For the last few months, we have been contemplating adding another member to the Prospector Pups pack. There is a lot that goes into purchasing a puppy and so many different breeds to choose from. We wanted to make sure we chose the right breed, at the right time, and for the right reasons. This past Monday we made that happen when we found an ad for a litter of Australian Shepherd puppies. After going to meet the puppies and their mom, we instantly fell in love and brought this bundle of fluff home and gave him the name, Chappie. So what DID we consider over the last few months when deciding to purchase a puppy?
First and foremost, a breed that was good with kids. Growing up, I had an Aussie mix, so I knew she was always good with my younger brother and I. We could play all around, with and on her and she did not mind. Matter of fact, she would play with us all day! My girls are 2 and 6 (almost 7) and they know how to behave around animals but there will be that occasional moment where they play too rough, trip over the dogs, or run around screaming and causing a ruckus! We wanted a breed that would tolerate those occasional “oops” moments. Check that off the list for the Australian Shepherd.
Size. We wanted a breed that was medium in size as we have three Jack Russell Terriers that are about 15 pounds average weight and a Mastiff/St Bernard that is a massive 140 pounds. I wanted a breed that was large enough to be an effective guard dog when I want to hike on my own, but small enough to ride in my Nissan Xterra comfortably and go places with us that allow pets without causing too much of a scene. Since standard sized, male Australian Shepherds are 55-70 pounds MAX, and are a height of only about 20-23 inches at the shoulder, Chappie was a perfect choice. Although, I think he will be on the smaller side of that weight spectrum as his dad was about 50 pounds and his mom was only a mere 35 pounds.
Activity level. We wanted a pup that was going to be able to keep up with Hope and I on the trails. Most of our hikes are over 5 miles and we go full speed majority of the way. We have friends that have Aussie’s and they are able to charge through mile after mile without slowing down. Aussie’s are known for their use in agility, flyball, herding and other fast paced dog sports. We strongly considered other breeds like Vizsla’s, Belgian Malinios, and Siberian Huskies (all working breeds) but in the end, the Aussie trumped all. They are ready to go at a moments notice, they keep going, and most are not over-charged or high strung like some of the working breeds we just mentioned.
Unique Look. Ok, I’m not going to lie, I wanted a pup that stood out. One that was eye catching. Running a blog, an Instagram and a Facebook page about my dogs and our adventures calls for me to do a lot of work. What helps a person get noticed? I felt it was clean, crisp photos, knowledge of products and a unique looking pet that knew basic obedience and some trick behaviors. The Australian Shepherd can be 1 of the 7 color schemes: Black, Red Merle, Red tricolor, Merle, Red, Black tricolor, Blue Merle. They can also have eyes that are: golden, lemon yellow, amber, light brown, dark brown, green, orange, blue or heterochromia (two different colored eyes). Upon seeing Chappie for the first time I saw he had a blue eye, a brown eye AND he was a red merle. I didn’t think a dog could be any more unique looking than him! He even has a pink and black speckled nose! Ok, so maybe I am biased. But the Australian Shepherd sure is a beautiful and unique breed.
Personality. Oh boy, does the Aussie have personality! From their nubby little butt to their “smiling” happy face, the Australian Shepherd has a personality as big as the world. They bounce around like little kangaroos and at the end of the day will cuddle up next to you for some sweet snuggles.
Cost of care and any health issues that come with a specific breed. Since I work at an animal hospital, cost of care really is not at the top of the concern list, however, it is still important when looking for a new puppy. A larger breed, like the Siberian Husky that we were considering, can have hip dysplasia, entropion (eyelid folded inward), and corneal dystrophy. All of which cost a pretty penny to treat. The Australian Shepherd is a generally healthy breed but they too can develop hip dysplasia. They also can develop epliepsy (seizures) which usually can be controlled by medication. NO breed is exempt from any illness, just like humans, but there are some breeds that do become ill more than others. In the 15 years I have known my childhood Aussie, Sadie, she has never once had a health issue. That is why I felt that the Australian Shepherd was a good choice when picking a healthy breed.
Probably the only thing that did not matter to me when choosing a puppy was grooming. We already have 2 breeds that shed in the house, what was one more!? Aussies need daily brushing and their fluffy butts need to be trimmed every now and then. My dogs get bi-weekly nail trims and that seems to keep their nails from growing out too long. Easy peasy!
I feel that Chappie, and the Australian Shepherd breed, was an excellent choice. All the criteria I was looking for was found in this breed: kid friendly, agile, BEAUTIFUL, funny/sweet, healthy, and easy to keep! I can not wait to get this boy out on the trail and see what he’s made of. I already know he is a total sweetheart who loves to bounce around, play with toys and cuddle with me at the end of the day. Looking for an awesome dog? Look no further than the Australian Shepherd (or Australian Shepherd Mix)!