Questions to ask an ACD Breeder

Here are a few questions to get you started
when interviewing a breeder:

Things to look for in answers noted in red

  1. Have both the sire and dam had their hips x-rayed and certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), PennHip or the recognized registry in their country?

    OFA hip ratings are Excellent, Good and Fair. While canine hip dysplasia is a multifactorial defect, careful breeders will only use animals in their breeding program that have had thier hips examined and rated. For futher information be sure to see the Hip Dysplasia page in the Health section of

  2. Have the sire and dam had their eyes certified by a Veterinary Ophthalmologist ? Has CERF cleared them of Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and other genetically linked eye disorders? If so, when was this done? Have the sire and dam of this litter been blood tested to determine their prcd status?

    Eye examinations should be done yearly and submitted to CERF on all breeding stock. There is also now a blood test that will determine if any dog is CLEAR of, a CARRIER of or ill become AFFECTED by prcd (a form of PRA). By using this genetic test reputable breeders can diminish the possibility that the pups from their litters will be affected by this late onset disorder. For futher information be sure to see the PRA page in the Health section of

  3. Why did you do this particular breeding?

    Reputable breeders ALWAYS have a reason for the combination of a particular dog and bitch.....breeding just for the sake of producing more puppies is not an acceptable answer. A good breeder should be able to tell you in depth their reasons for doing a particular mating.

  4. Do both sire and dam have full dentition? Do they have more than four missing teeth?

    Missing teeth can be a problem in this breed if left unchecked. If nothing else this is a question that will help you know exactly what the breeder does and doesn't know about his or her dogs!

  5. Do both sire and dam have and throw good bites?

    A scissors bite is the required/recommended bite for the Australian Cattle Dog.

  6. Have both the sire and dam been BAER tested for deafness? Have either the sire or dam thrown deaf puppies in their past litters?

    While the mode of inheritance for deafness is not known yet in our breed, conscientious breeders will usually make sure that all breeding stock has been BAER tested before breeding. For futher information be sure to see the Deafness page in the Health section of

  7. Have the puppies been socialized? If so, how?

    Australian Cattle Dog puppies need daily socailization with people, preferably IN a home setting. Stimulation from an early age is very important in this breed. Pups should be have early and frequent contact with people, other dogs, lotsa noises and new stimulation daily.

  8. If either the sire or dam is red, are they a good even red with no blue hair on them? If either the sire or dam is blue, are they a blue or blue mottled with the required tan markings?

    Coloring is, of course, a cosmetic matter but is again something that a good breeder should know about and be able to describe to you in detail

  9. Are the sire and dam within the height standard ?

    Bitches should be 17 to 19 inches and dogs should be 18 to 20 inches (at the withers). There is variance in our breed, but WIDE variance in these recommended heights (and breeding from dogs that are far off the standard in either direction) should be discouraged.

  10. Do you guarantee your dogs? What are the terms of your guarantee?

    Guarantees are as individual as breeders. Be sure to check around at this site and others to see what breeders guarantee in their pups and for how long. Discuss things with the breeder carefully to obtain a contract that is mutually agreeable to both parties

  11. What are the good points of your dogs? What are their faults?

    All dogs have good points and (more importantly) all dogs have faults. There is no such this as the perfect dog....period! Reputable breeders will admit their dogs weaknesses and be able to explain how they are trying to improve on them through certain breeding choices.