The GRCWA strongly supports and actively promotes a wide range of programs to educate the public about responsible purebred breeding practices and the responsibilities of dog ownership. The GRCWA supports reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of dogs and do not restrict the rights of breeders and owners who meet their responsibilities. The GRCWA opposes the concept of breeding permits, breeding bans or mandatory spay/neuter of purebred dogs. The GRCWA expects responsible dog owners and breeders to know, understand and obey laws that apply to them.
GRCWA commends experienced breed enthusiasts who are educating the public and other breeders about the need for long term commitments and responsibilities. We encourage them to help new owners address issues that could result in the relinquishment of pets. National research organizations have reported that the majority of unwanted dogs in Australia come from owners who are unable or unwilling to train, socialize, and care for their dog. The GRCWA further supports programs dedicated to teaching the pet-buying public how to find a responsible breeder and how to make well-informed decisions when buying a dog rather than buying on impulse. Such programs help to ensure that pet purchasers find a puppy or dog that is a good match for their lifestyle, at an appropriate time in their lives, thereby increasing the likelihood that the animal will stay with the owner for its entire life. Education and training of individuals on how to be responsible dog owners have done more to improve the lives of dogs than any legislation. The GRCWA is providing this education through their web site, as well as through their public education programs and their ANKC registered breeders.
GRCWA opposes legislative efforts to curtail our legitimate rights to own, breed, train and appreciate our pure-bred dogs.
The GRCWA is very concerned that:
- The proposal to label anyone who has an intact dog a “Registered Breeder’ severely devalues the concept and undermines the investment of many thousands of dollars and many years that each ANKC Registered Breeder invests in producing a dog that is suitable for breeding.
- Providing a piece of paper telling people that they are a “Registered Breeder” will encourage backyard breeding, the exact opposite of the intent of the “Stop Puppy Farming” process. These backyard breeders are free from any responsibilities of health and welfare concerns for puppies, short or long term, and will lead to further confusion amongst the general public.
- As ANKC members we are already regulated by a robust Code of Ethics which is enforced with severe penalties imposed on members who breach the Code. In addition to the DogsWest requirements applying to all members, ANKC National Breed Councils and DogsWest affiliated Breed Clubs have breed specific Codes of Practice that impose additional breed specific requirements in areas such as appropriate breeding ages and required health screening tests.
If local councils restrict the best of our ANKC breeders, the prospective puppy buyer has less success in finding a reputable breeder that breeds healthy specimens representing the characteristics of the breed, resulting in the decline of the health and welfare of the Golden Retriever. In some parts of the country, this shortage of puppies caused by similar legislation has given rise to puppy farms.
All ANKC members have a unique 10 digit membership member. The first digit identifies the state the member resides in. All WA numbers commence with a “6’. All ANKC Registered Breeders have a unique prefix. This is the first word in the registered name of the dogs they breed. All ANKC Registered Dogs can be identified by microchip and have a unique 10 digit registration number AND unique registered name.
As ANKC registered breeders are already regulated, have a central registration database and are considered by the Government to be the “GOLD STANDARD” due to their Regulations, Code of Conduct and Governance, the GRCWA puts forward the following recommendations:
- RECOMMENDATION 1: ANKC registered breeders should be exempt from the requirement to get an approval from the local council to breed. Existing ANKC registration details should be used to identify DogsWest members and their dogs.
- RECOMMENDATION 2: Non ANKC/DogsWest members should be given a distinctly different unique identifier that makes it clear that they are not ANKC “Registered Breeders” and are not regulated by a robust Code of Ethics.
- RECOMMENDATION 3: Oppose the mandatory spay/neuter legislation because:
- There is no evidence to suggest that it is effective in achieving its stated goal.
- It causes well-documented health and developmental problems in some pets, especially when performed before sexual maturity.
- This is of particular importance in Golden Retrievers where neutering/spaying can increase the risk of Cancer and Joint problems as much as five-fold ,.
- The earliest possible time for sterilisation without disrupting the growth process is after the dog has reached full height and stopped growing. This varies from breed to breed. A Golden Retriever hasn’t reached adulthood until around the age of three years.
- It pushes responsible breeders out of the licensing system.
- It reduces the availability of well-bred healthy, home bred and raised puppies. This only encourages the importation of puppies and dogs from less acceptable sources, i.e. puppy mills.
- Laws that force owners to perform surgery on their pets without a rational basis for doing so are unethical.
 Sundburg, C.R, et al., Gonadectomy effects on the risk of immune disorders in the dog: a retrospective study. BMC Vet Res: 12, 278-288.
 Kustritz, MVR. Effects of surgical sterilizations on canine and feline health and on society. Reprod. Domest, Anim: 47, 214 -222.
 Duffy, D.L. et al., Breed differences in canine aggression. App. Anim Behav. Sci.: 114, 441 -460.
Torres de la Riva G, et al., Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Cancers in Golden Retrievers. Plos One: 8(2) 2013
Hart, et al., Long-term Health Effects of Neutering Dogs: Comparison of Labrador Retrievers with golden Retrievers. Plos One: 9(7) 2014.
 Sameri, K., et al., Gonadectomy in immature dogs: effects on skeletal, physical and behavioral development. J Am Vet Med Assoc: 198, 1193 – 1203.