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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, a neighbor just had Australian Shepherd puppies, I love the coloring of all the blue murles (hope I spelled that right and its probably the one I am going to get) and I don't really know anything about this breed other than they are beautiful and fairly easy to train. Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated!! Thanks
 

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I would highly suggest not getting a dog from this litter and wait. Here are my reasons why,

1. You don't seem to know very much about the breed. Australian Shepherds are herding dogs. They were originally bred to herd and can do so 10 hours a day. Are you ready and able to commit at least 2 hours per day of exercise to this dog? Rain or shine? Not to mention training. If you end up not exercising this dog you may end up with a lot of behavioral problems.

2. Australian Shepherds have health issues that are common in the breed. Have the Sire and Dam (dad and mom of the litter) been health tested? This does not mean "they are healthy according to the vet". This means that both parents had x-rays taken of their hips, had CERF exams to check their eyes for cataracts and other defects, and both the parents have been checked for epilepsy. Do you understand the risks that the merle gene can carry?

Overall, you need to realize this puppy will grow up and be with you the next 15 years. Can you commit to a puppy? Can you commit to the energy required to exercise and mentally stimulate this puppy? Puppies are cute but that only lasts for maybe a couple of months before they are a dog. Australian Shepherds are a relatively difficult breed for someone not familiar to them.

I would wait on this litter. Continue to do research, learn all you can. Then when you are ready find a responsible breeder and get a healthy puppy whose parents had been checked out. Or, better yet, find a rescue and adopt an older (2-4 years) Australian Shepherd. You can see what it is like to own one and save a life. Then, if you think you would like a puppy, work from there and find a responsible breeder.

This would be an important website to be familiar with: Australian Shepherd Club Of America
 

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Aussies are smart, but I wouldn't call them easy. In fact, the smarter the dog, the harder they are to manage. A smart dog can open a door and get outside or unlock a garbage can or open up the pantry and go to town. Aussies need an enormous amount of physical and mental exercise and when they don't get it, they're nightmares. If you don't give an Aussie a job to do, it will find its own job, and that's likely to be eating your couch or escaping to harass the neighbors. Go to petfinder.com and search the breed. You'll notice something right away: all the homeless Aussies are between 6 months and 2 years old. That's because they stopped being cute puppies and started being total nightmares.

I wouldn't recommend an Aussie to a newbie dog owner. Heck, I'm an experienced dog owner and I wouldn't take an Aussie.
 

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i agree with all the advice above, but just to add:

make sure this is not a merle X merle breeding. Both parents should NOT be merle or you are looking at a host of health problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not a first time dog owner, just of this type of breed. They are responsible breeders, have known for many years. Have had all the testing that is regulated. Yes I have the time to spend on the training and socializing a puppy. (At home full time with my children, 6 and 3). My son had a pit puppy when he was absolutely in love with him. And he got stolen when he was a year old. We have almost an acre of fenced in property. I have been reading up on this breed since I posted and I honestly don't want an adult now, I really want a pet to be raised with us from puppy hood. I just really would like to know peoples opinions on this breed in general.
 

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Hello, a neighbor just had Australian Shepherd puppies, I love the coloring of all the blue murles (hope I spelled that right and its probably the one I am going to get) and I don't really know anything about this breed other than they are beautiful and fairly easy to train. Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated!! Thanks
It's spelled merle. I've had Aussies since 1970. Some of them (quite a few) tend to be one person/one family type dogs, so require extensive socialization as puppies so they will be okay with strangers. Even then, they can be reserved with strangers and simply tolerate them. They can tend to be very territorial about their people's property and so require training in that area as well. They tend to be very active both physically and mentally, so require a fair amount of exercise and a job to do (or they will make one) and they tend to ask a lot of questions about the rules. Common health problems are hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, eye defects, MDR-1 mutation (a defect that lowers the blood/brain barrier for several commonly used drugs, epilepsy and a few others. Before getting a puppy I would want to know what health testing the owners of the litter have done, and the results.
 

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Iand both the parents have been checked for epilepsy.
There really is no way to check for epilepsy. The best you can do is wait until the parents are past the age where idiopathic epilepsy usually shows up (2-4) and research pedigrees to know if any close relatives are seizuring.
 

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i agree with all the advice above, but just to add:

make sure this is not a merle X merle breeding. Both parents should NOT be merle or you are looking at a host of health problems.
You are looking at a host of health problems IF the pup has excessive white (more than a blaze on the head, white stockings, a white ruff,) or any white body spots or extra white around the eyes or ears. Solids (non-merles) and normally marked merles have no more health problems than any other dogs. But safest is a pup from a merle to solid breeder if you are wanting a merle.
 

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That's why I wouldn't get an Aussie, it's not that I don't have the experience bc I do, but it's my personality that I wouldn't get on with, they have a tendency to have very obsessive personalities, ACDs are (as a whole, there are poorly bred dogs in every breed. I good cattle dog is content to just hang out & nap, but always ready at a moments notice when duty calls (that's after thy mature now, when they are young they have two speeds... 90MPH & comatose lol).
 

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That's why I wouldn't get an Aussie, it's not that I don't have the experience bc I do, but it's my personality that I wouldn't get on with, they have a tendency to have very obsessive personalities, ACDs are (as a whole, there are poorly bred dogs in every breed. I good cattle dog is content to just hang out & nap, but always ready at a moments notice when duty calls (that's after thy mature now, when they are young they have two speeds... 90MPH & comatose lol).
Aussies do not particularly tend to be obsessive personalities. And ACD are probably more challenging as a breed. At least the ones I've met.
 

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You are looking at a host of health problems IF the pup has excessive white (more than a blaze on the head, white stockings, a white ruff,) or any white body spots or extra white around the eyes or ears. Solids (non-merles) and normally marked merles have no more health problems than any other dogs. But safest is a pup from a merle to solid breeder if you are wanting a merle.
I agree. However, I was assuming that someone who is coming to the forum wanting a "merle because they're cute" would NOT be buying from a breeder that is aware of, or following these guidelines.
 

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There really is no way to check for epilepsy. The best you can do is wait until the parents are past the age where idiopathic epilepsy usually shows up (2-4) and research pedigrees to know if any close relatives are seizuring.
I didn't know this, thank you for the clarification! Makes research into lines and breedings that much more important. I imagine this is becoming a bit of a headache for breeders considering the symptoms won't show up until potentially later in life.
 

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I didn't know this, thank you for the clarification! Makes research into lines and breedings that much more important. I imagine this is becoming a bit of a headache for breeders considering the symptoms won't show up until potentially later in life.
Well, an ethical breeder wouldn't be breeding until age 2 at the absolute earliest, so maybe not such a headache. Plus, seizures showing up at age 10 aren't quite the same as seizures starting at age 3.

I just find it interesting that the OP is an experienced dog owner posting in the first time dog owner forum and we've gone from "murlez is cute!" to "why, yes, they are health testing". It's like two different people wrote those posts.

Personally, herding breeds aren't my thing because I know I can't possibly provide the physical and mental stimulation necessary to keep a herding breed happy. I thought about it, but after the border collie rescue told me what her aussies and border collies are like and require, I realized I just don't have that kind of time, nor am I healthy enough. If I could do things like agility or flyball, then I'd run right out and get myself a rescue border collie and have a blast.

Remember, dog ownership isn't all about what the owner wants, it's about what the dog needs.
 

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Well, an ethical breeder wouldn't be breeding until age 2 at the absolute earliest, so maybe not such a headache. Plus, seizures showing up at age 10 aren't quite the same as seizures starting at age 3.
Yes. But seizures showing up at age 5 having been bred at age 3 or 4 could throw a wrench into some plans. Then again, if the breeder was researching lines carefully then it wouldn't be so much an issue. However, I could imagine there might be some people out there who are trying to keep any epilepsy in their lines on the down low. Maybe not. But, if even 1 breeder did do this, then I think there could be the potential for some big problems in the following generations. Either way, it is interesting stuff and I guess so long as you do all your research the odds are in your favor.

Remember, dog ownership isn't all about what the owner wants, it's about what the dog needs.
I really like this quote. OP, Aussies are great dogs and I know this seems like the perfect time, but what is the harm in waiting and making sure? Meet some Aussies. Know how they behave, what kind of training problems you may face and so on.
 

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Yes. But seizures showing up at age 5 having been bred at age 3 or 4 could throw a wrench into some plans. Then again, if the breeder was researching lines carefully then it wouldn't be so much an issue. However, I could imagine there might be some people out there who are trying to keep any epilepsy in their lines on the down low. Maybe not. But, if even 1 breeder did do this, then I think there could be the potential for some big problems in the following generations. Either way, it is interesting stuff and I guess so long as you do all your research the odds are in your favor.
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There's some thought that epilepsy is polygenetic. CA Sharp (who is well known in Aussie genetics and health) postulates that you can run into the BINGO factor. In order for a dog to be epileptic, a dog has to have the combination of genes to produce seizures. Your line could, unknown to you, contain genes B-I-N and you would not see seizures, and so think your line is seizure free. Then breed to an outcross stud who carries G-O (and would also not produce seizures in that line. And you'd have the likelihood that some of the pups would develop seizures.
 

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Aussies do not particularly tend to be obsessive personalities. And ACD are probably more challenging as a breed. At least the ones I've met.
I don't think they are challenging at all, Aussies seem to be more energetic, more like a kelpie or a BC.

How was the look of the ACDs you know? Do they look like Josefina, if they do then they are what some call 'farm bred' & not a real example of thr breed, Buddy & Izze are more What an ACD should look like... There are just a lot of farm bred ACDs so that's what ppl get used to seeing it.
 

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I don't think they are challenging at all, Aussies seem to be more energetic, more like a kelpie or a BC. .
Not really any thing like either a kelpie or a BC.

How was the look of the ACDs you know? Do they look like Josefina, if they do then they are what some call 'farm bred' & not a real example of thr breed, Buddy & Izze are more What an ACD should look like... There are just a lot of farm bred ACDs so that's what ppl get used to seeing it.
The ACDs I've been around (and worked with in training) range from at least pretty close to show quality to rangy and farm bred. But I don't think Josefina (from what you've said about her) is very representative of the farm/working bred dogs.
 

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There are lots of Aussies around here. In fact, they're probably the 3rd most common dog after Goldens and Labs. They're smart and trainable and tend to be trustworthy off leash if you've put in the time to train them. On the intensity scale they come in lower than the border collies and are probably a bit less intense than the Australian Cattle Dogs. They're certainly a softer breed than the Cattle Dogs in temperment. But they are busy dogs overall and need lots of time and stimulation.
 
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