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Our Guardian Program


Occasionally we will have female puppies available through our guardian program. A guardian home is a family or individual that agrees to love, raise, and care for a puppy we’ve selected to be a part of our breeding program. Sassafras Goldens retains ownership and breeding rights of the puppy until the breeding commitment and terms of our guardian program contract are fulfilled. After the puppy retires from our breeding program,  she will be spayed at our expense and full ownership and all registration is transferred to the guardian family. 

The benefit to guardian families is being able to enjoy the best of the best from one of our fully health tested litters at no cost. Guardian families take pride in knowing they are doing their part to “better the breed” by preserving and promoting the golden retriever at the highest health standards. Being able to experience and participate in the joy that is brought to new families through our puppies is beyond rewarding! Guardian homes support ethical and reputable breeders in their mission to provide the highest level of care for their dogs. As guardian programs are becoming more common, this level of care is becoming the standard instead of the exception leading to a better quality of life for dogs everywhere. The dogs in our guardian program live wonderful lives and benefit tremendously from being raised, trained, and loved by their own family that wants to keep them for life. Thanks to the amazing families that choose to become a guardian home, we are able to continue our breeding program without ever having to raise dogs in a kennel environment.

Being a guardian family is an amazing opportunity! It's also a big commitment. Guardians of females must notify us immediately when they notice signs of a heat cycle. Once the female is ready to be bred we will keep her at our house for about a week during the breeding process. After she has been bred, she will be returned to the guardian family. The guardian family will care for her during her pregnancy. She will come back to our home a week before her due date where she will then stay with us for 6-8 weeks while she whelps and raises her puppies. A female placed in a guardian home will not be bred until she has completed all health testing at age 2. OFA requires a dog to be at least 2 years old  for their hips and elbows to be certified. Therefore, the girls are closer to 2 1/2 years old when they begin breeding. Sassafras Goldens organizes and pays all of the costs for health testing. We will also be responsible for all transportation to and from health testing appointments. We ask that females in our guardian program return to us to be bred, at maximum, 4 times.

In addition to the breeding requirements above, we do ask to visit the puppy (dog) and guardian family at their home or ours at least every 3 months. This allows us to develop and maintain a relationship with the guardian puppy (dog) so that she is familiar with us when it comes time to breed and raise puppies. We also require that the guardian puppy (dog) come stay with us if their family has a need for any reason (traveling, need a break, etc.) to further increase this familiarity. Guardian families are responsible for food, training, monthly flea/tick prevention, routine vet care, and any emergency vet care not related to breeding or whelping. 

If interested in being considered for our guardian program, please make sure you meet the following requirements before applying: 


  • Great communication, willingness to provide frequent updates, and assistance in coordinating required visits and stays. 

  • Live within 1 hour of Albany, Ga. and no plans to move within the next 5 years.

  • Have no intact male dogs in the home.

  • Ability to safely confine the puppy/dog by use of a physical fence or leash.

  • Keep puppy/dog well socialized with other dogs and people of all ages.

  • Provide and maintain basic obedience training including crate training. 

  • Maintain peak level of health and weight at all times.

  • Provide adequate but not excessive exercise daily (exercise guidelines will be provided).

  • Provide vet care for all non- breeding related expenses, including but not limited to: vaccinations, deworming, parasite control, food, and emergency vet expenses.

  • Keep dog free from fleas and other parasites.

  • Feed approved food (Purina Pro Plan, Eukanuba, Royal Canin, or Hill’s Science Diet puppy varieties).

  • Provide regular grooming at home or by a professional. 

  • Ability to recognize signs of the female coming into season and willingness to notify breeder immediately (training will be provided).

  • Ability to confine and monitor female dog while in season including avoiding contact with any intact males

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