Buying a Golden Retriever

If you have decided that a Golden Retriever is the dog for you, take time to learn about the breed. Attend dog shows, become a member of the Golden Retriever Club, attend Golden Fun Days organised by the Club. Speak to owners and breeders. Impulsive purchases of dogs often lead to heartaches later and REMEMBER all puppies are cute.

The Golden Retriever Club of SA strongly urges you to purchase your pup/dog from a responsible, reputable breeder who has the best interests of the breed at heart.

The GRCSA recommends reading the document below before purchasing a Golden Retriever.

Please do NOT pay any money to ANY BREEDER until such time as you have seen the puppy and have been guaranteed a puppy.



A registered breeder in South Australia must be a member of the South Australian Canine Association, and preferably also a member of the Golden Retriever Club of South Australia, thereby being exposed to other points of view, constantly learning more about the breed and breeding practices. Preferably, the breeder should be involved in showing their Goldens in the breed ring, the obedience ring, in retrieving trialling, attending Golden Fun Days held by the Club. The breeder who has never participated or is not involved in the breed club, does not know how good or bad their dogs really are and is deprived of the opportunity to share information with others.

Showing provides the competition which encourages breeders to produce better dogs. Even if you do not want a competition dog, you deserve a pet that was the end result of a carefully planned litter, a puppy that receives the same care as a potential champion. The breeder who competes in organised activities is known by others and has a reputation to uphold.

A reputable breeder should be able to show you a clean environment, healthy, well socialised pups and a dam with good temperament. A concerned breeder should provide you with written instructions on feeding, training and care, type and dates of vaccinations required and details of worming procedures.

Breeders should provide you with a three generation pedigree either on Limited or Main Register. Careful selection of a reputable breeder and a well-bred puppy will be rewarded with years of happy companionship.

Expect the breeder to ask you questions designed to determine whether or not a dog will fit your personal lifestyle. Sincere breeders will often be a little hesitant to sell you a puppy until they know more about you and what you are looking for in a dog. A returned puppy is an unhappy experience for all concerned.


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.

The Golden Retriever Club of SA 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. You will discover more information on some of the links to our Club's website. Please go there and familiarise yourself with these problems.

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. Obedience clubs can be found in most areas and a list of these clubs can be obtained from the GRC of SA, The South Aust. Canine Association or your local council.


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Photos courtesy of Ingrid Matschke ©