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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
For purposes of this post (mostly for us newbs who may not be familiar with all the terminology)...
  • "ethical breeder" means "a breeder who follows the GRCA Code of Ethics"
  • "hobby breeder" is a person who participates in dog events (show, field, etc.), and breeds to obtain dogs to support their hobby
  • "commercial breeder" is a person/entity who breeds dogs as a registered business
  • "backyard breeder" is a person who is neither a hobby breeder nor a commercial breeder
There's a lot more "other stuff" that typically is associated with these terms, but I'm choosing to ignore these.

First, let's agree that a hobby breeder who is following the GRCA CoE and doing all the "other things" (I don't know what "other things" are, but I have come to understand that the GRCA CoE is really the "minimum" that should be done) is the best source for a golden retriever puppy.

Second, let's also agree that hobby breeders do not come close to producing enough puppies to satisfy the market demand. In part, this is because of why hobby breeders breed litters (i.e., for their hobby). In part, this is because of the quality of the litters. Either way, the number of puppies produced do not come close to meeting the demand.

So, enter the commercial and backyard breeders.

I have to believe that the issues/concerns would be much less if, "if", these breeders also followed the GRCA CoE. But, we all know that many don't. I also have to believe that the issues/concerns would be much less if, "if", the general consumer community would expend the minimal effort required to find and read the GRCA CoE. Sadly, we also know that many don't.

So, what can be done to either (a) incentivize the commercial breeders to follow the GRCA CoE, or (b) do a better job of getting the word out about the GRCA CoE to the casual pet shopper who is buying a golden "because they're cute".

Inserted from a response to another post, which does a better job of framing the "different perspective" context...

"If the hobby breeders don't produce enough puppies to meet the demand, and if the majority of the market is not demanding that commercial and backyard breeders abide by the GRCA CoE, then it seem's kind of futile to huff-and-puff about 'ethical breeders'".
 

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I think any breeder can be an ethical breeder.. if they choose to put for the time, effort and money to do so.
 

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Here is a similar thread-


It's a "Sticky" in the Choosing a Breeder and Puppy Section, it's from 2012 but contains a lot of good info.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I think any breeder can be an ethical breeder.. if they choose to put for the time, effort and money to do so.
But, if their primary motivation for breeding is financial, why should they if the market they're selling into doesn't demand it?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here is a similar thread-


It's a "Sticky" in the Choosing a Breeder and Puppy Section, it's from 2012 but contains a lot of good info.
I've seen this sticky, and it is informative.

I imagine I did a poor job of asking...

"If the hobby breeders don't produce enough puppies to meet the demand, and if the majority of the market is not demanding that commercial and backyard breeders abide by the GRCA CoE, then it seem's kind of futile to huff-and-puff about 'ethical breeders'".
 

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I think part of the problem, when a person is looking for a pup, their expectations of getting one is within 1-6 months. I don't think a lot of people realize how much is involved in finding a breeder and once they find one, there's a wait list that could take up to a year or longer.
 

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I was disappointed to find the AKC Marketplace was pretty much all breeders who do not follow the COE. It was the first place I started as buyer with little knowledge about the process even though I had already raised 2 Golden Retrievers. First one was a puppy from a humane society but appeared to be purebred. Second was in 2000 from a breeder who did hips and either heart or eyes, I can't remember. Since I did know there should at least be hip certifications I stumbled across this forum and learned about ethical breeders and found one. It would be good if the AKC supported breeders following the breed clubs COEs and shunned those that didn't but I guess the policing of it would be too difficult. I think they have a checkbox for breeders on the Marketplace that says something about that but it's not obvious what it is, not verified by AKC, and some breeders lie about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I think part of the problem, when a person is looking for a pup, their expectations of getting one is within 1-6 months. I don't think a lot of people realize how much is involved in finding a breeder and once they find one, there's a wait list that could take up to a year or longer.
Ah, the proverbial "nail on the head".

We exist in a consumer-driven environment. What the consumer wants, they tend to want on their timetable. As a consumer, who has just finished doing "just that" (albeit I did my best to work within the GRCA CoE), how realistic is it for the hobby breeder community to expect want-it-now consumers to spend months finding them, and then even more time waiting for the hobby breeder's next litter?

I would have loved to have gone with a reputable hobby breeder. But, my local club doesn't maintain a list, and wouldn't if they could (and, I understand and somewhat agree with their rationale). My efforts to find reputable breeders on the Internet resulted in too-big-to-digest list of breeders, making it extremely difficult to sort through the chaff. Now that I know how to research OFAs, I'm better equipped to do so. But, that's after the fact.

Which, when all-is-said-and-done, is really just a lot of blah-blah-blah. I was driven by a time constraint, so I ended up looking for a breeder with puppies-in-hand. I got lucky. The commercial breeder I went with pays enough attention to the CoE that I was able to verify health. Maybe not to hobby-breeder standards, but enough for mine. And, I got some good advice from some on this forum. How many others aren't this fortunate, or are just too willing to accept "whatever's available"?
 

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Ethical breeders is something we want all breeders to aspire to, but the general public often does not care. Yes they want a healthy dog, but all of this OFA stuff, health, etc, the general public never finds out about and more often than not they don't care about. One of the most common things you hear about is "I don't want a show puppy".

Now what does this mean? You don't want an expensive puppy? Every breeder is breeding pets. In Goldens especially. Every puppy is a pet puppy. Show puppies can also be pet puppies. 50 years ago, the general public used to attend dog shows, they used to be the thing to go to on Saturdays. Just like horse shows. Plan a whole day to spend watching the dog shows. I was listening to a podcast today about somebody who bought a Manchester Terrier back in the 50's for fifty bucks from the newspaper and went on to show it to win several BIS.

The incentive for the general public will be more well bred purebreds bringing their dogs out and shows becoming more friendly and open to the public. The AKC holds match shows, which are supposed to be fun shows that encourage the public to attend and meet the breeds and have fun, but attendance is low. Hardcore show people don't want to attend because as far as I recall their are no points. But to introduce our public to wellbred purebreds, we HAVE to make the world of purebred dogs more accessible. We have to say "look, if you had a health tested purebred dog, your kid could do agility, conformation, rally, etc". And say they "just want a pet", well there is nothing wrong with that, but the stigma of show dog vs pet dog has to be removed. Being a dog bred from show stock does not exclude the dog from being a pet.
 

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My neighbors many years ago got referrals from the Tarheel GR Club. One of the breeders referred them to another breeder which happened to be a hobby breeder.

There's a thread I have been looking for that was posted a couple of years ago discussing about referring other breeders when then the demand was greater than what the top tier breeders have available. I haven't been able to locate it yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think of myself as a "preservation breeder." So there's another for your list. :)
Okay. I was under the impression that "hobby breeder" and "preservation breeder" were somewhat synonymous. :unsure: I stand ready to be corrected! :D

Ummm..."preservation breeder" seems to be taking the notion "and other stuff" to a whole new level! Assuming you're doing all of this (and, from what I know about you, I have zero reason to believe you're not), you need to charge more for your goldens.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Some seem to really care about the breed
Agree. I believe the commercial breeder we got Kona from falls into that category. The problem is that "some" is not "all", and that means less-than-desirable genetics continue to propagate.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
But to introduce our public to wellbred purebreds, we HAVE to make the world of purebred dogs more accessible. We have to say "look, if you had a health tested purebred dog, your kid could do agility, conformation, rally, etc". And say they "just want a pet", well there is nothing wrong with that, but the stigma of show dog vs pet dog has to be removed. Being a dog bred from show stock does not exclude the dog from being a pet.
When I was "in the market", @DanaRuns was extremely helpful. He also said something that really resonated...

If a buyer wants "just a pet", then a health-tested, well-bred dog is even more important. Why? Because they're specifically, and exclusively, buying a companion. Having to deal with health issues, or a shortened lifespan, is not something a "just a pet" buyer is going to handle as well.

I can also add that many of us "just a pet" buyers are only going to buy one dog. Emotionally, we don't have the same perspective that those who have multiple pets do.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
My neighbors many years ago got referrals from the Tarheel GR Club. One of the breeders referred them to another breeder which happened to be a hobby breeder.

There's a thread I have been looking for that was posted a couple of years ago discussing about referring other breeders when then the demand was greater than what the top tier breeders have available. I haven't been able to locate it yet.
But, my local GR Club won't recommend any breeders, much less "top tier". So, the only way to get connected is to start attending the GR Club's events...without a dog?

As an "oh, by the way", I think I'm going to engage my local GR Club about the possible need for an event specifically geared towards introducing the community-at-large to the breeders in their club.
 

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When I was "in the market", @DanaRuns was extremely helpful. He also said something that really resonated...

If a buyer wants "just a pet", then a health-tested, well-bred dog is even more important. Why? Because they're specifically, and exclusively, buying a companion. Having to deal with health issues, or a shortened lifespan, is not something a "just a pet" buyer is going to handle as well.

I can also add that many of us "just a pet" buyers are only going to buy one dog. Emotionally, we don't have the same perspective that those who have multiple pets do.
I agree, but the problem is that the general public doesn't understand the health testing, especially when the breeders they do contact convince them that their dogs are healthy and that they come with a health cert and a 12 month health guarantee. All of this to the normal person sounds WONDERFUL. And in many breeds, they don't ever experience the health issues, but they experience the temperament issues.

I was talking to someone the other day asking why her breeder was considered unethical. She loved her dog, as far as she could tell the dog was healthy, it was friendly, and an all around great pet. But this breeder charged more for certain colors and didn't health test. But as a total we had to explain that she was lucky to get such a great dog.

The biggest thing is trying to get the public more involved. Invite our friends to dog shows, encourage them to do something with their dog. Even if it is their mutt, they can still do some AKC events and get them into the world of dogs. In these circles, they can meet responsible, ethical breeders. Not relying on the internet, but meeting true hobbyists that want to better the breed.
 

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But, if their primary motivation for breeding is financial, why should they if the market they're selling into doesn't demand it?
There are always going to be greedy people that just want to produce puppies. And there are always going to be people that want instant gratification to buy them. Most people that have had to replace a hip or lost a pup from SAS learn the hard way that there is a better way, it's a tough & expensive learning lesson.

I'm sort of a research sort of person. If I'm going to spend this kind of money on anything I want to know what I'm spending my money on. People check out the specs on their car purchases, TV or telephone. They turn to the internet to get review from places like Edmond or Blue Book, I usually look at the "not so happy" comments.

No one would overpay for a car because the salesman was nice and totally don't understand why people see this as a qualification for buying anything. Not comparing breeders to car salesmen but NICE has nothing to do with the quality of the product! Quality breeders can be nice too! Greeders are trying to sell you a product, do you really think they want to tell you their pups are sick? Or parents have bad hips? Or a heart murmur? They want your money, get real.

If I purchase a golden retriever (or any pure bred dog) I want it to look like a the dogs in the pictures... a golden retriever according to the AKC standard. I want to know this pup isn't going to be 100 lbs & 30" tall, I want to know it has a balanced temperament so it doesn't want to eat my grand kids or cats. And to get the quality I want, I learn about what I'm buying. But you can't ask questions if you don't now what to ask. All you can do is provide information on the GRf to help people learn.

ADD: Remember that an ethical breeder isn't trying to sell you anything. They have a hundred inquiries for every puppy they sell. They are looking for the best home for their puppies. Very different scenario than someone just producing and selling to meet a demand.
 

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Well, pet peeve, totally useless search engine for finding anything- there WAS an excellent thread DanaRuns started on the tiers of breeders.
Educating the public is the very most crucial piece to make selling puppies from less-than backgrounds more difficult for less-than breeders. Also the instant gratification thing plays into it, honestly, people seem to think we keep puppies on a shelf in suspended animation to bring to life at will. Wait a year? That's the unusual person and that buyer knows what they want and will wait.
Niceness- I'd like to imagine all people can be nice... but it's not a qualification for a breeder. And niceness does (if this forum is an indicator) play into it. ..
'she is so nice it is hard to believe she doesn't do everything you're saying she should', etc.
BTW I have used your triangle diagram, SoCalEngr, as an explanation of how something has to give when we add in time constraints or press any one of the sides.
 
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