11 Mar Blog

English Cream Golden Retrievers

Your English Cream Golden Retriever will inherit the genetic make-up of the bloodlines he/she comes from. This is why breeding practices are so important. Responsible breeders will conduct health testing in order to produce optimal health in their puppies. Lake Country Goldens has carefully researched and imported the very best breeding lines in Europe. As a new puppy owner, you can build on an excellent genetic foundation by providing quality nutrition and age appropriate exercise.

Hips and elbows: There are 5 types of hip testing available for dogs. OFA, PennHIP, FCI (European), SV (German), and BVA (UK, Australia). The most common in the United States (the gold standard) is OFA. OFA stands for Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. You can visit their web site at www.offa.org. Grades for hips are as follows: Normal (Excellent, Good, and Fair), Borderline, and Dysplastic (Mild, Moderate, Severe). Between 1974 and 2011, 4.1 percent of golden retrievers evaluated received a score of “Excellent,” while 19.7 percent were categorized at dysplastic. OFA does not give a permanent hip score until your dog turns two. A preliminary result can be given at a younger age, but it is recommended by OFA to test again at age two.

Breeding recommendations: Lake Country Goldens breeds ONLY those golden retrievers that have received a normal OFA score. In fact, with rare exception only scores of Excellent or Good are considered breeding dogs. In the case of a Fair score, if siblings from the same litter received a higher score, breeding would be considered.

Another option: PennHIP is a more recent method of hip testing that is more expensive and detailed than OFA. Rather than just one x-ray view “Hips Extended View” (used by OFA) there are two additional x-rays taken (Compression and Distraction). Precise measurements allow this method of hip testing to be objective in nature. A major advantage of PennHIP is that a permanent score can be given at 6 months of age. You will receive two pieces of information with results: the precise laxity measurement for each hip AND your percentile score when compared to other dogs of your breed. A veterinarian must receive special training to be certified to conduct PennHIP testing. To find a veterinarian near you, visit: www.pennhip.org.

Breeding recommendations: We recommend breeding English Cream Golden Retrievers who have a percentage of 60 or better. Our two first English Cream Goldens (Wyatt and Chloe) scored 80 and 90 percent respectively with PennHIP!

FCI Hip Scores: We occasionally import an adult English Cream Golden Retriever from Europe who already has their permanent hip score with FCI (Fédération Internationale Cynologique). We only breed our English Cream Goldens who score FCI A or FCI B.

he following article, Locating the genes for hip dysplasia in dogs, verifies what we have found to be reality with hip scores…the weight of your developing puppy and young adult is critical to excellent hip scores. The above study verifies that 50% of the hip score is dependent on the proper weight! Vets will rank the weight of your dog on a scale of 1 to 9. We like to see weights rated at 4 to 5 (no higher than 5!). We take additional measures by providing age appropriate exercise…they play with us in the yard at their own pace and rest when they are tired. We also give the vitamins we have listed on this page.

Elbows: In our breeding experience, we have never encountered a problem with elbows.

Heart: At age one a heart exam should be done by a veterinarian with extensive training in cardiac diagnosis. The veterinarian should be certified to give an OFA grade for the heart. No number is assigned if the heart is clear of problems. In our breeding program, we have ONLY received OFA clear results. To learn more visit: www.offa.org/cardiac_grades.htm.

Recommendation: Only those English Cream Golden Retrievers that have a clear score with their heart should be used for breeding.

Eyes: An eye evaluation can be completed just as soon as your puppies eyes open. We typically do this at a later date. You will need to locate a canine ophthalmologist. To locate a eye specialist in your area, visit www.offa.org.
Additionally, we test our goldens for eye genetic diseases: PRA-1 and PRA-2.  If both parents are clear genetically, the puppies do not need to be tested as they are “clear by parentage”.

Recommendation: Only those English Cream Golden Retrievers who receive clear or “breeder option” score with OFA should be used for breeding.  Ideally, only those goldens PRA-1 and PRA-2 clear should be bred.

Brucellosis: Another type of testing we do at The Golden Acres is for brucellosis. This is a serious disease that should not be taken lightly. This article provides excellent details on how brucellosis is transmitted and some of the effects of the disease: www.cfsph.iastate.edu.

Recommendation: Any local vet can test your dog for brucellosis. Your male should be tested before breeding any female. The Golden Acres does not allow any dog on our property that has not been tested for brucellosis. Females who are bred to our male are required to have a current test with a negative result.