Health and Behavior Basics

Aussies, like any dog, have the potential for genetic health problems. One of the best ways to safegaurd against problems is to research and buy from a breeder who gives a money-back guarantee. When researching your puppy, find out if there is a guarantee against common genetic diseases. A reputable breeder will be able to tell you about a dog’s genetic health history.

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Some genetic problems in Aussies include malocclusions (faulty bites which may affect a dog’s health, but most faulty bites are simply unsightly), juvenile cataracts (the bilateral lens opacities by age of 6 years; may lead to blindness), Collie Eye Anomaly (symptoms range from choroidal hypoplasia to optic nerve coloboma to retina detachment), cleft palate (nonclosure of bones and soft tissue of upper jaw and/or roof of mouth may be immune-mediated), epilepsy (recurrent seizures, onset of 1 to 3 years, but note that some epilepsy is not hereditary), primary glaucoma (increased fluid pressure in globe leads to pain, eye destruction and blindness), homozygous merles (overly white Aussies created by breeding a merle to a merle, it produces a defective double gene, it usually results in blindness and/or deafness, one reason to not buy overly white Aussies without knowing their background), hip dysplasia (progressive developmental deformity of hip joints; mild to crippling), Progressive retina atrophy (retina degenerates; first night blindness, then total blindness before middle age), spina bifida (vertebrae don’t cover nerves in lower back; incontinence and gait abnormalities), and iris colobomas (pitted areas of retina near optic disc; asymptomatic, note, may not be hereditary).

From treats to tugs, KPCT carries toys that are sure to make any playtime or training session fun and engaging for you and your dog!

Be sure that your dog is inoculated against any diseases they might come in contact with, as there are many potentially deadly diseases out there.

Temperament issues are also problematic: many Aussies are too protective and territorial for urban/suburban life. Aggression can be common, along with fear-based behaviors and neurotic behaviors from inactivity and lack of mental stimulation. Ask questions. Get informed. Look for experts in this breed to guide you should your dog turn up with problems.

For more information on specific Aussie related disease or syndromes, please click on this link to: Australian Shepherd Health and Genetics.