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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Before you fall in love with the first adorable Golden face you see, take the time in an initial phone call to ask the questions listed below. You may not find a breeder who fits 100% of these criteria, but if you  receive more than two negative responses, consider another breeder. Reputable breeders welcome questions.  It helps them to know that you are serious about taking care of your new family member and will look out for its best interest.  If a breeder gets upset with all the questions, or doesn't want to answer your questions, please consider finding another breeder. 

The information on finding reputable breeders is endless.  If you would like to read more, here are some good links about choosing a breeder...

http://www.grca.org/acquiring.htm
http://www.grca.org/acquiring.htm#choosingbreeder
http://www.pacificrimgoldens.org/breeder.html

Please keep the following in mind:

                     A reputable breeder will have a Sales Contract describing the terms, conditions and any guarantees regarding the puppy.

                     A breeder should willingly supply you with copies of Hip, Elbow, Eye and Heart clearances on BOTH PARENTS.

                     They should provide you with the worming and shots the puppy has had and what kind of food and how much to feed.

If the breeder cannot or will not give you this information, THINK TWICE ABOUT BUYING A PUPPY FROM THIS PERSON !!!!!!  Do not accept any excuses, there are NONE. If someone truly cares about Goldens they will get these clearances on the dogs they are breeding and be happy to supply you with copies. If they don't, they may not know enough to be able to help you if you run into problems down the road.

READ THIS ARTICLE ABOUT BREEDERS
FROM MSNBC.MSN.COM - JAN. 21, 2008

Questions to Ask the Breeder...

Keep this checklist by the phone when you make your calls.
Good luck with your search for a quality puppy!!


  1. Are the puppies healthy, with no discharge from eyes or nose, no loose stools, no foul smelling ears? Are their coats soft, full and clean? Do they have plenty of energy when awake, yet calm down easily when gently stroked? This is definitely something you, as a prospective buyer, can see for yourself upon visiting the litter. 
     
  2. Are both parents at least two years old? OFA hip clearances cannot be obtained before that age. PennHip determines hip conditions at an earlier age. Elbow clearances can be obtained for dogs of any age.
     
  3. How often is the dam bred? Breeding every heat cycle, three or four heat cycles in a row, IS TOO OFTEN and may indicate that profit is the primary motive for the breeding.
     
  4. Is the puppy's dam available for you to meet?  You should watch the dam to see if she appears healthy -- clear eyes, clean, healthy ears, nice temperament.  Does she appear to have allergies?  Keep in mind that after whelping puppies and feeding them, the  mom is going to look a bit worn down, a little thin, lacking some coat, etc.  However, she should have clear eyes, clean ears, and be friendly.  As a general rule, a Golden Retriever bitch is not protective of her puppies and should readily let you pet and pick them up. If you are not allowed to see the mom with the puppies, that should be a red flag about temperament. 
    It is not uncommon for the sire to not be on the premises. 
    With today's technology of shipping semen, using frozen semen from deceased dogs, etc., it is now possible to breed dogs from anywhere in the world.  However, you should be provided with pictures, pedigree, and health clearances on both parents.  If the sire is on the premises and the breeders do not actively compete in one venue or another with them, then it is possible that the breeders have both the sire and the dam strictly for breeding purposes, which should be a red flag as well. 
     
  5. Do both parents (the sire and dam) have elbow and hip clearances from the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) or PennHip?  See more information on health clearances here.
     
  6. Do both parents have current eye clearances? This must be performed every year and generally most breeders will obtain a certificate from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF).  At the very least, ask to see the examination sheet from the Board Certified Canine Ophtamologist.  See more information on health clearances here.
     
  7. Do both parents have a certified veterinarian cardiologist's clearance on the hearts of both parents? See more information on health clearances here.
     
  8. Do all four grandparents, siblings of the parents and any other puppies that they may have produced have these clearances? A responsible breeder will keep track of these statistics and honestly discuss any problems that have occurred in the lines and what has been done to prevent them from recurring.
     
  9. Are both parents free of allergies or epilepsy?
     
  10. Is the breeder willing to provide you with references and telephone numbers of other people who have purchased puppies from him/her?
     
  11. Will the puppy have a limited registration (which means if the dog is bred, the puppies cannot be AKC registered) with a mandatory spay/neuter contract? A breeder who cares enough about the breed to insist on these is probably a responsible breeder. A dog on a limited registration is still eligible to compete in AKC events such as obedience trials, agility trials, hunt tests, etc.  The only competition they are not eligible for is conformation (dog shows).
     
  12. On what basis was the sire chosen? If the answer is "because he lives right down the street" or "because he is really sweet," it may be that sufficient thought was not put into the breeding.
     
  13. WILL THE BREEDER TAKE THE DOG BACK AT ANY TIME, FOR ANY REASON, IF YOU CANNOT KEEP IT?! This is the hallmark of responsible breeding (and the quickest, best way to make rescue obsolete).
     
  14. Will the breeder be available for the life of the dog to answer any questions you might have? Is this someone you would feel comfortable asking any type of question?
     
  15. Is the breeder knowledgeable about the breed? Is he or she involved in competition with their dogs (field, obedience, agility or conformation)?
     
  16. Are there a majority of titled dogs (the initials: CH, OTCH, CD, JH, WC... before or after the names) in the first two generations? The term "champion lines" means nothing if those titles are back three or more generations or there are only one or two in the whole pedigree.
     
  17. Have the puppies been raised in the home - not in a kennel, barn or the back yard? Keep in mind that puppies who are 5-7 weeks old may be moved from the home and placed in another area.  Growing puppies need more room than a whelping box as they grow.  Just be sure they were whelped in the home and kept there, being exposed to "home" sounds and smells, for at least the first 5 weeks.
     
  18. Is the breeder knowledgeable about raising puppies, critical neonatal periods, and proper socialization techniques? Puppies that are raised without high exposure to gentle handling, human contact and a wide variety of noises and experiences OR are removed from their dam or litter mates before at least 7 weeks may exhibit a wide variety of behavioral problems! Temperament, a genetic trait carried over from the parents, still needs development from the early beginnings of a puppy's life. The breeder should provide extensive socialization and human interaction to the puppies in the litter.
     
  19. Does the breeder provide copies of all clearances, a guarantee, health records, and material to help you with feeding, training and housebreaking?
     
  20. Have the puppies' temperaments been evaluated and can the breeder guide you to the puppy that will best suit your lifestyle? A very shy puppy will not do well in a noisy household with small children, just as a very dominant puppy won't flourish in a sedate, senior citizen household. A caring breeder will know the puppies and be able to show you how to test them so that good matches can be made.
     
  21. Do the puppies have their first shots and have they been wormed?
     
  22. Does the breeder have only 1 or at most 2 breeds of dogs and only 1 litter at a time? If there are several breeds of dogs, chances are the breeder cannot devote the time it takes to become really knowledgeable about the breed. If there is more than one litter at a time, it is very difficult to give the puppies the attention they need and may indicate that the primary purpose for breeding is profit, rather than a sincere desire to sustain and improve the breed.
     
  23. Does the breeder belong to the Golden Retriever Club of America and/or a local Golden Retriever club and has he/she signed a breeders' "Code of Ethics"?
     
  24. Do you feel comfortable with this person? Keep in mind that you are entering into a decade-long relationship. If you feel intimidated or pressured, keep looking! It's worth the effort.

 

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

Are you prepared to...

  • Take full responsibility for this dog and all its needs for the next 10-15 years? This is NOT a task that can be left to children!
     
  • Invest the considerable time, money and patience it takes to train the dog to be a good companion? (This does not happen by itself!!)
     
  • Always keep the dog safe; no running loose, riding in the back of an open pick-up truck or being chained outside?
     
  • Make sure the dog gets enough attention and exercise? (Golden puppies need several hours of both, every day!!)
     
  • Live with shedding, retrieving, drooling and high activity for the next 10 to 15 years?
     
  • Spend the money it takes to provide proper veterinary care, including but certainly not limited to: vaccines, heartworm testing and preventative, spaying or neutering and annual check ups?
     
  • Become educated about the proper care of the breed, correct training methods and how to groom? (There are many good books available. Invest the time to read a few.)
     
  • Keep the breeder informed and up to date on the dog's accomplishments and any problems that may arise?
     
  • Take your questions to the breeder or other appropriate professional before they become problems that are out of hand?
     
  • Have the patience to accept (and enjoy) the trials of Golden puppyhood (which can last for three or more years) and each stage afterward?
     
  • Continue to accept responsibility for the dog despite inevitable life changes such as new babies, kids going off to school, moving or returning to work?
     
  • Resist impulse buying and instead have the patience to make a responsible choice?

 

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