While we're dreaming about perfect breeding practices, I would love to see more attention paid to breeding dogs that will be companions for us "pet people," who are actually in the majority. Too often we get the puppies that don't make the cut as show dogs and I suspect that the structure of competitions tends to move the breed towards athletic, high-energy dogs who may not be ideal for family life in an average home. That may contribute to the number of Goldens who end up in rescues or shelters.
It would be wonderful to see more "credit" given for dogs that qualify as therapy dogs or otherwise demonstrate a gentle, calm temperament. Better yet would be responsible breeding of Goldens who are intended from their carefully planned conception to be pets. I know some breeders do this and I thank every one of them from the bottom of my heart.
First, hobby breeders don't just breed to breed. They breed to continue on with their breeding programs and because they would like to keep a dog to show in whatever venue they have chosen to show in.
Second, as a hobby breeder, 90% of the puppies I produce do go to pet homes and we have wonderful families who do all kinds of different therapy work with many of them. One is even certified as a disaster therapy dog, which many dogs do not pass the test for. She was the only one of 40 to pass the day she took the test. Anyway, we have dogs who do reading with rover programs, dogs who live in nursing homes, dogs who work in hospitals and dogs who live with children with autism. So, I am happy to see that you did mention there are breeders that breed for good stable, temperaments. However, a golden is a gundog and part of the Sporting Group. They are not supposed to be couch potatoes.
All pure bred dogs have a standard and breeders must breed to the standard-we cannot just chose the parts that we would like to adhere to and ignore the rest.
If we did, the dogs would no longer be golden retrievers.
Our standard says>>> General Appearance
-- a symmetrical, powerful, active dog, sound and well put together, not clumsy nor long in the leg, displaying a kindly expression and possessing a personality that is eager, alert and self-confident. Primarily a hunting dog, he should be shown in hard working condition. Over-all appearance, balance, gait and purpose to be given more emphasis than any of his component parts. Temperament
-- friendly, reliable and trustworthy. Quarrelsomeness or hostility towards other dogs or people in normal situations, or an unwarranted show of timidity or nervousness, is not in keeping with Golden Retriever character. Such actions should be penalized according to their significance.
If you read the other parts of the standard, you will see the words broad, muscular, strongly muscled, powerful, well-coordinated mentioned many times. Again, because this is a sporting breed and as such, they do require exercise and stimulation.
I have also seen the breeders and many others on this list be VERY open and honest when someone is inquiring about breeders if those dogs will "need a job to do" or be a little more to handle than the average pet owner is looking for.
Last, I may be a breeder but my dogs are my pets and our family companions. They live in our home and are a part of the family. Many breeders dogs live like this. I do not breed super high energy dogs because that is not what the standard calls for and I do have MANY of them living in our house. But, I also take them to run almost on a daily basis, I throw balls and bumpers and do other things to keep them engaged and stimulated so they do make good companions. The photo below shows what my living room looks like most days! lol