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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I was wondering if you could tell me what clearances my dog needs in order to be bred. I need to know exactly what to ask for and at what age it can be done. When I spoke to my vet he wants to do his own checks and he thinks that is sufficient. He said you can send out for other tests but that it is rarely done. I would like to breed my Golden once maybe twice but only if she is healthy. I have her paperwork from her parents as well.

Thank you


P.S. She will be one in two weeks and is almost done with her first heat. I would never breed her now. I just wanted to add the extra background info.
 

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You should wait until your dog is at least 2 years old before breeding her. Clearances for hips, elbows, eyes, heart & thyroid are the usual clearances you would want. Usually they are done by a specialist, not the regular vet. Most of my dog's clearances are from the veterinary college specialists. I am not a breeder though (just own a dog that was bred by her breeder) so hopefully one of the breeders can help you out moreso.

Also, does your breeder know about your plans? A lot of time purebred dogs are sold on non-breeding contracts.
 

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A dog should never under any circumstances be bred under the age of 2. The 4 clearances that NEED to be done are hips, elbows, eyes, and heart. These are not done be a regular vet. They are done by a specialist and are posted on the OFFA web site. As far as your vet telling you that these clearances are very rarely done, I would find a new vet. No responsible breeder will breed without these clearances. You will also need to find a stud dog who has all of these same clearances. Also, you need to make sure that your AKC registration on your dog is full and not limited. If it is limited, the puppies from her litter will be unable to be registered. I would suggest having an experienced breeder mentor you through this to ensure that everything is in order for the breeding. As Goldilocks already said, you will need to make sure that the breeder that you got your dog from will allow you to breed her. Most reputible breeders have contracts that do not allow breeding of their pups.
 

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Hello,

I was wondering if you could tell me what clearances my dog needs in order to be bred. I need to know exactly what to ask for and at what age it can be done. When I spoke to my vet he wants to do his own checks and he thinks that is sufficient. He said you can send out for other tests but that it is rarely done. I would like to breed my Golden once maybe twice but only if she is healthy. I have her paperwork from her parents as well.

Thank you


P.S. She will be one in two weeks and is almost done with her first heat. I would never breed her now. I just wanted to add the extra background info.

First, your vet is 100% incorrect. To say that "sending out for other tests is rarely done" is ludicrous.

You need to have a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist do CERF eye checks (annually) and a board certified veterinary cardiologist do cardiac clearances. These are not "sent out" - you need to to go to them for testing. You need to do OFA hip and elbow radiographs, which are sent to the OFA in Missourri. Your vet can take the radiographs, but frankly, given the information that he is telling you, I'd be concerned about his knowledge and skills to be able to properly position a dog to get good shots.

I'd recommend that you check out www.grca.org for information about breeding Golden Retrievers. You might realized that breeding your girl is not the best plan for you or her.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the replies. As I said before I would never breed her this early. Yes, I have full AKC rights. Her breeder is aware I wanted to breed her and gave me the full registration when I bought her. My vet is awesome and I would never change. Like I said in the OP he said I can send away for the tests. I just wanted to know what all to have done. My dog's parents had hips and knees maybe heart. I'd have to get out the paperwork to check what all was done. What tests to have done is different for different breeds of dogs. Some dogs need liver function tests, etc. I was asking for specific for Goldens.


I appreciate your replies. Thank you.
 

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Even after your dog passes its clearances...that should be just the beginning of the evaluation process.

Clearances are a necessary to look at very specific pieces of your dog, but structure and conformation to the breed standard are more important factors to know if your dogs genetics should be a part of the future of the breed.

Conformation is not just for show dogs....conformation is about how the different parts of your dog are put together structurally for them to move correctly and pain free for the rest of their lives.

A copy of the blue book available through the Golden Retriever Club of America is a nice resource to study so you can begin to analyze your dog...

If you are not planning on showing your dog for validation that your dog is bettering the breed...then please consider having your dog evaluated by people that have spent many, many years studying the breed. CCA (Certificate of Conformation Assessment) events are a good opportunity to learn the good and the bad about your dogs structure.

Then there are titles on the other end of the dog....are you planning on earning obedience, agility, tracking and or hunting titles to your dog. IMO it is not enough any longer to be just a pretty dog....there have to be some brains in there too.
 

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As was said above, the minimum necessary clearances for a Golden are

OFA elbows, done after age 2. Can be done by your vet but must be sent to OFA (www.offa.org ) to be read.

OFA hips or PennHip, done after age 2. Your vet can probably do the OFA view but PennHip must be done by specially trained and certified vets.

OFA heart, done after 1 year of age. Should be done by a veterinary cardiologist.

CERF eyes, done annually at 1 year of age and thereafter. Must be done by a veterniary opthamologist.

The stud must have these clearances also.

And, as Mary mentioned, it is best to try to ensure that your girl, and the stud dog you chose, are properly structured, as improper structure can lead to structural weaknesses and potential injuries. One way to do this is to have your dog evaluated as part of a CCA (Conformation Certification Assessment) put on by the Golden Retriever Club of America. This is a wonderful, non-competitive way to have your dog evaluated by individuals knowledgeable in the breed.

And, in order to try to produce the healthiest puppies possible, the parents, grandparents and great grandparents of both the stud dog and your girl should have these same clearances.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You need to have a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist do CERF eye checks (annually) and a board certified veterinary cardiologist do cardiac clearances. These are not "sent out" - you need to to go to them for testing. You need to do OFA hip and elbow radiographs, which are sent to the OFA in Missourri. Your vet can take the radiographs, but frankly, given the information that he is telling you, I'd be concerned about his knowledge and skills to be able to properly position a dog to get good shots.
My vet said rarely do people do all the tests and that it is up to the individual breeder how much testing they wish to have done. He said he can send out the OFA tests but was talking about the other testing as rarely done. He did want to do the OFA. I think it is true that it is up to the breeder. In a perfect world every dog would have all tests done and only dogs that met standard and were owned by only experienced breeders would be bred. I don't want to get into a debate on whether to breed or not. This is a hot topic and every one has their own opinions. I appreciate information on what tests and how to get them. That is what the original question was.

Thank you for your input.


Edited for clarification.
 

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Just because your vet said that rarely do people do all the tests doesn't make it right. I'm sure there are tons of backyard breeders and puppy mills that don't do all the tests, but does that make them good, responsible breeders?
 

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Actually, reputable breeders who want to produce healthy puppies always do all of those clearances. The heart clearance is especially important because of the severity of the heart problem that afflicts Goldens-it can cause sudden death. I certainly want to do everything within my power to ensure that I don't sell a puppy that is going to drop deap while playing with its owners.
 

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My vet said rarely do people do all the tests and that it is up to the individual breeder how much testing they wish to have done. He said he can send out the OFA tests but was talking about the other testing as rarely done. He did want to do the OFA. I think it is true that it is up to the breeder. In a perfect world every dog would have all tests done and only dogs that met standard and were owned by only experienced breeders would be bred. I don't want to get into a debate on whether to breed or not. This is a hot topic and every one has their own opinions. I appreciate information on what tests and how to get them. That is what the original question was.

Thank you for your input.


Edited for clarification.

If a breeder is ethical and striving to do the best that they can, then there will be nothing less than OFA hips/elbows, CERF, and Cardiac clearances done - while technically it is "up to the breeder", if they are following the GRCA Code of Ethics, they will do all of them, and will only breed to a dog who also has had all of them. Ideally, there should be at least 3 generations of cleared dogs on both sides of the pedigree in order to decrease the chances of producing any of the health issues being cleared for.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
As was said above, the minimum necessary clearances for a Golden are

OFA elbows, done after age 2. Can be done by your vet but must be sent to OFA (www.offa.org ) to be read.

OFA hips or PennHip, done after age 2. Your vet can probably do the OFA view but PennHip must be done by specially trained and certified vets.

OFA heart, done after 1 year of age. Should be done by a veterinary cardiologist.

CERF eyes, done annually at 1 year of age and thereafter. Must be done by a veterniary opthamologist.

The stud must have these clearances also.

And, as Mary mentioned, it is best to try to ensure that your girl, and the stud dog you chose, are properly structured, as improper structure can lead to structural weaknesses and potential injuries. One way to do this is to have your dog evaluated as part of a CCA (Conformation Certification Assessment) put on by the Golden Retriever Club of America. This is a wonderful, non-competitive way to have your dog evaluated by individuals knowledgeable in the breed.

And, in order to try to produce the healthiest puppies possible, the parents, grandparents and great grandparents of both the stud dog and your girl should have these same clearances.

Thank you for the information. This is exactly what I was looking for and it is very helpful.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I found a clinic where I can have these tests done. What is the BAER?

Cardiac: (auscultation) by Dr. G Wood $30.00
CERF: by Dr. S. Maxwell $21.00
BAER: Dr. J. Choate $65.00
 

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I found a clinic where I can have these tests done. What is the BAER?

Cardiac: (auscultation) by Dr. G Wood $30.00
CERF: by Dr. S. Maxwell $21.00
BAER: Dr. J. Choate $65.00
I'm not a breeder, but I have been very well-educated by our dog's breeder, who happens to be a friend of ours, and I believe that there should also be an echocardiogram involved in the cardiac clearances. Auscultation is nothing more than listening to the dog's heart with a stethosocpe. The cardiac clearance needs to be much more thorough than that. What about OFA? That is the first clearance that should be done.
 

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I found a clinic where I can have these tests done. What is the BAER?

Cardiac: (auscultation) by Dr. G Wood $30.00
CERF: by Dr. S. Maxwell $21.00
BAER: Dr. J. Choate $65.00
BAER hearing tests are done on breeds with genetic deafness, such as Dalmatians. Not felt to be an issue in Goldens at this time, and testing not required by the GRCA.
 

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I'm not a breeder, but I have been very well-educated by our dog's breeder, who happens to be a friend of ours, and I believe that there should also be an echocardiogram involved in the cardiac clearances. Auscultation is nothing more than listening to the dog's heart with a stethosocpe. The cardiac clearance needs to be much more thorough than that. What about OFA? That is the first clearance that should be done.
Actually, auscultation is the standard test for heart clearance. The genetic diseases goldens are predisposed to will cause an audible murmur. If one is heard, or the doctor isn't 100% on what he's hearing, then an echo is ordered. If a dog has received an OFA heart clearance, you can be pretty much certain that auscultation was the only test performed.

As to the original question: I'm sure your vet has seen many, many people breeding their dogs without the recommended clearances. I would be willing to bet he makes that statement honestly based on his experience. However, it is beyond irresponsible for him to advocate that kind of behavior. A truly reputable breeder will not only do the big 4 clearances as recommended by the GRCA, but many go above and beyond checking thyroids, patellas, and doing genetic testing for progressive retinal atrophy (prcd-PRA). Can you be lazy about it, produce puppies, and sell them for a profit? Sure you can. But you aren't doing those puppies any favors and may be saddling them with life long suffering. No puppy asks to be born.

If you are fully intent to take on the responsibility of breeding... at least be responsible enough to do it right (testing and proving your breeding stock). Asking questions here is a start, but it's just the first step. Find yourself a mentor to help you through this process... your local Golden Retriever Club is always a good place to begin looking.

Julie and Jersey
 

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Check in your area to see if any vet clinics have a breeder's day. In Olympia, we have Steamboat Animal Hospital that has "breeder's day" twice a year. Specialists from each area of certification are there to do the clearances at a much more reasonable price.
 

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I am not a breeder, but I personally believe that if an owner is going to put their golden through what is in essence an elective procedure (because the owner has elected to have their golden become pregnant) that they arm themselves with as much knowledge as possible about canine pregnancy and reproductive issues/problems. With the emphasis on mandatory spay/neuter, vets now receive relatively little training in this area, and overall, there's very few vets that have the background needed in an emergency.

I live in a major metropolitan area, and I can name very quickly only two vets that serious breeders use as a back up in case something happens to their bitches and/or their babies. In one case, I know of someone who lost her bitch after an emergency c-section. In another, another person lost half the litter. Breeding, I believe, if attempted by a novice, should be done with a mentor. I hope your breeder is there to guide you, or that you can seek the help of a mentor. Or, that you reconsider your plans to breed.
 
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