- About the Breeders -
We are the lucky parents of two little boys and you better
believe they have their hands in puppy raising! We own and
operate a small farm in Central Virginia. We love animals
and being outdoors. We choose to spend the majority of our
"free time" with our family, at home, loving and caring for
our animals and our land.
I (Catherine) am the main caretaker at Ivywest. I grew up in
rural Albemarle county and have always loved animals and
the outdoors. Both of my parents and all of my grandparents
and beyond, grew up on farms, but I did not. It was in my
blood though, and as soon as I had the opportunity I created
one for myself and my family.
In hindsight I wish I studied biology or genetics in college, but instead I graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Anthropology and Studio Art and went on to teach high school arts for five years before following my true interests. My knowledge of digital art and photography help me share my Golden family, in particular the first 8 weeks of puppy life, with my clients via photos on social media.
I have an insatiable interest in everything related to whelping, raising, training, entertaining, and breeding high quality dogs. I spend countless hours studying all aspects of my dog's lives and improving any small or large part of the processes along the way. My favorite part of my job is when I send a perfect Golden puppy home with a new family, knowing how the puppy will complete the home and provide a lifetime of happiness.
Goldens have been a part of our family since we were children. Goldens are an incredible addition to any family. As breeders, our desire is to produce long living, healthy dogs in accordance to the traditional Golden Retriever standards. When we produce a litter of puppies we have carefully matched the dam and her sire to produce high quality, healthy offspring for our family and for yours.
We got our first Golden (as adults) in 2001; Daisy. Daisy was our first child! Her constant love and companionship made us realize we would always need a Golden in our life! We expanded our animal family when we bought a larger piece of property and when I became a stay-at-home mother. Raising animals (including human children!) allows me to focus my desire to be continually researching, learning, and improving something.
Lady was our first Dam. We got her as a puppy after considerable research into which bloodlines we wanted for our foundation. In October of 2011 she had her first litter of 10 healthy puppies! From that first litter we produced we kept our next Golden, Sunny. We have been hooked on Golden puppies ever since! It is very rewarding to bring such happiness into the world and to pass that happiness to other families!
We believe a Golden Retriever is the best family dog anyone could possible have and we wish to share that joy and companionship with you. It is very important to us to breed and develop dogs that are true to the Golden standards and have long and healthy lives to provide you the best canine companion possible. For all of these reasons, raising Golden Retrievers is where we have found happiness and it's why we'd like to share them with you.
About the Farm
Ivywest Farm is situated on 30 acres of private land in Albemarle County, Virginia. We have created a small family farm here, with our primary goals being to live responsibly and to lessen our dependency on industrially raised food; as well as to breed and raise high quality dogs!
At varying times of the year you can find the following on our small farm:
a German Shepherd,
pigs & cows
laying and meat chickens,
a handful of barn cats and
a small vegetable garden and fruit trees/bushes!
Our Goldens go to fantastic homes all over the East Coast and occasionally beyond. Our dogs spend their days in large yards outdoors in areas close, if not connected to our home where we can play with and keep our eye on them. We love taking dogs to the river or stream (on our property) for extra exercise, or simply playing fetch in the yard. The puppies are born and raised in our home. We are always circulating dogs from one place to another so that everyone feels special and gets to explore different areas to stay well entertained and stimulated.
A little (long) History
We bought Ivywest in 2009 from my Grandparents who owned the land and built their home here in 1970. Our family has lived in this area of Albemarle since the late 1600's! Our boys are the tenth generation of our family to be born and live in Albemarle County!!
Several years before selling their home to us, my Grandparents had cleared some land to pasture horses. We are transitioning the land to suit a larger variety of farm animals. The transition began with reclaiming a chicken coop. Then came pigs and cows, then bees, bunnies, goats... some end up staying and some don't suit so well! Our intention is to raise our animals in a manner that is good for the land and for the animals, and in return will produce a higher quality animal. Initially I had dreams of supplying friends and neighbors with food, but over the years we have decided a better focus is to work on just feeding ourselves from the land as much as we are able and putting the rest of our efforts into raising our Goldens. We work hard to preserve as much garden food and fruit as we can each year. There is little better than knowing exactly where your food came from and exactly how it was raised.