7 Dogs that are Similar To Golden Retrievers But Smaller

Are there any dogs similar to Golden Retrievers but smaller? There are many dogs that are similar to golden retrievers. But there is really no replacement for them. They are one of the most popular breeds and they are intelligent and friendly towards everyone including strangers. This makes them great for all-around duties such as being a loyal pet, service dog, and hunting dog. Goldens are simply versatile and that’s what makes them irreplaceable.

But suppose you are curious enough to know if there some dog breeds that are similar to golden retrievers, if you want to find out, we are happy to walk you through some of the details.

King Charles Cavalier

They are born and raised to be companion dogs. Cavaliers have a similar personality just like golden retrievers. They are highly adaptable, affectionate, gentle, intelligent. They are both great for being couch potatoes and active owners.

Although they are unable to match the level of energy with the golden retriever, they still have a sporty nature drawing from their spaniel lineage. Cavaliers are protective of their families. They are also much smaller than goldens. But they are perfect and get along with children and other dogs.

You may see them in rescues and shelters even though they are purebred. But hey, you can still adopt them if you want. This is a great opportunity if you are finding a dog breed that’s similar to a golden retriever.

They are considered one of the largest toy breeds. Due to their sporty nature, you can bring them to any outdoor activities such as running, hiking, and jogging. You can even try to enter them into dog sports like flyball, rally, and agility.

One of their distinct characteristics is that they are the top tail-wagger. They are little but very cute enough to make you hug them. When it comes to training, they are easily and highly trainable dog breeds. They are willing to try any command you like them to do. Cavaliers need dog treats as their positive reinforcement.

When it comes to their health, they are generally healthy canine but this doesn’t mean they are exempted from any health conditions. They are prone to hip dysplasia, episodic failing especially when they are old enough that their muscles are starting to get weak, and other common ailments to every dog breeds.


Beagles are known for their small, hardy, and compact statures. They are also active dogs and active companions for adults and children. They are very friendly and loving towards their master and even to other family members and other animals as well. However, they may be stubborn and requires patience, and need some creative training techniques.

These small dogs are known for their scent tracking skills. This is due to their being bred as a scenthound in games where they will follow the scent of rabbits and hare. Their scent receptors are about 220 million which makes them better than other dog breeds. That’s why you will notice that they are suitable as service dogs. You can even see them in airports to detect some contrabands.

In comparison to golden retrievers, they don’t match the high energy level given the fact that goldens are much bigger and originally bred as hunting and retrieving dogs. But in personality, they are still somewhat similar. Because they are sweet, adorable, and gentle canines. Also, both of them are great family dogs. Beagles also need early socialization if you want them to become well-rounded dogs.

When it comes to health, they are also susceptible to some diseases and health issues, and yet most Beagles seem to live a healthy lifestyle depending on the owner’s way of treating them. However, there will be some instances that they will have some of these common health issues such as hip dysplasia (which is common among dogs), cherry eye, epilepsy, beagle dwarfism, and others.

If you are going to consider owning one, it’s much better to obedience train them and use some dog treats as a positive reinforcement for them. Also, it’s great if you have a fence around your backyard to contain them as much as possible due to their notorious strong scent skills.

Cocker Spaniels

Cocker Spaniel is one of the most beloved dog breeds just like a golden retriever breed. They are originally bird dogs. The only hindrance is their grooming needs but for an experienced dog, owner hindrance is not a big deal. In addition, what makes this dog breed similar to golden retrievers is that they are highly adaptable and trainable making them a versatile canine.

They are the “darling” of most pet owners in the United States. In fact, this breed is also among the popular breed in line with Labrador and Golden Retrievers. According to the AKC, they remain one of the top 15 registered breeds.

Interestingly, Cocker Spaniel is the smallest dog in the sporting group. With their small stature, they are easy to bring and raise into a condo, apartment, or small home. They are easy to train and great for agility competitions. Also, Cokers are best for excellent therapy.

Cocker Spaniel is typically loving, gentle, family companion, and trustworthy. This means that they are perfect for any dog owner and if you want something similar to golden retrievers, this is a great canine breed to have. But be warned that they are not used to harsh treatment that might lead to anxiety.

This canine breed is also not exempted from health issues, because as all dog breeds experienced, there’s still a possibility that Cockers are prone to certain diseases and conditions. These health concerns are hypothyroidism, allergies ( commonly food allergies), and canine hip dysplasia.

They needed to have early socialization and training. Cocker Spaniels are also great for hunting games, tracking, and flyballs. Be sure that these breeds have adequate outdoor activities. As much as possible, keep them from getting bored. But these dogs resemble golden retrievers.

German Shorthaired Pointer

If you want something similar to a golden retriever but it’s less in need of grooming care, we have a German Shorthaired Pointer. Hence the name short hair. They are highly active dogs and known for their hunting-type games. Shorthaired Pointers have their distinct appearance — their bodies and heads are brown and speckled. That said, they require little maintenance but even so, you still need to brush them regularly.

They may not be as friendly and outgoing as golden retrievers, but they are renowned as cuddlers when it comes to their master. In addition, GSPs are also great hunting dogs and they require outdoor activities most often. This is due to the muscular build that needs to get them working and flex whenever possible.

Another similarity that GSP has with golden retrievers is that they both raised as a gundog and a retriever, usually the waterfowls. GSP is able to hunt rabbits, deers, and raccoons as well.

German Shorthairs are also healthy canines, but again, they can still have some health conditions. But it’s unlikely not all GSP will get any of these certain health conditions or diseases. These are hip dysplasia, cancer, Von Willebrand’s Disease.

Unlike Golden, they aren’t suited for small spaces such as apartments, condos, small houses. What they need is a large space or yard with a fence. Much better if you live on farmland or the countryside. These dogs are great just like golden retrievers


Pomeranians just like golden retrievers have double coats and if you are a fan of brushing, this is very similar when it comes to grooming needs as they both need extra intensive care maintenance. This breed is also an active dog. Their distinct appearance what makes them so adorable and fun-loving that you want to have him as a pet so badly.

They are smaller than golden retrievers but they really match their personality to larger dogs. They bark a lot which is not a great idea if you want them in your apartment. The amount of activity is high with this breed. They needed lots of exercise and playtime. Poms are the best companion when you are going for a run or a jog. Plus they are great for family members but not for small children which can injure them accidentally.

If golden retrievers have only two colors, with Pomeranians, they have a wide variety of solid colors. The colors the Poms have are white or cream, brown, black, red, orange, and blue. That said, their color gives luxury and both humans and even dogs have recognized their visual appeal.

Pomeranians may suffer from certain health conditions and diseases but not all of them. Some of the conditions are commonly diagnosed even to other dog breeds. But if you want to have this breed, consider looking out for these common health issues that they may face. Hip Dysplasia, epilepsy, allergies (typically food or skin allergies), dental problems.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The strongest similarity among the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Golden Retriever is they both originally raised as a hunting dor and retriever dog usually retrieving waterfowls. This breed is also affectionate and highly adaptable which can be placed in an apartment unit. Another highly active dog that needs a lot of physical activities. Never let them become bored because it might lead to unwanted behaviors.

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a great companion dog, especially for hunters. They slowly wait for their master’s command to retrieve something that’s taken down. The difference between them and the gold is that the gold is much popular while Nova Scotia is not. They are easy relatively easy to groom. Most of all, Nova Scotia is considered a rare breed and their population is only a few.

Nova Scotia is the smallest breed among retrievers but their personalities are the same as Golden and Labrador. Versatile, intelligent, strong work ethic, and great for outdoor activities. Although they can be a bit difficult to please and has a dominant personality trait.

Their health problems are also problems of every dog breeds. But generally, they are healthy if properly raised and maintained. However, there are still chances of potential disease and health concerns that can become a problem over time. So in preparation, better watch out for these: hip dysplasia, collie eye anomaly, and even deafness.

Overall, they are somewhat similar to Golden because both are belonged to the retriever family and also because there is some resemblance in personality.

Mini Golden Retriever

You might see this coming. But Mini Golden Retrievers are very similar to Golden. Technically because half of the gene came from a golden and the other is from other dog breeds. There’s not much difference when it comes to both dogs the only difference is the size.

Mini Golden Retriever is a crossbred between a Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, and Golden and the result is astonishing. These mini golden are cheerful, playful, and friendly. They are highly adaptable and thrive in most living conditions be it on an apartment or a large owned house. In addition, they are also great for being a family dog.

Albeit their small stature, they require a lot of physical activities. They are great for any outdoor activities and even for playtime. When it comes to grooming needs, they require to be brushed at least three times a week even though they shed low.

When it comes to training, they are easy to train and they can even enter int agility sports competition. One of the best ways to keep them attentive is to give the dog treats for positive reinforcement. They will depend on their master’s form of treatment. So be careful when taking care of this lovely mini golden retriever.

Final Thoughts

Which one would you choose among the dogs we have listed? But still, there’s nothing irreplaceable with Golden Retrievers (sorry for being biased). Although the listed dog breeds have the same personality or appearance, they are still different from Golden. But it’s a good thing to have some alternative so there are still options to choose from.

The listed dogs are somewhat similar to golden retrievers as a pet, feel free to look and scour in this article and see if there’s a dog breed that you specifically want.

Also check this Why Is My Golden Retriever So Small? Is There A Problem?

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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