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Ducat Goldens

The purpose of Gold Ducat Kennels is to breed physically and mentally sound, healthy Golden Retrievers. All of our breeding stock are screened by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, a board certified cardiologist and an ophthalmologist. We do not consider dogs to be breeding stock if they are on thyroid medication, have “innocent” heart murmurs, or have had corrective surgery—orthopedic or otherwise.

Unfortunately, none of the above can guarantee your puppy won’t end up with problems. Currently at least 25% of the breed is dysplastic, 15% of the breed has juvenile cataracts (a relatively harmless eye disease in Goldens) and 15% of the breed has heart murmurs (not necessarily indicative of SAS). Fifteen percent of all dogs get allergies and Goldens are no exception.  And unfortunately, one out of every five golden retrievers will get hemangiosarcoma.  Golden Retrievers are now considered the number one cancer breed.  

We have been outcrossing for several generations now in an attempt to keep the inbreeding coefficient low and increase longevity.  However, low COIs seem to make no difference.  Most of our breeding stock is clear for hips, eyes, and heart for at least four generations. We like to think we have minimized the problems but it is not easy to predict what individuals will produce when their various genes are combined.

We request that puppy buyers do not spay or neuter their puppy before the growth plates close.  There is mounting evidence that not only do early neutered animals grow taller than they were originally genetically programmed to grow, but there is also an increased incidence of orthopedic problems and cruciate ligament tears.  Other potential problems are delineated in an excellent article by Chris Zink: http://www.caninesports.com/SpayNeuter.html. If you are a person who is compelled to neuter or spay your pet before puberty, please don't buy a Ducat golden.


There have also been many problems associated with obesity in dogs.  There is such a strong connection between obesity and degenerative joint disease that even a little excess body weight increases osteoarthritis. There is almost twice the rate of hip dysplasia and other skeletal abnormalities in the overweight dog.

Excess body fat has proven to reduce life span and increase other diseases. The study most often cited is a study done by Kealy, et al. in 2002. The researchers took 24 paired littermates and studied them during their lifespan. One of the pair was allowed to eat unrestricted for 15 minutes twice a day. The other one was restricted to 75% of what they normally would have eaten. The most shocking data showed that osteoarthritis could be delayed and lowered by restricting calories. The average body score of the ad lib fed dogs was 6.7 (out of a 9) and 4.6 on the restricted fed dogs. They discovered that if you can reduce the body score the dog will feel and move better.

One of the most surprising results was that the restricted fed dogs lived a full 2 years longer than the ad lib fed dogs. The researchers discovered that excess body fat reduced life span and increased other diseases.

Unfortunately acute trauma (such as cruciate ligament tears) and intervertebral disc disease in dogs are also associated with obesity. And dogs are succumbing to some of the same diseases afflicting humans such as diabetes and asthma. Sleep apnea and tracheal collapse are associated with obesity and most common in terrier types. There are also urinary problems associated with obesity, in particular, urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence. In short, obesity in dogs has been linked to lameness/arthrosis, poor skin and coat, exercise intolerance, hypertension, cancer, shorter lifespan and anesthetic risk.  Please don't let your Ducat dog get overweight!