Golden Retrievers are usually a healthy breed with a life expectancy of over 12 years, provided they receive preventive health care, are kept at their  ideal weight and given plenty of exercise but there are several serious genetic conditions that goldens can suffer from which can affect their quality of life and their life span.

Most people will know that the breed suffers from hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia but there have been BVA/KC schemes in place for many years and there should no longer be any puppies produced from parents that do not have hip and elbow scores.  While the parents’ having low scores are not a guarantee that the puppies will be unaffected, the Estimated Breeding Values (EBV) now available on the Kennel Club web site can also be used to improve the predictability of the puppies’ scores.

Goldens should also have an annual eye test with a clear result before breeding and a DNA test for PRA1 and PRA2.

Before any litters are accepted on our puppy list, the Club requires copies of all hip, elbow and eye certificates including PRA1 and PRA2.  Gonioscopy has now been added to the eye tests required for the breed from January 2020.  This test looks for pectinate ligament abnormalities that may be a precursor to glaucoma which is an extremely painful and blinding condition.  It usually results in the loss of one or both eyes.  Gonioscopy should be done every 3 years, normally at 1, 3 and 7 years' old but can be done at any age.  They eyes are graded 0,1,2 or 3.  Current breeding advice is to breed from a 0 and 1, only mate a 2 to a 0 and not to breed from a 3.

Please read the GLAUCOMA UPDATE from June 2019

There is now a DNA test available for ichthyosis, a scaling disorder of the skin that can cause mild to severe flaking.  The condition rarely bothers the dog but is unsightly, incurable and can predispose it to bacterial skin infections.  Responsible breeders are now testing their dogs for this condition, so ask about the genetic status of the parents.

For a summary of what health tests you need to undertake before breeding from your golden retriever, please click the link here.

In addition, goldens can suffer from several types of cancer, some of which are thought to have a genetic component.  The Animal Health Trust is researching several of these cancers, so if your dog is unfortunate enough to develop a mast cell tumour, soft tissue sarcoma or malignant melanoma they would be grateful for samples of the tumour, taken by your vet when the tumour is removed and stored in a preservative called RNAlater,  and a DNA swab from your dog’s mouth.  Further information can be found on their website

The golden retriever Breed Health Co-ordinator, Margaret Woods is arranging the collection of DNA samples from puppies with confirmed Ectopic Ureter  and animals with idiopathic epilepsy.  Further samples are needed before the search for a gene/s can be started.  The information sheet about this is available on our website.

If you have any health questions about your golden please contact me or any member of the committee for advice.

Ann Taggart

Health Co-ordinator