Golden Retriever Information
have put together information that I hope you will find
useful in deciding whether a Golden Retriever is for
Adding a new family member is a decision that you should
never take likely. The impulse buy can lead to regrets
later, we are dealing with living breathing creatures
who have the mental capacity of a four year old - please
consider very very if our breed is for you and if you
are able to provide your new family member with all the
she or he needs for the next 12 to 14 years.
click on the links below :
What Is A Golden
A fluffy wind-up teddy-bear with shoe button eyes
and your best towel clutched in his teeth.
Nobility reclining on a grassy bank, a white-faced
old sportsman still keen for the whistle of wings.
In Spring a Golden will put mud on the carpets, fur
all over your best navy blue and the flowering bloom
of joy in your heart.
A Golden is a flame of colour against dark summer
covert, the spray of surf sent flying peace spread
against cool earth.
He is competence wearing a guidance harness, pride
with a bird in his mouth, dignity wanting his tummy
A Golden has the understanding of a saint and a tail
that challenges perpetual motion.
Having a golden Retriever is never knowing where all
your shoes are at any given moment.
Hearing the neighbours call up because he's sleeping
out in the snow instead of in his kennel.
Keeping cups off the table because of his wild tail,
and not being sure if you paragon will decimate a
burglar or fix him a cup of tea and show him where
the silver is.
Somebody else with a Golden is an instant
Your veterinarian wishes all his patients were
Golden's and you just wish you were as great as your
Golden thinks you are.
reproduced an article on how the hip scoring system
works, it is a little technical, but is good at
explaining the types of hips we are aiming for in
the breed and what structures relate too, and can
result in hip dysplasia in our breed.
acknowledge the following site for the information
in respect to Hip Displasia
Hip Grades & Scoring
The phenotypic evaluation
of hips done by the Orthopedic Foundation for
Animals falls into seven different categories. Those
categories are normal (Excellent, Good, Fair),
Borderline, and dysplastic (Mild, Moderate, Severe).
Once each of the radiologists classifies the hip
into one of the 7 phenotypes above, the final hip
grade is decided by a consensus of the 3 independent
outside evaluations. Examples would be:
1. Two radiologists
reported excellent, one good—the final grade
would be excellent
2. One radiologist
reported excellent, one good, one fair—the final
grade would be good
3. One radiologist reported fair, two
radiologists reported mild—the final grade would
The hip grades of
excellent, good and fair are within normal limits
and are given OFA numbers. This information is
accepted by AKC on dogs with permanent
identification (tattoo, microchip) and is in the
public domain. Radiographs of borderline, mild,
moderate and severely dysplastic hip grades are
reviewed by the OFA radiologist and a radiographic
report is generated documenting the abnormal
radiographic findings. Unless the owner has chosen
the open database, dysplastic hip grades are not in
the public domain.
Grade : Excellent
Excellent (Figure 1): this classification is
assigned for superior conformation in comparison to
other animals of the same age and breed. There is a
deep seated ball (femoral head) which fits tightly
into a well-formed socket (acetabulum) with minimal
joint space. There is almost complete coverage of
the socket over the ball.
(Figure 2): slightly less than superior but a
well-formed congruent hip joint is visualized. The
ball fits well into the socket and good coverage is
Grade : Fair
(Figure 3): Assigned where minor irregularities in
the hip joint exist. The hip joint is wider than a
good hip phenotype. This is due to the ball slightly
slipping out of the socket causing a minor degree of
Grade : Borderline
There may also be slight inward deviation of the
weight-bearing surface of the socket (dorsal
acetabular rim) causing the socket to appear
slightly shallow (Figure 4). This can be the norm in
the Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, and Poodle.
Borderline: there is no clear cut consensus between
the radiologists to place the hip into a given
category of normal or dysplastic. There is usually
more in-congruency present than what occurs in the
minor amount found in a fair but there are no
arthritic changes present that definitively diagnose
the hip joint being dysplastic. There also may be a
bony projection present on any of the areas of the
hip anatomy illustrated above that can not
accurately be assessed as being an abnormal
arthritic change or as a normal anatomic variant for
that individual dog. To increase the accuracy of a
correct diagnosis, it is recommended to repeat the
radiographs at a later date (usually 6 months). This
allows the radiologist to compare the initial film
with the most recent film over a given time period
and assess for progressive arthritic changes that
would be expected if the dog was truly dysplastic.
Most dogs with this grade (over 50%) show no change
in hip conformation over time and receive a normal
hip rating; usually a fair hip phenotype.
Moderate Canine Hip Dysplasia: there is significant
subluxation present where the ball is barely seated
into a shallow socket causing joint incongruency.
There are secondary arthritic bone changes usually
along the femoral neck and head (termed remodeling),
acetabular rim changes (termed osteophytes or bone
spurs) and various degrees of trabecular bone
pattern changes called sclerosis. Once arthritis is
reported, there is only continued progression of
Severe HD (Figure 6): assigned where radiographic
evidence of marked dysplasia exists. There is
significant subluxation present where the ball is
partly or completely out of a shallow socket. Like
moderate HD, there are also large amounts of
secondary arthritic bone changes along the femoral
neck and head, acetabular rim changes and large
amounts of abnormal bone pattern changes.
The table below summarises the hip scoring systems /
regimes used by different countries.
0-4 (no > 3/hip)
5-10 (no > 6/hip)
translated from German should be "STILL ALLOWED".
Meaning that dog has an allowed degree of displasia and can be bred.
The areas of the hip joint
used in the evaluation of the overall hip score is
shown in the diagram below this information is based
on the American system of grading. There are
approximately 9 different anatomic areas of
the hip that are evaluated as shown in Figure 1.
Femoral head (hip
(normal flattened area on hip ball)
Junction of femoral
head and neck
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Common Eye Problems
The most common eye problems of golden retrievers are
bilateral, juvenile-onset cataracts, retinal dysplasia
and abnormalities of the eyelids/eyelashes.
Contrary to its name, juvenile cataracts may not appear
until the dog is five or six years old. Thankfully, most
golden retriever cataracts are quite small and have
little or no effect on the dog. Depending upon their
severity, cataracts can cause blindness. A cataract is
the partial or total opacity of the lens of the eye. It
appears as a triangular white spot, usually on both
eyes, but can be on just one. Most cataracts do not
interfere with the dog's vision. Examination by a
board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist is necessary
to determine whether the cataract has genetic origins.
We do not breed from dogs with hereditary cataracts. Our
dogs are tested yearly by a specialist. Most cataracts
are not present at birth. Usually they begin to develop
within the first year, and there are old age onset
cataracts don’t appear until the dog is 10 years or
over. Most cataracts can be dealt with surgically and
they need not cause a permanent debilitating condition
in the dog.
Retinal Dysplasia is a congenital, local or generalised
malformation of the retina. This may be caused by
trauma, a genetic defect or damage caused by a viral
infection such as the herpes virus or parvo virus. The
retina is the layer of tissue at the back of the eye
that supplies the eye with nutrition and focuses light
to the retina. Retinal dysplasia is a abnormal
development of the retina. Microscopic examination of
the eyes will show folds and or rosettes within the
outer retinal layers. Retinal folds do not appear to
cause vision problems and may be a blind area that may
not be noticeable by the dog. If there are large areas
of dysplasia the dogs vision is impaired and dogs with
retinal detachments may become totally blind. Congenital
cataracts may accomany the retinal dysplasia. Retinal
dysplasia is a congenital defect and does not progress
as the dog ages.
Eyelid abnormalities in Goldens include an inward
rolling of the eyelid (ENTROPIAN, ectropion) and the
existence of extra eyelashes on the inside of the eyelid
(distichiasis, trichiasis). With entropian the lower
eyelid rolls inwards bringing the eye lashes in contact
with the cornea. If left this can cause damage to the
cornea and would be very uncomfortable for the dog. We
have bred dogs with entropian. Upon discovery we
organised for the new owners to have the eyes operated
on by a specialist vet and now they are as good as gold. We
do not breed from dogs with entropian, ectropion or
other serious eyelid disorder. Entropian can develop
from one to four months of age in a puppy. It is caused
by several factors – the growth rate of the skull;
conjunctivitis (the inflammation of the membrane that is
just inside of the eyelids) or distichiasis which is
extra eye lashes growing on the eye lid; loose skin
around the eye, possibly caused by a loose ligament at
the corner of the eye. The first signs of entropian are
constant watery eyes.
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In general, the golden retriever
is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. Below are
some of the health concerns that may arise.
Gastric torsion, also known as bloat, is a
life-threatening sudden illness associated with the
stomach filling with air and twisting.
Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that
results in pain, lameness and arthritis. Essentially the
“ball and socket” joint is not formed in a “cup like”
fit and arthritis develops as a result.
Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that develops between
the ages of 2 to 5 years.
Hotspots are areas of itchy moist skin irritation.
Best treated by cutting the hair back around the area
and treating with Betadine ASAP. Be generous with the
Betadine when applying.
Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland does not
Food Allergy can occur in some pets secondary to a
variety of food ingredients. The symptoms are a stool
that has a jelly like coating or is jelly like itself.
Lick granuloma is a condition in which the dog licks
an area excessively, usually on the front leg, until a
raised, firm ulcerated lesion is formed.
Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of
the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or
both eyes and can lead to blindness.
Diabetes is a disease of the pancreas related to
insufficient amounts of insulin production.
Osteochondrosis of the Shoulder is a congenital lesion
that can cause degenerative joint disease
corneal ulceration is the loss of the corneal
epithelium (the outermost cells of the cornea).
Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that develops when
the pressure within the eye increases.
Interdigital Dermatitis, also known as
photodermatitis, is an inflammation of the paws
involving the feet and nails.
Atopy is an itchy skin disease of animals that is
caused by an allergy to substances in the environment.
Laryngeal paralysis is a dysfunction of the larynx, or
voice box causing respiratory distress. Most common is
the acquired idiopathic form.
Entropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes
inward rolling. Lashes on the edge of the eyelid
irritate the surface of the eyeball and may lead to more
Ectropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes
eversion of the eyelid margin. It most commonly affects
the lower central eyelid.
Distichiasis is a condition in which there is growth
of extra eyelashes from the glands of the upper or lower
Melanoma is a tumour arising from melanocytes, which
are the cells that produce pigment.
Mast Cell Tumours are malignant tumours than can
occur in the skin or within the body.
Hemangiosarcoma is cancer that can result in bleeding
tumours of the spleen, liver or heart.
Progressive retinal atrophy is a disease that causes
nerve cells at the back of the eye to degenerate. The
condition usually begins in older pets and can lead to
Aortic Stenosis - is caused by stenosis of the aorta
and causing symptoms such as weakness, collapse and
Pericardial effusion - is an accumulation of fluid
within the pericardial space. Most common caused by
hemangiosarcoma of the heart.
Lymphosarcoma, also known as lymphoma, is a
malignant cancer that involves the lymphoid system
Ectopic ureter (wet puppy syndrome) is an abnormality
present at birth in which one or both of the ureters
that bring urine from the kidneys to the bladder fail to
open into the bladder in the normal way. The affected
animal is born with this problem and the resulting
urinary incontinence usually begins at birth.
Elbow dysplasia refers to the abnormal development of
certain parts of the elbow joint during the growing
phase of a dog's life. Some areas of the joint may have
a disruption of normal cartilage development or failure
to fuse during growth resulting in an uneven joint
surface, inflammation, joint swelling, lameness and
arthritis. The exact cause of elbow dysplasia is
unknown, but it is probably due to a combination of
genetic factors, over-nutrition with rapid growth,
trauma and hormonal factors. Affected dogs are usually
large breeds. Signs usually begin between 5 to 12 months
of age. Elbow dysplasia results in elbow arthritis,
which may be associated with joint stiffness (reduced
range of motion) and lameness.
What to Watch For:
· a sudden or gradual onset front leg lameness
· Morning stiffness
· Stiffness after a period of rest
In addition, golden retrievers are prone to, dwarfism,
osteochondrosis, and von Willebrand's blood disease
I acknowledge the following website for the above
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Recorded history of the golden
retriever dates to the early 1800s when the breed was a
popular hunting dog in Scotland. The Golden Retriever
was developed in Scotland and England as a waterfowl and
game dog in the 19th Century. Hunters in the northern
areas needed a large strong dog that had intelligence,
an affinity for the water, the will to work and a soft
mouth for retrieving. The Golden Retriever was developed
by cross breeding Tweed Water Spaniels, Newfoundlands,
and Irish Setters for those purposes. As a rugged,
middle-size dog, the breed was appreciated for the
ability to hunt on land and in water. Sportsmen admired
the dog's athletic ability and diligence while their
families enjoyed the gentle, friendly nature of the pet.
Over the years, golden retrievers have become useful as
guide dogs for the blind, deaf and other handicapped
individuals because of their intelligence, trainability,
well-rounded temperament, as well as their ability to
get along well with people. They are trained as therapy
dogs to comfort residents in nursing homes and
emotionally disturbed children.
Appearance and Size
The golden retriever is a strong, middle-size dog with a
moderately round skull and medium to dark brown eyes.
The breed's ears are triangular and pendant (hanging)
and fall approximately to the level of the jaw. The
outer water-repellent coat is thick and soft although
not silky. The undercoat is moderately dense. As the
name of the breed indicates, the coat colour is golden
or a close shade of golden. Longer hair of a lighter
shade, known as feathers, is present on the back of the
forelegs and thighs, underbelly, front of neck and
underside of the tail.
The golden retriever is a playful, affectionate
companion with an amiable personality. If not for the
dog's size, golden retrievers would be welcome lapdogs.
Although not generally a boisterous breed, this pet will
Home and Family Relations
The golden retriever is an excellent family pet that is
good with children and other pets. This breed is an
appropriate choice for a first pet provided that the
owner is capable of managing a dog of this size and
The golden retriever is intelligent and highly
trainable. In addition to being adept hunters, this
breed has been trained to be companions for disabled
persons including guide dogs for the blind. Golden
retrievers have also carried out drug detection and
search and rescue work.
Golden retrievers who hunt on land and are allowed to
swim require special attention. Running in the bush can
cause small foreign bodies such as burrs and other flora
to become lodged under the eyelid or in an ear or
between the pads. The surface of the eye and the ear can
become irritated and inflamed.
Golden retrievers benefit from regular brushing, once
daily if possible. Brushing helps to promote a shiny,
healthy coat and decreases shedding. This is also an
opportune time to find those nasty mats that can be
painful for your pet. Brushing once a week will prevent
large mats from forming. If this does happen then it is
safest to let a professional groomer or a veterinarian
remove large mats from your pet's coat.
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Main or Limited
breeder may make application to register a puppy on
the Main or Limited Registers.
Main Register entitles the new
owner/s to the full rights as owners of a pedigree
Limited Register has the following
Ineligible for exhibition at a Conformation
Ineligible to be used for breeding purposes;
entire or has been desexed;
registered in the main register;
Ineligible for export.
the purpose of this regulation ‘Conformation
Exhibition' means a Show that is either an All
Breeds Show, Championship Show, Open Show, Parade,
Sanction Show or Specialist Show.
Transfer between the Registers
dog may be transferred between the Main Register and
Limited Register subject to the following conditions
Transfer from Limited Register to Main Register
dog may be transferred from the Limited Register to
the Main Register if:
Application for such transfer is lodged on the
required form with the SACA Office ;
Both the breeder and the registered owner of the dog
make written application for such transfer on the
Transfer from Main Register to Limited Register
dog may be transferred from the Main Register to the
Limited Register on application in writing signed by
the registered owner on one occasion only.
There are no time limitations for the transferring
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Puppy Buyers Beware
Warning to Puppy
Sadly there are so called "breeders" who advertise
themselves to be something that they are not - and that
is having our beloved breed at heart!
No matter how many years that breeder may have been
breeding and no matter how many champions or grand
champions that they
advertise on their web pages, paying a deposit to them before the litter has
been born is no guarantee that you will get a pup from
their next litter and should you change your mind and go
elsewhere say good bye to your deposit!!!!
Under NO circumstances pay anything to a breeder until
you have seen the puppies. Demand a receipt for what you
are paying your money for and if at all possible pay by
cheque or direct bank deposit so that there is a paper
The only time that we accept a deposit is when you come
to visit your puppy when he or she is six or seven weeks
old. I issue a receipt and if for whatever reason you
are unable to take your puppy your deposit is returned
to you in its entirety.
Do not pay a deposit to a breeder
if that breeder does not have puppies on the ground.
Sadly there are unscrupulous breeders out there who will
gladly take your deposit and not provide you with a
puppy from their next litter. I believe this brings the
pedigree dog world in to disrepute.
If you must pay any money to a breeder insist on a
receipt that details what you have paid your money for.
NEVER PAY CASH as there is no paper trail - the best way
if you have to pay a deposit is to do it by a direct
transfer from your bank account.
Please learn from the mistakes that I have made in the
past by dealing with breeders who stand by their word
and whose motivation is not monetary based.
The article below from the Ballarat Courier news sends
shivers down my spine and reinforces the need for
Ballarat couple's vet bill pain prompts warning to
BY ERIC PARNIS
17 May, 2010 12:43 AM
DEBORAH PARSELL and her partner Jeff Spielvogel have
spent almost $5000 in the last 12 months raising a sick
They have been in and out of a veterinary clinic about
15 times in the past year with Hadley, their
19-month-old golden retriever, treating her for
hereditary cataracts and obsessive compulsive disorder.
She has needed x-rays, medication for her diseases and
an operation to remove one of her eyes. The operation
freed Hadley of pain that caused her to become
aggressive, and her owners say she is now like a new
"She's gone back to being a puppy, bouncing around and
enjoying herself like she hasn't done for months. It
shows just how much pain she was in," Miss Parsell said.
But the financial stress and heartbreak may continue
with Hadley, who has a 50 per cent chance of losing her
other eye to the disease. If she does, she will need to
be put down.
The experience has been heartbreaking for the couple,
but Miss Parsell said she hoped other dog owners would
learn from their story.
She urged all dog owners to have their pets checked for
hereditary disease before considering breeding from
them, and for potential buyers to make sure the breeders
had certificates clearing dogs of hereditary disease.
The Australian National Kennel Council and Dogs Victoria
recommends buyers only purchase from registered
breeders, and they should ask for copies of official
certificates and checks to know if there are hereditary
diseases in the dogs' parents.
"It is terrible knowing that there are other dogs out
there with these diseases," Miss Parsell said. "Please have your dog checked."
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Buying A Puppy
Have you researched which
breed is the most suited to your life style? If not,
may I suggest that you go to the following sites to
assist you in your decision making process:
Pedigree Select-A-Dog :
Petcare Information and Advisory Service:
The Golden Retriever Club of NSW " Purchasing a
Puppies can be purchased from a variety of sources
.. for example...
Newspaper add, flyer in the supermarket, on
line etc. etc. I hope that this page educates the
future puppy buyer so that an informed decision is
made when adding a family member.
There are many options and considerations with
respect to adding a four legged member to your
family. Everyone wants a dog that is well adjusted
and a dog that will fit into their life style
choice. There are health issues to consider as there
are problems that are not immediately apparent in
the puppy when it is first brought home. Buyers who
have not had a puppy before rely heavily on post
purchase support. If that support is not there then
uneducated decisions may be made in respect to the
There are puppy farms/ mills out there which mass
produce puppies with little or no thought given to
the sire and dam of the offspring. The primary
consideration in the selection of the sire and dam
is a commercial one based on the current "fad" at
the time. Essentially the production of a cute
looking fluffy puppy is the motivating force. How
then can one be sure that any potential health
issues such as hip, eye or heart disease is
minimised if no parental testing has been done. No
thought is given to the temperament of the parents
and no testing done prior to the mating. The parents
can come from different breeds so who is to say
which characteristics of those breeds will reveal
themselves when the puppies produced turn into
Puppy farmers go about the production of puppies in
a continual fashion so the poor dam is bred season
after season and when she comes to the end of her
useful life is then sold to a pet home. I wonder
what kind of family member such a female will make.
As there are so many puppies produced in the one
establishment how is the one on one relationship
between a human and puppy achieved? This
socialisation is important in the development of a
well rounded adult dog. How are these mass produced
puppies exposed to normal household activities such
as lawn mowing, and using electrical appliances
within the home?
By purchasing a puppy from a puppy farm you are
encouraging the practices mentioned above.
Buying from a pet shop. Pet shop's rely on the
impulse buy / decision to add a new family member to
ones home. I believe that pet shops have their
place, but not to sell puppies and kittens. Too many
adolescent dogs end up in dog shelters as a result
of such buys. Buying on impulse means that you have
not had the opportunity to consider the implications
and responsibilities of adding a new family member
to your home. Nor has an educated decision of
matching the needs of a particular breed to ones
life style been made.
I wonder at the breed knowledge that the puppy
farmer/ pet shop assistant has and whether they are
in a position to be able to give on going support to
the new owner. Once you have parted with your money,
what happens? Is there any follow up? Do these
people give out comprehensive information in respect
to the puppies that they sell? What happens if there
is an issue with the puppy once you have got him or
her home? Are they available 24 x 7 to answer your
There is a misconception out there that it is more
expensive to buy from a registered breeder. I do not
believe this to be the case. Mongrel puppies sold as
"designer" dogs are just as expensive as a pure bred
dog. Don't forget there is not only the initial
outlay, but the on going costs of registration,
feeding, vet fees etc..... applies to any dog
By purchasing a mongrel puppy do you really know
what you are getting? How do you really know its
heritage? Is it really the cross that you are told
that it is? How large will he or she grow? What will
the coat be like? There can be no guarantees with
respect to the style of adult dog when purchasing a
mongrel. With a pedigreed dog you know what the
lineage is and have a good idea of what the puppy
will look like as an adult. The dam of the litter
should be available for you to interact with so that
you will be able to gain an insight into the future
temperament of your puppy.
I am open and proud to be a breeder. The motivation
for each and every litter that I am responsible for
is to ensure the betterment of our breed in both a
structural and social sense. Above all I love each
and every puppy that I have had the pleasure of
bringing into this world. I ensure that all of
the relevant tests are completed prior to me
contemplating a litter from one of my girls, I look
carefully for a potential sire and make sure that he
has had all of his testing done plus that he is
compatible in looks and temperament . My dogs are
kept in our house and have the run of our back yard.
The puppies are reared in our lounge room so that
they are exposed to all household activities right
from the word go. When they are old enough I expose
them to the "big wild world of our garden". New
puppy owners are allowed to visit the puppies once
they are six weeks old. The reason for this is two
fold, the first being the possibility of
transmitting disease via footwear and hands and the
second is that at six weeks the puppies are at the
stage of their social development where they need to
have as much interaction with people as they can.
The puppies that leave here are sent home with a
comprehensive folder of information. This includes a
diet sheet, simple puppy obedience information,
worming tablet (to be given once the puppy has
settled in to his/her new home) plus other hints and
tips that a new owner may find useful. I give the
new owners some of the food that I have been feeding
the puppies so that the transition from here to
their new home is "easy "on the tummy. The puppies
are micro-chipped and have had their
first vaccinations. Each puppy has been checked by a
vet prior to leaving here. I am available at any
time to answer any questions that new owners may
have. Should any issues arise with one of my babies
I am there to support you as the new owner in any
way that I am able too.
I firmly believe that I am responsible for each and
every puppy that one of my girls has right up until
the day that that puppy goes to the rainbow ridge. I
offer a " no questions asked policy" if a dog needs
to be re-homed and I do my utmost to ensure that the
same care is taken in the selection of a new family
for an adult as is taken when I select new puppy
I wish you well in your endeavour to find a new
family member and I hope that this article has been
of some assistance to you. If you have decided that
a Golden is for you, please contact the Golden
Retriever Club in your state for further information
on available puppies or adults.
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Serngold Golden Retrievers - South Australia
ph: (08) 82485264