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Golden cocker retriever advice

Discussion in 'Dog Breeding' started by palufish, Mar 22, 2020.


  1. palufish

    palufish PetForums Newbie

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    Hi! I was hoping that someone with a bit more knowledge than me may be able to give some advice on where in the UK there may be a reputable and trustworthy breeder of golden cocker retrievers? These dogs are popular in the US but not so much here it seems, which is quite odd.
    Anyway, any advice is appreciated!
    Cheers!
    Alex.
     
  2. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    Do you mean a cocker spaniel crossed with a golden retriever? If so, I imagine you will continue find it difficult to find anyone intentionally breeding this mix who isn't a backyard breeder or puppy farmer.

    If someone has a cocker spaniel/golden retriever who is a great example of the breed, has gone to the significant expense to health test their dog etc it's unlikely that they would want to breed their perfect, registered purebreed to a different breed in order to create unregistered crossbreeds that could throw up any random combination of genes - they're more likely to breed to another dog of the same breed to continue their line and (hopefully) produce more pups that are a great example of the breed.

    What is it about this cross that appeals to you?
     
  3. palufish

    palufish PetForums Newbie

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    Yes, that's what I meant. Certainly, this could be a reason that we do not seem them bred in the UK, in which case I would not be interested. That's exactly why I emphasised a reputable and trustoworthy dealer, or at least where I may be able to find more information about them.

    However, I'm not entirely sure that mixing (any) two different purebreeds would result in an increased chance of a congenital disorder. Indeed, you mention "perfect, registered purebreed" so as to infer that that any such dog represents the height of genetic safety. Rather, the truth is that these dogs represent damage limitation in this regard. Simply avoiding breeding with dogs with a known history of serious conditions does not preclude their offspring from having such conditions themselves. It could be argued that this is still a very narrow form of artificial selection and is nothing but damaging one way or the other, no matter what "precautions" are used. As such, mixing breeds could almost always be a healthier and fairer option to choose, provided that the same precautions are taken with these dogs, as you are by definition widening the gene pool.

    In any case, I find it odd that given the increasing prevalence of crossbreeds in this country (cockapoo, labradoodle, etc.) that this cross isn't more popular, as it is in the States.

    To answer your question as to why I'm attracted to this cross: I've always found both retrievers and cockers to be such lovely dogs, with beautiful temperaments. They're also both very intelligent and I'd like a dog whom I can train well.
     
  4. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

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    As they are very different in both temperament and size I cannot imagine why anyone would want to cross them. Does not sound like an ideal crossbreed at all. I also disagree very strongly with your thoughts on cross breeds being healthier.
     
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  5. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    Both breeds have similar hereditary health conditions particular relating to eyes. Mating a golden with a cocker when both are carrying the same eye conditions won't make them magically disappear. Puppies could well be badly affected.

    The problem with crossbred dogs is that the owners rarely test for hereditary conditions in both dogs, Goldens in particular need to be xrayed to check for hip and elbow dysplasia and various eye condition there are also some genetic tests that are wise to have done. All this costs a lot of money so isn't bothered about by puppy farmers or people thinking it would be lovely for their dog to have puppies and they could make some money off them. Along with health tests is temperament testing which again is rarely bothered about. Owners will tell you about how lovely their dog is but perhaps miss out the bit of the cocker spaniel having resource guarding issues which is often found in cockers. Temperament is inherited so along with possible inherited health issues from untested dam and sire, then you could easily end up with a puppy developing HD and early onset blindness, you just won't know because no tests have been performed.
     
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  6. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Hi Alex, welcome :)

    That's not quite how genetics works though. Widening the gene pool doesn't eliminate congenital diseases.
    Let's make an analogy with stew.
    Say you want a stew without carrots. You don't eliminate carrots by mixing two stews together. Especially not if both stews you're mixing already have carrots. You eliminate carrots in your stew by looking at the stew, tasting the stew, and if it has carrots, you don't add it to the mix.
    This is essentially where genetic testing comes in - you're checking for carrots.

    I don't have an issue with cross breeds per se, but it's really rare to find breeders of crossbreeds who do the appropriate genetic tests for the breed. Which is the bare minimum of responsible breeding.

    I wonder where in the US you are, I'm in the southeast and while doodles are all the rage, I've yet so see any springerXgolden crosses.
    Seems like a rather incompatible cross honestly.
     
  7. palufish

    palufish PetForums Newbie

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    Quite. This is a great analogy for anyone who isn't familiar with basic genetics. I certainly didn't mean to imply that by crossing any two breeds one is likely to reduce the probability of congenital disorders to zero. Indeed, I believe what I said was that crossbreeding may in general be safer "provided the same precautions are taken", i.e. the same precautions are taken to minimise the likelihood of passing down genetic disorders to the next generation.

    Now, when breeding purebreds, it stands to reason that it is more difficult to minimise this possibility, given that certain breeds will have a particular predisposition to certain genotypes. It is practically impossible to eliminate this, as to do so will change the dog's 'desired' phenotype. For example, in bulldogs it would be virtually impossible to eliminate the chance of passing on obstructive respiratory disease, as breeders have 'designed' the respiratory tracts of these dogs in such a way that it means they will invariably be predisposed to these kind of conditions. Incidentally, I personally would never buy a bulldog, and think that breeding of this dog is morally reprehensible - no matter what kennel club sticker is attached.

    However, now consider crossing the two breeds on discussion here. The golden retriever is known for its predisposition to hip dysplasia, while the cocker spaniel is known for developing glaucoma. Let us consider hip dysplasia to be 'carrots' in the stew and glaucoma to be 'onions'. Since the golden retriever stew is far less likely to contain onions and the cocker spaniel stew is far less likely to contain carrots, then the proportion of carrots and onions left in the mixed stew will be reduced compared to the product had these stews had been mixed within breeds.

    In your example, you mentioned you eliminate carrots by "tasting the stew, and if it has carrots, you don't add it to the mix", but of course, this is where the analogy falls down. In actuality, genetics isn't (usually) this binary, often with a host of genes coding any one phenotype, as well as whether the alleles associated with the disease are dominant, recessive, X-linked, and so on. All these factors combine to give an overall mathematical probability of passing down various conditions. In purebreeds, no matter how well-intentioned the breeder, there is a mathematical limit for the probablility of developing certain diseases, which will exceed that of crossbreeds who have been bred with equal responsibility. In both our examples, one could easily assign probabilities to illustrate this point, but I think that it's already a bit moot.

    Anyway, I very much take the point that there may not be many responsible breeders who are willing to observe these precautions in specifically for this mix of breeds, which may in itself be the reason why there are not many to be found. Also, I might well be wrong about this being a popular cross in the States - I'm actually in the UK! We're on coronavirus lockdown too, so as you can see, I have a lot of time on my hands at the moment! :)
     
  8. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

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    Not so much observe these precautions as muddy up their breed actually.

    In breeding either of my lines I take health testing as a given. So let's take my Labs as an example - this is a line I have bred on, health tested, with solid temperament and bred as fit for purpose. So why on earth would i wish to dilute this by crossing out - generally for people who have never heard of (have no interest in) opposing or incompatible drives or breeding as fit for purpose and who are only interested in the look of the dog. I couldn't let my dogs down that way. I have been asked if If I would breed a Springer x Labrador cross but I couldn't get them to say why - what would be produced that wasn't achievable in either breed - apart from the look - so no, not something I would consider.

    I am also concerned with the haphazard on breeding of such crossbreeds producing F2/3/ back crosses etc which will never be health tested or temperament tested resulting in undocumented incompatible crosses - I wouldn't wish my beautiful line to go that way.

    So yes, you will have to work to find reputable breeders of both Golden Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels who are willing to cross them because those breeders that do, are usually after the money (as for some strange reason clients will pay more for the designer named cross bred puppy than they will for the puppy of either parent breed).

    To me it would be a totally incompatible cross anyway.

    J
     
  9. kirksandallchins

    kirksandallchins PetForums VIP

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    Ive often wondered why nobody has developed miniature versions of popular breeds. For me, a Labrador temperament and conformation but the size of a French Bulldog would be a perfect dog

    There are different sizes of Poodles, Dachshunds and Schnauzers so why not other breeds?
     
  10. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Yeah, but to me, a Standard Poodle is a very different dog than a miniature poodle. I like them both, but they have different temperaments and were bred for different jobs. And they show in different classes too.

    A petite female lab would not be hugely larger than a frenchie. Or at least not in my view. Unless you need a dog to specifically fit in small spaces, I don't see where size would make that much of a difference? Maybe I'm just not thinking what you're thinking :)
     
  11. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever looks like a smaller version of a golden retriever, but a golden it most definitely ain’t. Completely different characters.
     
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  12. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    Sometimes you have to make a decision:

    Have a Cocker, or have a Retriever. If you want both at once then get two dogs(not necessarily both at once) or do what a lot of us do. Choose one and be prepared to wait for the other.

    I always wanted a herding breed of some type; I also wanted a Ridgeback, and I’ve had both, at different times. I certainly wouldn’t have looked for a cross of the two breeds because (apart from the sheer lunacy of the idea) I would have ‘diluted’ the characteristics that I loved each breed for.

    I have had Golden Cockers and if you get the right line, and you can train, they can work obedience like Border Collies.
     
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  13. Lizzie Syson

    Lizzie Syson PetForums Newbie

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    Hi there did you ever manage to find a breeder of the golden x cocker, we are currently looking for the same breed but as you said they are very popular in he US and in Australia but we are yet to find a current breeder in England. Thanks, Lizzie
     
  14. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Did you get a chance to read the rest of the thread Lizzie?
    Lots of comments explaining why you might want to reconsider this cross.
     
  15. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    But totally useless in terms of doing the job Labradors were bred to do. So why create a another useless dog? There are more than enough cross-breed designers doing that.
     
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