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About Us

The Original Crew


Thunderstruck Retrievers is located near Alexandria, Minnesota on 120 acres of softly rolling glacial hills providing both training ponds and cover. We specialize in Golden Retrievers--raising, competing, hunting, and breeding Goldens who are multi-purpose: strong field trial and hunt test competitors with friendly, loving attitudes who can serve as hunting companions and pets.

Newspaper Article in Echo/Press

The Golden Retriever venture began in 1980 with the purchase of Otterness's Misty Morning (a granddaughter of FC AFC Right-On Dynamite John FDHF) from Ralph and Theresia Doubeck. Todd was looking for that four-legged hunting companion, and he found her in Misty. He began training and competing at Central Minnesota Retriever Club while still in high school and learned the ropes of dog training from the Doubecks and Lawrence Martin, spending hours throwing birds and handling Misty. His hunting buddies at the time will always have memories of that unbelievable dog. As some of our friends joke, it helped having a dog that knew more of what was going on than the trainer. Her talent and intellect definitely got Todd hooked on dog training and Golden Retrievers. Since that time we have always had Goldens; however, as we got married, started a family, began T & B Lawn Care, and Benita started teaching high school English, Todd got out of trialing for awhile.

As our children, have gotten older, we decided to begin training and trialing/testing together, so after close to 25 years of owning our own business and teaching, we embarked on an additional venture--Thunderstruck Retrievers. (We decided we couldn't call it Thunderstruck Goldens since we might venture from the breed some time and add a Labrador or Chesapeake!) We have also found that our experience in small business and Benita's past experiences in education are a definite plus as it has been helpful that some of the practices used in business and teaching are transferable to the retriever training world.

We enjoy both hunt tests and field trials, but our competitive side prefers the field trials. It is definitely addicting!! We enjoy training the dogs together and both of us handle our dogs.

Our dogs come from long-proven stock, which demonstrate longevity, health, and success. In respect to the Golden Retriever breed, we are always conscious of genetics and clearances; we conscientiously choose our breedings and make sure all animals we breed have health clearances for hips, elbows, heart, eyes, and thyroid. We also do DNA tests for common hereditary diseases, such as prcd-PRA, PRA-1, NCL, PRA-2, and Ichthyosis. We want to do our part to ensure your puppy will have a healthy start.

If you are eager to have a working dog that also will be a great companion in your home, please contact us. We breed for the competitive homes that will give our puppies a job to do as they grow, but our litters will also be appropriate for hunting companions and as pets. Our goal is to send puppies to your homes that are well socialized, eager to learn, inquisitive, and full of desire. We work hard to match litters and puppies with the client's needs so that a life-long relationship grows!

We strive for quality. If you are considering a current litter or one in the future, we invite you to visit with us about our dogs, facilities, breeding program, training, and philosophy. Also, browse our site to get a sense of Thunderstruck Retrievers.

We look forward to hearing from you,

Todd and Benita Otterness



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©Thunderstruck Retrievers
8961 Teal Trail SW, Lowry, MN 56349
Phone: 320-766-9624 or 320-766-7038