Why Do You Breed Your Dogs?
Our most serious considerations when breeding our dogs are
the correct physical structure, temperament, drive and ability for a working dog,
Working, after all, what this breed was bred to do! Our dogs must have the physical structure, intelligence, temperament, endurance, work ethic, and implicit devotion to their job to be our great working partners AND family companions. We have dogs that have been bred and raised here on the ranch for generations, they all work cattle and are our family companions. When it comes to working cattle, this breed has no peer. Preserving that part of the breed standard before any other "ideals" is essential for us as cattle ranchers with a large herd. All pups are guaranteed to have a natural desire to work stock and can learn to the best of one's ability to teach them. I STRONGLY discourage people to use these dogs to work/herd horses. If they are allowed to heel a horse, gather and herd them, how can you ever be 100% certain they won't do it with a rider aboard? Its just asking for serious trouble, and a big absolute no-no on our place.
There are numerous genetic issues in the ACD breed that we as breeders are able to test for, before breeding in order to produce healthy, durable puppies.
PRA/prcd: Progressive Retinal Atrophy: A genetic form of early onset blindness, (PRA) and late onset blindness (prcd4). These are two seperate tests, for 2 different diseases, and therefore two different results are possible. Dogs can test A (Clear-these dogs are not affected nor posess the genetics to pass to progeny), B (Carrier-these dogs are not affected by PRA or prcd4 but do have the genetics of the disease to pass to offspring) or C (Affected--these dogs will develop PRA or prcd4 and carry the genetics to pass to progeny). B or C dogs should only be bred to A dogs.
All our dogs are PRA and prcd4 A or B.
PLL: Primary Lens Luxation: Another genetic eye issue that can be tested for with results of PLL A (Clear) PLL B (Carrier) or PLL C (Affected). PLL affects the lens of the eye falling out of place as a result of degeneration of the fibers holding it. Vision loss can occur suddenly as a result. All our dogs are PLL A or B. You can find more info at the Optigen link above.
Hip/Elbow/Patella Dysplasia: Dysplasia is a degenerative joint disease that can be xrayed in a dog at 2 yrs or older and evaluated by OFA in a vairety of grades (for hips): Excellent/Good/Fair are all passing grades for Hips. Elbows and Patellas are passing if graded as Normal. PennHip is another method of evaluation that is also acceptable.
All our dogs have OFA Normal Elbows/Patellas and are OFA Hips Fair, Good or Excellent
Deafness: Puppies are hearing tested using the Brainstem-Evoked Auditory Response Test, or BAER test. Bi-lateral puppies hear normally out of both ears, Uni-lateral puppies hear normally from one ear. Deaf puppies are of course non hearing. Puppies can be tested after 35 days old, but it is generally recommended around 8 wks old for consistent results.
Many of our puppies have found homes on farms and ranches working with their families, some are having fun competing in conformation, herding, agility, obedience, disc, and other performance competitions, while others are just as happy providing loving companionship to active families in many states. We have many references available upon request from families that use our dogs for work and pleasure. We strive for dogs that have good natural working ability and ethic, but that are easy to live with and a pleasure to be around as a companion as well.
If you have never owned this breed of dog, please do your research-they are a great breed IF they fit your lifestyle, as they require a substaintial amount of daily mental and physical activity, as well as a solid, ongoing foundation of socialization and obedience training.