Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Breeder Update - Miniature Australian Shepherd - Buyer Beware

Ok, so I thought I'd post my findings on that bad breeder that I mentioned in my previous blog post (see post here), O'Neill Horse Farms (who not only breed horses, they also breed Miniature Australian Shepherds ... Um ... woo hoo??).

Now, I have found that the AKC does not recognize the Miniature Australian Shepherd (hereby referred to as MAS). From what I have found, neither does the CKC. Both organizations do recognize the Australian Shepherd, but neither "Mini's" or "Toys".

As stated below, I would have retracted my comments and "bad" classification had the breeders (who I emailed last week) offered any sort of proof that their dogs should be bred. (Proof other than "they're pretty" or of "good temperament"). Hello? Do you know how many "pretty" dogs there are in rescue with a "good temperament"?? Puppies, Adults, and Seniors ... oh my!

Their website states that if an interested buyer would like to contact them they will be happy to share the dogs' pedigrees with you. So, I emailed them. The reply I got was not overly encouraging - it stated very much the same as the website. Here's what it said:

Thanks for your email about our pups ..Yes they are registered with MASCA and NSDR. If you call me we acn go over the pedigrees of my dogs. Are you looking for anything in particular?? Be fun to talk to you, Thanks again , Donna Oneill 563 568 2197

I emailed back asking if the pups are AKC or CKC registered, among other things such as colour, temperament, etc. The reply I received is not encouraging. There was no mention of registration for either AKC or CKC, no comments about temperament.
I asked about a specific dog on their website (#1 Blue Merle Female) and asked to know what dogs they had available as a blue merle and / or red tri. In the reply sent, there was no mention of the dog I had asked about. She sent me 5 pictures of dogs available ... I checked and don't think that any of them are listed on the website (unless I need to cross my eyes when comparing the pictures?).

This little guy is 5 months old, male. That's all I know - she didn't give me any info other than that. I'm not overly partial to his face ... and he doesn't look much like a blue merle or red tri to me ... but maybe it's bad light? Could I give them that as an excuse?? Personally, I think he's kinda Fugly ... but that's my honest opinion ... I find his muzzle isn't as short and cute as most Australian Shepherds ... maybe it's just a bad picture angle.

To be fair, here is another picture of one of the pups she sent to me. The picture is named "red tri female sittingcuteface". Now, if I look at the difference in the two picture qualities that we have here ... I would swear that these pics were taken with two different cameras. In fact, this one almost looks like it was a very old pic that was scanned in. Mind you, with today's cameras, there sure are a lot of neat and funky things you can do with them - perhaps that is why it looks so faded and different. (WHY you would do that purposefully if you are trying to sell your dogs is beyond me!)
Again, I have no information on this dog. No age, etc. One of the dogs pictured on their website is supposed to be 4 months and the pic looks like it is closer to 8 weeks ... so I'm ready to accept that this dog could be ANY age and probably isn't the same age now as when that picture was taken.

Now, I did a little research and looked up MASCA (Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of America) and NSDR (National Stock Dog Registry). I'm not suggesting that either of these organizations are not qualified in any way - they are probably great clubs. I would only like to point out a few facts that I have learned about them. Here's what I found about each one:

- The minimum membership fee is $7.50; the highest membership fee is $25
- To become a member, you should own Miniature Australian Shepherds. You don't have to provide any proof, nor do they need to be registered with the AKC.
- You don't register dogs with them - it is simply a club that your become a member of
- Breeders are able to be listed on the MASCA website by putting a checkmark in the box on their application form. The most interesting thing about all this? O'Neill Horse Farms is NOT on their Breeders Directory!? Why do you think that is?

I couldn't find any interesting information on this at all! There are no forms, no descriptions about the organization ... nothing. The only interesting bit of information I did find was that there is a breeder's directory which costs $50 to be listed in. Again, when searching for O'Neill Horse Farms, they are NOT listed.


So, to conclude - I have asked this breeder for information that the website states I am encouraged to ask about. The little information that I have received from the breeder is not impressive and after a little searching, really doesn't state anything other than "I know a few acronyms in the dog-world" and "I am trying to impress you with big words - aren't the pictures of my doggies cute?"
The unfortunate thing in all this? People fall for this tactic. Potential buyers think they should ask certain questions because the "how to find your perfect puppy" article they read told them to. They don't understand what any of it means, and can't be bothered to find out - which is a problem.

When you are looking for a dog, don't just read a list of what you should do. Learn what it means! Understand what the term 'registered' means and if they start throwing acronyms at you, ask them to write it down so you can go research that particular organization - who knows ... you might just save yourself an awful lot of money.
You may want to remember this post when thinking about buying a puppy from O'Neill Horse Farms ... I certainly wouldn't buy from there! Unless you really want to pay $1500 for a dog that isn't really worth that much? I'm sure you could find a dog with more interesting bloodlines and conformation for less.

1 comment:

Hammer said...

Hi Mate
Sorry it has taken me so long to reply. My mum is very busy right now with important day to day life stuff and there is very little time for my blog. I'm happy to exchange links with you, and it's good you are raising awareness about irresponsible hoomans. Everything seems to be about money now and too many hoomans don't care about what happens to the dogs and horses they breed. Too many hoomans only care about what they can get for themselves.
Love from Hammer