their full-size counterparts. They generally weigh between 20 to 45 pounds and stand about 14 to 18 inches tall at the shoulder. Despite their smaller stature, mini Golden Retrievers often maintain the same golden coat, friendly expression, and athletic build characteristic of full-size Golden Retrievers. 

Their appearance can vary slightly depending on the specific breeds used in their development, but they typically have a well-proportioned body and a similar coat texture.

Characteristics of Mini Golden Retrievers

Physical Appearance

Mini Golden Retrievers are known for their smaller stature while retaining many of the features that make full-size Golden Retrievers so beloved. They typically weigh between 20 to 45 pounds and stand about 14 to 18 inches tall at the shoulder. Their coats are usually a shade of golden, ranging from light to dark, with a dense, water-resistant outer coat and a soft undercoat. 

Compared to full-size Golden Retrievers, which weigh between 55 to 75 pounds and stand 21 to 24 inches tall, mini Golden Retrievers are more compact but share the same friendly expression and athletic build.

Temperament Traits

Mini Golden Retrievers generally inherit the friendly and affectionate temperament that Golden Retrievers are famous for. They are known for being social, loyal, and eager to please, making them excellent family pets. 

However, their temperament can also include traits from the breeds they are crossed with, such as the energetic and playful nature of the Cocker Spaniel or the intelligence and trainability of the Poodle. Potential behavioral issues can include separation anxiety and a tendency to chew when bored, so they benefit from regular exercise and mental stimulation.

Health Concerns

Mini Golden Retrievers can be prone to certain health issues and genetic problems, similar to their full-size counterparts. Common health concerns include hip dysplasia, heart problems, and eye conditions. The crossbreeding process can also introduce new genetic variables, making it essential to choose a reputable breeder who performs health screenings and genetic testing. 

Ensuring your mini Golden Retriever comes from a responsible breeder can help minimize the risk of inherited health problems.


Mini Golden Retrievers are highly adaptable to different living environments, making them suitable for both apartment living and houses with yards. Their smaller size allows them to fit comfortably in smaller spaces, but they still require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. 

Compared to full-size Golden Retrievers, mini Golden Retrievers may adapt more easily to urban living due to their reduced space requirements. However, both sizes are known for their versatility and can thrive in various settings as long as their physical and mental needs are met.

Differences Between Mini and Full-Size Golden Retrievers

Size and Weight

Mini Golden Retrievers typically weigh between 20 to 45 pounds and stand 14 to 18 inches tall at the shoulder. In contrast, full-size Golden Retrievers weigh between 55 to 75 pounds and stand 21 to 24 inches tall. 

The smaller size of mini Golden Retrievers makes them more suitable for apartment living and smaller homes, while full-size Golden Retrievers may require more space to move around comfortably.

Temperament and Behavior

Both mini and full-size Golden Retrievers share many typical behaviors, such as being friendly, affectionate, and eager to please. However, the temperament of mini Golden Retrievers can be influenced by the breeds they are crossed with, such as the Cocker Spaniel or Poodle. This can result in slight differences in energy levels and specific behavioral traits. Mini Golden Retrievers may have a bit more variation in temperament, depending on their exact breeding, but generally, both types are social, loyal, and excellent family pets.

Health and Lifespan

Common health issues for both mini and full-size Golden Retrievers include hip dysplasia, heart problems, and eye conditions. However, due to the mixed breeding in mini Golden Retrievers, they might also be prone to other genetic issues specific to the breeds involved in their development. The lifespan of mini Golden Retrievers is often comparable to full-size Golden Retrievers, typically ranging from 10 to 15 years. Careful selection of a reputable breeder can help mitigate health risks in both types.

Maintenance and Care

Both mini and full-size Golden Retrievers have similar grooming needs, requiring regular brushing to manage shedding and maintain their coats. They both need regular exercise to stay healthy and prevent boredom-related behaviors. Mini Golden Retrievers may have slightly lower exercise requirements due to their smaller size, but they still benefit from daily walks and playtime. 

Ensuring proper dental care, regular vet visits, and a balanced diet are essential for maintaining the health of both mini and full-size Golden Retrievers.

Mini vs. Full Size: Which Type Of Golden Retriever Should I Get?

Who Should Get a Full-Size Golden Retriever?

Ideal Living Situations

Full-size Golden Retrievers thrive in homes with large yards or access to outdoor spaces where they can run and play freely. Their larger size and higher energy levels make them well-suited for environments that offer plenty of room to move around.

Active Families

Families who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, running, or playing fetch will find a full-size Golden Retriever to be an excellent companion. Their high energy levels and love for adventure make them perfect for active lifestyles.

Training Enthusiasts

Owners interested in training their dogs for obedience, agility, or therapy work will benefit from the full-size Golden Retriever’s intelligence and eagerness to learn. Their trainability makes them ideal for various training programs and competitions.

Pet Therapy Programs

Organizations or individuals seeking dogs for pet therapy programs will appreciate the gentle temperament and friendly nature of full-size Golden Retrievers. Their calm and comforting presence makes them ideal for providing emotional support and companionship in therapeutic settings.

Who Should Get a Mini Golden Retriever? 

Ideal Living Situations

Mini Golden Retrievers are perfect for small apartments or homes without large yards. Their smaller size makes them more adaptable to living in confined spaces without feeling cramped.

Busy Individuals

Mini Goldens require less exercise compared to their full-size counterparts, making them ideal for people with busy schedules. If you have less time for long walks or play sessions, a mini Golden Retriever might be a better fit.

Elderly or Retirees

Seniors looking for companionship will find mini Golden Retrievers to be a good match due to their smaller size and manageable exercise needs. They offer the same loving temperament as full-size Golden Retrievers without the demand for extensive physical activity.

Individuals with Limited Physical Strength

People who might struggle to manage a larger, more energetic dog due to physical limitations or health conditions will find mini Golden Retrievers to be a more suitable choice. Their smaller size and lower energy levels make them easier to handle and care for.

Why Choose a Full-Size Golden Retriever Over a Mini?

Predictable Temperament and Behavior

Full-size Golden Retrievers are known for their consistent, friendly nature. They are widely recognized for their loyalty, patience, and gentle demeanor, making them ideal family pets and companions.

Better Health Profile

Full-size Golden Retrievers often have fewer health risks compared to mixed breeds. Their health profile is well-documented, allowing breeders and veterinarians to better predict and manage potential health issues.

Versatility and Adaptability

Full-size Golden Retrievers excel in various activities, including therapy, assistance, hunting, and obedience training. Their versatility and adaptability make them suitable for a wide range of roles and environments.

Established Breed Standards

Full-size Golden Retrievers are recognized by major kennel clubs with well-documented traits and standards. This recognition ensures that their characteristics, both physical and temperamental, are well-established and predictable.

Choosing the Right Golden Retriever for Your Lifestyle

Assessing Your Living Situation

When choosing between a mini and full-size Golden Retriever, consider your living space and activity levels. Full-size Golden Retrievers can thrive in various environments, from large homes with yards to apartments, as long as they receive the right care and exercise. Ensure that your living situation can accommodate the space and activity needs of a full-size Golden Retriever.

Family Dynamics

Full-size Golden Retrievers are known for their gentle and friendly nature, making them an excellent choice for families with children, elderly members, or other pets. Their patience and sociability ensure that they integrate well into various family dynamics, providing companionship and joy to all family members.

Activity Level and Lifestyle

Matching the dog’s needs with your daily routine and activities is crucial. Full-size Golden Retrievers are great companions for active lifestyles, enjoying activities such as hiking, running, and playing fetch. If your routine includes regular outdoor activities and exercise, a full-size Golden Retriever can be a perfect match, keeping you both healthy and happy.

Retriever, consider all aspects of your lifestyle and living situation. The reliability and excellence of full-size Golden Retrievers make them a fantastic option for those seeking a loyal, friendly, and adaptable companion.


In summary, while both mini and full-size Golden Retrievers have their unique advantages, full-size Golden Retrievers offer predictable temperament, a better health profile, versatility, and established breed standards. These traits make them a reliable and excellent choice for many families and individuals. 

When choosing a Golden Retriever, consider all aspects of your lifestyle and living situation. The reliability and excellence of full-size Golden Retrievers make them a fantastic option for those seeking a loyal, friendly, and adaptable companion.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mini Golden Retrievers

Are Mini Golden Retrievers as friendly as full-size Golden Retrievers?

Yes, Mini Golden Retrievers are generally as friendly as full-size Golden Retrievers. They tend to inherit the affectionate and social nature of their Golden Retriever lineage, making them excellent companions.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers healthier than full-size Golden Retrievers?

Mini Golden Retrievers can have a varied health profile due to their mixed breeding. While they might avoid some genetic issues common in purebred Golden Retrievers, they can also inherit health problems from the breeds they are crossed with.

Can Mini Golden Retrievers live in apartments more easily than full-size Golden Retrievers?

Yes, Mini Golden Retrievers are more adaptable to apartment living due to their smaller size. They require less space and can thrive in smaller homes, provided they receive sufficient exercise and mental stimulation.

Are Mini Golden Retrievers easier to train than full-size Golden Retrievers?

Both Mini and full-size Golden Retrievers are typically intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. The specific ease of training for Mini Golden Retrievers can vary depending on the breeds they are mixed with, but they generally respond well to positive reinforcement.

Galen has been connecting quality Golden Retriever breeders with loving families since 2012 and is the founder of My Golden Retriever Puppies. He and his wife have four children and love spending time together, traveling (lived oversees for 4 years), enjoying the outdoors and connecting Golden families.