A reputable breeder will take the time to explain what their breeding program is about. Why they are breeding the dogs that they are, and what their program is doing to help improve their breed. They should have a good knowledge of the background of the pedigrees of their dogs, their positive and negative traits and the temperament history of their pedigrees.
A reputable breeder should be willing to take the time to make sure that all of your questions get answered. No breed is perfect for everyone, and the responsible breeder wants to be absolutely sure that you really want, and are prepared to care for, this kind of dog for the life of the dog, not just during the "cute puppy stage". They should discuss with you the genetic deficiencies of the breed and at what ages they need to be tested. They should be willing to become your mentor. Knowing that you can go back to your breeder at any time and ask questions is
invaluable! They should be able to offer you book titles and websites to further your education on the breed. The bottom line is: look for a breeder that wants to teach you about the breed, that wants to help you get the most out of your dog, and that wants to help you succeed in the show ring if you are looking for a show puppy. If the breeder does not willingly offer continuing support, beware of why they want to sell you a puppy!
A reputable breeder only produces a litter with the goal of improving their breed. They do not breed only to make money or to sell puppies because a breed has become popular and puppy buyers are eager to buy. Pay special attention to this, as Toy and Miniature Australian Shepherds are presently a very popular breed and there are many back yard breeders breeding puppies just to make money. It is as important to work with a reputable breeder when buying a pet as it is when buying a show/breeding stock dog. The pet will be a part of your family for 13 to 15 years, why would you not want the best bred temperament that you could find? A reputable breeder does not breed simply because they have a female, and their friend has a male so they decided to have and sell a litter of puppies. Beware of the breeder that only talks about conformation. The mind of the puppy is a result of good bloodlines as much as good body structure. You should receive at least a three generation pedigree with your puppy. It is very important when buying an Australian Shepherd, Standard, Miniature or Toy that you find a
breeder that knows how much herding instinct there is in the history of their bloodlines. If a breeder takes this lightly, and does not discuss this with you when helping to pick out your puppy, beware! The amount of herding instinct in the bloodlines that the breeder is using will definitely influence the personality of the puppy. You may want more, or less depending on your lifestyle. This is another reason for the breeder to know the background of the pedigrees of their dogs.
A reputable breeder will not sell their puppies to just anyone. You should not be offended when asked about your lifestyle. The conscientious breeder will ask you many questions to find out if their breed is a breed that will fit well into your lifestyle and family. They will screen you carefully. They will refuse a sale rather than place a puppy in a questionable situation. If the breeder does not question you closely about your home, your family, how many hours a day are you at work and your expectations of the dog, beware!
A reputable breeder will sell only healthy stock, and guaranteed for some reasonable time after the sale. See the "CONTRACT" page on this website. The breeder should always supply a contract. It should be not only for the breeders benefit, but should also have the buyers best interest at hand.
A reputable breeder will not sell a puppy under the age of 8 weeks and will have the puppy fully evaluated and temperament tested within 3 days either side of 8 weeks. They should be current on their vaccinations for their age and you should be given a record of such vaccinations and any veterinarian work performed. They should have been dewormed. Ask the breeder how they evaluate their litters to decide show/breeding stock from pet quality. A reputable breeder will have pet quality pups spayed or neutered before they go to their forever homes,
at the expense of the breeder. At LONE PINE AUSSIES our puppies are evaluated using a set format designed by the world renowned dog breeder and judge Pat Hastings. It is an intensive evaluation that we use at LONE PINE AUSSIES. During this evaluation the puppies are also temperament tested. Our standards are high and only the puppies with the highest scores get rated as show/breeding stock. That means that many good show quality dogs are rated as pet quality at LONE PINE AUSSIES. A reputable breeder will raise litters that are consistent enough that the difference between show/breeding stock and Pet quality to the average dog owner is so slight that it is hard to tell the difference.
The temperament testing portion of the evaluation is as important as the structural portion, so the breeder can place the puppies in the correct households. If your breeder does not mention that their puppies get temperament tested in their evaluation, beware!