Contact us to let us know you are interested in an upcoming litter. Complete the Puppy Buyer Application. We will review it and let you know if we feel that we are the right breeder for what you are looking for. If so, we will add your name to our waiting list and make sure you receive any updates about the upcoming litter. If we do not feel we are the right breeder for you, we are happy to provide recommendations to other breeders or resources in your area.
What's the difference between pet or companion puppies/homes and "performance" puppies/homes? Why do "performance" people get first priority?
Show dogs (conformation) The first thing to understand is we do NOT sell conformation/breed ring/show dog prospects. While we do aim to breed to the standard, and do have some litters with puppies who may be successful in the breed ring, we breed a more "classic," moderate golden with other priorities in mind (temperament, longevity, etc). On the rare occasion we might have a serious show prospect, full registration would only be considered with co-ownership.
Full Registration Requests These will be considered on a case by case basis, but in general we sell all puppies on an AKC Limited contract with the option to lift limited registration if high level titles are earned, all health clearances are complete, and we agree the dog is of breeding quality. At this point a new contract would be written, mutually agreed upon, and signed by all parties.
So how much do your puppies cost? Do you require a deposit?
Our current puppy price is $3200 USD. This includes service dog placements. To ensure that is up to date for a specific litter, please view our Contract, which we urge you to review prior to contacting us. This price IS subject to change slightly depending on costs associated with the current litter. This INCLUDES pre-paid lifetime microchip & AKC registration as well as Virginia State Sales Tax.
Once pregnancy is confirmed, we do ask for a deposit of $500 to hold your spot on the waiting list. This deposit is nonrefundable unless we are unable to match a puppy to you. It does go toward the final purchase price.
WOW! That's really expensive for a dog. Why so much? I just want a good family pet. I don't need a show dog.
Then, I really encourage you to look at local rescue opportunities! Those dogs need homes, too, and can be fabulous companions!
BUT, if you want more of a guarantee on what size, temperament, trainability, and health will be...it's a lot more than just breeding any two golden retrievers together. Yes, the sweet golden down the street might have just had puppies and they might only be $50. Did you know goldens can carry a fatal gene where they are normal for almost 2 years, then tragically waste away and die? Has that dog down the street been tested for this gene? Did you know that the cost of a hip replacement surgery if the dog has debilitating hip dysplasia can be up to $7000 per hip? Hip dysplasia can pop up even after many generations of cleared dogs - were those parents tested? Grandparents?
Years of research go into each litter we breed. Then, golden retrievers are not old enough to have full health clearances per the GRCA Code of Ethics until they are at minimum 24 months of age. So that's two years of raising, training, loving, spoiling, and competing with a girl before we ever even know if she can or will be bred. She is first and foremost our family companion, not a cog in a puppy factory.
So let's say the first two years we spend $2000 on her - food, vet care, and preventatives. And another $2500 on training classes and competitions. Then, let's say she passes clearances (another $2000) - YAY!
Before you ever know if you have puppies or not, most good breeders have spent additional thousands after clearances just to get their girl bred (pre-breeding bloodwork and testing, progesterone testing, travel to stud/shipped semen, AI, ultrasound, stud fee deposit, etc). Those fees are nonrefundable, whether you have puppies or not. We recently spent over $5000 on a very special breeding we'd hoped for for years just to learn there were no puppies. It's heartbreaking and can be financially draining. And if you do have puppies, the "pet" puppies were not cheaper to plan, whelp, and raise than the "show" puppies...they've all had the same time, love, and care devoted to them.
There is a lot that goes into a healthy, purpose bred puppy. And none of this even considers a breeder's time, the 2+ years of loving that girl, then before the litter, 2-3 weeks of her being in season, shuttling her to vet appointments, stud dogs, etc, 8 weeks of worry watching everything she does while pregnant, begging her to eat and cooking for her when she won't, then 8+ weeks of caring for her and puppies 24 hours a day, losing countless weeks of sleep, all while fielding puppy inquiries, interviewing families, worrying about making the right decisions for those little souls, and often all THAT while working a full time job unrelated to puppies. And that's if everything goes WELL! Ask me, or just about any breeder, of the time they spent tens of thousands to save their girl and lost a litter of puppies. Or maybe they lost their girl, too. Breeding is never without risk, and sometimes tragedy happens. We do this because we love it, and truly believe in the breed. Yes, some litters we come out ahead, and some we don't. When we do, it's reinvested into our program for the next generation.
We want two puppies to grow up together because we've always done that/we have two kids/etc. Why won't you sell two at once?
We get asked this a lot. We've raised puppies of the same age multiple times. Look into "Littermate Syndrome" and I can tell you from first hand experience raising multiple puppies and teaching classes, it is 100% real. Does it always happen? No. Is the chance it will happen high enough I'm not willing to risk putting one of my puppies through it? Yes.
If you really want more than one dog, great! We recommend waiting 12-24 months in between puppies.
How are your puppies raised? Inside? Outside?
From the beginning, our mothers receive care from the Reproductive Veterinary Team at our nearby Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Puppies are born inside our home and are only allowed outdoors under heavy supervision. I am actively involved in the whelping of the litter and sleep next to the puppies and mom for the first three weeks (at minimum). Early neurological stimulation, exposure to a variety of scents, sounds, and surfaces, and socialization with a variety of people and animals are standard practice for raising our litters. In addition, puppies are started on housebreaking (litter box trained which transitions to outside) and introduced to puppy kibble/mush beginning at 3-4 weeks of age. Because many of our puppies go on to be service dogs or competition dogs, we strive to create a very well rounded, stable puppy and are always adding innovative new things to our puppy raising protocol. For more information on how our puppies are raised, please see our Puppies page.
Puppy Pickup - There's so much information!?
Before they go home, our puppies have received their first round of vaccinations, several dewormings, and they have been microchipped. During spring, summer, and fall, they have also received flea/tick treatment.
At puppy pickup, plan to spend at least an hour to go over the puppy book. We will sit down together to choose a registered name for your puppy and fill out the AKC registration and Microchip registration paperwork. The registration costs of these are covered in the puppy price. In addition, I will show you how to groom your puppy (clip nails, clean ears, and trim feet), and we will talk about food, exercise, and puppy training. It's a great idea to prepare a list of questions ahead of time!*
*Due to COVID, we have moved most of this to a video call prior to pickup.
What if I can't pick the puppy up on the pickup weekend or we're going on vacation the next week?
A puppy's socialization window closes at approximately 16 weeks. After puppies are weaned, I feel it is critical for the longterm well-being of the puppy to start them right away on learning basic manners, housetraining, and going to a puppy class. I strongly prefer that you do not schedule vacations (unless it is to stay at home with the puppy!) right after you get a puppy. I also strongly prefer that you make arrangements to pick up the puppy during the scheduled puppy pickup weekend. However, I understand that sometimes life happens. If any puppies remain in my care past 9 weeks of age, I will begin training them as if they were my own and I do charge for this service, as often I am keeping my own puppy from the litter and having multiple puppies to train greatly increases the time involved.
What can we expect from you when the puppy goes home? What if we have questions?
I look at each puppy home as an extension of my own family. Before ever breeding a litter, I have spent countless hours researching pedigrees, health clearances, and often traveling to see studs and their progeny in person. I don't ever want to breed a dog that I would not personally be thrilled to have in my home. After the litter arrives, I have spent eight weeks trying to prepare these puppies for the world. I will always remember each and every one and expect my puppy homes to remember me. I am here for any question, any time, no matter how big or small, and I want to know how my puppies are doing. So, send updates! Ask questions!
Why can't we pick our own puppy and why do you take so long to pick one? Can we get our deposit back if we don't like the puppy you've picked for us?
A puppy's real personality doesn't start to come out until they are at minimum six weeks of age. There are plenty of hints before then, but each puppy develops at a slightly different pace, so a puppy we might have dismissed as having zero interest in retrieving and "working" at five weeks, might turn out to be the best retriever in the litter by eight weeks. We wouldn't want to have already committed that puppy to a home who was looking for a calmer family companion and committed one who turns out to be a couch potato to a home looking for an avid hunting companion. No one would be happy, including the puppies. (Full disclosure - we typically do not breed "couch potatoes" but you get the idea :) ). For this reason, I try to evaluate the litter between seven to eight weeks of age. After these evaluations, I will match puppies up to families based on the puppy application as well as additional communication I have had with that family. Sometimes, it may take even longer for companion puppy homes to get an answer, as I may tell a family I have a perfect male for them, but they'd wanted a female and they need to decide what to do...and your family might be next in line for that boy if they say no, etc, etc. So, it takes time.
Once the deposit has been paid, you are welcome at any time to change your mind, including if you do not like the puppy I pick for you, but I will not refund the deposit, as it is very likely I have already turned away other homes. If you are uncomfortable with this process of matching puppies, I may not be the right breeder for you.
Do we have to register our puppy with AKC? Do you pick the puppy's registered name, or do we get to?
We do require your puppy to be registered with AKC, and we will complete that paperwork at pickup. The cost of AKC and microchip registration is included in the puppy price and I submit them all together once puppies go home so you don't have to worry about it.
For naming the puppy, each of our litters will have a "theme" which is usually based on the parents' names or personalities, time of year, or some other relevant current event. Some examples of past themes have been "Earth Day," "Music," "Movie," and "Magic."
Puppies' registered names will always start with our GRCA registered kennel prefix, "Maywood." The rest of the name will have something to do with the theme. It's fun when you can come up with something in the registered name that ALSO relates to what you plan to call the dog, but not required.
Some favorite examples: "Treasure" Litter: Maywood's Treasure Foretold, call name "Clarity" Maywood's Treasure of the Night Sky, call name "Luna" (and the sire's name was Sky)
"Magic" Litter (sire's name was Magic, and they were born the day after Halloween!): Maywood's Magic is Rising, call name "Phoenix" Maywood's Mark of Magic, call name "Rune"
Whatever you do, don't stress about it! We usually have a lot of fun beforehand exchanging ideas that have to do with the theme and the right name always seems to present itself for each puppy!