Dear Veterinarian,


This letter is being sent to you to aid you in educating your clients that come to you looking to breed their Golden Retriever. This is in no way intended to be anything more than an overview for you to share with your client, and to aid in facilitating proper screening. For more information on the breed, please refer to The Golden Retriever Club Of America:

Specific information of interest regarding breeding can be found at:


The following is a overview of the main health issues anyone breeding the Golden Retriever should consider and you as a Veterinarian should advise and counsel your client on:


Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, with films submitted to: The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). It is suggested that dogs not be bred with out final clearances. Dogs submitted for a final clearance must be at least 24 months of age. Dogs only clearing hips with a Fair Good or Excellent should be bred. Elbows should be graded clear, unaffected. Contact the OFA for forms and suggested protocols for x-rays:


2300 E Nifong Boulevard

Columbia, Missouri, 65201-3856

Phone: (573) 442-0418

Fax: (573) 875-5073



Eyes should be examined by a DACVO Veterinary Ophthalmologist yearly while in the breeding program. Dogs that do not meet the requirements set forth by Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) should not be bred. At this time any dog who has posterior subcapsular cataracts, or has ever had entropion or ectropion should not be bred. There are other diseases of the eye that should also be considered, for a full list of other disease that should preclude a Golden Retriever from being bred please consult a DACVO Veterinary Ophthalmologist or contact CERF:


Canine Eye Registration Foundation

1248 Lynn Hall

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN 47907

Phone: (765)-494-8179



Heart should be examined by a ACVIM Cardiologist or a Veterinary Internist with a specific interest in cardiology for Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis (SAS) after 12 months of age. OFA Cardiac Registry Information: For a list of Cardiologists please contact:


ACVIM, 1997 Wadsworth Blvd., Suite A

Lakewood, CO 80215-3327 USA

Phone: (303) 231-9933 or (800) 245-9081

Fax: (303) 231-0880




There are additional concerns with this breed: hypothyroidism, seizures, skin problems and allergies. All of these conditions should be considered when looking to breed. Dogs who have had even one seizure should not be bred. Dogs who exhibit symptoms of allergies such as frequent hot spots and/or reoccurring ear infections should be scrutinized.


When looking to test for hypothyroidism please consider submitting to an approved OFA thyroid certified lab for accuracy of results. These labs run full panels that additionally included testing for Canine thyroid simulating hormone (cTSH) and Thyroglobulin Autoantibodies (TgAA). I have listed three labs below, see OFA page: for a current complete list of certified labs and more information regarding the certification program at OFA.


Michigan State University

P.O. Box 30078

Lansing, MI 48909-7576

Diagnostic Laboratory


New York State College of Veterinary Medicine

Cornell University

Upper Tower Road

Ithaca, NY 14851


University of California

Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

Clinical Pathology, Chemistry, Room 1017

1 Garrod Drive

Davis, CA95616



Thank you for taking the time to read this and for passing this onto your clients. Education is the key to better breeding and keeping this breed sound is up to all of us. With the popularity of this breed (number 2 in AKC registrations) we must all put forth an effort. Have a Golden Day!


Gina Heitz

Brier Golden Retrievers


Pages of interest provided by Brier Golden Retrievers to further help you in your quest of finding just the right breeder and puppy:

Searching for a Golden
Reading Contracts
Cancer Education
Breeder Referral
Reading Pedigrees

Common Question & Answers

Responsible breeding
Puppy FAQ

Breeding Information