Tuesday, November 10, 2009
We recently added a new puppy to our family. It took a great deal of persuading on the part of my daughters and myself to convince my husband that another dog would be no problem. We explained to him that it would actually make it easier, because two dogs can play together and keep each other company! I'm not sure how convincing our argument was; he probably gave in because he was tired of hearing us whine!
Our new puppy is a Miniature Australian Shepherd, and she is a great little girl. There is much debate among the Australian Shepherd community as to whether or not the 'Mini Aussies' are actually Australian Shepherds. They are bred from smaller Standard Shepherds, and have been continually bred down while maintaining conformation and herding instincts. They are perfect for smaller homes or apartments, but still require exercise and socialization. If not properly socialized as a puppy, they are reserved around strangers.
Finding a reputable breeder is important, but while I was searching for our new puppy, I was amazed at some of the prices. Some breeders are charging as much as $1,500 for each puppy. It could be more depending on color or sex. They justify this outrageous price by stating that their puppies are registered and have health certificates. But, when you're charging more according to color, you're simply making more money due to supply and demand. Having previously raised Doberman Pinchers, I am fully aware of the expenses involved in raising a healthy litter of puppies, and I'm also aware that it doesn't cost any more money to raise a puppy of a different color! Many breeders also charge more if you want to breed the puppy. Others require you to sign a spay/neuter contract. I can understand that they don't want their puppies going to puppy mills, but if they're going to allow them to be bred if the customer pays more, again this seems to be about making more profit, not the best interest of the puppy.
We purchased our puppy from a wonderful family who had a litter of puppies from their family dogs. The puppies were born and raised in a loving home and given lots of care and attention. We were able to see the parents and environment they came from. There are no guarantees with anything, but we believe our puppy came from a healthy, loving home, so why pay 1,000's of dollars for a family pet, just so we can have papers that state that her distant relative won a competition years ago.