Is There Such a Thing as a Miniature Golden Retriever?

"I've heard of mini goldens, but I haven't seen any at sanctioned shows."
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If you've been looking for a designer dog, one who is of a mixed breed with traits from her varied ancestral background, you might be intrigued to find a miniature golden retriever. You'd get an active, energetic dog but in a smaller, more small house- or apartment-friendly package.

Recognized Retriever Standards

The American Kennel Club lists only one class of golden retriever, and they aren't miniature in any sense. The AKC's breed standards outline acceptable sizes for both males and females, with the sizes for the girls not being too much smaller than the boys. Males can be 23 to 24 inches tall and weigh 65 to 75 pounds. Females are typically 21.5 to 22.5 inches high at the withers and weigh in at 55 to 65 pounds.

Brand New Minis

Although they aren't "official," there is a miniature golden retriever breed that is so new, no puppies can yet claim to be purebred mini goldens. This new breed is a mixture of golden retriever, poodle and cocker spaniel, and depending on where you get your mini golden pup, the breed ratios can vary. Most of the dogs who are considered miniature golden retrievers have somewhere between 37 and 75 percent golden retriever genes. These little goldens can range in size, too, anywhere between 14 and 20 inches and 20 to 50 pounds.

Mistaken Identity

There is one official breed of retriever that does look like a mini golden at first glance, and often gets mistaken for one. This retriever is a strawberry blonde beauty who is much smaller than her larger, golden cousin. The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is the name of the breed, and it's one that is officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. Males only get 18 to 21 inches tall at the withers and the females are a diminutive 17 to 20 inches. The AKC doesn't list an official weight for the duck tollers, only saying that the weight should be in proportion to the height and bone of the individual dog.

Retriever Runts

A runt can be born any time into a litter, making for a golden retriever who looks miniature compared to her normal-sized littermates. Sometimes a runt is the result of genetics, but it's more likely to be the chance result of something such as where the pup's placenta attached in her mother's uterus. A golden retriever who is the runt of her litter will always be small, never growing to the normal size that her brothers and sisters attain.

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