Searching for a Golden

(edited 4/13/06)

Part 1: Four Very Basic Questions to Ask ALL Breeders


Acceptable Guidelines to Answers:

  • 1. What are your affiliations - clubs and organizations?
A. Membership in the GRCA is a must, anyone not belonging to the GRCA probably is unaware of a lot of information they should have, as well as they probably do not subscribe to the code of ethics set forth by the GRCA. Which in my opinion is not in your best interest.


B. Membership in the local member club of the GRCA for example in Oregon, membership in PRGRCO. Or at the very least membership in a All-Breed club such as one on this list:


C. Organizations should be in addition to the above not instead of. Examples of organizations would be: Membership in the Owner Handlers Association, Supporting member in an All Breed Education Group.



  • 2. What is the clearance history on your dogs and pedigrees?
A. Both parents of a litter must be cleared for hips, elbows, eyes and heart.

B. A look a t a five generation pedigree will support ancestors have as well been screened for the above, noting that the GRCA adopted the screening of elbows in the year 2000 so some of the older dogs may not reflect they have been screened for elbow dysplasia.

  • 3. On the average how long do your dogs live?
    • A. the breed average is 10.5 and a breeder should be able to answer this question with a satisfactory answer - at least they should be able to sit down with you with a five generation pedigree and have knowledge of the dates of death as well as the cause of death of the majority of the 62 dogs represented in the pedigree.


  • 4. Do you show your dogs or participate in dog sports, do rescue or in some
way qualify your dogs?


A. Breeders breed to improve the breed. To qualify their pedigrees they show and or exhibit in the sport of dogs. Conformation showing, obedience, agility, hunting tests, are all activities that are just some of the sports available to anyone wanting to participate. Participation in these activities does help to qualify the dogs, in that they conform to the breed standard and are good representative of the breed. In addition being associated with other fanciers we learn...


B. Being a member/supporter of a rescue organization in some way helps to prove a persons commitment to the breed.


C. Other ways to be involved are to be members of organizations that train service dogs and or therapy dogs.


If you do not get answers that support ALL of the above, chances are you are not dealing with a responsible breeder. Please always refer to responsible breeders and verify memberships as best you can. It's best to work only with in a verified referral service when looking to bring a Golden Retriever into your life...


Part 2: Where not to look for referral in my opinion:

A. Never do a general web search, such as "Golden Retrievers for sale" generally speaking what you will come up with are pages upon pages of commercial referral sites that are only interested in commerce. The following is my general observation:

These types of commercial sites claim to have ethics that must be adhered to by their paid subscribers, yet I have found major discrepancies within many of their own policies. Including but not limited to subscribers on these sites that do not meet the criteria the site itself requires! As well as the sites state they do not police their advertisers. So, I ask, why bother having a code of ethics? I have asked too, and here is the jest of the answers I have received from the few that have cared to reply to me, many have not even replied:

In an effort to obscure their irresponsibility to the issue of enforcing their own policies many such referral sites suggest if there is a problem the complainant contact the parent breed club to file a complaint. Problem with that is, in general people listing dogs/puppies for sale on these sites don't belong to parent bred clubs. As well as most parent breed clubs will not accept complaints filed by non members of the parent club.

And truly what does one expect a parent club to do about breeding practices? What's done is done...


Classified ads on the Internet are new wave newspaper listing and buyer beware needs to be fully understood and respected. It is my opinion that web based referral should always begin with the parent club - in this case the GRCA



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