It’s tough deciding where your Aussie should come from. For those who have a hard time deciding, I’ve listed the possibilities, the pros and cons, and any other information I thought would be helpful to you.
Pounds/Shelters– Pounds are a great place to save Aussies or Aussie crosses. For a small donation, you can save an Aussie’s life. Many dogs saved from these places are especially grateful for their freedom. However, some come with some very colored pasts the new owner may need to discover on their own and hopefully retrain with love and understanding.
Aussie Rescue– There are now two rescue organizations for Aussies: ARPH (Aussie Rescue and Placement Helpline) , which is the official rescue of ASCA, and STAAR (Second Time Around Aussie Rescue), the official rescue of USASA. ARPH can be reached by calling toll free 1-877-ARPH-779, and is headed up by Kay Marks. STAAR can be reached by calling toll free 1-877-RESCUE-US. There are a number of sites that help place Aussies through Aussie Rescue. If you want to adopt an Aussie, I urge you to do so. There are so many wonderful dogs looking for homes!
Australian Shepherd Rescue Photo Page – You’ll find photos of Aussies waiting to be adopted, rescue information for both organizations (as well as private rescue), and much, much more.
Pet stores- NEVER EVER buy a dog or cat from a pet store. They can come from puppy mills. No matter what the pet store owner says, they may get them from “local breeders” which simply means that the puppy miller is nearby. If you do find a dog or cat for you, ask the pet store for a name and number of the local breeder. If they refuse to supply you with a name, or you call and there is no such person, please do not buy one. In ‘saving’ one dog or cat, you are supporting the puppy mill industry.
Classifieds– Often times you can get a great dog from a classified ad. Some reputable breeders (See below for more information on reputable breeders) use this as a tool, but many or most of those placing ads are backyard breeders. They are contributing to the ruination of the breed. They do not test before breeding or know the basic genetic rules.
Commercial breeders– these breeders have made a business out of their breeding, and usually breed between 6-10 litters a year. They probably test, do dog sports, or the like. They are generally reputable, but the reputable breeders who breed less litters think they are doing way too much breeding to be beneficial to the breed.
Reputable breeders– What is a reputable breeder? I define one as someone who breeds with the dogs in mind. They may show or to show, but they are breeding for one of three reasons: working ability, performance, conformation. Reputable breeders never breed so that their kids can experience the miracle of birth, they do not breed because their dogs would be healthier if bred (bull SHNOCKERS), and they don’t breed because they love their current dog and want one JUST like it. They do tests to ensure their dogs’ health, and they are always willing to ask questions. If you go to a person whom you have been told is reputable but something about them makes you wonder, they probably are not. Go with your gut feeling.
If you are looking for a breeder near you, or just want to look around at sites on the web, please go to the Western Hills Aussie Links with listings by state or name.