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Old 06-23-2008, 12:10 AM   #1
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Hello everybody,

As you may know by my signature (though the date should be changed - they were due this weekend), I am getting a Miniature Australian Shepherd soon. We met the breeder in January and her dogs as well as the puppies were lovely. She was well informed & competes with her dogs in agility and does some herding with them. I decided that a male would be the safest choice, as we already have a female. I also love the merle colouring.

So I have been waiting for this litter since then. They were born today - two black tri females! She mentioned that she has a litter being born on August 7th this summer. The female has had all colours in the past.

Another issue that we had was the tail docking. She is willing to leave the tail on for us, but they are docked at only a couple days old. I would rather not choose for colour & gender but rather personality.

With two puppies in the litter, though, if the second person in the litter also wanted a tailed show pup then perhaps she could leave the tails on for both of them.

Basically I am a little bit torn as to which litter I should get a puppy from.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-23-2008, 12:55 AM   #2
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hello
i am new to keeping a dog, but since i always wanted a dog i used to read a lot about them and still do.
i can understand your problem, but what if the next litter has a blue merle dog born with a natural bobtail, i understand that the australian shepherds have a gene for this. so you would still be stuck for choice.
if you much rather have a dog with a tail why don't you have a talk with your breeder maybe she can point you in the right direction of another good australian shepherd breeder that does not dock, this way your chances of a puppy with tail would increase.
as far as picking for color and gender goes there is nothing wrong with it, as long as you can work with the temperament you then might end up with.

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Old 06-23-2008, 01:08 AM   #3
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My question is do you have any serious competition plans? Are you considering agility, obedience, conformation? This will add strongly to my answer.
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Old 06-23-2008, 02:17 AM   #4
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Hi agility - I would love to compete in agility but I believe I am too young to do it seriously at the moment (14). Conformation does not interest me, and obedience is a possibility but I don't think I would ever compete in it. However, in a few years it may be possible for agility trials. Are dogs with tails not allowed to compete?

Australian Shepherd breeders are hard to come by in my area, and breeders who don't dock tails even more so.

Thanks to you both for helping me out here =).


Editing:

She's sent pictures of the pups. One black bi girl, one minimal white black tri girl... will post pictures tomorrow.
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Old 06-23-2008, 07:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeggieLuv View Post
Hi agility - I would love to compete in agility but I believe I am too young to do it seriously at the moment (14). Conformation does not interest me, and obedience is a possibility but I don't think I would ever compete in it. However, in a few years it may be possible for agility trials. Are dogs with tails not allowed to compete?

Australian Shepherd breeders are hard to come by in my area, and breeders who don't dock tails even more so.

Thanks to you both for helping me out here =).


Editing:

She's sent pictures of the pups. One black bi girl, one minimal white black tri girl... will post pictures tomorrow.
Instinct would tell me agility might be harder without a tail for balance? But I could be talking nonsense as I have never done agility!

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Old 06-23-2008, 03:00 PM   #6
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First, if you're serious about it and willing to put in the hard, hard work, you can compete in agility at your age. I have a junior handler who started at 13. She's 17 now and competing at the highest level in AKC agility. However, she trains everyday and works very hard at it. And, your parents have to be willing to make the time and financial sacrifice as well. Make sure to get a professional trainer and DON'T go it alone. Agility is way, way too hard to train alone without making huge mistakes that will keep you from going far at all.

So, if you're serious about possibly competing, I'd be far more interested in personality than color. Color shouldn't be a consideration at all. You need to have your breeder pick out a fairly active, moderately bold dog for you. For your first dog, you don't want the boldest, most active because that type of dog would be VERY hard to train. For your first agility dog, you're looking for an outgoing, confident dog with moderate drive. A willing worker who isn't hyped up. You're looking for a dog who will eventually make time, but not be one of the speed demons who are so hard to control and train.

If you get this type of dog, you'll be able to do agility, obedience, herding or almost anything with it without struggling too much against it's personality.

Your breeder will be able to pick out the personality that's right for you.

As for the tail, this is the problem. Yes, it's believed the tail does offer some balance when doing agility. We see the dogs' tails whip around on jumps and the contact obstacles as they use them as a rudder. However, tailless dogs do just fine. If I had a choice, I'd keep the tail on.

BUT, a litter of puppies is temparment tested at about 7 weeks of age. By then, the tails are docked. So, if I were looking at a "docked" breed, I would have to decide if personality or tail was more important to me, and of course, personality is. So, I would take a docked tail in favor of waiting for the puppies to be temparment tested to find the right one for me.

You really have to trust your breeder on this one. The breeder is living with the puppies and knows their temperment. I leave it largely up to the breeder to make sure the right pup is chosen for me. Very difficult! If you live near the breeder, you can make visits as the pups age to test them yourself. Puppy tests can be found on-line by Googling them. Google "Volhard" and red about that.

Also, be willing to wait for the next litter, if a perfect prospect idn't in this one. Patience is key when looking for an agility prospect.


So, that's my advice as an agility competitor.
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Old 06-23-2008, 06:34 PM   #7
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Thank you. What a great post =). Very helpful.
The temperment test concept is interesting... will definitely be looking into that.
I will keep in mind everything that you mentioned while choosing my pup. I've attached a picture of the little ones, too =).

Here is the breeder's website: http://members.shaw.ca/hitide
Mum is Crush - I think she's just beautiful.

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Old 06-23-2008, 08:24 PM   #8
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I would go for a breed with a tail all the time. Tail docking has been banned in my state of Australia for the last 2-3 yrs & as far as I know in all states. I also don't think there are mini Aussies in Australia, & while looking at the father's website they also breed toy Aussies.
The puppies are gorgeous, look like Border Collie pups, my favourite breed.
While doing my own researching on the net I came across a couple of articles on early spay/neutering of pups. http://www.caninesports.com/SpayNeuter.html
Something to be aware of if you intend to do agility or in fact any dog sport.I intend to let my 5 month old Border Collie to have a heat before having her spayed & the vet agrees with me.
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Old 06-23-2008, 10:16 PM   #9
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April - Thank you. I found that article really interesting... contained a lot of good information. It never occurred to me that spaying or neutering early would cause behavioral differences.
I love the father. His colouring is absolutely stunning... but on the same tolken, tri's and bi's are flashy too.

The 'Toy' aussie label sort of irks me. It is just another label although the dogs are just small aussies - personally I think we can stop at miniature, thank you... Any Miniature Australian Shepherd, aka North American Shepherd under 13 inches at the shoulder supposedly qualifies as a 'Toy' aussie. The term doesn't really even fit anyways because this smaller variation of the Aussie is faulted for having "toylike features" such as bulging eyes, domed heads and fine bones.

That and I'm not a huge fan of toy dogs and even if my mini ended up being toy size would no doubt still tell people she/he is a Miniature Australian Shepherd, or a North American Shepherd.

http://www.namascusa.com/about.htm#standard

Edit - Aha! In fact, the breed standard states that being under 14 inches (or over 18 inches, in which case the aussie is basically just a slightly smaller standard) is a severe fault.

So, yes. To conclude, (although I suppose this could be slightly hypocritical, seeing as I am buying Mini) I do not believe it to be necessary to breed for the 'toy' size. Much preferable is staying within the breed standard which IMO has a more reasonable standard for height.
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Old 06-23-2008, 10:54 PM   #10
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As for spaying or neutering an agilty prospect, it's currently considered not wise to spay or neuter an agility dog until their growth plates are closed. I so want to neuter Asher (if I decide against conformation), but have to wait for several more months. Studies have shown that dogs spayed or neutered at a young age have odd bone growth.
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