Look for a breeder with a code of ethics. Whether it’s declared somewhere or not, find out what it is and whether it’s what you want.
Excellent books covering breeding:
- Successful Dog Breeding: The Complete Handbook of Canine Midwifery (Howell reference books)
- Born To Win: Breed to Succeed – for the more conformation minded
- Genetics of the Dog – a bit outdated, this classic book will have you thinking, nonetheless.
In the same vein, if you’re a breeder, do the same. Too many people are breeding dogs just to do it. The breed is the 24th most popular in AKC’s registry – there are simply too many of them and many are poorly bred. Don’t be that guy.
An example of a breeding manifesto:
- Correct Aussie temperament
- Truly versatile lines
- Eager to please
“My mission in breeding dogs is to breed an Australian Shepherd line that exemplifies the Total Dog. First and foremost is trainability and true versatility. Emphasis will be placed on breeding good reds. All of my dogs will have stable temperaments. This is my promise to you.”
I follow the UKC and ASCA Code of Ethics as written, but I also have my own written one, to assure that I do not forget my own codes. The following is my own personal code of breeding ethics.
- I will keep accurate records of all transactions, such as stud services, pedigrees, litters produced, sales of dogs or puppies, and exchanges as related to the Australian Shepherd for as long as I am involved in the dog fancy.
- Should something bad happen, in example a dog of mine that is well-used develops something like epilepsy or cataracts, I will take an ad out in the main Australian Shepherd magazines alerting people to the fact.
- All of my records are available to anyone at any time.
- I shall plan each breeding with the paramount intention of improving the breed.
- I shall select sire and dam with an eye to conformation, temperament, and working ability with a careful study of all Australian Shepherd standards, especially ASCA’s.
- I will scrutinize pedigree, conformation, and working potential of both sire and dam with the standard in mind.
- I will refuse breeding if I do not think it is not in the best interest of the breed.
- I will only breed individuals free of disqualifying defects, Hip Dysplasia, eye problems, or any other deformity.
- I will remove any dog from my program if it consistently produces afflicted puppies, and if the animal is widely used, I will make public the problem.
- I will not breed an animal until it is physically and mentally mature
- As the owner of a stud dog, I will explain the reasons of refusal to any bitch’s owner that I refuse
- I will require buyers of pet quality animals to spay or neuter them
- I will maintain high standards of health and care for my animals, guaranteeing the health of puppies at the time of sale.
- I will be discriminating in the sale of his puppies and concerned with the type of homes in which they are placed. I will not donate an Aussie for raffles, give-aways, or sold to dog wholesalers or retailers.
- Whenever possible, I will take action against those who do so.
- I will provide a life guarantee against any congenital defects on all puppies sold, and breeding quality puppies against all hereditary defects and any disqualifying faults for life.
- I will provide either a replacement puppy or a full refund for any dog not meeting my guarantee.
- I will give all related papers to owner at time of sale
- I will provide a 4 or more generation pedigree to my puppy buyers and it will include as much of the following as possible: coat, eye color, naturally bobed tail, diet and care information, health guarantee and inoculation record.
- I will not sell a puppy until at least seven weeks old.
- I will be factual and honest in my advertising
- I will be cautious in deeming an Aussie breeding quality
- Member relations:
- I will be a good sport in and out of the ring
- I will not criticize others’ dogs unneccesarily
- I will educate the public at all opportunities
- I will serve as a mentor to anyone wishing for help
- My dogs will have clean water available at all times,
- They will eat high quality food and be kept in good weight.
- My dogs will have full time access to my house.
- They will have shelter from the elements in the yard
- The whelping area will be clean, secure, roomy, and separated from other dogs.
- All vaccinations will be up to date.
- My animals will be kept free of disease and parasites
- My dogs will be well socialized family dogs
- I will keep the yard free of waste
- My dogs will be fenced adequately
- My dogs will all be DNA profiled