Article: by Liz Scott
Responsible Breeders DO:
Are familiar with the Code of Ethics of the N Z Kennel Club.
Aim to improve the breed and produce the best puppies they possibly can.
Have a well defined breeding program in place.
Ask as many questions of you as you do of them.
Breed dogs that are free of serious health and temperament problems.
Tell you if they think you would be better off with another breed of dog, or no dog at all.
Provide referrals to other breeders if they don't have anything available.
Use a written contract and guarantee with clear terms that you can live with.
Provide registration slip, a pedigree and up-to-date health records with every pup they sell.
Honestly discuss any special problems/requirements associated with the breed.
Offer FREE assistance and advice on grooming, training, showing, etc., for the life of the dog.
If, for any reason and at any time, you cannot keep the dog, they will take it back.
Normally breed only one or two litters a year, maximum.
Have dogs that are clean, healthy, happy, and humanely cared for.
Responsible Breeders DO NOT:
Appear overly eager to sell or "get rid of" a puppy.
Breed simply to produce puppies to sell.
Breed consistently from the one dog and/or bitch.
Breed a bitch on every season, or more than once a year.
Claim that all of their puppies are "show/breeding quality".
Claim that their breed has no problems (every breed has at least a couple).
Sell puppies that are less then eight to ten weeks old.
Sell Puppies without papers (registration slip and pedigree), or charge extra for papers.
Have more than one or two litters at any given time, or litters of multiple breeds.
Sell puppies to Pet Shops.
Do Not Buy A Puppy From A Pet Shop.
SELECTING A PUPPY FOR A FAMILY PET
Firstly, do not go with a pre-conceived idea of what you want as far as the 'look' of the dog is concerned, e.g. you've always wanted a Heeler with two eye patches. ALWAYS select your pup for the right temperament to suit you and your family and ask the breeder to help you with this selection.
The Australian Cattle Dog is a relatively hearty, healthy breed and you should expect to have your new mate for twelve to fifteen years. Australian Cattle Dogs are born white with whatever face and/or body patches they will have in later life. As ACD pups age, their blue or red coloring gradually emerges.
A slightly different approach is required when choosing a Heeler pup from a litter. It isn't adviseable to choose the most ougoing and forward pup unless you are either a very experienced dog handler or want it as a working dog. This pup is probably the most dominant and will likely be difficult to handle and train.
A submissive temperament is best for a family pet and a good test for this is to hold each pup on it's back (either in your arms or on the ground). The ones that struggle and won't lie still are most likely of a dominant nature, so put them away and concentrate on selecting one of those pups that lie still and quiet.
RAISING A PUPPY
Before the pup arrives the rules and boundaries must be set and everyone in the family must be prepared to enforce these. For example, inside or out / on the furniture or not. If these rules are not strictly stuck to, then you will end up with a very confused puppy which will manifest itself into naughty behaviour.
A 'firm hand' is required in training your Heeler pup - after all, they are a working breed and if you show weakness and 'spoil' it, the pup will take advantage of this and probably take over as 'pack leader'. This is where major problems will arise. (This doesn't mean that you can't cuddle and love them to bits when they are behaving).
Early socialisation and obedience training is a MUST for the Heeler. They can tend towards being anti-social with other dogs and this must not be allowed to develop. The Australian Cattle Dog personality is often reserved with strangers and even FIERCELY protective when they perceive that their property and/or persons are being threatened. The ACD is intelligent, but can certainly often be described as hard-headed and stubborn.