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Puppy Contract | Puppy Program | Buyers Beware!

Buyers Beware!

As I am sure all potential gundog/family dog purchasers realize, the pup they purchase is a long term investment and will become a “member” of the family, good or bad. Whether or not the pup turns out to be a good hunting dog, whether it has the necessary inherited instinct, is sound of body and mind, etc., it will still be a long term family member.

The chances of acquiring a retriever with the prerequisite qualities necessary to make a gundog are raised considerably when the dog comes from proven field and hunting background on both sides, and BOTH the sire and dam have been proven in the field. Nothing is ever absolute, but your chances are much better if you acquire a pup from proven parents, and experienced, reputable breeders who have been breeding working gundogs for some time.

Likewise, the chances of having your pup grow into a sound, functional dog are much stronger if the pup comes directly out of parents who have been OFA certified and have had their eyes cleared of hereditary problems. Both Golden Retrievers and Labradors can have problems with hips and/or eyes. Making sure the sire and dam are clear increases your chance of having a problem free pup. THERE IS NO WAY TO TELL IF A DOG IS DYPLASTIC EXCEPT THROUGH X-RAYING THE INDIVIDUAL. JUST BECAUSE ITS PARENTS WERE OKAY, DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT IS OKAY, EVERY INDIVIDUAL USED FOR BREEDING MUST BE CHECKED.

For several months, we have researched ads in local papers in Montana and Wyoming. Out of 25 ads, only ONE party placing an ad for retriever pups had the parents hips certified by OFA and/or clear eyes. I have heard things like “my vet looked at my female, and said she would never have hip dysplasia,” and “well, the sire of the dam of my dog had an OFA number, so that means my dog is fine”, “She (he) has never shown any problems, so we know they have good hips“, "Labradors don’t have any such thing as hereditary eye problems.” BOTH PARENTS SHOULD BE OFA CERTIFIED! IT MEANS NOTHING THAT “WELL, THE MOTHER’S PARENTS HAD GOOD HIPS." Just because the dam or sire’s PARENTS had good hips does not mean that the individual has good hips. Hip dysplasia can only be detected by taking an X-RAY of the individual, PERIOD. ANY ONE OF THE ABOVE STATEMENTS SHOULD RAISE A BIG RED FLAG ! CAVEAT EMPTOR, BUYER BEWARE !

It has been proven that 30% of Labradors and 40% of Goldens will have hip problems. Your chance of getting a pup who will grow up normal is MUCH GREATER if both the sire and dam are OFA certified. The same with hereditary eye problems.

REGARDING HUNTING INSTINCT AND ABILITIES: THESE QUALITIES ARE JUST AS INHERITED AS PHYSICAL CHARATERISTICS! BOTH PARENTS SHOULD HAVE BEEN PROVEN IN THE FIELD, NOT JUST A FEW DOGS THAT MIGHT SHOW UP IN THE PEDIGREE. In the majority of the ads for “hunting dogs” only one parent, and many times NEITHER parent, had actually hunted. When I called to ask, I was told such things as: “We have never hunted the female, but the sire is a hunter”, “neither the sire or dam actually hunt, but they love to watch the birds in the back yard, so we know the pups will be hunters”, “we don’t hunt, but the parents have hunting and field dogs in the pedigree”. All of these things are inherited. If you buy a pup out of parents who haven’t been proven in the field, even though they had field dogs in their pedigree, you are taking a big chance as to whether your pup will have what it takes.

This year alone, we have sold FIVE pups to people who had previously bought a pup out of the paper, from unproven stock. Two of the FIVE pups they had bought grew up dysplastic. One had PRA, a hereditary eye disease, and the dog went blind. TWO just totally lacked any natural hunting ability, would not pick up a bird, showed no interest in hunting, and HATED the water. None of the pups were backed up by any kind of guarantee.

With hunting dogs, as with anything you purchase, remember, you get exactly what you pay for….Your family is going to love the dog, even if it turns out crippled and worthless as a gundog. I talked to one fellow who spent $4,000 on surgery on his dog’s legs, just so the animal could lead a functional, pain-free life.

Any pup can end up having a physical problem; however, your chances are better to have a sound, functional, good working gundog if it comes from carefully screened, good hunting parents, who have been proven in the field, preferably for generations. Just because there is a "FC" in the pedigree does not mean the mother inherited those qualities: THEY MUST BE PROVEN AS INDIVIDUALS.

Buying a pup from someone who has not taken the time, and does not care enough to check their breeding stock for clear hip and eyes, means you are not purchasing a pup from a serious breeder. Chances are, they are just out to “make a buck” off of you, and other innocent hunters. ALWAYS make sure :

1) Both parents, sire and dam, have been OFA screened free of hip dysplasia. They should have an OFA number. 2) Make sure both parents have been screened free of hereditary eye problems. 3) Make sure both parents are proven hunters. 4) You should receive a WRITTEN guarantee for good hips, eyes, and hunting ability. 5) IF A BREEDER DOES NOT WANT TO GIVE YOU A FULL GUARANTEE, IN WRITING, DON’T BUY THE PUP.

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