breeders in VA - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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breeders in VA

Hello all,

I have been searching for a breeder in Virginia. After visiting lots of websites and a kennel, I feel a little confused and would like to get some breeders contacts.

It seems to me like there is two kinds of breeders around :
- the ones that breed champions, show dogs. They have very few litters a year, they make sure all the dogs go through the clearances and standards. Puppies cost around 2000 dollars at least and you have to be on a waiting list for sometimes months.
- the ones that have many litters a year, they are not very thorough on all the clearances and standards of the breed. Puppies still cost between 800 and 1200 dollars but you can get one very fast.

All I would like to find is a breeder that breeds good tempered and healthy dogs. I do not need my dog to be of a champion line I would just like the breeder to have his dogs all go through the standards controls ( eyes, heart, elbow, hips, size..) which I think should be the minimum when you ask someone to pay a thousand dollars. I am also willing to wait a few months to get my puppy and pay around $1000-1200 at the very maximum.
I need a just middle in between the puppy mill and the champion breeder and it is hard to find. Does anybody know a good family pet breeder I could go to ?

Thank you very much.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 06:38 PM
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Wish this post was a sticky:

Originally Posted by LJack View Post
This is a question that a lot of puppy buyers have. I don't want a show dog, why should I care about champions or performance titles in the pedigree?

1. When you buy from a breeder who is actively competing and showing, they are out there in the fancy. They are talking to other breeders, attending seminars, gaining knowledge of structure, heritable diseases, bloodlines and care. This means they are not working in a vacuum.

2. Breeders who compete are actively looking to improve their line. That litter they are producing is one they are hoping will produce the next step in their program. They are working for themselves. You reap the benefit since there are usually a small number of show quality, the rest are pets. Ever hear the addage you work harder when your selfemployed? It is the same philosophy here.

3. Structure, structure structure. Breeders who compete will have more structurally sound dogs. In addition the core four clearances, the dog's structure will determine if it will live most of it's life comfortable with activity or not able to go and do because of structural break down. This is where those Champion titles really come in. Champions are not judged on beauty, but it is a really nice by-product. They are judged on structure, angulation, movement, etc. Your pet puppy will benefit from these attributes.

4. Temperament. I want a dog that comes from stock that has been out in the world doing something. Dogs who compete and title not only prove themselves in that venue, but also that they can handle life beyond their home. Dogs that stay at home may have great temperaments but, how do they behave away from home in stressful conditions. Dogs that compete are exposed to these stresses and succeed.

5. My vanity. Okay, it is hard to look at a golden puppy an not think what a cutie! But, if I have chosen to buy a puppy and not rescue, I want my dog to be gorgeous. Call it vain, but that is what I want. I know that with parents that are proven in competition that is going to run in the line. I want things like proper coat, dark pigment, great structure, lovely top lines, fantastic headpieces, and lovely expression.

A word on champions in the grand parents generation and further back...if there are not titles in the parents generation, those grand parents titles don't mean much in the grand scheme of things. Quality can be lost in just a generation or two of careless breeding. It is not necessary for both parents to be titled, but it would be nice. At least one should be.

It always boggles my mind when less than reputable breeders point to the Champions in the grandparent or great-grandparent generation as a selling point.
They know that these titles are important and tough to get so they claim that their dog is just as good with out doing anything to "prove" them in competition.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 07:40 PM
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Where are the budget breeders?

I recently answered a very similar post where the poster had a budget that was also putting them into the fringe/back yard breeder/greeder territory and I think my same response holds true here so I will include it below.
Please think about adjusting your budget or save up to allow for the wait time and expense. If the health clearances are important to you and your budget is inflexible, you may only find frustration in your search.
Once you identify a breeder or potential puppy parents, you can post them on the forum and we can double check you research.

Originally Posted by LJack View Post
This is the motivation behind a lot of posts to the category of choosing a breeder/puppy. This is my take/opnion:

Puppy buyers are usually viewing the puppy buying adventure from a purchasing of goods stand point. With this being the case, the buyers use the knowledge they have gathered over their years of experience as a consumer and thus become disappointed and frustrated when they feel they can't find a "budget" friendly option or find the "discount" Walmart (same great product, lower price) kind of option.

The puppy buyers knowledge and experience utterly fails them when it comes to buying a well bred puppy from fully cleared parentage because the puppy to the breeder is not a product or a commodity and those consumer rules/experiences go out the window. I know the ecconomy is tight. We all want the most for our dollar. We all have budgets to work with in. I "get" the idea of I don't want to pay $10 for something I could get for $8.

Reputable breeders are not in it for the money and they are not breeding for buyers. That is why the traditional purchase of goods knowledge and skills do not serve buyers well when it comes to puppies. These breeders are breeding for themselves. They do the testing because it is important to them. They need to know that they are keeping the best because health is important to the breed as a whole and to the continuation of their discipline (conformation, obiedence, hunting, agility, etc.) They of course will end up with more puppies then they need to continue the line and compete with. So, they place the "pet" puppies. This means they do not have puppies on a schedule convenient to buyers. They are also not competing with other breeders out there to get the market share. Reputable breeders will gladly keep a puppy until the right home comes up than to take the money and place a puppy in the wrong home.

Fringe breeders, back yard breeders, and puppy mills on the other hand may/do view the puppies as a commodity. So, why test, when it does not affect the ability to sell the puppies. That is money out of the pocket. Or they simply don't know because they just happen to have a boy and a girl and the kids should watch the miracle of birth. Or for fringe breeders, test only some things or test everything and still breed if they don't clear.

So, where does that leave the folks who are truly on a budget?
Here are all the options. While I detest several of these. In the interest of clarity to the poster I will list them all.

1. Save for a well bred puppy from cleared parentage. Depending on your area I would say this would range from 1000-2000, though a budget of $1500 would probably give you enough flexibility to find what you want. This is my suggestion as it will highly stack the odds in your favor for a healthy puppy. It should also be a puppy with good structure (meaning it will be more likely to age gracefully and continue to be active with you longer) and a great temperament.

2. Stay with your budget. You must realize at this point you will be supporting "fringe" or back yard breeders. This compromise will be just that a compromise on what you want. You will not have full clearences. There will not be the depth of clearences in the pedigree for grand parents on. The parents either will not be tested all, not be fully tested, or tested and failed on a clearance (in this case I would not expect discloseure, but it could happen). You may also be purchasing a puppy from parents that are young than two, which is the commonly accepted minimum age for breeding and the minimum age at which parents could have full clearances.

3. Save on your budget and find a cheaper puppy. realizing that you will not get the clearances that you want anyways. Save some of your budget for possible future care/needs by truly going the back yard breeder route. You never know, you could get lucky and get a healthy puppy despite no testing and no knowledge of the potential issues behind the dog. I would expect this will put you in the $250-650 range depending on your area.

4. Rescue an older dog and stay in your budget. rescue is awesome, but not for everyone. Deciding on this route most likely will not give you any parental health info. You will be saving a life and getting a great dog as well. You most likely will not be able to get a puppy.

5. Purchase an older dog from a reputable breeder. Again, you will be giving up the puppy stage. Breeders usually have dogs available for two main reasons. One, would be a prospect wash out. Usually younger dogs, under 2.5 years. These dogs may not have grown up as expected or hoped. They may also have failed a clearance and the breeder should disclose that. Two, would be a retired breeding dog. This would be an older dog maybe between 4-7 years usually with full clearances. Since most breeders live in residential areas, they are limited in the number of dogs they can keep, so they may find forever homes for retirees so they can be the jewel of a family and not lost in the crowd/pack. Prices and availability vary.

In all honesty I have never seen what I would call a budget breeder. Those who compete and care do things what I consider the right way. Those who don't, cut corners. In Goldens we have some frightening things behind those corners. Hip/Elbow displaysia, Pigmentary Uveitis, and Sub-aortic Stenosis to list just some.

I would suggest options 1, 4, or 5.

In the end it is your decision and you must decide what is important to you and what you feel comfortable spending on a puppy that will hopefully be with you 12+ years. On the forum you will generally find folks who support rescue and/or reputable breeders. We generally feel pretty passionate about our dogs and back yard or "fringe" breeders are not helping the breed at best and doing a lot of damage to puppies, dogs, buyers and the breed at worst.

Good luck on your decision and I wish you happiness what ever route you go.

Whew, that was long! Guess that is what happens when you drink Starbucks and type.

Laura and the Anasazi Golden Girls
Jinx, Tilt, Tizzy (the Italian) and Navy

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 08:55 AM
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I suggest that you look at breeders that focus on field lines. The prices are a little less $1000 to $1200 usually. Like all breeders you need to make sure you check for clearances. gives you a number to look at.

Good luck.
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