Due to COVID-19 we are not allowing any visitors at this time.
Are your dogs health tested and what tests do you do?
Yes, over the years we have added more testing to each of our breeding dogs to ensure that we are starting from a healthy foundation for our beautiful pups.
Currently all of our breeding dogs (as long as they are of age for certain tests, such as hips and elbows) have been certified by OFA for hips, elbows, eyes and heart. A link to all of these test results can be found on each of our dogs individual pages which will take you to the OFA website at www.ofa.org. We also will provide copies of the certifications to anyone who is interested.
In addition to the OFA testing, we also do genetic testing through Animal Genetics. In most pure-bred dogs, inherited genetic disorders are becoming more common. DNA genetic testing helps breeders improve the health of a litter by screening for genetic disorders and is an extremely accurate and reliable way of determining a dog’s genotype and screening for possible genetic disorders. The genetic tests recommending for Golden Retrievers are: DM, PRA1, PRA2, ICH, MD & PRA-prcd. Test results of each of our breeding dogs are listed on their individual pages on our website.
DM – Degenerative Myelopathy. This is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the spinal cord of dogs. Dogs that have inherited two defective copies will experience a breakdown of the cells responsible for sending and receiving signals from the brain, resulting in neurological symptoms.
ICH – Ichthyosis. This is an autosomal recessive genetic mutation that affects the skin of Golden Retrievers. It’s basically dandruff, while not dangerous to a dog’s health; it can be uncomfortable for a dog. In order for a puppy to have ICH, it would need to inherit the mutation from both parents, meaning both parents would need to be affected with ICH also.
MD – Muscular Dystrophy. This is a mutation of the dystrophin gene that causes a deficiency of dystrophin proteins in Golden Retrievers. The lack of dystrophin proteins leads to the progressive degeneration of the skeletal and cardiac muscles. The disease is similar to the human disease. MD mutation is sex linked and located on the X chromosome. So, while both male and female dogs can be affected, MD is mostly a disease related to male Goldens.
PRA-prcd – Progressive Retinal Atrophy-Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration. This is a form of Progressive Retinal Atrophy in which the cells in the dog’s retina degenerate and die. PRA-prcd is inherited as an autosomal recessive disorder, meaning a dog must have 2 copies of the mutated gene to be affected by PRA. Dogs can have one copy of the mutation and not experience any symptoms of the disease. Dogs with one copy of the mutation are known as carriers, meaning both normal and mutant copies of the gene were detected and can pass on a copy of the gene to its offspring 50% of the time. As long as a carrier is bred with a clear, then the offspring of this mating could possibly be carriers, but will not be affected.
PRA1 & PRA2 – Progressive Retinal Atrophy. This is a category of genetic mutations that cause vision loss and blindness. Photoreceptor cells in the retina begin to degenerate, typically progressing from a loss of night vision to complete blindness. Both PRA1 & PRA2 are inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. This means that a dog must inherit a copy of the mutation from each parent to be affected by the disorder. Dogs with one copy of the mutation will not show signs or symptoms of PRA, however they can still pass on that mutation to offspring. Two carriers should not be bred, as carriers of PRA mutations are asymptomatic. It’s generally NOT recommended to remove carriers from a breeding program to maintain genetic diversity within the breed.
Will I be able to come visit my puppy?
Yes, absolutely! Most puppy visits start at about 6-7 weeks of age, after their first round of shots. We understand that some people may not understand why we make everyone wait until after this time frame, but it has been our standard practice since day 1 and it’s entirely to protect the puppies until they’ve had their first shots. Puppies will naturally get some immunity protection from their mother at birth, so this is just an extra precaution that we have chosen to take (as not every breeder does it this way). We are very protective of our little ones and do our best to keep them safe and healthy as long as possible, and so far in our years of doing this we’ve never had any health issues (knock on wood!!).
However all that being said, we do understand the anxiety and excitement of wanting to meet your new puppy as soon as possible, so we do weekly Facebook Live events for everyone to tune in and see the pups live. During these events, I’ll talk about the pups in general, answer questions, go over what if anything happened that week, what development stage they are currently in, each one of their weights and each one will be handled in order for everyone to see them all. It’s proven to be a pretty fun way for our puppy clients to get to see the pups grow each week and get to know them better. We are also more than willing to do private video calls from anyone on our reservation list to discuss any questions you may have or to see the puppies a little more up close and personal.
When do I get to pick out my puppy and how does this process work?
We always reserve the first pick male and female for show/breeding home or for us to keep ourselves. After this, the pick order goes in order of when deposits were placed. We are very upfront on our website about the picking order as each spot will be numbered 1-4 for each sex with reserved last names listed once a deposit is placed. Puppy picks are typically made at 6-7 weeks of age.
We will schedule individual visits with each puppy client to come out to our home in Big Lake and meet the puppies & Mom; as well as Dad if it's one of our own boys used for the breeding. We do allow the buyers to pick, but we will offer our insight on personality traits, energy level, etc. to assist you in selecting the right puppy for your family and lifestyle. We typically will put all of the available male or female puppies (depending upon what you placed a deposit for) in our puppy play room with you and just let them introduce themselves to you! You’ll be amazed at how some puppies you may have not even had your eye on will actually “choose” you vs. that “one” you were for sure coming out to choose. If there are puppies from either sex that are available and you’d like to also add them to the mix as possible choices to switch to, we are more than happy to accommodate that request also. Whether you are 1st pick or 10th pick, there really is no "bad" pick when it comes to these little golden rays of sunshine, and I strongly believe that each puppy is meant for its perfect someone regardless of the picking order ... so why not you!
For those of you that are not local, we will also schedule an individual appointment with you and thanks to technology have several options available to help you choose your new perfect puppy, including live streaming and FaceTime! Our Facebook Live events each week have proven to be very helpful for a lot of our past clients to get a feel for each of the puppies.
We post photos almost daily on our Facebook page, Birchwood Goldens, and several random video each week.
*NOTE* We do reserve the right to cancel in person puppy pick appointments at any time should there be an outbreak of any contagious diseases in our area (such as parvo, kennel cough, canine influenza, etc.) that could potentially be brought on to our property and put our dogs and/or puppies at risk. If that was to happen, we would put plan B into place and do puppy picking via live video. There are just some things we are not willing to risk.
Do you ship your puppies?
We do not ship our puppies as cargo. However, we do offer flight nanny services to deliver your precious cargo directly to you in person. This includes Jenny or Pat personally traveling in cabin with your puppy in a travel crate under the seat in front of us. We will fly on a commercial airliner to your designated airport, meet you in person and do the hand off at the airport. The cost for this service will be quoted on a case by case basis.
What do you do with the puppies during their first 8 weeks with you?
From the minute our puppies are born at Birchwood Goldens, they are individually cuddled by us several times a day to get them used to being handled and spending time away from their littermates. Our goal is to provide our puppies with the best start possible, which means providing you with a well socialized puppy in the end! We introduce them to numerous sounds, volumes, textures, animals, stimulation and experiences. Every interaction we have with them is a positive experience for them and never done to the point of making it stressful, and always ends with a ton of love.
From day 3 to day 16 once per day we perform a type of training is called Early Neurological Stimulation or ENS. From research and studies done by the U.S. Military Canine Program, it has been proven that the interval of time between 3 and 16 days is the most crucial window of time for the rapid development and growth of the neurological system in puppies.
Documented benefits of ENS include:
· Improved cardio vascular performance
· Stronger heart beats
· Stronger adrenal glands
· More tolerance to stress
· Greater resistance to disease
We do the following ‘workout’ which includes 5 exercises for 3-5 seconds. These exercises will produce neurological stimulation, none of which naturally occur during the early period of life. These exercises impact the neurological system by kicking it into action earlier than normal, the result being an increased capacity that will later help make the difference in its performance.
· Tactical stimulation
Holding the pup in one hand, handler gently tickles the pup between the toes on any one foot using a Q-tip or finger.
· Head held up
Using both hands, the pup is held perpendicular to the ground (straight up) so that its head is directly above its tail.
· Head pointed down
Holding the pup firmly with both hands the head is reversed and it’s pointed downward so that it is pointing towards the ground.
· Supine position (on their back)
Hold the pup so that its back is resting in the palm of both hands with its muzzle facing the ceiling.
· Thermal stimulation
Use a damp cool towel, place the pup on the towel feet down.
From day 16 until the day our puppies go to their new homes, we work daily on socialization and new experiences in order to raise puppies that are well adjusted and exposed to as many different situations, sights and sounds as possible.
What do the puppies come with and are they full or limited AKC registration?
All of our Birchwood Goldens puppies are registered with a Limited AKC registration, microchipped, age appropriate vaccinations and dewormed at 2, 4 and 6 weeks of age and three days before going home. They will have a complete puppy wellness health exam by our vet and a health guarantee. They also come with a pack of things that we have put together for your puppy.
We sell all of our puppies on a limited registration (unless otherwise agreed upon) as well as a strict spay/neuter policy. We will not transfer over AKC registration paperwork until proof of spay /neuter has been provided, which we typically recommend waiting until they are at least a year to year and half old due to the slow maturity of Goldens and recent studies has shown many positives to delaying this process and keeping all of the necessary hormones intact to help with proper growth and maturity.
AKC Limited Registration does not exclude you from participating in AKC events (except confirmation) and will not allow you to breed. Those 2 exceptions require a full registration status which we do offer the ability to upgrade the registration to full upon reviewing the passing clearances for hips, elbows, heart and eyes, in addition to DNA and genetic testing results. Then there would be an additional payment due to Birchwood Goldens for the full rights in the amount of $5,500. Once payment is received, we will release the full registration rights on the dog with us listed as co-owner for the first litter whelped and then after that the co-ownership will be removed. Co-ownership does not entitle us to any monetary value from your litter but only to serve as a mentor of sorts
How many litters do you have a year?
It depends. Typically, in the past it’s been 1-2 per year, but it all depends on who has recently had litters, who is coming up in the ranks, who has passed their clearances and then let’s face it … Mother Nature! There are just times where everything is lined up perfectly and things just don’t go according to our plan. Raising a litter of puppies is a lot of hard work and a lot of time goes into making sure they are healthy, happy, socialized and loved for the time that they are in our care so having multiple litters at the same time has proven to be a little overwhelming. Especially if they are big litters, just doesn’t’ seem to be enough hours in the day to give everyone your full attention! Plus, we don’t like to overwhelm our bitches by having back to back heat cycle litters, we typically like to let them recover for at least 1 heat cycle and be dogs for a while.. If it’s a younger bitch, and she’s healthy and ready to conceive again after skipping one heat cycle after her last litter, then we will weigh our options look at breeding her again.
The 4-1-1 on the “Rare English Cream White Golden Retrievers”
Over the last several years, marketing for English Cream Golden Retrievers has popped up on the Internet with claims that the lighter cream coated dogs are rare or more valuable than darker colored Goldens. They are called English Cream Golden Retrievers, Rare White European Golden Retrievers or Exquisite Platinum Imported Golden Retrievers. There is no such thing as a Rare White European Golden Retriever or Exquisite Platinum Imported Golden Retriever. You can find very light colored Goldens, but they are not actually white or platinum – nor are they rare or necessarily imported. Genetically, white isn’t a color that appears at all in Golden Retrievers. An English Cream Golden Retriever is just a light-colored Golden Retriever and typically referred to as an English Golden Retriever.
The breed standard of the Golden Retriever can range from a light cream color to a dark copper gold. A broad range in coat color is recognized by kennel clubs around the world. It’s not uncommon to find siblings from the same litter sporting varying coat colors, ranging from a very light cream to a dark golden color and shades in between.
While Golden Retrievers that meet breed standards and have cream colored coats are accepted by the Canadian and English kennel clubs, the American Kennel Club (AKC) does not recognize the cream colored coats. According to AKC’s breed standard, only three coat colors are recognized by the organization – dark golden, golden and light golden.
All golden retrievers, whether they are American, Canadian, or English, originated in Scotland in where they were used as superior hunting dogs by sportsmen. The first Goldens were registered with the British Kennel Club in 1903. Back then, they were listed as flat-coat Goldens. The breed didn't become popular in the U.S. until the 1920s when anything British was cherished, including dog breeds. In 1932, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed.
The original strain of Golden Retrievers was developed in Scotland at the Lord Tweedmouth estate. In 1865, Lord Tweedmouth bought an unregistered Yellow Retriever name Nous. Impressed with the dog’s hunting skills, Tweedmouth began a breeding program and bred him with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel, the Irish Setter, Newfoundland and other water spaniel breeds. The breeding resulted in four bitches from which all of today’s Golden Retrievers are direct descendants.
The Golden Retriever is a beautiful, even-tempered, loyal, gentle, intelligent and friendly dog who makes a wonderful family pet whether his coat is cream colored, golden or dark golden.
Do you sell puppies with Full AKC registration?
Yes, we will consider full registration but it is very selective. All puppies will be sold on a limited registration regardless at first and after 2 years of age, we will require proof of completed OFA tests for hips, elbows, eyes and heart as well as genetic testing for the 6 common tests for Golden Retrievers. We will also require to meet the dog in person, and if that is not possible for out of state people, then we will require a video of dog to make sure that they are a good candidate and temperament for breeding purposes. If the test results are within acceptable range, there will be an additional fee paid to Birchwood Goldens to change the registration from limited to full. Once this fee is paid in full, we will fill out the AKC application to change the registration status. We will not approve full registration to anyone who intends to breed mixed breeds, such as Doodles.
What is the difference between limited and full registration?
Limited registration defined by AKC is that the puppy is considered a pet companion animal with no breeding rights. This means that the puppy is registered with AKC but no litters produced by this dog are eligible for registration through AKC. A dog registered with an AKC limited registration shall be ineligible to be entered in a breed competition in a licensed or member dog show. It is eligible, however, to be entered in any other licensed or member event. These events include: Obedience, Tracking, Field Trials, Hunting Tests, Herding, Lure Coursing, Agility, Rally and Earthdog. All limited registration dogs are also eligible to receive their AKC Good Canine Citizen Award.
Full registration means that in addition to everything you can do under a limited registration, you also have breeding rights and any litters produced by the dog are eligible for AKC registration and you can compete in breed competitions.
Limited Registration: Each litter will be priced once we have confirmed pregnancy. All puppies are initially sold with a limited registration status, period. We will not sell any puppies with full registration status at 8 weeks of age.
Full Registration: To approved homes only. See requirements for Full Registration above.
Deposit: $500 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your puppy and the final payment is due at 6 weeks of age when you choose your puppy.
How to Pay:
· We DO NOT accept checks for the deposit or final payment
Don't miss our Friday night Facebook Live events! After the puppies are born, we will host a Facebook Live event every Friday at 6:00 pm Alaska Standard Time for everyone to tune in and see the puppies!
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