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Choosing puppy - golden retriever?

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Hi everyone, 
 
I am thinking about getting a puppy in the not too distant future. It may be a while away yet but I am trying to research as much as I can from now anyway. I am fairly certain the breed I want a golden retriever. I have never had my own before but had one in my life as a child whom I fell in love with and have always had a soft spot for the breed. 
 
To include a bit of background, me and my partner are a young couple without children so far. We live in a house with medium sized garden front and back. We live in the countryside on a rural island (UK). This will be my second dog, my last being a cross breed so I don't have experience of choosing a pedigree dog.
 
One thing I could be more clued up on are the technicalities when choosing a puppy. I have looked at countless adverts for puppies online and obviously many mention hip scores, health screenings, pedigrees and KC registration amongst other things. What I am wondering is basically what is the most important of these things for me. My dog would be purely a family pet, I would not be buying him for work, show or breeding purposes. 
 
Where we live is very limited in terms of finding breeders due to small population on the island, so we would likely have to find a breeder on the UK mainland somewhere and bring him home with us. Where should I be looking? There are lots of puppies advertised on sites like pets4homes and gumtree. Do some reputable breeders advertise on these sites? Obviously I would take the usual precautions such as meeting the puppies and parents, not giving money before picking up puppy etc. Anything else I should be thinking of or asking please let me know also. :)
 
Thanks in advance. 

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Good choice, retrievers on the whole are excellent dogs. This site lists the health tests that breeders should carry out - http://www.dogbreedhealth.com/golden-retriever/

The risk to puppy buyers is that puppy farmers go to extreme lengths to disguise disreputable practices so if you get evidence of this health testing, you are protecting yourself from the risk of buying a poorly bred dog. Puppy farmers often also keep their bitches in unpleasant conditions and breed them far too frequently;  this leads to stress which can affect the temperament of the litter. So going to a good breeder really pays dividends. You should expect to be put on a waiting list for a puppy that may not even be conceived for a few months so it's a good idea to start researching breeders early. Good breeders will have a waiting list so your puppy may not even be from their next litter. That's actually a good thing! Expect them to ask you lots of questions too. A good breeder would be very unlikely to advertise in the way you have mentioned. Champdogs however may have some ads. Depending on how much you want an actual puppy, it might also be worth looking at the Guide Dogs association;  they might have a dog which doesn't meet their standards but is still amazing as a family pet. You would know its temperament would be sound, and it would come with solid basic training.

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I echo all that Joanne has said.

A little while ago Golden Retrievers had a few temperament issues. It was thought to be from a particular line so hopefully it has been ironed out now. The trouble is that a dog will do a lot of winning in the show ring and everyone takes their bitch to him for mating. If he has any sort of hidden (or not so hidden) fault it quickly spreads through the breed.

The longer your chosen breeder has been breeding the better. They will know all the different lines and the faults that they carry. They do not have to be a big winner at shows. It is more important that they really know their breed and all the various lines within it. These breeders know which lines to avoid. Show breeders have one aim in life and that is to win at all costs. If the dog has a dodgy temperament they are prepared to put up with it.

Puppies should be reared in a home environment. It doesn't matter if they usually live outside, the bitch should be brought indoors to have her puppies and they should all be reared in a noisy household. If you are planning a family it is important that the puppy you choose has been exposed, in the first twelve weeks of life, to children. The breeder should start this off and you can carry it on. Children are not small adults to dogs, they are like aliens. They speak and move in a much different way to adults. Your puppy should be a fairly bold puppy to cope with future children so look for the one that is happy to approach and is not startled too much by you dropping a bunch of keys nearby. If startled, the puppy should quickly recover.

I would get "into" the breed as much as you can. Visit shows and talk to people. Stop people in the street. I think the Golden Retriever Club do some sort of obedience display. That would be a good place to chat to owners rather than breeders. Breeders, naturally, think that their dogs are perfect so you need an owner's perspective.

Don't be afraid to insist on seeing the health tests rather than accepting that "they are fully health tested" is the truth.

Good Luck :) Keep us posted.

 

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Good luck with your search and it's heartening to see you're doing research beforehand instead of jumping straight in, sadly like so many do. I have to ask out of curiosity - do you live on actual island or are you describing the UK as a rural island?

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11 hours ago, arealhuman said:

Good luck with your search and it's heartening to see you're doing research beforehand instead of jumping straight in, sadly like so many do. I have to ask out of curiosity - do you live on actual island or are you describing the UK as a rural island?

Haha, hi! I live in the Shetland Islands! 

 

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On 10 September 2017 at 3:31 PM, JoanneF said:

Good choice, retrievers on the whole are excellent dogs. This site lists the health tests that breeders should carry out - http://www.dogbreedhealth.com/golden-retriever/

The risk to puppy buyers is that puppy farmers go to extreme lengths to disguise disreputable practices so if you get evidence of this health testing, you are protecting yourself from the risk of buying a poorly bred dog. Puppy farmers often also keep their bitches in unpleasant conditions and breed them far too frequently;  this leads to stress which can affect the temperament of the litter. So going to a good breeder really pays dividends. You should expect to be put on a waiting list for a puppy that may not even be conceived for a few months so it's a good idea to start researching breeders early. Good breeders will have a waiting list so your puppy may not even be from their next litter. That's actually a good thing! Expect them to ask you lots of questions too. A good breeder would be very unlikely to advertise in the way you have mentioned. Champdogs however may have some ads. Depending on how much you want an actual puppy, it might also be worth looking at the Guide Dogs association;  they might have a dog which doesn't meet their standards but is still amazing as a family pet. You would know its temperament would be sound, and it would come with solid basic training.

Hi! 

Can I ask what you mean by evidence of health testing? Are you just referring to certificates from the breeder themselves? 

I was sceptical about adverts on the websites I had mentioned. I have however had a look today searching the names of the parent dogs on them and finding them some of them on champdogs. I assume if they are on champdogs and have all relevent info on there that they should be fine? I've decided though that if the only place I can find info on a litter or dog is on gumtree or similar then I will avoid that. 

I have not yet decided exactly when would be the best time to bring home a new puppy. How far ahead would you suggest contacting breeders?

Thanks for your answer and your suggestion of the Guide Dog Association as this was something I hadn't thought of.

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I *think* breeders publish their test results, maybe on the Kennel Club website? But try the breed society for more detail.

http://www.goldenretrieverclubofscotland.com/

They will be delighted to help, and will be really pleased you are planning so carefully. They may also know of members planning litters.

 

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There is a check you can make on how inbred any puppies might be. It is called the co-efficient of inbreeding. Someone, somewhere has put them all on a database and you can put sire and dam in and it will tell you how inbred a puppy is. The lower the number the better. When you find a breeder or hear of a litter then you can put the sire and dam in to the search to see what comes out.

I would look for a breeder who has been breeding for many years and knows all the lines. This means that they know which lines to avoid for health reasons or temperament reasons. They breeder does not need to have one lots at shows, in fact I, personally, would avoid an avid show breeder. They, in my opinion, can lose sight of the most important things - health and temperament in their search for the dog that is most likely to win in the current trend in the breed. Golden Retreivers went through a phase of the lightest coat colour was fashionable in the ring. This meant choosing that trait above other more desirable ones.

I would look for a breeder that keeps the bitch in the home and raises the puppies in a busy home environment.

There may be a branch of the Golden Retriever club that still works their dogs. This would attract me as they will know which dogs have fewer joint problems and are easy to train etc. They may not breed but should now of good breeders. I know the club put on a lovely obedience display at Crufts most years.

A good breeder will ask you lots and lots of questions.

I would start now with contacting breeders. It will gain you brownie points with them and you will gradually get a feel of the ones you trust and the ones that you are not so happy with. Go to shows and obedience events and talk to owners. Ask about faults in the breed and tips for finding a good breeder. We only do this once every twelve years or so and things change.

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3 hours ago, gypsysmum2 said:

There is a check you can make on how inbred any puppies might be. It is called the co-efficient of inbreeding. Someone, somewhere has put them all on a database and you can put sire and dam in and it will tell you how inbred a puppy is. The lower the number the better. When you find a breeder or hear of a litter then you can put the sire and dam in to the search to see what comes out.

I would look for a breeder who has been breeding for many years and knows all the lines. This means that they know which lines to avoid for health reasons or temperament reasons. They breeder does not need to have one lots at shows, in fact I, personally, would avoid an avid show breeder. They, in my opinion, can lose sight of the most important things - health and temperament in their search for the dog that is most likely to win in the current trend in the breed. Golden Retreivers went through a phase of the lightest coat colour was fashionable in the ring. This meant choosing that trait above other more desirable ones.

I would look for a breeder that keeps the bitch in the home and raises the puppies in a busy home environment.

There may be a branch of the Golden Retriever club that still works their dogs. This would attract me as they will know which dogs have fewer joint problems and are easy to train etc. They may not breed but should now of good breeders. I know the club put on a lovely obedience display at Crufts most years.

A good breeder will ask you lots and lots of questions.

I would start now with contacting breeders. It will gain you brownie points with them and you will gradually get a feel of the ones you trust and the ones that you are not so happy with. Go to shows and obedience events and talk to owners. Ask about faults in the breed and tips for finding a good breeder. We only do this once every twelve years or so and things change.

Thanks for all your advice gypsymum2. That's really helpful. I did wonder about looking for breeders or owners who work their dogs or take part in activities rather than only showing. 

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Just to add, if you do contact a good breeder expect to get asked a LOT of questions. I have never bred but I have bought quite a few over the years and I have come to the conclusion that it must be easier to adopt a child than to get a puppy from a good breeder. They are really careful about where their pups go and I agree with them I would keep well away from those that appear to be willing to sell to whoever turns up with the cash.

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Biker John, thanks! Yeah I am expecting to be interrogated by breeders when I come to contact them.. and rightly so - just means they care about the dogs.

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