The Fox Creek Farm Story
I have always been an animal lover and it would be difficult to find a childhood photo of me that did not include a dog, cat, or pony. I grew up riding ponies and horses and always had dogs around. My father had dogs for hunting quail and pheasant, but I had my own dogs for companionship as well.
It all Started with Horses
I bred my first pony when I was eleven and raised, broke, trained, and showed that foal until I gave birth to my first child. At that time, I sold that pony to a family with a young daughter with the agreement that I would have first right of refusal if they ever decided to sell the pony. Ten years later, I bought the pony back for my daughter to use for competition and we ended up breeding her when my daughter was eleven so she could experience raising and training her own foal.
In between that time, I began breeding horses just for my own use as I enjoyed raising and training young animals. I also began to dabble in breeding AKC Golden Retrievers, my favorite breed at the time. Then my prize stud, Gus, was kicked and killed by a stray pony that found our farm inviting. Not only was this an emotional loss, I only had one stud to service my girls.
I was helping my childhood 4-H leader to market her Labradoodle litters because she was the first to breed American Labradoodles in the US. She eventually created a few litters of Golden Retriever/Standard Poodles (the first standard Goldendoodle litters to my knowledge) for me to market as well and I had to give them a name when asked about them. I scrambled and blurted, “They are Goldendoodles”. This term stuck and was coined as the name for this new crossbreed.
The First Goldendoodles at Fox Creek Farm
After a few litters of standard-sized Goldendoodles, I was consistently told they were the perfect dog, but that many customers wanted a smaller dog. As this notion was whirling in my head, I thought perhaps this was the answer to the issue that losing Gus had presented. I searched and found a nice mini Poodle that was available for stud service and used him to create the world’s first litter of mini Goldendoodles. I had no idea the new craze this litter would stir!
The World’s First Mini Goldendoodles
My life changed permanently from that first litter of mini Goldendoodles as I have made it my life’s calling to ensure this new breed developed in a way no other breed to date has advanced. I wanted to guide others who followed my lead to create the healthiest new breed possible by teaching the importance of health testing and the selection of appropriate breeding partners.
The Creation of GANA
I brainstormed and researched for more than a year before creating the Goldendoodle Association of North America, Inc. (GANA). The rules for membership included requirements for health screening and certifications on every parent dog whether it was a Poodle, a Golden Retriever, or a Goldendoodle. Only breeders who could provide copies of OFA certifications for issues of the heart, eyes, hips, elbows, and patellas and AKC registrations on each breeding stock dog (or its grandparents if it was an F1 or F1B Goldendoodle) were approved as GANA member breeders.
Membership growth was slow for the first many years as it was not commonplace for breeders to have to prove this type of compliance as the AKC has no such requirements in place for utilizing their registration service. The AKC doesn’t require any health testing or proof of good health. They also will register litters produced by closely related dogs. GANA was set up to disqualify breeders who did any type of inbreeding or breeding of dogs that did not pass every single health testing requirement.
As science grew and DNA technology became accessible even to breeders, disease testing all breeding dogs became another requirement. No two dogs that carry the same disease gene can be bred together per GANA’s rules. This is a game changer for eliminating common life-altering diseases and GANA is the only breed club on record requiring this type of pre-breeding screening.
It is difficult to find a breeder in the US whose breeding dogs do not trace back to Fox Creek Farm lines as I have helped countless breeders start their breeding program with quality stock.
I believe this history has attracted several celebrities to seek out Fox Creek Farm for their new Goldendoodle puppy. A few of our most famous clients are Robert DeNiro, Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra), and Campbell Brown (NBC and CNN news reporter).
25 Years of Dedication to the Goldendoodle
As you can see, 25 years of my life has been dedicated to the proper development of this wonderful breed we call the Goldendoodle. GANA has mentored and certified more than 150 breeders of Goldendoodles to date and is my legacy. My hope is that other breed clubs will follow my lead and start requiring proof of good health, good temperament, and close adherence to a breed standard to become the norm. This will eliminate puppy mills, backyard breeders, and money mongers from being able to register inferior puppies they produce. Only then will my work be complete.