Health of the English Golden Retriever

Every purebred dog, no matter what its genetic makeup, has weaknesses. In order to obtain the best physical appearance, sometimes genetics falls a little short and can affect the health of the dog later in life. Because of this, we take special care in selecting the parents of each litter of puppies that is conceived here at West Coast Cream Goldens. We want to provide healthy litters that are beautiful, and lively. To understand the genetic weaknesses of the English Golden Retriever, you must first understand how a purebred, of any breed, is obtained.

How Pure Breeding is Obtained

To obtain a purebred dog, you must do so by selecting two purebred parents that have the ideal qualities of a breed as outlined by the AKC, or American Kennel Club. A litter of pure bred puppies can only be obtained if both parents belong to peer groups who’s genetics lead back to the point where the breed originated. Essentially, somewhere down their line of ancestors, the parents of the litter are related.

Because of this, we have to be very careful about the parents we select for each liter, and ensure that the physical appearance meets the breed standard completely. We must then ensure that the parents are both healthy, and that there is enough space between their genetic makeups to create a healthy litter of purebred puppies. No matter how far apart in lineage, both dogs essentially come from the same bloodstock.

Purebred dogs are known for their beauty and ancestry. However, they are generally weaker due to the limited gene pool and different defects that may arise on the same gene coupling. In order to obtain a purebred, the parents must have the same basic gene pool, which is called considered line breeding, which is slightly different from inbreeding, which should never be done.

Because of the limited gene pool, some of the major defects to be recognized are Cancer, tumors, heart diseases and a low immune system. A mix-breed puppy does not suffer these problems as they have a wide variety of gene acquirement, and have a flexible breeding system.

Health Affects that could affect your English Golden

As we explained earlier, a pure bred dog can suffer from defects like cancer, tumors, skin and neurological diseases. They have a chance of developing joint and bone disorders and in some cases epilepsy as well. The same risk arises with your pure bred English Golden, they can suffer from these weaknesses too. But rest assured, it’s a matter of probability and nothing can be specifically said with confidence as the gene pool goes back to huge leap of generations.

Although, breeders do a prior test of parent dogs for defective genes – this does not solve the problem as the gene pool goes way back to the ancestry where the first breeding was documented. At West Coast Cream Goldens, we try our best to ensure that we do not select two dogs with the same weaknesses to create a litter. However, due to the specifics of purebred dogs, the exact health situation cannot be predicted by the breeder even by conducting various tests and by ensuring the current health of your puppy.

Pure bred dogs seem to be more beautiful, energetic, powerful, intelligent and concerned when compared to mix breed dogs so it is very important to weigh the risk of having a purebred dog before purchase. Even though they include the positive appearance of beauty and strength, there is a very small chance that your dog could suffer from one of the various genetic deficiencies that affect the English Golden Retriever, which are explained below.

  • Hips– Hip dysplasia can develop in a pure bred dog, where hips develop an abnormal growth pattern and a misalignment can be noted among the hips. Since the hip joint has an abnormal growth, a purebred dog may develop pain and arthritis. It usually is seen from the point of birth and later on grows to develop large or small hips which do not fit the threshold of normality.
  • Elbows
    – Similarly elbow dysplasia can be seen as a defect in purebred dogs, where multiple joint abnormalities occur on the elbow-joint of the dog. The gait can expand or contract deviating from the normal size. The abnormal growth of cells and tissue on the elbow joint leads to a swelling on that area and a disturbance among the gait of the dog.
  • Eyes
    – Pure bred dogs may develop various eye diseases on throughout their lives, and can cause reduced eyesight capacity or may eventually lead to blindness. Pale and tired eyes may be the prior symptoms followed by near sight weaknesses.
  • Heart– Pure bred dogs could suffer from various cardiovascular diseases, which may reduce the life span of the dog, and is one of the major drawbacks faced by the pure bred dogs. They may develop an enlarged heart which could fail to function properly and causes incorrect transmission of blood circulation around the body.
  • Blood disorders
    – With purebred dogs, various blood clotting problems may arise, pure bred dogs may suffer from various problems that affect their blood and other parts of their body, like low platelet counts which in-turn arises blood disorders like blood clotting, blood circulation and the state of Thrombocytopenia.
  • Cancers
    – Unfortunately, a purebred dog carries the risk of developing cancer. Yearly physical examinations and blood tests should be done to ensure that your pet does not develop cancer. The faster any abnormality is caught, the more effective treatment will be.
  • Veterinary Check-ups
    – To ensure that your purebred dog is not suffering from any defects that we previously mentioned, yearly and frequent check up is mandatory. Yearly exams can be conducted which ensures that none of the problems like disorders in blood, heart or physical development problems have occurred over the period of time. The apparent health of a purebred dog does not ensure that future defects may not develop, yearly check up is a must. If any of these defects is seen immediate treatment must be carried out.

Vaccination must be frequently carried out for the health of your pure bred dog. Different varieties of vaccines are available in through your vet, and ensuring that your dog remains healthy should be very high priority, so prevention of disease must be the first preference, instead of curing it later on. Special vaccination programs are available specifically for purebred dogs, and participation on these events are highly suggested.

Various laboratory tests can be conducted on your pure bred dog; it is prominently done to ensure that your dog is healthy and ensures that no infection or defects are present. Blood platelets can be counted to ensure that there are no blood problems. RBC (Red blood cells) can be evaluated and other properties of blood tests like hemoglobin, white blood cells, cholesterol, MCV etc can be conducted in order to be sure the heart is working properly, and the blood and body have not developed any abnormalities.

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