About Us
 
Wildfire Goldens was established by Deborah and Larry Wheat  of Chandler Arizona, which is located in the metropolitan Phoenix area.  We became involved in Goldens in the late 1970’s with the purchase of our first Golden as a Christmas present for our daughter and began competing, breeding and loving our Goldens under the “Wildfire” prefix in 1980.  Wildfire brings over 30 years of experience to our program.  I hope that you will take a few moments to read through the information on this page.  It is great information whether you are looking for your new puppy, adult dog, or just stopping by and is information that I do research on myself when purchasing a puppy from another breeder to add to our own family.

Our Goal

At Wildfire Goldens, we strive to produce a Golden that is as close to the breed standard as possible while placing great emphasis on temperament, soundness and trainability.  We desire our Goldens that we sell as pets and companions to possess most of those same qualities as the ones we keep to show, as we know that a pet owner is just as proud as we are to be complimented on their Golden when out in the public.  Why should you want conformation titles in your puppies family tree?  We feel that by doing so, you increase your odds of getting a better quality Golden; one that has parents bred to a standard set forth by the Golden Retriever Club of America and AKC that creates an appealing appearance, but also ensures their structure, movement, type, and soundness are of the highest caliber.  All of this plays into producing a better, sounder puppy in the long run.  While it is an honor to have competed and titled numerous conformation champions, we also take great pride in the goldens bred by us that have gone on to earn over 25 obedience titles (including an OTCH), a few hunting titles, a VC title, Rally titles and CGC titles as well as the many who have gone on to be service and therapy dogs and just great family companions. 

While there are many numerous venues in which to compete for Champion (CH) titles, it is always important to understand the differences between these titles that the parents of your new addition might have by doing your research thoroughly.  I will highlight those venues and differences here.

Levels of competition available:

   AKC Champions - the AM GCH and AM CH titles offered by AKC are the highest honor and toughest to attain. AKC Championships are very difficult to achieve and the Goldens who do attain this level of title have competed against some of the top Goldens in the country. These competition based titles mean dogs have been judged to the only acceptable standard as set forth by the Golden Retriever Club of America and AKC. They have not only been judged on their  beautiful appearance, but also their structure, movement, type, soundness and quality.

   Golden Retriever Specialties - Are AKC shows that focus on a single breed, ie, Goldens.  These Specialties draw large and very competitive entries sometimes totaling well over 100 Goldens. Although we show on a limited basis, Wildfire Goldens have won numerous Specialties over the years including BOB (Best of Breed) at two Specialties, BW (Best of Winners) at 5 Specialties and Winners Dog or Bitch 6 times, as well as a couple of Reserve Winners at other Specialties.  Of those wins, all but one were owner/breeder/handled.  Wildfire bred goldens have even been National Specialty class winners and have been honored to win the Perpetual Trophy for winning the Bred By Exhibitor Bitch class.

   Canadian Champions- Less difficult to obtain than an AKC Championship.  This title is still a competition based honor.  For those living in Canada this is the highest honor their country offers.  Some dogs will have dual AM/CAN Championships.  We personally have not made this trek yet, but plan to in the near future.  We have had dogs bred by us earn their CAN CH titles in the past.  Again, a CAN CH title is much easier to earn than an AKC CH title.

   UKC Champions- These competition based titles are offered through the UKC which is a more performance and family oriented organization. Because of their focus,  professional handlers are banned from showing any dog they do not own.  It is also a showcase for breeds not currently recognized by AKC.  Almost any Golden competing can usually become a UKC CH if they go to enough shows.  Our goal at Wildfire is to finish our dogs UKC CH title preferably in one weekend (3 – 4 shows) with additional honors such as Group 1 wins or Reserve BIS’s or BIS’s.

   International Champions- While we enjoy supporting the dog fancy by competing in these shows, this impressive sounding title is the easiest of all titles to earn.  It is a non-competitive title, meaning that most if not all dogs who show can be awarded INT’L CH status regardless of their class placing. This again is truly a place for breeds that are rare or not recognized by AKC to be showcased.  For these reasons dogs that will never be able to earn an AM CH title most likely will earn their INT’L CH title in one weekend.  Our goal at Wildfire has always been to come home with at least Group 1 wins if not Best In Shows (BIS) from the International show circuit.

Again, it has been a great honor to have been the breeder of many CH’s as well as other titleholders, however the most rewarding title that any of our Goldens has ever earned is “great family companion”.  

Our commitment to health

The parents of our puppies have attained all the clearances as recommended by the Golden Retriever Club of America.  These include:

   OFA hip certification- (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) A consensus of 3 independent radiologists return a certified grade for dogs over the age of two. Preliminary or “Prelims” are sometimes done on puppies to determine if a dog will be kept for future showing or for a breeding program once over two years of age or if an injury has been sustained that might threaten the hip structures. There are three acceptable hip grades, they are Excellent, Good and Fair.

   OFA elbow certification- Again, certification is not available until the dog is at least two years old. The only acceptable certification is Normal.

   OFA heart certification- The only acceptable certification is Normal.  Dogs must be one year of age or older to be certified.  We choose to use a Cardiologist for our heart exams as that is the highest rating and the only one acceptable to be able to receive a CHIC certificate.

   CERF &/OR OFA eye certification- (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) The CERF and OFA certifications are only valid for a 12 month time period and the first eye certification exam can be done at any age.  I choose to do mine at about 4 months of age for a first time.  Eye exams must be done annually by board certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist (A.C.V.O.) and resubmitted to CERF &/or OFA for re-certification for the nominal fee of $8.00 for the certification to remain valid. This is important due to certain conditions that may manifest as a dog ages including diseases that can cause blindnesses, painful disorders, removal of one or both of the eyes, etc.  OFA began offering their EYE certification program in the Fall of 2012, so while some dogs might show an out of date CERF exam online, be sure to check to see that they also have a current OFA EYE certification in its place as all past clearances issued by CERF will remain listed online, but be invalid if past the 12 month certification time period.

   CHIC certification- (Canine Health Information Center) CHIC certification is only given to Goldens who have their hip x-rays, elbow x-rays, heart testing done by a cardiologist and eyes tested and submitted to OFA for their evaluation.  It is to pointed out here though that even a dog that fails on one or more of these tests can still be issued a CHIC certificate, so it is very important that you verify on the OFA website that they indeed did pass and were issued certifications for an OFA hip clearance, an OFA elbow clearance, an OFA heart clearance only done by a cardiologist and a CERF &/or OFA eye certification that has been sent in, approved and on file with CERF or OFA.  Remember that a CERF & OFA eye certifications are only good for one year and dogs must be re-examined and re-certified annually.

If you are doing research on acquiring a puppy, please make sure to verify that all these tests have been done on the parents and that the documentation exists.  If in doubt, the certification is easily verifiable via the internet at offa.org (OFA & CHIC)  and vmdb.org (CERF).  You just need the parents AKC registered names and/or AKC registration numbers.  It is better to do the research prior to purchasing your new family member than to find out later the clearances were not up to date for eyes or not done at all on the parents.  Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous (and/or unknowledgeable) breeders out there that are counting on you to not know what clearances breeding dogs should have obtained.  It is also common unfortunately that some breeders will breed dogs that have not obtained one or more of the recommended clearances and use excuses as to why it isn't necessary or they might breed dogs that are not 2 years old yet and therefore unable to obtain the proper certification or they will breed dogs under 2 years of age with just “prelim’s” or preliminary x-rays or no clearances at all.  This is the fine area where structure and anatomy intersect. Breeding dogs should have all their clearances and have competed and been judged to prove their merit as a breeding prospect.  Be aware that not every dog that can obtain these clearance certifications is a good enough representative of the breed to be included into a breeding program and that even an outstanding quality individual that does not pass on their certifications should probably be altered and placed in a wonderful pet home and not used in a breeding program.  While these certifications do not guarantee you won’t have an issue arise, at least you know the breeder tried to do their best in producing a sound puppy by having the parents tested and certified. 

Commitment and Support 

Wildfire Goldens is committed to producing a high quality Golden.  One, that if you are interested in showing, is capable of being competitive in whatever venue you choose, be it conformation, obedience, agility, rally, tracking or hunting.  We also understand the desire of those discriminating devotees of the Golden Retriever who want only a loving, gorgeous family pet.  We love the fact that many of our Goldens are quite capable of being service and therapy dogs.  When you add a Wildfire Golden to your life, we consider you as part of our family and will offer support thoughout your Goldens life, be it mentoring you through the showing and breeding process or just being there to give advice on lifes many bumps in the road that occur when raising a wonderful pup.  

 

 

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