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Choosing a Breeder

Always purchase a puppy from a registered breeder. 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 Regulations, Codes, Policies & Procedures. A breeder who is also a member of the Golden Retriever Club of Victoria must also abide by the club’s Code of Ethics.

Choosing a Breeder

Registered Breeder

A responsible breeder 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. They will stress that dog ownership is a lifetime commitment. Will be able to tell you about the health problems in the breed and explain the health certificate results which you should ask to have explained. Ask about current breed averages. Most responsible breeders 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 as they will have access to other breeders and their knowledge. They are more likely to be up to date on hereditary problems and have a social network of colleagues to ask for advice. Breeders have 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.

Choosing a Breeder

Club Member

In order to advertise on the club’s Litters Available and Looking for a Stud Dog pages, members of the Golden Retriever Club of Victoria are required to screen all breeding dogs and bitches for hip and elbow dysplasia, eye and heart diseases.

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. This allows the puppy to learn valuable canine social skills.
  • Members must provide written details of the breed’s characteristics, vaccination records and dietary requirements.

For more information on deposits, please visit the Looking For a Puppy page.

Choosing a Breeder

Certificate of Registration & Pedigree

This document should be signed on the back by the breeder showing you are the new owner. You can make this formal by completing the form and sending it in to DOGS Victoria with the appropriate fee. You will then receive a new certificate identifying you formally as the new owner.

Main & Limited Registers

There are two DOGS Victoria registers for pure bred puppies; the Main Register (blue certificate) and the Limited Register (orange certificate). Most
puppies are registered on the DOGS Victoria Limited Register. Puppies recorded on the Limited Register are equal to Main Register puppies in all respects except that they are not able to be shown at conformation shows, are not to be used for breeding and are not to be exported. They are eligible to compete in all other competitions including obedience, agility and tracking. A dog is able to be transferred to the Main Register on application by the breeder and registered owner.

Choosing a Breeder

Breeders Terms

It is possible that a breeder might ask you to enter into an agreement regarding the future breeding, showing or ownership of the puppy. They may want to have your male dog used at stud or have a bitch return to have litters. Be sure you understand the advantages of this for the breeder and ask how they might compensate you and know the potential problems that might arise. Make sure you are given time to investigate various contracts online before agreeing to this. If breeder’s terms are only offered when you pick up your puppy, be VERY SUSPICIOUS. Any agreement should be in writing and signed by both parties. The conditions need to be clearly outlined in the contract, understood and accepted by both parties. You will need a copy of this contract for your records. If you have any reservations about such an arrangement you are not obliged to accept and should contact us.

Choosing a Breeder

Pet Shop & Backyard Breeders

Puppies bought from pet shops are often poorly socialised and raised (eg nutrition) and have no paperwork such as a pedigree or the parent’s health certificates. You might be supporting a puppy farmer. 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 diseases.

Warning Signs

  • The breeder doesn’t allow you to observe the puppies or adults or to see their kennels.
  • 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.
  • No documentation or pedigree.
  • No involvement in activities such as showing or obedience.