“Once upon a time, long, long ago, a soon-to-be-married couple went in search of their very own horse to buy…a Thoroughbred, no less. The young woman had spent many years training other peoples’ horses but had never had one of her own. Now that she was making her own way in the world, she wanted to have her very own horse–a beautiful chestnut mare.  She scraped together her pennies and went to buy this wonderful animal. However, the cold people who owned the mare looked at how much money she had and laughed.  They laughed and laughed and wouldn’t sell her the beautiful horse.  The young woman went to her Banker but he, too, would not help her buy the mare.  After one last unsuccessful trip to convince the horse’s owners, the couple was going home empty handed and heartbroken.  As her soon-to-be husband drove the sobbing young woman home, he looked at her and said, “Why don’t we buy a golden retriever, instead?” And thus began Gaylan’s Goldens.

From this fairy tale beginning, Gaylan’s Goldens has developed into a small golden retriever kennel devoted to the training, showing, and breeding of multi-purpose golden retrievers.  We use the term kennel loosely here since it was 20 years before we established a permanent home for Gaylan’s. Both Andy and I were Army officers, so every few years since Gaylans’ inception we have packed our dogs up and moved. At last count, we have moved 17 times since we started our Army careers. We have established our kennel in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Germany. However, after all these years of moving, we have settled in Highlands, NC, a lovely town in the Smokey Mountains.

Our moves have given us the opportunity to meet golden people all over the world, to see dogs from every part of the country, and to venture into all kinds of dog activities.  We have handled our dogs in conformation events in the U.S. and Canada, run sanctioned and licensed field trials (though not many), done obedience, tracking and agility in North America and Europe, and run numerous hunt and working certificate tests.  While in Germany, Gayle also trained one of our dogs in Search and Rescue and handled her on searches.

While in NY, we met sisters, Marcy Burke and Lise Pratt. Over the years, our friendship grew into a partnership.  Marcy, Lise and Gayle started Avidog International, an online university committed to continuing education for dog breeders and puppy owners. The three also began breeding together so some Gaylan’s litters are raised at their home in NY and some here in NC.

Today, we focus our efforts on competing with our dogs, continuing to develop our breeding program of multipurpose goldens, developing our knowledge of canine behavior and genetics, raising money for canine health research, assisting with golden retriever rescue, and educating people on dog care, behavior and the value of purebred dogs. Gayle helped found Canine Health Events, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to raising money for canine health research and most recently, joined the board of the Baker Institute for Animal Health, Cornell University.

This site is devoted to these efforts. Thanks for coming to visit and enjoy your journey through the virtual kennels of Gaylan’s Goldens.

Gayle Watkins & Andy Chmar

Gaylan’s Golden Retrievers

Highlands, NC