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Thanks for helping me think this through. So, confession- I did have the thought "maybe the puppies haven't been claimed because they're so mellow" - but even if that was the case, they're not ready to go home until end of October, and I wouldn't make a decision without my husband meeting the mama and the breeder first. And having never visited a breeding operation I really did think it would be good to have the experience of meeting the breeder and the older dogs and seeing what their particular setup is like. Kind of a like a practice interview for a job! Truly, I do not want to get a dog that needs more than we can provide and my gut is saying to wait for a conformation-bred Golden.
How old are they now? If they are less than 4 weeks old, you won’t be able to tell much about them now anyway. I was thinking they were either old enough to come home or almost old enough to come home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
@Noreaster No i really appreciate your input!! Thank you! We have had a puppy before- our current dog is a mix of some sort (probably predominately shepherd) and we adopted him as a 4-month puppy. He's 13 now and really slowing down. I am really hoping we will be able to have them overlap because he's so tolerant with puppies and it gives him a spring in his step to be around the young pups. Plus I think it's good for a puppy to have an older dog to learn from. I wish we had started the search last summer but we were renovating our house and it didn't seem like a good time to add to the chaos.

When we got Otis, we were both working out of the home at that point and while we did take him to training classes, we didn't reinforce well at home or probably exercise him enough either, and I know we did him a disservice. Still, he is an amazing, mostly healthy dog and I know we lucked out. We spend a lot of time with friends who have younger dogs and our kids understand that puppies are, well, puppies. They mouth and jump and chase you around when you don't want them to, haha. In fact we do have close friends bringing home a Golden puppy this weekend so we will be tracking closely with them to make sure our kids see what it all entails!

I have looked around at the rescues around us but we do want the puppy experience and the chance to kind of do-over what we didn't do correctly for Otis. Know better, do better, you know? I also worry about the health issues and prior trauma experiences that might make the rescue have problems with kids or other dogs. (I'm still trying to find a good rescue for my parents though!!)

@ArkansasGold I just checked and they're only 11 days old! Good point about not being able to tell temperaments at this point anyway.

PS - attaching a pic of Otis from a couple years ago, it's always fun to hear people's guesses on what his mix is!

Dog Carnivore Fawn Companion dog Terrestrial animal
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Our kids are 6 and 9 btw! I feel like they are at good ages. The 9-year-old boy is responsible and will probably actually be helpful, and the 6-year-old girl will probably steer clear for the most part and love the puppy more and more as it grows up. She has a very healthy respect for dogs though.
 

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Hello! This is my first post, and I'm SO grateful to everyone here. I've spent a few hours reading through past posts but I know I still have a lot to learn.

I do have a time-sensitive request for help, though! We've been searching the past month for a breeder, hoping to bring home a Golden pup this winter (started too late, I now realize). However, I recently learned about and contacted Howard at PBG Kennels in Reidsville, NC, and he told me they have 3 males available from his current litter. The next litter is most likely all spoken for already. He said there were 8 males/2 females in the current litter, and they just had more requests for females, or people who wanted to wait on the next litter, which should be a deeper red. We are planning to go out and visit the farm tomorrow so I'd love to be prepared to ask good questions - and I am feeling the sense of urgency that we may need to commit sooner than we were planning - or maybe just cool it and wait this one out if it's not a good fit.

My questions are:
-Any thoughts on this kennel?
-We are wanting a family dog and I've read mixed thoughts on whether a "field bred" Golden would do well as a companion pet vs. a home where it would be worked. Howard said that they will be smart, trainable, healthy, and athletic - all things you'd look for in both home and performance, and that most of his dogs do go as family pets. He also said the males should be about 60lb full grown - is that on the small side? Should that matter to us?
-This is the litter pedigree: Ruby x Goose I've done a deep dive into learning about the clearances, but would love an experienced review. The issues I notice are that the dam has only been checked by a cardiac practitioner, and her half-sibling Jolene does not have elbow clearance listed. Is there anything else? Would these issues be a no-go for you all, or would it be more of a "proceed with caution and ask the right questions" situation?
-The other upcoming litter pedigree that seems to be more desirable is this one, btw: Cash x Nebraska

The other breeders I have been in contact with are Hyatt's Goldens in Charlotte, Season's Gold, Copperfield, and Goldenwise - all in NC. They are all more likely to have a spring or next fall availability but I'm keeping in touch in case someone backs out. I also have a few reservations about a couple of those kennels, so would welcome any further info.
I've also reached out to River Rock, Stormy Point, and Eldorado in VA but haven't heard back. We are in central NC but willing to travel to VA, SC, eastern TN, maybe even GA.

Again, thank you all so much. I'm so glad I've found this group and look forward to educating myself more as we move along in the process!
Oof a field bred golden? You're a braver woman than I. I'm a single person with NO yard and I picked a litter that was expected to be a little lower energy AND asked for the calmest dog in the litter. Even with that head start, a baby athlete needs a lot of activity. Here is what he has done today at 5 months old:

8-10am: running off-leash, playing with other dogs, swimming, and retrieving in a pond
10:00-10:30: bath or rinse off
10:30-4: napping
5:00pm: walk

It is now 6:30pm and he is bringing me every toy he owns and asking to play. I'll also put in that while I don't have a yard I do have access to a fenced yard and he couldn't care less about it unless I play with him in the yard or there is another dog to play with there.

I can't imagine how I'd keep up with a field golden unless I was an active hunter. Keep in mind too that you can't jog with a baby golden so you're constantly trying to find low-impact ways for them to get the inner demon out.
 

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Well Otis is just a cupcake and a half and I want to scritch him behind the ears and give him cookies. I was thinking Husky/Shepherd but with those half prick ears? How big is he? Because I almost see sheltie?

Those intelligent smiling eyes…what a good dog!
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Well Otis is just a cupcake and a half and I want to scritch him behind the ears and give him cookies. I was thinking Husky/Shepherd but with those half prick ears? How big is he? Because I almost see sheltie?

Those intelligent smiling eyes…what a good dog!
He really is a good boy! We have a few non-dog-people friends who say he is the only dog that they actually like, haha! He's pretty big, around 85-90lb is his healthy weight. When we let his "mane" grow out he is quite imposing. And the brindle pattern adds to the mystery too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Just to update you all:

We did go out to visit the kennel yesterday against your better judgement, haha. (We made it clear to the kids we were not actually getting a puppy from them, just enjoying a chance to love on some dogs and see what a breeding setup looked like - and we combined the trip with a state park visit nearby.) HOWEVER although the dogs were beautiful and so sweet and we really enjoyed talking with Howard and his wife, we've decided to wait. I am sure the puppies will be great dogs for the right people. I've now had the chance to speak with 3 owners who do not use their dogs for field work, and they had nothing but good things to say. The upcoming litter which will be a deeper red coat, and is the same pairing as the other owners I have spoken with, was pretty tempting. I just feel like it's the right thing to do to wait for a show-bred Golden from a breeder who checks all the boxes. I'm pretty risk-averse when it comes to new family members, I guess! I really am clinging to the "winter puppy this year" timing plan so I just hope hope hope I have lucky timing with one of the others breeders I have contacted.

Thanks again for all of the excellent feedback! I had you guys in my head as I was trying to objectively assess the situation and not fall hard for the sweet mama nursing her 12-day babies!! Really, nothing sweeter. 😍
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Also, I've searched a bit on the site, but I am trying to figure out what the ideal kennel situation would be for future reference? This was a working kennel out on a farm, the owner doesn't live there but I do believe the trainer does. The puppy pens and the kennels for the older dogs seemed to be spacious, clean, sheltered, plenty of water, etc. but they are open-air. I am assuming the puppies/mama are moved somewhere during the night, or maybe there were doors that I didn't notice for protection at night? I started wondering though, what the kennels for other breeders actually look like. Would you expect to see puppies kept indoors somewhere? I'm a visual person so if you happened to have photos, would love to see.
 

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Also, I've searched a bit on the site, but I am trying to figure out what the ideal kennel situation would be for future reference? This was a working kennel out on a farm, the owner doesn't live there but I do believe the trainer does. The puppy pens and the kennels for the older dogs seemed to be spacious, clean, sheltered, plenty of water, etc. but they are open-air. I am assuming the puppies/mama are moved somewhere during the night, or maybe there were doors that I didn't notice for protection at night? I started wondering though, what the kennels for other breeders actually look like. Would you expect to see puppies kept indoors somewhere? I'm a visual person so if you happened to have photos, would love to see.
Hi Denise! I'm glad you ended up being objective. I know it's hard.

Your description of the setup sounds like a commercial operation.

We would absolutely expect the puppies to be indoors. In the house, actually for most of us. Some breeders have a kennel building where moms have their own private room for whelping and raising puppies, but most hobby breeders raise the puppies in the actual house. My mentors here raise them in the living room of the downstairs apartment. Living rooms, bedrooms, laundry rooms, etc. often become puppy rooms when a true hobby breeder has a litter.

I don't have any photos, but when/if I have a litter, I will have to move my Peloton to the dining room and convert the mud room from a workout area to a puppy area.
 

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Every time I hear people say that conformation bred goldens are “lower energy” than field bred goldens, I feel like it gives off the incorrect (imo) assumption that they don’t require as much training/exercise/activity/etc. I want to clarify that I do understand that field bred goldens have different (higher?) energy needs but I don’t think that goldens should be a couch potato breed or be low energy dogs.

Both of my dogs are primarily conformation line, but neither of them are low-energy couch potatoes. A usual daily’exercise schedule for the dogs is approx 30-45 minutes of fetch or play session w a friend’s dog, 20 minute training session somewhere in public, and then an off leash walk. My oldest is unwell but still keeps up with my 16 month old puppy just fine (when he’s feeling good), and I’m convinced that girl is on crack or something cause she never tires out. Regular leashed walks do not cut it for my dogs!!

I have to imagine that most goldens require that amount of exercise? It’s really only a 1.5 hour commitment (between actual exercise and our training sessions), that doesn’t seem extreme to me. Also, the irony of this is that I asked for the most mellow puppy in my older dog’s litter since he was my first dog. I don’t wanna know if the other dogs in his litter were crazier than him cause he was a whole nut. Eveb more ironic, I’m pretty lowkey and probably would never leave my house if it weren’t for these dogs. FWIW, he ended up being the most perfect dog for me, but his energy level was a surprise and we had a rough start.
 

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I feel strongly that puppies should be raised, one litter at a time, inside a home. Not only is it important to have them under almost constant supervision those first few weeks, but they need to get used to normal house sounds - the vacuum, the dishwasher, the TV, people talking, things getting dropped, doors slamming, etc. The best breeders will also expose them to a variety of surfaces (grass, gravel, tile, sand, wood chips, tarps, plastic, etc.) as well as doing a variety of sensory experiences for them. It helps to build their confidence when they encounter (and "conquer") new experiences and challenges and deal with them successfully in a safe manner. I have a breeder local to me who has champion dogs and a state of the art kennel facility and does all the appropriate clearances and basically ticks all the boxes as a "reputable" breeder... but I personally would not buy a puppy from her, nor recommend her to someone else, mostly due to the puppies being raised in that gorgeous kennel facility instead of inside her home.
 

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DeniseNC, I really applaud you thinking this through and sticking with your plan! And kudos to your kids for not melting down over the puppies. Bravo all the way around.

My breeder not only has the pups in the heart of her house, but she pretty much moves downstairs with them and either she or her husband are with them 24/7 to make sure they stay healthy. She also starts multiple enrichment and stimulation activities with them within their first few WEEKS. My older Golden is pretty much bombproof when it comes to household activities, loud noises, fireworks, etc. as a result and he’s a big old snuggler, which I love.

Your ideal situation might be to find a breeder who not only raises pups in the home but also has children in the home about the same ages as yours. But being raised in the home I believe is crucial.

You’re doing your research and that will show when you find the right breeder. Good for you!
 
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Discussion Starter · #33 · (Edited)
@pawsnpaca , @ArkansasGold , @Noreaster Ok, this is good to know. I really just didn't know what it "should" look like and the mamas and other dogs seemed happy and well-cared for... but I did wonder later about why they were outside, and also what that meant for their socialization/neurological stimulation. I feel great about moving on and waiting for a pup from one of the other breeders I have contacted along the East coast. Edit: please feel free (!!!) to PM me if you hear of someone who has availability... will travel anywhere between DC/Atlanta/Nashville...

@aesthetic Yes I definitely am not looking for a couch potato dog either! Couch SNUGGLING yes... but needs a daily run and play date with friends, and can hang with us for a hike and then want to swim in the lake afterward - also yes! I have heard that well-bred Goldens have an off-switch, or at least can be trained that way in the house. It's just that we don't live on a lot of land or have access to swimming on a regular basis, so I don't want to do a field-bred dog the disservice of not meeting that extra drive.
 

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Hello! This is my first post, and I'm SO grateful to everyone here. I've spent a few hours reading through past posts but I know I still have a lot to learn.

I do have a time-sensitive request for help, though! We've been searching the past month for a breeder, hoping to bring home a Golden pup this winter (started too late, I now realize). However, I recently learned about and contacted Howard at PBG Kennels in Reidsville, NC, and he told me they have 3 males available from his current litter. The next litter is most likely all spoken for already. He said there were 8 males/2 females in the current litter, and they just had more requests for females, or people who wanted to wait on the next litter, which should be a deeper red. We are planning to go out and visit the farm tomorrow so I'd love to be prepared to ask good questions - and I am feeling the sense of urgency that we may need to commit sooner than we were planning - or maybe just cool it and wait this one out if it's not a good fit.

My questions are:
-Any thoughts on this kennel?
-We are wanting a family dog and I've read mixed thoughts on whether a "field bred" Golden would do well as a companion pet vs. a home where it would be worked. Howard said that they will be smart, trainable, healthy, and athletic - all things you'd look for in both home and performance, and that most of his dogs do go as family pets. He also said the males should be about 60lb full grown - is that on the small side? Should that matter to us?
-This is the litter pedigree: Ruby x Goose I've done a deep dive into learning about the clearances, but would love an experienced review. The issues I notice are that the dam has only been checked by a cardiac practitioner, and her half-sibling Jolene does not have elbow clearance listed. Is there anything else? Would these issues be a no-go for you all, or would it be more of a "proceed with caution and ask the right questions" situation?
-The other upcoming litter pedigree that seems to be more desirable is this one, btw: Cash x Nebraska

The other breeders I have been in contact with are Hyatt's Goldens in Charlotte, Season's Gold, Copperfield, and Goldenwise - all in NC. They are all more likely to have a spring or next fall availability but I'm keeping in touch in case someone backs out. I also have a few reservations about a couple of those kennels, so would welcome any further info.
I've also reached out to River Rock, Stormy Point, and Eldorado in VA but haven't heard back. We are in central NC but willing to travel to VA, SC, eastern TN, maybe even GA.

Again, thank you all so much. I'm so glad I've found this group and look forward to educating myself more as we move along in the process!
Our Golden just weighed in at 65lb. He is less than some of our other goldens in the past but i feel he is the perfect size
 

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Hello! This is my first post, and I'm SO grateful to everyone here. I've spent a few hours reading through past posts but I know I still have a lot to learn.

I do have a time-sensitive request for help, though! We've been searching the past month for a breeder, hoping to bring home a Golden pup this winter (started too late, I now realize). However, I recently learned about and contacted Howard at PBG Kennels in Reidsville, NC, and he told me they have 3 males available from his current litter. The next litter is most likely all spoken for already. He said there were 8 males/2 females in the current litter, and they just had more requests for females, or people who wanted to wait on the next litter, which should be a deeper red. We are planning to go out and visit the farm tomorrow so I'd love to be prepared to ask good questions - and I am feeling the sense of urgency that we may need to commit sooner than we were planning - or maybe just cool it and wait this one out if it's not a good fit.

My questions are:
-Any thoughts on this kennel?
-We are wanting a family dog and I've read mixed thoughts on whether a "field bred" Golden would do well as a companion pet vs. a home where it would be worked. Howard said that they will be smart, trainable, healthy, and athletic - all things you'd look for in both home and performance, and that most of his dogs do go as family pets. He also said the males should be about 60lb full grown - is that on the small side? Should that matter to us?
-This is the litter pedigree: Ruby x Goose I've done a deep dive into learning about the clearances, but would love an experienced review. The issues I notice are that the dam has only been checked by a cardiac practitioner, and her half-sibling Jolene does not have elbow clearance listed. Is there anything else? Would these issues be a no-go for you all, or would it be more of a "proceed with caution and ask the right questions" situation?
-The other upcoming litter pedigree that seems to be more desirable is this one, btw: Cash x Nebraska

The other breeders I have been in contact with are Hyatt's Goldens in Charlotte, Season's Gold, Copperfield, and Goldenwise - all in NC. They are all more likely to have a spring or next fall availability but I'm keeping in touch in case someone backs out. I also have a few reservations about a couple of those kennels, so would welcome any further info.
I've also reached out to River Rock, Stormy Point, and Eldorado in VA but haven't heard back. We are in central NC but willing to travel to VA, SC, eastern TN, maybe even GA.

Again, thank you all so much. I'm so glad I've found this group and look forward to educating myself more as we move along in the process!
I have a beautiful golden pup name Scottie who comes from a long line of field goldens. I am so very pleased with her selection. She does need more exercise than my previous goldens; but to me it is well worth having a very smart pup who is easily trainable and loves to swim as we spend summers near a beach. Scottie is very athletic and I got what I wished for. It is very important to have all of the clearances in a pup including the eye check for golden ret PU which is rampant in the U.S and Canada. It hasn't spread to Europe yet.
I would make sure the pups are healthy, verify their clearances, and make sure there is a "good fit" between your pup and your family lifestyle. To me these are key items to focus on. Hope this helps and best of luck to you.
 

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I prefer field goldens. When I say field golden, I mean dogs with solid field trial pedigrees (like both litters you've posted). My field trial dog (he is titled) is laying under my desk right now here at work. My other field dog (no titles yet) is laying on the carpet outside my office door. They both have excellent off switches. Can they run 20 miles a day? Sure. Can they sleep on the couch all day? Sure. They do whatever I'm doing that day.

With any breeding, you want to find out if the parents have real off switches, ask the breeder. With puppies you want to make sure you have x-pens, crates, and baby gates. If you can manage them 100%, put them in the x-pen with some toys. Don't let them wandering the house. This doesn't matter if it's a pet, show or field trial breeding.

On a totally different note, I would personally buy the puppy that has the more solid bitch line. So for me, it would be the Ruby x Goose breeding.
 

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Also, I've searched a bit on the site, but I am trying to figure out what the ideal kennel situation would be for future reference? This was a working kennel out on a farm, the owner doesn't live there but I do believe the trainer does. The puppy pens and the kennels for the older dogs seemed to be spacious, clean, sheltered, plenty of water, etc. but they are open-air. I am assuming the puppies/mama are moved somewhere during the night, or maybe there were doors that I didn't notice for protection at night? I started wondering though, what the kennels for other breeders actually look like. Would you expect to see puppies kept indoors somewhere? I'm a visual person so if you happened to have photos, would love to see.
Hi Denise,
I responded to your email recently, but wanted to comment on your specific question about kennel operations.

I have had people ask me if they can visit my facility. My answer is always you mean visit my home? My preference is to keep a smaller number of dogs that are my in house companions. (Of course, that means my floors, baseboards and furniture bear this out! LOL) My puppies start off their first 4-5 weeks in a room off my bedroom and then move down to my basement to their dedicated area until they are ready to leave. They have a climate controlled room with access by dog door to a covered cement pad and play yard. This gives them fresh air and space to play as they grow with the option to be inside if hot/cold, etc...I also have cameras on them inside and out so I can look on my phone at any time and see what they are up to. They also get a lot of interaction with the older puppies/adult dogs in my home.

It just boils down to what you feel more comfortable with...I know some fine breeders that have a kennel set up for their dogs. I just prefer them inside my house with me. :)
 

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Thank you both for the input! We do have a fenced yard and I love to go for daily walks, plus we hope to let our dog play with the neighbors if they all get along. We hike and camp on the weekends as we're able and are planning to do obedience training through Good Canine Citizen level. I think the breed seems like a good match for our family?

We are able to visit PBG this weekend, and I believe both dams and one sire will be there.

I do have a question about how to tactfully ask about the cardiac exam; I don't want to make a faux pas or insinuate that the breeder is unethical. How do you suggest bringing it up?
Fenced back yard and hiking will not be enough. These are working/performance dogs. As far as how to ask, just straight up. Asked for clearances on heart, elbows, hips, eyes, and carrier for ichthyosis gene.
 
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