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Hello everyone,

I have been researching and looking up how to find an ethical breeder and finding referrals through the thoughtful users on this website. However, I have not personally been involved in getting a golden myself. I don't know what is a red flag (when it comes to deposits and/or agreements). I've read so much about what to look out for when finding a breeder and what kind of morals they have when breeding pups but not much is said about how these exchanges go. Perhaps I haven't been looking in the right place but what is "acceptable" for deposits and what is something to look out for when signing the agreement papers? I've seen some breeders ask for XX amount of dollars as a non-refundable deposit and I am not sure if that's normal. I am willing to deposit but I don't want to fall victim to that kind of business.

Also, I am based in California and I have been looking for breeders in Southern California and nearby states like Arizona. (Thank you DanaRuns for that great list btw). As much as I am grateful for someone to take the time to get to know the local breeders, I would like to kindly ask if anyone has information on something more recent (since the original list was from 2013/2014). I would love to have a golden in my life within the next 1-2 years and I would 100% patiently wait for the perfect pup for me. Also, please be gentle if I said something naive. I'm asking for advice and I don't want to come off as rude. Thank you all!
 

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When I was looking for a puppy in 2020, I also worked off of Dana’s list- for the most part it is still pretty up to date. There were maybe a few that I found that were not still breeding, or were breeding very infrequently, but otherwise I found that the others still were, even if their websites were not up to date. Check Facebook pages, it is sometimes easier to post updates there instead of a website.
Dana herself is an ethical and reputable breeder, so for her to put a list together (making note of the ones she recommends vs recommends against, of course) of other ethical and reputable breeders is a good sign that these aren’t the types of “breeders” who are in it for the money and will take in 10 deposits when they know they’ll only have 5 puppies. In my experience I found that the breeders on Dana’s list typically don’t ask for a deposit until they can guarantee you a puppy. Once they know how many puppies are born and can guarantee you a pup, then it becomes non-refundable should something make you back out before you pick up the pup. If I recall correctly, I think I saw deposits ranging from $500-$800 across California last year.
 

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Here is the SoCal Breeder list-


You can also contact the area GR Club for a Breeder Referral-

 

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Kristy
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Don't worry about the list being older, you want a breeder who has been around longer than a minute. I suspect Dana updates it, she's good about things like that. I would read books, read the Golden Retriever Club of America website, read through old threads here on how to find a breeder - even the ones several years old and not in your area. You can learn SO much by seeing other people's questions and the responses they receive. Also check your library for books, they can probably order them for you if they don't have them on the shelf. You can start reading puppy training books and dog behavior books this year - there are great lists on this forum. Research obedience training clubs and vets. These are things that can help pass the time because the waiting is hard.

Good breeders don't take deposit money before puppies are born. You'll be on a list but it's not a guarantee you get a puppy. I would suggest you also find a back up plan and talk to a second breeder about their plans and list. It happens that a breeding doesn't take or there aren't enough puppies born or sadly a few or lost - more often than you'd think. It is good to have a second wait list just in case. Ask the breeder up front when they want the deposit and how much to plan on - also how they communicate with their wait list - do they email, have a facebook group etc. Communication on when the breeding takes place and pregnancy is confirmed is nice. Breeders are just people and some are better at communicating than others. Some forget how hard it is to wait and will be sporadic with photos, some will post puppy photos after they're born almost every day, others only once a week and others , well it's like pulling teeth. It's hard to remember they are busy people with lives and families and chores, work, other activities it can help to keep that in mind throughout the process.

When you put a deposit on a puppy who is born, you give the second wait list notice that they can take you off and give someone else the spot. Then you start shopping :) Lots of good threads about lists of things to buy here on the forum.

It's a long process and hard to not get frustrated and want to consider compromising on health clearances, but don't cave. A good breeder is worth the wait and so is the puppy.
 
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