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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I keep my Aussie safe? 

    This may not be the first question on your mind when you look at our puppies, but it should be. No matter who you are or where you get your aussie you are going to love it. And if anything happens to it you will be heartbroken. Over the years, we have had too many people call us in tears because "they just let their dog out in unfenced yard for a minute." There are alot of not nice people out there who don't think twice about running over your dog. Always keep your dog in a fenced area or with you even if you live on a dirt road where everyone should be driving slow enough not to run over a dog. Heck, I know people who had their dogs run over in their driveway (which is abit beyond ridiculous) so dirt roads are certainly not safe. We try our best to make sure every puppy has a loving family, and we are all heartbroken when one dies. Please keep your dogs safe.

Also please remember that no matter how smart your puppy is, it is still a puppy and won't always react as wisely as an older dog might. Keep them away from young horses, cattle (other than maybe completely calm, old dairy cows), and anything that might get out of control until the pup is older (preferably at least a year). There is plenty for a young dog to learn without being exposed to unsafe situations. Toys and poultry are great for teaching a young herding dog the basics and when they get over 7-8 months they can move up to sheep and some nice goats. There is no reason to rush your dog and a lot of harm can come from putting the dog in a situation he hasn't physically and mentally developed well enough to handle.

I like your dogs. I want one of me own. What now? 

    We are simple people as such as we are very straightforward when we sell our puppies. We do not require applications containing your life history, pictures of your house, or references from everyone you have bought a dog from or has met your dog. We do want to talk to you though. Just chat. Tell us what you want to use your dog for. Is he going to be a family pet? Do you have a farm? Do you live in the city? Do you have kids and want the dog to be a good family dog? Have you considered playing around with doggie sports like Agility? We can help you find the puppy the best matches your needs if you tell us abit about yourself. We do not sell dogs to anyone who hasn't met us in person or spoken to us on the phone. We love email as a means to get initial contact and to ask follow up questions, but at some point we want to talk to you.

All of our puppies and dogs are sold on a first come-first serve basis unless we have a deposit to reserve the puppy or dog. We have had held a puppies for too many people who seemed very serious but lost interest around the time the puppy needed to join their home. Requiring a deposit to hold a puppy seems to reduce the number of people who are not serious and prevents us from turning down a good home for one of our little ones because we thought he or she was already spoken for. The deposit is subtracted from the total cost of all puppies. It is not in addition to the quoted price. For example if you believe we have the perfect puppy for you and request a working guarantee, we quote a puppy price of $400. You give us $100 to hold the puppy for you until he is old enough to take home. At the time you meet the puppy (or the time of pick-up), you pay the remaining $300.

I would like a puppy from your planned/upcoming litter. Can I reserve one now? 

    Absolutely! About half of our last litter went to people on our waiting list. And if you are seriously interested in a particular color or sex (blue merle females are in especially high demand), this is the best way to get first dibs. If you would like to reserve a puppy from a future litter:

1. Ask to be put on the waiting list along with your contact information. Give us some general information and if you would prefer a particular color/sex for your puppy. Do NOT supply a deposit at this time. We never know what mother nature will bring us so we prefer to wait on the hard reservations.
2. When the litter is born, we will contact you and let you know what has arrived. If you are still serious about reserving a puppy at this time, we request a deposit of $100 to reserve a specific puppy for you. Depending on the situation and the other reservations, we may tentatively hold two puppies for you and allow you to choose between them when they are old enough to meet. Be cautious with this option though because some people end up taking two puppies home when they try to choose.
3. We allow prospective owners to meet the puppies when they are six weeks old to finalize their decisions. When the puppies are eight weeks old, you can bring them home. If the reserved puppy is not at all what you were expecting, we will happily return your deposit to you at the time you meet your puppy.

Do you ship? 

    We prefer people to meet our puppies so there are no (or fewer) surprises at any end. We are willing to drive moderate distances (~2-3 hours) to meet prospective owners if you reimburse us for our gas and time.

Shipping by air is a whole other ballgame though. We never have attempted to ship by air in the past. However, we are considering using it in the future if the right situation presents itself. We would absolutely require some long phone chats prior to attempting it though. While talking over the phone is not perfect, we can at least get some feel for you and what you are looking for over the phone. And if you are serious about acquiring a new member of your family, we suspect you want as much information from us as possible too. We will require all shipping fees to be payed by the new owner. In short, shipping frightens us. We don't want our puppy to be uncomfortable, frightened, and alone. We don't want you to end up with a puppy that wasn't what you were expecting because you didn't have the chance to meet him/her in advance. However, if it is the only option, we will work with you if you will work with us. Call and talk to us about it.

How do I train my dog?

    For simple "good manners" and obediance, alot of patience and a little knowledge go a long way. "Come" or "here" can be taught in a few short sessions with treats. (Some microwaved hotdog cut into pieces the size of the end of your pinky are great treats.) Sit and down have a few different approaches, but the old fashioned repeat the word while pushing their bottom to the ground usually works in less than three days for a "sit." (Again lots of treats!) Immediately, state a release word such as "okay" after teaching them to "sit" and "down". Once the pup has a reasonable sit, don't say the release word and instead say "stay" and wait five seconds. If the dog gets up reprimand him, if he stays reward him. I also firmly believe in teaching a "stand" command and teach them to "stay" in the standing position. It will make your life easier, if your dog has a nice standing-stay. For more in depth training, please read some books or join some dog obediance/agility/therapy classes in your area.

Most training for farm work, can be done on either a long line or round pen. Also, most dogs can learn how to help you with the chores simply by watching you do the same chores over and over again and picking up on your cues. However, if you are not a natural-born farmer or you wish to someday trial your dog, you should probably consult a professional. I unfortunately don't personally know any dog trainers to recommend around our area but here are some websites that might help: Working Aussie Source, Stockdog Trainer Locator, Herding on the Web,, and The Dogpatch. While I can't vouch for the people listed through these websites or all the material on the websites, they are at least starting places to help you on your endeavors.

Isn't a female (or male) a better stock dog (or family pet)?

    The only thing I know for certain is that the sex of your dog means very little in terms of working instinct or family interaction. Our favorite dog of all time is still Shep. Yep, a male. He was the perfect work dog and the perfect friend. On the other hand, the current ruler of the roost is Mischief - our oldest female. She has a great working style, she is fearless and stubborn as nails when someone is in danger of being trampled by a mean cow, and bounces around the house like a puppy if you pull out the laser pointer. We have had females that are ten times fiercer than our males with mean cattle and males that were much sweeter, friendlier and better mannered in the house than our females. If you are picking a dog, I recommend that you find a puppy that matches your personality over which sex it is.

What is the temperament of your dogs?

    We strive to breed Aussies whose temperament agrees with the breed standard as written below:

"The Australian Shepherd is intelligent, primarily a working dog of strong herding and guardian instincts. He is an exceptional companion. He is versatile and easily trained, performing his assigned tasks with great style and enthusiasm. He is reserved with strangers but does not exhibit shyness. Although an aggressive, authoritative worker, viciousness toward people or animals is intolerable."

Most of our dogs tend to be reserved around strangers as stated above. They are not shy. They don't hide, shake, or exhibit fear barking, but, they don't run up and lick strangers on the face either. They stand back and watch new people and will usually ask our permission before taking treats from people they don't know. Once they get to know someone, they are little goofballs who will do almost anything for a tummy rub or playtime. They can display "guardian instincts." For example, Shae (Mischief's and Joe's daughter who belongs to Angela) will stand over my half-awake body with a most convincing growl when she has reason to believe someone is breaking into the apartment in the middle of the night. However, we have never had one of our dogs act aggressive to people or other dogs in standard situations. I can't guarantee all of our dogs would have the same degree of "guardian instinct," but their is definate potential for this tendency.

Our dogs are "exceptional companions." They travel well and are seldom nervous about new places or activities (the primary exception to this rule being several of our dogs hate thunderstorms). They love toys and all types of games from chasing laser pointer lights to playing hide and seek with their tennis balls. They love swimming, canoeing, and hiking. They thrive in active environments.

Our dogs are primarily working dogs who need to "do something" and will become bored if not given any activities. They are also fairly smart. This is both a blessing and a curse. Smart dogs who like to be kept busy find ways to get themselves into trouble if not given any outlet for their mind and energy. Stupid dogs can't figure out how to get into trouble. Our dogs can live in town (Gypsy and Shae have lived in apartments since they were puppies), but they need outlets for their energy. Lots of walks and lots of games are a must if you live in town. In all cases, they need clear boundaries from the start or they will make royal nuisances of themselves. However, with boundaries and training they can be your bestest friend.

We love our Aussies, but they are obviously not for everyone. If you want a dog with low drive that you can lock up in a little kennel for your frequent traveling trips this is not the dog for you. If you don't have time to regularly walk your dog or you just don't like being active than you would be better with a different breed. I hope this was helpful.

What do your dogs look like? 

    Why, they look like their pictures of course! But honestly, we have working aussies. They look like working aussies. They do not look like the Australian shepherds at Westminster. Our dogs follow breed standard with moderate coats and moderate size/structure. Show dogs are seldom bred for moderation. Aussies from show lines tend to have huge coats, be over-sized, and have overly large bones. Aussies are not supposed to weigh 90 pounds, but this became the fad in the show ring. We have had at least one person call us up and ask if we raised minature Aussies because they visited a conformation show after they met our dogs. We don't have minatures. The smallest Aussie we own is 17.5 inches. Our females are usually 18 to 22 inches. Our males are usually 20 to 23 inches. The better minatures I have seen are 10-14 inches. I have seen a few minatures < 10 inches, but they resemble pomeranians more than Aussies so I suspect they are crosses. Our dogs are really Aussies, they just still conform with the breed standard as opposed to many of the show lines.

For reference, here is the ASCA breed standard >> Click here <<

Can you guarantee this puppy will work when it grows up? 

    No one can guarantee how a puppy will turn out when he/she grows up. We can tell you that their parents work, their grandparents worked, and their great grand-parents worked. Dogs from a working background are more likely to work than dogs without a working background. We often times have more faith in certain puppies growing into good stock dogs than others based on their personalities, and their play behavior as puppies. We might be wrong though. We are willing to supply a "working guarantee" in which any dog that does not show inclination to work stock by one year of age may be replaced with a puppy from a future litter. Any puppy sold for less than $400 is exempt from this guarantee. It is a high risk guarantee on our part. We never know how a puppy will be raised or trained after they leave our house. We cannot discount that an owner may "train" the working instinct out of a dog.

Dogs take different amounts of time to "turn on," but most Aussies who will work stock are showing instinct by one year of age. Many will have "turned on" by six months of age. We have only known one dog, our Callie X Joe daughter- Scarlet, who showed actual working behavior at eight weeks. I have often seen puppies randomly chasing poultry/stock in a happy-go-lucky-puppy way, but very few actually "work" stock with a purpose at this early age.

Why ASCA? And what are these other registries like CKC?

    I can't answer this question without getting on abit of a soap box on why I believe dog registries should exist. First of all, I would like to point out that a dog can be happy, loving, wonderful addition to a family without any papers attached to his name and without anyone knowing what sortof of speckled past his parents might have. The humane society is a great place for a family pet, and they are almost always overfilled with lovely dogs needing homes. However, it is difficult to reliably reproduce specific characteristics without creating a line of dogs whose pedigrees you can trace. You need information on the medical history, personality, and conformation of each dog in their past in order to reproducibly create offspring that will perform specific tasks. For example, Guiding Dogs of America specifically breed for characteristics that would make their dogs appropriate for helping the disabled. Without excellent records, these dogs would not be able to perform the amazing services they do. Registries are necessary to track this information.

ASCA, or the Australian Shepherd Club of America, was the first club to perform this service for the Australian Shepherd breed. They were created in 1957 and are currently the largest single breed registry in the United States. They provide a database for the pedigrees of all dogs in the registry and provide certification and titles in Stockdog, Conformation, Obedience, Tracking, and Agility programs. They have fairly strict DNA profiling requirements and will require mandatory DNA profiling of all new dogs entered into the registry within the next few years to verify accurate records.

There is also an undercurrent within ASCA to maintain the working instinct of the Australian Shepherd and not overlook this instinct when breeding for conformation titles. The importance of maintaining the working instinct and old-style Aussie within ASCA became very apparent when some breeders wished to apply for AKC breed recognition. The dissenters within ASCA believed that the Australian Shepherd would be bred to conform to the trends of the conformation ring after AKC recognition. These anti-AKC feelings were so strong that those in favor of applying to AKC could not get enough of the ASCA membership to support the motion to push the AKC application forward. Consequently, a second Australian Shepherd breed registry was created for the sole purpose of applying for AKC recognition of the Australian Shepherd, and many Australian Shepherd breeders (particularly those focused on old-style farm dogs) refused to co-register their dogs in AKC after the petition to AKC was accepted. We acknowledge that many smart, conformationally sound Australian Shepherds with great working instinct are registered both in AKC and ASCA; however, there are also alot of old-style Aussies that are only registered in ASCA. Our primary goal was to raise conformationally sound, working dogs whose personalities merged with an active family, and we found that we severely limited our breeding options if we only used AKC or ASCA/AKC co-registered dogs. Therefore, we have decided to register our dogs only with ASCA.

I acknowledge that there are drawbacks to this choice. AKC is the predominate organization for many Agility and performance based competitions. However, you can enter these AKC events if your dog is spayed and neutered and you apply for a Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege. If you have an intact animal, you can also participate in the many ASCA sanctioned events. United Kennel Club (UKC), another breed registry started at the same time as AKC, will also dual registry any dog registered with ASCA (or any other breed registry with registry requirements as stringent as AKC), and they will allow you to participate in their events. I actually find UKC events much more novice-friendly than many other groups. If you are interested in trialing, a number of stock dog groups exist including the National Stock Dog Registry.

Now what about those other registries like the Continental Kennel Club? Both ASCA and AKC have reasonable standards for registration. ASCA does have stricter policies for verifying parentage of dogs, but both groups work hard to prevent incorrect records from being processed and to curb irresponsible breeders. In the recent years, a number of registries have appeared that have ridiculously lax rules about registration. I do not know the original intent of these registries, but, intentional or not, their rules promote irresponsible breeding and cater to puppy mills as currently written. I have some serious doubts that the founders of these "puppy mill registries" are not aware that they are trying to trick innocent consumers because a number of them use the same abbreviation as legitimate breed registries. For example, the Continential Kennel Club uses the abreviation CKC like the the Canadian Kennel Club. Similarily, the Universal Kennel Club, United American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club International, and US Kennel Club all mimic the legitimate United Kennel Club. Most of these "fake" registries allow you to pick up a stray dog from the street that, hopefully, bears some resemblance to an Australian Shepherd. You can then take pictures of the dog and have three random people (with no qualifications) sign a letter saying that the dog looks like an Aussie and poof your know have a registered Australian Shepherd. Every reason for having a registry is voided with this system. You have no history on your dog, you have no verification the recorded history is accurate, and you are have no reason to believe that a CKC puppy purchased is any different from the sad little puppy sitting in the humane society. Yes, there may be some fine dogs in the those registries just as there are fine unregistered "mutts" in millions of houses across the world. Just don't fool yourself into thinking you are buying dog with a traceable past that you can trust from registries like Continental Kennel Club or American Pet Registry (APR).


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