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Australian Shepherds/My Aussie-like dog

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Hello, I realize that you've answered questions on the supposed Mini Aussie (I say 'supposed' realizing that the Australian Shepherd community would rather not have these small dogs associated directly with the Aussie breed, and I respect that.) I rescued my dog, who was meant to be bred, and promptly spayed her. She was marketed as a Mini Aussie, and fits the breed standard for the Mini American Shepherd that was recently recognized by the AKC. She's papered with the ASDR, and I haven't bothered to pursue registration because I don't really know how legitimate the registry is.

The thing is, I realize that she may or may not be purebred, and that she doesn't fit breed standard for Australian Shepherds. This is fine with me, I don't care whether she is a mutt and I don't insist on calling her a Mini Australian shepherd, out of respect for the breed. But I am constantly getting asked what she is, if she is a good dog, and these people often want to know about the breed because they are considering getting one. I do not want to mislead people into purchasing a poorly-bred mini Aussie. With an aunt that used to breed AKC Australian Shepherds, I know that her temperament and work ethic are similar, but I don't quite know how to convey that there isn't a way to tell whether she is purebred, even if the breeder claimed so. Should I refer them to the Mini American Shepherd breed standards and encourage, or explain that she clearly has Aussie in her but doesn't meet breed standards? I want to preserve healthy and ethical breeding practices, because I believe that my dog was improperly socialized at a young age, and we have had to do months of behavioral training to help her. I know this may not be entirely Aussie related but want advice from someone who is familiar with this controversy, and how to best convey that my dog is wonderful, but people should be aware of irresponsible breeding and false advertising. I've met many people who will see my dog and say "mine was supposed to be a pocket Aussie, like yours. I ended up with [insert random mixed breed here]"
It unnerves me to call her a Mini Aussie, because I think that will lead people to seek out dogs that may come from unethical breeders, and also encourage the misconception of the difference in breeds.

Answer
I think that it's fine to say that your dog is a rescue, and has Aussie heritage, and leave it at that, but tell people that the Aussie breed has a generally small gene pool, lots of inherited disorders within, and that it's critical to purchase from a reputable breeder if you are seeking a puppy.  Then show them this: http://www.ashgi.org/tensteps/tensteps_statement.htm.  Tell them that if the breeder doesn't offer a lifetime guarantee to take the pup back if they cannot care for it, not to buy.  (That screens out almost all the Internet puppy mills with their 72 hour health certificates.)

Australian Shepherds

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Anne Springer, B.S., Dip., CAPCT

Expertise

I'm happy to answer questions about the Aussie breed and temperament, and basic information about working lines versus show lines, training your Aussie, grooming your Aussie, and what it's like to live with a dog breed that's smart and versatile, but isn't for everyone.

Experience

Professional trainer, and Aussie owner.

Organizations
IPDTA, APDT, Truly Dog Friendly, Therapy Dogs, Inc.

Education/Credentials
B.S., Diploma in Dog Obedience Instruction, Graduate, NY School of Dog Grooming, Certified Advanced Pet Care Technician (American Pet Care Assn.)

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