Our primary purpose(s) for having Golden Retrievers is to have a pet and companion dog. When we made the decision to have some limited breedings, our goal was to produce puppies that will carry-on the working dog characteristics of this breed as well as conform to the breed characteristics of the Golden Retriever. We have been extremely successful in placing puppies with families that want a "pet" as well as those that want the pet/working dog combination. Our pups have the ability to compete in all working venues but are probably not going to do well in today’s breed/conformation “show dog” competition. We have made the committment to only breed our females to those dogs that have demonstrated an excellence in their ability to "work" (i.e. obedience, hunt tests, field trials, agility, etc).
I have read some of the older training books for working retrievers and am somewhat dismayed at some of the training practices and philosophies regarding working dogs. The good news is that changes in technology and a greater understanding of the abilities of the working dog have given us the opportunity to enjoy these animals even more than before. One of the older theories widely ascribed to was that “you can not have a good hunting dog and also let him/her live in the house”. It is hard to comprehend the difference in relationship that today's dog owners have as compared to those subscribing to old theories. I still receive comments from some folks that believe that working dogs are hyper and difficult to have in a house. Again, another myth that has been proven to be wrong. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but there are probably no more hyper working dogs than there are hyper couch potatoes. Yes, we spoil our dogs but isn't that the name of the game? Perhaps much to a visitor’s dismay, our dogs are allowed on "selected" furniture and are in our bedroom at night. They are excellent house dogs and not what many would assume to be hyper. The exception is when they think we are going to train and/or go hunting. They then exhibit an added degree of excitement and high desire to “work/play”.
We have some perhaps unique mindsets regarding our dogs and potential breedings that are not necessarily practiced by others. We are members of several “retriever clubs” and overall subscribe to the purpose and philosophies of those clubs. Since we do not have several breedings and we do not depend on the sale of puppies for primary or supplemental income, we can “afford” to maintain these principles. We do not intend for our opinions to diminish our respect for other breeders nor are we indicating that our way is the only way. Some examples:
1. We do not have any male dogs. We currently have 3 female Goldens and as previously indicated, they live in our house. We believe that it would be unfair and logistically difficult to separate the dogs every time one of the intact females should come in season. There are other males traits that I will not get into that also impact on this decision.
2. We will not breed any of our dogs that do not have at least an OFA “good” hip evaluation nor will we breed to a sire that does not have at least OFA “good” hip certification.
3. Every attempt is made to breed only to sires that have proven themselves as working dogs. Strong emphasis is placed on the potential sires that have excelled in Hunt Tests and/or Field Trials.
4. We do not utilize “written contracts”. You can read more about this in the contract section of our website.
5. We do the following health certificates on our dogs and require the same for any potential sires: OFA Hip clearance; OFA Heart clearance; OFA Elbow clearance; CERF clearance within 12 months of breeding; Protogen clearance - not as important for our potential sires as our females are “clear”.
6. Understandably, we want as many of our dogs to go to working homes as possible. We do not turn away any potential buyer because they only want a “pet”. We have actually sold several “pets” that ultimately became working (obedience, hunt tests, agility, etc.) dogs.
7. We do not advocate or subscribe to “co-ownership” of puppies/dogs. There are inherent problems with this practice, but we do realize that it has worked for others.