Health is a high priority
for us and we test our breeding stock prior to their first litter.
We like to use PennHip or
OFA to evaluate hips. We occasionally will go ahead and breed
a dog after a "prelim" xray, which is evaluated by the veterinarian
and ourselves. Our dogs are tested for MDR1 and CEA as well.
We evaluate for behavioral
traits with a ruthless, unforgiving eye. Too many people are
kennel-blind and breed individuals that they love, but which
probably shouldn't be bred. We love all of our dogs but that
doesn't mean that they should be bred just because they are here and
are intact. We believe that in Aussie and English Shepherd
breeds, people should breed more dogs less times each to encourage
genetic diversity within the breeds.
We also are ruthlessly
honest about our dogs. If we see a trait, physical or mental
or behavioral, that we aren't happy with, we are going to tell you
what it is. We're not going to exaggerate good traits and
we're not going to mention just the "tip of the iceberg" of the bad
ones. All dogs have good and bad things about them. If
you have run into a breeder that can't answer the question, "what
are his faults?" with some specific information, well, I personally
wouldn't buy from them. So when you see us mentioning things
that aren't necessarily positive, know that it is done with an eye
toward giving you an accurate picture of the dog so that EDUCATED
decisions can be made about the puppy you are going to buy or the
breeding you might do.
The dogs in our breeding
program must be sound, well-proportioned examples of their breed.
Physical structure is evaluated for function rather than cosmetics.
We want the kind of structure that can work all day, every day,
without breaking down because of faulty structure.
We do not choose dogs based
on color, head type, and other such things that have nothing to do
with working traits. We do like a pretty dog, of course, but
it's the brain in that head and the instinct in that brain that are
important to us.
We do not spay or neuter our
dogs unless there is a medical need to do so. We also
encourage our customers NOT to submit their dogs to this drastic,
often completely unnecessary surgery--rather, we coach people on how
to manage and safely deal with heat cycles and intact males.
Exceptions would be if you live somewhere with a lot of intact loose
dogs around and do not feel it would be easy to prevent litters from
occurring, or if you have males that are tense around other males in
your household, etc. Under these circumstances, waiting until
two years old for a bitch and around 18 months for a male is what we
advise, to allow for the dog to physically and mentally mature prior
to the surgery.
MDR1 (Multi-Drug Resistance 1)
OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals)
The Damaging Effect of Spay/Neuter on Dogs