There are many well-known types of retrievers: Labrador Retrievers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, and, of course, Golden Retrievers, to name a few. But you may have heard of different and “new” breeds of retriever. Are they recognized by kennel clubs? Are they real breeds, designer breeds, or something else? Let’s take a look, shall we?
Mini Golden Retriever
It isn’t hard to see the appeal of a mini Golden Retriever. A lap size Golden Retriever that you could love and snuggle. A Golden Retriever that was small enough that it could not steal food off the counter!? What a great idea, right? Well, it might be but these mini Goldens may not be all they are cracked up to be.
This is definitely not a breed that is recognized by any national kennel clubs! Interestingly, a miniature Golden Retriever can be a mix of several different breeds. A mini Golden Retriever could be a mixture of a Golden Retriever and Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever and Poodle, Golden Retriever and Pomeranian, Golden Retriever and Chihuahua, Golden Retriever and Dachshund, or others.
Another possibility is that smaller Golden Retrievers were deliberately bred together to make a smaller Golden Retriever. This is definitely not a good thing. Oftentimes when breeding like this is done it causes major dental health issues because the dog's jaw is too small to hold all it’s teeth.
So, if you see a miniature Golden Retriever for sale it could be quite a grab bag. Will it be part Dachshund? Poodle? Cocker Spaniel? Perhaps, a Golden Retriever breed to be small? At any rate, none of these are considered purebred, showable Golden Retrievers.
It is also important to realize that most breeders that breed dogs to be smaller are in it for profit. They rarely care about the character or health of the litters they create. Smaller is not always better, especially if smaller comes with the sacrifice of poor breeding.
Short Haired Golden Retriever
What about a short-haired Golden Retriever? Is this a real breed? If we take an honest look, it is incredibly rare for a purebred Golden to be short-haired. Sure some variance in length and thickness of coat is to be expected. But a truly short haired Golden Retriever is crazy rare and would not be recognized by a national kennel club.
If you see a dog that you think is a Golden Retriever with short hair it is likely a mixed breed or a Golden Retriever that has had a haircut. Again, this would not be recognized by a national kennel club.
When talking about Labradors we typically think of yellow, chocolate, and black labs. But you may have heard of silver Labradors as well. Are they real? With their stunning color, I hope they are!
There are two possibilities here. One, the silver Labrador may have recessive genes that have caused the gorgeous coat coloring. The other option, again, is that this is a mixed breed dog. Typically a mix of a Labrador Retriever and a Weimaraner. Either way, these dogs cannot be shown as Labrador Retrievers.
Curly Coated Golden Retriever
Now, there is such a thing as a Curly Coated Retriever, however, it is a distinctly different breed than the Golden Retriever. The Curly-Coated Retriever can come in a color that looks similar to the Golden Retriever. The Curly-Coated Retriever is recognized by national kennel clubs but is different from the Golden Retriever.
Another possibility is that a dog that looks like a Golden Retriever with a curly coat is actually a mixed breed. Possibly a Goldendoodle. Some Goldendoodle will have very curly coats while others have a more wavy coat. These designer breeds can at times be mistaken for Golden Retrievers, however, they are not. Further, Goldendoodles are not recognized as a proper breed by national kennel clubs.
White Golden Retriever
Again you may have seen a dog that looked like a Golden Retriever, only it was white or cream. Is this a purebred dog? Well, yes, it could be. The colors of a Golden Retriever can vary from very light gold to a more red-golden color. While these white Golden Retrievers can look quite stunning they are not showable.
Another possibility is that the light coated “Golden Retriever” you are looking at is a mixed breed. Part Golden Retriever and part Great Pyrenees or other white breed. This can result in a dog that looks much like a light coated Golden Retriever.
Red Golden Retriever
Much like the white Golden Retriever, there can be some purebred Goldens that have a very dark red coat. These Golden’s maybe purebred but they are not showable in national kennel clubs. They can still be great working dogs, however.
Additionally, the mixture of an Irish Setter and Golden Retriever can result in a dog that looks much like a Golden Retriever but has a coat the color of an Irish Setter. Again this dog would not be recognized by any national kennel clubs.
Black Golden Retriever
You may have also seen a dog that looks very much like a Golden Retriever but it was black! Is this a real Golden Retriever? Well, no it isn’t.
It is quite possible that you are seeing a Flat-Coated Retriever. The Flat-Coated Retriever looks very similar to a Golden Retriever. This is a purebred dog that is recognized by nation kennel clubs. It is also possible that a black Golden Retriever is a mixed breed dog.
This is a mixed breed as well. An Australian Retriever is a mixture of an Australian Shepherd and a Golden Retriever. The Australian Retriever is not recognized by any national kennel clubs. This designer breed often looks very much like a Flat-Coated Retriever.
You may also see dogs that look more like a Shepherd but have some Golden Retriever aspects. This is also not a real purebred and is not recognized by any national kennel clubs. This is a breed that is a mixture of a Golden Retriever and a herding breed. The herding breed could be a German Shepherd, Collie, or other herding breed.
Giant Golden Retriever
You may be out walking one day and see a dog that looks very much like a Golden Retriever but it seems huge! Could it be a Golden Retriever? Well, it is possible that a person could breed Golden Retrievers larger and larger. However, these could not be accepted by national kennel clubs.
Another potential is that this Giant Golden Retriever could be a mixture of a Great Pyraniyse, Great Dane, Afghan Hound, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, or a Mastiff with a Golden Retriever. These, of course, are not recognized at by any national kennel clubs. Instead they are "designer" breeds.
Wrinkly Golden Retriever
What if you see a Golden Retrieve that looks like it has extra skin and wrinklkes? This is definitly a mixed breed. Typically a mixture between a Golden Retriever and a Shar Pei. This is a designer breed and not recognized by national kennel clubs.
Extra Plushy Golden
You may come across a Golden Retriever that seems extra plushy, soft, and somehow more fury that the average Golden. Could this be a real Golden Retriever that is recognized by national kennel clubs or not?
Well it is true, that the length and coat texture can vary a bit from one Golden Retreiver to another. However, it is likely that you are looking at another mixed breed dog. It is popular to mix Golden Retrievers with northern breeds like the Chow Chow, Malamute, or Husky. These dogs will have extra fluffy fur.
National Kennel Clubs
It is the purpose of national kennel clubs to register breeds and keep them pure to what they were originally meant to be. These clubs do not allow "designer" breeds or mixes of any kind. They work hard to better the breeds that they have registered.
National Kennel Clubs set out standards for how each of their registered breeds should look, behave, perform, and even about their health. This is all to help the breed improve while staying true to it's original purpose.
Designer breeds are typically a mixture of two different purebred dogs. They are typically not bred with much purpose in mind other than "wouldn't that be an adorable dog" or "I could make quite a bit of money from breeding these dogs together."
With Designer breeds there typically is very little thought given to the health, structure, or temperament of the resulting puppies. This is because breeders know that people look at the dog and think "oh that is so cute I want one!" without doing any research or really thinking things through. That is not to say that you can never find a good designer breed dog, but simply that great care should be taken.
Well, there you have it. Several different "breeds" of Retrievers. We discovered which ones are real and which are not. Which of them are recognized by my national kennel clubs and more. We looked at mini Golden Retrievers, Silver Labradors, Short-Haired Golden Retrievers, and many more. All of these Retrievers have their own pros and cons.
If you are interested in any particular Retriever it is a good idea to research them before you purchase one. It is especially important to look at both breeds if the Retriever you are looking at is a mixed breed. Be sure to research temperament, health, exercise needs, and more.