Dear Potential Puppy Buyers,
So you are looking for a Golden Retriever puppy during the pandemic. You’ve done your homework, tried every avenue you can find to locate that puppy and are coming up empty. Here are some things you need to know.
First, while you are looking, so are dozens maybe hundreds of other people. Inquiries coming in to me alone are up about 200% since last spring and most responsible breeders are finding the same thing.
Second, there is no possible way for responsible, preservationist breeders to keep up with the demand. We can’t “ramp up production” like has been done with PPE or ventilators to meet the requests. Breeding doesn’t work like that. I know that none of this is good news if you are a hopeful puppy buyer.
So I wanted to offer an explanation, some information and maybe a few tips to help you at this time. For decades, as a responsible, preservationist breeder, I have committed to meet each request with a polite and educational response whether I had puppies or not. I have preached that if there is nothing available, you should be prepared to wait and start a relationship with a breeder. “Get to know a few”, “Get your name on a list” and most of all, “Be patient” is what we’ve always said.
For most of you that’s not working and you are ranging further and further in search of a litter, a waiting list or even an interview. You’re frustrated and disappointed. I’m sorry – I know what it’s like to want a puppy or to be without a beloved dog who has passed. I don’t have a lot of optimistic news. No one could have predicted that puppies and toilet paper would be the things in the shortest supply if a pandemic hit. So, is there any good news? Well, if I had to make a prediction, I would guess that 2 things might happen in 2021.
First, in 6-12 months I think the demand might go back down as people leave isolation and there may be some room to get on a waiting list. Second, when everyone starts to go back to work and families are not home full time, there could be a lot of Goldens surrendered to rescue. If those “pandemic puppies” aren’t able to stay alone without constant attention, they may become destructive and anxious when left. Some people will work through this, some will have taught this skill while in quarantine but some families will opt for surrender. So now might be the time to put in an application to your local rescue and work to get approved and on a waiting list for when that happens. It’s probably won’t be a puppy, or a well bred golden (they don’t end up in rescue) – but it might be a Golden.
I can’t write this without bringing up online sales, unscrupulous breeders (puppy mills) and scams. Sadly, these times have brought scammers out in force and puppy mills have no qualms about trying to “ramp up production” despite what’s in the best interest of the moms and babies.
There is an excellent article on the AKC website entitled: How to Spot a Puppy Scam Online – American Kennel Club ([akc.org]
It gives a list of red flags (no phone calls, only electronic communication, copycat or stock photos, sketchy payment requests and prices that are too good to be true). I would add to that list: beware of places that you can’t visit in person to meet the mom. You may have already educated yourself about all of this but as the search goes on, the temptation may grow to visit these websites or “the farm in the next county with puppies in their barn” or the pet store in the mall. I would NOT recommend any of these approaches!
So where does that leave you if you are sitting at home with a hole in your heart or a burning desire for a puppy? What are your options? I don’t have any magic answers but I can offer a couple of suggestions. If there are no puppies, please consider a visit to your local shelter. It may not be the Golden of your dreams but yours may be the home of a shelter dog’s dream. Then, when your shelter buddy needs a playmate in a couple of years it may be easier to find a Golden. Second, as I mentioned, visit the website of your local rescue and consider an application. It’s not a quick option either as most rescues are not overfull of dogs needing homes, but it might play out. And lastly, if you are writing to breeders, it might be helpful to ask them to give you a general timeframe of when to check back to see if they are starting the list process. (For me, it’s late 2021 or 2022.)
Just a few parting words about wait lists. I know that getting on a waiting list might seem like a step closer to a puppy but I’m not sure it always is. This isn’t universal practice, but no one goes on a waiting list for my puppies unless I’ve interviewed them. With 3-8 inquiries per day obviously personal phones calls or interviews can’t happen and wait lists would fill in a week. Also, breedings are not always easy to predict. When a bitch is going to come into season is variable and whether or not she gets pregnant is always in question so there are no sure things. Also, a waiting list does nothing to protect a breeder because people go elsewhere without telling us all the time so what I might think is a solid wait list could vanish like a puff of smoke. And taking deposits to solidify a wait list is not something I am willing to do. First of all, because I want people to always be able to change their mind and secondly, because puppies might or might not happen as noted above so I don’t want to be under an obligation for something that might not happen. So hoping to get on a wait list is probably not a solid strategy. Instead asking when might be a good timeframe to check back in might give you a better idea. Or asking if something will be posted to a webpage or FB page might also work so you can monitor that.
I wish I had better ideas or insider tips to offer but I don’t. I just want potential puppy buyers who are trying to do everything right, to hear the reality of today’s situation and know that it’s not that we don’t want to provide you a puppy if you are a good match for one of our babies or that we are callously ignoring you. It is simply that we are overwhelmed. I know VERY few breeders for whom breeding is a full time job. We have families, jobs, other responsibilities. And though we have always been committed to responding to your heartfelt letters, messages and emails, we can’t keep up.
Hang in there. Having a dog, particularly a Golden, and making them part of your family, will enrich your life. It just might not happen real soon.
Pat
Topmast Goldens


 
We are still finalizing our breeding plans, but here are plans for 2021 or 2022.
 
Here are some breedings being planned:
 
Chili x Clipper
 
SHR Topmast Hot ‘N Spicy Chili RN JH (12/18/2017-)
X
HR Wynwood’s Storm Warning MH** (10/2/2017-)
(late 2021 or 2022)
We expect nice looking, birdy active pups from this breeding.
Both Chili and Clipper are healthy dogs with no chronic health issues.
No allergies, hot spots, and wash & wear coats.
Chili has Good Hips and Clipper has OFA Excellent hips.
Both have normal elbows, clear eyes and heart.
 Clipper is 22 inches at the shoulders, Chili is 20.5 inches.

 

This breeding is based on solid diverse working pedigrees in all venues with low COI.
Sire and dam are smart, biddable, athletic and talented- enthusiastic for any game.
Very good and honest in the water too!
Here’s what Clipper’s owner says about him:
Clipper is crazy about doing field work, not wanting to eat breakfast, but waiting by the door for me to put him in the truck and take him training.   He is a great marking dog, and easily handles retrieves out to 450 yards.   He’s just as excited about a 400 yard retrieve as he is for one that’s right in his face.  He is a team player, and wants to please.  He doesn’t require a lot of pressure, and learns readily through attrition, but handles pressure very well when it is needed.  He is a easy going, but hard driving when it comes to doing his work.  He is very birdy, and has a phenomenal nose, making him a great hunting companion.  He has an athletic build, and has shown the ability to hunt all day without becoming fatigued.   Out of the field, he is simply a nice dog to be around, and is well mannered and calm in the house.

 

Raini x Cruz
(2022)
SHR Topmast Fire ‘N Rain JH

Raini

                                                                                                          x
Lorfield’s I Get Around MH40 MNH4 CCA WCX HTHF
Owner:  Carol A. Hynes, WI
Cruz
                        Good looking, structurally correct, wonderful temperament.  Strong work ethic with an action-packed pedigree.
Both Raini and Cruz are healthy dogs with no chronic health issues.
No allergies, hot spots, and wash & wear coats.
Cruz has OFA Good hips, Raini has OFA Fair hips.
Both have normal elbows, clear eyes and heart.
 Cruz is 24 inches at the shoulders, Raini is 20 3/4 inches.

 

This breeding is based on solid diverse working pedigrees in all venues with low COI.
Sire and dam are smart, biddable, athletic and talented- enthusiastic for any game.
Very good and honest in the water too!


 

Please keep in mind that our breeding program focuses on producing correctly structured performance and hunting, and a few breeding goldens. We seek to place most of our pups in working homes that compete in more than one arena–field, agility, obedience, conformation, tracking–or that work their dogs in hunting, or serious pet-assisted therapy. If you are interested in a performance or hunting puppy from one of these litters, or would like further information on a future litter, please contact us via e-mail at topmastgoldens@gmail.com

Typically, we have a litter every one to two years.

 

In the beginning, we co-bred with Gayle Watkins of Gaylan’s Goldens. We breed under our own name now, but we are still breeding with her guidance and teachings. Our litters are whelped and raised here in our home, in the middle of all our daily happenings. They will be raised according to the Avidog standards. When they are old enough, they will spend the last 3 weeks walking in our fields and woods, swimming in our pond if weather permits, meeting lots of people, and getting to know their relatives. We spend our time getting to know them so we can match them well with their new owners.
Before contacting us about a puppy, please read the following portions of our website to be sure that we and our dogs are right for you:

 


 

All of our pups experience the following developmental protocol:

  • BioSensor exercises from 3-17 days of age
  • Introduction to a different novel scent from 3-17 days of age. To learn about this, watch an interesting webinar Introducing Scents in Neonate Puppies by Gayle Watkins PhD, about this program she developed.
  • Click http://www.akcchf.org/news-events/multimedia/video/
  • Regular socialization with people of all ages and sizes
  • A physically and mentally stimulating environment appropriate to their age
  • Problem solving exercises, again, appropriate to their age
  • Socialization with dogs other than their dam
  • Introduction to solid food after 5 weeks of age followed by natural weaning, often not until 8 or 9 weeks
  • Daily walks in the fields and woods after 6 weeks (weather dependent)
  • Regular opportunities to swim (weather dependent)
  • Introduction to game birds
  • We do not remove dew claws. Click on the link to see Dr Chris Zink’s article on why we don’t. Dew Claw Removal article

For more about how we raise our pups, check out

How we Raise Our Puppies

If you are interested in a performance or hunting puppy, please contact us via e-mail at topmastgoldens@gmail.com

*******************************************


 

Note: It is never the color of a Golden Retriever that determines its temperament or working ability or health and potential longevity.

Instead, the quality of a Golden Retriever will be determined by the care the breeder has taken, by adhering to the standard when breeding, as well as by doing careful pedigree research and screening for soundness of mind and body.

To read more, go to the following link on the Golden Retriever Club of America’s website: www.grca.org

 
Responsible dog breeders work hard to produce healthy, socialized puppies, interview potential buyers, do home checks, and remain there as a resource for buyers for the life of their dogs.
Learn what to look for when searching for your next pet: