Ardorgold’s View of the Golden Retriever

For many years, Ardorgold, including in its former incarnations as Gilded Peak and JenLore, has placed a high value on the level of retrieving desire in our breeding stock.

When we purchased Rachel’s Fanfare for Columbo in 1994, we were seduced by Fanfare’s overall substance and conformation, meaning conformation to the written Breed Standard for the American Golden Retriever, as promulgated by AKC, but we especially liked pedigrees balanced with conformation-bred and field-bred overachievers, i.e. showring champions and those achieving titles in Field Trialing and other events.

Fanfare’s pedigree had an equal number of Golden types, having a conformation champion and Junior Hunter sire and a field-bred dam.  He was a beautiful prepotent package.

After all, the Golden was developed by an Edwardian aristocrat and hunting man who tramped the Scottish moors of his estate Guisachan, who had the money and leisure to cross several different breeds, one misty morning witnessing the birth of two yellow puppies, which he bred to each other, then outcrossing to field spaniels and back into his “yellow” line.  There is no question that while he was enamored of the golden color of his dogs, he was concerned with how readily they brought him game birds to hand, that their coats repelled water, that their powerful noses could track a bird’s point of landing as it died, that their physiques lent themselves to moving swiftly and easily over and through bramble and bracken and heather.

As time went on The Golden Retriever Club of Great Britain and the UK, headquartered in Scotland before England, began breeding for “construction”– the “correct” build and look of the dog, writing down a bible of sorts, The Kennel Club British Breed Standard, for everything from the head to the tail.  And also over time, when British Goldens, falling into American parlance as English Goldens, were imported into the U.S. to cross with our early bloodlines, the American Kennel Club was formed for the purposes of pitting one dog against the other in conformation shows.

Earlier, long before the formation of the American Kennel Club, a movement arose among gundog enthusiasts of all breeds in this country that placed nearly total emphasis on the qualities that had delighted Lord Tweedmouth as he cut into a roast partridge and quaffed a glass of French white.  The group drew up a charter and started a magazine they named American Field.  Then, they founded a registry, The Field Dog Stud Book, which before there were online databases, involved the maintenance of meticulously kept “stud books,” where the names of breed inviduals and their progeny and grand–progeny were annotated and preserved.

Today, as has been “trending” for the past decade, most “English Cream” breeders purchase cream-coated British Golden Retrievers bred for the UK showring.  But whereas in America, the breed has fallen into two distinct types of conformation dogs with flowing coats and a ton of “bone,” and “field-bred” Goldens generally dark red and long-legged and smaller than their ring-bred kin–in Europe and other parts of the world where the KC Breed Standard governs most breeding, retrieving desire is as important as how the dog looks.  Many breeders test their dogs in the field before taking him  into the ring.

We believe that while the British cream-coated Golden Retriever is breathtakingly beautiful, retrieving desire must be present and evident in our breeding stock–that a given breed should be purpose-bred with an eye to its construction/conformation, not the other way around.

We have determined that in registering our foreign dogs with an American registry, a purpose-oriented registry is preferable.  As you can see in reading about the FDSB on our home page and this one, this registry is two million dogs strong with an excellent reputation.  Seldom does an English Cream breeder register FDSB; it doesn’t occur to the novice breeders who are buying up cream-coated dogs in droves in knowing next to nothing about the breed.

Additionally, AKC is so threatened by the American public’s fascination with these dogs that it has launched a smear campaign through the Golden Retriever Club of America, pretending to debunk the “myths” of longevity and lower incidence of cancer of the English Golden.  It bashes breeders who use the phrase English Cream as if such dogs are a separate breed, and it warns all comers to its website that if a breeder has not posted the results of genetic testing at offa.org, that breeder should be avoided like the plague.

Please think about these ploys for your business and the AKC agenda. In our view there is but one reason to register one’s Golden Retriever with AKC– to participate in conformation shows, which FDSB does not believe in and does not consider to be true tests of the merits of an individual dog.  Now the American public thinks that to have an AKC dog is prestigious and the only legitimate registry–thanks as noted, to AKC propaganda.

FDSB doesn’t proclaim its existence to the world or say to anyone that its way is the only way.  Moreover, once you register your Ardorgold puppy with FDSB, you can easily register with AKC or the United Kennel Club.  These three registries recognize each other and co-exist. But AKC’s fall into disgrace among serious British type fanciers is repugnant to us as well.

For this reason we will supply you with an FDSB puppy registration; when you get permanent FDSB papers, you can register your dog with the AKC if you so desire.

NOW let’s summarize, and have a look at the urban legends swirling around our beautiful dogs.

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR ENGLISH GOLDEN RETRIEVER: 

-GOLDENS ARE ALL ONE BREED, FIRST ESTABLISHED IN SCOTLAND IN THE EDWARDIAN ERA BY ONE LORD TWEEDMOUTH, AT HIS STUNNING ESTATE GUISACHEN.

-“ENGLISH CREAM” IS NOT A BREED TYPE OR A SEPARATE BREED–THIS TERMINOLOGY MERELY REFERS TO COAT-C0LOR. NO COMPETENT BREEDER SELECTS BREEDING STOCK ON THE BASIS OF COAT COLOR ALONE.  THE “PROPER” WAY TO REFER TO THESE DOGS, AS THEY ORIGINATED IN GREAT BRITAIN/UK, IS “BRITISH CREAM-COATED GOLDEN RETRIEVERS.” OR “U.K.” GOLDEN RETRIEVERS, OR IN OUR VERNACULAR, ENGLISH GOLDEN RETRIEVERS. JUST AS IN THE U.S., THE BEAUTIFUL GOLDENS OF EUROPE AND ELSEWHERE COME IN A VARIETY OF SHADES RANGING FROM CREAM TO GOLD. THE GB/UK KENNEL BREED STANDARD PERMITS THE CREAM COAT; THE AKC/GRCA STANDARD DOES NOT, GENERALLY FAULTING IT IN THE CONFORMATION RING.

-PEDIGREE MATTERS. A STRONG PEDIGREE OF CHAMPIONS AND PROMINENT FOUNDATION DOGS AND BITCHES MAKES A SMART, OUTGOING, BEAUTIFUL MEGA-PUPPY.  

OUR DOGS ARE OUR FAMILY MEMBERS. MANY AMERICAN “ENGLISH CREAM” OR “WHITE DOG” BREEDERS–THE WORST OFFENDERS OF ALL, HAVING NO IDEA WHO THEY HAVE REALLY IMPORTED AND INSTALLED IN AN OUTDOOR RUN TO LIVE OUT ITS LIFE EXCEPT FOR WHEN IT IS IN A WHELPING ROOM WITH ITS PUPPIES, ARE CLUELESS.  

-ADDITIONALLY, AS NOTED, OVER FIVE GENERATIONS OF CLEAR HIPS AND EYES EXIST IN THE PEDIGREE, TOP AND BOTTOM. THAT WE HAVE RESEARCHED AND HAVE SCREENED OUR BREEDING STOCK FOR THE STANDARD HEREDITARY DEFECTS IS YOUR GUARANTEE THAT WE HAVE DONE OUR DUE DILIGENCE.

AT THE OTHER END OF THE PUPPY MILL SPECTRUM, WE HAVE SO-CALLED FANCIERS WHO TOW THE GOLDEN RETRIEVER CLUB OF AMERICA LINE WITH THEIR “YES MASSA” ADHERENCE TO WHAT THIS ORGANIZATION CALLS THE ONLY RIGHT WAY TO RAISE GOLDENS.  NO, YOUR CLEARANCES DO NOT HAVE TO BE POSTED AT OFFA.ORG.  YOU CAN PUT THEM ON YOUR SITE OR E-MAIL THEM TO PUPPY BUYERS.  EVERY PAGE OF OUR WEBSITE MAY BE PRINTED OUT FOR A TERRIFIC, INFORMATIVE  COLOR PORTFOLIO ON YOUR PUPPY.  WE LEAVE THAT UP TO YOU.  WE ARE ETHICAL, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BREEDERS– SEE OUR KUDOS PAGE– AND WE APOLOGIZE TO NO OTHER BREEDER, BREED CLUB OR HEAVYWEIGHT INDIVIDUAL FOR OUR INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO BREEDINGS   OUR VETERINARIAN IS ONE OF THE TOP REPRO VETS IN THE COUNTRY AND HE LOVES OUR DOGS.

ABOUT GUARANTEES.  ALL  NON CONGENITAL (BIRTH)  HEREDITARY DEFECTS ARE POLYGENIC, MEANING AS MULTIPLE GENES. A GIVEN DEFECT SUCH AS HIP DYSPLASIA CAN BE EITHER DOMINANT OR RECESSIVE IN ANY GIVEN GENERATION. DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU THEY CAN GUARANTEE THEIR PUPPIES AGAINST THE STANDARD DEFECTS. MANY “ENGLISH CREAM BREEDERS” ARE IGNORANT!  TWO CLEARED PARENTS CAN PRODUCE A DYSPLASTIC LITTER.  CLEARANCES ARE IMPORTANT SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY REDUCE THE ODDS. WE SAY THAT OUR PUPPIES, HAVING SCREENED PARENTS AND MANY GENERATIONS OF CLEAR EYES AND HIPS ABROAD, HAVE AN OPTIMUM CHANCE OF BEING SOUND FOR THEIR LIFESPAN. IT IS DISHONEST TO ISSUE GUARANTEES RIGHT AND LEFT AS SELLING POINTS.   SEE OUR BLOODSTOCK HEALTH PAGE HERE.