Frequently Asked Questions  [FAQ]

"American"  vs  "English"
Females  vs  Males
Hunting  &  Field
Genetic   Screening
Show  Dogs
Kennels  At  A  Distance
Purina Series 
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'Home'  vs  'Kennel'  Raised

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Are They Good with Kids ?
Most Goldens are terrific with kids,  especially  if they have been regularly exposed as puppies to well-behaved children.  However, they are large and excitable and may easily knock children over if they jump up to lick faces, or whack small children with an enthusiastic wag of the tail !

Never leave very young children [ less than ~age 6 ] and dogs together unattended.

Just as the dog could accidently hurt the child, so could they hurt the dog by poking him in the eyes or pulling his tail.

Never allow children to jump on the dog or "ride" him like a pony.


Do Females make Better Pets ?
Aside from physical differences [females are 21-22 inches in height & weigh 55 lb  -  males are 23-24 inches and weigh 75 lb !]  personal preference  for "the look" is the only big difference.  Many people think males are more "teddy bear like" than females.  Unneutered males may be more territorially dominant.  Neither sex should be aggressive.

If unaltered, females will sometimes show altered behaviour when "in heat".  Most often, they seem to be a bit more "clinging".  Our "pets" have always been male.

Most neutered males and females differ most in size and individual personality differences. Both are good with children.

For your best predictor of personality, ask about, meet with and play with the puppies parents.  There are puppy temperament tests that can help to determine dominance, independence, and ability.  No temperament tests have been validated, but  they should give you some idea of the training required for that particular dog.

General obedience and socialization training classes are very important.


What about buying a dog at a distance  ?
About 40% of our dogs live distant from our kennel, from coast to coast in North America; We also have dogs in Alaska, France, and other countries !  Some of our buyers know us from dog shows and other breeders, some from ads in "The Dog's Annual" and most on referral from a friend or their Veterinarian who knows our dogs.

We do not act as brokers for third party breeders; we only sell our own dogs.  We ask for a referral letter from your 'Vet', before considering selling a dog to you.

How can you know about us ?

Aside from the information on our Web pages, you will find us in the  Breeders List for The Golden Retriever Club of Canada.  We belong to The Better Business Bureau.  We likely will be able to provide you with references who already have one of our dogs, perhaps living near to you.  If you contact us and subsequently receive a detailed 'Handout' and sample contracts, you will see that they are thorough, covering protection for you, for us, and most importantly for the dog !

You are always welcome to make an appointment to visit the kennel.  Our most distant visitors were a Japanese Trade delegation, who wanted to visit while in Toronto at The Royal Winter Agricultural Fair !

We have a reputation to protect ! 


Can't  I buy the dog for less money ....without its "Papers"  ?
In Canada, it is illegal  to charge  more  money just to register a purebred animal.  All breeders of all purebred animals must be willing to supply the "paperwork" without additional charge, or they are contravenening Federal legislation  (Livestock Pedigree Act and subsequent legislation) !!!!

If you don't find the breeder ethical about the "paperwork", maybe you can't believe the genetic screening or pedigree either ! ???


How can I be sure this is my dog   ?
All purebred Canadian animals must be individually identified before leaving the breeder's possession.

For dogs, that may be an implanted microchip, just under the skin at the back of the neck or  a specific tattoo combination. 

We still tattoo all of our animals, but the trend over time will be to microchip.  You can read any tattoo without special equipment, but they may 'fade'.  Microchips must be made to specific coding standards; Canadian chips may not register on all 'scanners' everywhere in the world.  'Chipped' dogs require a 'scanner' [$400.00] to read, or you pay the 'Vet' or SPCA to read it for you.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both.  About 60% of Canadian dogs are tattooed.  We humanely use EMLA anesthetic cream on their ears before tattooing our dogs. 

Each tattoo is composed of 3 parts  e.g.   3WJ  23  H
The Kennel Assigned Designation All  '3WJ' tattoos came from Silmaril Kennels
A Sequential number This may gradually build or restart  each year
A Year Designation The CKC  assigns a letter representing  year 


How long should the warranty last  ?
All guarantees should be specific and in writing; all disorders are ultimately "genetic" so most contracts specify 'congenital defects' or 'birth defects' or 'known Mendelian genetics'.

Since all disorders may not be obvious right away, the warranty needs to last a minimum of 2 years.

Some breeders will offer a "lifetime" warranty: how long have they been in the business ?  The average "life" expectancy of breeders new to the fancy is only 3 to 5 years !  Do they belong to the Better Business Bureau ?  The Chamber of Commerce ?

A reliable kennel has a reputation to maintain ! 


What genetic screening should you look for  ?
The  minimum tests are OFA or OVC or BVA / FCI  [hip screening], CERF [eye screening], and SAS [heart screening], in Golden Retrievers

Both parents of your puppy should be cleared for at least these three.  Other things the breeder may consider are thyroid, Von Willebrand's and epilepsy disorders.  Elbow screening may be done by some, but is an inter-related "osteochondral" disease with hips, shoulders, stifle and even spine (spondylosis) dysplasias . . . so obsessive screening for one (e.g. hips) will also lower the risk for other related diseases.

Remember there are no perfect dogs [or Humans ] !

It is estimated that the spontaneous mutation rate is about 4% of all genetic material; this means that even if you had perfect parents, the offspring will have some defects !  The best we can hope for is that most of the mutations of genes will ocurr in so called "junk DNA".


When do they 'grow up'   ?
Like people, the girls mature before the boys !  Physically, sexual maturity happens between 10 and 12 months, but they are hardly adolescents at this age !

Golden females mature by 18 - 24 months, while males mature between 24 - 36 months.  Our own males mature at about age 2, but we have seen an excellent line of Irish imports who tend to mature 'late' by our usual standard.

Mentally, well that depends on the individual, but usually before 3 years of age.  By nature these are fun-loving dogs, so their perceived 'maturity' may seem younger.

"Bear" at age 10 was still very much a big puppy ! 


Aren't there two different "kinds" of Golden Retriever  ?
The Golden is a mid to large size dog, suited to sitting in a "duck blind" all day, as well as small enough to be able to haul over the side of a boat while all wet (after a retrieve).  The acceptable standard size for females is 21 1/2 - 22 1/2 inches at the shoulder; for males this is 23 to 24 inches.  There is only 1 inch variance either way.

Just based on size alone, a small female at 20 1/2 inches and 45 lb will look very different than a large male at 25 inches and 95 lb !

Coats can be "flat" or "wavy";  'show' dogs tend to be bigger and stunning compared to 'field' dogs who are smaller, more lithe and faster.  Just because the dog does well in the show ring does not mean it can't work in the field and vice versa ! 

They are all suppose to tend toward the mean in the breed standard.

Breeders sometimes refer to the "English" vs the "American" type dog.  The "English" varies from 'cream' colour to 'mid-gold', is heavier boned and a little less tall or lanky; this dog is blocky and square in head and muzzle.  Think like a  Labrador,  but with longer hair and a more laid back temperment !   The "American" type dog is a bit taller, softer in the head and muzzle, and varies from 'mid-gold' to 'copper' colour, but is never 'cream'. 
Think Setter - ish. 

These descriptions are a gross exaggeration;  types are not about the colour variation, but about the difference in structure ! 


Do they Bark a lot ?
Not usually.  Dogs that are bored or with separation anxiety, may act out including barking.

Well trained Goldens will usually bark at strangers, but settle when told to do so by their owners.

Incessant barking is never acceptable.


They're supposed to good obedience dogs, aren't they ?
Goldens are typically very eager to please their owners.  This willingness to do just about anything for a 'pat on the head', means they are relatively easy to train for obedience and have a good attitude in the show ring.  You will see many Goldens winning in the obedience ring.

Remember - they did  NOT  train themselves   ! 


How much exercise do they need ?
This is a 'sporting' breed and they are happiest with lots of exercise.  While they are very adaptable in "special needs"  situations, they benefit most from periods of regular, intense activity, once fully grown.

You do need to be careful with puppies under 12 - 18 months of age; while they need exercise, it must not be forced or sustained.  You cannot take a puppy running or long distance jogging, until fully grown, or you risk permanent joint and ligament damage !  Adult dogs require a gradual conditioning program and a 'warm up' before strenuous or endurance events .

You wouldn't run in the Boston Marathon  without a training period or warm-up ......would you ? 


How about swimming ?
Most Goldens love the water !  It is also excellent non-weight bearing, cardiovascular exercise, even when young.  Gradually introduce them to water, play games in shallow water, and play with their toys in the water.  Younger puppies are sometime 'shy' of water, but given encouragement over time they usually overcome this.

Never toss a dog into deep water.  Having a 'water crazy' dog play with the new pup, will often encourage them to join the 'water sports'.

If you have a swimming pool, remember that chronic chlorine exposure may irritate and dry the skin.  Be sure your dog knows how to get in and out of the pool, since they can tire and drown.  Sharp claws can tear the 'liner' on some pools.  It is not a good idea to leave the dog unattended near the pool.  Beware of dogs 'walking' out onto a solar blanket - they can be 'enveloped' and drown !

Do you know canine CPR ?  Ask your 'Vet' to teach you how !


Are they any good as hunting dogs ?  In field trials ?
Goldens do not usually do as well as Labrador Retrievers in field trial tests which, in all fairness, are biased toward the type of work Labradors were bred to do.  Goldens have excellent noses. and are terrific hunters in real life and hunt test situations.  I hunt with my own dogs, from upland game to tracking moose !

One of the best retrievers we have ever seen at an invitational trial, was a Goldie bitch named "Topaz".

She won the Purina Golden Whistle - three years in a row ! 


Isn't there a "split" between hunting and show lines ?
There is something of a division between conformation [show] dogs and obedience and field dogs.  As in any sport that is highly competitive, specialization intensifies.  This means show dogs tend to have more coat, and are heavier boned, and are behaviourally more "laid-back".

Field dogs generally have less coat, are smaller and lighter in weight, with more behavioural "drive"and are "birdy" with an intense interest in all feathered friends !  You should carefully consider the differences when picking a puppy, and be honest with the breeder about the real uses the dog will be committed to.  Looking at the parents and previous offspring is a good approach. Try to find a well balanced puppy.  There is after all only one breed standard in each country !

An unsound dog is not of any value in conformation, obedience or field  or even as a pet if he is unhealthy !! 


How much do they really Shed ?
Goldens shed a lot ! 

Hair doesn't grow continuously, but in cycles of about 180 days.  "Spring" and "Fall" shedding is not due to hot or cold, but to 'short-day' light cycles; even indoor dogs shed !  The soft undercoat sheds irregularly from underneath the heavier 'guard hairs', leaving a 'moth-eaten' appearance.

The spring shed is heavier than the fall shed; it is worse in animals kenneled out of doors.  Shedding is relatively worse in puppies compared to more mature dogs : the smaller the dog, the higher the surface area to weight ratio, and the higher the need for more "insulation" !

Goldens have an abundant coat,  producmore ing or less constant shedding to some degree.  This requires a minimum weekly brushing, and during a heavy 'shed' this needs to be daily brushing.

If you have an aversion to dog hair in your house. . . 
do NOT  get a Golden Retriever ! 


'Home'  vs  'Kennel'  Raised ?
Are dogs 'better' raised in the home or a kennel ?

We get asked this frequently . . . and point out that it requires an answer . . . from the dog's perspective !

Dogs are NOT humans, nor human children.  Their needs are defined from a dog's perspective, NOT from the social needs of a human child.

We firmly believe that dogs can be raised in a kennel with excellent care and love . . . and that they can be abused and neglected in a home environment !  It is about meeting the dogs, physical, exercise, nutritional, behavioural enrichment, companionship needs . . . rather than where it is 'housed' ?

For instance, our kennel has both full and part-time kennel help and Co-op students (from fledgling Veterinary technologists and animal care students to high school students).  The number of direct hours per day spent by our dogs in DIRECT human contact . . . likely FAR exceeds the human time and contact of a dog raised 'in the home', by well meaning folks who both work outside the home and spend their 'evenings' with the dog(s) ?  Our dogs are exercised  every day in the orchards and farm . . . and do not LIVE in the kennel; they spend time in the house . . . but they do not all live there (at the same time !).

Yes,  kennelled dogs can be neglected and abused . . . .but so can 'home raised dogs' !  You have increasingly frequently  read news stories of 'hoarders' with many multiples of animals (sometimes hundreds !)  living in a small house amidst urine, feces, sometimes  amongst dead and cannibalized animals; malnourished.  Never out of the home.  Often no preventive Veterinary care.  Sometimes  recognized in the community as the 'crazy cat lady' etc.    These folks always believe that NO ONE could love their dogs (or cats)  or care for them as well as they themselves do !  Those  animals are 'home raised' . . . but arguably they are neglected and abused and poorly raised and cared for !

So move beyond narrow confines of 'Home' vs 'Kennel' raised debates !  Use your eyes and ears and nose.  Look at the dogs socialization.  Look for stereotypic or fearful behaviours.  Look for signs of neglect or love and care . . . regardless of where they are housed !

You might look at the "Dog Tales" section of our website ?  A poem called  "From Kennel or Hearth"


You Want More Information from Us ?
We would like  to make some personal contact with you by phone or by mail.

If you fill out the e-mail form, we will "snail-mail" a complete package, including sample contract / warranty for both show/breeding and for companion animals, a price summary,  a full  [5 generation] current pedigree  and a handout about owning a dog [especially a Golden] including a bibliography.

If you wish, and you have spoken to us by telephone, we can download the documents to your e-mail address.

We will not mail or download specific documents without knowing who you are, and where you live either by E-Mail or by telephone conversation ! 


Where  are other interesting Canine Websites ?
Cyber-Pet .... boldly go where no pet fancier has gone ...
Land of PureGold ..... excellent graphics and reference site !
Directory For Golden Retriever Hunting Retrievers & Supplies
Mom & Pup Golden Retriever Breeders Association of Ontario
GRC The Golden Retriever Club [UK]
Golden Retriever Breed Council [UK]
The Kennel Club [UK]
The Canadian Kennel Club
The Golden Retriever Club of Canada
The Irish Kennel Club
The American Kennel Club
Golden Retriever Club Nederland

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