CHECK LISTS Listed below are two check lists that may assist you in your search for that new family member. We'd suggest that you print both lists and have them by the phone when you start to make your calls. QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE STARTING YOUR SEARCH Are YOU ready to: _____1. Take full responsibility for this dog and all its requirements for the next 10+ years -- this is not a responsibility that you can leave with your children. _____2. Take the time and patience to train your dog to be a good canine companion. He or she will not learn this all on its own. _____3. Not allow the dog run loose, ride in the back of a open pick-up truck or be tied up as a form of confinement. Be prepared to keep the dog safe at all times. _____4. Make the time to provide enough attention and exercise for the dog throughout its lifetime, even puppies will require this each day. _____5. Live with the constant shedding, dirty paws, digging, drooling, retrieving (of everything) for the next 10+ years. Goldens in general are very active dogs. _____6. Spend the money required to provide the proper dietary needs and veterinary care which would include routine vaccinations, as well as annual check-ups, teeth cleaning, spaying/neutering, heartworm preventatives and possibly flea/tick treatments. _____7. Become educated on the proper care, grooming and training of the breed. _____8. Keep in touch with the breeder, and update him or her on all accomplishments and problems you may encounter. And, to contact your breeder or other professionals regarding problems before they are out of control. _____9. Have the patience to enjoy, accept and endure the trials of "Golden" puppy- hood. Remember a Golden's puppy-hood can last for two years or more. :) _____10. Accept responsibility throughout this dogs life despite life changes such as new babies, kids leaving for school, moving or returning to work. _____11. Take the time to find the right puppy from a responsible breeder (though it may take more time) rather than buy on impulse. _____12. Lastly, is everyone in the family wanting a new dog? QUESTIONS TO ASK THE BREEDERS YOU CONTACT Remember that many of the breeders you contact may have a waiting list for their puppies, so be patient. Waiting for that right puppy from a responsible breeder is well worth your time -- after all, you are investing in a 10+ year commitment. _____1. Does the breeder belong to any breed clubs? Breed clubs have Code of Ethics for members to follow in regard to breeding practices, clearances, contracts, facilities and so forth. _____2 Both the sire and dam of the litter should be a minimum of 24 months old, as they cannot receive final OFA hip or elbow clearance until after 24 months. Also, we personally feel that a female is not mentally mature enough to raise a litter until she is at least 24 months of age or even older, at 18 months she is still a baby herself. _____3. Do both parents of the litter have their clearances? This should include but not limited to OFA hip and elbow clearances after 24 months old; a board-certified veterinarian ophthalmologist report (within 12 months of the breeding); and a board-certified veterinarian cardiologist report (after the age of 12 months). Ask to see the certificates. If the breeder says "My vet says they are okay" or "He has never been lame in his life" -- BEWARE!!! Such statements are not substitutes for valid clearances! _____4. Ask the breeder about clearances on grandparents and siblings of the sire and dam of the litter, this is just as important as the parents themselves. _____5. When was the dam of the litter last bred and how many litters has she had. If she is being bred every six months for more than two full-size litters in a row, this is too often and may indicate that the breeder is breeding for profit. _____6. Will the breeder welcome you visiting the kennels and dam of the litter at a time that is convenient for both of you? How soon after the puppies are born can you visit them and the dam? Most reputable breeders will not allow people to visit the puppies until they are four to five weeks old due to health considerations. _____7. Is the sire available for viewing? Many breeders send their females away to be bred, and the sire is not available for viewing. But, they should be able to show you his clearances and pictures, and also should give you information on how to contact the sire's owner so you may possibly go visit the sire. _____8. If you are purchasing a companion puppy, ask the breeder about requirements regarding spaying and neutering. Responsible breeders will require that the puppy be spayed or neutered by a specific time and also that the puppy will be sold on an AKC limited registration. _____9. Ask why the breeder selected that particular stud dog for the dam. The answer SHOULD NOT be "He lives down the street" or "He has a sweet temperament." Rather, the breeder should explain that the sire and the dam compliment each other in structure, temperament and type, and that genetically the pedigrees worked well together. _____10. If for any reason you are unable to keep the dog, is this breeder willing to either take it back at anytime and find it a suitable new home, and/or is the breeder willing to help you locate a new home for him or her? _____11. Is this breeder involved with the breed other than just breeding? Is he or she involved in competition with their dogs, such as conformation, agility, obedience, hunt tests and/or tracking? _____12. Have the puppies been raised in a home setting with lots of socialization and interaction with people? You want to stay away from the puppies that have been raised outside all of the time or ones that have had little or no contact with people, house noise and so forth. _____13. When does the breeder let the puppies go off to their new homes? Preferably, you would like to have your puppy stay with its littermates until 7 1/2-8 weeks -- puppies leaving as early as 6 weeks may show some behavior problems. _____14. Does the breeder provide you with copies of contracts/non-breeding contracts; a three-four generation pedigree; pictures of mom and dad and copies of their clearances; the puppy's vaccination/worming record; a diet sheet; and information on grooming, crate training, house training? ______ 15. Does the breeder let the new owners pick their own puppies or does the breeder pick the puppy for the new owner? A responsible breeder will work with the new owner to place the right puppy into its new home based on the puppy's temperament and the needs/lifestyle of the new owners. _____16. Will the puppies have a veterinarian examination before going to their new homes? During this appointment, did the puppies receive their first set of vaccinations and have they been dewormed? _____17. When visiting the puppies, do they appear healthy, with no discharge from the eyes or nose, or diarrhea present? Their ears should be clean, coats soft and clean, and they should not appear pot-bellied. Do they have plenty energy when awake? Are they alert and do they come to you for attention? _____18. Is there more than one litter being raised at a time? With multiple litters being raised at the same time, it is possible that the breeder is not able to devote enough individual time to each puppy required for a well-socialized puppy. _____19. Most importantly, make certain this is a breeder with whom you feel very comfortable, as you are entering into a long relationship. Is the breeder available for questions you may have throughout the lifetime of the puppy? Is this breeder knowledgeable enough with the breed that you would feel comfortable contacting him or her with any problems that may arise? Good luck in your search!