Q&A Golden Retriever Facts


Learn the facts! Questions and Answers. Q&A facts about Golden Retrievers. Learn the truth on how Golden Retrievers are both similar and different from Europe and American lines

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Q: Do you have a spay/neuter agreement? What age should I sexuality alter my dog?

A: Red-Dawn does NOT require you to alter your dog. After many years of scientific data presented, we believe it is best for our dogs to a) not be sexually altered, b) or, be sexually altered once fully grown. Science has proven that dogs need their sex hormones to regulate proper growth so that their bones/joints/ligaments develop properly. And these sex hormones also help the dog avoid health problems like cancer and hypothyroid. 

Our contract states that we will not honor the skeletal guaranty of you alter the dog prior to 12 months of age. We suggest not altering your dog. But if you choose to, do it after 2 years of age. 

GRCA Cancer Article

 Assisting Decision-Making on Age of Neutering for 35 Breeds of Dogs: Associated Joint Disorders, Cancers, and Urinary Incontinence

Q: What should I feed my dog?

A: The short answer is, a fresh raw whole food diet. The long answer is in our Nutrition Article. Can you feed a high quality dry dog food? Yes. Will your dog be as healthy as his littermate eating a balanced raw food diet? No. 

We have fed raw for over 20 years. That’s a lot of dogs for a lot of years! We know for a fact that a raw fed dog is able to be his healthiest. 


Q: Are English Creme Goldens from only England?

A: No. The label of English Cream was pushed by early importers of the very light “white” looking Goldens from Europe as a marketing ploy. The American show dogs have gone through fazes of shade variables over the years. But even at their lightest, the cream color has not been favored in the AKC show ring. All over Europe and Russia the fad has been cream or “white” for many years. Yes there are Goldens with color showing in Europe. No the colored dogs are not main stream in the European show circuit. 


Q: Are the European lines of Golden Retrievers  healthier than the American lines?

A: NO! All varieties of Golden Retrievers carry the genes for the exact same health concerns. Yes, some specific lines are worse due to extreme line breeding (in-breeding) and people caring too much about winning dog shows over producing healthy dogs. This happens on both sides of the pond.  

Healthy lines of Goldens come from breeders who:
  1. Don’t line breed (or keep to a minimum). Outcrossing can help diversify the genes to increase the odds of healthy puppies 
  2. Diligently health test their dogs and know their lines well
  3. Are willing to stop breeding a line if there are health/temperament problems
  4. Feed a healthy raw diet, and encourage the puppy buyers to follow suit


Q: Do English Golden Retrievers have a thicker head and body than American Goldens? 

A: No. the American show male Goldens usually have much thicker and better heads than most English/European males (in my opinion). I’m all about a good head, and I do choose to add European heads that look closer to the show American type. I do not care for the European hound style of head that is popular in the show ring. I like a short thick muzzle, good under-jaw, pronounced stop, high flat ear set that cover 2/3 of the eye when pulled forward, 2/3 back skull to 1/3 muzzle, almond eyes, back skull as wide as stop to occiput. Yes, that’s a lot of show jargon. What that boils down to is, my goal is to produce Golden Retrievers with really beefy yet elegant heads. 


Q: How many types of Golden Retrievers are there in the USA? What are the good & bad traits of each?

A: the truth is that there are 6 sub groups of Golden Retrievers in the USA

American Show

These can be the most stunning looking dogs of any variety. Outstanding coats, great heads, overall they are such good looking dogs! There are a handful of reputable and very responsible breeders of American Show Goldens. The following negatives do not pertain to these lovely breeders. But this ethical group of people is only a handful in the Golden world. Yes, most the show breeders health test, the basics. Many of them do not fully DNA test. Most American show dogs are extremely line bred, that means some extreme health issues too. Breeding to win dog shows is a huge focus in this group, much more important than health or temperament. I find the majority of American Show lines to be unhealthy, air headed, goofy, dumb, anxious and hyper temperaments. I refuse to own a show only bred dog after years of experience owning and training them. 


American Sport

Usually this is a blend of show and hunting lines. The goal is to win in agility or obedience competitions. These dogs are usually health tested and known for good overall health. Their personalities are strong. They need to be very intense to do their job well. I’ve had many dog-aggressive Goldens from these lines. 


American Hunting

In most cases these dogs are smaller frame, dark color, lean head, and have been bred for their hunting ability with little or no regard for appearance. The top hunting dogs are usually health tested (the good breeders) and are known to be the most healthy of all the varieties. (There are plenty of bad breeders who don’t care about health too). Their personalities are strong. They need to be very intense to be a good hunter, meaning these dogs are way too difficult for the average pet home. These dogs are like Border Collies in Golden Retriever bodies. Work-a-holics. 

American Pet

The majority of these dogs are bred by regular pet owners who do not health test nor breed for any purpose. Every temperament type and physical look is represented in this vast group. These dogs should be avoided. It’s luck of the draw if you get a healthy good temperament or you get a Golden plagues with horrid health and who bites kids. Yes. Aggressive behavior to people is most prevalent in these no-purpose random bred dogs. These back yard bred dogs are usually really cheap buy or easily found in rescues. 


European Show

This variety is my go to now. There are plenty of good breeders who care about health testing. Line breeding is usually kept to a minimum (rare to see inbreeding). Most these dogs have soft gentle temperaments that are trustworthy. I’m able to put multiple intact studs in 1 yard to play (and a cat too), zero issues. They have multiple ‘looks’ in the show ring. Some have a flat coat with minimal fringe/coat feathering and have a leaner hound style body and head. Others are super stocky, wavy coat, lots of coat length/fringe and heads similar to American Show dogs. Oh, and laid back is their middle name. They are so laid back that they can be boring for people who want an ‘active’ fetch-a-holic type. These dogs are chill!


European Pet (2nd string show)

Due to the popularity of Americans wanting these European “White” Goldens, less than reputable breeders are selling breeding stock or pets to us. I know, I’ve been the recipient a few times on these lousy dogs. They can have aggressive temperaments (to dogs, rarely human). Their structure is mediocre. Some pass health tests, others don’t. I’ve paid very high prices for sub par genetics. It’s hard to know who to trust when purchasing dogs from other countries.