Breeding - where to start and anyone in WI? - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Post Breeding - where to start and anyone in WI?

Hello!

This is my first post here, and I am hoping for some help, knowledge, and advice.

Let me start off with some background. I grew up with Goldens, I've been around these beautiful dogs since birth. My mom breed one of our Golden's (she had two litters), and the amazement these little bundles of joy brought into this world are just... there is no explanation. We had other females which we did not breed for various health reasons. We are not your typical breeder, no website, no advertising, etc. Just loved the dog and wanted to pass on her amazing qualities.

So here I am, with my own wonderful family. I've had family and friends beg me to breed my dog; not only is she gorgeous, she has amazing temperament and is an excellent listener. When I go on vacation (rare) friends and family beg to watch her! So this (breeding) has been in the back of our minds for sometime now. Shes 2 and half now, she is healthy, happy, and lovable. No conditions whatsoever, regular vet checkups, etc. She is unrelated to any of our family dogs we got her from a small family breeder (not one who has new puppies every year/no website/etc.) only their second litter ever.

We only want to make this breed better, and to share her qualities. So where do we go from here? Special vet testing before breeding (i.e. hip certification?) This is something my mother never did - this was per-internet, so I am unfamiliar with the process. And how do you pick a good stud? I've looked at online photos, I'm hoping for someone within a few hours drive, with papers, the same tests completed, and a medium to light color (to match her). I believe she is an english golden, but I could be wrong. We live in the Fox Valley in Wisconsin.

Well, I will stop here. I am looking forward to hearing your answers, your advice, and anything else in between. If there are any local studs who want to chime in that would be awesome! I am guessing the cost is the pick of the litter or the price of the pick of the litter?

Thanks again!!
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post #2 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 01:04 PM
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Hi. Welcome.

Let's start with the basics.

Your girl is going to need OFA certifications for hips and elbows, you'll need an annual eye certification from a veterinary ophthalmologist, and a heart clearance from a veterinary cardiologist. And that's really just the beginning. There are all sorts of genetic and epigenetic issues to learn about. Do your girl's parents have clearances? Her grandparents?

Is your girl registered with the AKC on a "full" registration? If not, give up the notion of getting a decent stud. Do you have her pedigree? Are her sire and dam listed on K9data.com?

Also, have you "proved" your girl in any venue as being an excellent example of the breed? Are you familiar with the breed standard? You should be. You can find it here: https://www.grca.org/about-the-breed...reed-standard/. Are you a member of the Golden Retriever Club of America? You should join. This is the entity tasked with deciding what a Golden Retriever is and what it is not.

Then, you're going to have to learn to analyze pedigrees, and find a stud that matches what you want from your girl (and you have to learn what you want to get, what you want to improve on, what you want to correct, and what you want to avoid), and that can be a long and involved process.

Studs usually get cash. Sometimes they get a puppy back, if it's a breeding they are really excited about.

You have a lot to learn, so you should start. And you probably shouldn't breed until you've learned. Perhaps you could get a mentor. And you might start by going to avidog.com and signing up for some of their materials and taking some of their courses. You wouldn't perform a root canal without learning a lot about dentistry first, and you shouldn't jump into breeding without a similar education about that subject.

Last edited by DanaRuns; 12-20-2016 at 01:54 PM.
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post #3 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 01:35 PM
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It's actually common for some top breeders not to have a website or advertise. Their puppies are sold long before they're born and they have way more inquiries than puppies. You've received good advice from Dana already, she is very knowledgeable. The more you know about your girl and her family history the better. If she has limited and not full registration, you will not be able to breed her, especially to a good stud. Stud dog owners should be just as cautious with who they breed to as the bitch's owner. They will want hip, elbow, heart and eye clearances with eyes completed every year. They will want Brucellosis testing completed just before breeding. If you're not familiar with Brucellosis you can google it. You may also want to perform genetic testing. Ichthyosis, prcd-PRA, and PRA1 are necessary if the stud dog is not clear. Money is usually exchanged for stud fee, with at least a few hundred dollar deposit required before conception. I also recommend you find a very knowledgeable mentor as soon as possible if you're set on breeding your current girl. Breeding healthy Goldens is not as simple as one would think and having a mentor who's familiar with researching pedigrees and health issues is invaluable. It could take years of research and discussion to really understand breeding the way you need to. Have you found your local club or reached out to them in any way?

And please remember, you can not advertise here to sell puppies or to find a stud dog.



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Lottie the mix - 10/5/2013
Teal the golden - 7/4/2015
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post #4 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 01:37 PM
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Online postings are really not the best route. Let's just start there.

Wisconsin has quite a few really good breeders and they have active clubs. Start there. Reach out in person and on the phone. Look to join the clubs and begin attending meetings and get yourself out there.

A lot of us simply worship our dogs.... and flattery comes very easy from strangers when they see and appreciate very nice dogs. But you may have easy flattery for dogs who aren't really that great for breeding stock - not even touching on the core health areas that require clearances. Your average dog lover isn't going to know the difference. And even pictures online aren't the best way to do justice to a dog or clearly discern weak areas that might get compounded by somebody (a) not knowing they are there and (b) breeding to a dog who has the same problems.

A breeder's job isn't just putting dogs together to make beautiful puppies to sell. When you are breeding a golden retriever... your goals should ideally be along the lines of "do no harm" to the breed at the very least. It does require more breed education and aspiring breeders seeking experienced and decent mentors in the breed. Good decent mentors are people who make difficult choices that hurt their green dollar bottom line sometimes but go a long way to hold up the high expectations that people may have regarding the puppies they produce.

The clearances that are required with golden retrievers are passing OFA clearances for hips, elbows, eyes, and hearts.

Hips and elbows both need passing clearances - and the grades are fair, good, and excellent for hips and "normal" for elbows. And keep in mind with OFA, there is no way to fudge these clearances. Your average puppy buyer can go on OFA and look things up on a breeding dog. This is a big reason why some shady people out there are steering away from OFA or finding "excuses" for not getting OFA clearances on breeding stock. Because it limits what they can breed without being questioned or looking "bad" for cutting corners.

Big problem with "english type" golden retrievers are many breeders may have weaker clearances behind their breeding stock. Some lines are more prone to elbow problems, for example (because in europe they allow for breeding dogs who have minor elbow dysplasia). So if I own a English bred golden, my first concern isn't just getting the clearances on my dog - but I'm also concerned about looking into the health clearance history behind my dog. Ideally, you want to see the last 3-5 generations of clearances behind a breeding dog.

Other issues that you probably need to dig into if you have an European bred golden retriever - you need to look into genetic tests for PRA (retinal atrophy problems) and ichythosis (skin problem). These genetic tests address issues that affect all goldens, but like with ichythosis seem to be more extreme with European lines for whatever reason.

Coat quality, structure, heads, pigment, bite, eye color, temperament - these are things or areas which need an educated eye sometimes. Temperament sometimes is the easiest area because most goldens out there have the golden temperament. But the other areas do get a bit dusty as far as a newbie recognizing qualities or faults. Minor faults might not keep a dog from being bred... but knowing what they are might help you make good choices as far as selecting studs to breed to. And it does put an emphasis on knowing what you have and getting good contacts out there as far as studs go. Particularly knowing which dogs out there will fix the problems that your girl has and/or not produce problems that your girl doesn't have. Pigment is a tough area to fix. As are heads.

Besides evaluating your girl and selecting good dogs for her... knowing pedigrees is another thing. And that's something that a good mentor will help you with. There's a lot of stuff about certain lines and pedigrees which a mentor would help you with.

Finding a mentor - that's probably the toughest hurdle you will have to start with. Because you sound like a good person and may have the desire and will to stick to it and do a good job even if you only produce one or two litters ever.... but there's a lot of people in the breed who have gotten burned by people who are very ambitious to start with, but are also willing to cut corners or aim very low despite what they are told or advised.

You won't find a mentor without getting yourself out there. Most people don't have conformation quality dogs. But if your dog is trainable - that's a route you can take. Get into obedience and/or agility. There's a good way to make contacts with people who may be willing to help you - not just seeing the quality of your dog and how she works, but also seeing your own dedication as well.

This breed needs more good people getting out there and doing stuff with their dogs.... and also breeding and produce good quality puppies. The reason why you may run into discouragement getting started - similar to what some other people have experienced on this forum.... is a lot of people start with puppies and dog that they love and have these dream castles about breeding... and the very first hurdle or pain they experience is finding out that breeding does require selection to start with... and then working for it after that.

All of the above to sum it up... is a reason why your very first step is going out in person and finding contacts and help within your local breed clubs.

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post #5 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all!!! You've been a huge help!!

Yes she has full registration and is registered with the AKC as well as her 'lines'. Sorry for the lack of information and correct terminology. We haven't joined any local golden retriever clubs though, and I know we have at least one kennel club we could join. We have been to obedience types classes over the past 2 1/2 years so I know we can start there! I know one breeder in town, and she is very nice, but I am afraid to reach out to her as she touts absolutely all natural, raw diet, no vaccines, medicines is bad, etc., and I am concerned she would scour at me (us). Which, if that's how you raise your dogs that's great, but don't look down on others for not doing the same. Honestly I have been afraid to reach out to local breeders for information as I feel they would either feel: a) threatened, or b) annoyed. There is some type of 'stigma' towards breeders (at least in my area), many here believe in shelter/adoption only. Rescue dogs are great! But there is something about that puppy bond

As far as the English golden - is there any specific health problems, or physical flaws I should be looking for? (Besides what was mentioned.)

Thanks again and I see I have much research/homework to do
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post #6 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 02:23 PM
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That's great. If you like, post your dog's parents here and we can show you a wealth of information about your girl.

For checking clearances, by way of example here is a link to one of my dog Ziva's clearances on the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals website:

Click HERE for Ziva's clerances.

There on the top, you can see Ziva's clearances.

The next section down shows her sire's and her dam's clearances. Note that her dam shows a clearance for icthyosis beyond the "core four" clearances.

Below that, the next section has the clearances of her full siblings. There is only one, because Ziva came from a litter of two puppies.

And below that, the largest section is for half-siblings born of the sire. (There could be another section for half-siblings born of Ziva's dam, but her dam didn't have any other litters).

You have to look at all those dogs and examine their clearances (or lack of) before deciding whether or not you should breed that bitch.

You have to also check out the clearances for any potential stud dogs. Now, Ziva happens to be pregnant as I write this. If you look at her "boyfriend's" OFA page, you will see many, many more dogs there.

Click here for Percy's clearances.

If you look at the "offspring" category, you'll see that one of his get has an entry of "mild" under hips. That means that one of the puppies he sired had mild hip dysplasia. You'll also see that there is one puppy of his that has an elbow clearance, but not a hip clearance. That usually means the puppy failed the missing clearance, as no one really tests for elbows without simultaneously testing hips. This kind of thing where an occasional dog is missing a clearance is very common, almost universal. But you have to look at it and judge what you believe the risk for dysplasia is in puppies you might produce. You need to check every dog listed in both dogs' OFA reports. And if you find a number of missing clearances, you have to figure out why that is, and what that means as far as the risk you are taking if you breed those two dogs.

I post this for you just as a little glimpse into what conscientious breeders deal with before making a breeding decision. I did this breeding. And I spent almost two years researching it before deciding on it. There's much more that goes into good breeding decisions than saying, "Oh, I have such a wonderful dog, I must share this joy with others!" and tossing her out into the back yard with some boy you like.

You can get a basic idea of things on a wonderful database for Golden Retrievers called k9data.com. Here is Ziva's page from K9data:

Pedigree: MBOSS GCH CH 24kt Esquire's Double Secret Agent

Click on it and you can see Ziva's 3-generation pedigree. At the bottom left of the page are buttons you can click that can show you siblings, offspring, a 5-generation pedigree, and pedigrees with clearance information and longevity, and also a button for genetic information for Ziva, including her Coefficient of Inbreeding and which dogs bring the most genetic influence into Ziva. And then you can click on any other dog in the pedigree, and see all that same information for that dog. And so on. This is an invaluable tool for breeders.

Is your girl on K9data? Are her parents? If not, and if you know her parents' names, I or many others here can create a page for your girl, and you can see what's behind her. I can track my Goldens on K9data all the way back to the late 1800s. It's really fascinating, and gives so much important information for anyone who wants to breed.

I hope this helps give you a tiny glimpse into the world of breeding Goldens, which is much more complicated than it at first appears. Of course, anyone can throw two dogs into the back yard and make a litter. But it takes knowledge and effort to make a litter that has the best chance to be healthy, long lived, rugged, structurally sound and have the right temperaments.

Last edited by DanaRuns; 12-20-2016 at 02:37 PM.
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post #7 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 02:30 PM
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Health clearances and genetic testing are the initial step prior to breeding a dog.

Then things get a whole lot more complicated. As a Breeder you need to have plan, goals and purpose for the decisions you make. Why do you want to breed a particular girl? What does she bring to the table? What males are good choices for her? What do each of them bring to the table? What about the downside or drawbacks? Every single dog has drawbacks (perfect dogs don't exist) to go along with the good traits they bring to the table, do you know what they are?

A new breeder needs to fully understand that they are not going to produce little carbon copies of their current dog. The offspring may share some similarities but they WILL be different from their parents. This why the breeder needs to have a solid set of goals and objective in mind that they are trying to work toward, or accomplish, with each breeding.

Long term goals, objectives and consequences matter far more than the goals a single individual litter.

"You own what you condone." ~ Mike Lardy
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post #8 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 02:40 PM
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Swampcollie is exactly right. I'm sure all this is invisible to you at the moment, but the more you learn, the more you realize you have to learn. Going down the rabbit hole! Lol! But it's a wonderful rabbit hole to go down. Very interesting, very rewarding, and sometimes very heartbreaking, but always worth it.
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post #9 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Megora View Post
Big problem with "english type" golden retrievers are many breeders may have weaker clearances behind their breeding stock. Some lines are more prone to elbow problems, for example (because in europe they allow for breeding dogs who have minor elbow dysplasia). So if I own a English bred golden, my first concern isn't just getting the clearances on my dog - but I'm also concerned about looking into the health clearance history behind my dog. Ideally, you want to see the last 3-5 generations of clearances behind a breeding dog.
I walked away after posting my huge thingy, but kept worrying a little bit about this paragraph, particularly in light of two or three issues...

Dogs over in europe will not have OFA's. So if you have a puppy whose mom or dad were purchased from an overseas breeder and/or if you actually have a puppy who was imported.... you are not going to have a visible history or anything show up in OFA.

Stuff over in Europe is or may be handled differently - but depending on what they used, it may be a bit more difficult tracking down the health history behind a dog. All the more so if the dog's background was a Russian puppy mill... there's really good breeders in Europe and Australia that I know of, but they don't necessarily ship their dogs to anyone and everyone.... that's going to be your biggest issues when dealing with european lines...

It's a bit more complicated than having lines that may be more prone to elbow dysplasia because you don't have 20 years or so of breeders selectively weeding out all dogs who fail elbow clearances with no exceptions for degree or grades.

A lot of people, as I said... handle this sometimes in a dishonest or defensive fashion. They are tired of looking "bad" to puppy buyers who question the lack of clearance history behind their dogs... particularly if their sales pitches are along the lines of telling puppy buyers that their dogs are healthier than American lines.

Does that mean you absolutely can't breed a dog with no clearance history behind her? No. Among else, I think certain areas run into issues where all the dogs are kinda related to each other and there is a strong desire by some breeders to get new blood in what they breed.

But this is a huge reason why studying pedigrees and knowing blood lines behind dogs is going to help you best.

Your dog may not have a known health history behind her. That's a fault that you have to deal with. And the way you fix that fault is breeding her to a dog that is known for producing rock solid get as far as hips and elbows. And it gets easier the next generation, because you at least know your girl got all her clearances. And the next generation gets easier after that.

And this area especially - you aren't going to be able to fix while staying home. You have to get out and leave your comfort zone. In the case that you are starting from square one possibly with a dog who has no known health history... and it gets tougher from there because you have breeders producing english line dogs who behave pretty badly as far as seeking full clearances on their breeding stock. Any dog bred in the US should have OFA's done. Even if they do other stuff as well, OFAs's need to be done. It would build a visible health history behind dogs who may be european lines, but who are the product of 2-5 generations of US bred dogs. There's no excuse for not having a visible pedigree on OFA for dogs whose parents and grandparents (at least) were all born and bred in the US.


Last edited by Megora; 12-20-2016 at 02:50 PM.
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post #10 of 57 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 02:47 PM
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You have received really excellent advice.

If you follow my Towhee's link in my signature you will see the clearances and choices for sires that I made with the approval of her Co-owner and master breeder. Clearances and DNA testing are a must.

That said, I have already contacted one stud owner to verify there is frozen semen available for my young (also Co-owned) girl who is not yet 7 months old. She will need all of her clearances plus a natural cover litter of pups before risking an frozen implant, so figure probably 3 years away... That is not an unusual amount of time to consider a pairing plus titles.

Strengthening weak points while trying to maintain the strong points - conformationally, working abilities and attitude are just a few of the factors. My little one is growing up to be gorgeous, highly motivated and should bring an amazing blend of characteristics, actually more than we had hoped for.

My point is there are a lot of factors to consider, and the planning can take a very long time. Even then things can happen to thwart your dreams. So, start with your girl's clearances (breed clinics can save you money), consider titling her in some sports, get at least a CCA (certificate of conformation assessment where she will be judged by 3 different judges as meeting the breed standard: held by golden retriever clubs) and look for a suitable mate. Also if you can find a mentor, that would certainly help.

Good luck

Also, please be aware that as rewarding as bringing a litter of goldens into the world can be, there can be heartbreak: the loss of your girl, the loss of a litter, a puppy or a youngster. These all hurt an incredible amount.


Sharon with her golden crew Faelan, Towhee, Brady and Aedan

Running on silent paws beside me now and forever King , Rowdy and Casey

You add obedience to the game,
not the game to obedience -- Shade Whitesel

Give up your goals,
Focus on the process -- Denise Fenzi

Last edited by Sunrise; 12-20-2016 at 03:09 PM.
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