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Old 09-21-2010, 08:19 AM
 
9 posts, read 20,802 times
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Hello all,

My wife and I are moving to NOVA/Vienna at the end of October.

With our first new house, we'd like to get a dog. I've had dogs before, all my life for the most part. Most recent dog was a wonderful Siberian Husky, who I had for almost 14 years. Great dog, very independent, VERY hairy, and a wonderful running companion (I run about 3 times a week).

My wife has never had any pet at all, and is a bit apprehensive. So, for the first dog, I am thinking something that will love her shamelessly, will be fine off the leash, and not aggressive, etc. I have worked in veterinary hospitals before, and am reasonable familiar with all the breeds.

So, I am thinking a Golden Retriever, most likely. I'd like a running companion (I run about 3-5 miles usually) and a good all-around dog.

Does anyone have any recommendations for breeders in the area? We'll be up at the end of October, I start work on Nov. 1st, and my wife will be starting around December 1st, so it might be best to get a pup sooner than later, when she'll be home to bond/train.

Thanks!
Chris
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Old 09-21-2010, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,561,432 times
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Good breeders generally have waiting lists for their pups. If you want a dog from them, you will need to contact them with what you're looking for, and when there is a good crossing they will contact you. A breeder who you can contact today and say "I'd like a puppy next week" is probably not going to be a good one.

http://gollygretrievers.com/

Above is a fabulous golden breeder. I do agility classes with a woman who owns a couple of her dogs, and they are wonderful animals.

If you're interested, reach out to the breeder and get more information. If she doesn't have any planned litters in the near future, she can probably direct you to a breeder who does. If you really don't want to wait, I'd suggest looking into rescue. The turnaround time will be faster, and there are a lot of great goldens (and puppies even!) in rescue in this area.

Pet adoption: Want a dog or cat? Adopt a pet on Petfinder
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
2,306 posts, read 1,359,933 times
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Don't know of any breeders in the area but think a Golden is a fabulous choice. That is what we will be getting next. We currently have a yellow english lab and she is GREAT as well. My toddlers can lay on her, pull her ears, pull the tail and she just lays there. She loves me more than anyone else, lol! We will always go the golden ret/lab route. (BUT, only an ENGLISH lab. Had an american lab for about a week and gave it back...It was heartbreaking to give it back but I just couldn't handle the energy it had)

Good luck! Oh, and I recommend Pet Insurance. Goldens are known for certain conditions so I would protect the wallet a bit. My lab had a knee replacement in Feb and cost us over $5K. The next day, after surgery, I went and bought pet insurance. WOn't cover the leg that got fixed but will cover the other and many other issues.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,561,432 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinmma View Post
Good luck! Oh, and I recommend Pet Insurance. Goldens are known for certain conditions so I would protect the wallet a bit. My lab had a knee replacement in Feb and cost us over $5K. The next day, after surgery, I went and bought pet insurance. WOn't cover the leg that got fixed but will cover the other and many other issues.
If you choose to go the pet insurance route, be very careful. A lot of the companies will not cover things your breed is prone to. e.g. shepherds aren't covered for hip displaysia, bostons aren't covered for breathing issues, and retreviers aren't covered for elbow displaysia. Many also have caps on yearly payouts at something like $1-2k for accidents, another $1-2k for illness, etc. Read the fine print and know what you're getting.

If you choose to go the breeder route, it is SO SO SO important to go to a breeder who health tests to minimize your risk of issues like twinmma described. A good breeder will have xrays on file with OFA documenting the parents' hips and elbows to make sure that the parents are structurally sound before breeding. It is also desirable to find someone who CERFs the eyes, so you don't deal with young blindness. You will pay $800+ for a dog with all the proper health checks done (compared to $200 from someone with an "oops" litter of goldens) but if it saves you the $5k that twinmma spent, it's already worth it.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
2,306 posts, read 1,359,933 times
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YES, check what is covered. Ours is pretty good. We have...Go Pet Plan...It covers a lot.
We paid $500 for our lab from a breeder in upstate NY. She came with hip guarantees and all sorts of info. It is important to find a GOOD breeder and not one just in it for the money. Good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
If you choose to go the pet insurance route, be very careful. A lot of the companies will not cover things your breed is prone to. e.g. shepherds aren't covered for hip displaysia, bostons aren't covered for breathing issues, and retreviers aren't covered for elbow displaysia. Many also have caps on yearly payouts at something like $1-2k for accidents, another $1-2k for illness, etc. Read the fine print and know what you're getting.

If you choose to go the breeder route, it is SO SO SO important to go to a breeder who health tests to minimize your risk of issues like twinmma described. A good breeder will have xrays on file with OFA documenting the parents' hips and elbows to make sure that the parents are structurally sound before breeding. It is also desirable to find someone who CERFs the eyes, so you don't deal with young blindness. You will pay $800+ for a dog with all the proper health checks done (compared to $200 from someone with an "oops" litter of goldens) but if it saves you the $5k that twinmma spent, it's already worth it.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:45 AM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,622,267 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
Good breeders generally have waiting lists for their pups. If you want a dog from them, you will need to contact them with what you're looking for, and when there is a good crossing they will contact you. A breeder who you can contact today and say "I'd like a puppy next week" is probably not going to be a good one.

http://gollygretrievers.com/

Above is a fabulous golden breeder. I do agility classes with a woman who owns a couple of her dogs, and they are wonderful animals.

If you're interested, reach out to the breeder and get more information. If she doesn't have any planned litters in the near future, she can probably direct you to a breeder who does. If you really don't want to wait, I'd suggest looking into rescue. The turnaround time will be faster, and there are a lot of great goldens (and puppies even!) in rescue in this area.

Pet adoption: Want a dog or cat? Adopt a pet on Petfinder
Great information!

I always felt sorry for urban families who have to go through the arduous private school admission/interview process for their children until I realized suburban families go through the same thing when they're trying to get a puppy.

If it's of interest to the OP, here are links to a few local rescue organizations:

http://www.grreat.org/

http://www.hart90.org/
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:28 PM
 
173 posts, read 500,897 times
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I second the recommendation for GRREAT posted by JEB. We adopted our golden through them and they're a, well, great organization. Be prepared for a somewhat lengthy application process (probably no worse than a reputable breeder, though), including home visit, but once approved they'll send you a list a couple times a month of available dogs (not all are listed on their website). They do a pretty extensive evaluation on dogs received, so you'll have a good idea of what you're getting...and chances are you won't have to deal with the housebreaking, puppy chewing issues that come with getting a pup from the breeder.

You can also apply to be a foster home, which can quicken the process of getting a dog. You don't need to foster any dog that comes down the pike; rather, you can pick and choose til you find one that your family may be interested in. If all works out, you can foster-to-adopt; if not, you can put up for adoption and wait for another to come along.

And I agree that goldens are a great choice for a good family dog...just be prepared with the vacuum
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:33 PM
 
173 posts, read 500,897 times
Reputation: 93
Just saw that you and your wife will both be working within a month or 2 of arriving...in that case I doubly recommend getting a grown dog who is already housebroken and trained. A 3- to 4-month-old puppy isn't going to be able to hold it all day, and will likely have too much energy to be content being left home all day without causing some trouble...

And don't worry about having trouble bonding with an adult golden. Most will bond within minutes to anyone capable of offering a belly rub
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:53 PM
 
309 posts, read 737,789 times
Reputation: 99
I have never owned a golden but my sister has had five over the years and I have a friend that has two.

Just thinking about your wife and her apprehension, I will say that every golden I've known SHEDS really horribly. Goldens also tend to be puppies for a very long time.....
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Old 09-21-2010, 04:15 PM
 
Location: McLean, VA
790 posts, read 1,606,302 times
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I got my dog (as a puppy) in January, while living in Texas, and I would advise against getting a dog during/right before winter. To aid in housetraining, puppies need to go outside every few hours. Virginia winters are not Arctic blasts, but this is something to think about.

Also, I noted that you want to have an "off leash" dog, but Fairfax County laws require leashing. It's for the safety of your dog and citizens at large. Even police dogs and bloodhounds are leashed -- and they are hyper-trained.
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