Yes, this forum expects breeders to abide by the COE for the country they are breeding in. So, we are expecting dogs to be over 24 months when bred and have verifiable hips and elbows at or after 24 months, heart cardiologist at or after 12 months, and eyes done annually.
Does this breeder do all of this consistently? No.
And honestly I have not done a really deep, intensive search to find what I have.
She has breed dogs as young as 13 months. This dog obviously did not have clearences because he was not two. When he was two he came back with elbow Dysplasia grade 2. He is being listed on her boys section so, I don't know if she plans to continue using this dog or if she kept any of the offering in her program.
Also, when you put something up on your website, you chose to put it there and If you say you do it, you should. So, when you say,"We O.F.A all our Golden Retrievers". I expect to see that you do. They do not, which is a shame because it would be awesome if everything was on Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. It is a worthy goal and I hope someday they will.
Does she have nice dogs, does she have beautiful dogs, is she a gracious host, a nice person, a lover of her animals, does see have cute puppies that any buyer would love? I honestly don't know. Nor will I ever find out because, in my opinion the practices I am seeing are not ones I would choose to support.
This is my opinion, but it is based on facts that can be verified. I don't know this breeder by anything else than what is online but for me, it is enough to make a disison as a puppy buyer about a breeder.
I know a lot of folks bemoan the fact that this is the case. But, just like being aware of your online presence when searching for a job, breeders need to be equally aware that details of how they are breeding are available publicly. For those to care to look, we can see when dogs are bred underage, we can see when clearences are not online or have failed public statuses, we can see when breeders make statements they do no hold themselves to. It is out there for anyone who looks.
Is this the same decision everyone will make? No.
Each person must make their own decision. The best way to make a good decision is to be informed. That is what this section is all about. Helping buyers make an informed decision. I do not make anyone else's decision but my own (and maybe my husbands). Each reader here takes away what they find value in. And I'm sure for every person who agrees with what I say, there are others who don't. That is the beauty of a forum.
Last edited by LJack; 01-10-2013 at 02:18 AM.
I was brought to this forum by my client April Fulk(Alaska Retrievers).
I have worked closer with April than probably anyone while handling almost all het beautiful goldens over the past 4 yrs. If anyone needs more information feel free to contact me.
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Welcome to the forum Amanda. I hope you enjoy your journey into our breed forum. There is great information on all facets of golden ownership and love. I hope you enjoy some of the more fun areas of our site like the pictures and chit chat areas.
I am sorry for not having seen how this thread has gone sooner. Please allow me to clear some things up as there have been many false assumptions made and I do not wish for my breeder's reputation to be tossed in the mud as none of you have worked with her. That said, I have not read through all the posts so please bear with me.
I did my research. Three long years of it in fact. I did not choose lightly.
Alaska's Retrievers specializes in English type golden retrievers. The coloring of their dogs is an added bonus, but what they focus on is temperament first and foremost, as all breeders should. I contacted this breeder months before the dam's heat and spoke of my desire to raise a therapy dog. She has experience in this as she most recently had one of her dogs retire with an active duty veteran with post traumatic stress disorder. She also works closely with the local Midnight Sun Service Dogs group and referred me to the owner personally who also has been incredibly helpful in preparing my puppy for therapy dog work.
She was a wealth of information and sent me ALL CLEARANCES. Hips and elbows through the OFA website were available for me. She personally provided official documentation certifying the sire and dam's eye and heart clearances through a PDF via email.
Alaska's Retrievers and I worked closely together throughout the dam's pregnancy and after the whelping to ensure the entire litter would be given the appropriate opportunity for therapy work when mature enough. For example, I provided multiple hospital sounds and she played these sounds in her home as they developed and grew. Bless her heart because a lot of those sounds are incredibly annoying!
Alaska's Retrievers temperament tests all litters to appropriately place the puppy to the correct homes. She utilizes the Volhard's methods approach to temperament testing. She asked me if I would like to assist in the temperament testing, which of course I said yes. I travelled to her home with my significant other and we assisted with testing each individual pup while her daughter watched the rest of the litter. The breeder spent hours with us that particular day and it was very clearly apparent how much in love she is with all her dogs, pups, and with what she does. In terms of temperament? My particular puppy scored perfect 3's across the board, which I learned was ideal for a golden retriever.
In the weeks before receiving my puppy, the breeder was hard at work beginning the training for all her pups! My puppy was completely crate trained by the time he arrived in my home and housebreaking was a SNAP! He has been the picture perfect golden retriever puppy. Textbook perfect and I haven't had any problems.
The day he was to come home with me the breeder did something more amazing than I could have dreamed. Her second daughter willingly drove hours to drop my puppy off. With Alaska being as large as that is, I'm sure all of you can appreciate what a kind gesture that is. Her second daughter was as wonderful as the breeder and the first daughter I met. She greeted me warmly and took a picture of my puppy, myself, and my significant other. I learned that she was delivering another puppy that morning to who knows where else! She didn't ask for gas money and was only concerned about dropping this puppy off safely.
Since my puppy has been home, the breeder and I have kept in touch and she has helped guide me through raising him as it has been a long while since I've raised a puppy.
All that she has done and continues to do has made her an exceptional breeder in my eyes and is saddens me greatly to read all of the negative commentary on this thread, especially when no one here, besides myself, can give any personal, first hand experience.
Finally, she is one of the most approachable people I have ever met. She is a completely open book. If any of you have questions or concerns I guarantee you she would be 100% willing to speak with you in a professional manner to clean up any misconceptions and to answer any and all questions. Email her. Call her. Send her a private message on Facebook. She is easy to find. After all, the first phone call I made to her last 3 hours as I grilled her with every question and concern I had and she did the same to me. She has been nothing but honest, professional, and friendly in the 9 months I have known her.
I could not be absolutely more pleased with her. I could not be more impressed with her breeding program.
That said, perhaps the age old saying "Treat others how you wish to be treated." Is most appropriate for this particular thread.
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Ally1h I am glad that you are happy with your research, your decision, and your puppy. Thank you for sharing your experience with this breeder. I don't think that this breeder's puppy rearing, socialization, service work or training was ever questioned.
To be honest, the initial response post to yours while less than flattering was not rude or hurtful in it's tone. It simply stated some of the questions for conversation and suggested the OP research further. I have seen postings much more passionate and dramatic on similar information.
So, your post should really teach me a lesson, not to have and express opinions based on public information and trusted sources like the OFFA. Because I have never met or spoke with this person, does that make my opinion or the easily verifiable information I have shared unimportant? It seems that you think so.
Does knowing or speaking with someone undo the underage breeding of Boss? Does it undo the fact that Nani was bred twice before ever getting an OFA elbow clearance? Does it negate the higher risk of elbow Dysplasia these Boss x Nani puppies have since their 13 month old sire had grade 2 elbow Dysplasia at 25 months old?
I am glad your pup has all the appropriate clearances. Perhaps Alaska Retrievers is moving towards following the COE and upholding their online statements. I guess time will tell.
I really do hope to see you in other more fun areas of the forum. We would love to see pictures of your pup and hear how the therapy work is coming.
I'm sorry, the last time I checked HEALTH was the top priority I have when looking at a pedigree. That said, it is followed by longevity and then temperament.
I don't know about most of you guys, but that's what I go by, not temperament first.
I wanted to reply to three points that were made in this discussion.
First of all, there is documented research that shows that the death rate of goldens of British descent for cancer is 38.8%. Please see page 2 of this study done by the Kennel Club in the UK.
Comparatively speaking, the research provided by the GRCA on the same topic of death due to neoplasms (cancer) in Goldens in the US can be found on pages 121 and 122.
From this research it shows that a much larger percentage of American goldens die of cancer than those of British descent.
The other thing to consider is that not all databases are public. Penn Hip is not a public database. The BVA only shows health results of dogs residing in the UK. Just because clearances can't be found on the OFA site doesn't mean the breeder didn't do clearances. And even if they use OFA, the results are only shown if the client allows it. Many people would prefer not to line the pockets of the OFA by paying $25 per dog to show clearances that were not done by the OFA when there are so many other tests to be concerned with (ie. PRA, Ichthyosis, etc).
There are many ways of doing things. I would suggest that if people are interested in a breeders animals, they can ask to see clearances if they are not on a public database. If they cannot provide them, look elsewhere.
In my opinion, temperament is as important as health. What's the point of owning a healthy dog if he's mean as a snake.
I know April Fulk well. She is a caring, loving breeder with outstanding dogs. She does all health clearances, and probably does more than most (OFA, BVA AND Penn Hip on top of PRA and Ich testing). If you dig deep enough, you can find dirt on anyone. To me it's not about things that were done in the past. It's about where they have been, what they have learned along the way, how they have grown, and how they are taking those experiences to move forward for the benefit and love of the breed that matters. Perhaps the best suggestion for anyone looking for a new family member is to ask the breeder for references. That way you can learn from someone who has a dog from that breeder of their experience first hand.
Additionally, and importantly, if you actually read the studies you'll note that these two surveys are not controlled for the descent of the dogs in each study. There are likely goldens of European descent included in the GRCA study. And could also be American descended dogs incorporated into the UK study. Additionally, the UK study included 1717 live dogs from 538 owners. That is such a TINY population of goldens in the UK. The GRCA study included only 746 owners for 1444 dogs. Again, a teeny tiny percentage of the actual golden retrievers living in the US. And, again, theoretically, a large percentage of these could have been UK bred/descended goldens living in the US.
Taking these surveys as gospel is just ridiculous, in my opinion, and a convenient way to market British style dogs to unsuspecting puppy buyers by touting them as healthier than their "American style" counterparts. It's fine to have a style preference in goldens, I certainly do, but you don't need to disparage dogs that look slightly different than yours in support of that preference.
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Last edited by goldenjackpuppy; 01-10-2013 at 06:04 PM.
Are you then saying that because people voluntarily reported results in these studies that they are inaccurate? That assumes that the results were not verified by the groups conducting the studies. I highly doubt the GRCA or the Kennel Club would put their names on anything that wasn't verified prior to publishing. There is no bias in either study. It's pure data based on the dogs that participated. If there are any goldens of American descent in the study in the UK it is marginal at best, but it's definitely worth asking if any of the participants were American. Conversely, it would be worth asking the pedigrees of those that participated in the American study. That would be excellent data to have.
Yes, all dogs descended from the same goldens in the UK, but they have evolved over the years, especially since very few were imported during WWII to the US, and the American Golden evolved into it's own type. It's interesting that 90 other countries follow the country of origin breed standard yet the US has it's own version of the breed standard that is different than what the rest of the world acknowledges.
I did not post the research to disparage American goldens. It was posted to refute your claim that British golden breeders used marketing ploys of better health. Perhaps you should ask if PU is a current concern in the British lines. To date it isn't. That does not imply that it won't be at some point, but at this juncture, the dogs suffering from PU are of American descent.
That also does not imply that British type goldens don't have their issues. All goldens have health issues. But there actually are British golden breeders who are doing more testing than American breeders who are not marketing their dogs as white, platinum or English cream and who do not disparage other breeders despite type because they have a forum to do so.
It doesn't account for differences in time, differences in reporting, differences in environment, differences in the selection group (i.e., inclusion of the huge number of US puppy mill dogs), differences in diagnosis and treatment rates between the US and UK, and any other of literally a dozen or more factors that would explain the difference in percentages other than the theory that you like best, that the rate of the disease itself is different. The two studies simply don't prove what you claim they do.
The dogs diagnosed with PU these days are of American descent (largely) because the GRCA has asked its breeders to screen with incredible rigor, and the good ones have done so. That doesn't mean that the rates in America are actually higher. One could take your specious argument and turn it around on British dogs and ichthyosis. It would be equally silly to say that it's not a problem in the US and it's only found in English style dogs simply because more testing has been done of European dogs and lines.
As long as testing standards are different, the percentages are going to come out different. That doesn't mean that British or American dogs are actually riskier on a particular issue. Nobody's studying them relative to one another with any kind of scientific and statistical rigor. The two surveys involved that provide the closest thing to data were based on geography, not heredity. And, it's unlikely that there will be substantial differences on hereditary issues, given the small gene pool involved. All Goldens are far too closely related to each other (y'know, since it's a breed), and there's been far too much exchange for there to be dramatic hereditary differences like a doubled cancer risk between one group and another based on the small divergence in the standard.
Looking at vastly different health issues found with vastly different medical environments and then claiming that one set of dogs is better on the issue than another is completely unscientific.
Nobody disparages English style dogs around here. We love 'em, even when we prefer American standard. We disparage bad science and bad breeding practices, especially when they're used to dupe families who just want a healthy dog.
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