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Maxwell & Ruby's PR Agent
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Unfortunately that doesn't exist. If it did I would be the first one lining up to buy it!

Honestly, even hanging around doesn't really get you there. You have to do your homework so that breeders know you aren't just looking for the hot gossip when asking about pedigrees. Most will only start to help you once they realize you are trying to learn and use the knowledge you have to help the breed, versus trying to dig up dirt to spread around. I have a couple people who are very honest with me, since I'm still a total newbie to all of this, and I'm lucky they are so honest and willing to help.
Yeah, no taste for the drama here.

Join the GRCA affiliate club in your area. Go to every meeting. Help out at every event. Attach yourself to the breeders in the club who work with the lines you find yourself drawn to, and who produce consistent typey puppies. If you consistently find your eye drawn to dogs who have a certain kennel as the basis of their pedigree, then you need to seek that person's mentorship--but they will not likely be willing to give it unless they see through the work you are doing that you are serious and committed! Some will not be as willing to talk to new people as others, so you have to keep working at it until you find someone whose dogs you like, and whose ethics you respect. If the breeder of your own dog is willing to guide you, (and they fit those descriptors!) that is a good place to start as well. I would start by asking what they LIKE about those key dogs in the pedigree, and what they bring to the mix. Talking on strengths is always a good place to start. Then when show commitment, people will be more willing to discuss the harder stuff. Most are not willing to discuss this right off the bat because of some of the finger-pointing and witch-hunting that goes on (which you can sometimes see in a thread where someone has a puppy with a problem, and flames the breeder for it).
Great advice, thank you!

Become a sponge. :) Set up at shows with your club buddies, breeders, and mentor. Bring them food and talk dogs. Oh, and start clicking around k9data and learn how the influential dogs are related. Lots of big dogs that were very influential to the breed were half siblings, littermates, etc and you need to be able to pick up on these things. I think "knowing your lines" also means knowing how the "big" dogs in the breeds' history fit together, how they are related, etc. and where their appear in your pedigrees. Knowing the history of the breed and some of the older dogs of influence will help you more about your dog and the 'lines' they come from.


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Thank you!

Robert~ Have you joined our local club? DFW Metro Golden Retriever Club. I joined about a year and half ago. There are some wonderful long time breeders in our club, and I've also thoroughly enjoyed talking to breeders long distance too, that I've been drawn to. I am trying to learn as much as I can from many different sources, yet it's so nice to have some good breed friends local too.

If you are on FB, there are some great breed groups on there too. There are people from all over the world sharing thoughts, ideas & tips ~ all Golden related. One is called 'Golden Retriever Discussion Group'. It can be a time sucker, lol, but it really is nice having so many resources out there to learn from.
No I haven't yet. I need to do so, but we haven't been allowed in public (Maxwell and I) until just a couple weeks ago. Actually, if you ask my wife, we probably still aren't. :D

I'm kind of nervous about joining. I'm sure they're all very nice people, but my Maxwell comes from a kennel that might be controversial among the old guard. Pure politics. :( Just not looking forward to the inevitable conversations, LOL!
 

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Shelly, an amazing, informative post. Thanks so much.
Regarding the Faera dogs, people have often come up to me at breed shows and asked me if Tito is a Faera golden. They do have a unique style, and people who have been around goldens for a long time seem to recognize them. At one show I was just tickled beyond words when I met Rhonda Hovan and she asked me if he was "in the family".
He does have a lot of Faera dogs on both sides of his pedigree, including both Starlight and Trio.
Could you (or others) describe the distinctive Faera "look" a little more? My Willow has several prominent Faera dogs in her background, and I'm curious to see if she fits the mold. For the curious, there are tons of pictures of her here on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/willow.somin?fref=ts
 

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Maxwell & Ruby's PR Agent
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I see big time similarities between these dogs. If I had to pick odd ones out, I'd say that Puppy Kidd and Be a Star At GoldenArmy were the ones furthest from the Faera type? Would you agree?
 

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Kidd was a very early dog in the program, but is behind most Faera dogs since then. With Starlight, I would say it is a bit of an illusion created by the angle the picture is taken on--his outline is very much like the other boys. He is darker than some of the others, but his outline and head characteristics are very similar.
 

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Kidd was a very early dog in the program, but is behind most Faera dogs since then. With Starlight, I would say it is a bit of an illusion created by the angle the picture is taken on--his outline is very much like the other boys. He is darker than some of the others, but his outline and head characteristics are very similar.
It makes sense that Kidd looks a little different.

To me Starlight's neck sloping into his withers and shoulders isn't quite the same. But it may very well be the angle as you said. He definitely has the head though.
 

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Off topic I am sure....

A pedigree can start off pretty darn good and within a few generations be ruined by misbreeding and poor management.

Buddy has well known kennels 5 generations back yet he ended up coming from Amish County, PA.- No doubt a puppy mill of sorts. Five generation pedigree: GOLDWIN's Buddy Got Wiser CGC

Lucky also has well known kennels within 5 generations of him but he was well over standard for height and weight (120 pounds) Five generation pedigree: Sir Lucky Goldwin of Cold Springs
 

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In each of those cases there is only one really well known line present. Buddy has dogs from one well known field line, and the CHs way back on the sire side are not from a well known kennel. Lucky has the same dog back in both parents, but the rest of the pedigree is so disparate and dilute that there would not really be predictability there.

It does demonstrate however why so many good breeders are so reluctant to sell a dog on full registration. A dog can end up in the hands of someone who allows it to be used by people who should not be breeding, and any evidence of their hard work disappears in a few generations. A well developed, good performing line can quickly be negated by indiscriminate breeding done without regard to phenotype or genotype.
 

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In each of those cases the is only one really well known line present. Buddy has dogs from one well known field line, and the CHs way back on the sire side are not from a well known kennel. Lucky has the same dog back in both parents, but the rest of the pedigree is so disparate and dilute that there would not really be predictability there.

It does demonstrate however why so many good breeders are so reluctant to sell a dog on full registration. A dog can end up in the hands of someone who allows it to be used by people who should not be breeding, and any evidence of their hard work disappears in a few gelatinous. A well developed, good performing line can quickly be negated by indiscriminate breeding done without regard to phenotype or genotype.
I completely agree with your assessment on both! Lucky never fathered a litter. Buddy to my knowledge never fathered a litter. Both were neutered.

People always say it was a shame I neutered them but they were not bred quality and their pedigrees definitely were not respectable!

I know of a breeder local to me that bred Lucky's 1/2 sister several times and then bred though pups with the same shotie pedigree and charges $1500/ puppy.
 

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I am also just gaining familiarity with using k9data.com and trying to learn to understand pedigrees. I'm not sure if I am understanding, though. What would the difference in a dog's pedigree look like on k9data.com if the lineage involves linebreeding versus inbreeding versus outcrossing?
 

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Ok, now this makes sense too. So, there are probably a few influential lines in Bella's pedigree (simply using her as an example), and not ALL the kennels are (key word) 'established' lines bred over time in a very planned and executed breeding program. Hmmm....

Could one say that because there are so many other non-established lines, say in Bella's pedigree, that the established lines have been diluted...and possible quite diluted, to the point she doesn't really have any line left? She's a mish-mash versus having any true line? (Please....I hope no one takes offense to this verbiage ~ I just lack knowledge to use any other. I don't want to look like I am picking on my own girl either... I love her to the moon and back, but she is my little 'case study') :eek:
I have this problem in considering dogs with whom to breed Lush. Even though there are many lauded dually titled dogs I admire in their own rights, it is too easy to create an unpredictable mishmash by completely outcrossing her into another line(s).

While I don't want to inbreed her bc I worry about about one particular dog in her pedigree( like breed her to her own brother - the most extreme of inbreeding, or back to her own son), it would make for more sense to me to breed her to her own grandfather Hobo bc he is relatively a clean health dog with extraordinary structure and temperament than breed her outcross to a dog I both don't know enough about the pedigree and also has nothing in common with my bitch. Hobo brings usually a lot of energy to pups, so I would know what kind of homes I would neeed- not couch potatoes! I would never dare actually do such a close breeding as Hobo in real life, but master breeders are able to use this as a tool for the good. However, it is not a tool for someone like me who is less experienced, as it could all go so bad so fast.

I could make a different choice and breed her right to her great Grampa Faera's Starlight or to a Star son or grandson, tapping into a whole different line with some huge strengths and some concerns too. My dogs Tally and Copley are Faera line dogs, and I know a whole lot about Star and some specific Star sons - benefits to Lush puppies and risks too. These need to be weighed out, and that is where good judgment and good information is key.


Since the line I love in Lush is the Tuxedo line, that is why I chose Laurell's Goin'Great Guns last time- he touches on it loosely and has everything I wanted structurally and in terms of temperament. That was an easy choice bc there were lots of benefits but fewers risks given her specific pedigree.

I do not really think type to type breedings could work for me and Lush, bc she herself was one outcross from a set line to bring in Hobo.


The temptation of the novice is to see bling ( big titles) and not see the mish mash, so it is useful and educational that you brought up the concept.
 

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Quar, Bainin, Whirly, Expo, Jake, Yogi, Sabre are all common in a lot of versatile pedigrees (and mostly connected!) One who I think does not get mentioned as much as some is Strad (Jazzmin Pebwin's Xtravaganz)--he is my Win's grandfather, and also behind most of the Morningstar Goldens. Colabaugh has also produced some very good looking, good working dogs. Buzz is another neat dog (Honeybee's Swarm Warning).
The key is to know what health risks each brings to the table along with strengths so you do not blindly double or triple up on them. I love one of those dogs, but my experienced breeder was able to tell me hey, you would be doubling up on the risk od a particular eye problem for example and for another the risk of high tails (not as big a deal). It is so much more than the dog- a jigsaw puzzle of strengths and risks. I grew up with Quar kids and grandkids, so that is the one dog in the list I know well myself.
 

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I think it really depends as far as what the bitch will produce and if they type well together. Remi is outcrossed and I bred her to Fisher for an outcross and all my puppies are very similar. There is nothing in Remi's pedigree that I could or want to line breed on. SO, I will be outcrossing her and then going closer for the next generation, if everything turns out.
 

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:doh: Not only hard for the puppy producers but for the puppy buyers too. I'm starting to feel the more I know the harder it gets. Temperament, structure, genetics, biddable, drive,....lions, tigers, and bears. Friends keep telling me to keep learning and asking questions and when the right litter comes along I will know it. I hope they're right or Winter is going to be a only dog for a long time.
 

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:doh: Not only hard for the puppy producers but for the puppy buyers too. I'm starting to feel the more I know the harder it gets. Temperament, structure, genetics, biddable, drive,....lions, tigers, and bears. Friends keep telling me to keep learning and asking questions and when the right litter comes along I will know it. I hope they're right or Winter is going to be a only dog for a long time.
I think it is true the more you know the harder it is:)! There is also a quotient of mystery in a breeding no matter how careful, and the simple fact that dogs are living beings and even that goldens have many health risks. Even in a gorgeous well-thought out breeding, maybe there are no show pups or maybe the fire is there on paper but no FCs.

I had a golden who should not have had severe ED. Her parents, grandparents, and greats had nice clearances, but several descending in her litter and her cousins and nephews etc had it, and her mom was eventually spayed. Frustrating for everyone- as truly all was contientious and careful, but they still had it.

On the flipside, people argue on behalf of backyard breeders bc by the coin toss they have a healthy dog- just lucked out and then they generalize that.


In response though to the above post that the more we know the harder it can be to pull the trigger and choose a pup or stud dog, I think it helps to make peace with the idea there is going to be risk, but usually if a dog doesnt pass a clearance or has an issue, it isnt life threatening( it can be) and a new normal comes, maybe with reigned in hopes for the dog, but still a loved and loving life.

My golden Finn had prelims Hips excellent elbows normal, eyes and heart both clear. His mom lived to be 15 and his dad started his Master Hunter title at age 9 and finished at age 10. Finn has idiopathic epilepsy, and his great, great,great grandfather had it too severely. When Finn was diagnosed, it was like the world was ending I was so panicked. Over time though, it normalized, we learned to deal very nicely with it, and Finn is doing amazing as an active happy veteran. I would rather have Finn with his epilepsy, than another dog without it. Finn didnt win in the genetic roulette, but the great majority of the dogs in his "line" are healthy and longlived, so I made peace that everyone did their bests, but Finn still has this problem that represents the vast minority and a kind of unlikely wildcard. He still the bestest dog.
 

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The key is to know what health risks each brings to the table along with strengths so you do not blindly double or triple up on them. I love one of those dogs, but my experienced breeder was able to tell me hey, you would be doubling up on the risk od a particular eye problem for example and for another the risk of high tails (not as big a deal). It is so much more than the dog- a jigsaw puzzle of strengths and risks. I grew up with Quar kids and grandkids, so that is the one dog in the list I know well myself.
Yes it always a balancing act. If the eye issue dog is the same one as I am thinking, it is something I have had to deal with as that dog is grandsire to one of my dogs. And with another of those versatile producers I have in my lines allergies can be an issue if you get too tight on him. I did a breeding to add an injection of water courage an oomph for field work, knowing that there are bite issues with one of the dogs in the sire's pedigree--so to build on that breeding, I now have to watch for that dog in breeding the offspring. It is always that risk-reward scenario. I at this point am just thankful that the core of my breeding program does not have PU connections as I have several friends who have had their programs now wiped out, and are having to start over, and are just shaking their heads watching other people continue to linebreed on the same stuff even knowing what has happened. That takes some wilful ignorance.
 

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I think it is true the more you know the harder it is:)! There is also a quotient of mystery in a breeding no matter how careful, and the simple fact that dogs are living beings and even that goldens have many health risks. Even in a gorgeous well-thought out breeding, maybe there are no show pups or maybe the fire is there on paper but no FCs.

I had a golden who should not have had severe ED. Her parents, grandparents, and greats had nice clearances, but several descending in her litter and her cousins and nephews etc had it, and her mom was eventually spayed. Frustrating for everyone- as truly all was contientious and careful, but they still had it.

On the flipside, people argue on behalf of backyard breeders bc by the coin toss they have a healthy dog- just lucked out and then they generalize that.


In response though to the above post that the more we know the harder it can be to pull the trigger and choose a pup or stud dog, I think it helps to make peace with the idea there is going to be risk, but usually if a dog doesnt pass a clearance or has an issue, it isnt life threatening( it can be) and a new normal comes, maybe with reigned in hopes for the dog, but still a loved and loving life.

My golden Finn had prelims Hips excellent elbows normal, eyes and heart both clear. His mom lived to be 15 and his dad started his Master Hunter title at age 9 and finished at age 10. Finn has idiopathic epilepsy, and his great, great,great grandfather had it too severely. When Finn was diagnosed, it was like the world was ending I was so panicked. Over time though, it normalized, we learned to deal very nicely with it, and Finn is doing amazing as an active happy veteran. I would rather have Finn with his epilepsy, than another dog without it. Finn didnt win in the genetic roulette, but the great majority of the dogs in his "line" are healthy and longlived, so I made peace that everyone did their bests, but Finn still has this problem that represents the vast minority and a kind of unlikely wildcard. He still the bestest dog.
Yes it always a balancing act. If the eye issue dog is the same one as I am thinking, it is something I have had to deal with as that dog is grandsire to one of my dogs. And with another of those versatile producers I have in my lines allergies can be an issue if you get too tight on him. I did a breeding to add an injection of water courage an oomph for field work, knowing that there are bite issues with one of the dogs in the sire's pedigree--so to build on that breeding, I now have to watch for that dog in breeding the offspring. It is always that risk-reward scenario. I at this point am just thankful that the core of my breeding program does not have PU connections as I have several friends who have had their programs now wiped out, and are having to start over, and are just shaking their heads watching other people continue to linebreed on the same stuff even knowing what has happened. That takes some wilful ignorance.

I'm trying to learn as much as I can. However, it does come down to finding a breeder (or two) who is breeding the kind Golden I want, with a program that makes sense to me. I think my worrying right now is part of my process in figuring out just what it is I'm looking for and who has it. Once puppy comes home they're here to stay whether we play the dog games or not.
A favorite pastime right now is window shopping litter announcements. I try and figure out what they are going for with the breeding, straight up line breeding, trying to bring a dog farther back forward, upping the performance, if not line is it type to type. I love when the breeder does a little write up about what they are hoping to produce, sometimes I try to read between the lines. I also like it when they show pictures of the dogs wet. I feel I can get a better look at them.

Another thing I think about is where I would be considered on the litter as opposed to other people getting a puppy. I don't want to pick my puppy, but I do want that MH. :) If there are a lot of experienced people waiting for puppies too would I get the one that would be a good match for me? Is this a crazy concern?
Can I ask a breeder where I'm on the litter, would they tell me if they didn't think any of the puppies would work for me once they had been evaluated, could I walk away from a puppy on the ground? Too much time on my hands I better go train the dog at me feet.
 

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I'm trying to learn as much as I can. However, it does come down to finding a breeder (or two) who is breeding the kind Golden I want, with a program that makes sense to me. I think my worrying right now is part of my process in figuring out just what it is I'm looking for and who has it. Once puppy comes home they're here to stay whether we play the dog games or not.
A favorite pastime right now is window shopping litter announcements. I try and figure out what they are going for with the breeding, straight up line breeding, trying to bring a dog farther back forward, upping the performance, if not line is it type to type. I love when the breeder does a little write up about what they are hoping to produce, sometimes I try to read between the lines. I also like it when they show pictures of the dogs wet. I feel I can get a better look at them.

Another thing I think about is where I would be considered on the litter as opposed to other people getting a puppy. I don't want to pick my puppy, but I do want that MH. :) If there are a lot of experienced people waiting for puppies too would I get the one that would be a good match for me? Is this a crazy concern?
Can I ask a breeder where I'm on the litter, would they tell me if they didn't think any of the puppies would work for me once they had been evaluated, could I walk away from a puppy on the ground? Too much time on my hands I better go train the dog at me feet.
That is key in looking for the sort of dog you want--patience and waiting for the right litter! I too often see people jump at a litter that is ready now because they just do not want to wait, and they end up compromising key things they wanted. I think the breeders producing the kind of dog you are after look to have a variety of homes lined up as there tends to be some range of personalities, and that is why the questionnaires tend to be so detailed, and their litter evaluation processes more in depth as well.
 
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