The AusFX prefix belongs to Leonora Bor and has been registered with Dogs Victoria since 1999 (Membership #3100001902). The first AusFX litter was born in 2011.
Fate conspired to put me at a dog show one Saturday in September 1996, where I encountered and simply could not walk past three blue merles in a row. The Aussie was a breed I had never heard of but had an instant attraction to. After the afternoon with them, I went home to spend countless hours browsing Aussie Web sites world wide, and became interested in collecting photos and pedigrees. I spent weeks reminding myself of all the reasons to not get a second dog <g>. In spite of those reasons, along he came, an older pup from Silvanwood. Murdoch was not the blue merle bitch I initially wanted, but he was the perfect first Aussie for me. Originally the agreement was that he came to me as a companion, but he was his breeder's pick of the litter. I stayed in contact so she could watch him grow, and in time he went from a gawky teenager to a handsome mature dog. Together we achieved a Championship title, and cemented my love of agility with AD and JD titles.
I cannot thank my early mentors enough. Silvanwood Kennels' Pauline Rowbury gave generously of her time and breed knowledge, patiently answering every question I threw at her. And, then and now, Rozate Kennels' Kate Dourley continues to share her breed and training knowledge, time, patience, and Aussies with me.
I joined the Australian Shepherd Club of Victoria in 1997 when it was founded, and spent a few years on committee and as newsletter editor between 1999 - 2002. Since 2010 I have returned to the committee and again served between 2009 - 2015 as newsletter editor.
My second Aussie, from Rozate, was planned, and six years of waiting. Aspen and I embarked upon more learning in the show ring and commenced obedience training. I went from feeling that obedience was 'a means to an end' to being surprised at how motivating it was when I put the work in and saw great results! Sadly, he was lost to a snake bite at six years old.
The next two arrivals were unplanned acquisitions, and in many ways they are my most successful dogs to date. Truman came to me in September 2006, the day after he turned six months old, his serious little face impossible to resist. He has achieved in every discipline we have attempted: conformation - with two Best in Specialty Show wins, herding, agility, obedience, rally-o, and endurance. Promise arrived in 2008 as a puppy staying for a week, a consistent achiever in herding with multiple High in Trial awards. The foundation bitch for AusFX, she whelped three beautiful litters and is now enjoying her well-deserved retirement.
More Aussies have followed, all works in progress. I hope to be able to harness some of their potential and do them justice.
What makes up an Aussie?
There are many important factors to consider in the planning of a litter. A solid temperament is paramount: if you can't put your hands on a dog, it all ends right there.
Temperament is part of breed type, or, Does Your Aussie Look And Behave Like An Aussie? This can be subject to opinion, as one person's 'ideal' Aussie may be totally different to another's. Breed type encompasses aspects other than what the dog looks like, such as conformation and each individual dog's genetic blueprint. Here is a link to the Australian Shepherd breed standard at the Australian National Kennel Council Web site.
Conformation, or sound structure, is important too. Aussies were originally bred to work all day herding stock. Most of our Aussies don't need to work all day, but we want them to be able to jump, negotiate obstacles, turn sharply, run fast - not usually all day, but pretty much working stock, without the stock.
I believe that an Aussie should have herding instinct, although some have lost their interest in stock. Instinct, however, can make them an impractical dog to own on increasingly smaller suburban blocks, but as demand increases, there are facilities available for herding training. It is a wonderful relationship building activity with your dog, and awesome to watch them do what they were bred for.
Genetics also contributes to the mix. You want a clean bill of health, because you want your dog to live a long and boringly healthy life. Even in lines that have so far been clear of problems, issues can still arise at any time. A responsible breeder always aims to avoid problems by using all available tools and tests, but also works to minimise any problems that arise. This can involve removing particular dogs or entire lines from a breeding program, or careful selection of a dog to complement the qualities you have, but not add to any known potential problems. Aussies are not a totally problem-free breed because no such thing exists, but we are fortunate that in the grand scheme of things they are not afflicted by many problems, and the majority of Aussies lead perfectly healthy lives.
Some things everyone should know about Aussies
Aussies are not a dog you can put in the backyard and ignore. Well, you can, but don't be surprised when your yard is trashed. They are a people-oriented dog, and they need time with their people every day. In real terms, if you do not want a dog inside, the Aussie is probably not for you.
Their coats shed. Constantly. There are times when it is worse (eg, changing season autumn to summer), but generally there is always some fur dropping. They are fairly low maintenance, though - regular brushing really reduces the fur on your floor, and a daily brush only needs to take a moment.
Aussies can be water dogs. I am convinced this is a genetically inherited condition. Indoor water bowls are fair game. So is mud when it rains (it doesn't take long to dry and fall off, though).
Most Aussies are extremely food oriented. This can be good - it makes them easy to train. It can also be detrimental to their health as they can be piggy-gutses. Free feeding is generally not a good option.
Aussies give unquestioning unconditional love and make you smile every day.
If you have any questions about AusFX, please email me.
Changes last made: November 2017.