Owner, breeder, handler; Christie Cotton. (479) 757-9148
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
I was the child that never failed to find a "stray". My mother was not a "dog" person, so
she allowed me to nurse puppies and skinny strays back to health, and then quickly
find them suitable, permanent homes. I guess you could say I simply had a "knack" for
knowing how to accomplish that, and I went door to door in those days, until I found
the "perfect" forever home for my "adopted" friends. As an adult, I was never without a
canine companion. In the late 70's I became active with the ASPCA of Chicago. I went
from "kennel help" to trainer and evaluator. I was especially good with fearful and
aggressive dogs. I had no formal education in canine behavior but my instincts were
spot on and I quickly became a noted person when questionable strays came in.
I moved to Southern California in 1981, and became involved with Akita's. I
successfully bred, and finished many champions, competing in the UKC, and the CKC.
I loved the show ring and was following my heart moving to the world of AKC
conformation. I loved the majestic beauty of the Akita, and the gentleness with
children, but they were not good "pack" animals. I made a life changing decision. I had
adopted a stray, my vet dubbed a "bobtail", a blue merle female Australian Shepherd.
My life has not been the same since. I studied, I read, I asked and I visited many
breeders. It was an easy transition, the Australian Shepherd was beautiful, strong
herding and guarding instincts, amazing intelligence, and they seemed to be able to
adapt to the "pack life". I had one, then 2, and I have had up to NINE Aussies at a time!
For me it was the dream of a lifetime. The "Aussie" fit perfectly into my life, as easily
when I lived on a 100 acre ranch/farm with goats, chickens and horses, to the
'suburban' life with a wood fence and nearby neighbors. They are protective, but not
aggressive, animated without being hyper, smart, and independent, stubborn and easy
to train! They follow me room to room as easily and as happily as they followed me
acre to acre while I rode my horses.
I began competing successfully in AKC with my Australian Shepherds, and after years
of studying pedigree's, genetics, breeding programs, and learning from those who had
already achieved what I aspired to; I became a breeder.
I am still learning. I will always be a student, even when I am teaching others what I
have learned. My formal education is in Psychology and Parapsychology. I hold an
Doctorate degree (Esoteric Accredited University) and have the education and
credentials of a clinical therapist. I choose to work from home, so that my time is spent
daily with my wonderful "kids", and my life is filled with joy because of this amazing
My breeding philosophy is and will always be; health first. A "show" dog has NO
higher purpose than a "pet" but any animal bred without health screenings and
research into pedigrees, offspring, siblings etc., is NEVER used in my breeding
Our breed like many others has health screenings so that the risk of health issues can
be minimal, and perhaps one day, totally eradicated from our breed. I applaud and
support those breeder's before me, whom spent their resources, money, time and
adhered to a strict code of ethics in health. These are the breeders, the founders that
allow me to continue. To honor this magnificent breed by research into pedigrees
(usually 4-5 generations) and build upon solid health foundations.
I do guarantee every puppy I have bred, and any animal I sell, whether show or pet. A
guarantee however, doesn't ease the broken heart of a family that had to "put down"
their 9 month old puppy because he was blind. Let me share a story with you;
A couple of months ago I was used car shopping. I needed a larger vehicle to
accommodate my dogs and equipment for showing. Each dealership I stopped in told
me the same thing; we offer a warranty, we will fix or replace the vehicle should
anything go wrong. Sounds good, right? I purchased a used vehicle, with a full
"warranty" and on my first trip out of town, it overheated and cracked the head gasket.
Yes, they are going to fix it. I have my "guarantee/warranty", but I now am without a
vehicle for a week, maybe 2, and it dawned on me that I had been asking the "wrong"
questions during my car shopping. WHAT I should have asked, is not only about the
guarantee IF something went wrong, BUT what had they done to keep such risks
down? Had they had their mechanics fully check out the heating and cooling system?
Did they run an engine compression test, to be sure the valves were all working? Were
all fuses checked and replaced? Was the wiring found to be clean and without tears?
I doubt it.
When breeders do not "bother" with health screenings and clearances, and offer as
their excuse a "guarantee" ; ask yourself if you and your family are willing to take this
risk, because it is a risk, and a huge one.
I have had "breeders" literally tell me that if their bitch can jump a 6' fence, she couldn't
have Hip Dysplasia or if their 3 year old male seemed to "see real good", he surely had
no cataract or vision/eye issues.
Sometimes hereditary diseases are asymptomatic, not every canine will show clinical
signs of various disorders or conditions.
The truth is there is NO reason NOT to test before breeding. I cannot say that in my
lifetime as a breeder that I will never breed a puppy that has some disorder. That is
impossible to guarantee. What I can say is that I have used every tool, every screening
available, that I have purchased or used in my breeding program ONLY dogs and
bitches with reliable pedigrees, because they were bred by responsible breeders.
I always put my dogs first, always. My "show" dogs were chosen not just because they
were correct in structure, or had a pretty head, but because they exemplify the
standard in structure AND temperaments. And most importantly, they LOVE to show. I
have pulled and placed in "better" homes some of my "kids" over the years. I put my
animals first, and their best interest always, always comes before my ambition and love
of the "show ring".
I believe in the true standard of our breed, if I wanted a "Golden Retriever" then that is
what I would own. My Aussies are curious, they are friendly towards people in the right
situations, and assertive and guarding when warranted. They are versatile, and fit
easily into a myriad of homes. They carry a strong herding instinct, are able to
compete in all venues and are well socialized, good with children and other animals.
It's no "accident" that they are beautiful, correct in structure AND in temperament, it is
MY honor and dedication to this breed, and to the many breeders that walked before
When I breed a bitch owned by me, I do so with the "dream" of a beautiful, animated,
intelligent, conformation prospect. That; aside from health is my personal goal and
desire. The "other" puppies, I place lovingly into homes across the USA that are
qualified NOT by their interest in competition, nor "showing" but their familiarity with
our breed, their ability to care for and provide a permanent, stable and loving home.
THOSE are my qualifying factors.
Breeding is not for everyone. And whether a breeder is "showing", or just breeding to
share this amazing breed with other families, they should ALWAYS do health
screenings with a guarantee to cover that "one in a million" scenario, guarantees
should not be used as a SUBSTITUTION for health clearances and screening.
I stand behind my lines with confidence and pride.
I make the right decisions.
I reinvest my profits (if any) back into my breeding/showing programs, into the next
I continue to learn from those who have accomplished and follow in their footsteps,
health, temperaments and correct structure.
I consider each of my dogs a unique individual, and I make ANY sacrifice, I pay ANY
cost to see that they are happy and in the best environment for THEIR specific needs.
I make difficult and often heart wrenching decisions because my animals come first.
It is never about "me", it is about "them".
It is about preservation of "true type" without sacrificing health, or an animals sense of
It is hours of phone calls, research, and evaluation.
It is the strength and courage to place in a pet home, a puppy that matured into an
adult who needed more attention, or was not adaptable to my "group" home.
It is nights of waking 3 times or more to take puppies potty.
Endless hours of watching my puppies to find their "perfect" home.
Sacrificing expensive dinners, and family vacations to make sure my Aussies are
healthy and happy.
It is living every day in the company of these beautiful, inspiring dogs.
All of our animals are part of our daily lives, they live among and around us. Some
sleep in our bed, some in crates. Some are 9 weeks old, some are aged, some are
"show prospects" some are simply our "pets". And each is loved equally and treated
with love, dignity and with their happiness always in mind.
I have my personal preferences in what I choose to "keep" versus what I offer for sale
to the right home. But each puppy, again whether a show/ breeding prospect, or a
couch potato receives the same advantage, minimal health risks, true to type, and
matched to each family/owner by use of my knowledge, skills, and sense of what's best.
Our specific breeding program;
Unlike some breeds the Australian Shepherd has much variation within the standard as
set forth by the AKC. At times certain "fads" begin, such as a color preference, or
breeding for size, bigger or smaller. I believe in adhering to the true standard as close
as possible so I do NOT breed for size; "quality is NOT to be sacrificed in favor of size"
(excerpt from AKC breed standard) I breed for quality.
In our standard again from AKC the word "moderate" is mentioned about 7 times. I
breed for a moderate bitch and moderate dog.
Our standard also calls for "moderate coat, feathering and mane, more pronounced in
males than females". Our lines conform to this, however our foundation sire DOES
carry a thick undercoat. His puppies and most of our lines carry more coat in summer
than the average puppy, and are plush coated, so perhaps carrying a bit more coat
"Slightly longer than tall" (excerpt from AKC standard); most of my lines and my
foundation sire is very slightly longer than tall, when measured there is a definitive
difference between height and length well within our interpretation of the standard. We
do not breed for a full square, but nor do we breed for long body type. Upon first
glance it is easy to see they are "slightly" longer than tall.
Bone; some of the recent "fads" have included breeding both bitches and dogs that
carry excessive bone, this is not true to our standard. An Aussie was bred to herd, and
large, excessive bone would prohibit a canine from working livestock without being
cumbersome. Our Aussies both male and female are very true to type. They have lots
of bone, substance and balance, but are never to the point of being well past
Heads; our foundation sire has a stunning head, very plush AND very correct. He
throws his head on his puppies and we are thrilled with this. An Australian Shepherd's
head should form parallel planes when viewed from the side, that means the length of
muzzle should be equal or shorter than the width of skull. There should be a
"moderate" stop, which means a definite L shape when viewed from the side. We do
not breed "blocky heads", nor snippy, we breed standard.
In each of our decisions regarding a potential breeding, we adhere as closely to the
standard as possible. I am a firm believer that "form follows function" therefore in
breeding and evaluating potential breeding stock, and/or puppies I am particular in
speculating on whether or not this animal could comfortably and easily do the job for
which is has been bred. If I cannot imagine such out on the ranch or farm, then I
decline such for my specific program.
Movement; The Australian Shepherd is "poetry in motion" when moving correctly.
They flow across the ring, or yard, sometimes feet above the ground. Again, in their
true form, they must turn quickly, be agile and light footed. Any Aussie that cannot
move correctly is not structurally sound, and will not be used in our program. (puppies
are exceptions during certain growth spurts)
I adhere to our true standard in terms of temperament. Because I am a competitor in
conformation, I must train and work to overcome the NATURAL tendencies of the traits
of Aussies with strangers. I do not "breed out" for this, I simply TRAIN for this
acceptance of strangers.
Show lines versus working lines; while there is absolutely an overlap of all traits in
many, there are small differences depending on the actual pedigree and the training,
environment, and desired goals. I believe in mixing and utilizing all sides of a pedigree
to once again attain what I feel is "true to type". In any of my Aussies, you may enter
my home and be greeted with a wiggling butt, and a friendly Aussie "smile" but I dare
you to try to remove that same Aussie from his/her crate, or approach me in the street,
or raise your voice. That friendly, sociable, biddable Aussie will surprise you with their
immediate instinct to protect.
It was the "uniqueness, the variation in coloring, the problem solving intelligence, and
natural guarding-herding instincts that I fell in love with, and my breeding program is
dedicated to preserving these.
Again, my personal preferences may be reflected in the choices of which puppies I
keep, but my overall mission, goal and intentions in breeding remain the same, true to
See homepage for upcoming litters and available news and updates~
AKC GCH Rico x Gypsy; pregnancy confirmed 11/25/16, pups due ON Christmas day!
Interesting sidenote; Gypsy was born on 11/11/11~