A look back…
In December, 2017, a week before Christmas, spirits were high at the Big Lake Goldens household. Our Golden Retriever girl, Harper, was VERY pregnant and was due just after Christmas. We were expecting some of our kids back home to hang out over the holidays. Life was good.
Then, on the night of December 18th, tragedy struck. Harper went into labor and delivered her first puppy at around 10pm. She struggled all night, and when the next morning arrived, she’d only delivered 3 puppies. Something wasn’t right. We brought her to our local vet as soon as their office opened. After an exam our veterinarian told us Harper still had at least 5 puppies that had not yet been delivered and they needed to come out immediately. We gave the approval for him to perform an emergency C-section. During the surgery, his nurse came out to tell us Harper’s uterus had split, which is why she had the complications. She told us we would have to spay her or she would die. The choice was simple, because she was our family pet before all else. We had her spayed to save her life.
Only 2 of the 8 puppies survived that delivery. It was a rough time for the family and for Harper. However, I’m happy to report that now, Harper is happy and healthy, living the retirement life as part of our family, teaching the newer additions “the way of the ranch” at Big Lake Goldens.
Where do we go from here?
In Spring of 2018, we were at a crossroads. Although demand for puppies was high, we had only one female, and she was no longer capable of breeding. A decision had to be made on a direction: Were we going to stop breeding, or were we going to move forward with our family business? After quite a few conversations and even more game planning, we decided on the latter.
However, it was at this moment I envisioned a change in the direction of Big Lake Goldens…
We had always bred the American “Show” Goldens. They have a beautiful blonde feathery coat and, with the correct breeding processes, could potentially become exceptional show dogs. A big drawback though, is that they SHED… EVERYWHERE!
A few years ago I learned of a different strain of Golden Retriever known as an American Field Golden. Field Goldens are smaller, leaner, darker, have a shorter coat (fewer feathers), a less full tail, and are much quicker than their counterparts. They aren’t as sociable as Show Goldens, but are generally brighter. They are working dogs and excellent hunters. At first sight, I was immediately attracted to the darker coats and the athletic ability of the Field Golden. Another fantastic attribute of the Field Golden is that they shed significantly less than the Show Goldens. I have been enamored with them ever since.
I had an idea of combining Field Goldens with Show Goldens. My vision was to incorporate the best traits from both strains; a hybrid if you will, with a pedigree that is 100% Golden Retriever. I wanted all the traits from a Field Golden – athletic, fast, intelligent dogs, who were natural swimmers, with darker coats and minimal shedding; combined with the most important traits of the Show Golden – a highly sociable family dog with an exceptional personality. Also, by breeding different lines of pedigree, I knew our pups will be healthier and have a lower probability of genetic issues as they mature.
With these traits in mind, I also reached out to several breeders for advice. After speaking with, and gathering information from successful breeders in different parts of the U.S., it was abundantly clear there was a demand for the very thing I was trying to create.
I talked to my wife about my idea for our new direction. She agreed with the plan, so we outlined search criteria that would help us in our quest for new members to our pack. Our focus would be to find darker females with a combined Field/American Golden bloodline that would produce litters of loyal, intelligent, fast, athletic Golden Retrievers with darker coats, just for you.
Putting the plan into action…
In June, 2018, we purchased a home on a few acres in Downsville, La. This gave us the ability to expand our Golden Retriever facilities to meet the expected demand for our exceptional puppies. Also throughout 2018, I scoured the region for Golden Retriever puppies. Every time I heard of a new litter of puppies, I was inquiring. Once I found the right litter, I researched the parents to see if they matched what I was looking for. After investigating what seemed like dozens of litters, we added 4 new girls in 2018. I traveled to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Alabama, and spared no expense to get them. We are now well on our way to provide you with the best breed of Golden Retriever you’ll find anywhere in the region. So far, my pack is healthy, happy, and loving. My heart is full. We appreciate your support. Stay tuned for puppy updates!
-Jim (and Jax)