Finding a great breeder and purchasing a quality, well bred golden retriever puppy from an ethical breeder is a daunting process! With puppy scammers becoming more and more prolific across the internet, it is even more important that you and your family take the extra time and care in researching the breed AND your breeder of choice.
Whether buying a puppy from us, or from another ethical registered breeder, the following information will assist you on how to identify a great breeder. Keep an eye out under each heading for our Red Flags to identify things to watch out for!
Is the breeder a registered Australian National Kennel Council Ltd (ANKC) breeder?
This is the first and easiest check you can do. Firstly ask the breeder directly for their ANKC approved Kennel Prefix (for example ours is Cadenzahgold) and their member registration number. You can also ask which State they are registered in. For example Cadenzahgold is registered as breeders in Victoria so we are members of Dogs Victoria - the Victorian body of ANKC registered breeders. Registered breeders located in New South Wales should be members of Dogs New South Wales.
Once you have sourced this information you can then go to the ANKC website at ankc.org.au and utilise the registered breeder check located in the lower section of their home page - scroll down, it can be hard to find!
Utilising either the Kennel Prefix and the membership number provided to you - check the details using this tool. If registered as current and financial members, the checker will return a green tick as shown below:
Look out for breeders claiming to be registered but they are in fact 'registered' with a number of other associations commonly associated with back yard breeding including Master Dog Breeders Association or other pet breeding associations. These groups are in no way associated with the ANKC and are not required to meet the stringent, ethical breeding guidelines for dog breeding that ANKC registered breeders do. These other groups also allow cross breeding of different breeds and the breeding of 'designer' dogs such as the various 'oodles'.
Note for Victorians - Another type of 'registration' breeders may have and still not be members of the ANKC is registration as a Domestic Animal Business with their local council (which will also be known as having a DAB number). This again is a red flag for puppy buyers looking for ethical breeders as it may means that the breeder has been required to registered with council as they are not covered by the various Codes of Practice monitored and upheld by the ANKC. As members of ANKC, registered breeders are able to own up to 10 breeding dogs without registering with their local council as a Domestic Animal Business under the Domestic Animals Act 1994. This is because the ANKC is an applicable organisation, approved by the Minister for Agriculture under section 5A of the Domestic Animals Act.
An exception to this rule could however be that the breeder is a very large purebred dog breeder and they have more than 10 breeding animals. If this is the case they will also need to register as a Domestic Animal Business in addition to the ANKC registration.
An information flyer explaining what an Applicable Organisation means is available for download here:
Another thing to note that in addition to all of the requirements noted above, ANKC breeders keeping more than five (5) dogs at their home may be required to obtain relevant Planning Permits from their local council. These permits are in addition to any registration with the ANKC or as a Domestic Animal Business and are designed to ensure that appropriate actions and facilities are in place to ensure that our dogs are not impacting on the lifestyles of those living around us. Here at Cadenzahgold we have a local Planning Permit to keep up to 10 dogs at our home.
Do the puppies and their parents have ANKC pedigree papers?
All puppies bought through an ANKC registered breeder must be sold with with ANKC pedigree papers.
If your ANKC registered breeder is unable or unwilling to provide copies of both parents papers as well as a copy of the puppy's own papers, steer clear *!
(*Noting that in some instances paperwork for young puppies under 3 months may not yet have been provided to the breeder by their relevant governing body due to processing delays. In these instances, at a minimum the breeder should be able to show evidence of both parents pedigrees as well as a completed copy of the application for registration of the litter that your puppy belongs to that will have a list of the microchips being registered that you can check against.)
What do ANKC pedigree papers look like?
ANKC pedigree papers are a certified legal document provided by the ANKC that verify your puppies registered name, registration number, microchip number and birthdate. ANKC pedigree papers also provide an additional three layers of your puppies family tree including details of any show and tracking titles your puppies family members have attained (ie. Championships etc.)
There are two types of ANKC pedigree paper - a blue certificate known as Mains Register and an orange certificate known as Limited Register. Most puppies are sold with an orange certificate that identify the puppy as not for breeding or export (pet quality). On Limited Register, puppies and dogs may still compete in a variety of dog sports. All breeding and show dogs will hold a blue certificate that means the owner has full rights to breed from the dog and can show the dog at conformation shows.
Dogs registered on an orange certificate (Limited Register) can be upgraded to a blue certificate (Mains Register) by the breeder at any time and you may find that some breeders only upgrade pedigrees from Limited to Main after the dog has passed all relevant health scores and is approved for breeding. An upgrade to the Mains Register must be done before any puppies bred from the dog can be registered with an ANKC pedigree.
Examples of blue and orange ANKC pedigrees are shown below :
When viewing the ANKC pedigree for the parents of your puppy they MUST be blue certificates and registered on the Mains Register. If the pedigrees shown to you are on orange certificates (Limited Register), the parents have not been endorsed by the breeder and the ANKC as suitable for breeding. Many back yard breeders and puppy farms will purchase puppies from registered breeders with an orange certificate (Limited Register) and then breed from the dogs without the breeders, or ANKC approval and use the orange certificate to attempt to prove to buyers purchasing their puppies that the parents are pedigreed and registered. These breeders are NOT legitimate ANKC registered breeders and these puppies are not registered ANKC pedigree puppies.
Another thing to look out for might be a breeder who can show you copies of both parents being registered with a blue certificate (Mains Register), but are not offering ANKC registration and pedigrees on the puppies they are selling. Again, this is a big red flag as it could mean a number of things, all of which are not good, including:
- The breeder has managed to purchase two dogs on the Main Register but has not registered themselves as a breeder with the ANKC;
- The breeder has not followed ethical breeding practices enforced by the ANKC that ensure females are only allowed to produce no more than 2 litters in every 18 months. Sometimes, unethical registered breeders will breed a third, unapproved litter within 18 months and sell the puppies without papers to 'fly under the radar' of the ANKC and make additional profit from their dogs in an unethical way.
Do both parents of the puppies have all their health checks?
High quality, ethical breeders will ensure that both parents of all the puppies they breed have at least the four main health checks/screens completed on all their breeding dogs. These are:
- Hip and elbow Scoring (Canine Hip and Elbow Displysia Scheme)
- Annual Eye Certificate
- Heart Certificate
- DNA Screening for PRA1, PRA2 and Ichthyosis
Copies of all these certifications should be made available to all prospective puppy buyers and copies provided to new owners when they pick up their puppy.
More information on these health checks can be found under our Health Screening page here.
If the breeder is unable or unwilling to share documentation on all health screening conducted on the parents of the puppies there is likely a reason. Either they are unethical breeders who have note conducted the testing, or their dogs have not passed the testing and they are breeding anway. Never accept the 'word' that health screening is completed, or any number of excuses from a breeder that testing is unavailable, ask for evidence and if it is not forthcoming, walk away!