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Goldens & Dressage 4ever
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Hi everyone,

I lost my 5 1/2 month old Golden Retriever a few months ago. He had numerous complications that came out of nowhere and we spent 9 days with specialists (neurologists, internists, cardiologists, etc) trying to save him. In the beginning he was having grand mal seizures, then 2 days later severe swelling of the face, eventually developed diabetes, and then a weak heart that was giving out. Even with the MRI and all the other tests we did, we still have no idea what happened and why it took over his body so fast. I am thinking it was genetics. He was my love, my everything. I have fallen in love with the breed and I am ready to start researching breeders for my next puppy. I obviously didn't do enought the first time around when I chose my breeder.

What should I look out for when I check a breeder out?

Also, I have been researching the OFA and BVA (for Europe). The OFA has a system which I can understand, but as I understand with the BVA, a Golden's hips should be under the breed mean score which is 18. I'm getting a little confused because some dog's BVA says something like 8:3. Is the 8 one hip and the 3 the other hip? I am also seeing HD A and HD A/B. Is this another scale for hip dysplasia?

What do I look for in a pedigree?

Your thoughts would be much appreciated.
 

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If you're looking in the US, then OFA is really what you need. I see from your name that you might be interested in light-colored dogs, but may of the breeders of "cream" dogs in this country do not have full and complete clearances, since many of them rely on the marketing power of a "rare" dog rather than breeding carefully.

Some US breeders also use PennHIP, but that's usually on top of the OFA certification, not as a substitute, since PennHIP gives more detail.

The Golden Retriever Club of America has a wonderful guide to choosing a breeder. I consider these standards to be the bare minimum of good breeding, but it's a great place to start.

Do not screw around with clearances. They're a dog's best possible shot at a long, healthy life, and even though dogs with full clearances generally cost a bit more, the careful breeding reduces their lifetime medical costs overall.
 
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