Buying a Watermark Puppy
Companion pups | Performance pups | Show/Breeding pups | Puppy Selection and Reservations | Shipping
While I breed every litter with the intent of enhancing my own breeding program, from nearly every litter there are pups that I don't keep. These are sold as companions, performance prospects, show prospects, and to supplement the breeding programs or foundations of other enthusiasts.
Aussies as companions are not for everyone - please review my introduction to the breed if you are not experienced with Aussies in your own household - but when they are a good fit, they tend to be exceptional. More and more frequently they are the first choice of agility and obedience competitors, as they tend to be not only athletic and swift, but intelligent and tractable. My companion puppies are NOT sold simply on a first-come, first-served basis. By completing my puppy questionnaire, I can begin to get a feel for your level of experience with the breed and with dogs in general, your household makeup, goals, and I'll develop questions for you as they arise. If and when you place a deposit on a litter, you will have the option of selecting - in order of reservation - from any puppies suitable for your particular environment. Whenever appropriate, I do try to accommodate color and sex preferences, but since puppies can't be made to order, this isn't always possible.
For those wanting more than just a companion (and mind you, I do intend for my puppies to be companions first and foremost), I do sell my show/breeding quality puppies into appropriate homes. Typically these are homes where past performance is proven, but I will occasionally assist newcomers in getting a sound start in the Aussie world.
(required of all potential puppy buyers)
Show vs. Companion Quality
Companion (non-breeding) puppies are $2,500 with "not for breeding" registration in both AKC and ASCA. This means simply that these pups can do everything entitled to a fully registered Aussie except show in the breed ring (though ASCA does offer an Altered Champion conformation title for those wanting to get their feet wet) and reproduce. These are puppies who simply should not be bred because they will not improve the next generation - a goal of every reputable breeder. They are sound mentally and physically, but for some reason - perhaps a touch too much white, a front or rear not quite strong enough, or simply not an exceptional individual physically - are not sound candidates as contributors to the gene pool. I will occasionally sell show/breeding quality puppies to companion homes who truly desire them, however their price will be determined by their quality, and show quality pups going into pet homes will be sold with a not-for-breeding contract and limited registration. If, however, you feel that your Aussie has developed into a stunning example of the breed AND you have proven your commitment to the breed by becoming active in performance, conformation, rescue, etc, you may present your puppy to me before altering. If I agree with your assessment and goals, I have the option of lifting the limited registration. At this time, your puppy would be governed by my policies for show/breeding puppies.
All companion quality puppies are guaranteed against debilitating defects caused by genetics (ie, hip dysplasia, cataracts), and will be replaced upon proof of altering and availability of a suitable puppy. I can not be held responsible for those problems that are acquired via the trials and tribulations of life, nor those that do not have a basis in breeding. While I place strong emphasis on character and do my best to correctly match a puppy to it's future household, occasionally a pup will mature to be a "bad fit" or will have a temperament quirk that makes it unsuitable in it's current environment. In this instance, the pup must be returned to me, and will be replaced upon availability of a more suitable puppy. Pups that are the victim of abuse, neglect, or lack of socialization will not be replaced and may be seized for their own well being.
Performance puppies sit the fence between companion and show quality. For lifetime soundness and athleticism, they should have the structure required of all show/breeding quality pups. However, aesthetic traits that might disqualify them from the breed ring or gene pool without affecting soundness will not hinder their suitability for performance. These pups must also have the mental characteristics required for their owners' preferred venue, whatever that might be. At the very least, these puppies often have more drive and will require more mental stimulation.
Show and breeding quality puppies are sold to those who have previously proven their desire to actively compete in some discipline with their dogs, and who are knowledgeable regarding the standard, function, and history of the breed. I do take every request for a show/breeding pup individually, however, and will do my best to benefit the breed by helping to educate future breeders and provide them with a sound foundation.
Puppies of this quality begin at $3,800, and are co-owned until they have reached two years of age and have passed hip and eye clearances and earned a title (ask about what titles qualify) in either ASCA or AKC. This assures that your pup is physically sound to breed, and that you are following through on your commitment to fulfill your pup's potential and prove it's worth as a sire or dam. In addition, I retain from all intact male dogs the right to a maximum of two breedings per year to bitches owned or leased by me. Should you change your mind about wanting to breed, you are always welcome to alter your pup, and I will end the co-ownership. I would, however, appreciate a bit of notice in case I wish to collect your boy's semen for future use at my expense.
Because I can't possibly keep all the puppies I would like and still do them justice, I will sometimes sell my pick girls at a discounted price with some reproductive rights retained. This is typically the right to lease a bitch for breedng, co-breedings, or puppies back, after which I will sign off on our co-ownership. In this way I maintain the genetics that the litter was bred for and the pup is allowed an outstanding individual home.
In addition to the guarantees that pertain to companion quality pups, show/breeding pups are guaranteed against disqualifying faults. I will not guarantee that any dog will attain a Champion of Record title as there are too many factors involved in this, not the least of which is conditioning, training, and handling. Sometimes, despite my best efforts in breeding and selection, show/breeding pups will not mature to meet my standards. In this situation, I ask that these pups not be used to represent my highest quality, but that they either be returned to me for placement in companion/performance homes and replaced with a higher quality dog, or that they be altered and kept as companions. Should the pup be altered and kept, the difference between the price paid for the pup and companion price will be credited toward a future pup.
The most commonly asked question I get is "how will our puppy be selected?" I do this based upon suitability, first and foremost, priority one. Because really, if the personality doesn't fit the family, do looks actually matter? Making sure that each pup ends up in the right home is the hardest part of the entire process for me, and one that causes endless sleepless, anxiety-ridden nights! I want all of my placements to be for a lifetime, and for them to be loved by you as much as they are by me.
Once you decide that you do indeed want to add one of my pups to your family and I feel that you'd be a good match, I'll send you a reservation request for you to fill out and mail back with your deposit. If the litter is not yet whelped, then just sit back and relax. It would help to make sure you're following my Facebook page so that you know when the babies arrive. Once they come, people tend to make instantaneous selection, but beware: at birth, and for several weeks thereafter, the ONLY thing that can be determined is the color, markings, and gender of the pups! Get attached to them all, collect all their pictures, and wait to see how they mature.
Lets take a moment now to discuss the male versus female issue, because the odds are that nearly every litter will be weighted in favor of males (an average of two males for every female is quite common among many breeds), and everyone will want girls (specifically blue merle girls) because they feel they will make better pets. THIS IS A MYTH. When altered at a young age, before hitting puberty, there is little if any difference between the genders. Traits such as aggression and marking in males are secondary characteristics that develop with age and increasing levels of testosterone. My heavy emphasis on selection for temperament also means that most males are wonderful citizens regardless of their reproductive status. If I had to note any difference at all between the genders, it would be a tendency for the females to be a little bit more "sharp" (reactive) than the males, having a harder edge. While the boys tend to behave more as smitten schoolboys with their people, always with that "I would die for you!!!" attitude, the girls typically want to know what's in it for them before committing to anything. (Remember, there's a reason the technical term "bitch" has snuck into our English slang!) Also, in multiple dog households, fights among altered males are far fewer and less intense on average than those among the girls. Mixed households are even better - most males will simply bow to the wishes of the queen bee. Again, this is just a generalization! I know of many, many females who would lay down their lives for their people and make endlessly loyal, silly companions and family dogs, but the preference for girls over boys is generally one based upon a myth.
In completing your reservation request, you are given the option of limiting what you will accept based upon color and/or gender. Please note: this will GREATLY reduce the chances that the perfect puppy will be available for you, but it is your right to do so. I can't recommend strongly enough making personality fit the top priority for you, especially if your needs are higher (such as if you have young children, are new to dogs, looking for a specific performance prospect, etc). You may also state preferences for these physical qualities in order (first choice, second choice, etc). When it comes time to match up pups with people, I do my very best to make as many people happy as possible, and honor these preferences in the order that your deposit was received. In making my evaluations, I utilize a number of methods, including structural evaluations by other breeders and ongoing temperament evaluations.
Also be aware that there are always two lists. My reason for breeding any litter is always for something to build on in the next generation, and as a result, I am always first on the list. My pick pups may go into appropriate show/breeding co-own homes or remain here with me, but it is my right to select the pup or pups that will meet my needs first. After myself, the balance of pups will be divided according to quality. Those who don't show promise as outstanding examples of the breed (which is most of them if I'm being really, critically honest) will be available to those waiting for companion and/or performance pups. If I have homes lined up for show pups, suitable pups may be placed in those homes. Sometimes a pup will be of definite show quality, but my own needs will have been met in other pups. These pups may be available to companion homes wanting a show quality pet, but will be sold with limited registration regardless of their quality and associated price.
Shipping & related expenses:
I am located in beautiful central New York, close to Syracuse and Ithaca. I highly recommend that you visit to pick up your pup if at all possible. While shipping via air is a possibility, there may be restrictions based upon weather at my local airport (Syracuse Hancock International Airport), the receiving airport, and any intermediate stops. Using "hub" airports can help overcome these restrictions whenever possible.
If shipping your pup, there will be associated costs to be considered, including a crate, health certificate, and transport in addition to the current airfare.