Austin, Texas

Golden Retriever Club of America



















































































































































































































Structure and Personality  |  Health Problems  |  We Just Want a Pet | Choose a Reputable Breeder
Male or Female? | Adopting An Older Golden  |  Is a Golden the Right Dog for You?
If you’re Thinking about Breeding | Suggested Reading List  |  Some Places to Find Information On-Line

AKC Golden Retriever Standard
The Golden Retriever was developed in Scotland and England in the mid-1800’s as a retriever of small game and waterfowl. Its retrieving instinct, trainable nature, even temperament, intelligence and strong desire to please make the Golden well suited to many endeavors. Golden Retrievers today serve as beloved pets, hunting companions, guide dogs for the blind and others with special needs, therapy dogs, and search and rescue dogs; as well as competing in dog shows and obedience trials, and field, tracking and agility tests.

Structure and Personality

The Golden Retriever Breed Standard defines the desired physical characteristics and temperament of the breed. These characteristics were originally chosen to define a dog of a size and personality that enabled it to be an efficient hunting companion on land and water. An adult male should ideally be about 23-24 inches tall at the shoulder, with an inch variation either way acceptable. The standard calls for a weight of 65 to 75 pounds, though it is not uncommon to find males from show lines that weigh a little more. Females should be about 21-1/2 to 22-1/2 inches tall at the shoulders, with an inch variation either way permissible; and weigh 55 to 65 pounds. The coat is one of the most characteristic features of the breed. It may range from a light cream gold to a deep rich reddish gold; and may be either straight, quite wavy or something in between. The texture should be dense, of medium length over most of the body, with longer feathering on the chest, back of the legs, and tail. The head should be broad with ears not too long, and should have a “kindly” expression.

A complete copy of the Breed Standard can be found in many books and publications about Goldens. It is difficult for an untrained amateur to judge a dog’s show potential or suitability for a breeding program by attempting to compare it to the written standard. The best way to learn more about the standard, and whether a dog is of a quality that would improve the breed, is to be actively involved in the sport of dogs; where the breeder can learn and share information with others, and compare their dogs with others at some level of competition.

The temperament of the Golden Retriever is perhaps the most important characteristic of the breed. A typical Golden should be friendly, easy-going, able to calm down after the excitement of the initial greeting, tolerant of children and strangers, and easily trained. Any signs of shyness, aggression, or hyperactivity are not acceptable, and dogs exhibiting any of these characteristics should not be bred. Although anyone looking for a dog for protection or to serve as a watch dog will be disappointed (many people say Goldens are more likely to kiss the burglar and show him where the silver is) many of them will bark at something unusual or show signs of uneasiness at something amiss in the environment.
Because Goldens are such people-oriented dogs, they have a high need to live with their family (their pack.) Goldens are in general not happy living in the backyard, kennel run or garage; and must not ever be tied up outside. Bored and lonely Goldens can easily become the “problem pets” who are given up to shelters or rescue groups, or worse, abandoned. They may become problem barkers, diggers and act a bit wild and needy when they do get in the house, because they aren’t accustomed to it. Goldens who are allowed to become part of the family and live primarily indoors become much more satisfying pets. Because they are indoors much of the time, you must put in the time to get them reliably housetrained and teach them house manners; they stay cleaner, and become a pleasure to have around.

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The “big four” health clearances to look for in a Golden are hips, elbows, hearts, and eyes; but a knowledgeable breeder should be able to answer your questions about other health concerns in the breed such as allergies, thyroid problems, epilepsy, and Von Willebrands disease.

Hip Dysplasia

The term literally means poor development of the hip joint. It is thought to be largely an inherited condition, but because many genes influence its appearance and severity, and there can be other factors that influence its appearance, breeders have been unable to eradicate hip dysplasia even through generations of carefully breeding only cleared stock (other factors can be overnutrition, excessively rapid growth, and some traumas during the period of skeletal growth.) Between 1974 and 1991, over 44,000 Golden Retriever hip x-rays were examined by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA); over 23% showed signs of hip dysplasia, indicating the severity of this problem. Your best chance of getting a puppy that will either not develop hip dysplasia, or will have only a mild case should it appear; is to purchase from a breeder who is breeding only cleared dogs, and who has made an attempt to breed for pedigree depth of clearances and research the hip production histories of the dogs in their pedigree.
The manifestations of hip dysplasia can range from so mild that the owner might never know the dog is affected, to severely crippling at a young age. In a severely affected puppy, movement difficulties may show up around 6 to 9 months. Though there are other things that may cause limping or stiffness in a young dog, any puppy showing such signs should be x-rayed and examined by a veterinarian to determine the cause. There are several options for corrective surgery, and some nutritional supplements and/or pain and inflammation relievers that may be prescribed to alleviate discomfort.
The typical hip clearance is a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) rating a dog’s hip conformation. A dog whose hips are considered good enough to breed will have a rating of “Fair,” “Good,” or “Excellent.” The OFA requires that for a final clearance the dog be at least two years of age. Some breeders have recently begun doing another type of hip evaluation on their dogs, called PennHIP. This procedure measures the laxity of the hip joint, and is based on the theory that dogs with more joint laxity have a higher tendency to develop hip dysplasia at some point in their lives. PennHIP is a relatively recent screening tool. Some breeders are doing PennHIP screenings on their dogs as well as OFA certifications in an effort to determine whether this method will become of equal or perhaps even greater value than the OFA ratings in determining which dogs should be bred with respect to hip production. PennHIP does not rate a dog’s hips as “passing” or “not passing” for breeding. They do suggest that only dogs with hips tighter than the median for the breed be used in a breeding program (dogs with PennHIP numbers for both hips smaller than the median, which at this writing is .54 for Golden Retrievers). As of early 1998, AGRC now also accepts PennHIP as a hip clearance for puppy referral, provided the dog is at least two years old at the time of rating and that the numbers are in the tighter half of the current median. The breeder should be able to show you hip clearances on both parents at the very least, and preferably be knowledgeable about clearances for a couple of generations back.

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Elbow Dysplasia

Please see for more information on elbow dysplasia. 

For elbow evaluations, there are no grades for a radiographically normal elbow. The only grades involved are for abnormal elbows with radiographic changes associated with secondary degenerative joint disease. Like the hip certification, the OFA will not certify a normal elbow until the dog is 2 years of age. The OFA also accepts preliminary elbow radiographs. To date, there are no long term studies for preliminary elbow examinations like there are for hips, however, preliminary screening for elbows along with hips can also provide valuable information to the breeder.

Grade I Elbow Dysplasia
Minimal bone change along anconeal process of ulna (less than 3mm).

Grade II Elbow Dysplasia
Additional bone proliferation along anconeal process (3-5 mm) and subchondral bone changes (trochlear notch sclerosis).

Grade III Elbow Dysplasia
Well developed degenerative joint disease with bone proliferation along anconeal process being greater than than 5 mm.

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Heart Disease

Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis (SAS) is a congenital heart problem that occurs in many breeds, and has been found to be a significant problem in Golden Retrievers. It is a defect in a heart valve that obstructs the flow of blood from the left ventricle to the aorta, and its severity can range from a mild murmur to a dog who dies suddenly at a young age. Murmurs can be detected in puppies as young as 7 or 8 weeks of age; some of these are innocent murmurs, and some of them may diminish or disappear as the puppy grows. The only way to determine which ones are serious is through examination by a veterinary cardiologist. Suspicious murmurs in both puppies and adult dogs can be ultrasounded to evaluate heart function. A responsible breeder should be able to show you a cardiac evaluation on both parents of the litter, on letterhead from a ACVIM Board Certified Cardiologist.

Eye Disease

Hereditary cataracts are a common eye problem in Goldens. The most common type appears between the ages of about 9 to 18 months, and generally does not cause vision problems for the affected dog. However, affected dogs should not be bred, since any other dog may be a “carrier” (may have a number of the genes for this cataract but not show the cataract themselves) and “doubling up” on the tendency could produce puppies with vision problems. Other types of cataracts may or may not be hereditary, and some have serious implications for the dog’s vision. Retinal dysplasia is an inherited defect of the retinal lining; it is present at birth and screening puppies between 6 and 8 weeks may detect lesions which disappear later. It can greatly reduce vision, though doesn’t usually cause blindness. Uveitis is a serious inflammation in the eye requiring treatment to control the inflammation. There is also some reported incidence of PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) and CPRA (Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy) in Golden Retrievers, though these diseases are more common in other breeds. Eyelids that turn in or out, called entropion or ectropion; and eyelash problems involving extra eyelashes or hairs irritating the eyes (trichiasis and distichiasis) are also occasional problems. Dogs should not be bred without being examined by a Board-certified veterinary opthalmologist and found to be free of hereditary eye disease. Dogs that have undergone such examination and are found to be clear may be registered with the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF.) The breeder should be able to show you CERF certificates dated within approximately the last year on both parents, or the original eye report from an opthalmologist stating that the dog’s eyes showed no evidence of hereditary disease. An eye clearance is not “good” forever; dogs in a breeding program should have their eyes examined annually.

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Von Willebrands Disease (bleeding disorder)

VWD is an inherited deficiency of one of the clotting factors of the blood. It is similar to mild hemophilia, but may appear in either sex; severity may range from prolonged bleeding after minor injury to more severe hemorrhage. At one time it was recommended that all breeding stock be certified clear of VWD, but due to problems in the accuracy of testing, and lack of substantiation of VWD as a significant problem in Golden Retrievers, many breeders no longer screen for it.

Thyroid Problems

Hypothyroidism, characterized by atrophy or malfunction of the thyroid gland, is a problem in some Goldens. The symptoms can include obesity, lethargy, skin and/or coat problems, and reproductive problems. Diagnosis of hypothyroidism is by laboratory tests measuring levels of thyroid hormone in the blood (T3 and T4.) Treatment consists of daily administration of thyroid supplement, and the prognosis for any problems encountered being helped by medication is excellent. Many apparently normal Goldens may test slightly lower than the “normal” range on some thyroid tests; it is possible that the normal values for the breed may be somewhat lower than the values used for the general canine population. Nevertheless, because thyroid problems can also be linked to allergies and epilepsy; there is some question whether dogs requiring supplementation should be bred.


Skin allergies are very common in Golden Retrievers. Unlike people, who may have respiratory symptoms, inhalant allergies in dogs manifest themselves as skin problems. Goldens may be allergic or sensitive to flea bites, pollen, dust, mold, or food ingredients. Symptoms can show up as biting, licking, scratching, chronic ear infections, and/or rashes or hair loss in certain areas. Dogs with low thyroid frequently also suffer from allergies. It is worth consulting a veterinary dermatologist if you suspect problems in your dog. A reputable breeder should be willing to discuss any known skin or coat problems in their dogs.

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Some lines of Goldens are affected with seizure disorders. Although there can be a number of things that can cause seizures; including infection, some diseases or some injuries; any dog suffering from seizures should be neutered and not bred. Medication can be prescribed to control seizures; it is not always completely effective.

Although people contacting puppy referral will frequently say things along the lines of, “We don’t want anything special. We want just a pet,” it is our belief that buyers actually want something very special. Most people looking for a family companion want a healthy puppy, with the best possible chance of growing up without hereditary problems, that they can find. They want an attractive dog that is a good example of the breed. They want a dog with the proper Golden Retriever temperament, that will be calm enough to live with, and trainable enough to become a valued member of the family.

Choose a Reputable Breeder

The serious hobby breeder is your best chance of acquiring a puppy that has had the proper care put into its breeding and rearing. “Backyard breeders” are frequently well-intentioned perfectly nice people who love their dogs, but in many cases know little about health problems, proper structure and temperament, or health histories in their lines. They sometimes do not have the health clearances that responsible, knowledgeable breeders would consider the bare minimum requirements for contemplating a breeding. Pet shops are absolutely the worst choice; frequently the puppies there are the product of puppy mills, suffer from numerous health problems, and have been separated from the litter at too young an age. We believe the best pets come from litters bred by people who are actively involved with the sport of dogs in some way; ideally the breeder will belong to the Golden Retriever Club of America and a local Golden Retriever breed club (where one exists.) They should be involved in competing with their dogs in some way - in the show or obedience ring, at hunting tests or field trials, or in some combination of endeavors. These people are not breeding in a vacuum. They are exposed to competition to enable them to see how their dogs compare to others, and have opportunities to learn about the many factors that go into trying to improve the breed. While some of our dogs do go into competition or into a breeding program, most of the puppies produced live their lives as someone’s pet. You deserve a pet that is a result of a litter carefully planned for the proper structure, the proper temperament, and with attention paid to health considerations.

Things to look for:

  • · A responsible breeder will probably, as mentioned above, be involved with a dog club and involved in some area of endeavor with their dogs. The breeder competing in organized activities is known by others and will have a reputation to uphold.

  • · Ask for written proof of hip, elbow, heart, and eye clearances. The breeder should be able to answer questions about other health concerns in the breed.

  • · Paperwork - The breeder should provide you with some sort of written contract and health guarantee; a four or five generation pedigree for the puppies; and a “blue slip” to apply for registration of your puppy with the American Kennel Club. You should be provided a record of vaccinations done, any wormings done, and feeding instructions for the puppy.

  • · Don’t be surprised if you are asked to sign a spay/neuter contract, or if your pet puppy is sold on Limited Registration. A breeder who is concerned about taking a continuing responsibility for what they produce is a good sign! A dedicated breeder may require that the dog be returned to them if you ever cannot keep it for any reason.

  • · Look for a breeder who will provide you with information on raising your puppy, housetraining, etc. and who will be available to patiently answer any questions you have. The relationship between a new puppy owner and breeder is a very important one; a good breeder can serve as a valuable resource for assistance with any problems or questions you encounter.

  • · Expect to be asked lots of questions! You may be asked if you have had dogs in the past, what happened to them, whether you have a fenced yard, whether the dog will be allowed to live in the house and be a member of the family, and anything else a concerned breeder can think of to help them find the best homes for their puppies and to ensure that you know what you’re getting into by acquiring a dog.

  • · The puppies should be clean, and should seem outgoing, bright and inquisitive. If you take one by itself to a new area of the house or yard it may appear uncertain, but should recover quickly and be interested in its environment and respond to you. Eyes, nose, and ears should appear clean and free of discharge. If the puppies appear fearful, or the mother shies away or appears aggressive, avoid this litter. The breeder should be able to tell you what they’ve done as far as “socialization.” Puppies need lots of contact with people during their first few weeks.

  • · Be cautious of ads in the newspaper offering puppies at exceptionally low prices. A well bred litter, bred to a good male with a substantial stud fee, and cared for properly through pregnancy and 7 to 8 weeks of puppyhood, is not a cheap proposition. A responsible breeder has a sizeable investment in a litter, and in some ways, the old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true. When you consider the number of years you hope to have this dog, and the emotional and financial investment you will have in it, the initial price of the puppy is a small consideration. Beware of ads touting puppies from “championship bloodlines” and with “all shots.” Champions sprinkled through the fourth or fifth generation are not an indication of quality, or of a careful breeding program. Not all parents of good litters will be finished champions; in some cases neither parent will be a champion. (However, if three of the four grandparents are, and there are multiple champions and obedience or hunting titles in the first three generations, chances are you have a litter of some potential.) It is not possible for a puppy to have “all shots” when it goes to its new home, unless it is at least four months old. Puppies need shots every two or three weeks from 6-7 weeks to about 14-16 weeks, with perhaps another parvovirus booster at five or six months. Whether a litter has been “wormed” or not is also not an indication of quality. Some breeders will worm prophylactically, others prefer to have periodic stool samples checked and only use medications if parasites are present.

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Many people wonder which sex makes the best pet. There is less difference between the sexes in terms of personality in Golden Retrievers than in most other breeds. The best predictor of personality is knowing what the sire and dam of the litter are like. Temperament is strongly hereditary. Many people express the feeling that a female will be “easier to train” and be “more loving.” If anything, many experienced Golden owners and breeders feel that the males are a little “softer” in temperament and “willing to please” than the females. There is very little difference; it would probably be to your advantage to base sex preferences on the size and look of the mature dog, or to remain open as to which sex to better your chances of getting a puppy with the personality right for you at the right time. Both sexes are excellent with children, they need equal amounts of exercise, and are equally intelligent and affectionate.

Some Things to Expect While Waiting for a Puppy

Expect to wait. Well-bred puppies are not always available exactly when you want them. Waits of several weeks to several months are not unusual. Expect to be able to visit the breeder and see their dogs, and to visit the puppies when they are at an appropriate age. Breeders usually have very busy lives, in addition to having a litter of puppies to care for, but you should be able to meet them to get mutually acquainted, and be able to visit the puppies when they are old enough. A breeder who wants to meet you before selling you a puppy, who makes the time for you to visit, and who takes the time to answer your questions is being careful about finding good homes, and will likely be available to answer your questions in the future.
While some breeders will allow visitors to the litter at a young age, others prefer to wait until the puppies are four or five weeks old. Puppies start getting really fun at about this age, anyway.
Expect to receive pictures of the parents, a pedigree and health clearances, and perhaps some kind of information packet while you are waiting. Spend some of the waiting time reading some books about puppy raising; it will make the wait easier and your life will be easier when the puppy finally arrives if you are prepared.

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Adopting An Older Golden


There are many reasons an older dog or puppy may be available for adoption. Sometimes they are being placed by a Golden Retriever Rescue organization; they may have been found abandoned, rescued from an animal shelter, or given up by their owners. Sometimes breeders will be placing an older puppy or dog that they have determined that for some reason does not belong in the show ring or in a breeding program. The reasons are many, but an older puppy or adult dog can be exactly right for owners who would rather not go through the housetraining stages, or for a household where the family pet may have to be alone for several hours a day due to the family’s schedule.
A properly raised Golden Retriever will adapt to many situations, and will be able to transfer his affection to new owners. With a little patience and the understanding that the dog needs time to adjust to the changes in his life, and with some love; even an abandoned or neglected Golden can become a valued member of your family and reward you with gratitude and love. Give the dog a little time to adjust, give him a routine to follow (regular eating times, show him where he can go to the bathroom, teach him gently what he can and cannot do), then give him a little gentle obedience training and your dividends will be remarkable! If you think an older puppy may be right for you, tell the puppy referral person and ask for names of breeders you can speak to. The Austin Golden Retriever Club has a Rescue program if you would like to learn more about adopting a Rescue dog. Leave a message on the club phone line or ask the puppy referral person.

Is a Golden the Right Dog for You?

Although Golden Retrievers are in many ways the ideal family pet, there are disadvantages to owning one, and some breed characteristics that may make them not the ideal breed for some families:
Hair - Lots of hair! In general, Goldens shed profusely twice a year and shed at least a little all the time. If you or anyone in your house is fastidious about dog hair on the floor, furniture, clothes, and yes, occasionally on your dinner plate, a Golden is not the right pet for you! Brushing and combing every couple of days can make a tremendous difference in the amount of hair you find in the house; and when the “big coat blow” comes, bathing in warm water, blow drying and a couple of hours with a comb can get quite a lot of it over at once. There will always be some around, however.
Exercise - Goldens were developed as a sporting breed, and usually need at least a good long walk (thirty minutes) or jog every day; with some play or work sessions (retrieving, chasing a ball, etc.) thrown in as well. (Puppies under the age of 1-1/2 to 2 years shouldn’t run beside a bike or jog long distances.) Swimming is wonderful exercise for Goldens of all ages.
High Need for Companionship - One of the very things that is most delightful about the Golden Retriever to some people, can make it not the right breed for others. If you want an independent pet, or are bothered by big brown eyes staring you and a dog nudging you asking to be petted a large percentage of the time, the Golden Retriever is not right for you. Goldens are very pack oriented; they need to live with their families and not be isolated in a backyard, run or garage. A bored Golden can easily become a problem barker or landscape destroyer.
Size - Goldens are considered in the dog world to be medium-sized animals, but many people think of them as big dogs. Their tails are just about the right height to make a clean sweep of the coffee table! While Goldens are wonderful with children, they grow quickly and can be quite rambunctious during puppyhood and adolescence. An adult needs to be in charge of training and caring for the dog.
Expense - It costs a lot more to own a dog than most people realize! The normal equipment and feeding expenses, as well as normal veterinary care even if your pet doesn’t have any illness, will run several hundred dollars the first year. Food, leash, collar, shampoo, flea treatment, vaccinations, heartworm treatment, obedience training classes; it all adds up.

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A responsible breeder will likely sell pet puppies on Limited Registration and/or a spay/neuter contract. A sincere concern for the overpopulation of pets, and the knowledge that breeding is not for the uneducated novice, has made this sort of contract a growing trend. There is an enormous tragedy created by irresponsible or uneducated people breeding too many dogs without understanding the problems of overproduction and poor breeding. Responsible breeders care deeply about producing healthy, physically and mentally sound dogs that properly represent their breed; and about carefully placing them in homes where they will be valued and cared for properly. Until you have been involved with Golden Retrievers for quite a while; and have educated yourself extensively about the breed in general, health problems in general, health problems in your lines in particular; and are able to knowledgeably evaluate your dog’s quality and suitability for breeding, it would be better to postpone breeding. Until you are an experienced enough dog owner and Golden owner in particular to serve as a resource to help educate your puppy buyers about all of these things, as well as helping them with all the many aspects of dog ownership and puppy raising, it would be better to postpone breeding. Breeding is easy to do, but responsible breeding is hard to do well.
Some commonly expressed motives for wanting to breed are:
· Having a litter of puppies would be fun. Having a litter of puppies is time consuming and extremely demanding. A litter requires several hours per day to care for properly. Illness or death of the mother or the puppies is no fun at all.
· It would be educational for the children. Bitches usually whelp in the middle of the night while the children are asleep. After you have attended a few whelpings, you may change your mind about whether it is a good experience for children. Instead of witnessing the “miracle of birth,” your children may very likely witness the birth of a dead puppy, a deformed puppy, or a traumatic and life-threatening emergency involving their beloved pet if she has any whelping complications. Breeding is not for the faint of heart.
· We can recover our investment in this dog. Most dedicated breeders find the idea of recouping the investment in a dog at least somewhat amusing. It only takes a C-section or an illness that most of the puppies get to wipe out all those projected “profits.” If all the true costs of having a litter are added up, most breeders lose money on any given litter.
· The dog needs to be bred in order to be complete/healthy/fulfilled. It is anthropomorphizing to think that a dog has any conscious need to procreate or any regrets about not doing so. Spaying or neutering will make your pet calmer, help remove the desire to roam, and contribute to your dog’s health by lessening the risk of testicular, prostate or mammary cancers and uterine infections that intact dogs are subject to.
· Breeding would improve her temperament. Any dog with a less than ideal temperament should never be bred! If temperament needs improving, the first thing to do is spay or neuter. Temperament is strongly hereditary; breeding an animal with a less than ideal temperament will produce puppies with unsatisfactory temperaments.

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Consider Your Resources Do you have the facilities for whelping and raising a litter properly? You can’t just put them in the garage or the yard. Can you devote a room for two months to a litter of constantly piddling puppies?
Do you have the time to devote to this project? A healthy, normal litter can take several hours a day of clean up, socialization, vet visits, and spending time with the potential owners to help ensure good homes for the puppies. A litter of puppies who are sick, or whose mother is sick or dies, can take over your whole life. What if complications develop? Are you willing to take the risk with your bitch’s life? There is frequently not time to get to the vet when complications develop; will you know how to help her? Do you know how to recognize a life-threatening emergency?
Do you have the resources to keep and properly care for any puppies that do not sell right away? Goldens often have very large litters, and new breeders without a reputation frequently find it hard to sell their puppies. Ethical breeders NEVER sell puppies to pet shops or puppy mills.
Do you have the time, energy and knowledge to investigate prospective owners to determine their suitability as the new owner of a Golden Retriever? (One of your babies!) Good breeders spend hour after hour interviewing and educating puppy buyers, letting them visit, and getting to know them. Can you devote that time? Are you prepared to “stand behind” the puppies you produce? A conscientous breeder should be willing to refund the purchase price on dogs that develop health problems. Will you be able to do that, and to help the new owners with information and any other assistance necessary should problems develop? Will you have time to keep in touch with all your puppy buyers, and have room to take back any dog that someone cannot keep, no matter what age?
And, last but not least, do you have the financial resources to do it right? Stud fee, possibly transportation of the bitch, inoculations, veterinary care for the mother and puppies, possible surgery, extra food, worming medications, medication for sick puppies, and paperwork expenses of producing puppy packets all add up to money that must be expended before you receive any money from the sale of the puppy. As stated earlier, it is extremely common to LOSE money on a litter.

Suggested Reading List

There are many good books on Golden Retrievers, raising your puppy, and dogs in general. These are just a very few suggestions to get you started while you are looking for a puppy:

About Golden Retrievers

The World of the Golden Retriever: A Dog For All Seasons by Nona Kilgore Bauer (TFH publications.) A wonderful book, it contains lots of information about all aspects of Golden Retriever endeavors: conformation, obedience, field trials, hunting tests, tracking, agility, service and therapy, and search and rescue. It has up-to-date information on health and genetic problems, Golden Rescue, etc. and is full of wonderful pictures.

The New Golden Retriever by Marcia Schler (Howell Book House.)
Extremely good in terms of breed history, function, structure, etc. by a much respected Golden Retriever judge, breeder and artist who has done many structure studies and illustrations for the Golden Retriever Club of America.
The Golden Retriever by Jeffrey Pepper (TFH publishers.)
By a Golden Retriever judge and breeder.

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Finding and Raising a Dog

Dogs for Dummies by Gina Spadafori (IDG Books Worldwide.)
Good first book to get; information on how to find a good breeder, raising your puppy, responsible dog ownership, things to do with your dog. A great resource!
The Right Dog For You by Daniel E. Tortora, PhD.
Rates breeds on physical and behavioral characteristics; helps evaluate each breed’s suitability for your lifestyle.
Mother Knows Best (The Natural Way to Train Your Dog) by Carol Lea Benjamin (Howell House publishers.)
Wonderful information on understanding and raising your dog; explains how dogs learn and what works. Useful information, gentle methods, fun.
How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With by Rutherford & Neil (Alpine Publications.)
Short book with developmental advice for the breeder; and several chapters of very concise, on-target puppy raising advice.
Any books by the Monks of New Skete, including How To Be Your Dog’s Best Friend (Little, Brown, publishers) and The Art of Raising a Puppy.
Good reading for their philosophy of dog raising and love of dogs.

Beginning Retrieving


Retriever Puppy Training by Rutherford (Alpine Publications.)
A guide to starting your puppy off on the right foot to becoming a successful hunting dog or hunt test competitor.
Retriever Working Certificate Training by Rutherford, Branstad, and Whicker (Alpine Publications.)
Basic field work primer, a must for beginners (dogs or people.)

Some Places to Find Information On-Line:

The Golden Retriever Club of America’s web page at:

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals at:

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This publication was generated from articles by many sources, all concerned with educating the public about Golden Retrievers. Sources we would like to acknowledge and thank include, but are not limited to: R.G. Keen at, The Golden Retriever Club of America (whose booklet “Acquiring A Golden Retriever” supplied much valuable information,) the Houston Golden Retriever Club, and the work of Cindy Tittle Moore.