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A couple months ago I was calling up golden breeders that I found online/through friends. I ended up going with a gentleman named Al Bain in Campbellford, ON. He seemed to know his stuff, provided an 8 year guarantee for hips, heart, eyes and elbows, and claimed to have some 40some years of experience in GR breeding. He also claimed to train guide dogs for St. John's Ambulance and boasts that his dogs are from the states and have no hereditary problems.

I visited them last week and both parents were well tempered and friendly, and he handled the puppies with care and overall it seemed like a good match. Of course, this was before I discovered this wealth of information online and I went ahead and placed a deposit with him. I looked him up online and found a few posts from members of this forum claiming they had good experiences with him as well.

Now that I'm reading all the checklists and such on this forum, I'm feeling a bit nervous because I noticed some red flags. He has no website and isn't registered with the CKC. He also only charges $430 a pup, and at the time of my visit, he hadn't offered any references or proof to any of his claims, but maybe that was because I didn't ask.

Another thing is that he said the puppies should be available for pickup in the first week of February, but when I asked if I could pick up on Friday, he told me to call Thursday to ask again because he said that his vet goes to him, and he won't know until the vet gives the OK. I found this kinda sketchy because I feel like breeders should know when their vet is going to drop by and when their puppies can be rehomed.

Anyhow, this is the most recent information I can find on him:
Als Goldens | Facebook
It hasn't been updated in a while.

Anyway, I was just hoping someone maybe had some experience with Al and could give me some peace of mind, or any thoughts. It's already too late to back out because I've already placed a deposit, but maybe if someone could help me think of what to ask him when I visit him again or over the phone?

Thanks and sorry for the wall of text :p
 

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Kate
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Okay...

Are the parents registered and have their clearances? Or do you know anything about the parents? Where they came from? What exactly does this guarantee mean? You get $450 back if your dog needs a $2000+ surgery...?

The facebook page is unhelpful because it's just pics of puppies. o_O
 

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I shoot, they fetch.
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Right off the bat, to claim you have no hereditary problems with you dogs ever is preposterous. If you've been in a breed for any length of time you hit some issues!
I think he has been discussed before and there was some hinky stuff. For one, if the dogs are from the states they need to be registered here, and the pups need to be CKC registered to be able tocall them purebred Goldens. If it is not registered or eligible for registration with the CKC it is against the law to call a dog purebred under the animal pedigree act. Coming from the States has nothing to do with that. My Breeze was US born and is registered here--the only reason you cannot register an AKC dog with the CKC would be if it is on limited reg in which case the dog's breeder never intended for them to have been bred!! Also you do not have to be a CKC member to register a litter--it just costs non-members more.

At $430 a pup there is NO WAY they are doing all of the screening required on the parents. It is expensive to get clearances on hips, elbows, heart, eyes, and to get the genetic tests also now available for the two forms of PRA, and so on. I have never seen him compete with a dog in anythin, conformation, obedience, or field, so he is getting no outside objective feedback on the quality of his animals.

If he is not willing to give back your deposit I would frankly eat it and keep looking. There are many reputable breeders in this province. If the prices we are charging seem off-putting I would suggest waiting a bit and saving for a well-bred pup rather than chancing a "bargain" who could well be a genetic crap shoot.

Heather MacDonald, Arcane, has a litter right now, and I think she may still have a couple of girls available. She is in Eastern Ontario and has lovely dogs, and does all of the testing, and competes with her dogs to get objective feedback about their quality. Available puppies or planned litters

Especially our beloved pets deserve to be well-bred and have the best shot at a long and healthy life.
 

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Its worth loosing your deposit, to avoid the risk this breeding most likely has. A good breeder shows you all of the clearances, before you even see their puppies. They also make you do some form of interview or puppy application (or both) before they take a deposit. They also compete with their dogs in multiple venues. Again I guarantee this man isn't the most generous person in the world and breeding finished champions with all their clearances, and asking $430 for them....because even breeders who ask $1500 and do all of that, loose money. Please contact him, and ask for the registered names of the parents, if they aren't registered, I'm pretty sure through Canadian law that if he misled you to believe they were purebred, but are in fact not registered, you should get your deposit back.
 

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Wyatt Earp
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You said he didn't offer any references. Why don't you ask for them. I wouldn't jump the gun without even talking to other puppy owners......
If he has been in the business as many years as he says he has been he should have many that you could meet and discuss with.
 

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Kristy
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I honestly don't put much stock in references. As we've seen over and over again on this board, most people will recommend their breeder because "my dog is wonderful and loving", not because the breeder is following the Golden Retriever club code of ethics and doing everything by the book.

Ask for the copies of all the clearances on the sire and dam and whether the clearances are recorded with OFA. You would ideally want to see that the grandparents and greatgp have clearances as well. If he can provide all this, terrific. Have further discussion. If not, ask for the deposit back. If he won't give it back, consider it a lesson that was probably cheaply learned in the long run and find a better breeder. If you're choosing a beloved family member for the next 15 years, you owe it to yourself and to the dog.
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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personal references are valuable, but IMHO come after fact gathering.
 

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Banned
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Have these friends had experience with him?
I put no weight really in the experience pet owners have with breeders.; What really matters is if he is following the Golden Retriever Club of America's Code of ethics. If he was, I think the first thing he would have done is show clearances, because that's what people do who get clearances on their dogs.
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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I am confused. I saw in another thread you posted about you puppy having an issue with getting into your cat's food. Did you get a pup from this breeder or are you in the process of getting another pup?
 

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personal references are valuable, but IMHO come after fact gathering.
and lets be honest people only give you the names of folks who are going to give them a good reference. Also look at all the folks that come here with poorly bred puppies that will argue to the death in favor of their irresponsible breeder because they are nice and they love their puppy.
 

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Abby's mom
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I bought a dog who was supposed to be purebred from Al Bain you can follow threads about her Abby9wks on retrieverman and google all the pups in the litter had a white blaze and the father Molson had a big whte blaze. The reasoning is that they are field line goldens. If you look them up they do have white on them but as time goes by I believe we trusted the wrong people. The mom definately was pure golden but Molson could be part Toller, Farm collie or english Shepherd (just my guess). If he can't prove they are pure cut your losses. I must say I love my dog she is unique and beautiful and has a great temperment so does her sister Bella. Look up our dogs to help make your decision also Saturn is Molsons full brother and is definately a typical golden??????
 

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Hey all,

I'm looking into getting a puppy from Al Bain as well. I called him and spoke for a bit, he seemed to know what he was talking about. He was quite opinionated on the whole health check of the parents process, saying that even if you do health checks etc, puppies still might get hip dysplasia etc. Which is kind of weird to me, since even with my high school biology, I know puppies whose parents don't have those issues are less likely to have them too. So why not check right?

He says he gets the sires from the US, switching a state every few years. Makes sense, don't know if it's true though.

As far as I can tell, he's not CKC registered either. Don't know if that's a big deal or not, is it??

So people who got their pups from this breeder, what do you think? Any warnings or praise?

I'm going to visit the kennel soon to see for myself either way. Will update once I return!
 

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Thanks for the quick replies.

What are you denouncing him based on though? Just the clearance stuff? I'm curious what actual experience people have had with him. After googling, I find that a couple of people have made threads about this breeder, but no one ever comes to update once they have/haven't gotten the puppy (very frustrating).
 
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