** I just want a pet. Why do I need to talk to a breeder and WHY are dogs from breeders more costly than the newspaper or craigslist? You want your pet to be healthy NO crippling hip problems. No potentially fatal heart defects. No chronic skin and ear problems. Most of all, you want that Aussie temperament that you've heard so much about! There are no guarantees in dog breeding, but as with most other things, a person's skills improve with experience and study. A responsible hobby breeder knows that breeding means much more than putting two intact dogs together and waiting 9 weeks for puppies. It involves carefully researching pedigrees, screening for health defects, proper care of the dam (mother) while she's pregnant and skillful handling of the new puppies during the critical first 8 weeks of life.
** You must research your breeders making sure they are credible with a good reputation, knowledge of the breed with the best interest in preserving the Aussie breed.
** You are adding a new member to your family for the next 10-15 years. Spare no expense in your purchase. Now is not the time to penny pinch! The breeder you are seeking will have considerable expense involved in the selection, raising, competing, and health screening of her dogs. A pet store puppy often costs as much or more as a well-bred puppy. A "bargain" puppy from the newspaper is frequently NO bargain when you take into account the possible costs involved with serious medical or temperament issues over their lifetime.
* * What are the main differences between a male and a female?
There is very little difference between the sexes in Aussies as far as their temperament. Neither sex is harder to house train. Both males and females are equally intelligent and affectionate. When well socialized, both sexes are excellent with children. Both males and females make excellent companions. Sex-related behavior, such as mounting and marking, may be exhibited by some male Aussies (as well with some females. This is dominance play, not sexual), This behavior may happen if other males are present or if the male has been used for breeding. I have seen males be a little more protective of their home and car than females, Intact or not, socialization and many varied exposures as a pup and throughout adulthood is key to a well-adjusted Aussie.
* * How can I properly raise a puppy if I work?
Working should not prohibit you from properly raising a puppy. However, a puppy does demand extra time and attention. You will need to make provisions to care for your puppy while you are gone. If you are gone from home 8-12 hours every work day, leaving your dog alone for all this time, an Aussie may not be the best choice for your life-style. Caring for a puppy brings responsibilities and obligations that need to be considered. An Aussie will eventually grow to be between 40-65 lbs and stand between 18-23" high. The quality and amount of time you spend shaping this puppy will directly determine the adult he/she will become. This puppy will need to be cared for on a daily basis for the next 10-15 years. He/she will become a valued family member.
** A puppy needs the following:
A puppy needs to potty every 2-4 hours until they are at least 6 months old. At first, you will need to get up during the night to take your puppy out . House training a puppy to a high degree of reliability can take at least 6 months and sometimes longer. Their bladdar needs to mature and some puppies may take longer than others. Training is a daily time commitment of every 2-4 hours for the first few months.
A puppy will benefit from a socialization class at around 8-12-14 weeks old. This is a benefit to you as well as them. An obedience class would be very beneficial after 6 months of age. Even people who adopt older rescue dogs can benefit from a class to help teach the dog what is expected of him.
Puppies require a minimum of three 20-minute low-impact aerobic play sessions per day. Older dogs need regular exercise on a daily basis.
all ages need mental stimulation. A tired puppy is a calm puppy.
Puppies need exposure to new sounds, new sights, new textures, new people (young and old) every week over several months. . If you work long hours and just want to come home and crash, an Aussie will not be a good fit for your life-style.
** How are Australian Shepherds with Children?
Aussies can be wonderful family dogs, however, parents need to be aware of a few precautions. First and foremost, children need to be taught how to interact with a dog. Each year many children are victims of dog bites. This can be due to the ongoing mistreatment of the dog by children . This also can be caused because the dog and family were not properly matched by the breeder or rescue. A responsible breeder or rescue organization will make sure that any puppy they place with children is temperamentally suited for an active family. Socialization is key! Children need to be taught to love and treat dogs with kindness.
Many Aussies become homeless due to the fact that an adult has added an Aussie to the family for the wrong reasons. A gift to a child with the expectation that the child will be the primary caretaker, is a huge mistake. Adding a puppy for the primary purpose to have a playmate for the children to keep them occupied, giving the adults more free time, without plans to supervise the interactions between the puppy and child, can be a disastrous mistake. Many Aussies are euthanized every year because of dog bites. This could of been prevented if children were supervised and taught proper behavior while interacting with their dog. Adding an Australian Shepherd to the family can be wonderful, but adults must understand the responsibilities that are involved. The feeding, grooming, exercising, formal obedience lessons, etc., are the entire family's responsibility but must be supervised and coordinated by an adult. Being the primary caretaker for a dog is not a job that can be left to the children. You should be certain that your busy life leaves time for an active Australian Shepherd before you purchase or adopt one.
Recommended reading: "Childproofing Your Dog" by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson
** Are they easy to train?
Aussies are generally quite easy to train, however, training takes time and repetition. It is highly suggested that you sign up for an obedience class. Methods have changed throughout the years and training in general will help form the bond between you and your Aussie. Learning how to communicate with your dog will ensure a successful relationship. Aussies respond very well to positive reinforcement of good behavior. Use treats and praise to train - never harsh punishments. Being able to be a strong leader and 'say what you mean and mean what you say' is very important with an Aussie. If you are not willing to be the leader of your pack (human and dog) an Aussie will be more than happy to try and fill that role. Bad behaviors will develop with the lack of strong, firm, yet loving human leadership skills.
** What about spaying and neutering?
We recommend our puppies to ultra responsible dog owners and recommend a delayed time-line for spaying and neutering based on duplicated studies that were well researched science. I have guarantees connected to delaying spaying or neutering until at least 1 year-15 months of age. Research is showing there is an increased rate of hip dysplasia as well of certain cancers associated with early spaying or neutering. These hormones, just as in humans, do more than control reproductive health. They relate to building strong bone and muscle. This requires a very responsible owner. If you think this is too much to deal with, please let us know . We will be happy to direct you to breeders that do not ask this and do not connect it to hip guarantees. More and more breeders are reading this research and are asking for delayed spay and neuters to honor their hip and elbow guarantees. The basic disposition and temperament of your dog WILL NOT be changed by removing his or her reproductive organs.
** How big do they get?
A well-bred male will stand 20-23" high at the shoulder and weigh between 50-65 lbs. Females stand 18-21" at the shoulder and weigh between 40-55 lbs. However, in reality there are many Aussies that range outside of the standard.
** How long do they live?
A well-bred, well-cared for Aussie lives 10 -12 years on average. Sometimes 15 years.
** Can we raise two puppies at one time?
Yes, but this will be twice as much mess, time, training, and expense. An important part of adopting an Aussie is the continuing financial responsibility. Routine veterinary care and food range from $800 to $1200 per year for one dog that has no health issues. Feeding well: raw is best, grain free kibble is next best, but a DISTANT second place behind raw. This way of feeding has the potential to cut down on medical bills. Toys, classes, grooming and feeding a premium food add up quickly. This does not include any emergency medical treatments or surgeries that a dog may need at some point in his/her life. Many breeders will not place two puppies at the same time, This arrangement is not in the puppy's best interest. Two puppies together, especially from the same litter, will bond with each other, making training very difficult. Some breeders recommend you consider waiting until your puppy is at least 6 months old before getting another.
** Will my Aussie make a good outdoor dog?
The Australian Shepherd is not intended to strictly live as an outside dog as they are very people orientated. They are miserable being separated from the family they love! If you are not interested in allowing your Aussie to come indoors, this is not the dog for you. A lonely Aussie may bark incessantly, dig up the back yard, or continuously escape to roam the neighborhood. They need lots of social interaction with their people family.
** What health problems are seen in Aussies?
Aussies, unfortunately, are subject to a few health issues. Canine hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia can occur as can several eye problems such as Iris coloboma.
http://www.ashgi.org/home-page/genetics-info/eyes/iris-coloboma, Persistent pupilary membranes (PPM's for short), Collie Eye Anomaly and Cataracts.
To lower your chances of encountering these health problems, Aussies should be purchased from responsible hobby breeders or reputable Australian Shepherd rescue organizations. Responsible breeders will screen parents for genetic disease and have health information on past generations. Rescue groups will have adult dogs checked by a veterinarian, will investigate any apparent problems and will give adopters all health information they have discovered in order for an informed decision can be made.
** Do Aussies shed?
Absolutely! Aussies shed a little all year round ( but not as much as shorter haired breeds do year around) and twice a year they loose most of their coat/fur. When they start to blow their coat, it is a good time for a bath and a blow dry, at home or at the groomer. This removes much of the hair that would normally take 2 weeks to slowly fall out. Anyone intent on a "hair free" home, should reconsider getting an Aussie, or most dogs for that matter. Their coat requires brushing of at least once a week. Their hair can be long and can become matted if it isn't properly cared for and brushed weekly. A thorough grooming to trim the hair on the paws, tail, and around the ears needs to be done on a monthly to bi monthly basis. Aussie hair has a wonderful side. They can get muddy, hang out in the laundry room to dry off, and the mud and dirt is gone. It all falls off. Dirt and mud does not seem to stick to their hair.
** How are Aussies with other pets?
Each dog is different. Some Aussies relish time with another dog and others are more solitary. However, even if the dog is more solitary, it is VERY important to socialize your puppy when they are young and continue to do so throughout their lives. Socializing means exposing your puppy to a variety of other puppies and dogs, people, places, things, sights, smells and sounds. Rescue Aussies are evaluated with other dogs and cats before they are placed, giving you a good idea if they will get along with any other pets they might be exposed to.
** How much space do they need? How much exercise do they need?
Aussies are energetic dogs, bred to spend long hours in the field doing farm chores. Exercise requirements will depend largely on the age and condition of the dog and the individual dog's temperament. Young, healthy dogs will require several aerobically paced walks or interactive play sessions per day. Space need not be a major factor, as it is generally considered a myth that "these dogs need room to run". Most dogs left alone, outdoors, will nap rather than exercise. Aussies require mental stimulation, as well as regular exercise; if your life-style is sedentary, or you don't have a few hours a day to interact with your dog, an Aussie may not be the best choice.
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Puppies due Aug 21st. Confirmed by ultrasound!
We may have some availability in this litter for your consideration.
*We also have a friend that has quality blue merle females available. Contact us for more info.