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Discussion Starter #1
Hey there, I’m new to the breed. Long term owner of Border Collies and occasional breeder of border collies for the stock dog and sports world. Im looking into adding a golden retriever to my family.

The problem is that I’m struggling to find breeders, especially responsible ones. I live in south Florida and the area is full of irresponsible breeders of all breeds.

I found one breeder I’m interested in: OPK Goldens, up in PA. It looks like they do all their health testing, photos of OFA certs on the page and on OFA website. Including genetic testing and heart testing.

My question is: does anyone know any other responsible breeders and does anyone have anything to say, good or bad, about OPK?
 

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Kristy
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Are you looking to train and compete with your Golden? That would help a little to know if you have something in mind. Goldens are very much like BCs = there is a widening split between what performance breeders and conformation breeders are emphasizing and if you want a Golden for sports or for anything more than a novice title, you will want to look at breeders who care about maintaining those working traits. It's those traits that make a good retriever that also help make them such great dogs for obedience and as family dogs and you want to make sure they aren't being lost through lack of attention.

The breeder you mention being interested in appears to be getting correct health testing on her current breeding dogs, unfortunately, when you look at the OFA records for preceding generations the clearances are spotty at best. With elbows, for example, the more clear ancestors up close in the pedigree, the better. There isn't a guarantee, but this issue is highly heritable and reducing your risk with multiple generations of clearances is important. If I were looking at a litter, I'd want to see more than just good clearances on the parents. I'd also want to see titles on previous generations that prove that the dogs were easy to train and wanted to work with people. The last thing you want is a Golden that is stubborn or won't retrieve. It shouldn't take a professional to train one.

Have you contacted Golden Retriever clubs in your area? Mid Florida GRC? They have some great performance breeders as well as conformation breeders and you would have a carefully bred and carefully raised puppy within a closer range. Best of luck with your search.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi there! Thank you for the responses. I personally like dogs with drive, but my partner is an inexperienced dog owner. I want an athletic companion, willing to please and definitely one that wants to go out on the water with us.

My experience with other high drive breeds is that some lines (in both conformation lines and sports lines) have issues with reactivity. Health and sound temperament are more important than anything else.

I haven’t looked into the central Florida club but I am open to shipping or surrounding states if you have breeders to recommend.
 

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Check out the link CWag provided above. It's a fairly recent thread and gives you a bunch of Florida breeders to begin with. There are THOUSANDS of good breeders in the US. Unless you are after something VERY specific it would be somewhat pointless for any of us to recommend a breeder outside of your area (and I wouldn't recommend "shipping" a puppy from a breeder you don't know and have never met, especially when you can find something just as good closer by, and establish a personal relationship with your breeder). What one of us considers the "prefect" breeder, another might avoid, just because that breeder might not be breeding what they're looking for. It's really a personal choice (or at least it should be!).

Since you are new to Goldens but not to dogs/breeding, be sure to familiarize yourself with K9DATA.COM Home Page. Most reputable Golden breeders will at least enter their breeding stock there and it's an easy way to do some up front research on pedigrees, titles, clearances, etc.
 

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I'd add that most good breeders are not fans of shipping an 8 week old puppy- should you find yourself w a breeder out of your driving range, I'd suggest flying to meet/greet/bring back under the seat.
 

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. . .
My experience with other high drive breeds is that some lines (in both conformation lines and sports lines) have issues with reactivity. Health and sound temperament are more important than anything else.

Reactivity shouldn't be a problem in a well bred conformation, performance or field Golden. The Golden Retriever breed standard (which can be viewed in full at www.grca.org) provides:

"Temperament — friendly, reliable and trustworthy. Quarrelsomeness or hostility towards other dogs or people in normal situations, or an unwarranted show of timidity or nervousness, is not in keeping with Golden Retriever character. Such actions should be penalized according to their significance."

Good luck in your search. Your focus on health and temperament is well placed. Your local GRCA affiliated club is a good place to start. If you can get your hands on some back copies of the GRCA's periodical, Golden Retriever News, they have articles of interest on various aspects of Golden ownership, ads (with pictures) placed by variety of breeders, and lists of top performing dogs in conformation, field, obedience and agility with their registered names which typically include the kennel name.
 

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On that- we had a donation of 15 years' worth of GRNs to the 2020 raffle.. I'm unsure if that would be best use of these, as far as $$ for the club goes, and wonder if there would be an interest if they were posted for sale on a GR FB list.. just curious.. the education in the GRNews is without peer, and buying aLL of them would weigh a ton to mail.. but I do think they should be preserved somehow and wonder if just this scenario wouldn't be a best use.
 
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