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Buying a Golden Retriever

 • The reputable golden retriever breeder is obliged to screen all breeding stock for hip dysplasia (commencing January 2002) in order to register his/her litters with the Australian National   kennel council (ANKC)**. Reputable/ethical breeders will also screen their breeding dogs for elbow dysplasia, and inherited conditions in the eyes and heart.

• Temperament:  First and foremost, in any discussion amongst reputable golden retriever breeders, is the issue of temperament; and a point blank refusal to breed with poor temperament.  Dogs not properly socialized from birth, and/or, not appropriately trained can exhibit poor temperament. Poor temperament is not a characteristic of the golden retriever and is not to be tolerated.

• You have no safeguard if you purchase a puppy from a breeder who is not a member of the ANKC**, or who does not always register their litters.  In many of these situations (maybe a puppy farmer),the golden retriever is breed in large numbers, without discrimination, and is the product of a very narrow gene pool because reputable breeders deny access to the wider breed gene pool.

• Visit breeders, see puppies with their mother and mingle with all dogs owned by the breeder. You should experience the breed at its best, in its own home, where  all dogs welcome you with confidence and joy. Puppies should be housed in a safe, clean

environment and be confident and clean eyed. The breeder might not own the puppies’ sire but should be able to talk about the dog with knowledge and confidence.

• An ANKC registered breeder will discuss the distinction between the “Main” and “Limited” Register. Limit registered puppies are not inferior puppies,

but have been placed on the Limit register in order to protect the breeder and puppy from indiscriminate breeding, etc later on.***  When you pick up your puppy at eight weeks, not only should you receive written instructions on how to care for puppy and what to feed, but also an ANKC Registration Certificate

*** All "Activ Goldens" puppies are sold on a Limited Register.


The Designer Dog: (Cross Bred mongrel)

The golden retriever is not only the object of indiscriminate breeding but also is a favourite in the so-­‐ called designer or cross breed dog world.

In this regard, the NGRC holds grave reservations about the promotion of golden retriever cross breeds to an undiscerning public who believe

in the rhetoric of hybrid vigour and predictability of characteristics and temperament. Equally important is the temperament of a dog when

you are looking for a family pet. There are breed tendencies but you will find the whole range of temperament types within practically any breed.

The important thing is to have knowledge of the temperament of the individual parents of any litter of puppies. You will also need to be assured that

the puppies have stayed with their mother for at least eight weeks and have been properly socialised by  the  breeder in her home environment”.

The Sport of Dogs:

 The sport, governed by the ANKC**, does reward reputable/ethical breeders, who breed to the  ANKC’s Codes of Ethics and Practice.

The joys of successful breeding choices made, the fun inherit in working with one’s dog, and peer  approval  of one’s breeding outcomes

are magic. Puppies from reputable and  responsible breeders are of equal quality to  the show dog, coming  as they do from the same

sire and dam. These puppies provide many owners with very special companions  for many years  in  a  diverse  range  of situations.


** The ANKC is the peak organization for the purebred dog. Its members are:

Dogs Queensland,

Dogs NSW,

Dogs ACT,

Dogs Victoria,

Dogs Tasmania, 

Dogs  South Australia 

and Dogs Western Australia.


Golden Retrievers as is true with many other breeds, are subject to some genetic problems such as hip dysplasia (a sometimes crippling malformation of the hip joints), eye problems, and occasionally bad temperament.

Strongly recommends that no dog with a serious genetic defect be used for breeding. Concerned breeders spend the time and money necessary to have potential parents examined for evidence of genetic problems by qualified experts before breeding the dogs. Concerned breeders will ensure that not only are the hereditary factors taken into account, but that the dogs they breed with are true to type (including temperament) of the breed in every way.

Concerned breeders are also willing to make the investment of time necessary for the individual socialisation of puppies from the time they are born until they are ready for their new home and they will also provide the necessary vaccinations and worming as required.


Has the breeding stock been x-rayed for hip dysplasia?

The x-rays must have been sent to a certified authority who will measure the hip joints from various angles, and allocate scores for each angle. These scores are totalled and the breeder should receive a certification form stating this information. The total of both scores found at the bottom of the sheet is the recognised hip score for the dog. The lower the total the better. Average score for the breed is around 18.

Hip dysplasia is an inherited defect which is believed to have a polygenic mode of inheritance. The formation of the joints can also be modified by environmental factors such as over nutrition, excessively rapid growth, and certain traumas during the growth period of the skeleton.

** All Activ Goldens have both their Hips AND Elbows X-rayed as well as Heart and eyes tested prior to being considered for breeding.

Have both parents had current eye examinations by a veterinary ophthalmologist?

Again there should be a certificate for each parent. As eye conditions can appear at any age, it is necessary to have these checks carried out on a yearly basis. Always check that the examination is current (within the previous 12 months)

You should sight both of these forms for both the sire and the dam of the progeny. Many breeders are now also testing for elbow dysplasia and heart problems.


The Golden Retriever is a large breed and a mature male ideally stands at 22 - 24" at the shoulder and weighs 32 - 37kg. Bitches are a little smaller and stands at 20 - 22" at the shoulder and weighing 26 - 32kg.


Goldens can adapt to virtually any living situation, they do need daily exercise to maintain physical and mental fitness. As with any dog, without adequate exercise a Golden may become over-active, overweight and difficult to live with and can lead to health problems. Regular veterinary care including yearly vaccinations and correct feeding are vital to maintaining a dog's good health. A Golden Retriever can be expected to live from 10 -13 years with good care and many live longer.

Males and females are equally intelligent, affectionate and easy to house train. Basic obedience training is an essential part of responsible dog ownership and relatively easy to accomplish with a Golden who's main interest in life is to please it's owners. Training will make the dog a better companion and will build a strong bond between dog and owner.

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