My family got our first pet, a Golden Retriever named Abbie, when my children were all preschoolers.  She was the perfect pet for our family, and even my husband, who had never had a pet in his life, fell in love with her.  She was a faithful companion to us all, going fishing with my son, on jogs with my husband, on horseback rides and hikes with me and the girls, and just being with us all, in and out of the house.  We had a constant stream of kids and company and she was always friendly to everyone.  She lived with us for almost 12 years until she passed away in August, 2010.

Over the years, my daughters’ love of animals continued to grow.  As my children were growing up, we have had several different kinds of animals including dogs, cats, and horses (not to mention a couple of birds, a rabbit, a hermit crab, fish, frogs, and turtles).  When my daughters were 12 and 14, they became interested in showing dogs and wanted to breed show quality dogs.  The idea appealed to the whole family. We have now gone from a family with a wide variety of animals to one exclusively dedicated to dogs.

Since none of our dogs were of show quality and all were spayed or neutered, we began a search for the perfect show dog.   After researching literally every AKC recognized breed, our hearts were pulled back to the Golden.   Golden Retrievers are ideal pets for a family, friendly to strangers, not excessive barkers, devoted, obedient, and good with kids.

As we researched the breed on-line, we found and fell in love with the English style Golden Retrievers.  We are partial to their cream coats, blockier heads, and slightly heavier bodies.  Until AKC recognized Golden Retrievers, in the 1920’s, the American and English Golden Retrievers were the same, but over the years the two standards have gradually changed in different ways, most notably the color.   Many call them English Cream Golden Retrievers and others call them White Golden Retrievers, but in reality the English style can be any shade from cream to golden and are never really white.  We do prefer the lighter cream color and have chosen to include only the lighter ones in our breeding program, but the color is not all that we like about the European type Golden Retriever.  There are studies that indicate that the European Goldens have an average lifespan that is a little longer than their American counterparts. According to studies done by the Kennel Club in England and the Golden Retriever Club of America, the cancer rate in American Goldens is considerable greater than in English Goldens.  CLICK HERE to see the study done by The Kennel Club and CLICK HERE to see the study done by the Golden Retriever Club of America. These studies were not conducted for the purpose of being compared to one another. However, we feel that these studies cannot be ingnored. The study done in America indicates that the cancer rate in American Golden Retrievers is greater than 60% and the study done in England indicates that the cancer rate there is less than 40%. We also like the fact that many breeders overseas breed both for conformation as well as to produce a dog fit for work, whereas in the U.S. breeders usually breed for one of the other resulting in show lines and field lines. We want dogs who are beautiful, but also with a temperament characterized by a willingness to please and an ability to follow instructions.

Between my daughters and me, we spent countless hours researching breeders and individual dogs across the United States, Canada, and Europe.  We learned of particular dogs that were producing many, many champions all over Europe.  We studied hip scores and titles.  We found out which countries had the highest standards for awarding championships.  We learned which titles mean the most and we found out which dogs were winning in the biggest and best shows.

After we determined specific litters with the particular parents that we wanted, we contacted breeders and, with most of our dogs, we were on waiting lists for quite a long time.   With the help of the breeders, we were able to pick the puppies with the most show potential. We raised and loved these puppies and some of them did not grow up to be what we had hoped for and were retired. The best breeders are those who choose the best and only breed those. Even though it is hard to say good-bye to those dogs who don't grow up to meet our standards, we keep our focus on loving those that we do have and striving toward improving the breed.

As we continued to study the breed, build relationships with other breeders, and learn from our mistakes, we have had the opportunity to grow and improve on our program. We have been blessed to have one of the best American Golden Retriever breeders in the history of the breed as our mentor and most recently have had the opportunity to get to know and fly to Sweden three times to spend time with one of the best breeders in Europe and to bring back three of her dogs (not all at once but over the course of several years). We also were fortunate enough to build a relationship with the breeder of the dog who won the World Dog Show in 2015. We currently have 3 of her dogs, all of which were the best dogs out of some of her best litters. Though we have had many bumps along our road, we are very excited about the future of our program at Summer Brook and we feel that we have laid a good foundation for a breeding program that will continue to improve the English Golden Retriever breed in the United States.