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Good morning!

Our family is looking at bringing home our first puppy. My fiancé and I both had dogs growing up, but this would be our first as adults.

We carefully looked at different breeds to make sure we felt confident in being able to meet the needs of the puppy we’ll bring home, and Goldens seem like the perfect fit, especially for first timers! We live in an apartment building, but live close to a number of parks and dog-friendly areas, and live in a nice neighborhood to walk around in - we plan on a minimum of 2 walks a day with lots & lots of active play throughout the day too. We also have two four-year-old cats at home who we are hoping will bond with the new puppy, so it was important to us to look at breeds that are known to get along well with other animals. We’re looking for a family pet (companion animal I believe is another term used?), so no special interest in sports or hunting right now!

We’re hoping to hear breeder recommendations in our general area - we’re in Chicago, IL, and we’d be happy to travel 2-3 hours to pick up our puppy. (We don’t have a car in the city or we’d be willing to travel further!) I’ve read that a general price range could be $1,200 - $1,500 or higher; is it reasonable to hope we might be able to find a good, happy, healthy puppy from OFA-tested parents for somewhere in that range?

I was also wondering - how are new puppy owners socializing their new pups during quarantine?

One final question is to ask if anyone has any recommendations for Puppy Raising & Training books - we’ve reached out to our vet for recommendations, but we’re eager to learn as much as we can in the meantime and after too! There’s so much information out there, and we want to make sure we’re learning from trustworthy sources.

Thanks so much for your time and your help, and I hope everyday has a wonderful day and weekend!
 

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Welcome to the Forum!

The one thing I want to make sure you understand is that Golden's are not the easiest puppies to raise. They are mouthy and require a lot of daily exercise. Type in "Land Shark" on the search bar at the top. You will also have to invest a lot of time in training. Start training at 12 weeks and plan on following through for years. They mature slowly and stay in a puppy playful stage longer then some other breeds. That being said I have a new little guy coming home today which will bring me up 3 intact males currently. There is no other dog for me and I love every step of training and caring for them. They are a vital part of my family for everyone in the family.

The price range your looking in is unrealistic for a healthy, ethically bred puppy with the minimum 4 core clearances. I would expect to pay somewhere between $2000 - $3000. Price doesn't always indicate quality either. I'm on the East Coast so maybe prices are higher here but I honestly doubt it. Plan on finding a breeder and getting on a wait list.

I am not in the area but do have some friends in Monmouth with a Golden. I asked her to shoot me a few good names and this is what I got. Her dog is a few years old so I can't guarantee that these people are still breeding. It will give you something to research.

Eclipse Golden Retrievers
Argo Goldens
Sundance Goldens

She also mentioned some field breeders but I don't think that is what your looking for. I know nothing about these breeders personally. You can also reach out to the local GRCA Clubs in the area. Right now everyone is trying to buy a puppy and breeders are overwhelmed. Before you buy a Golden you want to make sure the sire/dam have OFA hips and elbows, an advanced cardiac clearance, and a current eye clearance. If you find a breeder with a litter you are interested in post the REGISTERED names of the parents on here and someone will be happy to help check the clearances for you.

This is just something to get you started. Hopefully others will chime in.
 

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Hi beanieand peach! Curious to see if you had any luck learning about other breeders in and around Chicago? Funnily, my wife and I recently decided to move forward with the breeder process and we too, live in Chicago! We're in a relatively similar spot too (no other pets though), but we've wanted a dog for many years and finally feel ready to go ahead at this time.
Did you have any luck finding any reputable breeders? Happy to exchange notes / learnings!
 

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Here is a list of MW Breeders, it includes breeders in IL-

 

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Hi beanieand peach! Curious to see if you had any luck learning about other breeders in and around Chicago? Funnily, my wife and I recently decided to move forward with the breeder process and we too, live in Chicago! We're in a relatively similar spot too (no other pets though), but we've wanted a dog for many years and finally feel ready to go ahead at this time.
Did you have any luck finding any reputable breeders? Happy to exchange notes / learnings!
You might have to expand your search. A lot of people are sitting at home due to the pandemic, breeders are being swamped with calls, and many of us could have wait lists will into 2022 if we kept taking names. Good luck.
 

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Hi beanieand peach! Curious to see if you had any luck learning about other breeders in and around Chicago? Funnily, my wife and I recently decided to move forward with the breeder process and we too, live in Chicago! We're in a relatively similar spot too (no other pets though), but we've wanted a dog for many years and finally feel ready to go ahead at this time.
Did you have any luck finding any reputable breeders? Happy to exchange notes / learnings!
Hello @sunny_day,
I tried sending you a direct message but the site keeps flagging it as spam. Anyway, we ended up getting our golden from MVP Goldens and we couldn't be happier. Sue is the breeder and is located in Wisconsin. When I was doing my search I created a google doc to track the breeders I had contacted and included notes on our conversation. I found this forum helpful and also recommend asking breeders you speak with (if they don't have a planned litter) if they know of another breeder with a planned litter. I looked at breeders in MO, WI, MI, IN and IL. You could also try the GRCA local chapter to see if they have any recommendations.

Feel free to send me a message if you have additional questions and I'll see if the site will allow me to respond directly.

Best of luck with the search.

Amanda
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Good morning DblTrblGolden2!

Thanks so much for the welcome, and I apologize for my delayed reply! I also wanted to say thank you for encouraging me to make a post and giving such an incredibly helpful, detailed response!! :)

I really appreciate you emphasizing some of the more challenging parts of puppyhoodWe’ve done more reading & careful examination of our lifestyle to make sure we’re prepared to meet a Golden’s puppy needs (instead of 2 daily walks, we’re planning on 3+ broken up throughout the day for a minimum of 1.5-2 hours walking daily for puppyhood, with additional hours of play inside & outside too of course) and are reading a lot for how to prepare for some of the mouthiness!

We’re really excited to begin training as well - we plan on attending 2 training classes a week as soon as she’s cleared to do so by our vet. We’ll start with both Puppy Playtime (which focuses on socialization) and AKC Star; when she’s a bit older we’ll enroll in the Junior Dog classes (which focuses on adolescence) and Agility too so long as it’s something she enjoys. We want to keep up with at least one class a week of some kind even after we’re well beyond mastering the basics (for her whole life if she enjoys them) - I say “we” because I’ve learned training has at least as much to do with me as it does the puppy!

Training will be especially important to us in this time of social distancing, since it’s really important to us that she grows up to be her happiest, healthiest, most confident self, and some of the puppy classes will provide an opportunity for socialization with other puppies & their people. We also have two great trainers recommendations from our vet (Sara Koeppel & Animal Behavior Training Concepts) that we’ve reached out to and are hoping to hear back soon. This is one of the areas we’re most concerned with, it’s just so important & foundational so we’re thinking a lot about it. If you don’t mind me asking, how are you planning on approaching socialization with your new pup? On that note, a huge congratulations to you and your family!! How did your other males respond to the new puppy? What an exciting time for all of you :)

I also wanted to say thank you for your reality check regarding pricing! Our range is smaller than we’d like, but we’re looking at $2-2.5k now (though that number will grow with time). We have a few different “puppy savings funds” going - one for the puppy herself, one for her expected vet bills + insurance and another for unexpected vet bills, one for supplies, one for training, and so on. It feels so dumb looking back, but initially we’d hoped to spend comparatively less on the puppy so we’d have more for the other puppy funds (we’re very into padding savings), but it’s more important to us to find a happy, healthy puppy from a responsible, ethical breeder than it is to have a large nest egg for just in case. We quickly realized too, the best way to reduce the chances of needing the “Unexpected Vet Bills” fund is to find a healthy puppy out the gate! Regarding price not always correlating with quality, I’ve been shocked at how profoundly true this seems to be - a friend knew we were looking for a puppy and sent us a listing for a puppy that was 3.5k, and the breeder seems to be just a half a step above a puppy mill :( On the other side, we’ve been happy to find that there seem to be many well-regarded responsible breeders who’s pups are in the range you mentioned! We’ve spoken with a few breeders recommended by this forum & local Golden Retriever Clubs and have happily joined a couple waitlists. :)

I can’t thank you enough for your kindness in reaching out to your friend, and passing along her recommendations! We’ve reached out to each of them, and are reading everything we can find about them & their pups! Thank you also mentioning to check to make sure the parents have OFA testing for hips, elbows, an advanced cardiac clearance, and a current eye clearance.

We were recommended this breeder, Anne of Gorenz Family Farm, who said she’d love to be able to be able to tell me when her next litter is expected, but it’s not likely to be this year, but that her daughter Catherine was expecting puppies soon. Both Anne & Catherine have been absolutely lovely to speak with, very open to questions & encouraging. The puppies have been born, and Catherine has said the sire and dam clearances with their hips, elbows, eyes and heart. I asked for the OFA numbers to look into things more, I’ll post the links below:

The sire of the litter is here:
https://www.ofa.org/advanced-search?f=sr&appnum=2044855

The mother of the litter is here:
https://www.ofa.org/advanced-search?f=sr&appnum=1961256

I’m not sure if I’m just not looking in the right place, but I’m not seeing eye results for the sire, and eye or cardiac results for the dam. I’ve also read that ideally, one will find OFA records for 5 generations, but I’m not sure if that’s a “nice to have” or a “very important to have”. If it’s not too much trouble, do things look like they’re on the up & up on the OFA listings?

Thank you again for all of your help and your time. I’ve only been on this forum for a short time, but it’s been an invaluable resource so far, and I can’t thank you enough for your kindness :)
 

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Heya sunny_day,

Many apologies for delayed reply, the past 2 weeks had a lot of unexpected business to them! It’s so exciting that you and your wife are looking at bringing a Golden puppy into your lives soon too!!

In terms of finding breeders in the Chicago area, we’ve reached out to many of the breeders on the 2018 Midwest Breeder List that CAROLINA MOM was kind enough to link further up thread (in that note, thank you so much for sharing that wonderful resource Carolina Mom!) and a number of breeders from the Midwest Golden Retriever Club’s recommendations (here is the link: Midwest Golden Retriever Breeder Resource). We’ve also emailed the Land of Lincoln GRC and Golden Retriever Club of Illinois (both are linked here: Local Golden Retriever Clubs - Golden Retriever Club of America), and are hoping to hear back soon. Everyone we’ve heard back from so far has said their next litter will be 2021 or later and to keep up with the websites for updates, but if you’d like, I’d be happy to reach out if I hear from someone with more concrete information!

We did find a breeder who seems really lovely, Anne of Gorenz Family Farms in Maple Park, IL - she’s not sure when her next litter will be, but her daughter Catherine‘s Golden just had puppies. Both Anne & Catherine have been really kind & helpful, and the whole family seems very devoted to the health & happiness of their animals. I mentioned a little more about the puppies & their parents up thread too. If you’d like, I could ask if Catherine still has any puppies available and if so, if she’d be comfortable with me sharing her email with you?

There’s a ton of great vets in the city, but we see Dr. Joshi at Wagnolia Veterinary Clinic and we can’t recommend them enough. I believe the rates at Wagnolia are a bit higher than some other places, but they’re far and away the best veterinary clinic we’ve ever had a relationship with. One of our cats was really struggling for a while and they took amazing care of her, our other kitty who was worried about her sister, and us, the humans too! They’ve been really lovely throughout the process of looking for a Golden puppy too, providing recommendations and advice for a puppy who isn’t even a patient yet. I really couldn’t rave enough about them. :)

We’re still looking at different trainers - Sara Koeppel & Animal Behavior Training Concepts came highly recommended. For puppy classes we really like the look of Urban Pooche’s offerings so far, but we’re keep looking at all of the options too.

I’d be happy to exchange notes & learnings as well! I couldn’t think of anything else to add, but if I can be helpful in any way, I’d be happy to do so :)
 
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