Golden Retriever Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 64 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
975 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A bit of housekeeping...
  • First, I know that this could be a contentious topic between hobby/preservation breeders and non-hobbyists "just looking for a family companion". So, I'd ask everyone to "just chill".
  • Second, it's possible that this could/should be in the "puppy" section of the forum. However, I see this much more as a general discussion on attitudes and biases (using "bias" in a non-judgmental manner).
With that said...
  • If you are a hobby/preservation breeder reviewing applicants for a litter, do you consider intentions of the applicant as a screening/ranking factor?
  • If you are a hobbyist looking for a new puppy, what is your reaction to getting a puppy other-than-the-top-2-or-3?
  • If you are a "golden enthusiast" (my euphemism for someone who loves the breed, but lacks the commitment to be a hobbyist), how do you feel about getting puppies other-than-the-top-2-or-3? Or, perhaps, being skipped over altogether because of a lack of intent with-respect-to showing/competing in breed events?
As a self-identified "golden enthusiast" (vice "hobbyist"), I am fairly open about my intentions (i.e., family pet, will be well cared for, no intentions to breed, no intentions to show, no intentions to participate in field/other competitions). Given that, I can well understand that a hobby/preservation breeder may not want to place any of their litter in my household, much less those that are believed to have strong potential.

No problem. But, I cannot help but think "not every dog is going to be 'competition material', irrespective of the specific competition". Especially given the scarcity of well-bred litters, how does all this factor into who gets onto a breeder's "short list"? Frankly, given my (admittedly sparse) exposure to the hobbyist community, it would not surprise me if the first 2-to-3 puppies of any litter are already spoken for (i.e., promised to the owner of the dam, sire, and/or one-or-more persons with a personal relationship with the owners of the dam/sire). And, again, I have no issues with this arrangement (assuming it occurs). It's disappointing, at a personal level, as it makes obtaining a well-bred golden more difficult for folks like me. But, perfectly understandable when viewed from the hobbyists' perspective.

On a, hopefully, constructive note, where should enthusiasts-like-me focus our efforts on finding a well-bred golden. Of course, this assumes that "enthusiasts" are a bit disadvantaged with-respect-to placement on a hobby/preservation breeder's short list (and, I'd be quite happy to find out this is not the case), but I prefer to know what I'm dealing with. Frankly, had I known more about what I was potentially facing before starting our search, I may have looked into a different breed.
 

·
Registered
Brady Aedan Finch and Wren
Joined
·
13,418 Posts
I work with, and co-own girls with a very highly respected performance breeder.

That said, it is always carefully explained that there really is no 1st pick for everyone. All potential homes generally have a different idea of what a perfect pup is... now if you are looking for a conformation pick that 'might' be known around 7 (or is it 6?) weeks but other things? not so much. A good puppy tester can shed light on the pup's intrinsic tendencies but nurture also comes into play.

For instance I train & compete with my dogs in a few different sports. I have also had goldens since the 1980s. When I go for the 'wild one' many others may want that puppy because, face it, that shows very well and can be exciting to watch. But that same dog may well be a return for being too much dog in just a few weeks (or months).

A family companion that will go on extended hikes and camping adventures is not the same puppy as the pup who will go on to be a loved companion that is usually exercised on a leash or the companion that will join his/her owner in pet therapy, or the dog that will command the obedience or rally ring, or love dock diving etc

So I would say that generally, no one should be upset -- no puppy is second or third rate and each pup has potential.
 

·
Kate
Joined
·
22,107 Posts
Sharing the below pic as a simplest response.

My Jovi was 1 of 7 pups.

Of those pups, the breeders selected best male and best female. There were technically 2 males who were very very very close and it was up to me as stud owner to pick from the two. I picked Jovi - and I cannot offhand remember my reasons for picking him vs his brother. They were very close. Should add, there was a third boy who was also very close - but slightly smaller, so he was put back with the rest of the litter while breeders and I puzzled over the remaining 2 boys.

I made my pick and the other boy went to a pet home. I've seen glimpses of him in his new home and he's a beloved pet, companion, running buddy, etc.

Knock on wood - so far so good about my pick. He has turned out very nice. Both breeder and I are very happy with him.

His brother who I was looking closely at who ended up in a pet home - looks very similar to Jovi. His owners clearly love him.

If you are asking if pet homes are getting the short end of the stick because by the time they are allowed to select a puppy (if they even are), the best 1-3 pups in the litter have already been selected by the breeder, stud owner, and or interested person seeking a show dog who meets the breeder's qualifications.... my answer is, not really.

Many litters that I've seen through friends who are breeders - there is not a single bad pup in the litter. The differences which make a pup a show pick or not - may not even be that apparent at 8 weeks old. A friend of mine got a possible show pup, but the breeder told her to wait until pup is about 6 months old to see how she has turned out - before deciding on showing or not. If my friend's pup is not show quality for one reason or other, she still has a wonderful pet who she and her husband love very much.

882616


Adding a little extra for funness. :)

Their dad was originally offered to somebody looking for a show pup. From what I remember she originally looked at the breeder's first pick and my boy. She thought that the breeder's pick boy was too big and my boy was too small - and she wanted one that was somewhere in the middle. I'm glad she was that picky - because a week later it meant I got to bring him home.

I know this story, btw, because I met this person at a show and she was astounded at how nice he turned out. :)

My boy was not intended to be a show dog - but he turned out very nice and got my foot in the door. More importantly - he's my favorite boy and knows it. He's also given me two very special boys who in many ways are chips off the old block.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,002 Posts
To me, a show home is a rarity- I don't seek them out, and unless that home is someone I know to be super ethical, I would always prefer my puppies be beloved companions.. which is why so few of my dogs are ODs because I have to Q them myself having not put any offspring in high level performance or show homes. And when someone IS interested in possibly doing something competitive w their pet, they fizzle out if not already involved- you have to have thick skin!
that said, when selecting a keeper or a pup for a show home, I know one thing- my pick may not be the other person's pick. We all have our own biases, and desires. I look at temperament the entire I'm raising a litter, and formally have them tested at 7 weeks, but it is a rare note that the tester brings to me that I wasn't aware of already. I usually keep back two of my planned keeper gender and hang onto those two til they are 16-20 weeks, when I make my final cut or keep both.
I DO change registrations, from limited to full, when someone catches the 'bug' doing performance, and wants to do conformation, as long as I am not worried about trusting them- like, for instance, if Diane told me she wanted to start showing Logan, I would have zero issue changing it for her. She has done lots with him, for a pet person, and she's trustworthy. But someone who hasn't gotten involved in the first year or so of a pup's life, they are going to stay pets forever and that's a great job for all puppies imo. So intent ? I always consider what someone says they intend to do- else couldn't put right pup with them... but I never expect they will excel at that intended activity unless they already are competing. Preference? No probably not- that'd set me up for disappointment when they fizzle out.. and I truly do believe a pet is the best job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
289 Posts
As someone who is primarily interested in performance, I don't really worry about first or last pick. There is no way to judge a performance prospect at 8 weeks. You cannot tell whether they will have good eyesight, a good memory, biddability, intelligence, etc. My current golden boy was a "leftover". I waffled so long on whether I wanted a pup, all the pups got claimed. Then someone backed out, the breeder asked if I was still interested, and I said yes. He has turned out to be the best dog I've ever owned.

Pinyon recently sired a litter and the stud fee is first pick boy. We will do an ichthyosis test prior to identify carriers and clears, but honestly, I'll probably just pick whatever puppy appeals to me most on the day I pick. I don't put much store in puppy testing. It's a lot of luck. The performance world has plenty of "last pick" stories of dogs that went on to be spectacular.

I am attracted to this little guy because of his cute little white forehead "kiss".
882623
 

·
Esquire Golden Retrievers
Joined
·
4,756 Posts
We don't have "picks," we match puppies to people.

That said, when we have a boatload of applicants, show and performance homes automatically jump to the top of the list.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
224 Posts
Why do you feel that a well bred golden is less accessible to you? I ask because I definitely fall into the "golden enthuiast" category as you defined it. My goals/intent are similar to yours. After losing my almost 10 yr old Charley in mid February, I had no trouble finding a reputable breeder in my home state to arrange to buy my next puppy from. It required a month of research on both my wife's and my part. She had a litter of 12 at Easter and unfortunately lost 2 in the early going. I feel confident the remaining 10 are all healthy, well bred pups. It doesn't matter to me which pup I get as long as it's a healthy, happy puppy with a temperament that allows it to fit in with our lifestyle and it gets along with my 7 yr old female.

Prism just had a litter of 14, all of which I would assume are well bred....they all came from the same parents. She has stated that she doesn't place a preference on show or competition homes. I wouldn't think that you or I are at a disadvantage because we are just pet owners if breeders feel that becoming a beloved family pet and companion is a dog's highest calling
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,754 Posts
There's significantly more "pet" puppy owners than owners who want to show/trial, I'd be willing to bet that a majority of puppies in a litter (that could turn out to be excellent show dogs or excellent performance dogs) actually end up in a "pet" home.

Considering that, I do think that breeders would give preference to someone who would be willing to show or compete. It makes a breeder's program look better and earning those titles genuinely enriches a puppy's life (the training behind it, anyway). My willingness to title a dog is what got me Eden last year despite the breeder's long waitlist. I had intended to just go and play with some puppies, but got offered a puppy on the spot because I wanted a dog to do competitive agility with. I turned her down cause it was a boy and I wanted a girl, but 2 weeks later, she asked me if I'd be willing to co-own the second pick girl with her. Part of that decision, I think, was that she trusted me. She had known me for a couple years already, she had some dog friends in common with me, so she'd knew I'd be a trustworthy person to co-own a full-registration dog with (i.e., I wouldn't go and breed a bitch or do sketchy things).

Again, I think a majority of puppies in a litter go to pet homes. Eden's litter was a litter of 7. Of the 7, two went to homes on co-own (and of the 2, Eden's the only one doing any actual performance type stuff. the other puppy went to one of the breeders's neighbor) and the other 5 went to pet homes. Kaizer was also a litter of 7. The breeder kept 1 and the other 6 are all in pet homes - no one except Kaizer from that litter has any titles whatsoever. I think I maybe got lucky with Eden's litter, everything just happened to come together just right. If I were a stranger or if I didn't have friends in common with Eden's breeder, I don't think she would've offered me a puppy (and I don't think I would've asked to play with the litter anyway).
 

·
Kate
Joined
·
22,107 Posts
If this is the case, how do the top handlers/trainers repeatedly getting very high-performing dogs? Are they getting them later?
They are picking based on pedigree + the trainers themselves are very good at what they do. Re performance. Conformation is different... many people I know will evaluate dogs multiple times before they ever enter their first show. They might not even enter a dog in a show until after 12 months and prelims have been done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
They are picking based on pedigree + the trainers themselves are very good at what they do.
Of course, but does that mean every puppy in a litter is capable of something like an NAC challengers round or finals (and whatever the equivalent is for obedience)? Probably not right? Surely you can tell some things like biddability, drive, whether the puppy has a focus on humans or environment, etc. by temperament testing a litter.

It might be the case that I've had the wrong interpretation, but from my conversations with Yvonne Piefer, it sounded like she could tell a lot of this by 8 weeks.
 

·
Kate
Joined
·
22,107 Posts
Of course, but does that mean every puppy in a litter is capable of something like an NAC challengers round or finals (and whatever the equivalent is for obedience)? Probably not right? Surely you can tell some things like biddability, drive, whether the puppy has a focus on humans or environment, etc. by temperament testing a litter.

It might be the case that I've had the wrong interpretation, but from my conversations with Yvonne Piefer, it sounded like she could tell a lot of this by 8 weeks.
Depends on the breeder.

I don't know about what Yvonne is breeding right now.

I do know other performance breeders only sell pups of certain litters to very experienced trainers. Meaning people who have gotten OTCH's and MACH's on prior dogs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Depends on the breeder.

I don't know about what Yvonne is breeding right now.

I do know other performance breeders only sell pups of certain litters to very experienced trainers. Meaning people who have gotten OTCH's and MACH's on prior dogs.
Oh I see, so for a really "hot" litter, it might actually be the case that every pup has OTCH/MACH potential. That makes sense. I wonder what all the temperament testing is for then, if so much doesn't show up in the pup until later?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
289 Posts
If this is the case, how do the top handlers/trainers repeatedly getting very high-performing dogs? Are they getting them later?
They usually pick a breeding with a lot of performance titles in the pedigree.
Suppose there is a litter of puppies with a pedigree packed with dogs with high-level performance titles. The breeder of this great litter does puppy testing. Suppose an excellent trainer picks a puppy from this litter, based partly on the puppy testing results. Most of the other pups go to pet homes or to "lesser" trainers.

Lo and behold, the puppy that went to the excellent trainer achieves some very high-level performance titles. Do you conclude that the puppy testing successfully picked the best puppy? Or do you conclude that, no matter which puppy went to the excellent trainer, it would most likely have become the most titled dog in the litter, no matter what the puppy testing results were?

Years ago, I ran across the story of Heelalong Chimney Sweep on the web. I can't find it now. (The page has probably disappeared into the ether.) So, this story is from my memory; I hope I don't get too many details wrong.

Sweep was bred by Kay and Dick Guetzloff. The Guetzloffs were long-time obedience competitors. They showed in obedience and bred border collies. When Sweep was born, both were working with other OB dogs. According to Dick's account, Sweep "failed" puppy testing. (Dogs don't get passing or failing puppy testing grades; I presume he meant the puppy testing indicated she would be a poor OB prospect.) Nonetheless, they wanted to keep her line going, so they kept Sweep, with the idea that eventually, they might breed her.

Time passed. Dick retired and his last OB dog had either died or retired. He needed a project. Kay suggested he train Sweep. Sweep was, by then, about 2.5 years old. Dick initially resisted; he did not want to work with her. She had shown no interest in him.. She spent most of her time playing with her "herding ball". But, he had no other dog to work with at the time, so he started training Sweep.

Sweep went on to become the dog with the most OTCH (Obedience Trial Championship) points at that time. She held the record for many years. Dick said she only needed to be shown how to do something once or twice and she had it.

The point is, the puppy testing for Sweep was absolutely wrong. The extremely experienced OB competitors who lived in the same house with her and bred her had no idea how much potential she had until one of them actually began training her.

Every time I look at a puppy and think I might see or not see a future performance prospect, I remind myself of the story of Heelalong Chimney Sweep.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,002 Posts
So Yvonne's current pup- she bought from a litter w a highly titled dam and a sire who came from the only bitch ever in history to produce 5 CH MH.. so the genes are there for success, and she herself is a very talented trainer, could probably make at least a UD out of a byb lazy dog if she were so inclined...
If this is the case, how do the top handlers/trainers repeatedly getting very high-performing dogs? Are they getting them later?
The trainer themselves makes an enormous difference, perhaps even influences outcome more than the dog themselves can. One such as her can pop to top of any list there is.. based on her history.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
If you are a "golden enthusiast" (my euphemism for someone who loves the breed, but lacks the commitment to be a hobbyist), how do you feel about getting puppies other-than-the-top-2-or-3? Or, perhaps, being skipped over altogether because of a lack of intent with-respect-to showing/competing in breed events?
We were set to wait for the #1 top puppy to become a therapy dog. It is an unfortunate coincidence that our opportunity came during the pandemic, which has set him off to a less than ideal start. If he had not come available we would still be waiting.

Of course what we mean by top 1, 2 or 3 is nuanced and we underestimated the physical and mental strength of a pup sired by show and field champions. We expected something a little less intense, but I'm sure we will get to our goals with perseverance.

The trainer themselves makes an enormous difference, perhaps even influences outcome more than the dog themselves can.
We are now shifting from local hobby training towards KC endorsed help because the energy and drive is much more than a regular training schedule would allow. Our puppy looks innocent, but down the dog park he will run down dogs twice his size.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
So Yvonne's current pup- she bought from a litter w a highly titled dam and a sire who came from the only bitch ever in history to produce 5 CH MH.. so the genes are there for success, and she herself is a very talented trainer, could probably make at least a UD out of a byb lazy dog if she were so inclined...

The trainer themselves makes an enormous difference, perhaps even influences outcome more than the dog themselves can. One such as her can pop to top of any list there is.. based on her history.
This is the Wynnwood pup? If so, that supports your point even more, I guess. If I remember correctly, she didn't even pick from that litter. Someone backed out last minute so she just took that girl.

Something she told me a while ago that I'll never forget- many other trainers will tell you some dogs aren't worth working, but what kind of trainer would I be if I gave up on my own dog? I definitely believe she can UD a BYB dog haha.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
We were set to wait for the #1 top puppy to become a therapy dog. It is an unfortunate coincidence that our opportunity came during the pandemic, which has set him off to a less than ideal start. If he had not come available we would still be waiting.

Of course what we mean by top 1, 2 or 3 is nuanced and we underestimated the physical and mental strength of a pup sired by show and field champions. We expected something a little less intense, but I'm sure we will get to our goals with perseverance.


We are now shifting from local hobby training towards KC endorsed help because the energy and drive is much more than a regular training schedule would allow. Our puppy looks innocent, but down the dog park he will run down dogs twice his size.
Honestly, I think nuanced isn't strong enough a word in this case haha. Your top 1 pick for a therapy dog would probably be the exact opposite of a top 1 pick for field haha. I have a dog right now that was raised to be a therapy dog. We placed a massive focus on socialization, spending tons of time in other people's homes, giving free reign to greet strangers, etc. She's completely from show lines, and her parents are the sweetest, calmest dogs I've ever met. From around half a year old, vets and trainers jokingly asked me if I drugged my puppy to make her so extraordinarily calm haha. But my upcoming pup will be the exact opposite, so yeah, people can have such different ideas of what they want that even the pup leftover is someone's 1st choice!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
976 Posts
If you are a hobby/preservation breeder reviewing applicants for a litter, do you consider intentions of the applicant as a screening/ranking factor?
Like any good engineer, I am going to say "it depends". It depends on the individual dogs being bred and the lifestyle/intentions of the applicant. For me personally, proven performance homes are going to get a leg up because Eevee is a lot of dog. And by "a lot of dog" I mean that she is physically a bigger girl - top of the ideal height range for bitches - and that she has a lot of energy and a lot of drive. Her puppies will probably not be easy puppies considering that she was hell on wheels as a puppy. I have specific performance related goals in mind for her puppies in addition to conformational goals. So someone looking for a calm, easy going future therapy puppy probably isn't getting a puppy out of her. However, if your lifestyle is conducive to an active dog and you really and truly understand what it takes to deal with a very busy, mouthy puppy then you do not have to be a performance home to get a puppy from me. Really it comes down to this: Can you handle a high drive sporting dog?

If you are a hobbyist looking for a new puppy, what is your reaction to getting a puppy other-than-the-top-2-or-3?
If I am looking for another show puppy or to start a second bitch line for my program, sorry not sorry, but I'm not taking 4th pick. I'll find someone else or wait for a different litter. Unless this is the most consistent litter of all time and you are a super duper special breeder and your 4th pick is my number one. I don't want the prettiest puppy in the litter if it's dumb as a box of rocks, but then again I probably wouldn't be getting a puppy from parents producing boxes of rocks anyway. So again, I guess it just really depends. I am not looking to start a second bitch line anyway, so maybe my attitude would be different if I was.

No problem. But, I cannot help but think "not every dog is going to be 'competition material', irrespective of the specific competition". Especially given the scarcity of well-bred litters, how does all this factor into who gets onto a breeder's "short list"? Frankly, given my (admittedly sparse) exposure to the hobbyist community, it would not surprise me if the first 2-to-3 puppies of any litter are already spoken for (i.e., promised to the owner of the dam, sire, and/or one-or-more persons with a personal relationship with the owners of the dam/sire). And, again, I have no issues with this arrangement (assuming it occurs). It's disappointing, at a personal level, as it makes obtaining a well-bred golden more difficult for folks like me. But, perfectly understandable when viewed from the hobbyists' perspective.

On a, hopefully, constructive note, where should enthusiasts-like-me focus our efforts on finding a well-bred golden. Of course, this assumes that "enthusiasts" are a bit disadvantaged with-respect-to placement on a hobby/preservation breeder's short list (and, I'd be quite happy to find out this is not the case), but I prefer to know what I'm dealing with. Frankly, had I known more about what I was potentially facing before starting our search, I may have looked into a different breed.
Pretending things are normal (pre-COVID normal), let's say that out of a litter of 8, 2 puppies are show picks (one breeder keeper and one co-owner or stud owner keeper), 2 go to performance homes and the other 4 go to pet homes. That's 50% of the litter going to someone like you and living a wonderful life as a cherished pet. And those 4 puppies aren't the leftovers. Sure, they may not be the show picks, but that does not make them lesser in any other way. And really, assuming that 2 are going to performance homes out of a show litter is pretty generous. I would hazard a guess that performance homes are very much the minority in the grand scheme of things, but that really depends on the breeder I guess.

On the competition thing: not every puppy is a going to be a show pick, but it really depends on the breeding and the breeder's goals as to the performance potential of the litter. That being said, most well-bred Golden litters could probably be titled in lower level Rally at the least just because they are Goldens. There are many show/hobby breeders - probably even the majority - that strive for bombproof, confident puppies that are easy to live with or will be easy to live with as adults.

I haven't even bred a litter yet, but I can tell you right now that good pet homes are invaluable to a breeder. You don't have to be a hobbyist to understand what dogs need and to take really good care of your cherished pet. I have always heard breeders say that sometimes they would much rather a show pick go to a pet home where they will live their best life than go to a show home where they may not get the individual attention they deserve.
 
1 - 20 of 64 Posts
Top