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Mini goldendoodle breed profile 

Mini goldendoodle with brick background

There are some dogs who just stop people in their tracks with cuteness overload. With their teddy bear good looks and cheerful personalities all wrapped up in an easy to manage package, a mini goldendoodle might just be the dog of your dreams. They are not registered as a distinct breed with the American Kennel Club, but they are the product of breeding two purebred dogs, a golden retriever and a miniature poodle. Riding the wave of intentional mixed breed dogs, these designer dogs seem to be everywhere you look these days.  

Mini goldendoodles have plenty of good qualities to back up their immense popularity. They are adorable to look at, friendly to children and adults and get along well with other animals, and they share the intelligence of both poodles and golden retrievers. Mini goldendoodles are loyal and loving, and they will usually want to be close to their favorite humans. Their small size makes them easy to travel with, and they might be well suited to living in apartments or smaller spaces. 

Before bringing one of these cute companions into your life, however, there are also a few areas to think about with the mini goldendoodle to make sure that this is the right dog for you. Because they are so smart, they can become bored easily and need adequate mental stimulation. They are not a breed that can be left home alone all day as they really thrive on companionship. They also have a lot of energy, even in their small size, and they need to be offered a chance for active play and exercise every day, which might be difficult in an apartment or with limited outdoor space. 

Table of contents: 

Breed history

While all domesticated dog breeds began with intentional mixing to create a known breed standard, dogs were first bred to amplify the traits that would make them better at their jobs, such as hunting, herding, or guarding.  For example, they might breed two parents with short coats to get a litter of puppies with coats that wouldn’t get caught in brush while hunting. In the 1800s, this changed a bit as dogs were more frequently seen as companions, and people began to breed dogs for their looks, size, and personalities. Over several generations of the same mix, a reliable breed standard was established, and every litter produced dogs with little variation. 

Dogs that are the result of the mating of two purebred dogs from different breeds are called ‘designer dogs’. The labradoodle is considered to be the first modern designer dog. Australian dog breeder Wally Conron is credited with mixing a Labrador retriever with a standard poodle in hopes of creating a non-shedding, hypoallergenic guide dog for a blind client in 1989. Inspired by the success of the mating for these dogs, breeders began crossing poodles with golden retrievers in the 1990s, hoping to continue to see the best qualities of each breed. 

Poodles are a type of water dog and were originally bred as hunting dogs who were trained to fetch waterfowl. They proved to be intelligent, social, and have a high level of trainability. Their dense curly coat is hair rather than fur and does not shed. When hairs fall out (just like human hair), they are trapped in the tight curls. This means they release very little dander (dead skin cells) and dog hair, which makes them nearly hypoallergenic. As they became more popular as companions, people bred them to be smaller. The miniature poodle doesn’t have the stamina or size to be an effective hunting partner, but their intelligence and charming personality soon made them sought after companion pets.  

Golden retrievers were first bred in Scotland to be loyal and hardworking hunting and retrieving partners. They needed self-discipline and a positive attitude, along with a focused attention on the task even in distracting settings. Goldens are also enthusiastic water dogs, but their thick, long coat can make swimming more difficult. Their intelligent, gentle, and affectionate nature contributed to their ongoing popularity.  

The mini goldendoodle gets the best of both sides of this mating. Goldendoodles appeal to people looking for a dog with the intelligence of a poodle and the friendly demeanor of a golden but without the excessive shedding of a golden retriever.  

As their popularity continued to grow, people became interested in developing different sizes and colors of goldendoodles. Mini goldendoodles are created by mating two purebred parents, a golden retriever and a miniature poodle. This is called an F1 cross, or first generation. These dogs are 50% mini poodle and 50% golden retriever. Mini goldendoodles are also created as the result of an F1b cross, where a mini goldendoodle is mated to a purebred miniature poodle. F1b puppies are 75% poodle and 25% golden retriever. Because they have more poodle in their genetic makeup, these dogs have a much greater probability of being non-shedding and hypoallergenic. It is not recommended to breed goldendoodles to other goldendoodles after the third generation (F3), as the further down the line, the less predictable coat type and health issues become. Most reputable breeders will not breed a dog this way.  

Even though a mini goldendoodle is the result of a cross between two purebred dogs, the American Kennel Club does not recognize the breed because they demand that the entire lineage must be from the same breed. The variation that occurs when mating two different breeds means that the AKC cannot create and support a definitive breed standard for the dogs. 

The science of creating designer dogs relies on careful attention from reliable, ethical breeders to ensure that traits which might be cute but are unhealthy or even harmful to the dogs are not passed along. For example, a puggle (a cross between a pug and a beagle) might have the longer snout of a beagle, which would help alleviate some of the breathing problems pugs have as flat faced (brachycephalic) dogs. Unfortunately, this cross could also result in a dog with the short snout of a pug and the hunting drive of a beagle, and the dog might not be able to breathe well enough for all of the running it would do. A risk with a popular designer dog like a mini goldendoodle is that unethical puppy mills breed solely for quantity and appearance without taking care to eliminate any genetic disorders or other health concerns from their breeding lines. 

Appearance

Taking after their miniature poodle parent, mini goldendoodles will be about 13-17 inches tall and will weigh around 15-25 pounds when fully grown. The smaller the parents, or if the dog is the result of an F1b cross, the more likely a pup will be on the smaller side. Even though they are cute and portable small dogs, mini goldendoodles are also sturdy, athletic companions who will happily join you for an active play session or a swim. 

Their coats can be curly, wavy, or straight. F1b goldendoodles tend to have more poodle traits such as a curly, non-shedding coat. It is possible, however, for a mini goldendoodle to inherit the thick double coat of the golden retriever. Dogs with a more poodle-looking curly coat also typically have what are known as ‘furnishings’. Furnishings are the long moustache, beard, and eyebrow hairs that give doodle faces their characteristic teddy bear look. Goldendoodles without the gene for furnishings will have a coat similar to that of a golden retriever and will be prone to more shedding. Those coats will probably not be hypoallergenic.  All goldendoodles have floppy ears and most have brown eyes.  

In addition to the different coat textures, mini goldendoodles can come in a wide range of coat colors. The golden retriever gives them the gene for cream, apricot, and red, while the poodle offers the gene for those colors plus black, chocolate, silver, and grey. The poodle genes also give the opportunity for certain color patterns to be passed on to offspring. These patterns include merle, parti, brindle, and phantom.  

Merle patterns occur when a gene suppresses part of the dog’s coloring, which leads to a marbled or mottled appearance. Knowledgeable breeders will not breed two dogs who carry the merle gene since those pairings can lead to health issues such as blindness and deafness. 

Parti goldendoodles are at least 50% white with solid patches of another color. Dogs who are more than 50% of another color with patches of white are known as abstracts, chrome, or mismarks. 

Brindles are stripes that can vary by color or width for each dog. 

Phantoms have distinctive brown or tan markings on their eyebrows, chests, inside of the legs and under the tail.   

Personality

A wonderful personality is what drives the popularity of the mini goldendoodle. Mini goldendoodles have the happy-go-lucky, cheerful personality to match their adorable faces. Their sociable nature and goofy antics make them a favorite for all. They are fun and affectionate and love their people. Mini goldendoodles get along well with children and other pets, and they make terrific family dogs. However, they are typically high energy pets and might become overly excited in a family with small children.  

Mini goldendoodles are easy to train as they have the intelligence of two of the smartest dog breeds. According to the Goldendoodle Association of North America, the poodle and the golden retriever both score in the top 4 of smartest dog breeds. Because they tend to be people pleasers, mini goldendoodles take to training easily, and they are often recommended for first time dog owners. In addition to basic obedience training, mini goldendoodles are also good candidates for agility or activities such as dock diving. Their love of games and sense of fun can be used to an advantage during training. They respond well to positive reinforcement and reward-based training methods. Mini goldendoodles also have a lot of energy, and they appreciate having an outlet or a task to focus on. 

Because mini goldendoodles are so easy to train, they are often used as service or emotional support animals. The ADA guidelines for service animals state that the animal must be trained to perform a task or tasks to help someone with a disability. These tasks might include retrieving objects for people in wheelchairs, reminding people to take medication, licking a hand to alert a person of an oncoming panic attack, or alerting a person to an oncoming seizure and then keeping them safe. These are all tasks that the smart and careful mini goldendoodle can be trained to perform. Emotional support animals don’t have stringent requirements, and they do not need to be trained to do tasks that help with a disability. The cheerful mini goldendoodle is a perfect size and temperament to offer the comfort needed to do that job well. 

Health 

Mini goldendoodles are a generally healthy breed, and they have a lifespan of about 12 to 16 years. As the result of their cross-breeding, however, they are susceptible to a few genetic health concerns from both poodles and golden retrievers. A reputable breeder will take care to limit these disorders from their breeding lines, and consistent veterinary checks will help to keep your pup in good health. Some of these concerning health issues include the following: 

Hip and elbow dysplasia: this is usually seen in larger dogs, but it is a hereditary condition that could be passed down through the golden retriever line. These types of dysplasia are the result of abnormal joint growth resulting in pain and difficulty with mobility.  

Patellar luxation: miniature and toy poodles are prone to patellar luxation (dislocated kneecap). This is a condition that can be treated with physiotherapy, surgery, and pain management.  

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: PRA is also inherited from the golden retriever/ poodle mix. It is a degenerative disorder that leads to gradual vision loss. While there is no cure for PRA, most dogs continue to have a high quality of life as their other senses compensate for the loss of vision. 

To consider

  • Like many other breeds who combine high intelligence and trainability, mini goldendoodles have a lot of energy, and they need to be exercised frequently. If possible, time off leash will help them get the physical workout they need every day. They can be ‘hyper’ indoors and need time to explore and sniff outside. Their small size means they have bursts of energy and like to go hard and fast rather than going on long runs or hikes. 
  • Mini goldendoodles also need active mental stimulation. They are not ‘couch potatoes’ who can stay quiet all day. As intelligent dogs, they will find a way to entertain themselves if left alone for too long, which might show itself as negative behaviors such as barking or chewing. 
  • Mini goldendoodles are enthusiastic and loving with their people. They want to be near you and will often follow you all around the house. Mini goldendoodles might display more of the personality of the miniature poodle, which can tend to be a bit more high-strung and nervously excitable. This personality trait can make it difficult to have a mini goldendoodle in a home with very young children, as it can lead to them being nervous or even reactive around children’s unpredictable and sometimes loud behavior. Even in their good-natured excitability, mini goldendoodles can play too rough and could knock over small children. They are often recommended for homes with children who are school aged and older.  
  • As a result of loving to be next to their favorite people and needing lots of human companionship, mini goldendoodles can suffer from separation stress. When you are able to plan ahead, consider giving Calm & Comfort 1.5 – 2 hours before the separation to help your dog remain calm after you leave. Separation stress can be difficult to manage, but with support and consistent training, your dog can learn to soothe themselves. 
  • Even though mini goldendoodles are very low shedding, their coats do require some maintenance. A daily brushing will keep their coat healthy and prevent painful mats from forming. Dogs with furnishings and wavy or straight coats in particular will require grooming to keep their hair short. If you live in a snowy climate, extra care will need to be taken as large clumps of snow can form on their legs and bellies. 
  • Poodles can be a loud breed, and some mini goldendoodles are known to be very barky. They might send out an alarm if cars or people pass by on the street, if they hear strange noises, or even just if they are having a great time. 

The bottom line 

Mini goldendoodles are spunky, smart, and loving companions who will be your family’s devoted best friends. Understanding their need for daily exercise and mental stimulation and appreciating their desire to be close to their favorite humans will go a long way to making this a rewarding and loving partnership. Mini goldendoodles are one of the most popular designer dogs around for a good reason. Their cheerful antics and adorable good looks will keep you smiling, and they will give back all the love you can muster and then some. 

Sources: 

https://hellobark.com/dogs/mini-goldendoodle/

https://worldanimalfoundation.org/dogs/mini-goldendoodle/

https://time.com/designer-dogs/

https://www.goldendoodleassociation.com/about-the-breed/history-of-the-goldendoodle/

https://www.ada.gov/topics/service-animals/

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