Commonly asked questions about buying a Golden Retriever, with answers from breeders across the US Canada, Australia

 

A little introduction:

The following are common questions/concerns breeders and puppy buyers deal with on a day to day basis when looking to buy a pet Golden Retriever or any purebred dog in many cases. The answers to these questions are the opinion of each individual and are intended to be educational. Since this is my web site you will note that I have made a statement to every question or concerning statement posted in green. The intent here is to educate and to discourage purchasing a dog from a back yard breeder, (BYB), Puppy Mill, or Retail Outlet. To help the public recognize the difference between a responsible breeder and any of the above. If you are a responsible breeder and you would like to answer any of these questions or add to the list including your answer please post me at:

mailto:gina@briergoldens.com

Beyond what we cover here I highly recommend anyone looking for any dog purebred or mixed breed spend some time reading here. This site covers virtually every aspect of dog ownership from where to begin your search to how to live with a dog and how to be responsible in every aspect.

http://timbreblue.com/petdogs-l/getting/where.htm

 

 

If you are looking to bring a Golden Retriever into your home as a pet this information below may be of interest to you.

 

On to the Questions/Concerns:

(this first question is the update for 10/16/02)

 

When e-mailing breeders what information should I provide in first contact?

Answer supplied by: Gina Heitz, Brier Goldens, Woodburn Oregon mailto:gina@briergoldens.com

As a breeder the kind of e mail I like to receive is like this:

" My husband and I are looking for a golden retriever puppy. I'll anticipate some of the information you'd like to know about us. We have had three goldens so far, all boys. Our first golden lived almost 16 years. Our second golden died at 11 1/2 of cancer . Our third golden is a youngster at almost 3 years. They are all wonderful and quite individual in their personalities!

We live on 2 acres with 1 wooded acre fenced with a 4-foot fence. The dogs are typically with me unless they want to go in the yard to play or take care of business.

I'd like to know about your puppy placement process and when you might have puppies available. "

OR:

 

" My family, two adults and two children ages 4 and 7 are looking to add our first dog to our family. We have looked into the breed and feel that the Golden is a good match for us. We have a fenced yard and we are doing homework on what goes into being responsible dog owners. I would appreciate any help you could give us with this. May I call you and discuss more about us and what we have to offer a dog and what you may have available or who you might refer us to? Please advise when might be a good time to reach you, or please feel free to contact me at: "

 

This is the kind of e mail I do not like to receive and find that many breeders will not respond to though I normally do.

" Hi, looking for a pup. How much are yours and when can I pick one out? "

 

My common response:
" Hi- if you would like to tell me a bit about you and what you are looking for in a dog as well as what you have to offer a dog I would be more than happy to either reply to that or if you feel phone contact might be better please call me. I may have a puppy available but I need more to go on that you want a dog and how much. :-) "

This response is not intended to anger anyone it is intended to be direct short and to the point but to point out a little etiquette goes a long way.

 


Question: How much should I expect to pay for a dog?

Answer supplied by: Margaret Strowe, Westor Goldens, New Jersey mail to:westor@warwick.net

Variable. This will depend on the breeder and part of the country in which you live. The cost of a well bred pet quality golden from a responsible breeder will be in the range of $700 - $1200.

 

Answer supplied by: Gina Heitz, Brier Goldens, Woodburn Oregon mailto:gina@briergoldens.com

Often the cost of a puppy is dictated by regionally and what the cost of living is in the area. In the Pacific North West, Oregon - Washington, one can expect to pay between $900.00 to $1200.00 for a quality pet from a responsible breeder.

 

Answer supplied by: Ilene Cook, Asoros Goldens, Michigan mailto:asoros @twmi.rr.com

In Michigan, pets are between $800.00 to $1000.00.

 

Answer supplied by: Barb Wohlferd, Kattwalk Goldens, St. Paul/Minneapolis MN mailto:kwohlferd@mn.mediaone.net

Price for pet puppies from show litters is $750.00 - $1000.00 in the St. Paul/Minneapolis MN area.


Question: I only want to pay $300.00 for a dog, is this possible?

Answer supplied by: Margaret Strowe, Westor Goldens, New Jersey mail to:westor@warwick.net

There is more than just the initial cost to consider. And a puppy from a responsible breeder could end up saving you thousands of dollars in vet bills over the dogs life time. While for some breeders your initial purchase price may seem formidable consider that these breeders will have screened their dogs for the major hereditary problems known to the breed. These include orthopedic problems with the hips and elbows, eyes and heart. Some of these disorders can result in early death of the dog or expensive surgical repair. Hip surgery for example generally costs $1000 or more per hip. Because these diseases are the result of complex genetic and in some cases environmental components no breeder can guarantee you that a dog they've bred cannot develop a hereditary disorder. But the responsible breeders will have some type of sales contract with written guarantees as to what they will do in the event despite their best efforts a pup they've produced develops a hereditary disorder.

The extra money you spend in the beginning purchasing from a responsible breeder can be the best insurance policy you could buy for your pet.

 

Answer supplied by: Gina Heitz, Brier Goldens, Woodburn Oregon mailto:gina@briergoldens.com

In my opinion it is not possible to find a well bred Golden Retriever for $300.00 from a breeder that is responsibly breeding. Anyone offering puppies at such a price is probably not doing clearances, and does not warrantee their dogs. Nor are they educated well enough to educate you in the event that you find yourself with a problem, health or otherwise. Nor will there be any kind of a warrantee, back up for you in the event there is ever a problem. I always refer to the saying, "you get what you pay for" this includes the support that you will receive from a knowledgeable breeder, one that takes the time to educate not only themselves, but you as the potential new owner. Responsible breeders screen each potential new home, some use written applications and contracts, spelling out each parties responsibilities.

Generally where you will find puppies for $300.00 to $500.00 are in the newspaper, the ads will be something like this: "6 week old AKC golden retriever puppies, both parents on site, shots and wormed ready to go today. " When you call the seller will not be able to answer general breed questions, they will tell you that their vet said their dogs were healthy and they did not need to x-ray or do other clearances such as eyes and hearts, since they are just breeding pets. They are taking a great risk at first the expense of the dogs and second you and your investment of not only money but your emotions. I never recommend shopping the newspapers for dogs. I prefer to refer to the national club for puppy referral: www.grca.org

On a personal note, the first dog I bought was in 1993 and the cost of that dog was $600.00. This dog was purchased in Northern California as a show/breeding prospect, pet puppy price was lateral. In 2001 I believe the price for a pet in Nor Cal ranges between $950.00 to $1200.00, or that is what I have been told by buyers who have contacted me from that area.


Question: I want a dog now, can I expect to find a puppy ready to go within a few days?

 

Answer supplied by: Margaret Strowe, Westor Goldens, New Jersey mail to:westor@warwick.net

Possible but not realistic. Most responsible breeders breed infrequently, some only one litter per year, some more - some less. Your primary concern should be in finding a puppy from a breeder that health screens their breeding animals and has a written sales contract. If that means that you may have to wait a while to get a puppy it is time well spent.

Many responsible breeders keep waiting lists of people that are interested in purchasing a puppy from them, and often their litters may be sold before the breeding even takes place. But as sometimes happens these breeders may have more puppies than expected or someone on their waiting list may have changed their minds and a puppy will become available.

Contact your local Golden Retriever Club. They will put you in touch with breeders in your area. If the breeders don't have puppies available just then, they may be able to direct you to other breeders that do.

 

Answer supplied by Gina Heitz, Brier Goldens, Woodburn Oregon mailto:gina@briergoldens.com

Not generally, the one exception that comes to mind though, is in the case where a breeder holds back on a puppy for themselves and then decides to not keep a puppy and the back up list of those waiting for the just in case puppy have found another puppy or committed to another breeders up and coming litter. To elaborate on this, a responsible breeder that is breeding for themselves will almost always hold back a puppy for themselves or have a co owner or show home in line. No one wants to disappoint a potential new home therefore it is considered responsible to hold back a puppy from a given breeding. It is acceptable to decide to place a held back puppy, when the litter is graded, normally at 8 weeks of age, if the litter does not have what the breeder is looking to keep for their purposes, hence an available at the last minute puppy.

Most breeders will have a few interested individuals prior to doing a breeding and normally in my area, the Pacific North West, litters are entirely spoken for by age two weeks, if not all spoken for before they are born. Most often breeders network and and keep in touch about available litters and will refer to each other in the event that someone has a larger than expected litter or the flip side, if a breeder expected puppies but the breeding did not take. It's not uncommon for breeders to share waiting lists but it is uncommon for a responsible breeder to have an available puppy at 7 to 8 weeks of age as a general rule.

 

Answer supplied by: Lisa-Marie, Ellz Staffords and a Brittany, Tasmania, Australia mailto:ellz@dingoblue.net.au

Additional info from Lisa-Marie at: http://members.dingoblue.net.au/~ellz/policy.html

 

Good things come to those who wait. Succumbing to an "impulse" buy may leave you unsatisfied with your purchase. Take the time to research the particular style of dog that you are looking for and also research the breeder to make sure they are somebody you are comfortable with - you will be in contact with them for a very long time and if you don't like them NOW you probably won't like them in the future either! If you have some idea of bloodlines etc. then be prepared to wait for the "perfect" puppy and you won't be disappointed!


Question: I don't care about papers, are the dogs cheaper with out papers?

 

Answer supplied by: Margaret Strowe, Westor Goldens, New Jersey mail to:westor@warwick.net

AKC rules prohibit charging extra for the papers. That does not prevent a breeder from charging different fees depending on what they believe the quality of the dog to be, but the papers themselves cannot be charged for with an additional fee or the reverse, reducing the price by withholding papers.

If you are indicating the entire litter may not be registrable, then there is strong potential that the dogs in question may not be purebred. The biggest advantage to purchasing a purebred is consistency.

 

Answer supplied by Gina Heitz, Brier Goldens, Woodburn Oregon mailto:gina@briergoldens.com

While papers do not guarantee quality they are verification that the sire and dam are purebred. More importantly they are part of the package so to speak. For what reason would a person breed an unregistered dog? Chances are the true answer to that is money, to make money, what other corners have been cut? While it's not a crime to see a profit from a litter of puppies, money should not be the single most important motivation. With dogs without papers most often the parents if they are purebred have not had clearances done, that's a big huge cut out of the corner and again should be of a concern. Again I like to refer to "you get what you pay for", and in this case you are truly asking for potential heart ache.

All breeders should be willing to show you not only the dogs AKC registrations but at least a 5 generation printed pedigree for both parents, full clearances, showing a passing rating on, hips, elbows, heart, and eyes. In the case of eyes the reports should be current within 12 months of the breeding never any further out than 18 months on both parents, this is the only on going clearance recommended. Hips, elbows and heart clearances are considered finals at the appropriate ages. Hips, and elbows are final after age 2, heart clearances after age 1. You should also be supplied copies of the parents clearances, pedigree and other documentation in a go home package, often these packages are available for viewing when you go to interview a breeder and some breeders will send home a partial package with reading material and instructions to get prepared for the day the puppy comes home. Getting involved in a breeding that is less than the above is potentially dangerous.

 

Answer supplied by: Lisa-Marie, Ellz Staffords and a Brittany, Tasmania, Australia mailto:ellz@dingoblue.net.au

Additional info from Lisa-Marie at: http://members.dingoblue.net.au/~ellz/policy.html

 

Dogs cost the same to breed, love and rear whether they have papers or not. Papers are not an indication of the price of the dog, more the quality of its heritage.


Question: I want to be sure that I buy a dog with AKC papers so I can be sure the dog is healthy.

 

Answer supplied by: Dick Reents, Dichi Goldens, Portage, Wisconsin mailto:dichigr@jvlnet.com

 

Think of the AKC as being comparable to your state's Department of Motor Vehicles. They are both simply registry services. The AKC registers purebred dogs -- they make NO GUARANTEE OR NO INDICATION OF QUALITY OR HEALTH -- simply that the dog is purebred. They register sick ones, healthy ones, ugly ones, pretty ones -- if it is a purebred dog, they will register it!

The Department of Motor Vehicles registers vehicles -- they make NO INDICATION OF QUALITY OR HEALTH -- simply that it is a vehicle. They register brand new Cadillacs and old rusted-old Chevettes with engines ready to croak -- if it is a vehicle they will register it!

As a puppy buyer, you need to educate yourself about whatever purebred breed of dog you are interested in -- learn its good points, its bad points, and be aware of its health problems and recommended genetic screening clearances -- and purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder who has taken care of everything that can possibly be taken care of.

 

Answer supplied by: Margaret Strowe, Westor Goldens, New Jersey mail to:westor@warwick.net

AKC papers due not ensure a healthy dog. All AKC papers do is tell you that the parents of the dog were both registered with AKC as being of the same breed. Healthy dogs come from careful responsible breeding, you will be much more likely to get a healthy dog from a responsible breeder than from a pet store or what are commonly referred to as a back yard breeder.Enclosed is a link to a website with a series of articles on finding a responsible breeder. Please take the time to go through some of them

http://www.wonderpuppy.net/breeding.htm

 

Answer supplied by: Gina Heitz, Brier Goldens, Woodburn Oregon mailto:gina@briergoldens.com

AKC papers mean nothing other than the dogs who were mated are represented as registered and purebred by the owner. AKC registration does not guarantee health, temperament, longevity. The AKC is simply in the business of registering purebred dogs, they do not in-force standards beyond record keeping for the most part. The AKC does not police breeders ethics, conditions, or generally police breeders in normal situations as some individuals might think they do or should. There is no test a dog or a breeder has to pass for AKC to issue a registration beyond proof that a dog is purebred. Unless a verified records violation is committed the AKC has no authority, and that authority is limited to their guidelines, rules and regulations. The AKC will not intervene in disputes between buyers and sellers as a general rule. They do participate in public education, and they do co sponsor health studies in conjunction with national breed clubs. Visit the AKC web site at: www.akc.org for more detailed information.

 

Answer supplied by:Traci Christensen and her mentor, Pat Muller, So. Beloit, Illinois, Quansa Kennels, Lakelands and Airedales.

mailto:tcpringle@hotmail.com

A good dog is like a pie: 1/3 is Breeder Responsibility, care and conditioning, experiences and health screenings.

1/3 is individual dogs health, temperament, breed selection, Breeding (Mom & Dad) 1/3 The new owner's care, training and conditioning.

 

Answer supplied by: Lisa-Marie, Ellz Staffords and a Brittany, Tasmania, Australia mailto:ellz@dingoblue.net.au

Additional info from Lisa-Marie at: http://members.dingoblue.net.au/~ellz/policy.html

 

This is still no guarantee of health. To ensure your dog is healthy you should ask to see the relevant health certificates pertinent to the breed. These would include eye certificates, hip and/or elbow certificates, heart certificates and in some cases, thyroid scores as well.

 


Question: Who should pick out the puppy me or the breeder?

Answer supplied by: Jon Freid, New York, mailto:bluemoongoldens@hotmail.com

It's nice to get to choose and in most cases we let people pick from a few puppies where possible. However the breeder has had the litter for 7-8 weeks and knows each puppy individually especially in so far as temperament. The responsible breeder has gotten to know the life-style and make-up of the adopting family as well, and so, is in a better position to make the match between puppy and home. We usually let people observe the pups and ask them which they like. Then we make our recommendations, and they usually follow along.

 

 Answer supplied by: Gina Heitz, Brier Goldens, Woodburn Oregon mailto:gina@briergoldens.com

The breeder should pick out the puppy for you based on what they know about the dogs and what you are looking for in a dog. This is why breeders interview potential new homes. Even though the golden is a breed that fits into many lifestyles and is a very good choice for most families within each breeding program and litter there are differences in the dogs temperament. Activity level of the family and the dog need to be matched. The best description I can give you is this. The breeder lives with the dogs ancestors and the litter and spends the time with you getting to know what you are looking for. You come to visit the dogs and litter on the average of 2 to 4 times before you take your puppy home. In every litter there are different personalities. Lets say you want a dog who has a low drive, that is content to hang out at your feet, and every time you come to visit the litter the most outgoing up puppy is sleeping, he wanders over and snuggles right up to you,you are smitten with this puppy. This might also be the puppy you have been drawn to for some other reason, but the breeder then tells you that this puppy is only quiet right now because for the past two hours he has been bouncing off the walls.

Breeders who allow buyers to pick their own puppies with out guidance from the breeder are often not very knowledgeable about their own dogs and often the dogs they produce are the dogs who end up in rescue programs or shelters as unwanted pets. These breeders will rarely take back a dog they have produced.

Responsible breeders have a very low return rate because of this policy, and this is good for everyone, first of all the dog. While goldens re home with ease it's not easy on anyone if a dog requires re homing. Trust your breeder and supply them with a good accurate profile of what you are looking for in a dog. This is what you really should concern yourself with, as you will love any puppy you take home. Trust the breeder to guide you here but do give your input and it's ok to say I am taken with a particular puppy, but understand this too: A responsible breeder is breeding primarily for themselves and they are usually going to keep one to two puppies from the litter or place them in show homes or homes where they have access to them for showing and these puppies are going to be picked by the breeder first and all puppies are going to be picked and placed by a criteria the breeder has in place and not normally before 8 weeks of age. So not only should the breeder pick the puppy but you should expect to not know which puppy will be yours until very close to go home day or at go home.

 

Answer supplied by: Barb Wohlferd, Kattwalk Goldens, St. Paul/Minneapolis MN mailto:kwohlferd@mn.mediaone.net

Many excellent breeders will pick your puppy for you. A good breeder will know the puppies better that anyone and is in the best position to pick the puppy that best fits your needs. If you have done your homework and found an honest breeder, than you should trust that person to choose your puppy for you.

 

Answer supplied by: Ilene Cook, Asoros Goldens, Michigan mailto:asoros @twmi.rr.com

I like to pick the puppies for my families. After all, I am the one that has raised and watched them grow. I see them daily, see the personalities developing. One example, is the little shy pup. Pick her up and she cuddles into the person holding her. A puppy buyer just thinks this is as sweet and cute as can be. But, the pup is shy. They are way off the mark as far as their judgment of this pup. They do not have the knowledge or the experience to judge a pups personality. I want to place my puppies where I think they will do best, and what will be the best for the family getting the puppy. Another example is the rambunctious puppy. Can you imagine him in a home with small children?? No way. He needs an adult home where he will get the correction and direction that he needs. The one drawback to this is color. I always hear " I want a light pup, or I want a dark pup" I always tell my clients that I will try to give them what they want, but cannot promise. I tell them I will pick out the best pup that I can for them after testing and after show pups are picked out. I tell them I am promising a very well bred golden for them, and that is where it ends. I have never had anyone unhappy. By letting me pick, they stand a better chance of getting a puppy that is better suited to their lifestyle.

 

Answer supplied by: Lisa-Marie, Ellz Staffords and a Brittany, Tasmania, Australia mailto:ellz@dingoblue.net.au

Additional info from Lisa-Marie at: http://members.dingoblue.net.au/~ellz/policy.html

That depends upon the breeder. They may only have one or two puppies available in a litter or they may have already decided which of their puppies are to be retained as show prospects. You will find that those breeders who allow you to select any puppy from any litter are quite possibly breeding solely for the pet market and may not perhaps be as vigilant with health screenings as they could be.


Question: How can I tell the difference between a Responsible Breeder and a BYB?

 

 A reputable breeder feels responsibility toward the breed, toward the dogs he or she breeds and to the families who choose to live with dogs from their kennel. Support after placement is an investment of the heart, and provides personal gain through satisfaction of knowing that dogs from their kennel are placed in loving homes as family members, not just animals…

A back yard breeder (BYB) may talk as though they are responsible but there will be a difference in how they interact with you, their over all education level will be lacking. They will know little more that what you read here on this site and be unable to elaborate further on some of the finer points, details beyond this overview provided. They will probably not ask as many intimate questions or freely share successes and failures with you.

Affiliation, a reputable breeder will hold membership with the national breed club, in the case of the Golden Retriever, that affiliation is; The Golden Retriever Club Of America www.grca.org . In addition they may belong to their local breed club and one or more performance club/All Breed Kennel Club.

A BYB will not hold these affiliations, beyond possibly being a ghost member, non active, or no longer a member. They will not have shown their dogs in conformation or other venues such as obedience, agility, tracking, hunt tests, field trials etc. Though they may have attended some classes and done some training. They will not be able to show you awards their dogs or they have received for notable achievements.

Passion and responsibility is what set's apart a true responsible breeder from some one that just raises dogs. A responsible breeder is motivated to create perfection; Puppy raisers and dog dealers are motivated to make a profit only.

Often the dogs that BYB's have are of a lesser quality, the grooming will be poor or non existent. They will rarely talk about conformation beyond bragging about how big the sire is and how sweet the dam is. Their motivation to make a profit will be obvious often by how the dogs are kept.

Reputable breeders will carefully screen potential new owners, most sell with a written agreement, that provides for the dog and they will ALWAYS take a dog back at any time for ANY reason, regardless of age or health. States or puts it in writing, that they must be consulted regarding the re homing of a dog from their kennel. Insisting that they must approve the new home.

Rarely will a BYB be willing to simply take back a dog nor will they insist upon being involved in the re homing of a pet that can not be kept. These are the people that keep the breed rescue organizations and the city shelters packed to the brim. Sometimes it's even possible to check with local breed rescue organizations for a reference. These breeders will often have contracts but rarely to they uphold what they say the will, and often the contracts are meaningless even in the wording and place unreasonable demands and requirements to avoid having to deal with a dog or you after the sale.

A reputable breeder will show you the pedigree and appropriate clearances for both sire and dam as well as ancestors, explain the bloodlines, heritable traits etc. They will openly discuss health problems in general regarding the breed as well as their own dogs.

A BYB's clearances may be lacking, they may have some of the clearances but not all. Often they will have just prelims on dogs that are old enough to hold finals and eye clearances may be out of date. Remember hips and elbows are cleared for finals after age 2 (24 mos.) heart clearance is final only after 1 year of age (12 mos.) and eyes are recommended to be done every 12 to 18 months while a dog is in the breeding program. They may not even have a pedigree on their dogs. They will have little to no information available regarding ancestors beyond the dogs they have owned. Normally they will have little information they can share even on dogs they have produced.

In closing on this one, check the breeder out, ask to see membership documentation of affiliations. Any member of the GRCA should have a current copy of the GR-News, may even have an ad they have placed or a kennel listing they can show you in this publication. The GR-News is ONLY distributed to members and is a dated publication. Newsletters with current post marks from other affiliations such as the local breed or all breed club they belong to. Ask to see awards their dogs have received, many breeders proudly display in plain sight plaques, trophies even ribbons their dogs have won. Ask for references and check out the references too. Talk to other area breeders, responsible breeders do not compete for puppy placements and will only show a concern for you. Chances are if they have puppies they are all sold so they will have no reason to want to steer you away except out of genuine honest sincere concern for the breed.

Last but most certainly of a great importance understand that responsible breeders rarely if ever advertise puppies for sale in the newspaper or other means of advertisement such as publications like but not limited to "Dog Fancy" and "Dog World" magazines. Most responsible reputable breeders placements come from club referrals, word of mouth, and affiliations they hold with other such responsible individuals who they network with.

 

Answer supplied by: Lisa-Marie, Ellz Staffords and a Brittany, Tasmania, Australia mailto:ellz@dingoblue.net.au

Additional info from Lisa-Marie at: http://members.dingoblue.net.au/~ellz/policy.html

 

Research, ask questions, ask for references from veterinarians or happy puppy purchasers. Check for health testing results and even search the net. Many breeders have websites now and it will be apparent from their websites how much breeding they do and whether or not they have a "track record" for breeding good quality and healthy dogs for themselves as well as other people. Be aware though that just because a breeder may breed a lot of litters, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are a BYB - a BYB breeds a lot and sells them ALL to pet homes where some responsible breeders may breed a lot of litters but will usually retain at least one either on their own premises or co-owned with other parties which is intended to be shown and/or added to their breeding program at some stage.

 


Question: How specific can we be as potential new owners - gender, color,

etc.?

 

Answer supplied by: Lisa-Marie, Ellz Staffords and a Brittany, Tasmania, Australia mailto:ellz@dingoblue.net.au

Additional info from Lisa-Marie at: http://members.dingoblue.net.au/~ellz/policy.html

You are always more than welcome to have some idea of gender, color etc. in mind as your preference.

You need to understand however, that you are not ordering and purchasing a new car. Mother Nature will provide whatever she wishes to in the litter and if you reject whichever puppy you may be offered by the breeder on grounds of colour, gender etc...firstly, you may be passing up the opportunity of meeting the best friend you will ever have. Secondly....you may just be passing up the opportunity of EVER getting a puppy that fits your "requirements" because it has been my experience that if you have orders for bitches of a specific colour, litter after litter after litter will always provide either bitches of a different colour or dogs of the colour asked for. Murphy's Law prevails in dog breeding!

And lastly - some breeds have certain "character traits" and "personality traits" which are particular to specific bloodlines and individual colours or colour patterning - after exhaustive consultation with the breeder of your choice, it may well be that your lifestyle or personality doesn't "fit" your colour preference.

 

Answer supplied by: Gina Heitz, Brier Goldens, Woodburn Oregon mailto:gina@briergoldens.com

 

Take a look at my dogs, www.briergoldens.com please note I have dogs of every acceptable color of the breed standard for the Golden Retriever and ask yourself why is this? This is because we do not choose ever by color. Our dogs are selected for breeding stock and that is the key to that. We select or purchase our dogs by the same criteria you should. Taking into consideration first and foremost these things: Health, longevity of the pedigree, the breed standard, temperament of the individual and it's ancestors.

While you are looking for a pet and you have some specifics in mind as to gender and color explore what you know or think you know about the differences between the sexes and try to be open minded. Get opinions from breeders as to what sex really suits your life style and know that over all what you put into a dog will truly determine what kind of a pet her or she is. Many people will say for example I do not want a male because they roam and mark things. This is untrue to some degree, dogs who are untrained either sex will exhibit undesirable traits. Keep an open mind on the sex you are willing to bring home because not always does mother nature provide. In my last two litters for example a total of 20 puppies in the two litters I had reservations for 12 males but there were only 3 born out of 20. Nine families had to make the choice to either take home a female or go elsewhere. Out of 8 families that chose to move over to a female no one is unhappy. The 9th family has yet to bring home a dog though they have looked elsewhere. As circumstances have come to pass for one reason or another no other breeder they have contacted has been able to supply them with a male puppy. What is most important with sex and color is trust, trust in your breeder and their ability to work with you with what mother nature has provided to pick from. Sure make your preferences known and where you feel you are adamant make that known but be prepared to have to wait in the event for what ever reason you can not be flexible.

I like to tell people this: We do not pick our mates by their eye or skin color and when we choose to have children we do not have a choice of sex or color do we? No matter what color your dog ends up being even purple you will love him/her...

 

 


 We are an active family, we want our new dog to be a part of all of our activities.

What would be the best time of year for us to bring home a new addition?

 

 Answer supplied by: Gina Heitz, Brier Goldens, Woodburn Oregon mailto:gina@briergoldens.com

 

As far as when to get a puppy I often like to touch on a few things there:

Spring and summer are wonderful times of year for puppies if you plan on staying home for the summer. Potty training is less of a chore in the PNW in the summer etc. However, if you are an active family who enjoys camping, beach trips, and or your children are involved in activities such as sports that take the family to public parks regularly these are not safe places to take an unvaccinated or under vaccinated puppy; Parks, camp grounds, public places where dogs congregate. Tough you don't want to do puppy in a bubble either, puppies do need to be socialized but with caution and unfortunately places where numbers of dogs congregate are not the best choice.

Puppies are normally given one vaccine by the breeder at about 8 weeks of age and to complete the puppy series most vets like to give a total of 3 or 4 boosters at 3 to 4 week intervals and a rabies vaccine before the puppy is cleared to go to public places like parks and camp grounds where unknown dogs may travel through. Average age at full vaccination is 16 to 18 weeks of age.

 

Parvo [http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=2&cat=1556&articleid=467]

 

is a serious consideration with the young and even though a dog may be vaccinated your puppies immunity may not be complete. Even a vaccinated dog can shed parvo virus in their feces, just one microbe can infect a under vaccinated puppy. There are other diseases we are concerned about but parvo is at the top of the list and in the spring there seems to be more cases than any other time of they year.

So if you fit the profile above of an active family that likes to make the most of the good weather I always like to point this out and suggest two things:

 

1. Consider doing a fall or winter puppy and toughing out getting a bit wet while potty training for the welfare of your new addition. Also I would like to add, your puppy will be bigger come next spring/summer and more able to keep up on outings and not be needing as much special care. Though still not orthopedically sound and up for long hikes or strenuous exercise such as jogging or running a much more enjoyable companion on a day or week long adventure.

or:

2. Set a family plan of staying home for a good part of the summer, forgoing some activities for the first 8 to 10 weeks you have your new puppy home.

Depends on the family as to what works, however your breeder and your vet are going to caution you about taking young puppies out in unsafe places.