Can you really ever have too many goldens? Sadly, the answer is yes. As our beloved golden girls are nearing retirement age, we are having to make some major decisions about how to continue our growing breeding program. We have always bred for health and temperament and put so much time into each puppy. Their new families have become our families and we love each and every one of them! Sassafras Golden’s reputation has spread far and wide - we now have established waiting lists and people willing to travel from across the country to purchase one of our puppies. We are overjoyed and thankful to have earned this honor.
However, dogs should never be expected to produce puppies their whole life. In fact, we believe in early retirement around the age of 4. Some breeders choose to find new homes for their dogs after retirement and ,often, that can be the best option. We do not judge other reputable breeders and support their decision if it is made in the best interest of the dog. But at Sassafras Goldens, we’ve decided that each of our girls will stay with us for life. We are small enough that each dog gets lots of quality time and affection. We have enough time to train each one and everyone is getting along just fine. Should this ever change, we will do whatever is in the best interest of our girls.
In order to keep our personal dogs happy and continue breeding, we have decided to implement a guardian home program. We are still working on the details that work best for us, but in general, a guardian home is one in which a puppy is adopted by a family but remains in our breeding program. Like our personal dogs, those in a guardian home will not be bred until they have cleared all health testing and reach adequate breeding age. This occurs around a year ½ for females and after a year for males. Females will return to us to be bred 2-3 times in their lifetime and the commitment for a male is longer, usually until the age of 7. However, we are only interested in guardian homes for females at this time.
The benefits to a guardian family is that they are able to adopt a well bred, health tested golden retriever puppy for little or no cost. Once the dog’s breeding commitment is complete, often by the age of 4, complete ownership of the dog is transferred to the guardian family. The dog benefits tremendously by being raised and trained by her own family that she will be able to spend the rest of her life with! Of course, the downside is that guardian families must be willing to be away from their dog for a small period of time so that she can fulfill her role in our breeding program. This will be about 10 weeks out of the year. One week will be to come to us to be bred when she is in heat and then she will return to us about a week before her due date and stay until puppies are 8 weeks old.
We are so excited to have found a way to continue our breeding program in a way that maintains the absolute best interest of every dog and puppy that we produce! We are finalizing our guardian home contract now. If you are interested in joining our guardian program or if you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!