So, after a few years of waiting, I finally picked out a puppy for Leafhopper Farm. We had settled on a Large Munsterlander, but the momma dog didn’t get bred this year and I’ve been so patient, it was time to seek other options. I’ve been checking local shelters, contacting rescue organizations, but the final choice was made based on looking for a puppy to train up from a young age on the farm as part of the whole system.
Adult dogs come with baggage, and at the farm, we can’t risk behavioral issues or bad habits. Many of the rescue dogs were pit-bull crosses, and that “breed” is not acceptable on the farm. The other main count of adoptable dogs from the shelter were small breeds with short legs, who won’t keep up on a long hike or help with livestock. Some rescue organizations also have very high standards for a forever home, and since I have barn cats, many were concerned they didn’t have all their vaccines. They do, but it was still a struggle. I was shocked at how hard it can be to adopt a rescue animal in this area.
The puppy that finally became available was through a private household with a litter of Aulstralian Sheperd/Cattle dog crosses. Below are pictures of mom and dad.
The bitch is a cattle dog mix- blue heeler and Aussie Shepard to be exact. She is great with kids, other dogs, cats, and all types of people. Great temperament! The male is an Australian Shepard show quality dog. That didn’t matter to me, but oh, isn’t he so fancy? He’s also got great temperament, and after meeting both parents on site, I knew I was going to have a special puppy with great temperment.
The choice to go with an Australian Shepard mix means we’ll have a working dog on the farm. She’ll be able to help me move the animals around, keep goats in line, and round up the sheep if they get too feisty. I’m excited to work with this breed and learn all about herding. Aussies are not actually from Australia, but Basque in origin, with a brief stint in Australia and New Zealand working sheep, before coming full circle to California with the Basques who worked on ranches out West here in America.
This breed is very high energy and smart, the combination can be a curse to people who don’t put in the training and dirt time with their dog. Since the farm is so active, and we’ll be going right into puppy classes with good socialization, our little girl will have the right foundational training to grow up healthy and balanced. She’ll be outside most of the time, working, with long hikes in the mountains, back country ski trips, and agility training.
This week her eyes opened, and I brought her home at 7 weeks in mid March. I’m so excited, and ready to be back in dog land with all the training and responsibility of puppy-hood to boot. This little dog is going to grow up to be an amazing friend and co-worker here on the farm, and we’re thrilled to have found such a great fit for Leafhopper Farm.