Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Summer Brook Acres below. Feel free to email or call us if your questions aren’t answered or if you want to learn more.
1. Which health tests do you do?
Before breeding, all of our dogs have had their hips and elbows tested with BVA or OFA. Except, in the case of our Micah, his hips and elbows were tested before he arrived in the states with FCI. Hearts are tested and registered through OFA. Eyes are tested yearly (also registered with OFA). In addition, we do DNA testing for PRA-1, PRA-2, and Ichthyosis. All of our breeding dogs have links to the proof of testing which you can see on their individual pages. For more information on genetic health in Golden Retrievers, see our Health Issues in Golden Retrievers page.
2. What kind of care do you provide for your puppies?
Our puppies are raised inside with our family. There is almost always someone home with them. See our How We Raise our Puppies page for more details on how they are raised.
3. Where do your adult dogs live?
Our dogs live inside and have free access to large fenced in yards. See the Our Home page for more details on where they live.
4. How does your reservation list work?
We will reserve 3 puppies per sex per litter before ultrasound. If ultrasound indicates a large litter, we will sometimes reserve one or two more puppies to families who are flexible about the sex. If at birth, there are more than 3 puppies of one sex and not enough of the other, those who are flexible about the sex will have an opportunity for those extra puppies. Deposits are refundable if there aren’t enough puppies of the sex requested. For more details, see our How Our List Works page.
5. What is the availability of your litters?
See our Available English Golden Retriever Puppies page for what we have available.
6. Do you have older trained puppies or adults for sale?
See our Trained English Golden Retriever Puppies page for information and availability.
7. How many litters do you typically have per year?
We average 4 or 5 per year. In 2021, we raised 3.
8. Do you ever have multiple litters at your home?
It often happens that litters overlap because girls living in the same home tend to come in season together. We have raised two litters at the same time on many occasions. On one occasion, we had three litters to overlap. On one other occasion, we raised four litters that overlapped. However, at that time, we had extra help. It is rare for us to raise more than 5 litters in a full year and even more rare for us to raise more than 2 litters at a time.
We have more help than most and our puppies get huge amounts of attention, socialization, love, and training, even when we have more than one litter. See our About Us page and our How We Raise Our Puppies page for more information. There is someone home with our puppies almost 24/7. There are four members of our family who work with our litters: husband, wife, and two adult children. In the past, we’ve had a number of workers. We still have a list of people that we can call if we should have multiple litters. Our puppies are not left alone in a home where everyone is gone. We take the care and socialization of our puppies very seriously.
9. Do you breed your dogs back to back or skip seasons?
We make our decision about when to breed one of our girls on a case by case basis, but we do believe that back to back breeding is a good thing in most cases. Most, if not all, reproductive vets say that it is better to breed back to back than to skip seasons and then continue to breed girls when they are older. See our page on Back to Back Breeding for more information.
10. How much are your puppies and what is your policy for deposits and payments?
See our Payment Policies Page for details on price, deposits, when payments are due, and when we refund deposits. Our current price is on our puppy questionnaire. Scroll down a few lines to the question on if you’d prefer a first pick puppy or not.
11. Why are your puppies more expensive than most?
See Why Choose Summer Brook? for answers to this question.
12. Do you have a guarantee?
Yes. Please see our How to Reserve a Puppy Page for a link to our guarantee.
13. Do you ship your puppies?
14. How do I reserve a puppy?
See our How to Reserve page for complete details.
15. How does the puppy selection process work? Can we choose our own puppy?
See our page on Puppy Selection.
16. Do you temperament test your puppies? I’ve heard of the Volhardt test. Do you use it?
See our page on Temperament Testing.
17. At what age do we pick up our puppy?
For most litters, puppies can be picked up between 10 1/2 and 11 weeks. We will occasionally keep a few puppies in particular litters until they are 12 1/2 weeks. Our puppy questionnaire will have information on individual litters. See our page on Puppy Pick Up page for more details.
18. Where are you located?
We are in Chelsea, Alabama, about 25 miles southeast of Birmingham, Alabama.
19. Can we meet you, your dogs, and the puppies at your home?
Yes, though it is not required, we would love to meet all new puppy owners (only serious inquiries interested in litters that are announced on our site) after they have completed the puppy questionnaire and spoken with us by phone, and been approved. An appointment is required for all visits and we have some restrictions. Details are on our Puppy Visitation page.
20. What are your requirements for getting a Summer Brook puppy?
Our puppies to go to homes where they will be given the very best of care and where they will receive a lot of love and attention. We won’t place them in homes where they will be left alone most of the day. We also have quite a few requirements in our contract with regard to health. If you are looking for a backyard pet, we wouldn’t be the breeder for you. See our page entitled Is a Summer Brook Puppy Right for You? for more details.
21. What kind of food do you recommend?
My first recommendation is to feed a raw or a well-balanced home cooked diet. But knowing that most Americans are very busy, I’ve put together a food page with information on our recommendations for feeding dry dog food.
22. Will you place 2 puppies from the same litter with one family?
No, for several reasons. Most families do not have enough time to give individual time to each puppy. In addition, most do not have a set up that facilitates keeping the puppies separated an adequate amount of time. Without a LOT of individual attention and separation, 2 puppies will tend to bond too heavily with each other. Sometimes it causes separation anxiety. Other times, it causes puppies to become too “doggy” bonding more heavily with each other than their owners.
Having two dogs is an excellent idea. However, we recommend waiting until the first dog is over a year.
23. Will you sell with full registration?
No, our puppies are sold as pets only with AKC limited registration. With limited registration, you can participate in any type AKC show such as obedience, rally, agility, etc. except for conformation shows. Only dogs with full registration are allowed to be bred and get registration papers for the puppies. We will not sell to anyone wanting to breed.
24. Do your dogs have any type of allergy?
No, none of our dogs have ever shown any signs of allergies or any other type of skin condition nor have any of the studs that we use with the exception of our Jessie. Jessie has a very mild case of ichthyosis but no other skin problems or allergies. Even with a lot of summer swimming, none of our other dogs have any type of skin problems whatsoever. Skin conditions and allergies do have a genetic component, but healthy food is also important in keeping any dog’s skin and coat looking good.
25. I read that you require girl puppies to not be spayed until they are over a year old. How do I manage having a girl in season?
Having a girl in
Most Goldens from European lines
26. What about an unneutered boy? I’ve heard that they are more prone to fight and have behavior problems?
Well bred Golden Retrievers are not aggressive dogs by nature. I take my boys out quite a lot around other dogs and at shows sometimes there are girls in season. My boys have on occasion been growled at by other unneutered boys, but they’ve never retaliated. They don’t cower either…..just walk away. It has never been any problem for me whatsoever.
Boys who are neutered before growth plates close at about 18 months will be affected by their lack of testosterone. They will grow lankier than they are genetically supposed to grow and their heads will not fill out as much as an unneutered dog. However, the real reason we require families to wait is not for cosmetic reasons. It is for the health benefits….longer life expectancy….lower chances of hips dysplasia….lower chances of cancer.
27. Can we bring our other dog to your home when we pick up our Summer Brook puppy?
Yes, under certain conditions and restrictions. We require proof of current Parvo/Distemper and Rabies vaccines or titers. This must be emailed to us before your trip. Your dog cannot come inside our home or in the area where our puppies live, but what we will allow is for your dog to stay in our fenced front yard while we visit. We do like to meet the other dogs that will be living with our puppies (especially if they are past Summer Brook puppies!).
28. How long is the wait for a Summer Brook puppy?
We will no longer reserve puppies months in advance before litters are bred. Before 2017, we would have families waiting for sometimes over a year. During that time, sometimes family situations would change making the timing no longer good for the family or sometimes our girl would be extremely late or very early coming in season. Sometimes litters are small and there aren’t enough puppies. Sometimes the mix of girl and boy puppies isn’t what families hoped for. And sometimes breedings don’t take at all. There are too many uncertainties for long waits.
Starting in 2017, we no longer take deposits until close to breeding time for a litter and we don’t keep lists of people wanting a puppy until after a litter is announced. If you want a puppy from us further in the future than our announced litters, we ask that you keep up with our plans through our website and contact us when a litter is announced on our future litters page that appeals to you. We are happy to go over a puppy questionnaire and speak with you early in the process, but we prefer not to have the responsibility for keeping up with families other than those who’ve paid a deposit on an already planned and announced litter.
29. Do you remove dew claws on your puppies?
No, we don’t. There is an on-going debate on whether dew claws are best left intact or removed at 2 to 3 days of age. Those in favor of their removal claim that they are useless and only serve as something to get caught and ripped off.
However, veterinary orthopedic sports specialists say that they do have a purpose. When dogs are at a gallop, dew claws touch the ground and are especially useful when making quick turns where they are used to prevent torsion (twisting). A study also showed that arthritis in the carpal joint is almost exclusively found in dogs without dew claws. Also, most injuries to dew claws happen with rear dew claws or those where nails on dew claws were allowed to grow far too long. Golden Retrievers do not have rear dew claws. Injury can happen with any nails not kept trimmed. In Europe, dew claws are not removed. We feel that if God put them there, they are best left alone.
30. Do you microchip your puppies?
No, we do not microchip our puppies and suggest that you wait until your puppy is mostly finished growing (at least 6 months). Microchips given at young ages are much more prone to migrate. If your dog should get lost and his/her microchip has migrated down under their neck (which happened with one of my imports), whoever checks your dog for a microchip will probably not find it.
31. What if the vet finds a problem at the 7-week checkup?
See our page on Problems at the 7-Week-Old Checkup
32. What kinds of pictures do you provide as we wait for our puppy?
We make pictures and post them to the website at birth, 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks, 6 1/2 weeks, and 8 1/2 weeks. They will either be posted on the days that puppies are exactly these ages or possibly one or two days later.
At birth, 1 week, 2 weeks, and 3 weeks, we take several group shots.
At 4 weeks and 5 weeks, the pictures will be labeled to indicate which puppy is in each picture and there will be 2 or 3 individual pictures of each puppy.
Because puppies are matched to families shortly after 6 1/2 weeks of age, we spend considerable time taking pictures at 6 1/2 weeks with at least 3 individual labeled shots of each puppy. In this last set of pictures, there will be at least one picture of every puppy standing and/or sitting on the ground as well as a close up face shot.
At 8 1/2 weeks, we do will take 2 or 3 individual pictures of each puppy.
Some time between 8 1/2 and the time puppies leave us, we will do a short video of each puppy going through their training exercises.
We do not do extra pictures for those wanting special pictures
33. What kind of vaccines do you recommend?
We are strong proponents of a minimal vaccine policy. Read about why on our Vaccine page.
34. Do you offer stud service?
We have on occasion studded out our boys to established breeders with good reputations on bitches with proof of all health clearances and with strong pedigrees. However, we are currently only in a position to offer frozen semen. We never offer our boys out for stud via a natural breeding and we currently aren’t in a position to offer fresh chilled.
35. What do you think about breeder XYZ?
I get this question quite a lot from people who don’t want to wait for a puppy as long as people wait who get our puppies. I don’t want to judge another breeder and won’t answer this question, but I’ve written a page entitled How to Find an English Golden Retriever Breeder that will hopefully help people to distinguish the good from the bad themselves. In the U.S., there are several large puppy mills, many breeders who are dishonest, and at least one with gross exaggerations on his website.
36. What do you think about Goldendoodles?
Because a Goldendoodle is a mix between a Poodle and a Golden Retriever, they do not breed true like a
37. I have questions not answered on this page. How do I get in touch with you?
Please see questions 5 and 10 above if you are looking for price and puppy availability. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions not covered on this page. Our phone number is on our Contact Us page.