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.
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.
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
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.