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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello. We found a breeder who seems to have well-behaved dogs and she seems to breed a few times a year.
We put the deposit down but aren’t reconsidering as much as just wondering what we should be asking. We’re new to this.
 

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You put down a deposit before asking questions?

What could possibly go wrong now?

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Discussion Starter #3
You put down a deposit before asking questions?

What could possibly go wrong now?

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Yeah. As stated, we are completely new to this and found a breeder with good reviews online. We put down the deposit. It is what it is. I make no apologies for not knowing what are the appropriate steps past trying to make sure they aren’t part of a mill, which they are not.
 

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Per their Facebook paige, mom has OFA certs for elbows and heart. You x-ray hips and elbows at the same time. If I'm a betting man, mom failed her hips.

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Discussion Starter #5
Per their Facebook paige, mom has OFA certs for elbows and heart. You x-ray hips and elbows at the same time. If I'm a betting man, mom failed her hips.

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So I was able to find the mother on the OFA. Heart and elbows say Normal. Hips say “mild”. Not sure what that means. And there was no OFA number attached.
 

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So I was able to find the mother on the OFA. Heart and elbows say Normal. Hips say “mild”. Not sure what that means. And there was no OFA number attached.
Mild dysplasia. You don't get an OFA when you fail hips.

Ethical breeders don't knowingly go on to breed dysplastic dogs.

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Discussion Starter #7
Mild dysplasia. You don't get an OFA when you fail hips.

Ethical breeders don't knowingly go on to breed dysplastic dogs.

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So is this identifying the hereditary likelihood (potential to pass on)? Or the actual presence of dysplasia?

I assume this means she has/will get it. And it’s likely to be passed on.
 

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Welcome! Is it possible for your deposit to be refunded? If the mom has failed hips and its indicated as 'mild' that means that the mom has mild hip dysplasia, and you should not proceed with getting a puppy from this litter as yes it can be passed on. this is not something I would be comfortable with and I encourage you to get a refund.
 

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I assume this means she has/will get it. And it’s likely to be passed on.
Yes, the mom has hip dysplasia.

Yes, her having it dramatically increases the chance her puppies will have it as this an inherited disorder.

On the heart, I am glad there is one, but based on this breeders lack of quality reputation on other tests, I would imagine that it is a Practitioner, not a Cardiologist. If that is the case, the certification is deficient because it should have been done by a Cardiologist. Other breeders with out the serious and deadly issues we have in a Goldens are allowed to use a Practitioner but for Goldens Practitioners generally do not have the skills to catch the nuance that mild versions of our deadly heart conditions present.
If it looks like this, it is a deficient heart certification.
876578


So I would say run just based on Mom’s dysplastic hips, her missing eye certification and if my assumption is correct Deficient heart. Personally, I find it appalling they advertise brags about the mom having elbow and heart OFA, but don’t disclose her dysplastic hips. It makes me feel like any other negative issues would be hidden as well.

I would also say run since there is nothing on Dad.

These are very health risky puppies.

You might find this video that educates on how to verify health certifications.
 

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Yeah. As stated, we are completely new to this and found a breeder with good reviews online. We put down the deposit. It is what it is. I make no apologies for not knowing what are the appropriate steps past trying to make sure they aren’t part of a mill, which they are not.
Welcome to the site. I am also a newly minted owner of a golden retriever, and went through many of the same things you are likely to go through. I had researched (off-and-on) golden retrievers over the course of two (2) years. I learned more about what I should have done in the month after we found a breeder/puppy than in the entirety of those two years (okay, a bit of hyperbole, but you get the idea).

First, define what you are looking for. If "price" is a main consideration, then you're looking at the wrong breed and asking for help on the wrong site. Goldens have a well-documented history of health issues, and the emphasis on OFA certifications and hip/elbow/eye/cardiac clearances by those on this forum reflects their commitment to giving a GR puppy the best chance at avoiding these issues. Not a guarantee, but "best chance". And, from my experience, that is going to mean a lot of careful research (on the part of the breeders) on health histories, "test breedings" to check for genetics, etc.

As for what you should be asking, the answer can be as complicated as you want to make it. The bare minimum is either registered names or the AKC #s for the sire/dam of the litter-in-question. With this information, you can look up on K9Data and OFA to verify clearances are in place and the dogs are of proper age to be bred. Also, K9Data will allow you to create an account and do a "test breeding" to get things like coefficient-of-inbreeding, etc. As you've already discovered, folks on this forum will also help you do some checking, provided you have registered names or AKC #s.

Beyond that, you really should do some basic Google-foo. This might not be a bad place to start. There are also many resources and threads on this site, as well.

As you may have gathered, the consensus on this forum is that you should do all this before picking a breeder, much less putting down a deposit. As others have already noted, there are health issues with at-least-one of the litter's parents, and this increases the odds that puppies from this litter will also have health issues. From my understanding, the ideal would be to go back multiple generations (min 3, desired 5-or-more?) without any health issues (i.e., all certifications in place).

Good luck...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Welcome to the site. I am also a newly minted owner of a golden retriever, and went through many of the same things you are likely to go through. I had researched (off-and-on) golden retrievers over the course of two (2) years. I learned more about what I should have done in the month after we found a breeder/puppy than in the entirety of those two years (okay, a bit of hyperbole, but you get the idea).

First, define what you are looking for. If "price" is a main consideration, then you're looking at the wrong breed and asking for help on the wrong site. Goldens have a well-documented history of health issues, and the emphasis on OFA certifications and hip/elbow/eye/cardiac clearances by those on this forum reflects their commitment to giving a GR puppy the best chance at avoiding these issues. Not a guarantee, but "best chance". And, from my experience, that is going to mean a lot of careful research (on the part of the breeders) on health histories, "test breedings" to check for genetics, etc.

As for what you should be asking, the answer can be as complicated as you want to make it. The bare minimum is either registered names or the AKC #s for the sire/dam of the litter-in-question. With this information, you can look up on K9Data and OFA to verify clearances are in place and the dogs are of proper age to be bred. Also, K9Data will allow you to create an account and do a "test breeding" to get things like coefficient-of-inbreeding, etc. As you've already discovered, folks on this forum will also help you do some checking, provided you have registered names or AKC #s.

Beyond that, you really should do some basic Google-foo. This might not be a bad place to start. There are also many resources and threads on this site, as well.

As you may have gathered, the consensus on this forum is that you should do all this before picking a breeder, much less putting down a deposit. As others have already noted, there are health issues with at-least-one of the litter's parents, and this increases the odds that puppies from this litter will also have health issues. From my understanding, the ideal would be to go back multiple generations (min 3, desired 5-or-more?) without any health issues (i.e., all certifications in place).

Good luck...
I appreciate the welcome!
Price isn’t an issue.
I guess maybe it’s just that we spent the better part of a year looking up and meeting with breeders and we finally found one that had a good reputation and seemed to breed because she cared.
And then to find out the OFA stuff isn’t up to speed. It’s a little sad. And that’s on us, I get that. We were so concerned with making sure the puppies and their parents were well cared for, that we didn’t take genetics into account.

But also, I guess maybe I just struggle with the genetics in the first place. If everything else is in order and this person does good by her dogs, and the people that have adopted from her (who we interviewed) all have great things to say, is a dog with good elbows, a good heart (maybe not cardiologist certified) and a bum hip really the deciding factor to eliminate them from consideration?

I mean this puppy is likely going to have hip dysplasia anyways based on breed and size. Does this really, really make that much of a difference?

That’s what I struggle with. I don’t know the answer. But I’m not experienced in this. I come from a family of rescuers. We rarely had to deal with genetics.
 

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I'm relatively knew to this, but presence of HD doesn't automatically mean it will be passed on. I'm guessing some pedigrees can have something like 90-95% pass rates in 5 generations, some have closer to 75% it's relative risk, not guaranteed, but if you look at a litter of 10 pups, you may be looking at 2-3 that will develop HD. Are you risk taker?

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It’s more of an ethics issue for many people on this forum. Any dog with hip dysplasia shouldn’t be bred. Why would we want to perpetuate that issue in our breed? There are so many breeders who only breed dogs worthy of being bred, free of genetic and physical issues. There IS an increase in the risk of dysplasia when parents are not cleared and are affected. I would HIGHLY doubt that the pedigree behind this puppy is loaded with clearances....so totally an unknown. Why would anyone want to support a breeder who knowingly is breeding a dog with dysplasia. It is not ethical.
 

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I mean this puppy is likely going to have hip dysplasia anyways based on breed and size. Does this really, really make that much of a difference?

That’s what I struggle with. I don’t know the answer.
Is dysplasia a risk in Goldens? Absolutly, and that is why breeders test. We have been testing Golden for Hip dysplasia for decades now and since it is not a simple recessive gene issue we have made Substantial improvements in the risk factor by testing dogs. Is every Goladen bound to have hip dysplasia? No. Based on OFA testing results it is about 20% Risk on average. Now those are OFA tested dogs so the numbers are very likely skewed lower since the chances are very severely dysplastic dogs may not have been submitted since diagnosis is easy for severe dysplasia. Also the source of dogs tested is very likely skewed to responsibly bred dogs who are less likely to produce this issue.

876596


Lets use Elbows to see if we can give you more risk context. From OFA:

”Example 1: Examination of the OFA database reveals the following mating probability results for 13,151 breeding pairs of dogs with known elbow status:
Normal Elbows x Normal Elbows = 12.2% offspring affected with ED
Normal Elbows x Dysplastic Elbows = 26.1% – 31.3% offspring affected with ED
Dysplastic Elbows x Dysplastic Elbows = 41.5% offspring affected with ED“


So when parent dogs with Elbow Dysplasia are bred, we see a 14 - 30% increase in affected offspring.

You have to decide if appropriate animal care (which honestly should not be hard to find) and whatever you deemed as a good reputation out weighs the actual bad reputation she is showing with her actions. Remember even the worst puppy mills have happy buyers who brag and anyone trying to sell you something has a motive to turn on the charm.
 

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You can bet if the bitch is dysplastic and the breeder is breeding anyway, she doesn't have the good reputation you think she does, OP. It's way too big a risk for any ethical breeder to take.
 

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You can bet if the bitch is dysplastic and the breeder is breeding anyway, she doesn't have the good reputation you think she does, OP. It's way too big a risk for any ethical breeder to take.
At least it's not a puppy mill, right?

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I guess maybe it’s just that we spent the better part of a year looking up and meeting with breeders and we finally found one that had a good reputation and seemed to breed because she cared.
And then to find out the OFA stuff isn’t up to speed. It’s a little sad. And that’s on us, I get that. We were so concerned with making sure the puppies and their parents were well cared for, that we didn’t take genetics into account.
Welcome to the club. There are many people who are "nice people". They are friendly, their dogs seem well-cared for, etc. The comments are not saying they're not "nice people". Some "don't get it". Others "don't care as much". The folks on these forums tend to both "get it" and "care greatly".

As a slightly-less-invested person (owner of pet/companion vice a hobby breeder with significant personal investment in the topic), sometimes some of the folks can come across as a bit over-the-top (my words and perception, not what I believe to be reality). There are reasons for that, but they're all rooted in "the right thing".

But also, I guess maybe I just struggle with the genetics in the first place. If everything else is in order and this person does good by her dogs, and the people that have adopted from her (who we interviewed) all have great things to say, is a dog with good elbows, a good heart (maybe not cardiologist certified) and a bum hip really the deciding factor to eliminate them from consideration?

I mean this puppy is likely going to have hip dysplasia anyways based on breed and size. Does this really, really make that much of a difference?
When I chose to not go with a breeder, it wasn't about whether that specific puppy was going to have health issues, or not. It was about "do I want to encourage a breeder to continue breeding puppies that have a higher-than-necessary risk of health issues?" I don't, and I chose to give my money to a breeder who was more conscientious about not breeding dogs that did not have a solid health background.

For our dog, I was able to go online (at OFA's website) and see certifications going back multiple generations. Where I did not understand and do enough checking was on cardiac certifications, as the breeder we chose does not do the recommended certifications by cardiologists using echocardiograms, but uses veterinarians and stethoscopes. In short, after two (2) years of online research, and then finding out about OFAs and certifications and the GRCA Code of Ethics, I "did okay"...but whiffed it on the cardiac certifications.

And, lest I come across as too altruistic, I also wanted to make sure I had the best chance at a pet/companion that would be around for as-long-as-possible, whilst healthy-as-possible. Health issues for goldens can be expensive and traumatic for the owners (just search for dysplasia or cancer on this forum). While I have a decent pet insurance, I'm hoping not to have to use it. Getting a puppy with a strong, verifiable health history increases my odds of dodging health issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So I have begun looking at our back up breeder who was very willing to provide the dam and sire names. I looked them up.

The sire looks good but I don’t know how to check his family. Lots of records tho.

The dam only has hips and elbow. Eyes were just done. Lots of family records too. No heart though.

How do I approach this now? How do I check family lineage. Do I make a big deal
About no Heart?

This one seems leaps and bounds better than the last. But apparently there are still issues?
 

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So I have begun looking at our back up breeder who was very willing to provide the dam and sire names. I looked them up.

The sire looks good but I don’t know how to check his family. Lots of records tho.

The dam only has hips and elbow. Eyes were just done. Lots of family records too. No heart though.

How do I approach this now? How do I check family lineage. Do I make a big deal
About no Heart?

This one seems leaps and bounds better than the last. But apparently there are still issues?
If you did the check on OFA, you can click on "vertical history" (see below), and it will let you review certifications (by each category) going back three generations. Also, if you have the AKC #s for the dam and sire, there are many folks who'd be willing to give you an opinion on the prospects for the litter.

How big a deal you make out of any issue/concern is your choice. If I had it to do over again, I'd be more selective, I would also have checked K9Data to see if there was any information on longevity and cause-of-death for prior generations. But, as a consumer, my perspective is that you're making a better-informed-decision, and that's always "a good thing".

Add note: I have learned that, if all the other certifications are present, then a missing certification may be a "failed certification", as OFA doesn't require posting of failed certifications. So, if a certification is missing, it's definitely worth a follow-on discussion (my opinion).

876601
 

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The video tutorial I posted earlier should help you confidence but if you need a double check you can post the potential parents registration names here or PM them to me if you don’t want it public.

You can ask the breeder about the heart testing. It is not ideal but some people drop the ball at the 5 yard line because they fail to send in the form and a few dollars to OFA to have it recorded. If they provide you a testing form not a certification, it is up you have to research if the vet was a cardiologist and if the test form shows normal results. OFA literally today announced they are strengthening their Advance Cardiac program by requiring Echocardiograms As of 10/1/2020. Why is it important to note that? OFA has enough concern that even trained Cardiologist are missing heat diseases.

Look up sub aortic stenosis and decide for your self if you are willing to take the risk. As someone who mover to Echos a couple of years ago, I am not with a disease that can be a young dog killer and is the most prevalent heat disease in the breed. Your mileage my vary.
 
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