Once you’ve set your heart on the beautiful Golden Retriever, it’s time to seek out the best possible breeder to buy your puppy from. Depending on where you live, you might find there are very few breeders in your area, or you might find there are too many – one thing’s for sure, you’ll need to shop around before you find the right one, even if it means looking slightly further afield. Here are some tips for finding the right breeder.
Why good breeders are important
There are lots of different types of breeder out there and if you happen to choose someone who isn’t a professional, you could end up with a puppy that has health or behavioural problems, or both, for the rest of its life. This is because there are some breeders out there who don’t know very much about Golden Retriever genetics or behaviour. These people are usually just breeding for the sake of profit and they aren’t so interested in producing perfect offspring. Some of them will also be dog owners whose dogs have accidentally gotten pregnant – you will want to avoid these people if possible. Puppies from amateur or “back yard” breeders won’t have had their parents screened for possible hereditary conditions, and the parents won’t have been carefully selected for their good temperaments either, as with more serious minded breeders.
Even worse than going to one of these back yard breeders is taking home a puppy you have bought on the internet, or found through a classified advertisement. You will have no idea of the upbringing and medical history of these pups, although there is no doubt that they will be irresistibly cute! All this might sound a little bit harsh, but the reality is you are going to be spending the next 10-14 years of your life with your pup as he grows, and you are going to be the one spending money on vet’s fees and time on training. Making a wise decision now in terms of where you get your Golden Retriever from, is going to save you a lot of stress and heartache later on.
Where to begin your Golden Retriever search
If you don’t know of any breeders in your area, there are a few places you can begin your search. Here are some examples:
- Ask your local vet if they know of any Golden Retriever breeders
- Ask other Golden Retriever owners if they would recommend their breeders
- Search online for your local Golden Retriever breed club
- Look at the breeder database on the Kennel Club’s website
Visiting the breeder
Once you’ve found a few breeders you like the sound of, do a quick internet search to screen for any possible bad reviews (Facebook pages and forums are good places to start). If there are any negative comments about your chosen breeders, you should remove them from your list. Once you have a final few who seem to be promising, you can schedule a visit with each of them.
Finding your perfect Golden Retriever breeder
Here is a useful set of questions to ask each breeder. If you aren’t satisfied with the answers to these, you should look elsewhere.
- Have the parents of the puppies been screened for the genetic conditions associated with the Golden Retriever breed? Be sure to bring a list of these with you if you aren’t sure.
- How many litters does the breeder produce each year?
- How old are the puppies?
- Have the puppies been raised in the house, within a family environment?
- Have the puppies been vaccinated, wormed and microchipped?
- What kind of temperament do the mother and father have?
Confident, experienced breeders will provide a guarantee for the puppies’ health. They will also agree to take the pup back if there are any significant health issues in the first few weeks. To be safe, you should take your Golden Retriever pup to the vet within the first two days of bringing him home, that way you can verify whether the pup is healthy to begin with.