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I'm aware that there are many posts regarding show dogs vs pets but I felt as though I needed to write this post to help possibly educate someone or affirm their choices.

When I began my search for a Golden Retriever puppy I had no idea the whirlwind journey it would take me on. Naively, my first instinct was to take to Google and simply search "golden retriever puppies in my area" which I would guess would be the first step for many. I was quickly bombarded by a number of "breeders" with litters of adorable puppies for sale. Looking at their sweet, little faces, I thought I had the hard decision of simply choosing a puppy. What I did not realize at the start of my search was that I was in fact not choosing a puppy but rather a breeder. Being new to the world of breeders and show dogs, I did not fully understand the terms ethical and responsible. In my head, I thought I knew what a backyard breeder was. I had imagined something similar to a puppy mill with dogs in cages and scraggly looking puppies. However some of the "breeders" I came across had websites and pages displaying cute family dogs with equally cute puppies. I did not see the harm in purchasing a puppy from one these "breeders" as after all they were "pure-bred" and "AKC". These terms were thrown at me during my enquiries as though this alone holds enough sufficiency in selecting my lifelong companion. It was not until I came across the Golden Retriever forum to simply read about puppy essentials and new puppy training that I was met with terms such as "ethical", "responsible", "health clearances". Writing this now, it seems ridiculous to me that I would even purchase a puppy without thinking about their health history. However it is a sad truth that the thought does not many a mind.

After reading some eye opening articles, I changed my search to that of ethical breeders near me. I was once again bombarded by a number of persons breeding dogs claiming to be of good health with no actual paperwork to support. The only paperwork they were willing to show me was AKC papers which I now know means a lot less than you may think. I never thought I would purchase a puppy from a breeder who shows dogs because after all, I didn't want a show dog. I simply wanted a pet to love and adore. After all, wouldn't a regular puppy love me just as much? I also thought that along with the show dog breeder came the show dog price which I was not entirely wrong about. Now in saying this, one has to be educated about what the "show dog breeder price" entails. This price tag on your puppy is not simply so the breeder can make a quick dollar. It is about testing your future puppy's parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on. It is ensuring that your future puppy's mother is supplemented with all that she needs in order to produce the healthiest litter of puppies. It is about ensuring that your puppy was bred not to be simply cute but as healthy and sound in temperament as you would want your Golden to be. After all, isn't temperament one of your main reasons for choosing this breed?

Now that I had educated myself regarding breeders and show dogs as best to my ability, I started the painful journey of finding the right breeder. The process of finding a breeder had to have been one of the most difficult things. What I did not know when I started my quest was that breeders have waiting lists. Yes. Actual waiting lists. I was shocked to say the least that most of my enquiries were met with waiting periods of one year. I could not fathom having to wait that long for a puppy. After all, we live in an age of instant gratification. I wanted to place a deposit on a puppy and I wanted to do it then and there. Again, looking back at this now, I realize how impatient and unrealistic I was being. The problem is that many people like myself, I'll call us "ignorant dog folk" do not understand the planning that goes into a litter. I still do not fully understand the complexities of planning litters while ensuring the health of sires and damns but can whole heartedly understand why breeders have such long lists.

Saying this, my search went on for a few months filled with despair, lack of hope and frustration when I was just lucky enough that a breeder I had previously contacted had one puppy become available. This breeder did not live close to me. In fact, she was a 2 hour plane ride away. Never before would I imagine going through the trouble of flying to pick up a puppy. But I knew that this breeder ticked all my boxes in the research I had done, health clearances, temperament testing etc. In this case, it would have been easy to buy the $900 puppy available on the AKC website but I knew that as a future Golden mum, I did not want to and could not contribute to the growing epidemic of irresponsible breeding of goldens. This is not to say that my little boy is guaranteed to never have a single health problem in his life but I know in my heart that he was bred with the intention of being as healthy as possible and trying to improve the breed standard.

In closing of my experience, I am grateful that I did not buy the $900 puppy. I am grateful that I did a bit of reading before choosing a puppy because he was cute. I am grateful because in fact I learned that it has nothing to do with show dogs vs pets but rather the importance of health testing and temperament.

81548113_727265964463201_8356236376223514624_n.jpg
 

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You wrote about me when we first got Noah. As Robin (Prism) said, you don't know what you don't know. We were so heart broken after the loss of our previous golden mix, and the apartment was so quiet, that I started to look for golden retriever puppies near me and found a litter, met the litter at 5 weeks old and brought him home at 6 weeks old. We didn't know that 8 weeks was when they should have legally sold them. I do think that they meant well - they also just thought that breeding their two AKC goldens was fine. In fact, there were three litters from this pairing, Noah came from litter two. I am in fact, friends with them on FB, and they are no longer breeding, and they post all the time about the hikes they take their three goldens on - very active and clearly love their dogs. But they also "didn't know what they didn't know".

We got "lucky" with Noah in that he "only" has mild hip dysplasia. His full brother from litter three had two complete hip replacements. Sadly, one of his siblings from his litter was used to breed recently. I'm sure they don't know about clearances either.

Then, I found here, and I learned just how much I didn't know. And when we were ready to add Moses to our home and heart, I had learned a lot and knew to come here to ask for recommendations, went to the Atlanta Golden Specialty, and Robin (Prism) was there and I got to meet her in person, and she kindly introduced me to several other breeders. Her kindess and generosity with her time with me solidified what I had already hoped, I wanted to work with her for our next Golden, and Moses joined our family in May of 2020!

Thank you for your post! I wish it was posted on different FB Golden groups! :)
 

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I'm aware that there are many posts regarding show dogs vs pets but I felt as though I needed to write this post to help possibly educate someone or affirm their choices.

When I began my search for a Golden Retriever puppy I had no idea the whirlwind journey it would take me on. Naively, my first instinct was to take to Google and simply search "golden retriever puppies in my area" which I would guess would be the first step for many. I was quickly bombarded by a number of "breeders" with litters of adorable puppies for sale. Looking at their sweet, little faces, I thought I had the hard decision of simply choosing a puppy. What I did not realize at the start of my search was that I was in fact not choosing a puppy but rather a breeder. Being new to the world of breeders and show dogs, I did not fully understand the terms ethical and responsible. In my head, I thought I knew what a backyard breeder was. I had imagined something similar to a puppy mill with dogs in cages and scraggly looking puppies. However some of the "breeders" I came across had websites and pages displaying cute family dogs with equally cute puppies. I did not see the harm in purchasing a puppy from one these "breeders" as after all they were "pure-bred" and "AKC". These terms were thrown at me during my enquiries as though this alone holds enough sufficiency in selecting my lifelong companion. It was not until I came across the Golden Retriever forum to simply read about puppy essentials and new puppy training that I was met with terms such as "ethical", "responsible", "health clearances". Writing this now, it seems ridiculous to me that I would even purchase a puppy without thinking about their health history. However it is a sad truth that the thought does not many a mind.

After reading some eye opening articles, I changed my search to that of ethical breeders near me. I was once again bombarded by a number of persons breeding dogs claiming to be of good health with no actual paperwork to support. The only paperwork they were willing to show me was AKC papers which I now know means a lot less than you may think. I never thought I would purchase a puppy from a breeder who shows dogs because after all, I didn't want a show dog. I simply wanted a pet to love and adore. After all, wouldn't a regular puppy love me just as much? I also thought that along with the show dog breeder came the show dog price which I was not entirely wrong about. Now in saying this, one has to be educated about what the "show dog breeder price" entails. This price tag on your puppy is not simply so the breeder can make a quick dollar. It is about testing your future puppy's parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on. It is ensuring that your future puppy's mother is supplemented with all that she needs in order to produce the healthiest litter of puppies. It is about ensuring that your puppy was bred not to be simply cute but as healthy and sound in temperament as you would want your Golden to be. After all, isn't temperament one of your main reasons for choosing this breed?

Now that I had educated myself regarding breeders and show dogs as best to my ability, I started the painful journey of finding the right breeder. The process of finding a breeder had to have been one of the most difficult things. What I did not know when I started my quest was that breeders have waiting lists. Yes. Actual waiting lists. I was shocked to say the least that most of my enquiries were met with waiting periods of one year. I could not fathom having to wait that long for a puppy. After all, we live in an age of instant gratification. I wanted to place a deposit on a puppy and I wanted to do it then and there. Again, looking back at this now, I realize how impatient and unrealistic I was being. The problem is that many people like myself, I'll call us "ignorant dog folk" do not understand the planning that goes into a litter. I still do not fully understand the complexities of planning litters while ensuring the health of sires and damns but can whole heartedly understand why breeders have such long lists.

Saying this, my search went on for a few months filled with despair, lack of hope and frustration when I was just lucky enough that a breeder I had previously contacted had one puppy become available. This breeder did not live close to me. In fact, she was a 2 hour plane ride away. Never before would I imagine going through the trouble of flying to pick up a puppy. But I knew that this breeder ticked all my boxes in the research I had done, health clearances, temperament testing etc. In this case, it would have been easy to buy the $900 puppy available on the AKC website but I knew that as a future Golden mum, I did not want to and could not contribute to the growing epidemic of irresponsible breeding of goldens. This is not to say that my little boy is guaranteed to never have a single health problem in his life but I know in my heart that he was bred with the intention of being as healthy as possible and trying to improve the breed standard.

In closing of my experience, I am grateful that I did not buy the $900 puppy. I am grateful that I did a bit of reading before choosing a puppy because he was cute. I am grateful because in fact I learned that it has nothing to do with show dogs vs pets but rather the importance of health testing and temperament.

View attachment 869064
Very well written, heartfelt, and full of important wisdom for anyone engaged in seeking a new puppy. Thank you!
 

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Kate
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Want a dog?

Start by looking for a purebred dog. And before you buy a specific breed - do your homework. Know what the dogs should look like not just as cute fuzzy little puppies - but as adults. Know what temperament they should have. Know what kind of lives you should give the dogs - especially companion breeds, but even the working breeds. Know what health problems they have and what breeders are doing to breed away from those problems.

If you do that homework, you won't fall for bad breeder...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You wrote about me when we first got Noah. As Robin (Prism) said, you don't know what you don't know. We were so heart broken after the loss of our previous golden mix, and the apartment was so quiet, that I started to look for golden retriever puppies near me and found a litter, met the litter at 5 weeks old and brought him home at 6 weeks old. We didn't know that 8 weeks was when they should have legally sold them. I do think that they meant well - they also just thought that breeding their two AKC goldens was fine. In fact, there were three litters from this pairing, Noah came from litter two. I am in fact, friends with them on FB, and they are no longer breeding, and they post all the time about the hikes they take their three goldens on - very active and clearly love their dogs. But they also "didn't know what they didn't know".

We got "lucky" with Noah in that he "only" has mild hip dysplasia. His full brother from litter three had two complete hip replacements. Sadly, one of his siblings from his litter was used to breed recently. I'm sure they don't know about clearances either.

Then, I found here, and I learned just how much I didn't know. And when we were ready to add Moses to our home and heart, I had learned a lot and knew to come here to ask for recommendations, went to the Atlanta Golden Specialty, and Robin (Prism) was there and I got to meet her in person, and she kindly introduced me to several other breeders. Her kindess and generosity with her time with me solidified what I had already hoped, I wanted to work with her for our next Golden, and Moses joined our family in May of 2020!

Thank you for your post! I wish it was posted on different FB Golden groups! :)
I know exactly what you mean! In my search, I spoke with many people who loved their dogs. Unfortunately, most of them were unaware or maybe simply chose to turn a blind eye regarding health testing. I’m definitely not an expert when it comes to the intricacies of breeding GRs but I hope my two cents can help someone make a good decision! So happy that you found this forum like me!
 
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