Once I decided I wanted a puppy – I had to pick a breed. Oye! Does it get any harder – there are SO MANY OPTIONS.
First things first, what do I want out of this puppy? A companion, a training and competition partner, a teacher, a learner and a friend. I need this puppy to grow up stable and well adjusted – much of that will fall on me, but I want to set us both up for success and pick a breed that starts out that way. I finally sat down with a friend and hashed it all out.
Golden Retriever. Labrador Retriever. German Shepherd. Smooth Collie. Border Collie. Australian Shepherd.
Whew! We narrowed the list down to Golden Retriever or Smooth Collie. Very different dogs, but fitting the same basic criteria I originally set.
My heart dog was a golden, her name was Tigger – I grew up with the breed and have always adored them. Plus golden puppies may be the cutest things in existence. On the down side, they seem to die younger all the time due to over-breeding and poor breeding.
My affection for Collie’s is much more recent. After spending the 6-month training process for the Karen Pryor Academy with Rumor the smoothie mix – I am sold on the breed. Smooth Collies are smart, agile, stable and have a love for work. They can be vocal, drivey, biddable and have a propensity to be emotionally sensitive.
The difficulty with either of these breeds is finding a breeder that breeds for health and temperament over looks – and has produced dogs that have demonstrated they can work in a variety of fields. I looked and narrowed and looked and narrowed. Ultimately I found Kings Valley Collies and fell in love. The dogs have titles in a variety of different sports and service dog work. The breeder has a complex socialization plan to help each dog be prepared for the life ahead of them and is willing to work within that plan to help my dog be prepared for my specific home. Puppies are introduced to the clicker, platforms and targeting at a young age. Turns out there will be a smooth litter being bred in September and I can have first pick of the females. It only took a week or so after that for me to make a final decision and put in a deposit.
Assuming this breeding takes, I will have a Smooth Collie puppy to pick up in Oregon sometime in January!