Beware Heading

This checklist will help you determine a good, reputable breeder:

  1. Beware of breeders advertising "Rare", "White", "British Whites", "Platinum Blondes", "Ultra Lights" etc. Many breeders are exploiting their dogs for a profit. The Golden Retriever Club of America deems the very light color "undesirable" so most American breeders only breed shades of gold in order to be competitive in AKC shows. Outside of this country, the "cream" color (the term for what looks white or off-white) is acceptable in the show ring and VERY common. Breeders of the "English-style" goldens that are very light (cream), can show in other venues in the states (i.e. IABCA, UKC).
  2. Beware of breeders charging exorbitant prices for their puppies. The price for an AKC registered "English style" golden retriever with hip, heart, eye and elbow clearances as well as Champion bloodlines from a great, reputable breeder is never more than $2,000 nationwide and averages closer to $1,800. You are not getting anything better by paying more!
  3. A good breeder will have pictures of their dogs with all of the dog's information listed on their website. This includes registered names, ALL health clearances including hip, heart, eye and elbows. Pedigree information should be included and/or a link to K9 Data - The open database for Goldens Retriever pedigrees and supporting health information.
  4. Beware of breeders who do not list all of their dog's clearances or say that these clearances are not necessary. 1 in 5 golden retrievers is diagnosed with hip dysplasia. 1 in 10 are diagnosed with elbow dysplasia. Although not as common, eye and heart problems also occur in this breed. If this information is not listed, ask for it. You need to see the paperwork or the dog listed on the OFA website. There are many breeders out there lying about their dogs having the proper health clearances. We have seen breeder websites claiming their dogs have OFA "excellent" hips but in reality have NO clearances at all. Also, a veterinarian is NOT qualified to score hips or elbows. They must be submitted to OFA, OVC, Pennhip or BVA and you need to see that certificate yourself.
  5. A good, reputable breeder NEVER advertises "unlimited registration available". There is a difference between not selling puppies on unlimited and not advertising unlimited registration as a sales tactic to make more money. Most reputable breeders will sell a show quality puppy on unlimited registration - but only to someone they feel is ethical and trustworthy - someone who wants to improve the breed. Most of these GOOD breeders will charge the same or only slightly more for a show quality puppy - not thousands of dollars.
  6. A good breeder will ask you a lot of questions about the home you will provide for a puppy. If you feel you have to prove yourself, that is GOOD! A reputable breeder cares where their puppies will live out their lives.
  7. A good, reputable breeder will invite you to their home to meet them, their dogs and to see the environment where the dogs are living.
  8. A good breeder will educate you about owning a golden retriever. Golden retrievers are VERY active. They chew, dig and get into a lot of mischief. A good breeder will want you to understand exactly what you are getting yourself into!
  9. A good breeder will insist that if you can not provide a good home for your puppy at any given time in its life, the puppy will be returned to them - the breeder.
  10. If you don't feel comfortable with a breeder you need to look elsewhere. A good breeder will be a part of your life for the lifetime of your dog. They will always be available to you for any question or concern - no matter how small!
  11. A good, ethical breeder will not ask for a deposit that is completely nonrefundable - especially if the litter is not even born!
Resources:
  • K9 Data - An online database of golden retriever pedigrees. This is a resource to research a dog's pedigree. Many good breeders will have this linked right from their own websites and will list clearance information as well.
  • OFA - The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. At this website you can verify all of a dog's clearances by simply inputting the registered name or AKC number.
  • CERF - Canine Eye Registration Foundation. Verify that the Sire and Dam of a litter have a CURRENT eye clearance. Unlike the others, eye clearances must be repeated annually.

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