This page was originally aimed at educating people about the hazards of Puppy mills and Backyarders. I think at this pointin the evolution of the internet and information a good puppy family is becoming more and more aware of the differences. The next issue to change is breeding culture and so these glossary words will remain until the 'Breeder Help' pages are more developed to address that.
Puppy Mill - It really breaks my heart to have to define this. Those are the breeders breeding for money not love! Whether its a nice facility or a dirt floor in a barn; if they have too many dogs THEY ARE A PUPPY MILL! Anyone who could have multiple litters constantly IS A PUPPY MILL! Anyone who would 'harvest' a dog every time they go into heat, have batches of puppies in stall after stall - come one come all and choose a puppy - THAT'S A PUPPY MILL! GET IT?
Kennel Blind - Refers to the notion that every dog in one's kennel is perfect and every puppy ever produced is a total show stopping winner. There may be that superlative every once in a while and consistently some kennels might produce an overall higher quality than the rest, but one had better be able to acknowledge the faults honestly for without that; how can you make improvements? Personally I think that this may very well be half of the issue that has caused the greatest detriment to the American Golden (puppy mills and backyarders being the other half!). The 'great' kennels thinking they have perfect dogs and not looking for outside genetics.
Temperament - This refers to the dog's attitude. Is it friendly, easy going, kindly, calm? Or is it timid, aggressive (uh oh - not Goldenlike), nervous, or shy? While new circumstances or age of the animal may affect this slightly one way or another a dog's temperament is hardwired at birth. What you have is what you get. This is why good temperament is so important and not everyone has it; everyone WILL claim it.
Socialization - People confuse this with temperament. Socialization refers to the exposure a dog has. Has it been played with regularly as a puppy? Has it experienced a variety of stimuli, both positive and negative and learned to deal with either? Has it been around other dogs, people, animals, and things?
Genotype - The genetic 'ingredients' of the dog. What the dog is as a result of its non visible characteristics.
Phenotype - The look of the dog. The outward appearance and visible disposition of the dog.
DNA - "Our dog has been DNA tested" I love it! Sounds official doesn't it? Tested for what? AKC rules dictate that a stud who sires multiple litters be DNA profiled (that is to prove paternity if it came under question). Also, any animal imported must be DNA profiled if used in a breeding program. ALL of my guys are DNA profiled (except Tink who is a domestically bred English golden). It is a piece of paper and nothing more. There is no assurance of health or quality given with this item. There is nothing screened for - it is simply a means of identification. Anyone who promotes DNA tested is really trying to Dazzle you with an acronym, hoping you'll assume this means their animals are special.CERF - Canine Eye Retinal Foundation. There are a variety of inheritable eye diseases that are possible in Goldens. Only a Veterinary Opthamologist or Specialist are qualified to determine whether an animal is considered 'normal' or not. The results of this test are submitted to the Foundation for registry. Eye issues such as Retinal atrophy, cataracts, and pigmentary uveitis; now reaching near epidemic proportions in Goldens here - sometimes even referred to as Golden Uveitis are screened.
SAS - Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis. This is a genetic malfunction of the heart. Again a veterinary Specialist alone can determine this defect. Typically other defects will be ruled out during this exam as well, but the name was given as a result of the primary heart defect in goldens. Interestingly, though some European breeders will perform heart tests on their animals, the occurrence is so low that this test is not typically performed. The results of this test are sent to the OFA for listing of the certification.
Health Clearances - I love this term! Entirely made up to sound official. What health clearances? Which ones? Each test has a name and a registry or place of official certification. If a breeder has done the test, they will be happy to show you the certificate! Simply saying 'x-rayed' is not enough. An animal could be 'x-rayed' and not have a passing evaluation. Or another favorite - 'My vet has done all the appropriate tests'. Very few places are able to certify CERF and SAS and it is likely not your local vet! Your local Vet can perform the hip x-ray, but they do not do the evaluation.
Whelping - Refers to the date of birth of the puppies. This date is determined more or less as 63 days from breeding. The breeding occurs after the estrus stage (the visible period of heat) in a two or three day window. Fertilization may occur during or a day or two after that window. For this reason, the 63 day mark is a guideline only.
Conformity - This is the adherence to a given standard. Kennel Clubs dictate the breed standard, that hopefully, one is striving to attain. MOST kennel clubs model the Golden Retriever standard after the KC (Kennel Club - England) The AKC standard and Canada's standard are the two world standards that differ from England's original standard. Critics have argued that the more narrowly defined AKC standard has led ultimately to the narrower gene pool. This is one reason that Breeders in America import animals.
'Blocky' - This is a slang descriptive term that is used to characterize the head form. I don't think there is a Golden breeder on this entire planet who does not claim to have blocky heads! Usually the males have a broader, 'blockier' head form; and sometime you can get a really lovely female with a broader, sculpted head. IF everyone had a beautiful head, we would not need to brag about the feature; it would be a given like having a paw or a tail! I will let Johnny define the term for me. Look at his profile and I'll put up a head shot from front on and you will see. Blocky is a broad head from ear to ear, but also and lovely structure looking from a birdseye position as well as a profile. In my opinion, you cannot have blocky if it is ruined by a shallow stop or an abrupt stop. The stop (angle of slope between the eyes sculpting into the muzzle) is a nuance (my personal favorite) that can either make or break your blocky head! And droopy flews (like a bloodhound) look dense on a nice head form, just little aspects to keep in mind. Again Johnny - perfection! (Not kennel blind - I didn't breed him :)