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
Some questions to ask the breeder about the litter:
Why did the breeder choose this particular stud dog?
What research tools did the breeder use?
What was the breeder trying to achieve through this breeding?
What are the strengths and weaknesses in both sire and dam?
Did the breeder achieve the goals they were hoping for through this
What can the breeder tell you about the sire's temperament and longevity
history in his background?
What can the breeder tell you about the dam's temperament and longevity
history in her background?
Please ask to see a 5 generation pedigree of the litter. A reputable
breeder will be able to give you the K9data link and will have done a
'test breeding' on K9data so you can see the pedigree. You can then
click on "view genetic information" to see how closely related the sire
and dam are if at all and the COI result of breeding a specific litter.
A "COI" is the Coefficient Of Inbreeding. We would not be comfortable
with a COI above 22%
Here is an example of a
test breeding with a low
Here is an example of a
dog from a litter with a
You can also see the depth of quality by viewing the 5 Generation
Pedigree, is this breeder breeding 'pets' or is this pedigree truly a
Champion / Performance pedigree as perhaps advertised?
the Sire or Grandparents of a litter are deceased there is now a field
in K9data where the owner of that dog can submit the cause of death to
be available to the public. If that field does not appear for a dog,
ask the breeder if any of the dogs in that pedigree are deceased and if
they are, why that information is not available to the public. A
reputable breeder would need to know that information in order to have
made an educated decision before performing their breeding.
there is no K9data information available for a Stud Dog (Sire), Brood
Bitch (Dam), or an advertised litter, what type of research with regard
to the health of an upcoming litter would it appear that breeder has
done for their breeding program?
When looking 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’ ; a current (within the
last 12 months of the breeding) 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
How to read an OFA Number:
Samples of OFA Certificates:
Cardiac Application Form:
When inquiring on a
litter and asking about Health Clearances, the GRCA requires that all
Heart clearances are performed by a Board Certified Cardiologist.
If you are shown an
OFA Heart Certificate (http://www.offa.org/samplecerts.html#cardrpt)
the OFA number must be followed by a "/C"
Please visit the GRCA Update on the big four health
clearances (Hips, Elbows, Eyes, Heart)
Health Issues in the Golden
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
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.
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.
alternative to chemical cleaning products to clean our home, we use a
vapor cleaner, the
VX-5000 which gives us chemical free cleaning. Any paint
used in the home and for our whelping boxes are no or low Voc paints
such as Sherwin Williams Harmony interior paint. Ask your
potential breeder about how they maintain their property and what
chemicals they use both inside and outside their home or kennel. 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.
potential breeder what they feed their dogs, they
also should be feeding a quality dog food of which the ingredients do
not contain by-products, chemical additives or chemical preservatives.
Avoiding suspected environmental contributors to cancers usually
cannot be be accomplished by the breeder without extensive cost to the
breeder be it financial or time consuming or both.
With regards to doing our best with projected longevity, unfortunately
there's nothing that can truly predict what a puppy's lifespan will be.
Golden Retriever life spans are now averaging approximately 10 1/2
years. The oldest litter we have was whelped 4/97 which would make the
survivors almost 12. Three of that litter passed away last year. One of them
passed away at 7. The sire of that litter lived to just over 10, the dam
of that litter lived to just short of 10. That is just one example.
Now... the grandparents of that same litter have one still alive at 13,
the others passed at 14, 11 and just short of 10. You can have litter
mates where one can pass at 4 and others pass at 10-14 yrs old. There
are many factors that may play into longevity. Unfortunately, no breeder
can make the prediction that your puppy will live a long healthy life.
What a reputable breeder should do is look at the pedigree of the dam
and the pedigree of a potential stud dog and do research to find out
where the various 'weaknesses' are in that pedigree which would include
cancer and longevity.
Ask the breeder of your potential puppy to give you a breakdown of what
I just did above with longevity. Ask them for the puppy's 5 generation
longevity pedigree which they can give you the link to view from the