We just recently lost our Golden at a little over 11 years. I have been lurking on this site just to get feel of things and to enjoy looking at the pictures of Goldens. Sophie the golden we lost was a beautiful and loving girl. Sophie was our second Golden, our first, Gretel lived to almost 14 years.
We are not emotionally ready for another dog but I know we will need to fill the empty spot in our lives .I have a question about breeders. Our first Golden Gretel had field and obedience in her line, Sophie was more of a conformation bred dog. Both dogs were joys. When the time comes I would like to find a breeder that tries to find a balance. We are in Arizona but would be willing to travel to find the right breeder.
Our first concern is the health and the temperament of the dog.
To me health should be evident in the form of clearances (for several generations back at least). Temperment is a bit subjective as to me it more describes a "personalilty" - many great dogs with great IMO temperments would be way to quiet for a field person and still too hyper for some. I like to see titles on both ends of the dogs - showing that not only are they pretty but smart too, I like my dogs eager to please with a moderate amount of energy but happy to cuddle on the couch with me too. Think of what sort of temperment you want to spend the next 10 years with and go from there.
Meeting the parents is the best way to determine the likely temperament of the puppies.
As to a balance between field and confirmation types, take a good look at the pedigrees of the parents on K9data.com. You would want to see breed, performance and field titles in the pedigrees. I would like to see both performance (including field) and breed titles on the same dogs in the pedigree. And now, the GRCA has the CCA program which allows people who are more involved in field and performance to show that their dogs are good representitives of the breed standard.
I guess my questions are about how to go about researching a breeder and how to go about evaluating the litter. The lives of our two Golden's covered 25 years.. Our last Golden Sophie was from a local breeder who was active in the local Golden Retriever community. She was a beautiful and good dog, but she had some health issues. She was Hypothyroid, which our vet said was very common in Golden retrievers.
I would appreciate any guidance you could give me on what to look for in a Golden puppy. I will outline what I feel I should look at :
Review the pedigree information available about the parents, Using the K9 data go to the OFA data website and review the clearances, How many generations back should I review and are there any obvious things that should be a red flag.
Th K9 data includes the genetic information, the COI, how valuable is this information? My limited understanding of this is the lower the number the greater genetic diversity. Is it better to look for breedings from healthy parents with lower COI.
Regarding temperament I feel that would have to be discovered by visiting with the parents and seeing the puppies.
Would the best place to start be with the local Golden Retriever club?
Welcome to the Forum. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know how lonely it is... Is Sophie the Golden in your avatar? I hope you find the information you're looking for. Scottsdale is one of my favorite places on earth. Lucky you.
I also think if you visit some of the local shows and see who is out there with their goldens (not only in conformation, but also obedience, rally and agility) purchase the catalogs see who has the titles on their dogs (or who is going for them) that will give you a feel for who is active (and also in the catalog there is a listing of all the exhibitors, with names and addresses too, so you can even write them or follow up in some way).
You can watch the dogs and see if you get a particular feel for what you like--I had two members of my club watch a golden that went HIT (High In Trial) at an obedience trial and they grabbed my catalog to see who that dog was--each catalog also lists the sire and dam of the dog and when they saw the sire and dam, they were nodding their heads together bobbing up and down practically reciting the pedigree--good training and good genes apparently went into that performance! You can learn a lot hanging out at shows and casually talking to people.