The Early Years in Dellwood, Minnesota

Dellwood, Minnesota

Hank & Betty Christian (parents to Peggy Hilton) began breeding Golden Retrievers in the early 1930’s. In 1936, the kennel name “Goldwood” was registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC). “Goldwood” is a combination of “Gold” (from Golden Retriever) and “wood” (for Dellwood, Minnesota where the original facility was built).

Goldwood became well known in the 1930’s and 1940’s for our successful breeding of the majestic hunting Golden Retriever. The Christians, along with Betty’s two brothers, Ben Boalt from Milwaukee and Ralph Boalt from Winona and her brother-in-law Col. Sam Magoffin from Vancouver, were very instrumental in importing and developing this highly desirable hunting dog in the Midwest. They also helped start the Golden Retriever Club of America and the Minnesota Field Trial Association. Many Goldens in the country have pedigrees that can be traced back to the kennel names of “Goldwood”, “Rockhaven”, “Stilrovin”, “Gilnockie”, “Beavertail”, and “Gunnerman” all owned by members of Peggy’s family.

When Frank and Peggy were dating in the late 1940’s, Peggy gave Frank a Golden Retriever puppy as a gift. His love and concern for pets was immediate. During the 1950’s Goldwood Kennels became inactive as a breeding kennel and had not yet become established as a boarding facility. In 1961 Peggy and Frank acquired a beautiful hunting Golden with Goldwood breeding in its pedigree. Then and there they decided that Goldwood would become active once again. They began their study of the ideal Golden, competed in field trials (which continued for 10 years) acquired more Goldens and started the breeding program. Theirs had been a policy to breed only when there is a demand for pups. Their pups went to many different areas in the United States, some to Canada and one to Tokyo, Japan.

The Move To White Bear Lake, Minnesota

White Bear Lake, Minnesota

In the early 1970’s, Frank & Peggy purchased property in White Bear Lake, Minnesota – about 4 miles east of the original location. They built their home and a small ten run dog kennel and decided to dedicate themselves to caring for their our own pets as well as a “few” others.

Periodic night classes at the University of Minnesota Veterinary School as well as semi-monthly phone conversations with research veterinarians from the Baker Institute at Cornell University in New York kept them informed and updated on pet disease and nutrition. From the beginning, every effort was made to control bacteria, fungus and virus by a strict cleaning regimen and we continue those efforts today. A vaccination record has always been kept on all pets and must be updated before staying at Goldwood Kennels.

All guests were given their own private living quarters and that holds true today. They provided quality food with delicious goodies added to whet their appetites. Bright lighting and colorful walls cheered the spirit and large outside yards were available to chase balls and Frisbees. They built a playroom for the cats where they could climb, play hide and seek or bird watch out a large sunny window. They also developed a system for administering medication so it was dispensed and charted according to the doctor’s instructions. Report cards were created to chart daily food intake and elimination to prevent problems during their visit. Separate sections were established within the facility for geriatrics, puppies and “first timers” who often need a little extra tender loving care. Although much time has passed, many of these core procedures are still in practice today and we remain committed to the health and safety of all pets in our care.

In 1979, Cliff (Peggy & Frank’s son) and Joan (Cliff’s wife) made the decision to join Goldwood Kennels. Cliff had been a surgical assistant for seven years, with most of his time spent at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul. His medical training and knowledge are an amazing asset. Joan had several different jobs prior to joining Goldwood and her memory of people, pets and instructions were an instant benefit.

Goldwood Kennels continued breeding Golden Retrievers until the late 1990’s. The decision to discontinue breeding was difficult, however as demand for boarding & grooming services was growing and had become our top priority.

Cliff & Joan’s son Tony joined Goldwood Kennels in 1999 after graduating from the University of St. Thomas. Erin Hilton (Tony’s wife) joined Goldwood Kennels in 2007 after teaching elementary school in Minnetonka for 8 years. Tony & Erin are the fourth generation in our family to own and operate Goldwood Kennels.


Focusing on the Future

Goldwood Kennels continues to be owned and operated by the Hilton’s and we remain dedicated to raising the bar even higher, continually enhancing our facilities, and expanding our range of services to meet the evolving needs of both pets and their owners.

We firmly believe that every pet deserves the utmost love, care, and attention. As we grow, we are constantly exploring new ways to create an environment where pets feel safe, comfortable, and cherished. From state-of-the-art accommodations to personalized care plans, we strive to make each pet’s stay a joyous experience.

Our team of dedicated professionals shares a deep passion for animals and a commitment to providing exceptional service. We cherish the opportunity to build lasting relationships with every pet that comes through our doors. The wagging tails, happy purrs, and enthusiastic greetings remind us daily of the impact we have on their lives.

We understand that pets are cherished members of your family, and we pledge to treat them as such. Their well-being and happiness are at the forefront of everything we do. Your trust in us is an honor we value and appreciate immensely.

Welcome to Goldwood Kennels!

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