Why is My Golden Retriever So Small?

Pet Health


August 24, 2022

Golden Retrievers are some of the most iconic dogs around. They have a natural aesthetic beauty to them that make them the more desirable breeds out there. They are charismatic, loyal, and beautiful. What is not to love?

Generally speaking, Golden Retrievers are classified as a large dog breed. If you notice that your Golden is not getting to the size that you expect, there is a possibility that your Golden is too small. So, what is going on?

Standard Sizes

For the most part, a standard Golden Retriever is roughly 20-24 inches tall when they reach adulthood. Anything under that 20-inch mark is considered to be small. The most common reasons generally revolve around an imbalance in their diet as well as a lack of exercise.

There is the possibility that they have adopted specific genetic traits from their parents, which can lead them to be a bit smaller than the rest of their breed. Let’s take a closer look at Golden Retrievers and see why they may be coming in a little smaller than what the standard for the breed is.

Golden Retriever Size Guide

If you have ever thought, “why is my Golden Retriever so small,” there is something to stop and consider. There are different breeds of Golden Retriever, each with its own range of sizes to consider. Golden Retrievers are a large breed, but they aren’t anything close to a Great Dane or St. Bernard.

If anything, a Golden is at the bottom end of the “large dog” scale. Moreover, each type of Golden comes with their own sizes and weights.

Canadian Golden

These are perhaps the least common of the three different types of Golden Retriever breed. They are short and thin, especially when compared to the American and British breeds that are more feathery in their coat.

There are also some major differences in height and weight compared to their American and British counterparts. The average Canadian Golden Retriever is between 22 and 24 inches in height for males with females around 21-22 inches.

The weight is also different, though just as slightly. Males are in the 65- to 75-lbs range while females are around 60-70 lbs.

British Golden Retriever

This is the oldest of the three different Golden breed types. It is also the one that comes to mind when you think about that light golden coat that typically characterizes the breed. They also have a broader, thicker skull and a more muscular build.

Though the British breed is a little shorter than the Canadian, they top out between 22 and 24 inches. They also tend to be a bit thinner than Canadian breeds even if they do weigh more than their counterparts.

American Golden Retriever

This is a cultural symbol in America. They resemble the British Golden in so many ways, particularly in their appearance. The American Golden may be a bit less muscular and bulky than the other two. On top of that, they also tend to have a darker gold shade to it than the others.

The three breeds are similar in a lot of ways and it can be difficult for most people to see the difference, other than the darker gold coat.

Miniature Golden Retriever

This is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. That said, breeders have led to them becoming more common. They are much shorter, running between 14 and 20 inches and topping out at roughly 45 pounds for both females and males.

Keep in mind that any measurements you read are just guidelines. If they are at the lower end of the spectrum, that is okay. If you have any questions or concerns, the vet should be the first place you go.

Golden Retriever Growth Chart

If you are wondering, “why is my Golden Retriever so small,” it helps to know what the chart is like. They generally reach full maturity at the 12- to 18-month mark, so you can have a good indication as to whether your dog is properly sized or not.

From birth to roughly six months, they will maintain a relatively consistent size. It is not until they hit the six-month mark that they begin to see exponential growth in terms of height and weight. By the twelve-month mark, most Golden Retrievers will reach their maximum height. Some will gain extra mass as well.

It is possible for your Golden to continue to grow until the 18-month mark, reaching their full height and weight. From here, it is about maintaining their diet and ensuring that they are getting the proper exercise.


Golden Retrievers are a beautiful breed, one of the most popular ones around. As they grow from puppies to adults, there is a stark difference in the way that they grow and fill out. By the time they reach adulthood, they should be a certain height and weight.

If your Golden doesn’t meet that criteria, it is a matter of poor diet, lack of exercise, or simply genetics. Consult your vet if you think that your Golden Retriever is smaller than it should be. They will give you the answers that you have been looking for.