Want a golden retriever but not the cancer - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Want a golden retriever but not the cancer

looking for a golden retriever in texas but the cost of the puppies today is sky high and the risk of cancer also sky high. So i am wondering if getting a lab and golden mix even reduces those odds given the gene mix, also will they stand a chance of looking like a golden versus a lab as they grow up? Any reputable breeders of this mix in texas that you recommend? Thanks.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 10:20 AM
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No reputable breeder will breed a mix.


Your best way forward is probably rescue. There are a lot of lab/golden dogs in rescue and you can probably find a rescued adolescent dog fairly easily. That way, you will know what the dog will look like as an adult. There's no way of predicting which breed the pups from a mixed breeding will resemble.



FWIW, having owned both a lab and a golden, I can tell you that labradors shed. Not just a bit. A lot. They shed short hairs that get literally everywhere. It's much worse than a golden. During heavy shedding periods, you could literally see the hair falling off my labrador when she walked around. We burned our way through several really good vacuum cleaners during her lifetime. I would imagine that this trait carries forward to the mix too. So be prepared.


And with a mix, you need to be careful of other problems in addition to cancer. Mixed breed dogs generally don't come from health-tested parents, and both the breeds you mention are prone to things such as eye disease, heart disease and joint disease (dysplasia) to name but a few.



Best of luck with your search! Hope you find what you're looking for.

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Ruby 13-01-2007 to 18-03-2015.
My dog of a lifetime. I'll miss you forever.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by ceegee View Post
No reputable breeder will breed a mix.

FWIW, having owned both a lab and a golden, I can tell you that labradors shed. Not just a bit. A lot. They shed short hairs that get literally everywhere. It's much worse than a golden. During heavy shedding periods, you could literally see the hair falling off my labrador when she walked around. We burned our way through several really good vacuum cleaners during her lifetime. I would imagine that this trait carries forward to the mix too. So be prepared.
This is so true!!! I would have never believed a lab could shed so much until my son got a yellow lab. Thankfully he moved into his own home a few years ago. They shed and the hair is much harder to clean up, it sticks to everything!! I still dog sit for him whenever he travels and it's like they never stop shedding. He is now getting a black lab. It will be 8 weeks old May 1st, and we are all joking that now he will have black and yellow hair EVERYWHERE!!

I tell people all the time that labs shed worse then golden's and I don't think they believe me.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by goldens2525 View Post
looking for a golden retriever in texas but the cost of the puppies today is sky high and the risk of cancer also sky high. So i am wondering if getting a lab and golden mix even reduces those odds given the gene mix, also will they stand a chance of looking like a golden versus a lab as they grow up? Any reputable breeders of this mix in texas that you recommend? Thanks.
If price is a big limitation for you, rescue or the pound would be a good option. Mix bred dogs have some upsides and some real risks. First, mix-bred dogs will be more likely to be genetically diverse so the chances of ending up with two affect copies of genes does go down. This is great for things like GR Ichthyosis which is a single gene and a simple recessive disease. However, diseases that are not recessive are not less risky for mix breed dogs because only one “bad” copy of the gene is needed. Start thinking about disorders where there are multiple genes involved and yeah, it gets hard to wrap the mind around. Most cancers we don’t have the genes identified for and most do not seem to be a simple recessive.

Another downside is that mix bred dogs are not going to come from high quality stock. No good breeder of Goldens will ever purposely allow their dogs to be used this way. So, mix breeders usually source their dogs from not so great places like pet shops and high volume breeders. These sources don’t generally health test, care about what dogs are paired or temperament.

Another big downside to mix bred dogs is generally no one is tracking things like cancer. You could be getting a puppy from parents who have cancer deaths on both sides of the family tree but there is not a K9Data for mix breeds. Also most mix-breeders don’t follow up with the people who buy from them.

There are great dogs in the pounds and rescues. If you can’t stomach the price or cancer risk of a well bred golden, they are a great option. I just don’t know that they will be that much lower a cancer risk. So much is unknow that you could get luck or you might not. All dogs have cancer risks, Goldens just have a higher risk. You have to decide if the things that make Goldens so great outweigh the very real cancer risk. Some people can, some people can’t.


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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you are correct. risk either way. but to think of paying 2 ork 3k, i want to ensure you are reducing the risk of cancer with those high price tags, and it seems like you arent, and possibly increasing the risk maybe - top performing dogs or show dogs are used over and over for breeding (maybe), while i am okay with a mix, it seems its hard to find a mix that actually looks like a golden (unless i am wrong)
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 11:59 AM
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you are correct. risk either way. but to think of paying 2 ork 3k, i want to ensure you are reducing the risk of cancer with those high price tags, and it seems like you arent, and possibly increasing the risk maybe - top performing dogs or show dogs are used over and over for breeding (maybe), while i am okay with a mix, it seems its hard to find a mix that actually looks like a golden (unless i am wrong)

There is a risk with anything you buy, adopt, or own. I know cancer in Golden's is heart breaking, but there are many other problems that come up in all animals that can cost you equally as much. A golden, lab, or a cross could simply eat something they aren't suppose to, trust me both are chewers, and you could end up with an enormous vet bill. My sons lab got bored and chewed the back of his couch off. It was a pretty expensive couch. I laugh and tell him a golden would have been to smart to do it. I think it comes down to you want a Golden or you don't.

If you take $2500 and divide it by the average life span of a Golden it way less then buying a cup of coffee everyday. However, if the monetary part of owning a Golden is worrisome you may not want a Golden or a Lab. In my experience they cost about the same. Labs have their issues too.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 12:12 PM
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It's kind of like saying you want the world's fastest car, but it needs to be reliable and get 40MPGs. Putting an engine from a Yugo might get you those 40MPGs, but it won't be reliable or go fast...but it will still look fast.

Going with a mix sets you up for health traits (good and bad) of both breeds - not necessarily a good thing. Your best option is really to find a reputable breeder that does all the core health testing (and even more) as well as previous generations, which can be found on their OFA listings. The more history you have, the better chance you have at getting a healthy dog.

My last Golden did end up with cancer at 12 years old, but she had lived a very full and healthy life up until then. Other than annual checkups and vaccines, she was in the vet's office very few times and never for any major issue. Good luck!


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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I totally agree. I guess because I owned a golden who died way too young from cancer and the vet who treated her cancer taught me alot about Goldens and cancer, I look at the risks differently now. Goldens are more prone to cancer then any other breed out there (recent years). I love goldens dearly and have owned both labs and goldens. The search for a golden today is such a different ballgame then years past - deposits on litters not even born yet, wait lists, questionnaires foe the buyers, just such a different experience.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by goldens2525 View Post
I totally agree. I guess because I owned a golden who died way too young from cancer and the vet who treated her cancer taught me alot about Goldens and cancer, I look at the risks differently now. Goldens are more prone to cancer then any other breed out there (recent years). I love goldens dearly and have owned both labs and goldens. The search for a golden today is such a different ballgame then years past - deposits on litters not even born yet, wait lists, questionnaires foe the buyers, just such a different experience.
I agree that the search these days is different. I've owned Golden's for a long time. I do think that as a community we have learned a lot over the years. There are tests available to breeders now that we didn't have back then. I think you have to do everything you can to find a reputable breeder and go from there. There are some great resources on here. Good luck in whatever you decide.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 01:10 PM
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There are ways to help stack the odds in your favor with regards to cancer. The big one is not to spay or neuter early (before 12 months) and keeping them intact permanently reduces the risk of cancer to almost none for the main ones that Golden's get (mass cell, lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma).

But like everyone has said, there is no full proof way to keep a dog from getting cancer and there are no cancer free lines. Now, the better the quality of the lines and breeders I'd say that will help as well. Again all you can do is help stack the odds in your (or the dogs) favor.

The notion about how Golden's in Europe don't get cancer like the ones in the US, that may be true to a degree. In the US, all the rescues and vets since the 80's have been hell bent on population control and spay/neuter at 6, 5 3 even 2 months of age. This leads to significant increases in cancer rates since they stop all the hormones the reproductive organs produce. These are believed to help keep the dogs stay healthy. In Europe, they don't really believe in spay or neuter much and the vast majority of dogs stay intact. They usually only spay/neuter for health reasons like if an intact female develops pyometra infection. To save the dog the treatment is usually emergency spay.

So I'm not sure I totally buy the notion that the European lines are any healthier then the ones here in the US, but that we may be causing it from so much spaying and neutering, not that they are really any healthier.

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