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What do you look for when you read a Golden Retriever pedigree? How do you learn kennels and become familiar with breeding dogs and kennels? How much do you know about certain lines? Do Golden breeders ever line breed?
 

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Pedigree research. Utilize health clearances. I like conformation titles and if theres a combination of conformation titles + hunting/field titles, that would be my ideal :) But I think, at the bare minimum, I would look for titles of some sort (preferably conformation or hunting/field, anything that shows an effort to improve the breed), and the four core clearances going back generations and health clearances on siblings/half-siblings/offspring.
 

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Thank you. I’m starting to get a feel for what I need to know. Will I begin to see certain dogs and kennels in a lot of pedigrees or are there so many that it’s not possible?

What does it mean “to improve the breed?” Doesn’t that actually mean to breed dogs that are examples of the best attributes of the breed? I’m not trying to be difficult, but to me, improving means what is there already isn’t the best. Does that make sense?
 

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Kate
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Personally speaking, I'd go by the breeder and knowledge of the looks and "style" of the dogs they typically produce. That's CH titles within 3 generations behind the parents of a prospective pup. It's also breeders who have competed in conformation and stay pretty close and relevant in what they breed.

Performance titles are not as important to me - primarily because I have seen dogs titled in obedience or field or both who were MISERABLE for their trainers to work with in obedience. These were dogs titled through UD, but they struggled the whole way. It follows that while these dog might have been highly titled in field, it did not carry over to trainability in obedience.

I would rather start with a very pretty dog of the style/look I like.... and use training methods that I know work well with golden retrievers in general to bring out the best in the dogs.

If I were more heavily into field, I'd be more finicky about choosing pedigrees with field titles. Just because if a dog has little to no birdiness in him, it's pulling teeth getting them to have anything to do with fetching a bird that STINKS or has a sharp beak and talons.

Obedience - most everything can be shaped from nothing.

Breeders themselves + lines they breed... MATTER. I know this doesn't help if you look out there and see a lot of dogs that look the same, but there are differences. To give you an idea, the below is a look/type that I absolutely love. Even while I see some things that can be improved (front from the angle in the pic looks a little straight + her coat looks cottony - which could be an effect of grooming, who knows).

>>insert pedigree of big winning girlie from a few short years ago<<<<
One of her sons is currently pretty HOT with a lot of people as a stud dog. He's got a nice front and coat. And I watched him grow up. I just love him.

^^^ I'm not for sure saying that the above linked dog had an incorrect front and coat (but I removed the link to avoid any negatives). Pictures can be deceiving. But those are things which a breeder might want to "fix" when choosing a stud dog. She wants to improve on what she breeds. And produce pups who have the qualities of the mom - but improved where she's weak? That's basically what that line means.
 

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because there are no perfect dogs.. there may be a bitch whose earset is perfect, but lacks a blend of neck.. assuming she is still finished CH, that neck is nothing your eye will pick up as a puppy buyer..you will think she is stunning, and she is.
But the good breeder sees that neck and wants to choose a dog who might get it closer to perfection in the breeder's eyes.
The breeders who are not titling dogs but use the phrase 'improve the breed' don't know what they are talking about in the first place. They're just saying the words.
 

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Thank you. Megora, I don’t see a link? A trainer I used when I fostered because he was good with the kinds of problems that cropped up in rescues, said obedience only shows the handler’s ability to teach a dog to follow commands, and the dog’s ability to follow them. It doesn’t say anything about temperament. So, I’m trying to get a feel for how to look at the whole picture. I thought the point of workin titles isn’t just getting a title but showing a dog is capable of doing what they were bred to do. So, what I take from this is that a dog that can do both will show all sides of capability, except temperament. That would come from the breeder’s expertise and knowledge of their dogs plus observation?
 

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Thank you. Megora, I don’t see a link? A trainer I used when I fostered because he was good with the kinds of problems that cropped up in rescues, said obedience only shows the handler’s ability to teach a dog to follow commands, and the dog’s ability to follow them. It doesn’t say anything about temperament. So, I’m trying to get a feel for how to look at the whole picture. I thought the point of workin titles isn’t just getting a title but showing a dog is capable of doing what they were bred to do. So, what I take from this is that a dog that can do both will show all sides of capability, except temperament. That would come from the breeder’s expertise and knowledge of their dogs plus observation?
If a conformation breeder is breeding true to standard, it calls for "temperament above all else". So breeding for the correct temperament IS breeding to a standard. Gundogs and field dogs should have the same temperament, but I'm not sure if that is as important to breeders to breed field dogs.
 

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If a conformation breeder is breeding true to standard, it calls for "temperament above all else". So breeding for the correct temperament IS breeding to a standard. Gundogs and field dogs should have the same temperament, but I'm not sure if that is as important to breeders to breed field dogs.
Most people that I know with field bred goldens still place a lot of value on the temperament, attitude, and train-ability of the dog. They choose golden's because they are natural retrievers but also great companions at home and in the field. If you take an aggressive dog to the line in a test/trial you will be disqualified from competition immediately. I could agree that some areas are not as important to the field breeders, but temperament isn't one of the areas.
 

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Kate
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If a conformation breeder is breeding true to standard, it calls for "temperament above all else". So breeding for the correct temperament IS breeding to a standard. Gundogs and field dogs should have the same temperament, but I'm not sure if that is as important to breeders to breed field dogs.


If your dog shows signs of either aggression or fear in the ring - that is something that should require a judge to excuse a handler and dog. I have seen aggression OUTSIDE the show rings (crated dogs in grooming) and I feel like it's related to dogs who are on the road with handlers. The breeders and owners might not know how bad it is unless people complain, I think.

Last year at a show down in OH, there were a LOT of complaints about crate aggressive goldens. And these particular dogs were with a handler. Nobody really knew who the dogs actually were or who the breeder was. It just was a very negative thing because in goldens most people are on the lookout for bad temperament. Biggest golden in conformation a couple years ago caused a huge powwow online because somebody either saw or thought they saw him go after another dog in the ring. <<= I was at the show and did not hear or see anything happen, but did not stop other people from talking.

Same thing in obedience, btw - though it is far less obvious because the owners are always there. If they know the dog has issues with other dogs, if they are good and experienced trainers - they will take precautions to make sure nothing happens.

I have NO IDEA whether or how it costs dogs in field - but can only assume that likewise, people are careful to avoid big terrible things from happening. Remember, dogs are dogs. And higher/hotter the energy/drive - more chance of the dogs being jerks in the wrong situation.
 

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What do you look for when you read a Golden Retriever pedigree? How do you learn kennels and become familiar with breeding dogs and kennels? How much do you know about certain lines? Do Golden breeders ever line breed?
Just to answer some of your other questions:
Re: Learning kennels and becoming familiar with breeding dogs and kennels: there are a couple of ways to at least start this. One would be to go to a show and look for kennel names that are cropping up frequently in the show catalog. OR, you can go home and look up the dogs' names in K9Data and see what's behind them. Note that the kennels that are showing up a lot in your area may differ from the kennel names that show up a lot in my area. Also - just because a kennel name shows up a lot is not a guarantee that they are producing "good" dogs. For instance, there are several kennel names that I scan for when I'm looking at a pedigree because they have a reputation for higher cancer rates or other health issues. Their dogs may be gorgeous and may win in the show ring, but that's not the be all and end all of what you are looking for in a healthy, well-balanced pet. You can glean some of this information by looking at age of death and (when provided) cause of death in K9Data, but this is all owner-entered info and can be sketchy at best. Your best source of information about concerns about particular lines and kennels is usually word of mouth from other breeders (although many will be careful not to run someone down publicly... it's a small world out there).

Re: Do Golden breeders ever line breed? I think the answer to this is yes, but it's not particularly common (hopefully one of the breeders on the forum will confirm or contradict this). If line breeding, or "inbreeding," is a concern for you, K9Data does have a function that lets you see the "co-efficient of inbreeding" of any dog that has enough ancestors entered into the database, and will also show you what dogs figure prominently (usually more than once) in the dog's pedigree. I personally like to see a super low COI because my top priority when choosing a dog is longevity and trying to avoid cancers that may have a genetic component, and I figure the less doubling up on a particular gene pool there is, the less chance of getting those genes in my puppy. But that's just me, and I don't know how valid that theory is. To be honest, if a dog who shows up in the COI was particularly long-lived, there might be value in finding that dog in several places in the pedigree.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If a conformation breeder is breeding true to standard, it calls for "temperament above all else". So breeding for the correct temperament IS breeding to a standard. Gundogs and field dogs should have the same temperament, but I'm not sure if that is as important to breeders to breed field dogs.
Temperament is probably most important for dogs that are going to interact with people and dogs.
 

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If your dog shows signs of either aggression or fear in the ring - that is something that should require a judge to excuse a handler and dog. I have seen aggression OUTSIDE the show rings (crated dogs in grooming) and I feel like it's related to dogs who are on the road with handlers. The breeders and owners might not know how bad it is unless people complain, I think.

Last year at a show down in OH, there were a LOT of complaints about crate aggressive goldens. And these particular dogs were with a handler. Nobody really knew who the dogs actually were or who the breeder was. It just was a very negative thing because in goldens most people are on the lookout for bad temperament. Biggest golden in conformation a couple years ago caused a huge powwow online because somebody either saw or thought they saw him go after another dog in the ring. <<= I was at the show and did not hear or see anything happen, but did not stop other people from talking.

Same thing in obedience, btw - though it is far less obvious because the owners are always there. If they know the dog has issues with other dogs, if they are good and experienced trainers - they will take precautions to make sure nothing happens.

I have NO IDEA whether or how it costs dogs in field - but can only assume that likewise, people are careful to avoid big terrible things from happening. Remember, dogs are dogs. And higher/hotter the energy/drive - more chance of the dogs being jerks in the wrong situation.
In response to Dbl and Megora

It's a shame that the breeders and owners aren't made aware :( When I was deciding on another breed, I had a really hard time deciding between GSD and Golden. I've wanted a GSD for a LONG time, but the reactivity is all over the place with that breed. In my current breed, a veterinary behaviorist studying noise sensitivity suspects that more than 50% of the BCs in the US are noise reactive. I really wanted a dog from breeding that I wanted to be able to take to parks, around small children, around other dogs, on boats, etc without the dog becoming reactive or fearful and I'm so happy we decided to get a Golden.

Watching some of the dogs in the show ring, at Crufts the Mal was fearful and at Westminster the Irish Water Spaniel had a moment, and yet, judges are hesitant to excuse a dog. I think part of it, much like the rest of the standard, is up to owner interpretation. Maybe some breeders are comfortable with aggression here or there as long as its not noticeable and/or manageable.
 

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Kate
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IWS - I've heard the dog had a meltdown because it had to poop. I think that and just random spooking over weird things isn't necessarily an indication that there is a temperament issue.

A couple summers ago I had a very WEIRD thing happen at a dog show with my Bertie. Judge was a very old man who was unstable on his feet and kinda had some odd mannerisms (very sweet man though). When he came up to examine Bertie, he was making odd whistling sounds through his teeth and kinda fell forward over Bertie's back.

Bertie flaked out and did not want to be examined. Judge DID get to check Bertie's gonads - but just barely with me dropping to my knees and making sure he stood. He did shy his butt away from the judge and refused to stand still while the judge went over him - which was something that I felt so strongly would cause us to be excused. Judge did not excuse us and we ended up with 2nd place in our class (5 dogs out there and mine was the only that was shying away from the judge). Bertie is a very correct dog and when he moves, he's correct and will catch a movement judge's eye. But that was a case where I felt pretty sheepish about the whole thing. I think that it's possible that the reason why we were not excused was because while Bertie refused to stand still for the judge, he was wiggling and doing a "I'm so sorry!!!" wiggle for the judge the whole time.

About BC's.... the really sad thing is 50% of BC's that I've met in obedience related situations are dog aggressive. The other 50% is mostly spooky or fearful dogs with some exceptions. It was a BC person who just about chewed my head off because I had my dogs on a loose lead while I chatted with a friend and they wandered too close to the BC person's dogs. They weren't close enough to visit her dog, but owner still keenly noticed my lack of attention. She grumbled about us golden people not knowing how to manage our dogs. >.<
 

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IWS - I've heard the dog had a meltdown because it had to poop. I think that and just random spooking over weird things isn't necessarily an indication that there is a temperament issue.

A couple summers ago I had a very WEIRD thing happen at a dog show with my Bertie. Judge was a very old man who was unstable on his feet and kinda had some odd mannerisms (very sweet man though). When he came up to examine Bertie, he was making odd whistling sounds through his teeth and kinda fell forward over Bertie's back.

Bertie flaked out and did not want to be examined. Judge DID get to check Bertie's gonads - but just barely with me dropping to my knees and making sure he stood. He did shy his butt away from the judge and refused to stand still while the judge went over him - which was something that I felt so strongly would cause us to be excused. Judge did not excuse us and we ended up with 2nd place in our class (5 dogs out there and mine was the only that was shying away from the judge). Bertie is a very correct dog and when he moves, he's correct and will catch a movement judge's eye. But that was a case where I felt pretty sheepish about the whole thing. I think that it's possible that the reason why we were not excused was because while Bertie refused to stand still for the judge, he was wiggling and doing a "I'm so sorry!!!" wiggle for the judge the whole time.

About BC's.... the really sad thing is 50% of BC's that I've met in obedience related situations are dog aggressive. The other 50% is mostly spooky or fearful dogs with some exceptions. It was a BC person who just about chewed my head off because I had my dogs on a loose lead while I chatted with a friend and they wandered too close to the BC person's dogs. They weren't close enough to visit her dog, but owner still keenly noticed my lack of attention. She grumbled about us golden people not knowing how to manage our dogs. >.<
The Border Collie breed, sadly, is full of fear reactivity. I love them, they are my heart breed, but they are a mess. I would say that greater than 50% of the BCs I've met are fear reactive towards dogs, humans or both and at least 80% resource guard. It's a shame. If you ask me, I think this came from some rather...unscrupulous...to say the least breeding of the breed in Australia and NZ and those dogs getting exported all over the world to add into conformation breeding programs. Not to say that working dogs don't have the same issues, I have just done less pedigree research because most working BCs aren't registered with the AKC and their pedigrees are a little harder to track.

It sounds like Bertie is a wonderful dog though! One slip up I think can happen, but a pattern of behavior is something to be concerned about. We have a Dalmation bitch in our handling class that is very reactive/dog aggressive and while her handler is wonderful, I think the bitch should be retired. She lunges at the other dogs and not in a playful way. I know the breed has had problems before and its unfortunate that this behavior is permitted.
 
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