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English Cream Golden Retrievers: Breed Information, Color Controversy & More

Are you considering an English Cream Golden Retriever for your next family pup? In this article, we examine the Golden Retriever's cousin, including their unique history, color controversy, and where to find one.

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Last Updated: August 24, 2022 | 15 min read

English Cream Retriever Smiling Happy

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The Golden Retriever has long been one of our favorite family dogs, and he has floated around the top three favorite breeds for several decades. There is probably not a person in the world that has never met a Golden. But what about an English Cream Golden Retriever? Are they any different from ‘normal’ Golden Retrievers?

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It is this question, and many more, that we are going to answer here in this breed information guide. So maybe you’re about to welcome an English Cream Golden Retriever into your life. Or you simply overheard someone talking about their special English Cream Golden Retriever and you’re intrigued. Whatever your reason for being here, we are going to give you the lowdown on everything you need to know.

There is much more to the Golden Retriever than just his coat color. And there is more than one difference between the different types of Golden Retriever. So, sit back, relax, and treat yourself to a spot of afternoon tea and cake while you learn all things English Cream.

Breed Overview
    • weight iconWeight55-75 Pounds
    • height iconHeight21.5-24 Inches
    • lifespan iconLifespan10-12 Years
    • color iconColorsCream
  • Child Friendliness
  • Canine Friendliness
  • Training Difficulty
  • Grooming Upkeep
  • Breed Health
  • Exercise Needs
  • Puppy Costs

Breed History

Two Different Golden Retrievers in Field
The three different subtypes of Golden Retriever originate from the same place, and are the same breed.

The Golden Retriever dates back to 19th Century Scotland, where the British aristocrat dog breeder, Lord Tweedmouth, created the Golden. He wanted to create the ultimate gun dog. Being surrounded by marshlands meant that he needed a dog that worked well on both land and water.

Lord Tweedmouth mated an unknown golden-colored wavy coated dog, with a now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel, who was liver-colored. The first litter of Golden Retrievers was born, and they were all yellow coated in various shades of gold. These puppies and subsequent litters were gifted to friends.

It is thought that one of the first puppies was gifted to Lord Tweedmouth’s son, who had a red Irish Setter. And it is believed that breeding his new Golden pup with his red Setter was how the deep red Golden Retrievers came about. The English cream color came about after breeding the palest Golden Retrievers together.

English Cream Retriever Puppies
The English Cream Golden Retriever originates from England. It is one of the three subtypes and not a separate breed.

With the Golden Retrievers’ popularity came the chance to travel and see the world. With travel came transatlantic breeding, and after centuries of local breeding came different Golden Retriever subtypes. Although there is only one Golden Retriever breed, there are three distinct subtypes of Golden Retriever: American, Canadian, and English.

The American is most prevalent in America, the Canadian in Canada, and the English in Europe and Australia. Each subtype has its own breed standard set by the American Kennel Club, the Canadian Kennel Club, and the Kennel Club (KC), respectively.

That’s right, there are three subtypes of Golden Retriever, and here we are going to learn about the English Golden Retriever, also known as the English Cream. The English Cream Golden Retriever is not a mix. Although there is only one Golden Retriever breed, there are slight differences between them all. These differences may or may not determine which subtype you choose for you and your family. The English Cream is known as the English Cream because he is, well, English. And because he is more likely to be lighter in color.

English Creams also go by different names, particularly in America. Other names include the Rare White European Retrievers or Exquisite Platinum Imported Golden Retrievers. Contrary to popular belief, there are more differences to learn about than just his paler color. But make no mistake about it, the English Cream is most popular for its shiny white coat! Let’s jump straight in!

Temperament

English Cream Golden Retriever Puppy Sitting
The English Cream Golden Retriever has become very popular in the last decade.

According to those that work with English Cream Golden Retrievers, there is a clear difference between the English Creams and his American sibling. English Creams are calmer and seem more mature compared to the American Goldens. English Creams are rarely hyper or overly boisterous, whereas many American Goldens are.

This is not to say that English Creams aren’t active and fun, because they are. And it’s also not the case that American Goldens aren’t able to chill out. But if you are looking for a calmer and gentler Golden, the English Cream is your best choice. Other than this difference, they are the same as the other types of Gold Retrievers when it comes to their personality.

English Cream Golden Retrievers are super sweet and friendly. Not only with his family but also strangers that he has never met before. Because he is calmer, he is not too in-your-face with strangers compared to American Golden’s. He also loves to play games in the yard, and he is very active. He needs a lot of playtime in between exercise sessions to stimulate his body and mind. Being a working dog from the Scottish Highlands, he likes to spend a lot of time outdoors in the fresh air.

English Creams are mouthy dogs, and you’ll need to teach him the ‘drop’ command quickly. Thankfully they are so gentle, even when playing. So soft, that Golden Retriever owners have come up with the ‘egg challenge’. Yes, you read that right, a Golden Retriever can hold an egg in his mouth without breaking it. I don’t think I’ll be trying this one with my English Bull Terrier!

In addition to the above, he is very loyal, so if you are looking for a sweet-looking obedient pooch, the English Cream Golden is the one for you. Because he is calmer and easier to train, he is discovering that he makes a fantastic therapy dog. You will be the apple of his eye, and he’ll be your second shadow.

Size & Appearance

English Cream Golden Retriever in Snow
English Cream Retrievers are the same size as their American Golden Retriever cousins.

The English Cream breed standard states that English Creams should measure between 21 ½ to 24 inches tall, from paw to shoulder. A healthy English Cream should weigh between 55 and 75 pounds. This is the same as the breed standard for the American Golden Retriever. English Cream Golden Retrievers have a white coat, and that’s different from their American counterpart that ranges from Golden orange to a deeper red.

However, those that work with English Creams state that despite the breed standard is the same, he is slightly stockier than his American counterparts. And just like any dog breed, males are typically on the larger end of the height and weight scale when compared to females.

Not only are they slightly stockier and bigger boned, but they also have a slightly larger head. Which means that they have a stronger, thicker, and more muscular neck to carry it. They also have slightly wider muzzles, which result in a stronger jaw. Their eyes are positioned closer together, and they tend to be rounder. Their ears are level with their eyes, compared to the American Goldens whose ears are set higher and further back.

The most noticeable difference in the English Cream Golden Retriever’s appearance (other than his white coat) is that his topline is level. His topline is the line between his neck and his tail. Whereas the American Golden’s topline is more slanted, a bit like a German Shepherd’s sloping hindquarters. This gives the English Cream a proud and overall stockier appearance.

Coat & Colors

White Coated English Cream Retriever
The English Cream Retriever is famous for its fluffy white coat.

According to the breed standard, the color of the English Cream Golden Retriever should be “any shade of gold or cream, neither red nor mahogany”. The other subtypes of Golden Retriever do not recognize the cream color. In fact, if a Golden Retriever is extremely pale, they are seen as undesirable by American breed standards.

This means that English Cream Golden Retrievers don’t necessarily have to be cream-colored, and they can be more golden yellow in color. But, because the lighter cream is the most popular color, their pricing is likely to be higher because there is more of a demand for them.

The coat of the English Cream is medium-long in length, and it is longer around his ears, neck, and tail. His long hair is known as feathering fur, and this hair is slightly wavier than the rest of his coat. His coat is soft and silky to the touch. He has a double-coat, and he is a moderate shedder all year round, with two heavy shedding seasons, which we will discuss in the grooming section.

Exercise & Living Conditions

English Cream Retriever with Tennis Ball
The English Cream Retriever will need adequate outdoor space to release its energy.

The English Cream Golden Retriever is less boisterous than his American counterpart, but this does not mean he needs any less exercise. Being a traditional working breed, he needs a lot of exercise. Expect to spend at least 1 hour every day vigorously exercising the English Cream, come rain or shine. If you can’t do this, expect your English Cream Retriever to take out his energy on your possessions.

In between exercise sessions, he will need a lot of interactive playtime too. The Golden Retriever is the 4th most intelligent dog breed, meaning they need mental stimulation. Be sure to invest in plenty of toys for him to play with. Or design DIY brain games that you can both play, such as find the ball under the cup.

The English Cream Golden Retriever needs to live with an active family who can guarantee him his exercise needs and keep his intelligent mind occupied. Because of this, and the fact that he is a needy dog who craves the company of his humans, he needs a family that can spend most of their time with him.

Apartment living is not going to work for the English Cream. He needs a larger home with access to his own yard that he can roam and chill in til’ his heart’s content. Because he is an outdoorsy dog breed, he will get cabin fever very quickly.

He makes a great family addition to any type of family, just as long as his needs are met. English Cream Retrievers adore children and is gentle with them, and this is why he is one of America’s favorite family breeds. He also gets along with other pets, too, if he is socialized well as a pup.

Training

English Cream Retriever Sitting
The English Cream Retriever is highly trainable and adaptable.

An English Cream Golden Retriever’s favorite reward is likely to be a tennis ball or any other object that he can mouth, rather than an edible treat. However, yours could be different, so it’s essential to work with what your English Cream wants. Using these as a reward in response to good behavior is known as positive reinforcement training. And this is the most effective training method.

Thankfully, the English Cream Golden Retriever is intelligent and loyal, making him super trainable. This is why he is a favorite therapy dog option. This means that he is suited to a first-time dog owner. Being calmer and more mature is another reason why he is a good option for a novice dog owner.

Crate training in a Retriever-sized crate is a good idea for the English Cream. Not only will this give him a safe space that he can call his own, but it will also provide you with peace of mind when you have to leave him at home.

Health

Healthy English Cream Retriever
English Cream Retrievers have lower cancer rates than their American cousins.

The English Cream Golden Retriever is a relatively healthy dog. The five primary health concerns that face the English Cream Golden Retriever are:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia – this is where the elbow and hip socket doesn’t join properly with the bone. Over time it wears down the ligaments and bone, causing pain and abrasion. This affects most large breed dogs, and it usually comes with age.
  • Cardiac concerns – there are a few cardiac concerns that affect the breed, but there is one heart disease that is more common than most. Dilated cardiomyopathy, known for short as DCM, is where the heart becomes large, thin, and weak.
  • Ophthalmologist health – three eye concerns affect the Golden Retriever more than other conditions. These are progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, and Golden Retriever uveitis (GRU). GRU is the most common, and it is where the middle layer of the eye becomes inflamed, and can eventually cause permanent eye loss.
  • Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis – this is a disease of the central nervous system, and typically they will show signs of loss of coordination, seizures, anxiety, and blindness at 13 months old. For a Golden to inherit this, both of his parents have to have it, which is why it is crucial to work with a reputable breeder who screens their dogs. 
  • Cancer – this is also a big concern of the breed, and it is here where it is beneficial to adopt an English Cream Golden Retriever over an American one. Research has shown that cancer was the cause of over 61% of American Golden Retrievers, compared to over 38% of English Golden Retrievers. Although both rates are very high compared to other dog breeds, the English Cream Golden cancer rate is substantially lower.

Could Pet Insurance Help?

If your pet insurance covers exam fees and your dog needs to be examined, there is a good chance your policy will reimburse those costs based on your policy details. However, if you are a new customer, vet expenses will not be covered until after your policy’s defined waiting periods, so signing up once you have an existing health concern is not going to help this time. Pre-existing conditions are not covered by any current pet insurance plans.

This is why it is a great idea to sign up for a pet insurance policy when your pet is young and relatively healthy to ensure you will be covered when you need it most.

Nutrition

English Cream Retriever Looking Down
English Cream Retrievers will do well on a dog food suited for large breed dogs.

The English Golden Retriever needs to eat high-quality kibble. Because this is a subtype of the Golden Retriever, the same kibbles that are great for Golden Retrievers will work for the English Cream Retriever. You’ll want to ensure that you pick food that provides your pup with everything that he needs to have a well-balanced diet. His diet should provide him with high-quality meat proteins, healthy carbohydrates, omega fats, fiber, fruits, and vegetables.

Because he is a large breed, he also needs a life stage-appropriate food. This is particularly important during his puppy stages because puppy food made for large breeds has an optimum nutrient balance. They will control his rapid bone growth, which means that he is less likely to develop hip and elbow dysplasia, or at least delay it.

The amount you feed your English Cream will be dependent on its size, energy levels, and age. But when he reaches maturity, he will likely eat anywhere between 2 and 3 cups every day. Always be sure to follow the package instructions, and follow them so that you do not over or underfeed him.

Grooming

Shedding English Cream Retriever
English Cream Golden Retrievers do shed, and they shed a lot!

The English Cream Golden Retriever is a double-coated dog that sheds moderately throughout the year. He sheds heavily during the two shedding seasons, namely during spring and winter. This means that similar to the Golden Retriever’s shedding habits, you’ll need to learn how to manage his shedding. English Cream Retrievers are heavy shedders.

To be able to get the most out of his brushing routine, you need to get the right brush for his coat. A regular brushing routine will help to lower the amount he sheds. The English Cream Golden Retriever sheds the same amount as any other colored Golden Retriever.

He also needs the same amount of baths compared to other colored Golden Retrievers. Depending on whether he is a show dog, a sensitive dog, or a super dirty dog will determine what type of shampoo you need for the English Cream. If you want to keep him super white and bright, you could try using a brightening shampoo to keep his coat gleaming. English Cream Retrievers can have sensitive skin, so you may want to consider a shampoo made to remedy that before skin irritation starts.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

English Cream Retriever Puppy
The English Cream Golden Retriever can carry higher puppy costs, due to their rarity.

The English Cream Golden Retriever is a Golden Retriever that is bred to the KC breed standard. Although there are more American Golden Retrievers in America, a handful of breeders will breed English Cream Goldens to the British standard. A reputable breeder will import English Cream Golden Retrievers from the very best breeders in Europe, and strictly produce English Creams.

They will be able to produce documentation to prove the lineage, and that they are English Cream Golden Retrievers. Not just very light golden American Golden Retrievers. There is usually an increased cost for English Cream Golden Retrievers, simply because it costs a lot to buy the very best examples from Europe and ship them over.

The average price of an English Cream Golden Retriever falls somewhere between $1,500 and $3,500. The price will be dependent on your location, supply and demand, breeder reputation, and the pup’s lineage. Some English Cream Goldens can fetch tens of thousands of dollars from highly regarded breeders.

Of course, budget is always an important consideration but never be tempted to work with a backstreet breeder. It’s true that you get what you pay for. Reputable breeders care about the health of their pups, whereas puppy mills only care about profit. Health care is expensive, so they pump out as many puppies as they can without any concern for them or their mother.

Rescue & Shelters

English Cream Retriever Outdoors
Despite their rarity, English Creams can end up in rescue shelters.

Although the Golden Retriever is a very popular family pet, there are many of them in rescue shelters. However, in America, because there are fewer English Cream Golden Retrievers around, there are less English Creams in rescue centers.

If you are struggling to find an English Cream Golden Retriever at your local rescue center, you should look at dedicated breed rescue websites. A great one to start with is the Golden Retriever Club of America National Rescue Committee. They list rescue centers by the state with all contact details. Rescuing an English Cream couldn’t be easier!

Rescuing also means that you can save money on the initial purchase price. Adoption fees are anywhere between $50 and $350, which is cheaper than the price of a puppy from a reputable breeder. This does mean that you can’t be sure where your English Cream comes from, or if an ethical breeder bred them. But, this is only a minor thing considering that you are saving a life.

As Family Pets

  • The English Cream is a loving and affectionate dog who loves his humans.
  • He is very in tune with his family’s emotions, making a great therapy dog.
  • The English Cream is excellent for families with young children and other animals.
  • He needs at least 60 minutes of intense exercise every day to be happy.
  • The English Cream is super friendly with family friends and strangers.
  • English Cream Retrievers are not great watchdogs.
  • They are intelligent and trainable, making great companions for first-time dog owners.
  • English Creams needs plenty of mental stimulation to avoid destructive behavior.
  • He is a heavy shedder, and he loves you so much that he will share his coat with you.
  • To keep shedding down, establish a regular grooming routine to manage his shedding.
  • He is lots of fun, and will entertain you and your family for many years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are English Cream Golden Retrievers?

English Cream Golden Retrievers are one of three Golden Retrievers subtypes. The Kennel Club (the British version of the American Kennel Club) has a slightly different Golden Retriever breed standard to the American standard. English Creams are bred to meet the British standard, and because the Kennel Club accepts cream as a color, they are known as English Creams. Because of transatlantic breeding, they also have a slightly different appearance and personality compared to the other two subtypes.

When do English Cream Golden Retrievers stop growing?

English Cream Golden Retrievers tend to reach their full height at the age of one and reach their maximum weight at the age of two. English Creams tend to be stockier and bigger-boned compared to the American Golden Retriever.

Do they make a good family pet?

Yes, English Cream Golden Retrievers make fantastic family pets. Not only are they very friendly, affectionate, and sweet, but they are also very gentle with children and other animals. English Creams are less boisterous than the American subtype, so if you are seeking a calmer pooch, the English Cream is the better option for you.

How do I find an English Cream Golden Retriever breeder?

The best place to start your search is to look online. This way, you can search for a handful of breeders that you’d like to work with. Once you have found a few, you should research them more in-depth, and look for other customer reviews to make sure they are reputable.

Also join social media groups, such as the English Cream Golden Retriever Facebook group. Here you can speak to other like-minded people and ask any questions you may have. Whoever you decide to work with, always meet them, the puppies, and their parents in person, and ask to see all health clearances and proof of English Cream heritage.

Final Thoughts

The English Cream Golden Retriever is a wonderful family dog. They are just as sweet and affectionate as any other Golden Retriever. He is ever so slightly stockier than his American siblings, but it is his light cream coat that makes him stand out in a canine crowd.

He is slightly calmer and comes across as more mature, which many dog owners prefer. If you are confident that the English Cream is your cup of tea, know that you and your family will have no regrets. Just be sure to give him what he needs, and you’ll both live happily ever after.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety or care advice. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, insurance expert, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

Leave a Comment

20 Comments

Jenny

November 24, 2022 at 8:57 am

Reading these comments…I don’t care if it is a sham. Our English Cream is the BEST dog we’ve ever had and we have had four dogs prior. Temperament, disposition. All of it. We are in LOVE. And I will fight anyone who talks trash about him! Lol. (I’m kidding. I’m a Pacifist. If you hit me I would probably cry. And hug my EC for comfort.)

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Lynda

October 10, 2022 at 11:28 am

All this is misleading. I have a cream and have had 10 yellows in the past. The cream is far more active and barky. I will never have another one.

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Pete Friedman

October 9, 2022 at 2:12 pm

True. All four of my goldens over 45 years have been golden retrievers. Our current golden is 11 and almost white and came from Canada and Slovakia. Sure she is an ECGR. And it is true that in Canada and Europe the color standards for goldens are different. Cream is allowed. So technically Tessa is a Canadian European cream golden. And there is data that goldens from Canada Europe are less likely to get cancer. But in the end she is the sweetest certified therapy dog and certified working dog in time of crisis and my best friend.

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Pete Friedman

October 9, 2022 at 1:55 pm

My golden is from a Canadian dam and a Slovakian sire. Is she English or Canadian?😀

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Oskar Svendsen

July 22, 2022 at 9:35 am

Sorry, but this article is - at best - misleading.

There is NO such ting as an «English Cream Golden». The term must have been invented by American breeders looking to «stand out» for some reason.

Yes, there are - in general - some differences between English/European, Canadian and American lines of golden and the different national kennel clubs have some different standards for the breed, but to talk about an «English Cream» sub-type makes no sense at all. Especially when takling about «any» golden coming from England.

Yes (unfortunately imho), the English Kennel Club allows the pale goldens within the standard, and (even more unfortunately) this color has grown quite popular in Europe, but many goldens are deep golden in color and everything in between.

The only meaningful way of dividing the breed into sub-types is to talk about show/family types and working/field types. The former is usually bigger, bulkier, has longer coat and is lighter in color than the latter. Except for the color, you see the same trends i Canada and US.

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Ginger Menagias

May 11, 2022 at 9:42 am

natural shampoos for English cream retriever puppy. And healthy low calorie snacks that r healthy

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Gail

February 6, 2022 at 7:36 pm

My dog is a mix between the english cream and a poodle.She is the easiest dog I've ever had, calm and laid back. She has more retriever personality/ characteristics plus a beautiful boxy muzzle. Her English cream was imported from Europe with a long line of champions in its heritage. Whenever I see an English cream retriever I melt. They are magnificent dogs that I never knew existed before I purchased my Teddybear English Goldendoodle.

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Karen Mignella

December 26, 2021 at 1:39 pm

I always thought there were English and American goldens,with the English being stockier and calmer than the American just as with labs.I didn't think the dog had to be cream colored to be considered Englush, I thought it was more structure.

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Tara

November 25, 2021 at 4:16 am

This is the biggest lie. There is legitimately NO difference between the lightest Goldens and Darkest. There is no such thing as a “English cream”… The golden retriever club even talks about this sham and warns folks not to buy puppies from breeders that peddle puppies with these notions of less genetic issues, and a different build, calmer, etc.

Do you realize that there are dark goldens with all these same traits? The only difference that should ever be noted between goldens is if they are bred more for hunting/sport (which some mistake as “american” goldens) and if they’re bred for show/family. Sport goldens have a higher drive and may be more energetic. Note that an all white golden retriever is a disqualification in show… breeders found a way to market them as “rare” because they’re actually less desirable in a breeding program, and somehow that grew into the lies you see above becoming internet “fact”… sad.

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William Eastman

November 6, 2021 at 12:48 am

Excellent . Thank you

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Maria

October 7, 2021 at 2:18 am

Our English Cream was just shy of 16.
I miss Boomer every day. Best dog I ever had.

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Eileen Farley

October 1, 2021 at 4:38 pm

We had a particularly bad year - my husband had always wanted a Golden. My (adult) sons and I decided we would get him one (to add to our pet family of a rescue shepherd mix and a cat). We looked and at that time there was only the English Cream available in our area, so we "settled." WHAT A BLESSING! She is the best.

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Caryl Pearson

September 29, 2021 at 1:50 am

English Cream is the best addition we've ever had to our home. My wife and I are retired so we can give her the exercise and attention she needs but she gives so much more back to us. She is a very loving dog.

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Apiffany Gaither Billings

September 29, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Thank you for sharing and for giving your dog a loving home!

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David Wooten

September 12, 2021 at 12:09 pm

I loved that. English cream golden

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Stephen Michaels

September 2, 2021 at 3:19 pm

We were fortunate to have three English Golden Retrievers at the same time. They were a pack. Odie was the alpha male, Tyler was the want-to-be alpha male, and Codie was like Winnie the Pooh. Greatest dogs in the world.

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Stephan

June 20, 2021 at 6:03 pm

Wow! I just realized my 12 years old rescue is actually a Cream GR and not a GR mix! Everything matches exactly, down to the hip dysplasia! My mut is actually a pure breed! Thanks for this great write up.

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Kelly Wilson

June 21, 2021 at 6:11 pm

You are very welcome, Stephan! Glad you found it informative!

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Shereen Minor

May 29, 2021 at 11:05 pm

Awesome write-up. Thanks kindly.

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Kelly Wilson

June 1, 2021 at 7:25 pm

Thanks for stopping by and commenting Shereen! Glad you found the content informative!

Reply