You're here with a story that sounds a bit familiar: I found this forum almost 8 years ago when I lost my dearly loved first Golden. He was from a 'conformation/field' cross and a medium gold. I was heartbroken. I decided I wanted my next Golden to look completely different so he wouldn't look like the one I'd just lost and be a constant reminder of my heartache.
Of course that meant I wanted a much lighter dog since I thought a darker 'field bred' dog would be too much for my life at that point. A cream colored Golden with a laid back temperament would be perfect for my home with very young children. I could not have been more mistaken. By choosing color as my first priority, I reduced my pool of breeders greatly. I was able to find a breeder a couple of states away who had a larger litter than expected and there were proper health clearances on both parents so I flew down to pick up a puppy. They were raised in the house by an experienced breeder but this was not a person who just bred a litter to keep one for the next generation to show or compete with. It was a situation where the puppies were being sold for money even though it wasn't a high volume situation.
I ended up with a puppy who had a temperament issue which made him an inappropriate dog for a home with children and young friends in and out visiting. I did everything right, socialized him, obedience training from the start that I continued the entire year and a half he lived with me. My 3 year old daughter could put him in a down stay while she fixed his dinner bowl, set the bowl on the floor next to him and he would wait until she released him to eat. But I couldn't trust him with children he didn't know, he was unpredictable and after a small fortune spent with a certified veterinary behaviorist from NC State University, I returned him to his breeder. It was probably the hardest thing I've ever gone through in my life short of the death of my first husband.
I can't promise you that you would never have a bad experience with a puppy from a reputable breeder, but I'm going to tell you that my gut instinct tells me that my dog's mother should never have been bred, she was only producing puppies because she was the right color to sell expensive puppies. It finally came out in conversation with the breeder that the mother was a bit insecure and lacked self confidence. She was friendly when I met her at puppy pick up time but it appears that she was probably the one who passed on the 'less than Golden' temperament genes. I found a thread on this site from another buyer who had a puppy the year before with temperament issues from this breeder.
This experience taught me that my first priority from now on will always be a breeder who competes in multiple venues with their dogs to make sure they get out of the house and have to function in the world. I want a breeder who cares so much about health and temperament because she's planning to keep one of the puppies from the litter for herself or the owner of the sire that she would never cut corners or sacrifice quality of health, care and upbringing for any reason.
There are so many different styles of bone structure, coat type (straight vs. wavy, long vs. short) eye shape and color etc. that I think you couldn't find a Golden who looked like the dog you lost unless you went back to his breeder and even then there would be no guarantee.
I hope you will reconsider making color your first priority. Go find a hobby breeder who is breeding Goldens for a different sport or pasttime than the lines your dog came from and you will find that you can get a Golden who looks nothing like your old boy without being cream. You're lucky that Prism has commented on your thread. She is very experienced and if you post your dog's pedigree or the name of his parents or kennel behind him, she can steer you toward breeders who would have very different looking Goldens and they would still be good , quality hobby breeders.
Here is a link to a thread and our member, LJack has some explanations you may find instructive about why it can be hard to find reputable breeders of cream colored dogs.: http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/...eeders-ny.html (Help with English Cream breeders in NY)