Puppy Application

Moxie Moose Continued…

Update – 1/15/2024

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind of emotions with our Moxie Moose, in October of 2023 we made the declaration that we were not moving forward with The Wild Ones, a litter with Moxie and Miles. Since then we’ve made it our business to research the diagnosis, as a breeder it’s always on us to make informed decisions. This leads us to where we are today. The goal of every breeder should be to contribute to the breed in a positive way, to improve where you can, to uphold the legacy and tradition by bringing healthy dogs into the world that people will love and enjoy for the life of the dog, and to always take responsibility of what we bring into the world. We don’t take this lightly.

Our research has led us in many directions and we’ve found from the community two very different schools of thought as follows…

  1. The diagnosis of DJD1 or grade 1 elbow dysplasia is a mild one, and Moxie is very mild. The diagnosis alone should not be the determining factor of whether or not a dog is bred. Some breeds don’t factor elbows as part of their breeding criteria at all. In the Golden Retriever world elbows are a recommended test for breeding dogs as per the GRCA code of ethics. Their website states;

    The GRCA COE (and the Health & Genetics Committee) strongly recommend that Goldens considered for a breeding program – and their siblings – be radiographed to determine their elbow status. This information should be an important and carefully considered part of breeding decisions, but there are no requirements imposed on breeders as to their personal decisions.

    Breeders we’ve spoke to and other articles we’ve read explain that the decision to breed a dog with DJD1 should take into consideration what said dog will bring to the breed overall, what characteristics does the dog have that will contribute to the gene pool, and what does the genetic make up of the pedigree look like? Are there other cases of the diagnosis in the pedigree? If yes, how many and how often did it show up? If you were to breed said dog what dog would be the best pairing be to ensure the best odds on the outcome? A breeding decision should be made carefully after considering the above and potential customers should be informed of it all.

  2. Hard stop. Many breeders, especially those who are breeding competition dogs, show dogs, hunting dogs, and dogs bred for work, at least in the word of Golden Retrievers, a diagnosis of DJD1, or similar would disqualify the dog immediately and they would be spayed/neutered and re-homed.

Our puppy program here at Moose Golden Retrievers is family first, our dogs are companions and pets first, and work secondary so we relate more to those in #1. With this information above we then researched deeper into the pedigree which can be found on OFA. In the pedigree we found that there were 5 other cases out of 291 dogs tested over the course of 3 generations, that’s a percentage of 1.72% dogs affected. This data was very good news for us leading us to consider that Moxies diagnosis may not be genetic as DJD1 can also be brought on from other factors, but even if her case were to be genetic the chance of her offspring inheriting a similar diagnosis is low based on her pedigree.

Next, according to an article in Golden Retriever News published in their May-June 2023 performance issue they listed the following percentages of offspring inheriting elbow dysplasia when breeding dogs of any breed…

  • 10% – Both parents have normal elbows
  • 20% – One parent with normal elbows and one with grade 1 dysplasia
  • 41% – Both parents with grade 1 elbow dysplasia

With all this we now felt like we had enough data to make an informed decision, but before that we spoke to others and this is the feedback we got. Moxies Orthopedic Dr. who performed her elbow X-rays agrees that he sees what OFA would call DJD1, however he went on to explain that her case is mild and that he would not have any hesitation to breed her. Next we spoke to a fellow golden breeder from Canada, she told us a story of how her line of dogs came to be, that the original breeder she inherited the line from had a similar case, she did her due diligence as we are, bred her dog with DJD1 and her litter turned out to produce some of her best dogs and were the foundation for all dogs moving the line forward. In another story a Breeder in Illinois had a similar story, and concurred that in our situation her decision would be to breed Moxie based on the data.

So now we have data from various sources, we have success stories of similar situations, and we have the opinion of a medical professional. We have our opinion about Moxie and think she has characteristics that should be carried on, and we have a stud (Miles) who has good hips and good elbows that would put the odds in favor of good elbow. We don’t have a guarantee, but we never do with any litter, we learned that with Mocha.

All that is left now is our final decision which we have not come to yet, but we know where we are leaning.

To be continued.

Update – 10/20/2023

Sometimes the right decision is the most difficult one, and that’s the case here with Moxie Moose. We wanted so bad for Moxie to be a Mom for Moose Goldens, we had planned for her and Miles to have a litter since the day we brought her home 2 years ago. Unfortunately 2023 is just not our year and we’ve decided to remove Moxie from our breeding program due to a diagnosis of Degenerative Joint Disease Stage 1, or DJD1 elbow dysplasia.

The diagnosis won’t effect her, she will live a pain-free full-life expectancy with no complications due to the mildness of her case, however the fact that Moxie was diagnosed means there is an increased risk of any offspring being dysplastic and that’s what we base our decision on.

We didn’t see this coming, having lost our Mocha in January and now losing the potential of pups with Moxie will set us back, it’s very hard.

Golden Retriever Breeder, DJD1 elbow dysplasia

Update – 10/16/2023

Talk about ups and downs, today we’re sadly announcing that we are pulling Moxie from any breeding until future notice, we’re not confident in the results of her latest elbow exam, our plan is to give it 6mos. to 1 year and redo her elbow X-rays. This was a difficult decision, often times the right call is the hardest call and here we are.

Update – 10/06/2023

We’re happy to announce that in addition to Moxies PennHip scores her hips also got a passing grade of “Fair” from OFA. However, we still have one more hurdle to get over if Moxie is to be bred, we need to get her elbow x-rays redone as there were shadows in the last films. Crossing our fingers, she’s definitely worthy of our efforts, we’re hoping for the best.

Update – 9/3/2023

We’re happy to announce that we had PennHip done with Moxie and her results were far better than the subjective grading from OFA. Her ortho Dr. also inspected her elbows closely and gave us a clear to breed in his professional opinion, no sign of arthritis, and her PenHipp grading came back .4 and .42. Average from over 26,000 Golden Retrievers is .55 meaning Moxie is better than 50% of other dogs of her breed!

Update – 8/10/2023

Moxie saw an ortho specialist today and we now have a plan do PennHip and a fresh set of films to submit to OFA on Aug. 23rd, 2023. I’m feeling optimistic.

Update – 7/7/2023

We’ve experienced a delay with Moxie’s OFA hips, the first set of films the positioning was not ideal so we are in the process of redoing the x-rays with an orthopedic veterinarian. We also plan to proceed with a second hip evaluation call PennHip.


Our Moxie is scheduled to have her final pre-breeding OFA exam next week on June 8th 2023. This screening will be an x-ray of her hips and elbows which looks for any signs of Hip Displaysia. Screenings for Hip Dysplasia are performed by a veterinarian with x-rays sent to OFA for grading and certification. If you’d like to learn more about the grading process visit the OFA website.

Golden Retrievers are at an elevated risk for Canine Hip Dysplasia, this typically develops because of an abnormally developed hip joint, but can also be caused by cartilage damage from a traumatic fracture. With cartilage damage or a hip joint that isn’t formed properly, over time the existing cartilage will lose its thickness and elasticity. This breakdown of the cartilage will eventually result in pain with any joint movement.

Moxie is from a proven bloodline with a long history of Excellent & Good hips, while we absolutely must run this screening, the odds are in her favor that she’ll have good results.

Our fingers are crossed.

4/28/23 Eye Exam
Today we visited Harmony Vet clinic in Ballston Spa, NY to have Moxie’s OFA eye exam, an exam that looks for genetic and other eye disease such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Retinal dysplasia, Glaucoma, Cataract, etc. Click to learn more about eye exams by the OFA.

We’re happy to report Moxie has passed her eye exam.