The Golden Retriever is consistently counted in the top five most popular breeds owned by Americans. They are loyal, ever-happy, and eager-to-please companions known for having a true heart of gold.
However, they are a large dog, easily weighing 70+ lbs and standing two feet tall (at the shoulder). Many owners are intrigued when they hear of a “mini goldendoodle” as they envision the gentle retriever personality minus the large size and the heavy shedding!
While this stereotype is true to some extent, it is important to understand that there are inherent temperament differences between the different sizes of goldendoodles.
All doodle breeds can come in a variety of sizes due to the fact that the poodle comes in a number of sizes (most often categorized as standard, moyen and miniature/toy). So depending on the size of the poodle(s) involved in the heritage of your pup, the size outcome can vary drastically.
In order to breed the larger Golden Retriever dog breed down to a mini size, a Miniature Poodle is used. The Miniature Poodle and Standard Poodle have some similarities but are overall two different breeds.
The Standard Poodle was originally bred as a retrieving dog (specifically for the water!). So Standard Poodles are quite athletic, moderately active and extremely intelligent. Retrieving is a skill that requires dutiful obedience on the part of the dog, and the standard poodle is no exception.
Poodles often excel in obedience competitions and agility exercises. They are also incredibly people-oriented and sensitive and a fairly common breed in the service dog industry.
The miniature/toy poodle was not bred for a sporting purpose, but rather came into existence once the standard poodle made its way into France where it was bred down to become a prized pet/companion of 18th-century European aristocracy. Bred specifically for its small size and companionship, the Miniature Poodle tends to be more demanding of attention and can be more excitable and less laidback than their standard counterparts.
It can be a bit confusing when researching breeders as different breeders sometimes have different names or definitions of the various Goldendoodle sizes. For example some breeders consider a Mini Goldendoodle to be anything smaller than a standard (i.e. under 50 lbs).
While others divide the sizes up into much smaller ranges including medium sized Goldendoodles and extra small Goldendoodles (sometimes called toy or petite-minis) that can be as small as 7-10 lbs.
For the purpose of this article, we will consider Goldendoodles in three different size ranges: mini, medium, and standard. However, please keep in mind that it is important to ask your specific breeder what the definition of their sizes are to ensure you are getting the pup of your dreams.
Also, be sure to ask your breeder about both parents’ sizes to gauge your pup’s estimated adult weight/height. The closer the two parents are in weight, the more reliable prediction you can make about your pup!
The flexibility in the size of the Goldendoodle makes this breed an excellent choice for a variety of different families, but is important to note that there are more variations among these breeds than just weight in pounds. There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to which size Goldendoodle is right for you ranging from temperament to cost of ownership.
Below we compare mini goldendoodles vs medium goldendoodles vs standard goldendoodles.
Standard Goldendoodle Size, Traits and Characteristics
First, we will consider the pros and cons of Standard Goldendoodles which are typically 50-80 lbs depending on the specific litter/parentage. Standard Goldendoodles are typically gentle and laidback as both Golden Retrievers and Standard Poodles tend to be a gentle, patient breed. Most are very tolerant of children.
They have the stamina to keep up with you on any type of exercise (for example they make excellent jogging and hiking partners). But they like to go hard for a while and then are usually content to snooze. They do not need as much constant stimulation throughout the day as a miniature doodle who may require short bursts of more frequent activity.
As the Golden Retriever and the Standard Poodle are similarly sized dogs, a first generation cross is acceptable and often a plus for families who want to hold onto the Golden Retriever lineage as much as possible. Although, first generation pups are not a great choice for those who want to minimize shedding and/or have allergy concerns.
Coming from two breeds that are both common breeds in the service dog industry, obedience competitions, etc. The Standard Goldendoodle makes an excellent choice for an owner who needs an extra trainable dog as well as one who may be a good candidate to be a therapy dog or service dog.
The standard size Goldendoodle is also a good choice for families who want an element of protection when it comes to their dog. While the Goldendoodle is not a breed specifically known for its guard dog abilities, a larger framed dog with a big bark can still be intimidating to would-be offenders. Many owners like the feeling of protection and confidence that comes from walking with a larger dog on the other end of the leash.
The fairly obvious disadvantage is that standard Goldendoodles take up a lot of space. This can make traveling a challenge as they might struggle to fit in both a tightly-packed car and plane (one would need an extra seat and an ESA letter to be allowed to fly with a standard sized pup).
A poorly trained standard Goldendoodle can be difficult to live with as they will be difficult to manage on a leash and can be a force to be reckoned with in the house as they can easily reach food on the counters or make quick work of furniture legs when it comes to chewing. Thankfully, this is one of the most trainable breeds we know of, but their size will mean that they can easily be destructive if their owner does not set boundaries.
Even a well-trained Standard Goldendoodle, may unintentionally cause the occasional inconvenience as a result of their size—for example, their ever-wagging tails seem to be at the perfect height to knock off beverage glasses on most coffee tables! Be advised that they may unintentionally knock over a child while playing simply because of their larger size.
Finally, a Standard Goldendoodle does need space to “stretch their legs” - i.e. a good run in the backyard or daily walk. In comparison, miniature goldendoodles also need exercise but can play in short bursts in a smaller area. A Standard Goldendoodle can live a happy life in an apartment, but it requires more commitment on the part of the owner to ensure they are getting enough daily exercise.
Mini Goldendoodle Size, Traits and Characteristics
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Miniature Goldendoodle which most breeders consider to be under 30 lbs. The addition of the Miniature Poodle in this breed makes them a delightfully smart, fun, and spunky companion!
Owners often describe their Mini Goldendoodles as almost humanlike in their wit and quirks! They are typically very devoted to their owners which can be both a pro and a con depending on your concept of personal space!
The vast size difference between a Toy Poodle and a Golden Retriever means that this breed has much more variability when it comes to size and structure. Most Mini Goldendoodles have a higher percentage of Miniature Poodle than Golden Retriever in order to achieve the smaller size (this is especially true of the extra tiny minis). Most 7-10 lb.
Mini Goldendoodles have only a very small percentage of Golden Retriever in their heritage. A first generation miniature cross is typically not recommended as the vast size different between the two parents can result in unpredictable sizes and structural abnormalities in the pups. For those owners really wanting to preserve the Golden Retriever lineage, a standard size Goldendoodle is the better option.
These small versions of Goldendoodles are very portable, easy to travel with on a plane (can fit in carrier under the seat). However, they are not as easy to travel with in the car as Mini Goldendoodles have a higher tendency of carsickness than their larger counterparts.
The compact size of the Miniature Goldendoodle can make them more manageable for some families. A Miniature Goldendoodle is less likely to knock over a child even if the pup does jump on him/her.
They are easy to control a leash and it can be helpful for owners to be able to easily pick up their pup when it comes to bath time, getting in and out of the car, etc. Their small size also means a slight decrease in the overall cost to own them. They require less food, a smaller dose of flea prevention and even procure less of a charge at the groomer.
On the downside, the smaller the Mini Goldendoodle, the less likely they are able to keep up with the family on a walk or hike. They may tire easily on longer walks. While they are easier for young children to manage on a leash, they may also be too fragile for young kid’s rough play. The Miniature Goldendoodle may also exhibit the more “excitable” characteristics of the Miniature Poodle.
While their size may be less intimidating, we find that the more high strung nature of Mini Goldendoodles can make them fairly impatient with young children. They can become disjointed with the unpredictable actions and movements of young children and have a higher likelihood of snapping at a child. Minis tend to be high energy but lack the stamina for extended periods of exercise so may require more frequent attention throughout the day to meet their demands for mental stimulation.
Medium Goldendoodle Size, Traits and Characteristics
The fully grown Medium Goldendoodle is typically around 30-50 lbs and is often a wonderful blend of the characteristics of both the Mini and Standard Goldendoodles. Often the medium size Goldendoodles have a parentage that includes both standard and miniature poodles so most have a blend of the mini and standard personalities.
This can be a good fit for families who still want a manageable size when it comes to walking on a leash, traveling, etc. but also want more of the laidback qualities of the standard sized poodles. Medium Goldendoodles are our top car travel choice due to their intermediate size, as well as their higher centers of gravity that generally helps them be more comfortable in the car for short or long rides.
A medium size Goldendoodle is often still able to easily be picked up. The Medium Goldendoodle is likely to be able to keep up with you well on walks/hikes, but also be easy to carry and pick up should they become injured or otherwise need assistance. This is something to consider depending on your stature as a human.
The Medium Goldendoodle is often a good compromise for the active owner who wants a companion to accompany them on jogs and other adventures but is overall a smaller person and concerned about not being able to manage or pick up a standard sized Goldendoodle.
The only downside is that the medium sized Goldendoodle often comes from a blend of the Golden Retriever, Miniature Poodle and Standard Poodle so there can be a good bit of variability in their size and personalities.
It is important to ask your breeder about your specific pup or litters’ parentage to get a better grasp on these different characteristics.
Overall, we find the Medium Goldendoodle to be the most versatile of the three sizes and are a good fit for most families.
Finally, we always like to caution our readers that every dog does have their individual personality, quirks, etc. Our descriptions of each size our broad generalizations based on the history of the dog breed at large. But the individual family tree of a pup matters a lot, too.
There are certainly Miniature Goldendoodles out there that are calm and laidback. Similarly, there are Standard Goldendoodles who are overly excitable and not a good choice for families with children. It is important to find a reputable breeder who can help guide you to the right pup for your lifestyle regardless of which size you are choosing!
Jenna and the JLDD Team