What to Look for in a Breeder

What makes a responsible breeder?

  • Does the breeder have the mother and other relatives so you can meet them? Not necessarily the father, as a good breeder is always looking for ways to improve what they have, so they find males that live elsewhere and pay a stud fee to that owner. If a breeder only owns one male, one female, one is breeding themselves into a corner. Not really working to improve the breed.

  • Will the breeder show you the results from the OFA  or Penn Hip on the xray of the dogs hips and elbows? The parents should be good or excellent rated on hips. Sometimes a fair rating is ok, depending on what the breeder knows about the line and also if bred to an 'excellent'.

  • Will they show you the yearly eye exam results?

  • Have the breeding parents been tested to see if they are a carrier of the cataract gene, and will they show you the results?

  • Are the parents 2 years old or older? I dog should not be bred before 24 months  because you cannot test hips and elbow for dysplasia until 24 month. Breeding a dog without knowing the results of those xrays is very careless.

  • Does the breeder offer a genetic health guarantee with requirements from you. Many good breeders offer 24-36 month hip and eye guarantee. I offer 36 months, connected to following guidelines for activities and feeding and supplements. ie: not playing extreme Frisbee before 2 yrs of age. (I never do), and feeding requirements and supplement usage.

  • Does the breeder require you to take you pup to training classes. A good breeder knows that a trained Aussie is a happy Aussie and thus makes for a happy family life and less risk of getting a puppy back. It is an investment, one well worth the time and money.

  • Is the breeder always willing to take a puppy/dog back if something drastic happens in your life and you can not keep the dog? This is no small commitment on the part of the breeder. (there is no refund given, but the breeder is being responsible by always being willing to take back or help find a suitable home.) No good breeder ever wants one of their pups to end up in a shelter or sold to medical research on craigslist.

  • A pup that comes from parents with all this done should cost $1100 on up, depending on the breeder and the specific parents.

These are just the basics that ANYONE breeding should do. I do a lot more by raising them holistically and doing stress exercises, neurologically stimulation from birth onward. And I feed free-range meat and organic veggies and supplements. 

If you find someone that sells for a lot less, I will bet they do not do the above tests or put much money into the pups.  This ends up costing you the buyer, much, much more in the long run with a dog with more health issues over their lifetime.