Welcome to Hilltop Golden Retriever
We are located in the country area of South Westerlo, NY (Albany County) surrounded by fields, woods, ponds, and beautiful views of the mountains. There’s over 50 acres on our property which offers the perfect environment for all sorts of mother nature. However, you’ll also find beautiful Golden Retrievers running around and playing throughout the day.
We offer all the varieties of AKC Golden Retrievers in various colors from white to dark red. Our parents are fully health tested and some have championship/ titled bloodlines. We have traveled all over the United States to have some of the best dogs/ lines possible. I have a New York State pet dealers license and inspected with American Kennel Club (AKC). Both of which conduct yearly inspections and verify my dogs are all well cared for.
I have been breeding Golden Retrievers since 2014. I hold a degree in Animal Science. I have worked several years in an active animal hospital. I administer most of my own vaccines, conduct progesterone testing with my own machine (determines best timing of breeding through collection of blood sample), and I conduct my own ultrasound at home for confirmation of pregnancies.
I conduct natural breeding with all my dogs. Delivery of puppies also occurs at my home naturally unless an emergency health issue dictates otherwise. I am very passionate about the care of my dogs and strive to have the healthiest and happiest puppies possible. If you would like to see more detailed information about Hilltop Golden Retriever, please continue to read on and click through all the tabs of this website. You can also see additional information, reviews, pictures, and videos on Facebook, just search Hilltop Golden Retriever in Facebook’s search engine.
Hilltop Golden Retriever Location:
If your still unsure of where South Westerlo is located, we are about 25 minutes northwest of Catskill and 35 minutes southwest of Albany (capital of NY). It is an easy commute off of the New York State Thruway or Interstate 90.
We are closest to Albany International Airport if you are looking to fly. If you are looking for a direct flight, you might want to look into Newark but would require a car rental and some travel time on the road. If you are traveling from decent distance away and in search of a hotel. I would recommend hotels near the Albany airport or hotels in Coxsackie NY area, both are near the NYS thruway.
If your early for your puppy pickup appointment and looking to get something to eat, a few minutes away in Greenville you can find the Tasting Lab or the Tiny Diner to sit down at. If you want something quicker check out the hot dog stand in front of the Tiny Diner or the Dunkin Donuts just up the road off of 32. Fuel options are also in Greenville near the Tasting Lab, choices of Stewards or Cumberland Farms.
History of Hilltop Golden Retriever:
Over 10 years ago I pursued my education in Animal Science and received my degree from Suny Ulster. I worked several years as a veterinarian technician assistant in a very active animal hospital. Over the years I learned so much and gained a lot of experience that has helped me excel as a breeder.
While I was attending college, I ended up meeting my husband. He also shared my passion in dogs. After learning as a young girl, I always wanted a Golden Retriever he ended up getting my “Zoey”. She was my dream come true and truly encouraged me to be the breeder I am today.
“Zoey” had her first litter after we moved into our first house in Saratoga NY. I fell in love with a dark female puppy from the litter. We decided to keep her and named her “Zena”. Just like “Zoey” she was gorgeous and had the sweetest temperament that you could ever ask for. We’ve been blessed to share these traits and looks with each litter of puppies over the last several years to our customers.
Over time and seeing so many families pleased with our puppies we wanted to grow. We felt that a large property was a must for our dogs to exercise and play. We ended up selling our first home and purchasing the house where we reside now. Technically our mailing address is in Greenville however we are in fact in South Westerlo within the hills of Albany county. Both of our families are from the area, so the transition was very supportive and the location is very easy to travel from or to the New York State Thruway or from Interstate I-90.
Soon after our move we have spent so much time with creating the best environment and care for our dogs. As my husband drew out the plans of our large doghouse/ play area, I was busy with the process of our LLC and being certified with New York State as a pet dealer. I am also affiliated with American Kennel Club (AKC) as a breeder. Throughout the year we get visited by the state and AKC to verify our dogs are in the best care possible.
After several years with working with the town, county, architects, engineers, builders, and various contractors we have finally built our dream doghouse/ kennel. Everything was thought of during this build.
The building consists of two floors. Each floor is offered with climate-controlled a/c and heat from the source of mini-splits. Fans are optional throughout the entire interior. We have additional propane heaters that will work with no electricity. The floors have built in drainage and are covered in grippy flecked epoxy. Our dogs have constant access to water and have comfortable Kuranda beds to lay on. We have designated areas for our older puppies (after mom is done nursing them). These areas consist of very nice over-sized play areas. The walls are made out of washable white plastic, and we use g-flooring with fresh wood chips for the bedding. The puppies have plenty of toys and their own Kuranda bed(s) that they love to lay on or hide below it. Our outside run area consists of a fully covered roof, so our dogs are protected from the elements, with lighting and fans. The play area has over 450 feet of beautiful black chain link fencing. Additionally, we have two other fenced in play area’s that we use. The large play area also offers a doggy playground area where they have plenty of toys to tug and pull on. The interior also has a custom-made dog tub/grooming area that consists of beautiful subway tiles, laundry room, and a full bathroom that our customers can use. This building is truly gorgeous, and we couldn’t be happier with it.
About our Dogs:
We strive to provide the best and healthiest lines of Golden Retrievers. We spend endless hours in search and communication with multiple breeders from all over the United States. Checking pedigrees and clearances prior to committing with a new line. We have made some amazing relationships with some of the best breeders, all of which share the same common goal of breeding healthy AKC Golden Retrievers.
Once we decide on getting a puppy whether it’s through our own line or from a fellow breeder the work really begins. We raise and train all of our puppies within our home. We work with commands, potty training, and socialization on many different platforms and various environments. Early on we are verifying their personality and traits are conclusive with a possible prospect for future breeding. As time goes on, we decide if they are a good candidate or not for breeding. If they are a good candidate additional health testing is scheduled per their age.
We conduct several medical tests to verify healthy lines prior to breeding. The health tests set us apart from most breeders that claim their dogs are healthy per a veterinarian check or that claim that they conduct DNA genetic health testing but nothing else. It’s discouraging to hear breeders trying to claim this without actually doing the proper tests. I’ll explain exactly what health tests we do and what it truly means when a breeder actually does ALL health testing.
One of the first health tests that we conduct and one of the most important tests on all our dogs, is DNA genetic testing. We have used Animal Genetics in the past but have been shifting towards using Embark. The DNA/ genetic tests for degenerative myelopathy, Gr-PRA 1 and 2, prcd-PRA, ichthyosis, and muscular dystrophy. This test allows us to verify we have the best pairing of parents prior to breeding and that we are not passing on bad genes that could be avoidable issues in the future.
After our dogs turn 1, they proceed to get OFA testing of their eyes and heart. A specialist either looks at their eyes or heart to verify they have no health conditions that could be passed to their offspring. If we are lucky enough that our young golden passes, we will move forward to the next health testing stage.
The next health test that we typically conduct once our young golden is 1.5 years old, will conduct preliminary OFA tests of the elbows and hips. While they are sedated to have these x-rays we usually also have Penn Hip testing done. We usually do both because if the dog isn’t just perfectly positioned in an x-ray they sometimes you may not get the best rating with OFA. Also, per our vet the Penn Hip is a better test to know the overall health of the hips as they test the elasticity and movement rather then judging based on an image.
Last health test we do is done at the age of 2 years old. This test is through OFA and is again for elbows and hips however the test is considered “official results” due to the dog now being structurally mature. As the dogs age their bones calcify, a dog with failing elbow or hips younger then 2 could very well change to passing once they turn 2.
To view the health testing on our dogs that has been done including the results click on the tab for either Our SIRES (males) or the tab for Our DAMS (females). Under each dog there is a link from K9 data. Unfortunately K9 data will not allow preliminary testing information in the link (which is the OFA elbow and hip test results if the dog is under 2 years of age when the test is conducted). However we do list the preliminary test results under each dog. Once we have the official results K9 data will be updated to reflect their latest test results. We are constantly conducting health tests and updating K9 data as well as the webpage.
Lots of factors could play into why a dog could fail their OFA elbows or hip tests. It may not necessarily be genetic but instead could be from the environment that they are raised in. Limiting their jumping heights is extremely important. Jumping off beds, couches, and/or vehicles without assistance can be very problematic on their growth. Simply slipping on ice can cause unforeseen affects to their overall development. It is also highly recommended for additional joint supplements as they grow, we prefer the use of NuVet supplements (see link on website tab for further information on NuVet products). Lack of vitamin C in their food is another considered attribute to not having passing scores. All of these factors are highly overseen during the raising of our potential breeding dogs.
Unfortunately, sometimes our dogs do not pass all of their tests. We sometimes keep them, but we also have found amazing homes for them. We are even more particular in their home placement as we know their personalities and what would be the best fit. They will be spayed prior or be contracted to be spayed soon after being placed in their new homes. Just because they fail a test doesn’t mean the dog will have health issues, its simply an avoidable health trait that we can avoid to not pass down in future lines. Please check the tab for Adult Dog Adoption for any possible older pups/ adults looking to be rehome.
We are very focused on ensuring we know our breeding stock through both their individual health and their genealogy testing. Our dogs and puppies get a lot of socializing. Daily they are engaged with our other dogs, our young sons, our friends, and other family members. They all get a ton of love and attention. All of our dogs get rotated from our personal home to our large doghouse/kennel. This ensures they keep up on their house manners and it also makes it incredibly easier when pregnant moms deliver within our home. Our dogs are not kept outdoors like you might see with other breeders. All of them are kept indoors in a temperature-controlled environment through heat, a/c, and/ or fans. We rotate our dog’s multiple times throughout the day for them to exercise and go to the bathroom. We also have them go into large fenced in play areas where they play in large groups with each other.
We do not show our dogs or conduct any competitions with them. It doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t excel at either, its simply we don’t have the extra time in our lives to pursue. It’s also not very common to the area for these competitions which would require a lot of time traveling and being away. When I am not raising my children, I am constantly spending time with my dogs or interacting with potential customers. My husband works many hours in his law enforcement career to dedicate any additional time in competitions, trials, or shows. Once he retires and the children are older, we may pursue that however it is not our current focus.
Some of the lighter goldens that we have (also known as English Creams) do have championship titles in their bloodlines as does our darker red field goldens. My husband loves the outdoors and has begun some additional hunting/retrieving training in our pond with some of our dogs. Any of our puppies with proper training could and would be amazing for shows or hunting trials as its in their bloodline.
About our Puppies:
I usually make the determination of puppies after 30 days of a breeding. I have my own ultrasound machine and can get a good determination of how many puppies are present. It does not give me an exact count. Only way to really narrow down the number of puppies is by an x-ray, around the 50-day mark. I do not conduct my own x-rays and that would require a visit to the animal hospital. To reduce stress on mom and the puppies we do not do x-rays. I get a final count upon delivery keeping mom where she is most comfortable. Delivery of puppies take place in my home around the 60-63 days after being bred, unless an emergency C-section requires otherwise. Typically, all our puppies are delivered naturally. Someone is always with the mother for the entire delivery. It is very strenuous but has the best outcome for both mom and pups.
When all the puppies are born, we will post pictures on the Facebook page. We will then reach out to anyone on our waiting list. If by chance, there are any extra puppies we will make an announcement on Facebook after exhausting our wait list. Sometimes people back out and puppies do come up available at various times.
During the initial few days into the few weeks mom and puppies are spending a lot of quality time together. We are keeping a close attention that everyone is gaining weight and seem to be progressing. The pups are handled daily by us. After about 2 weeks eyes and ears will begin to open. The fourth week they are starting to find their legs and moving around exploring. The fifth week if all are doing well, I begin the weaning process where mom is nursing less and less as I introduce kibble to their diet. By the 6th week they are usually 100% on kibble. They have their puppy teeth and mom usually doesn’t want anything to do with them other than the interest of their toys. Their teeth really hurt mom’s nipples and they really show a disinterest of their pups at this age. We begin the deworming process and also begin the first vaccine. We do not travel with the puppies to an animal hospital. I feel it could be stressful for the puppies and creates an opportunity for the puppies to be exposed to other pet sicknesses. I have a traveling vet come and conduct full physicals on all of the puppies. You will receive a copy of her report in the puppy folder upon pickup date.
If weather/season allows it, we will expose them to the outside elements. We have outside play areas and toys for them to interact with. All of the puppies will be exposed to various noises as they’re aging such as vacuums, music, children, and other dogs barking. They will also be played with by children and handled by adults. They will have several toys to interact with. Obstacles will be in there play pens to learn jumping and crawling. We do shut lights off at night where they learn it’s time for bed, so transition into a home is much smoother.
Process Purchasing a Puppy:
If you decide that you would like to move forward with getting a puppy, we recommend that you first look at the females and the males that we have. Sometimes the males could change if multiple females come into heat at the same time. We also have an additional tab where you can view planned future breeding so you can have a better idea of potential pairings.
Next, I would like to have a phone interview so we can find out more about yourself and the home that a puppy of mine would be going to. In our discussion I would like to know which mother you were leaning towards and whether you prefer a male or female puppy. I can go over all additional questions that you may have including total costs. If both parties are fully satisfied, I will move forward with sending you over the contract. I sell all my puppies with limited AKC registration. Under certain circumstances I will offer full AKC registration for an additional charge. If you are wondering what the difference is between limited and full registration. Limited registration means you can never breed a puppy from me and it will be expected upon proper age that the dog is spayed. Full registration is only for breeders that want to purchase a puppy with intentions of breeding. I am not against giving another breeder full registration however it must be discussed prior, and all requirements must be met that I have.
I require a $250 non-refundable deposit prior to puppies being born. An additional $250 non-refundable deposit (in total $500) once puppies are born and I can confirm I have a puppy from that litter for you. Payments for the deposit can be done in Venmo, PayPal, or by personal check (as I’ll have time to verify the check clears). I do require the final payment to be in cash upon pickup of the puppy, so there no issues of bounced checks or issues with sending monies from one bank institution to another. No exceptions.
I typically only reserve the first 3 females and the first 3 males as there are no guarantees of how many puppies are born. I go in order of when I am contacted. For an example if you contacted me in May for a female, and John Doe contacted me in January for a female from the same mother then John Doe will get first pick and you would get second pick. It seems to be the fairest method I have come across and will be moving forward with that process unless I discover a better way. I also reserve the right to have first pick so I can sustain my future breeding line as it dictates. This usually occurs at a females first and/or last breeding.
I do not allow visitation to the puppies until they are ready for pickup. It’s very complicated to schedule multiple dates for everyone to come at an earlier date. It also increases the chances for the puppies to get sick and potentially all die from a condition call parvo, as they are not full vaccinated. I have scheduled meetings with individuals that would like to meet me and the adult dogs (fully vaccinated) prior to making a commitment but not when I have current litters. I would recommend if you want to see the puppies earlier to log into Facebook and follow my page on there. I conduct live videos where you can see all the puppies. After a few weeks old we begin to collar them so you can tell them apart better. I also have no issues with Facetime or other means of live chat through the means of a smart phone throughout any of the decision process at an agreed time/date.
I do not place or pick certain pups for certain homes. Some people may not like that due to a puppies drive or behavior. I personally feel training is key to your dogs behavior. You have to spend time with this puppy and be consistent. I can make recommendations based on what I have seen in the puppies behavior as it grows to 8 weeks old but that doesn’t mean it won’t change once it is in a new environment without its siblings. It is not until the last 2 weeks until I really see their personalities/ behaviors. Goldens just want to please you, but they will test you to learn their place in the household. If you lack experience in training dogs, I do recommend you work with a trainer and read literature so you can achieve the most success with your puppy.
You will get an hour to choose your puppy. Please be mindful as I will have others scheduled after your hour of time is completed. I will need some of that time to go over paperwork that is required through the state to complete. I have no problems if you want to bring a trainer or conduct your own tests to see if one puppy might be a better fit based on their opinion. I understand that upon pickup it’s a very exciting day for all. Please be respectful of my property and do not go adventuring around wherever you may like without me being present.
Once you pick your puppy and all paperwork has been completed, you will be provided with vet records of your puppy and the vaccines that were previously given. At this time, I do not microchip any puppies. I personally feel the best time to microchip a puppy is when they are sedated which I recommend during the spay. We do require that you schedule an appointment with your vet within 14 days of the pickup date. You may want to schedule this prior to arrival as animal hospitals have been extremely busy. We will have gift bag for you. There will be some surprises in there for your pup, including enough puppy food for the next several days so you can either remain on it or gradually change the food to one of your liking. We highly recommend slowly changing the food over time if you decide to change it as they have extremely sensitive stomachs at this age.