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  • Writer's pictureSassafras Goldens

Duke received his CCA title!

Updated: May 17, 2019

In addition to health, conformation (how a dog looks) and temperament (how a dog behaves and reacts to things) are extremely important when determining if a dog is breeding quality or not. Conformation and temperament are genetic and, therefore, are passed down from parents to offspring. Our dogs are often perfect in our eyes, but more than likely, they might have a trait or two that we should avoid passing on to future puppies because it takes away from the breed standard. The breed standard for any breed of dog takes decades to establish and can only be developed through intentional and selective breeding programs. This ensures that the desired traits are passed onto future generations, producing dogs that can fulfill their purpose. Every recognized breed of dog, including the golden retriever, has been bred for a specific purpose that can range from protection to mere companionship. Golden retrievers have been bred to be “primarily a hunting dog” and should posses physical characteristics (conformation) that make him/her a successful retriever. A golden retriever should also be “friendly, reliable, and trustworthy” with no aggression or nervousness being shown to people or other dogs in normal situations. The temperament that makes the golden retriever an ideal hunting companion also makes them successful working dogs in many other areas, as well as a great family dog! When searching for your next golden retriever, it is important to look for parents that match the American Kennel Club breed standard as closely as possible in both conformation and temperament. This helps ensure your new puppy will grow up to have all of the traits that you expected and hoped for when you decided a golden retriever was the right breed for you!

Duke's overall appearance and body structure was evaluated by an experienced AKC judge. Duke was able to stay focused and seemed to know exactly what to do despite it being our first time in a show ring!

In order to prove that a dog matches it’s breed standard, breeders will enter their dog into conformation events (dog shows) in order to have the dog’s overall appearance and body structure evaluated by judges that are considered experts in their breed. The goal of each show is to win points that will eventually add up to a championship title. Dog shows are very competitive and a title serves as proof that the winning dog matches the AKC breed standard better than any other dog in the ring. However, competing in these events has become a very time consuming sport, requiring extensive travel schedules to attend shows all over the country. The costs of travel, show entry fees, training, and more adds up quickly making competing unfeasible for many breeders. It is particularly challenging to compete and win in a breed that is as common as the golden retriever.

However, evaluating breeding stock remains as important as ever! In order to help ensure that potential breeding dogs are still being held to the AKC standard, the Golden Retriever Club of America holds events throughout the year where goldens gather in hopes of earning their Certificate of Conformation Assessment (CCA). At these events, goldens will be judged and evaluated to determine if they meet the breed standard in a less competitive environment. CCA events are similar to traditional dog shows,but, instead of being judged on how they compare to the other dogs in the ring, each dog is judged against the breed standard published by the American Kennel Club. Every golden accepted into the CCA event must first pass a temperament test and then have their conformation evaluated by three different judges. If the dog receives a passing score from each judge, he/she receives their Certificate of Conformation Assessment. This is a title that is recognized by the American Kennel Club and will be added to a dog’s registered name as a suffix title.

Duke's Certificate of Conformation Assessment

Sassafras Goldens is proud to announce that our sire, Duke, has earned his CCA title from the Golden Retriever Club of America! Only thirty dogs are accepted into each event and Duke was in the ring with goldens from some very well known show kennels! We were so excited just to be able to participate and overjoyed when Duke received great reviews from all three judges! Each judge commented on Duke’s athleticism and rich red color, stating that he was a great example of a “field bred” golden. Earning this title is a huge accomplishment for our breeding program! Sassafras Goldens will continue to strive for such accomplishments as proof that we are only breeding and producing golden retrievers that are great examples of this wonderful breed!


Handling dogs in the show ring is definitely a skill that must be learned! Luckily, Duke was a natural and did everything the judges needed for the CCA event without much help from me. To help prepare for more competitive shows and future CCA events, we have been watching Puppy Culture's Demand to Win series. Each video gives great advice that works for our puppies and our adult dogs. The video-on-demand bundle gives you the best bang for your buck, but the program is also broken down into skill segments that can be purchased individually.

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