At Watermark, we are dedicated to preserving the dog that drew us in initially. A mind that is keen and desperately devoted, a body that is tight, sound and athletic - a moving work of art. Movement balanced and efficient. A life as long and productive as one could ever expect from a friend so slightly less than human. Our primary goal is temperament. A nasty or shy dog that lives for seventeen years is no pleasure. We want our babies to leave a great big hole when they finally take the rest they'll have earned. We expect them to be stable in public places, devoted to their family, reserved with strangers, and protective if necessary but not shy or aggressive. Character is also essential - a dog with its very own personality and sense of humor, priorities, and work ethic is part of what defines the Aussie.
We want our kids to be around for a long, long time, with all of their faculties intact. This is why physical soundness runs a very close second to mental soundness. The Aussie is a working breed, and while we don't require that every dog have the drive to herd stock all day long, we want their bodies able to do so.
Physical soundness relies upon correct structure; form to function. We do not breed for excessive coat, excessive bone, excessive head, or excessive movement. We breed for true moderation, overall balance, and the type that originated from "survival of the fittest."
While we do certainly have our favorite colors, this quality comes last on the list. Our goal is rich, true pigment in all four colors. Our dogs are our only children. They sleep on the floors, the couches, the beds. They live in the house, with large sloping yards to run and play in.
No true breeding program can move forward with just a couple of dogs, or one litter every year or two. Our litters follow no particular schedule. They may occur three or four times a year, or not at all for three or four years. When the right match to produce the next generation - the next stepping stone on the path - is lined up, we breed a litter. For the sake of sanity, we try to avoid multiple litters at once. Unfortunately, dogs that live together also tend to cycle together, so sometimes this is unavoidable. Our puppies are raised underfoot with the bustle of people and other dogs.
Our goals when producing a litter are always to improve the next generation. For this reason, all pet quality puppies are sold with limited registration on non-breeding contracts. Because we care about the quality of life that our pups have, our show/breeding quality puppies are often sold on limited co-ownerships. In this way, we can retain some of the genetics we have striven for while allowing our pups to live wonderful lives with their own people.