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Code of Ethics
RESPONSIBILITIES AS A DOG OWNER
Members are responsible for the well being of their dogs. Dogs must be maintained with their safety and good health in mind at all times, including adequate and appropriate attention, socialization, grooming, feeding, veterinary care, housing, and exercise. Members will train their dogs so that they are an asset in their community and do not become a nuisance. Members recognize that the well being of their dogs depends on them being accepted and welcomed by neighbours and the general public.
RESPONSIBILITIES AS A MEMBER OF GRCGT
1. Members keep in mind that they and their dogs represent the Golden Retriever, the GRCGT, and the sport of purebred dogs in general. They will maintain good sportsmanship at all events and competitions, abiding by the applicable rules and regulations. Members’ conduct should always be in accordance with the objectives and intent of the GRCGT and CKC Bylaws. This includes helping to reduce the use of dye and other foreign substances (product) on a dog’s coat or skin, in accordance with section 14 of the Conformation Show Rules and Regulations.
2.Members recognize the Golden Retriever Breed Standard as approved by the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), or the standard of the country in which they reside or exhibit, as the description of the ideal temperament and physical qualities by which the breed is to be judged.
3. Members are encouraged to take available opportunities to educate the public about purebred dogs, Golden Retrievers and the GRCGT. They are also encouraged to educate other members especially the novice members. Promoting and assisting at GRCGT events is an important facet of this.
RESPONSIBILITIES AS A BREEDER
GRCGT members who breed Golden Retrievers will work to maintain the purpose of the breed, and select breeding stock with the objectives of GRCGT in mind; that is:
Recognizing that the Golden Retriever breed was developed as a useful gun dog, to encourage improvement by careful and selective breeding of Golden Retrievers that possess the appearance, structure, soundness, temperament, natural ability, and personality that are characterized in the standard of the breed, and to do all possible to advance and promote these qualities.
2. Dealing with Others
GRCGT members must demonstrate fairness and honesty – including full disclosure – in dealing with other owners and breeders, purchasers of dogs, and the general public. In advertisements members will not present puppies without also featuring adult dogs and will endeavor to ensure that potential puppy purchasers understand that a dog is a lifetime investment. Owners of dogs involved in a breeding or sale will ensure that appropriate documentation is readily available to those concerned regarding results of screening examinations as recommended below. If any such examinations have not been done, this must be stated; and any major past or present health or temperament concerns should be disclosed. GRCGT members use clear, concise, written contracts to document the sale of dogs, use of stud dogs, and lease arrangements; including the use, when appropriate, of non-breeding agreements and/or Limited Registration.
3. Responsibilities to the Dogs
Members who breed will sell puppies, permit stud service, and/or lease dogs only to individuals who give satisfactory evidence that they will give proper care and attention to the dogs concerned, and who may be expected to act within the intent of the statements of this Code of Ethics. Members will not sell dogs at auction, or to brokers or commercial dealers. Breeders must understand that they must be prepared to take back, or assist in finding a new home for, any dog they produce at any time in its life, if requested to do so.
4. Record Keeping
GRCGT members are expected to follow CKC requirements for record keeping, identification of dogs, and registration procedures.
5.1 Dogs and Bitches selected for breeding should:
a) Be of temperament typical of the breed, i.e., stable, friendly, trainable, and willing to work. Temperament is of utmost importance to the breed and must never be neglected or altered from the Standard.
b) Be of conformation typical of the breed.
c) Be in overall good health, and be physically and mentally mature (which is generally not until two years of age).
d) Possess examination reports and certifications as outlined below to evaluate and document status concerning recommended phenotypic screening examinations; and these reports must be publicly available, preferably in an approved online database. Approved online databases include registries under management of veterinary professional associations; registries maintained by non-profit organizations with veterinary staff or advisory boards; and university-based registries under veterinary advisement. Members are expected to have their dogs permanent identification verified for these reports.
• Members with valid reasons to consider breeding dogs which do not meet the standards set by the appropriate bodies must consult, before proceeding, with an advisory committee appointed, in consultation with the breeder, by the executive of the GRCGT.
e) The following reports are acceptable:
• Hips – a report that indicates that the phenotype of this individual is free of Hip Dysplasia. Evaluation by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) – Excellent, Good or Fair, or Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) – A1, A2 or B1. or British Veterinary Association (BVA) – 10 or less and existing passes by Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) are all acceptable. Age at evaluation shall be a minimum of 24 months. Evaluation scores from PennHIP may also be used. This program recommends that only dogs in the 50th percentile with no notation of Degenerative Joint Disease be used for breeding. Since OVC and PennHIP results are not automatically published, these results should be recorded in an approved online database as described above. Because Hip Dysplasia evaluations are affected by many factors besides the genes carried by the dog, members should use all the tools at their disposal to reduce the incidence of Hip Dysplasia including preferring dogs with better hips and taking the status of related dogs into account.
• Elbows – a report from the OFA, FCI or BVA, recorded in an approved online database. Age at evaluation shall be a minimum of 24 months. The genetic factors underlying the types of Elbow Dysplasia are similar to Hip Dysplasia and similar considerations should be part of breeding decisions.
• Hearts – a report from a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Cardiology), at 12 months of age or older. Report should be recorded in an approved online database as described above.
• Eyes – a report from a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists Examinations should be done annually or within 12 months prior to a breeding and results should be recorded in an approved online database as described above.
• Dogs that produce offspring should continue to have eye examinations on a yearly basis for their lifetime, and all results should continue to be recorded in an approved online database.
• Thyroid – It is recommended that testing for Autoimmune Thyroiditis be done by an OFA approved lab or the international equivalent and the results recorded in an approved online database.
f) For frozen semen from deceased dogs, status that was in compliance with the Code of Ethics in effect at the time of the dog’s death, will be considered current
5.2 Submission of abnormal information to the OFA online database is encouraged.
5.3 The use of advanced selection tools, such as Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUP) which take into account related individuals and other factors, is encouraged.
6. For Dogs Residing Outside of Canada:
6.1 Reports that satisfy the Code of Ethics of the parent Golden Retriever club of the country in which they reside are acceptable.
6.2 Every reasonable effort should be made to parallel as closely as possible the spirit of the Code of Ethics as it applies to dogs residing in Canada, including age of examination and recording reports in approved online databases.
7. DNA Tests
7.1 DNA tests are available for several diseases that affect Golden Retrievers (such as for prcd-PRA, GR-PRA1, GR-PRA2, DM and Ichthyosis), and more are in development. DNA tests should be used when appropriate and the results made publicly available in the same way as phenotypic screening examinations (5.1.d). In a general sense, the decision to test or not should include considerations such as: the seriousness of the disease, the reliability of the test, the prevalence of the disease in the breed, and the presence of affected or carrier dogs in the vertical pedigree.
7.2 The ideal use of DNA tests is to prevent producing affected puppies, while at the same time maintaining genetic diversity and gradually decreasing the prevalence of the disease causing gene(s) in the breed.
8. Other Considerations
8.1 Consideration should also be given to all other conditions that may have a genetic component, including but not limited to: cancer, epilepsy, skin disorders, allergies, longevity, swallowing disorders, Von Willbrand’s and orthopedic disorders such as osteochondritis dissecans (OCD). Recognizing that no dog is genetically perfect; that maintaining a rich and diverse gene pool is important for the long-term health of the breed; and that good breeding decisions must balance many factors, it is suggested that breeders give the highest health priority to selection against heritable disorders that significantly decrease quality of life and that have the greatest likelihood for improvement through careful breeding decisions.
8.2 GRCGT members’ highest motivation is their love for their dogs, and difficult decisions should be resolved in a manner that places the best interests of the dogs and the breed at the forefront.
Violations of this code should be reported and dealt with in accordance with the GRCGT bylaws.