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Health & Wellness

Briar, Jolene and Abner

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.

Links:

MDR1 (Multi-Drug Resistance 1)

CEA (Collie Eye Anomaly)

PennHip

OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals)

The Damaging Effect of Spay/Neuter on Dogs

 

 

 
 

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Lisa & Kerry Lafferty  /  ozarklisa@gmail.com  /    Mountain Home, Arkansas