An Important Message For Anyone Buying a Golden Retriever Puppy


Some General Information

Many would agree that the golden retriever is too popular for its own good.  Because of this, the breed has not only been a favourite with genuine, reputable and responsible hobbyist breeders, but also with people who have jumped on the bandwagon of the breed’s popularity and escalating puppy prices - prices in part driven by the outrageous price of cross breeds.

The reputable golden retriever breeder is obliged to screen all breeding stock for hip dysplasia (commencing January 2002) in order to register his/her litters with the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)**.  Reputable/ethical breeders will also screen their breeding dogs for elbow dysplasia, and inherited conditions in the eyes and heart.  They will pay attention to other health problems which MIGHT affect the breed, such as Epilepsy and Ichthyosis (for which a DNA test is available) when planning breeding programs.

Temperament:  First and foremost in any discussion amongst reputable golden retriever breeders, is the issue of temperament; and a point blank refusal to breed with poor temperament.  Dogs not properly socialised from birth, and/or, not appropriately trained can exhibit poor temperament.  Poor temperament is not a characteristic of the golden retriever and is not to be tolerated.

You have no safeguard if you purchase a puppy from a breeder who is not a member of the ANKC**, or who does not always register their litters.  In many of these situations (maybe a puppy farmer), the golden retriever is bred in large numbers, without discrimination, and is the product of a very narrow gene pool because reputable breeders deny access to the wider breed gene pool.

While you may think that buying a “show dog” is not for you. Think again. The breeder who is involved in the “sport of dogs” is striving to maintain and improve the breed, and has access to peer support and a wide gene pool.  There is no distinction to be made between the golden retriever bred for the show ring or bred as a pet.  The “rules of breeding” apply equally to both. The puppies should come from a breeder who can demonstrate his/her knowledge of the breed and of his/her pedigree or bloodlines.  The breeder must present the characteristics, hallmarks and attributes of the breed in an open, confident and honest manner.

Visit breeders, see puppies with their mother and mingle with all dogs owned by the breeder.  You should experience the breed at its best, in its own home, where all dogs welcome you with confidence and joy.  Puppies should be housed in a safe, clean environment and be confident and clean eyed.  The breeder might not own the puppies’ sire but should be able to talk about the dog with knowledge and confidence.

An ANKC registered breeder will discuss the distinction between the “Main” and “Limited” Register. Limited registered puppies are not inferior puppies, but have been placed on the Limited register in order to protect the breeder and puppy from indiscriminate breeding, etc. later on. When you pick up your puppy at eight weeks, not only should you receive written instructions on how to care for puppy and what to feed, but also an ANKC Registration certificate - either blue for “Main” or orange for “Limited” register.  If you want to become an ANKC member and get involved in its activities, then you should be up front with the breeder and discuss the possibilities of a Main registered puppy on first point of contact.  Note: that if the ANKC certificate is not available at this time, you should receive it pretty quickly after you take your puppy home.

Two important DON’Ts:  Do not pay a deposit, if requested, until the puppies are born and the breeder provides you with a guarantee in writing that there is a puppy from that litter for you.  Get a guarantee for reimbursement of deposit if things don’t work out.  And, two:  always visit the breeder’s home; never arrange to pick up your puppy “along the highway” or anywhere outside the breeder’s home.

The Designer (or Cross Breed) Dog

The golden retriever is not only the object of indiscriminate breeding but also is a favourite in the so called designer or cross breed dog world.  In this regard, the National Golden Retriever Council (NGRC)***  holds grave reservations about the promotion of golden retriever cross breeds to an undiscerning public who believe in the rhetoric of hybrid vigour and predictability of characteristics and temperament.

Equally important is the temperament of a dog when you are looking for a family pet.  There are breed tendencies but you will find the whole range of temperament types within practically any breed.  The important thing is to have knowledge of the temperament of the individual parents of any litter of puppies.  You will also need to be assured that the puppies have stayed with their mother for at least eight weeks and have been properly socialised by the breeder in her home environment.  Check this link for more information: cross breeds

The Sport of Dogs

The sport, governed by the ANKC**, does reward reputable/ethical breeders, who breed to the ANKC’s Codes of Ethics and Practice. The joys of successful breeding choices made, the fun inherent in working with one’s dog, and peer approval of one’s breeding outcomes are magic.  Puppies from reputable and responsible breeders are of equal quality to the show dog, coming as they do from the same sire and dam.  These puppies provide many owners with very special companions for many years in a diverse range of situations.

** The ANKC is the peak organisation for the purebred dog.  Its members are: Dogs Queensland, Dogs NSW, Dogs ACT, Dogs Victoria, Dogs Tasmania, Dogs South Australia and Dogs Western Australia.  All breeders must be ANKC members in their home state.

***The NGRC is an organisation that represents the Golden Retriever Clubs of Australia.  The NGRC derives its authority from the Golden Retriever Club of Queensland Inc, the Golden Retriever Club of New South Wales Inc, the Golden Retriever Club of Victoria Inc, the Tasmanian Golden Retriever Club Inc, the Golden Retriever Club of South Australia Inc and the  Golden Retriever Club of Western Australia Inc.