Whiskey River Retrievers

About Our Retrievers 

Whiskey River Retrievers are raised in a loving and knowledgeable family - they reside on our 130 acre property and interact with a range of different animals from Highland cattle, horses, chickens, geese and the native wildlife. They come with us on morning and afternoon farm chores, swim in the creeks and and constantly interact with different people, situations and animals. 
Our dogs are well socialised, fit and healthy with a strong, focused drive to retrieve in the field. In the home, they are gentle and affectionate, excellent with children, other animals and different people and are very much loved, lifelong pets. 

Training and Showing 
As dog lovers you can find us either, training, showing or competing our dogs in local
shows and events.
Dog Shows
We enjoy showing our dogs under breed specialists to ensure that our lines are striving towards the breed standard and we continuously push for better with each litter we have. Our passion lies with breeding dogs who are built for the purpose for which they were originally bred. We like our dogs to have drive and be trainable, we like them to be well balanced physically and mentally and show loyalty and gentleness in the home. Showing for us is an opportunity to build our knowledge about the breed, and exhibit our dogs to gain the highest credibility we can. 
Lure, Tracking and Retrieving 
Our girls retrieve for fun on our property and are beginning early levels of education in this field. Occasionally we make a trip up to go lure coursing with our more drivey and athletic girls. They thoroughly enjoy this sport and it gives them a lot of mental and physical fulfilment. Tracking is a new endeavour for us, we are currently training our girls to compete in 2024! 
While some of our dogs are more focused than others or out perform each other in various areas of training and competing; they each bring value to our versatile breeding program. Either as reliable family pets or handy dogs in the show ring or sports arena for more competitive families. Overall our goal is to train the dog in front of us, to give them opportunities to express their genetic predisposition as Gundogs and to ensure that they are not just ‘breeding dogs’ a whiskey river retriever is far more than that! 

Health Testing  
Coming from an extensive background in natural animal health, breeding for us is solely about producing dogs that can live long, happy and healthy lives with their families.
However, we want to make it clear that we do not believe it is possible to produce 100% perfectly healthy dogs any more than it is possible to produce 100% healthy human children. Life itself is imperfect and the creation of life is fraught with challenges and hurdles. Anyone who understands basic genetics needs to be realistic about the limitations we as breeders face with testing and the incredible diversity of genes some diseases present with.
While we cannot eliminate every disease we make informed choices to limit and avoid hereditary diseases and we passionately seek to reduce the number of affected dogs born.
We do this through making use of all disease testing that has been developed for the breed. We rely on the knowledge of two well trained veterinary specialists,   In orthopaedics and internal medicine who have supported and contributed greatly to the development of our program. We are on top of current issues and are always studying and researching for our breed.
For the areas of disease that we cannot yet test for or have no hope of controlling parameters for, we apply the concept of nutrigenomics. This includes careful evaluation and management of our dog's diets, chemical products used and environmental factors to lessen the chances of genetic disease occurring. We submit our dogs for safe testing to ensure that these processes are effective. 

Screening tests that have been made available for Golden Retrievers and that we test for include: 
Hip & Elbow Dysplasia: 
Hip Dysplasia is an abnormal development of the hip-joint, influenced by hereditary and other factors (diet, environment and exercise). The hip-joint is referred to as a ball-and-socket joint, the rounded head of the femur fitting into the cup-like acetabulum. Hip dysplasia results in instability of the joint due to alterations of the head of the femur and a shallowness of the acetabulum. The degree of change can vary from slight to so severe that the head of the femur can become totally dislocated. The dog’s movement does not always give an accurate assessment of the degree of hip dysplasia. Dogs with changes of hip dysplasia will develop osteoarthritis later in life.
The only way to confirm hip dysplasia is through an x-ray. We x-ray their dogs and bitches before considering breeding with them. The x-rays are sent away to be scored. The x-ray plate of each hip joint is measured and scored between 0 and 53 e.g. 4:5 to give a total score of 9. 
It must be stated at this stage, by keeping your puppy the correct weight, not over exercising, feeding a fresh, balanced diet (not kibble), not allowing the puppy under 12 months of age to jump into/onto objects, you will help minimise the chances of your dog sustaining any injuries that could present as Hip Dysplasia.
Even though Hip Dysplasia scoring might not mean much to you, when purchasing your puppy we show you the breeding pair’s hip scores and are happy to explain the scores to you. 
There can never be a guarantee given when purchasing a puppy against Hip Dysplasia – all that responsible breeders can do, is offer you sound researched advice on preventative care, ensure that pups are raised on good footing in the whelping box, offered a balanced nutritious diet and follow the guidelines put down by the Canine Control Council and the Golden Retriever Club of which they belong to. 
Elbow Dysplasia 
Elbow dysplasia is the abnormal development of the elbow joint. The term includes a number of specific abnormalities which affect different sites in the joint. These abnormalities are called primary lesions. Primary lesions cause problems by affecting the development of the cartilage in growth plates and the joint surfaces. The primary lesions then start a secondary osteoarthritic process.
The three common abnormalities are:
Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
Fragmented or Ununited Coronoid Process (FCP)
Ununited Anconeal Process (UAP)
The primary lesions occur during the growth of the puppy and cause abnormal wear of the joint surfaces and osteoarthritis. The elbow is particularly vulnerable to this disease because the bones and cartilage surfaces in the joint have complex shapes and the elbow is a high motion joint. Lameness is first noticed around 4 to 6 months of age and may be intermittent. Typically a dog looks stiff when rising from rest and has a mild lameness which gets worse after exercise. Males are more often affected. Treatment may involve surgery and/or drugs depending on the severity.
Elbow Scores
Breeding dogs are scored using an x-ray of the elbow joint and the assessment can be made at the same time as the hip joints. The grade is based on the presence of primary lesions and the size and extent of secondary lesions. Each elbow is given a grade between 0 and 3. A grade of 0 is normal with no lesions or osteoarthritis and a grade 3 has severe osteoarthritis.
A number of factors influence the occurrence of elbow dysplasia. The condition is not controlled by a simple gene or simple inheritance, but by the combination of many genes. The severity of elbow dysplasia is also influenced by your dog’s growth rate and the amount of exercise or an injury as a puppy. Do not overfeed and cause your puppy to grow too rapidly or allow him to carry excess weight which puts abnormal stresses on the major weight bearing joints. We treat this preventatively in much the same way as hip dysplasia. 
Heart Tests 
Heart testing is done once when the breeding dog/s are 12 months of age.  Here a specialist canine cardiologist listens to the heart to determine if the dog/s have Subaortic Stenosis (SAS), also known as a heart murmur, should a murmur be detected the dog is referred on for an echo cardiogram where the murmur is graded and a certificate is issued.  Should the heart be normal the certificate will read: “no murmur auscultated” and a clear heart certificate is issued. Dogs with heart murmurs should not be part of any breeding program.
Eye Testing 
Dog's eyes are similar to human eyes in that they change over time, our club’s Code of Ethics requires breeding dogs to be tested annually.  Eye certificates are issued by a specialist canine ophthalmologist.  Should a hereditary eye disorder be identified by the specialist the eye certificate will indicate the type of disorder diagnosed and the certificate issued, should no eye disorder be detected the certificate will state “normal eyes”.  Dogs with hereditary eye disorders should not be part of any breeding program. 
Our dogs are submitted for full breed profiles or clear by parentage with Orivet. The diseases they are tested for are: 
Congenital Eye Malformation, Degenerative Myleopathy, Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa, PRA 1, 2, ICT A, Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis NCL, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Skeletal Dysplasia 2, Von Willebrand's Disease Type 1 -  with blood tests to confirm. 
 Please Jump over here to Meet Our Retrievers!