Are you sure you really want a Golden Retriever ?
Some questions to ask yourself before you consider bringing a Golden Retriever puppy into your family:
Golden Retriever puppies are hard to resist but they may not be the right breed for you. There are some questions you may want to ask yourself when considering adding a Golden to your family.
After bringing a Golden Retriever puppy home are you prepared to:
Let your puppy out first thing in the morning before you get to potty your own self :-)
Have patience with a puppy who thinks everything in the house within its' reach that is not nailed down is 'fair game' ?
Vacuum daily all the gold colored 'tumbleweeds' on your floors, and blankets of fur on your furniture and carpet ?
Take your puppy to Puppy Kindergarten and Basic Obedience Classes because you know there's really no difference between a two-legged and four-legged 'child' when it comes to testing its 'parents' and they have to learn who's the boss ?
With an adult Golden Retriever in your home are you prepared to:
Accept that dog hair may be a daily condiment on your food?
Step over, be under, or have a 60-70 lb dog leaning on you?
Wake up to a warm wet tongue or a cold nose in your face?
Understand that a Golden Retriever's wagging tail means keeping your coffee tables clear at all time?
Always carry a lint roller in your purse or car unless you don't mind wearing some of your dog's coat over your clothes when you leave the house :-)
Now... more seriously... are you and your family prepared to:
Be committed to the health and welfare of your Golden Retriever DAILY by feeding a quality food, spending quality time with, and ensuring your dog will be protected with a safe environment both inside and outside your home?
Be committed to the health and welfare of your Golden Retriever MONTHLY by ensuring that your dog will receive a dose of a Heartworm Preventative every month of the year?
Be committed to the health and welfare of your Golden Retriever YEARLY by taking your dog to a veterinarian for its annual checkup which includes at a minimum, a heartworm test, fecal analysis, and thorough physical examination?
Be committed to the health and welfare of your Golden Retriever FOR ITS LIFETIME by treating your dog as a member of your family, giving your dog unconditional love and devotion and willing to receive the same back from your Golden Retriever?
If your answer to any of the above preparatory questions for a dog to be a member of your household is "no", then you may want to reconsider the addition of a dog to your family.
If your answer to all of the above is "yes", please read on :-)
Starting your search for a Golden Retriever Puppy
What To Look For In A Reputable Golden Retriever Breeder
Finding a reputable
breeder for any breed is a difficult task but may be even harder for a
breed as popular as the Golden Retriever because there are so many
people out there breeding Golden Retrievers. We are here to help you
find out how to determine who is a reputable Golden Retriever Breeder.
Puppies should be sold on a Limited Registration, preventing them from being used in a breeding program unless you are a vested breeder, looking towards a great future for the breed. It's easy to think two dogs should be bred just because they have their clearances, but a lot of research should be done to see if those lines are compatible -- have those lines already produced problems or have they already proven to produce good results? Sometimes, an experienced breeder will cross lines that are totally unrelated and unproven together but they will have looked at what the individual lines produced and not doubled up on health problems.
A reputable breeder should ask what you expect from your new dog. Do you want to hunt, do therapy work, take the dog to dog parks, or sit on the couch and go for quiet, short walks? A breeding done for high drive hunting dogs could produce puppies too energetic for you. A very alpha temperament puppy wouldn't be good for a household with young children. Is the breeder experienced enough to know the difference?
Finding A Reputable Golden Retriever Breeder
What To Initially Look For In A Reputable Golden Retriever Breeder
A Breeder should be open to any questions
you may have with regards to Golden Retrievers, their breeding program
and their puppies. Do not hesitate to have a list of questions to ask
that will require the breeder to take some time out of their busy day to
answer for you. A breeder should be just as committed to finding a good
home for their puppies are you are to find a reputable breeder to
purchase your puppy from.
Finding A Serious Hobby Golden Retriever Breeder
Where To Look For A Serious Golden Retriever Hobby Breeder
As discussed above, a serious hobby breeder is one who participates in AKC competitions with their dogs. If you are doing your initial breeder search online, bookmark those websites for Golden breeders who state that they compete in those events and have produced Goldens who have titles in those events. The more venues their offspring have titles in, the better, as the Golden Retriever is an intelligent dog and has the potential to excel in all of the AKC Conformation and Performance events. Look at the pictures of the dogs on those websites and see if that is the 'look' you wish to wake up to every morning. While every Golden Retriever should meet the AKC breed standard, there are different 'types' of Goldens. Some Goldens who are conformation champions may also have performance titles and may have a different 'look' than strictly performance titled Goldens.
The best place to find a serious hobby breeder would be an AKC dog show. You could then see what 'look' each breeder has in the rings and perhaps have a brief meeting with the breeders after they are done competing. Please do not be put off if the breeder cannot speak with you while they are either grooming or preparing their dog for their ring competition. Watch the rings you are interested in and then afterward go up to the breeder and ask if they have the time to speak with you. If they don't, ask for their business card and when it would be convenient time for you to call them. Dog shows are usually at least two days, try and get there on the first day and if the breeder doesn't have time the first day, ask if they can make time for you on the second day.
If the breeder is rude or doesn't seem interested in speaking with you, that is obviously not a breeder that you would want to consider interviewing or buying a puppy from.
Now That You've Found A Serious Golden Retriever Hobby Breeder
Questions To Ask The Breeder - Health Clearances
Whether you've found the serious hobby
breeder on the internet or at a dog show, you will want to ask the same
questions to each. It is much more personable to ask questions via
telephone rather than email with a breeder you have found on the
internet. A brief introduction via email is fine, then ask the breeder when
it would be convenient for you to call them to ask questions.
for a Golden Retriever Breeder, please be sure to ask for 'health
clearances' on both the sire and dam of the litter. These
clearances should include but are not limited to an OFA Hip rating of ‘Fair’,
‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’; an OFA Elbow rating of ‘normal’
; an eye report from a Board Certified Canine Ophthalmologist indicating
‘normal’ in both eyes or with a possible notation of 'other'
which will indicate that it is not an inheritable issue or condition;
and a heart clearance from a Board Certified Canine Cardiologist
indicating ‘normal’. Do not accept any reports that are not on
authentic OFA or CERF forms.
GRCA Update on the big four health clearances (Hips, Elbows, Eyes, Heart) http://www.grca.org/health/bigfour.html
Please understand there is no such thing as a ‘perfect dog’. Breeders should do their best to reduce the risk of genetic defects but there is always a risk when breeding that one can produce such defects. It is simply impossible to avoid all genetic problems in a breeding program. If any breeder tells you otherwise, they are not being truthful with you. A reputable Golden Retriever breeder should be able to produce OFA certificates for Hips and Elbows, Board Certified examination reports for Eyes and Heart. Accept no excuse for a breeding not having those reports!
Why do Reputable Golden Retriever Breeders get 'Clearances'
The Golden Retriever Club Of America (GRCA) requires that any member of the GRCA use the GRCA Code Of Ethics as a guideline for breeding. A 'reputable' Golden Retriever Breeder should not only use the GRCA Code Of Ethics as a 'guideline' but should 'strictly adhere' to the recommendations of the Golden Retriever Club Of America for breeding. Why would a 'reputable breeder' *not* strictly adhere? Perhaps because their dog failed a health clearance!!!
Before You Visit The Breeder
Rules Of The Visit
At this point you have spoken with the
breeder, so far they appear to meet your requirements and it's time to
go out and visit the breeder in person. The breeder should allot a
sufficient amount of time for your visit and let you know what to expect
when you arrive at their property.
Your First Impression Of A Golden Retriever Breeder
First impressions can be everything when you first arrive at the breeder's property. Here are two scenarios:
First scenario... is it just an empty lot with puppies in a pen or is there a building structure? Is it a run down mobile home with outdoor kennels or pens of which look like they're going to fall down any minute? Are there fleas jumping around in the grass? If so, is that where you would want to get your puppy from? Remember, a breeder is not reputable just because they have health clearances on their dogs or impressive pedigrees.
Second scenario... is it a 'home'... a place when you drive up that says "come on over and sit a spell"... It can be immaculate and elegant or it can looked well lived in and comfortable.
The property should be one where the dogs and puppies appear happy, clean and healthy!
Meeting The Dam and/or The Puppies
What You Should See
Some breeders will start interviewing while the bitch is pregnant and you can meet with the breeder before the litter is whelped. This would usually be done after the breeder has confirmed that a litter is expected and the bitch is definitely pregnant. Some breeders will wait until after the litter is whelped so they will know what potentially will be available and if they will have any pet puppies available. Typically breeders keep the best prospects for themselves and sell the others to companion homes.
If the breeder is interviewing before the puppies are whelped you should see a healthy dam. Do not be alarmed if she has a large litter and has a little bit of trouble getting up and down, that would be normal. Ever see a pregnant women with twins or triplets!!! Ask the breeder where the whelping box will be set up if it isn't already and where the puppies will be raised. Some breeders use a plastic kiddy pool to whelp the litter in and then move the puppies to the whelping box soon afterward. Pools are sometime used because they are easy to quickly wipe down and disinfect during whelping.
If the breeder starts interviewing after the litter is whelped, it is possible and actually probable that you will not have access to the puppies and have to look at them from afar. Some breeders will not let you into their home when the puppies are just recently whelped. A reputable breeder is more concerned about the health and safety of their puppies than just to make a sale. Please do not be insulted if you are asked to look in through a front door or window. Newborn puppies only have antibodies through their dam at birth and are extremely susceptible to virus' such as Parvovirus.
The breeder may bring the dam outside for you to meet the dam if she is not nursing at that time. If the puppies are very young, the dam may be more interested in going back inside to her puppies, that is also normal. If the puppies are a little older, she may welcome the excuse to go outside and meet you! A dam with a large litter may not look her best, her teats may be hanging down, she may be tired. A dam with a small litter may look and act like she never had puppies!
Again, please keep in mind that every reputable breeder has their own comfort level with regards to people visiting their property and litters and please remember that any requests the breeder makes of you are in the best interest of the puppies with regards to the health and safety of their puppies.
Questions To Ask The Breeder About The Litter
Why This Particular Sire?
The most wonderful thing about breeding in
this day and age is that breeders have options that they didn't have
years ago. Breeders can do natural breedings, artificial insemination,
fresh chilled semen or a 'blast from the past' using frozen semen. It
used to be that if you wanted to breed to a dog in a different part of
the country, you had to ship your bitch to that stud dog wherever he was
located. Typically you will not find the sire of the litter at the
breeder's home. Now when we say 'typically', that does not hold true in
every circumstance. Sometimes breeders purchase male puppies from
outside of their own breeding program in the hopes that he turns out to
be what they were looking for and can then use him for that breeding
program in the future. Some breeders start out with a male puppy and
then purchase a female puppy that they believe will be a good match for
that male puppy later on. It is not always a 'red flag' if both sire and
dam are on the premises but more often than not it doesn't happen that
Health Issues in the Golden Retriever
Now that you have found a particular Golden Retriever breeder that you are comfortable with and are seriously thinking about purchasing a puppy from, let's talk about health issues in the Golden Retriever that cannot be screened for through 'clearances'. Some of The diseases that Golden Retriever breeders are very concerned about do not have screening tests available but reputable breeders are both aware of them and should do the most they can to minimize environmental contributions to those issues. The environment in which a Golden Retriever is raised and lives within can be a contributing factor to canine cancer and other diseases such as dysplasia and diabetes.
Reputable Golden Retriever breeders should not use herbicides, pesticides, or any chemical means know to cause Cancer in the areas that their dogs reside in. Ask your potential breeder about how they maintain their property and what chemicals they use both inside and outside their home or kennel. They also should be feeding a quality dog food of which the ingredients do not contain by-products, chemical additives or chemical preservatives. This usually cannot be be accomplished by the breeder without extensive cost to the breeder be it financial or time consuming or both. Indoors we use the VX-5000 Vapor Cleaner which only uses pure hot steam to clean made from distilled water. It is the best investment we ever made for a cleaning tool. Please visit our links page to find out more about this product. We are not associated in any way with this product but we did a lot of research before buying it for ourselves and it does a fantastic job!
Cancer is running rampant in so many living
creatures and it is unfortunate that we have no way of isolating a
genetic marker in canines but there is current research ongoing to do
so. We cannot say if it is genetic or environmental, if either of those
two. What we do at our house is we do not use pesticides, herbicides or
harmful chemicals in and outside our home where our family and our dogs
frequent to reduce the possibility of environmental cancers. We feed
holistic type foods to our dogs which contain no by-products or chemical
additives. We do the best we can with our own foods also.
Copyright © 2005 Goldenwind Golden Retrievers. Reproduction in whole or part in any form or medium without express written permission of Goldenwind Golden Retrievers is strictly prohibited.
This page is for Health and Education as a reflection of our dedication to the Golden Retriever Breed