Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN AMERICAN STYLE GOLDEN RETRIEVER AND AN ENGLISH STYLE GOLDEN RETRIEVER?
In the United States, the Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA) is the parent club of the Golden Retriever breed. They are the governing body, which sets the breed standard. The breeders in this country use those standards to attempt to reach perfection in their American Golden Retrievers. As breeders of English style Golden Retrievers, we follow the British Kennel Club (KC) standards. Golden Retrievers bred by the KC standards are slightly different than the GRCA dogs.
The terms "English Style" or “English Cream” does not necessarily mean that the dogs descend from dogs in England, but only that their genealogy was developed in accordance with the British Kennel Club standards. There are several differences between the two clubs’ standards.
Here is an interesting article, written by Bev Brown, that explains the history of the name and difference in type of American vs. English Goldens.
The GRCA or American bred Golden, can range from light gold to dark red. Extremely pale dogs are considered undesirable, and, because of this, cream, English style Golden Retrievers are not generally seen as often in the AKC show ring. The KC standards include any shade of gold or cream, but neither red nor mahogany. A few white hairs on the chest are permitted. Not all English style Golden Retrievers are a cream color, but can range from light cream to a darker gold. It is important to note that a Golden Retriever of any style will never be a true white color.
TOP LINE AND HINDQUARTERS
The GRCA standard for the top line of the dog allows for a slight slope from the withers to the croup with the hind leg angling toward the rear, whereas the KC standard is for a very level top line and the hind leg going straight down. As a result, the English style Golden Retriever will have a more rectangular shape and will generally be shorter and stockier than the American Golden Retriever.
HEAD, NECK, EYES AND EARS
An American Golden Retriever will have eyes set further apart, ears set above the eye, and generally have a smaller head than the style Golden Retriever. The English style Golden Retriever will have larger, more rounded eyes, their ears will be more level with the eyes, and will have a larger, blockier head.
Technically, there are no differences in temperament between the American and English Goldens. Differences in temperament can be seen in by choosing certain pedigrees from both American and English lines. If you are looking for a high energy Golden with a strong hunting drive, you should look for a dog with a field pedigree. Our English style Goldens do not typically have the extremely high drive that is necessary to hunt with, but they are happy to chase a tennis ball or a bumper.
All Golden Retrievers, if well bred, tend to be very healthy, active, athletic dogs. The average lifespan of a Golden Retriever is 10-12 years. As respoinsible breeders, we pride ourselves on doing our best to breed dogs with strong pedigree backgrounds that have been health tested and received OFA health clearances for hips, elbows, heart, and eyes. We do this to insure that you are getting a happy, healthy puppy to enjoy for years to come!
If you would like to read more about the differences between the English style and the American style Golden, you can go to the websites below.
WHY SHOULD I PICK A GOLDEN RETRIEVER OVER ANOTHER BREED?
The absolute most important characteristic of a Golden Retriever whether it be English or American is their outstanding temperament and personality. The breed standard is for them to be kindly, friendly and confident. They absolutely love everyone whether family member or stranger. They do not tend to attach to one person. If you are looking for a guard dog, do not choose an Golden Retriever. Unprovoked aggression or hostility towards people or other animals is unacceptable. They are not to be timid or nervous but are calm and intelligent. They rank 4th in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs. They are very eager to please and can learn up to 240 words, commands or phrases. Because of this they are easy to train to work or do tricks. They make wonderful hunting dogs, special needs dogs, or guide dogs. They excel in obedience trials. Golden Retrievers are known for patience with children and are good with cats, other dogs and most livestock which make them wonderful family pets.
WHAT IS THE BUYING PROCESS?
We are so glad that you have decided to purchase a puppy from Alabaster Goldens!
First, you will need to contact us to let us know you are interested in a puppy. We have a prospective buyer application that we must approve before going forward with the buying process. This application process ensures that our puppies go to excellent homes and that they are a good fit for your family. We take reservations for 3 female puppies and 3 male puppies prior to the arrival of the litter. We will reserve puppies in the order that we receive the deposits. For example, if you are the third person who reserves a female puppy, you will be reserving the 3rd pick female. If we do not have enough puppies of one gender to fulfill all deposits, we will refund your deposit or transfer your deposit to the next available litter. Once the puppies from your litter are 6 weeks old, we will contact you in the order of your pick for you to tell us which puppy you want. We welcome families to come select their puppy in person or we will have pictures of the puppies and descriptions of their personalities to help you with your decision. ** We reserve the right to keep first pick male or female from any litter if we decide a puppy would be a good fit for our breeding program. **
The litter will be ready to go home at 8 weeks of age. You are welcome to come pick your puppy up at our home or we can ship your puppy to you. There will be an additional cost if we ship your puppy to you. The cost will include an appropriate shipping crate, a health certificate from our vet stating the puppy is healthy and able to fly, and the cost of the airline ticket for the puppy. The additional cost is usually around $400 depending on the current rates that the airlines charge.
DEPOSITS AND PRICES
We require a $500.00 non refundable deposit to reserve a puppy. If there are not a sufficient number of puppies in the litter to fulfill all the reservations, the deposit will be either refunded or transferred to the next litter. If you are interested in a puppy from Alabaster Goldens, please complete the puppy purchase agreement and email it to us at with your deposit. Please do not send a deposit until we have spoken and have decided that a puppy from Alabaster Goldens will be a good fit for your family. We encourage you to read over the agreement and please let us know if you have any questions. We do have a waiting list that you may be added to once we decide which litter is best for your family.
The prices of our Golden Retriever puppies depend on the particular parents of the litter. Please contact us for specific prices on the puppy you are interested in purchasing.
We will accept a personal check for placing a deposit, but we ask for a money order, cashier's check, or cash for the final payment of the puppy prior to pick up. The final payment needs to be received at least one week prior to the puppy leaving our home. Checks should be made payable to "Alabaster Goldens".
DO YOU OFFER BREEDING RIGHTS WITH YOUR PUPPIES?
When breeders register their litters with the American Kennel Club (AKC), they must declare if the puppies will be sold with a limited registration (no breeding rights) or a full registration (breeding rights).
Alabaster Goldens offers a limited registration only with all of our puppies. In rare instances, we may consider offering a full registration for additional cost to approved homes only. The option of full registration will only be entertained if the dog is at least 2 years old and has received their OFA health clearances for hips, elbows, heart, and eyes.
DO YOU OFFER A HEALTH WARRANTY?
Alabaster Goldens offers a Limited 2 Year Health Warranty with our puppies on their hips, elbows, heart, and eyes. We strive to produce healthy puppies at Alabaster Goldens, but in the rare event that your puppy is diagnosed with a defect of eyes, heart, hips, or elbows, you can return the puppy to us and we will give you a new puppy or you may keep the puppy and we will refund a portion of the purchase price to you, depending on the specifics of the situation. We require documentation from your vet in either of these situations.
We will always take back a dog/puppy that has been purchased from us at any time if you are no longer able to care for this dog/puppy. Per our contract with all puppy buyers, we have the right of first refusal of any puppy bought from our breeding program. All buyers must contact Alabaster Goldens first before rehoming a puppy/dog from our program.
HOW SHOULD I CARE FOR MY GOLDEN RETRIEVER?
Here are some tips on caring for your Golden Retriever.
You should take your dog to the vet annually for a wellness checkup and shots.
Your Golden Retriever needs to be on flea and tick preventative.
It is very important that your dog be on a heart worm preventative. Heart worms can be deadly to your dog.
Because Goldens are prone to obesity, they need exercise daily. Their food intake also needs to be monitored.
Goldens need to be brushed weekly (more during shedding season) to avoid their fur from matting.
Clean their ears regularly.
Goldens have a strong desire to be with their owners, therefore they should not be left alone for extended periods of time causing stress and anxiety.
Golden Retrievers are not a dog that should live outside all the time.
Golden Retrievers have a strong retrieving instinct and need to have access to toys at all times. If you do not provide them with toys, they will get into things they shouldn’t.
Goldens have a strong desire to chew and need to be given proper items to chew, or they will chew your stuff!
You should consult with your vet, but I think it is important to spay/neuter your Golden, once old enough. The latest studies suggest that you should wait until your dog has fully matured before altering them. I strongly recommend waiting until your female has gone through her first heat cycle, usually at least 1 year old. Males tend to mature at a slower rate, so you should wait until they are closer to 18 months to 2 years old. It is important to wait until their bone growth plates are fully closed before any spay/neuter. Please research this before making your decision. The University of California, Davis, did a study on this very topic.
If you decide to spay your female Golden, keep in mind that their bodies, homones, etc. change and they tend to gain weight. Keep on eye on her and her food intake.