Acquiring a GR

Before bringing home a golden retriever 

Adopt or purchase?

We constantly have lovely adults that are abandoned due to unfortunate circumstances and are looking for homes. It is because of this high number of abandonment and/or neglect cases of GRs in Singapore that we find it hard to "recommend" any breeder. Puppies are always cute until they become monsters at home and we are familiar with the pains and joy of raising puppies.

Whatever your final decision is, whether to purchase a puppy or to adopt, we can offer a few pointers to start you off on your search.

Know what you are looking at

A good place to start will be to understand the breed thoroughly, i.e what a GR looks like, behaviours, temperament, aptitudes, health issues, day-to-day care required, etc.

Know that Golden Retrievers, like humans, come in a variety of sizes, colors and coat types. Here is a guide you can refer to this guide.

Know what you are getting into

Goldens are notorious shedders. Too many inexperienced owners shave them down on the pretext that it is cooling for them. A Golden Retriever's coat not only shields them from cold but heat as well, and thus shaving is only a last resort to treat a severe skin problem.

Goldens also have a high incident rate of hip displaysia and cancer- this is something all who love this breed have to bear in mind.

Good food and supplements are always the talk of every devoted GR owner to boost their babies' health and keep issues at bay.

Being retrievers, they can be extremely mouthy when young. Care needs to be taken to teach them manners and obedience.

They are also big dogs, meaning you will need to learn how to communicate with them, manage their behavior and socialising with other dogs and humans.

These are generally active dogs that require daily walks and exercise, especially in their first 2-3 years until they settle down into mellow adults. A tired doggy is always a happy doggy.

How to start looking

Begin by browsing our Adopt a Golden page for Golden Retrievers that are looking for a good home. Our listing is regularly updated, so re-visit the page if you did not find any that appeal to you at the first try.

However, if your heart is set on acquiring a puppy, this is where your journey starts.

Appearence, traits and temperament 

Some breeders place importance on looks, as they breed for showing purposes, while others place importance on temperament and aptitude, as they breed for performance purposes.

ALL breeders SHOULD place importance on health and temperament as puppies should always be companions first, before any other purpose they were intended for. Sadly this is not always the case.

What you should be asking

You should ask to see BOTH parents, meet them, play with them and decide if you like what you might be getting. Request to see the health clearance certifications (eg hips, elbows, eyes, heart) of BOTH parents. Although this does not eliminate risks, it does minimize the chance of getting a puppy with genetic diseases.

You should view the parents and puppies at the breeder's place to see how these puppies are raised, the cleanliness of the environment, what sort of stimulation these puppies receive to ensure that they grow into confident adults, etc. This will tell you how much care the breeder puts into his litters.

Where possible, ask to view the puppies with their littermates. You can watch their interactions with one another and see their personalities before deciding which one suits your own personality best. Discuss with the breeder on his suggestions. A good breeder should know his puppies very well and can provide a good match of personalities for better family integration.

Ask for a 12mth or 24mth health guarantee from the breeders that should the puppy be diagnosed with a congenital or hereditary disease, depending on the circumstances, you should be entitled to a partial or full refund or a replacement puppy.

Research the lines of the breeders to see the health clearances of the grand-parents and great grand parents as well. Check cause of death, age of death, etc to understand the risk of cancers occurring in those lines.

What you should not be doing

Do not get too excited at the first sight of cute puppies.

Do not buy from farms or pet shops because most of the time you do not know their origins or history. Many of us have made this mistake and most of us are paying the price of pups with hereditary diseases through high medical bills.

Do not take home a puppy younger than 8 weeks from a local breeder. There are important growth stages for pups up to this age, and they should not miss the crucial litter socialization and mother discipline during these early weeks.

Importing a puppy

If you are considering importing a GR puppy, make sure to go through the right steps before you settle for a breeder :

Selecting the Breeder

Golden Retrievers (GR) are bred in many countries globally. If you are looking for specific traits in your GR, do your research. There are reputable breeders in Europe, USA and Australia, as well as a few in Asia. Do an internet search for registered and reputable Golden Retriever Clubs or Kennel Clubs; they often have links to registered breeders (who are members of their local GR Club, Kennel Club etc) or can point you in the right direction.

Do your homework

Shortlist breeders you are interested in. Usually, experienced breeders with years of breeding and showing will tend to be serious hobby breeders rather than commercial puppy farms. Write to them or call them, and be prepared to be interviewed by them on YOUR suitability to own a GR from their establishment. All good breeders are concerned about the home their dogs go to, and will not be giving you the “marketing spiel”.

Be patient

Good breeders are extremely selective of the pairing of their breeding stock, and often have only 2 to 3 litters a year. Register your interest and request to be on their waitlist.

Ensure quality

This is very very important. Make sure the breeders you have shortlisted have breeding stock that have ALL relevant and up to date health certification. This include clearance certificates for eyes, hips, elbows, heart etc, some will give you actual scores, and others may have available DNA information of their breeding pairs going back several generations.

If you happen to visit the country where you have decided to import your GR from, make the effort to visit the breeders’ premises

Quarantine requirements

Keep in mind the quarantine requirements and distance from Singapore of the country your breeder is in. See the link to the AVA website for details on quarantine, licenses, veterinarian certification and other requirement.

Selecting the litter or puppy

Make sure the breeder understands the traits you are specifically looking for in your GR. Do you want a show dog? Or a great family pet among young children? Or do you want a very active, sporty companion for your very active outdoors lifestyle?

What type of physical traits do you prefer in your adult GR? Do you prefer golden almost russet coats? Or creamy gold coats?

Do you prefer a female or male? Do some research for differences in physical traits and personality between the sexes, and take into account if you already have pets at home.

Get the right paperwork

Know the rules governing import of dogs as pets from different countries. Singapore does not require quarantine for dogs from some countries and quarantine periods of no less than 30 days from other countries. Please read through in detail the topics in the AVA link here.

An import license is required and can be obtained online from AVA, after you have filled in the online application forms correctly

The breeder should have experience in providing all the required paperwork including veterinarian certification and proof of immunization shots given to the puppy. Your puppy should also be microchipped.

Find a good pet transshipment company, or ask your breeder to recommend one. Some breeders can also deal with the liaison with the pet moving company on your behalf.

NOTE that while most breeders let their puppies go at 2 months old, a dog MUST be at least 3 months old before it can be imported into Singapore. Make sure your breeder knows this and is happy to keep your puppy for an additional month. This will have an impact on the cost of your puppy, so make sure this is agreed upon from the start.

Additional Information

For more information on selecting and bringing a puppy home, please visit this site where you will find some relevant basic advice. However, we suggest you DO NOT import your GR with the intention to breed them yourself.