Choosing a Breeder


During your first conversation, you will want to know when puppies will be available.

Be cautious if the seller:

  • Says they do not have puppies today, but will be getting a “shipment” in the near future.
  • Agrees to sell a puppy younger than 7 weeks of age.
  • Cannot answer any of your questions.
  • Is very eager to sell a puppy without asking you questions about you, your family or your lifestyle.
  • Is not a member of the CKC and a recognized Breed Club such as GRCC or a provincial Breed Club.
  • Charges one price for registered dogs and less ‘without papers’ – this is illegal.
  • Takes a deposit over the phone or gets you to send a deposit before having met with you and your family.

If you have any concern after your conversation — keep looking! If you feel you are, dealing with a responsible person, arrange to visit the breeder. This gives both of you a chance to get to know each other and decide if a puppy from this kennel is right for you as well as discuss expectations, price and terms. A good breeder will be concerned where his/her puppies are going, so expect to be interviewed.

Is the facility clean?
Most kennel areas have a doggy odor, but an accumulation of feces or strong urine smell can be a potential health risk for puppies. Is the kennel well lit? Well ventilated? Secure and large enough for the number of dogs being kept there? Do the dogs look well cared for and happy?

Is the dam (mother) on the premises?
Ask to see her and note her appearance, size, temperament and general health – your puppy will havemany of the same qualities. Ask for information about the puppy’s sire (father) if he does not belong to the breeder.

Have the sire and dam been certified free of heritable diseases?
A good breeder should show you documents/certificates from recognized institutions certifying both sire and dam are not affected by heritable abnormalities. Ask to see hip, eye and heart certificates for the Sire and Dam as well as any blood or other reports.

Will the puppy be sold with a Written Guarantee and a CKC Registration?
Is the guarantee specific and clearly written? Without meaningless generalizations (eg. guaranteed against ·sickness·)? Does it guarantee the puppy for a reasonable time against debilitating hereditary conditions? Will the breeder supply you with CKC registration at no extra cost? By federal law, dogs sold as Purebred in Canada must be sold with CKC Registration.

Do you feel you are dealing with a conscientious person?
Would you feel comfortable calling this person for advice? Is he/she knowledgeable about Golden Retrievers and dogs in general? Are his/her own dogs treated well? Is the seller more interested in the welfare of his puppies than making a sale? Do you feel pressured into buying a puppy?

Before you bring your Golden puppy home….

Is the puppy healthy?
Healthy Golden Retriever puppies are alert, mobile, inquisitive and friendly. They should be interested in their surroundings and curious about you. The puppy’s eyes should be bright and clear, not
runny. The nose should be moist and pliable, not dry and caked and there should be no obvious difficulty breathing. Gums should be healthy and pink. Look under the puppy’s tail there should be no signs of diarrhea. Ruffle the fur, you should see no fleas or flea dirt. Does the puppy seem well nourished?

Will the seller guarantee the puppy’s health for at least 72 hours after purchase?
Does the seller encourage you to have your veterinarian give an opinion on the puppy’s health? Will the seller refund the purchase price or replace the puppy if your veterinarian determines it was sold in an unfit condition?

These guidelines were produced to help you find a well-bred and healthy Golden Retriever puppy and a seller who is responsible, reputable and ethical. If you have answered ‘No’ to any of the above questions, carefully consider if it is wise to purchase a puppy from this breeder.