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Pincie Creek Australian Shepherds

About our breed

We get a lot of questions from present and prospective Aussie owners, and some of  the same questions keep popping up over and over again.  Below are some of the more frequently asked questions, and our answers.  Remember that our answers reflect OUR opinions only.  Other breeders may think differently.  Got a question?  Email it to us, and we'll try our best to answer it.  Questions of general interest will be posted to our web site. (For FAQ's dealing with working Aussies, click here.)

1.  Is a male or female best? I hear a male is more aggressive… is harder to housetrain….etc.
Whether you're picking a companion, worker, or competition prospect, in our opinion the sex of the dog is not a determining factor in how good it works, whether it's a good watchdog, or companion, etc. It all depends on the individual animal and how their genes happened to fall. We've known females that were very dominant, much more than our males, and we've had males that were sweetie pies, and vice versa. A lot of people say that a male is harder to housetrain because of his tendency to "mark" his territory, but again, this depends to a large extent on the personality of the individual male. Some males never mark inside, on the other hand, there are females that are very hard to housetrain. Neutering does seem to help the marking problem, and the more submissive males do not seem as inclined to mark as the dominant ones. If there are no other males around, or no intact females, you may also find your male less likely to "mark".

In short, analyze the individual puppy for the traits you are looking for, without regard to sex.

2.  Is it true that red dogs are more aggressive than other colors?
We've heard this for years, from people who have been in this breed a long time, and from people in other breeds who claim that red dogs are more aggressive. We have yet to establish the criteria by which they make this claim; the reasoning behind it, and the facts substantiating it. In our opinion, we find nothing to support this theory. We have known black and blue dogs that had very poor temperaments. Some of the best dispositions we've seen were those of red dogs. So again, we think it depends on the individual dog, how their genes happened to fall, and perhaps handling and upbringing, rather than color.

3.  Can I let my dog run loose?
Yes, if you don't care anything about your dog or your neighbors. Any dog that's worth anything is going to be a little trouble, and Aussies are no exception. They are an intelligent, high energy breed, inquisitive and easily bored. Remember that they were bred to work livestock. If left unconfined and alone, they will quickly seek a way to amuse themselves. If they have any working instinct, they will look for stock to work -- either yours or your neighbors. When they find it they will work it by their own method, and it most likely will not be a method you will approve of!! They might bring a neighbor's stock home to you, push stock through fences, become excited and chase young stock -- all sorts of things. One of the quickest ways to teach a young, good working dog bad habits is to allow it to run out and work the stock any time and any way he wants to.

Even if they don't have any working instinct your dog will find something to get into…something that can be fatal. Things that we don't even think of as being harmful can be deadly to a dog. We even know of a dog that swallowed a golf ball he found on the neighboring golf green and nearly died. And of course there are always the highways. "But my dog never goes anywhere" you say. Well, he may stay around for a while, even a long time, but one day he will decide to explore. Especially an intact male dog -- the enticing aroma of a bitch in heat travels for miles and a male dog will forget all about his loving master and home and do whatever he has to do to find that bitch. And when he does, if she has a conscientious owner, you can bet your male won't be welcome in her boudoir!!

We love dogs and animals as much as anybody, more than most people. But we will also be the first to say that there's nothing more irritating than a dog that comes around uninvited, be it a much loved neighbor's pet or a rambling stray. We've had neighbors' dogs carry off our shoes and cooking utensils that were left sitting by the grill, kill our chickens and sheep, pick a fight with our dogs through the kennel fence, bark at us in our own yard, and sit in our yard and howl at the moon at two o'clock in the morning. We are firm believers that no dog, including ours, should bother anyone. But everyone is not as patient and tolerant as we are. If you allow your dog to run loose and be a nuisance, it may very well turn up missing or injured, or even dead by very unpleasant means. Some people will do anything. So if you care about your dog, don't let it get in a position where this could happen to it.

Contrary to some people's misconception that confining a dog is cruel, it actually is one of the most responsible and loving things you can do for your dog. But let's be sure we define what we mean by "confined". We don't mean crated all or even most of the time, or confined in a small space with inadequate exercise. What we mean is having a good, secure fenced yard (be sure the fence is high enough and remember that Aussies are very athletic and can JUMP and CLIMB!!) or a nice, shady or covered secure kennel that your Aussie can stay in when he's not with you. All of us love our Aussies but remember they are animals, and since they don't have our reasoning ability they don't always perceive danger. It is up to us to protect them.

4.  My Aussie is about eight months old and all of a sudden is scared of everything. What's going on?
It has been our experience that almost every Aussie goes through a "fear period", which can occur when it is anywhere from a few weeks to several months old. Suddenly everything becomes a "booger". You might walk out one morning and the dog barks at you like you’re a stranger. Things that it has seen every day since birth are new experiences. It acts scared of everybody and everything. This stage can last from one week to several weeks but with few exceptions, they all do recover. During this fear period, we continue to treat our dogs just as we always have. Don’t pamper them, just normal treatment like nothing is wrong. One day you’ll go outside and everything will be back to normal.

5.  Do you have any of those "rare" white Aussies for sale?
Sadly, we get inquiries similar to this quite often. We also get inquiries from people who have bought a "rare" white Aussie and now notice or heard that there might be something wrong with it, and want to know to do. White Aussies (also called merle whites and lethal whites) sometimes result when two merle Aussies are bred to each other. (For more information on the merling gene, click here.) Whether caused by ignorance or greed of money, anyone who knowing sells these puppies should, in our opinion, be banned from the registries.

6.  Do you breed merle to merle?
We breed dogs, not colors, and our crosses are planned years in advance. We try to avoid merle to merle breedings if possible but sometimes it is not. For example, there may be a litter we want to keep a solid female from, to breed to a merle male, but there are only merle females in the litter. Then, we don't have a choice and we do breed merle to merle.

7.  My Aussie is scared of bad weather and loud noises. Is there anything I can do to help him/her?
This is a common problem in Aussies, and a tough one to solve. We've had Aussies like this and through various conditioning methods have seen some improvement in their behavior, but no cures. We've bought relaxation CD's of thunderstorms and even cassettes especially designed with thunderstorms and gunfire. The dogs paid the tapes absolutely no attention because they knew they weren't real. We've tried conditioning by getting out a favorite toy and playing with the dog while it's thundering, to distract them from their fear. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Even if it helps in that particular storm, the next time one comes up, you will need to do the same thing all over again. We've tried herbal remedies with very little success. We think that it’s not only the sound of the thunder that makes dogs afraid of the storm, it also has something to do with the change in the barometric pressure. Our dogs that don’t like storms act peculiar and let us know several hours before the first cloud appears that a bad storm is on the way.

8.  Are there any suggestions for new Aussie owners?
We do have a hand-out that we give, to view a copy click here.


~~ Inquiries Welcomed ~~
Roger Stevens
175 Fortson Road
Dothan, Alabama  36305
Phone 334-618-1665
or email us at

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