buyers are unhappy with the higher cost of well bred dogs. The argument is that they can open a paper and buy any old dog for a few hundred dollars, often the same breed that a good breeder is selling for upwards of $2000.
Well I'd like to explain to you the difference between a well bred dog that you will be paying well over $1000 for and a generic dog you can probably pick up for well under $500.
Generic: Meaning to have no particularly distinctive quality Well Bred: displaying good breeding
So a generic dog is a dog, you will love it, care for it, it will love you back, it will be able to play ball, go for walks, learn tricks and be a good member of your family. Nothing wrong with any of that. You may or may not know what breed it is or at least is supposed to be, it may or may not be pure bred, you may or may not know who the parents were. It really doesn't matter because very little thought went into bringing this dog into the world. He may have been an accident or he may have been planned but beyond putting two dogs together to have puppies the planning really stops there. This is a generic dog and there are millions of them in the world. We have all owned a generic dog or know someone who has, again nothing at all wrong with this, they need love as well as the next dog.
Well bred. This is a dog bred with a specific purpose. Usually pure bred. This dog has an extensive pedigree that you can track for multiple generations, sometimes upwards of 20-30 generations are easily known, not only do you know the dogs in the immediate pedigree but you can easily find siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles etc. All of these dogs have common traits. In Aussies the most prominent trait is the ability to herd, we call it instinct. Way back in the very early generations when the breed was first developing, only those dogs with the strongest instinct were used to reproduce. This compounded the desired instinct trait and passed it on very prominently to it's offspring. Every herding breed has a distinct style, so again the Aussies style of working is distinct to this breed. Colour and markings were established to get a breed of uniform appearance. The way a dog is put together gives it a distinct way that it moves. In the well bred dog all of this is maintained to the highest of standards. A well bred dog has been bred with this purpose in mind. Parents have been chosen with care to ensure all of the desired traits are maintained and if lacking in one parent, the partner is chosen to increase that trait in the offspring. Well bred dogs are picked apart by their breeders, the guardians of the breed. Those breeders understand that the majority of dogs are not suitable to reproduce, only the very best of the very best go on to have that privilege. For the well bred dog reproducing is just that, a privilege NOT A RIGHT! It must be earned. A well bred dog who earns the right to reproduce must have many outstanding qualities relevant to it's breed and what it was bred to do. Aussies are a herding breed, some of the things we must look for when deciding who is a candidate for breeding and who should be altered.
Natural herding instinct, this is a herding breed not a lap dog companion breed,
if it can not do it's intended job with livestock then it is fouling the most basic of purposes for the breed over all.
Reserve with Strangers: As a working farm dog an Aussie was meant to bark at and be standoffish with strangers, an Aussie who loved everyone was a useless farm dog as the strangers walked away with the farmers livestock.
Movement: This is an active working breed, they are designed to be agile, they need to safely maneuver over rough terrain without risk of injury. They had to be sound enough in structure to be able to be on their feet moving all day, a dog
weak in structure would come up lame and be unable to work as long as needed.
Direction: Aussies have to do what they are told and take direction, while they have the instinct to do their job, they had to listen to what the farmer wanted them to do with that instinct. Keep the animals together, split them up, move them quickly or slowly, put them in a building. The Aussie had to know what the end goal was and have the ability to make it happen.
So you may be looking at all of this and saying who cares, your a city family looking for a pet and not a farmer. That's great but then I have to ask why did you choose this breed? What were the characteristics that led you to chose an Aussie as your family pet? What ever those qualities were you may not find in a generic dog, only a well bred dog has been bred to retain those specific qualities that make an Aussie unique!
If you were looking for a hunting dog, then you wouldn't be looking at an Aussie. If you were looking for a lap dog, then you wouldn't be looking at an Aussie.
A well bred dog's breeder can point out all of the things that make it a well bred dog, things you may not think you care about, structure, movement, instinct etc Don't think you need a well bred dog? Are you planning to go hiking in the bush? Go back and look under movement, don't you want a dog who has been put together well so he can handle moving over rough terrain like the bush without getting hurt. Do you want to take your dog swimming? Then you might need the well bred dogs stamina to be able to keep up. Do you want to be able to have your dog off leash? Maybe that well bred dog who was bred to be able to take direction off leash is looking good. Are you a woman who is home alone some of the time? Maybe that well bred dog who is reserved with strangers and is going to bark and growl and carry on until you give him the all clear is a good way to go. Think you might like to try out flyball, agility or disc work? Don't you think maybe structure and movement will give you a more sound canine partner?
The other difference is over all quality, from a breeder who is breeding well bred dogs you tend to get far less visual variations. In Aussies you get fewer prick ears, fewer miss marked dogs, fewer dogs of unrecognised colours.
With a well bred dog you are getting the entire breed package, you are getting everything your breed is supposed to be not just bits and pieces. If you want an Aussie, a 100% tried and true Aussie then you want the whole well bred package.
On top of all of that a well bred dog has a very long history of health and genetics. I hear all the time from people how pure bred dogs are less healthy than mutts. This makes me laugh because it is the silliest thing I have ever heard. The difference is the well bred dog comes from a background of people who cared enough to actually do health testing and learn what the health issue were in that breed. By knowing what health issues are relevant in our breed we can develop tests to identify those dogs who carry the anomalies and breed away from it. That's much more responsible than not testing just to be able to say we have never found a problem.
Since I am going to be a responsible breeder I am going to buy my breeding dogs from tested back grounds, I am not buying them with the guarantee that they will be breeding so I can recover my cost, I'm buying them with the hope that they pass all my extensive tests and could possibly be breeding in the future. I am willing to put time and money into them to ensure they are the best they can be. So if there is a health issue to be noted, I am very much aware of it and I can elect not to breed that dog, or breed it to another dog who is clear of that particular health issue. I am making every breeding decision in a well informed manner, I am not breeding blind. I can show health testing for all of the latest breed related health anomalies because I am not afraid to test my dogs, I will only breed the best dogs to better the breed.
Your generic dog from the guy down the road has no testing, so how do you know if there is a problem or not. Sticking your head in the sand doesn't make the potential problem go away, it simply makes you unaware that it is there. Much testing is on a genetic level, something that the parents carry and you can't see. Take the Aussies MDR1 gene. By looking at the dog you have no idea who has this gene or not. In order to know without testing you have to give the dog certain medication that could kill him if he is sensitive to the drugs. If the dog does not have a reaction then he either doesn't have the gene or he just didn't have enough of the medication to warrant a reaction this time around, if your dog starts to convulse and has seizures and falls over dead....guess he had the gene. So you saved a few dollars by purchasing a generic dog but he didn't make it to his first birthday because the people you got him from didn't care enough about the breed, the dog or you the buyer, to put the time and money into testing the parents.
He may seem like he's defying the odds and may seem healthy for a few years, he may even make it to 6 or 7 when all off a sudden he isn't sure about going outside after dark, this could very well be Progressive Retinal Atrophy which is only detected through genetic testing of BOTH parents. Your dog could have been going blind slowly this entire time and you would have no idea. BUT he was cheap.
He could slowly start to have trouble walking when he gets to be 6 or 7, you may notice that his back end seems off and a trip to the vet discovers he is suffering from Degenerative Mylopathy. There is no cure or treatment. He is slowly becoming paralyzed, his spine is slowly shutting down and not working. Your cheap pet that you only paid a few hundred dollars for will have to be euthanized because soon he won't have any function in his back end at all. BUT you saved money when you purchased him!
Every single breed has health issues. Even your mixed breed dogs. A well bred dog comes with a long known history and is being bred away from those health issues. Your generic dog is like playing Russian Roulette, you have no idea what issues are in the genetic mix of both parents and when they might decide to rear their ugly head and cause you trouble.
Think about it this way, if your child came to you and said here are 6 people I think would make great life partners for me, I want you to pick one for me, it will affect me for the rest of my life. The catch is you can pick one for free knowing one of the six is HIV positive and will develop AIDS infecting your child, one is Sterile so you will never be a grand parent, one has a very long history of eye issues so all of your grandchildren will have to wear glasses, one has a long history of genetic problems and your child will loose their partner by the age of 50, one has genetic problems in their gene pool and each child they produce will have a defect such as grand mal seizures from epilepsy, downs syndrome, or severe autism making them less able to function in society and one is perfectly healthy. You can play a game of russian roulette and take your chances, play with the emotions of the entire family.
for a cost of $1200 - $1500 we could tell you all of that information and you could choose based on that knowledge.
Choose your next pet wisely, you often get what you pay for!