Always purchase a puppy from a registered breeder – where you can see the mother and siblings of your puppy.  You will be able to see first hand the temperament of the mother and the conditions in which the puppies are being raised and socialised.

A registered breeder in Victoria must be a member of DOGS Victoria, the controlling body for pure breed dogs in Victoria.  Breeders must comply with the DOGS Victoria code of practice.  A breeder who is also a member of the Golden Retriever Club of Victoria must also abide by the club's code of ethics.

Pet Shop or Dealer

Purchasing a puppy from a pet shop or dealer is a poor choice.  DOGS Victoria and the Golden Retriever Club of Victoria do not allow members to sell their puppies to a pet shop or dealer, so the puppies in a pet store come from sources other than registered breeders. Pet shops rely on impulse buying and their puppies are often poorly socialised and have no paperwork such as a pedigree or the parent’s health certificates.  There is no opportunity to meet the puppy’s parents. You might be supporting a puppy farmer.

Backyard Breeder

A backyard breeder is also a poor choice.  This breeder has little knowledge of the breed and the hereditary defects in the breed.  The puppies’ parents are unlikely to have been screened for hereditary defects such as hip and elbow dysplasia and eye and heart disease.

Registered Breeder

A responsible breeder will interview you.  He will want to know if you have owned dogs in the past, whether the puppy will be a part of the family, what lifestyle the dog will have, if you have adequate fencing and time for a dog.  He will stress that a dog ownership is a lifetime commitment.

A responsible breeder will have a long involvement with the breed.  You will be able to see this by the books, photos, sashes and awards that are displayed in his home. He will be able to tell you about the health problems in the breed and explain the health certificate results.  He will have a good knowledge of the ancestors and relatives of the puppies and will be able to tell you many things about the dogs in the puppy’s pedigree.

The responsible breeder will belong to a Golden Retriever club and perhaps other dog clubs.  This shows a depth of interest in the breed.  If the breeder is involved in showing, obedience, tracking or retrieving all the better, he will have access to other breeders and their knowledge. He is more likely to be up to date on hereditary problems and have a social network of colleagues to ask for advice. He has a reputation to uphold.

Many breeders accept responsibility for their puppies long after purchase.  They are willing to help with advice and any problems that may arise as the puppy matures.    They see their responsibility continuing for the life of the dog.  The breeder is the first person you should contact if your circumstances change and you are unable to care for your Golden Retriever.

Golden Retriever Club Member

A Golden Retriever club member is also likely to have a long involvement with the breed and will have a good knowledge of your puppy's pedigree and ancestors.  A Golden Retriever Club member is more likely to be involved in competition; showing, obedience, tracking or retrieving and will have a support network of fellow breeders and good knowledge of the hereditary problems and certifcate scores in the Golden Retriever.

In order to advertise on the club's puppy list or stud dog list, members of the Golden Retriever Club of Victoria are required to screen all breeding dogs and bitches for hip and elbow dysplasia, eye disease and heart disease.

The Golden Retriever Club of Victoria’s Code of Ethics and the DOGS Victoria Code of Practice require that;

  • Members take responsible action to reduce the incidence of hereditary diseases.
  • The dam of the puppies must be at least eighteen months old before having a litter. This allows the bitch to physically mature.
  • The dam should not be bred more than twice in any 18 month period.
  • Puppies must stay with their mother and siblings until they are at least eight weeks old.
  • Members must provide written details of the breed’s characteristics, vaccination records and dietary requirements.

NEXT - Questions you can ask the breeder

NEXT - Questions the breeder may ask you


The Golden Retriever Club of Victoria’s Code of Ethics

DOGS Victoria's Code of Practice


The breeder’s lack of knowledge about the breed.

The breeder’s lack of knowledge about genetic defects in the breed or assertions that the tests aren’t necessary.

The breeder doesn’t allow you to observe the puppies or adults or to see their kennels.  

No documentation or pedigree.

No involvement in activities such as showing, obedience, tracking or retrieving.