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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Let's face it, there are far more people who want to buy a well-bred Golden puppy than there are well-bred Golden puppies available. I read here all the time stories of people frustrated because they've searched everywhere and aren't getting a well-bred puppy, even though they are willing to wait, to be put on a list. I read other stories of people who want a well-bred puppy right now, and they come here looking for one, frustrated that they can't find one.

So, what do you do if you've searched far and wide for a well-bred puppy and either there are simply none available, or the ones that are available are always already taken? What do you do then?

I suspect that this is the experience of a lot of people who come here, and we just never hear from them again. I'd like to know what people actually do.
 

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Not an expert but there are different reasons why someone wants a dog. One reason is to fill a hole in the family. If you are unable to fill the hole one way, find a different way. Example, my daughter and her husband were unable to have a child, so they adopted.

I’ve had dogs almost all of my life. Most were mutts. The last 3 were Goldens. Cheyenne, our first, was definitely from a backyard breeder who was found the way we had almost always found a dog - through the classifieds in the daily newspaper. She lived 14 years and only had some allergies. Piper, our second, was a stray who came to us when Cheyenne was about 7 or 8. No collar, tattoos or chips. She led a healthy life for 12 years and passed, most likely from some type of cancer. When she passed she left such a huge hole. It had been about 20 years since we had not had a fur baby and, for me, it was unnatural and almost unbearable. I needed a dog in my life. Still did not know about clearances as I didn’t find GRF until after we got Ginger. Went to the AKC and found what I would call a hobby breeder who had pups. Ginger is 6 now and a healthy, well behaved member of our family.

At my age, I doubt there will ever be another puppy and probably not another dog. But should I feel that incredible emptiness again, I would fill it the best way I could.
 

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Most people (like me) probably bought from a BYB that didn't have clearances on their female. I think you're right that most people just don't stick around on the forum and talk about it. I stuck around, talked about it and tried to offer what I thought was helpful advice on how to try to find (what I considered) a less bad BYB. And man did I get flamed. Lol. :) That's ok though. I understand why. By "less bad" BYB I meant a breeder that does not breed frequently, always keeps a puppy themselves (or for a family member) and has a good word of mouth record from local vets that have seen a lot of their dogs over the years. However, I now agree that being a small time unsophisticated breeder isn't a good enough excuse for breeding a dog w/out full clearances because clearances are inexpensive and easy to do. But I do still honestly think that simple ignorance does play a large role in why a lot of BYBs don't get clearances done.

I wish there was a good way for the GRCA to work w/ the AKC to find out who's bred in the last three or four years and do outreach to those small time BYBs (and the general puppy buying public) to help educate them on the importance and affordability of doing clearances. I also wish there was clear data available on how puppies fare if their parents did not have clearances vs those that did. If I ever become super rich, I'll fund the study and then get a marketing firm to come up w/ a good meme that includes the data to raise awareness.

I also think there are a few factors involved in why a lot of puppy people don't know about so aren't demanding better standards from breeders. When I was a kid (in the 90s) if you were getting a purebred dog you went to the pet store in the mall, if you were ok w/ getting a mutt you went to the pound. For me and I suspect a lot of people, this resulted in absolutely no experience w/ "breeders" of any type. Second, almost everyone I know personally (friends, workmates etc) are adopt don't shop people. They didn't have any advice on how to go about buying a dog because they've never done it. I eventually got a word of mouth referral through a friend of a friend but that was it.

My decision to go w/ a BYB wasn't purely driven by impatience although it was a factor. It was really more about my frustration at hitting what seemed to be a lot of no's and feeling like I was being judged unworthy (no litters planned, no puppies available, fill out this 2 page questionnaire, "have you ever had a Golden? No? Hhhmmm.. and your yard isn't fenced? Well, that's not good.") Although again now I understand that there's a supply and demand imbalance so well-bred litters are spoken for early and anyone w/ a brain and a heart that is breeding their Golden is going to do everything they can to ensure those babies are going to good homes. I don't regret getting Luna because she's the best dog ever as far as I can see. But I would sleep better if I knew that her breeder had done everything possible to make sure she had the best chances at a healthy life.
 

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I wish there was a good way for the GRCA to work w/ the AKC to find out who's bred in the last three or four years and do outreach to those small time BYBs (and the general puppy buying public) to help educate them on the importance and affordability of doing clearances. I also wish there was clear data available on how puppies fare if their parents did not have clearances vs those that did. If I ever become super rich, I'll fund the study and then get a marketing firm to come up w/ a good meme that includes the data to raise awareness.
IME, the BYB simply DOES NOT CARE. They see the dogs as a money maker. Why put more money into them then absolutely necessary? These are the same people who would rather wait on a stuck pup or labor that isn't progress, increasing risk to the mom or pups than pay for a c-section. And if you have a LARGE program, going from none to core four clearances on all breeding stock won't be cheap.

I just have the one dog and even with clinics I'm looking at a nice chunk of change. $240 for echo cardiac clearance $50 for OFA eyes (those are clinic prices). I haven't priced out the hips or elbows but based on x-ray prices at my vet assuming 1 view of hips and 1 view of elbows (but I think elbows might be 2) that would cost me about $300 at my vet without sedation. Plus OFA fees ($40 for hips and elbows if submitted together + $12 for eyes + $15 for heart) that's $657 right there for one dog. The bybs I've come across either have a bunch of dogs and think clearances don't matter and are cost prohibitive or they are small time (either their own dog that they got pregnant, or they own both the bitch and the stud) and think it's silly to do clearances cause the dogs are 'clearly healthy'.

It's like talking to a brick wall 90% of the time. So if you find someone who falls into that 10% that didn't know better and wants to learn and do better... you HELP THEM. But most irresponsible breeders don't fall in that lot b/c they think those of us who support reputable breeders are snobs into fancy pageantry and feeling superior and are keyboard warriors. *shrugs* I get similar opinions in basic manners class over my heads up heeling vs pet owners who just want a dog that behaves. They don't see the point in working the class cause they don't think it applies to them. Why are we learning heeling if we're never going to heel with the dog? Why do clearances if it's just a dog? <<< not meaning to be inflammatory cause I know we just had the "a dog vs my dog" thread. But I get that ALL the time. "You spent how much on a puppy? I would NEVER! It's JUST A DOG!"
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
We all know how horrible BYB's are. :rolleyes:

But the question is, because demand far exceeds supply, if you're not getting a puppy from a reputable breeder, what do you do?

Anyone have an answer to that? Not really, right? Because no one wants to post the unpalatable but obvious answers here. The possible answers are:

1. Keep waiting, perhaps for years, perhaps forever.
2. Give up and don't get a Golden Retriever puppy.
3. Buy from a backyard breeder, puppy mill, pet store, or Craigslist.

Does anyone have any other answers? What solutions would you suggest for someone stuck in this situation? Anyone? Bueller??? Everyone here who has ever posted that people should only buy from reputable breeders who do the core clearances should answer this question, even if the answer is, "It's a problem, and I have no idea."
 

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We all know how horrible BYB's are. :rolleyes:

But the question is, because demand far exceeds supply, if you're not getting a puppy from a reputable breeder, what do you do?

Anyone have an answer to that? Not really, right? Because no one wants to post the unpalatable but obvious answers here. The possible answers are:

1. Keep waiting, perhaps for years, perhaps forever.
2. Give up and don't get a Golden Retriever puppy.
3. Buy from a backyard breeder, puppy mill, pet store, or Craigslist.

Does anyone have any other answers? What solutions would you suggest for someone stuck in this situation? Anyone? Bueller??? Everyone here who has ever posted that people should only buy from reputable breeders who do the core clearances should answer this question, even if the answer is, "It's a problem, and I have no idea."
I waited. I got crickets from reputable breeders when I initially inquired. So I waited and I got more active in my local club and I started going to shows. If connections is what it would take to get a reputable breeder to sell a puppy to me, I was going to make some connections. :)

And 4) Buy from a rescue. If you're going to take a gamble on the health of dog, at least don't put money in their pockets. Though that can be debatable with even some rescues at this point as retail rescue is becoming far too common in the states (esp with golden retrievers).

I feel like the answer you are wanting is "well we need to make more "well bred" puppies and we need to sell them for cheap so we can compete against BYBs. Is the answer we need more hobby breeders? Cause there are people who love the breed who might want to be breeders but cannot be ethical (take dogs back whatever reason, etc) or don't want to deal with people (cause people lie).
 

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For me, the answer is wait. And it is what I advise here to people. Keep looking, keep doing your research, making contacts, be patient, it will happen. My first puppy was supposed to be a spring puppy, but the breeding didn't take. I knew I wanted a puppy from those two dogs, and the breeder was going to try again with the same male in the fall, so I waited. It was almost exactly one year from the time I found my breeder until my puppy was born.

But - would I be as willing to wait a year now? That would be REALLY hard. After I lost my heart dog, I thought I would never be able to have another. But just six weeks later, I knew I needed another dog - another Golden. I knew what I wanted in my puppy, and I truly got lucky. There was a breeding planned, the breeder's list was not yet full, the breeding took, and I only had to wait another 4-5 months from the time I was ready to think about having another dog before my new puppy came home. That was actually the perfect time frame - I had recovered from the death of my last dog, and was ready to take on a puppy.

That said, I do know myself enough to know that if I found the breeder and breeding I wanted, and it wasn't going to be 4-5 months, I would still wait. It would kill me, but I would probably try to fill the time by still going to hunt classes and tests and volunteering and stuff like that. I always say, anticipation is one of the best parts of waiting for your puppy. But I know it would be really really hard at this point not to have a dog as soon as I was ready for one.
 

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I've fortunately only have been turned down for a puppy or from a breeder but once. It was a breeder in Vermont and they only sell to people in the New England states. They only allow their foods to be borderline by them, so if you're not local enough they take you off their list lol odd policy! I've also never had to wait very long (4-6 months at most).

If was denied a spot on a wait list, I'd want to know why? I'd contact the breeder and find out why I wasn't accepted. If I was arbitrarily denied then I'd have to move on to another breeder. Sometimes it doesn't work for a breeder just like it doesn't always work out for the butter for that breeder. Different opinions and philosophies. But generally there are reasons a breeder won't sell to a person. Lack of fencing, history of surrending a dog in the past to a shelter, in conversations about training and schedules (like the dog will be alone for 10 hours a day as a single owner works long hours).

I think what would help a lot of people and on this site especially is if the breeders give accounts in why they denied entry to their waiting lists and explain some instances of what happened to lead to that denial.

Some sites I have come across in the past will tell you what they look to avoid and what they are looking for in potential new homes. The people that see this info on sites should be writing them down to make a list of do's and do nots.
 

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We all know how horrible BYB's are. :rolleyes:

But the question is, because demand far exceeds supply, if you're not getting a puppy from a reputable breeder, what do you do?

Anyone have an answer to that? Not really, right? Because no one wants to post the unpalatable but obvious answers here. The possible answers are:

1. Keep waiting, perhaps for years, perhaps forever.
2. Give up and don't get a Golden Retriever puppy.
3. Buy from a backyard breeder, puppy mill, pet store, or Craigslist.

Does anyone have any other answers? What solutions would you suggest for someone stuck in this situation? Anyone? Bueller??? Everyone here who has ever posted that people should only buy from reputable breeders who do the core clearances should answer this question, even if the answer is, "It's a problem, and I have no idea."

This is a very complex problem and I'm not sure there is an answer. People who do their research and try to learn about the breed they want to buy sometimes end up here, on the Forum, and many eventually seem to find a pup from a good breeder. They may have to wait, they may have to travel across the country, they may have to jump through a few hoops, but they find a way. But they're obviously a minority. IMHO the problem with the whole Golden Retriever market - and with the markets for many other things in modern society - lies with the people who want it now. There are a lot of these people around: I would venture to guess that they're the majority. We live in a world that values immediacy. There's nothing available locally right now? Let's order from Amazon. Or, in the case of Golden Retrievers, let's find an English Creme website, click on "Buy Now", pay with a credit card and have a puppy delivered to the doorstep. It's the nature of the modern consumer society. I'm not sure we can do a lot to change it, much as we'd like to.



There's a second problem: education and information. These days, everyone is an expert. Most don't know what they don't know. So they read a couple of social media articles on Golden Retrievers, learn that English Cremes are the way to go, and end up choosing a dog for its colour. They simply don't know that other criteria exist, or that Golden Retrievers are subject to some nasty genetic conditions, or even that English Cremes don't come from England. And then they defend their choice because they don't want to know that they may have made a mistake. It's a common thing these days, people defending the indefensible. Again, I'm not sure there's much we can do to change it. It's become a top-down, cultural thing that we're probably going to live with for a long time.


The difficulty with our modern Internet-based world is that nothing can be managed any more. Back in the day (yes, I'm old), it was easier to address problems at the local level, but you can't do that now because "local" doesn't really exist any more. People who don't want to follow the rules, or who don't know that rules exist, aren't dependent on breed clubs or local shows for referrals, or on the local community for customers. They don't have to learn in order to survive. They simply create a website with a few nice pictures and a few superficial descriptions, and there are always people who will press the "Buy Now" button.


Is there a middle road? Maybe. New breeders who do some of the clearances, former BYBs who have produced problem pups in the past and now try to do clearances, albeit inadequately? On the Forum we tend to direct people away from these breeders on the grounds that they're not following breed guidelines. But should we? I don't know. Maybe. Probably. Or perhaps there are situations in which "good enough" will do the job. Or not. I'm not a breeder so I can't really say. Is "good enough" better than the "Buy Now" button? Do we stop striving for excellence in all situations and accept that, for many people, "good enough" is the way to go?


I can't answer that. And as I said at the beginning, I don't even know if there is an answer.


FWIW, the first time I looked for a puppy, I consulted people and eventually found a breeder who produced the type of dog I wanted. Then I waited. Eventually there was a pup for me. The second time, I did essentially the same thing: consulted, contacted a couple of breeders, dithered, then made up my mind and waited. Eventually there was a pup for me. I'm old. We're used to waiting for stuff. As my parents always told me, "If it's not worth waiting for, it's not worth having". I don't hear that much these days. I guess I'm a dinosaur.
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter #10
I completely lucked into my first well-bred Golden. I had actually been trying to get a rescue, but had been turned down because I was renting. So I started looking at breeders. One breeder turned me down. Then I got a frantic call one New Years Day: "Are you still interested in getting a puppy from me? I have a boy for you, but you have to come pick him up right now. My ex-husband said he is on his way over here to take the litter away. So if you want a dog, you have to get here before he does." He turned out to be my first champion show dog. And from then on, I had no trouble getting puppies from ethical breeders. But my way in the door isn't one that can be replicated.
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I think what would help a lot of people and on this site especially is if the breeders give accounts in why they denied entry to their waiting lists and explain some instances of what happened to lead to that denial.
I don't "deny" people so much as I choose the best homes. As I've said here several times, for the litter that produced my new champion boy, Deuce, I had 134 bona fide applicants for 8 puppies. So it's not like I actively denied any of them, I just picked the best homes I could find from that group, and the other 126 people had to keep looking.

And just because I mentioned him, here is a picture of my boy Deuce at 18 months. It's not relevant, I just love him. You should just be glad I don't have photos of my children to bother you with. :D

 

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One option I don't think has been mentioned yet is to talk to the reputable breeders about an older puppy or adult. That's how I got my most recent boy - The breeder had held on to him because she loved his genetics, but he never met breed-standard height, and he was a love-bug who was obviously in need of more attention than she could give him given how many dogs she already had. She didn't want to completely lose the option of breeding to him in the future, so she offered him to me as a co-ownership.

In fact, almost ALL of my "Golden" friends have owned at least one dog that they bought from a breeder as an adult. Some were situations like mine, some were retired breeding dogs, some simply weren't suited to living in a large pack, and some were returned to the breeder due to the original owner not being able to keep the dog.

I've found that many active breeders often keep a puppy-with-potential from most of their litters. If they have the most recent puppy, one or two older puppies, 2-3 dogs being actively campaigned or bred, AND their much-loved older guys who are now just family pets... well, do the math... that's a LOT of dogs to feed, love, exercise, train, etc.

I always think it's worth mentioning that you are willing to consider an older dog. Most aren't advertised, and often the breeder loves their own dogs enough that they are waiting for the RIGHT home before they can even consider rehoming them, so they put out feelers among friends and other breeders... so you might get a referral to a fellow breeder as well. It never hurts to ask!
 

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Join your local GRCA club, obedience club, agility club, etc. and volunteer whether you have a dog or not.
If you have a dog presently take a class, rally, noseworks, barn hunt, OB, tricks, something, anything. Let dog people get to know you. Even if the people you are getting to know don’t breed, somebody you meet will know someone who does. Personal recommendations are a good thing.
 

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where the tails wag
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Okay, I will respond since I have been in this situation.

3 of my goldens came from Petstores. One well known breeder (not local to me) accepted a deposit but I never heard back (the check was not cashed but it would have been professional in my eyes to have heard back). This was after my 1st golden died and I was looking for a new golden. The following 2 goldens both have interesting stories behind them and indeed I did not even know either of the Petstores existed.

I worked very hard with all of my Petstore dogs (King, Rowdy & Casey), paid my dues, started getting references from trusted people to breeders, and built a list of breeders I feel I can trust. This was not done with the intent of building a reputation or anything, just a passion with & for my dogs.

I not only exhibited & trained in performance events, I volunteered in the sports I love with the dogs I love. I took, and still take, a wide variety of classes concerning dog sports, have been open to trying new things but mostly I love my dogs and the people who know me recognize this.

So I know both sides :)
 

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the party's crashing us
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When I'm not getting a puppy I train my other dogs ;)
 

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I don't know what they do, but I know what I wish they'd do.



1. Given the length of time it can take to get a well-bred puppy, sign up to be a puppy raiser for a non-profit service dog organization that provides dogs free of charge to their disabled clients. You'll have the puppy for about 18 months which could be the approximate length of time it takes to get a well bred puppy from a breeder. You'll be doing something amazing for people with a disability. And, who knows, your experience raising a puppy might be the thing that gives you the edge over other applicants.



2. Think about an older puppy/young adult from a breeder. Breeders aren't perfect sometimes they hold back a puppy that doesn't pan out so they decide to place it in a pet home. (It is critical you learn through questions what type of life the dog has led up until that point. I own two Goldens that I found this way. Both were raised by breeders who clearly kept the dogs as part of the family and well socialized with other animals. They weren't abandoned to a crate or kennel with little interaction.)


3. Get a rescue, maybe a senior rescue. Once your time is ending with that Golden, your puppy might be located. Here again your willingness to rescue and save a senior Golden might just give you the edge over other applicants.
 

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If I don't have a puppy for a person I have a deposit from, for whatever reason, I usually spend a good deal of time finding a puppy for them if they don't want to wait on my next litter. I think oftentimes that makes for someone else not finding a puppy since I have imposed on another breeder...
Sometimes people go to another breed, it seems like Labs and Cavaliers are often the choices- Cavs are so much more expensive, Labs so much less expensive. I always suggest people offer to foster, and hope to fall in love and be the foster fail of all times.. even if it's not a Golden. Not many of them end up in rescue in comparison (esp in FL) to Lab/Pit mixes..

While it'd be nice if the BYB/HVB would do clearances and clean up their programs, they aren't going to- it's not a priority for them...
 

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I'm with goldendude! Puppy raising is so much fun as well as a challenge but as hard as it is to return them for further training receiving the news your pup has graduated and a pic of your pup with the person they will be assisting is overwhelming.

I used to go to a kill shelter and adopt... in Ft. Worth it's only $49. and they cover all the shots & spay/neuter, as well as heartworm treatment when needed. I get them healthy then train to make them more adoptable. Then work with the rescue to find them a new home.
 

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I am new looking for a puppy and since searching for my first golden pup, I do not want to just give up and not get a golden because I have always wanted a golden. I am (hopefully) on a waiting list for one and I am willing to wait for as long as I need to. I work for a clinic where I am around a lot of BYBs and in my opinion, you can really see that BYBs don't really care about the puppies. :( I would rather wait for a breeder that has reputable recommendations, pass all the OFA clearances, etc. than to be impatient and get a puppy from a BYB. People who are anxious about getting a puppy and don't wait go to a BYB and get a puppy that has a number of problems and I have seen from my experience that they either give the dog up or put it to sleep. I am not going to lie, I am anxious getting my forever dog but I have learned that good things come to those who wait. ;)
 
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