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The Australian Terrier Club of America, Inc.

Dedicated to the Advancement of Quality, Purebred Australian Terriers

AKC Parent Club Member 1977
Founded 1958



The very best choice for an Australian Terrier breeder is a dedicated and responsible breeder who considers his/her dogs as more than a hobby and generally does not expect to make a profit from breeding puppies.  

The question is: How does one recognize the responsible breeder? Following is a list of points the breeder should meet before you consider purchasing a puppy. Don’t be afraid to ask the breeder many questions. It is your right, and you can rest assured that the dedicated breeder will respond positively and with pride.

A Responsible Breeder Should:

Belong to the Australian Terrier Club of America, a regional Aussie club, or an all-breed club. Ideally, he/she should belong to all three; however, sometimes this is impossible. The reason for this is that this sort of participation indicates depth of involvement. This breeder is exposed to other points of view, learns more about the breed and modern breeding practices, and is kept up-to-date on AKC rules and regulations.

  1. A responsible breeder will be involved in showing his/her dogs in the breed ring, the obedience ring, earthdog tests, or in a combination of all three. The reason for this is that it means that the breeder is not breeding in a vacuum. The breeder who does not participate has no idea how good his/her dogs really are and is missing the opportunity to share information and ideas with others. Showing provides the competition which encourages breeders to produce better dogs. The breeder who competes wants to prove how good his/her dogs are and is putting his/her breeding program on the line. This breeder is not relying on just a pedigree to indicate quality. Even if you do not want a competition animal, you deserve a pet that was the result of a carefully planned litter; a puppy which received the same care as a potential champion. The breeder who competes in organized activities is known by others and has a reputation to uphold. This breeder will be as careful and honest in selling you your pet puppy as in selling show stock.
  1. A responsible breeder should ask you what kind of dogs you have had in the past, and what happened to them; do you have a fenced yard; and whether or not the dog will be allowed to be a house dog and member of the family. Sincere breeders will be a bit hesitant to sell you a puppy until they know more about you, they want to know what you are looking for in a dog, and what “life style” you have in mind for your dog. Having the best interest of the puppy at heart, to say nothing of yours and theirs, responsible breeders will take great pains to place puppies properly the first time around because a returned puppy is a traumatic experience for the puppy and the breeder. The responsible breeder is always willing to accept a puppy back and will try to make certain that an Australian Terrier is the breed for you.
  1. A responsible breeder will give you a period of time for you to have the puppy examined by a veterinarian to determine its state of health, so that both of you are assured as to the condition of the puppy at the time of sale. If a problem should arise, it can then be quickly resolved.
  1. A responsible breeder may ask you to give references and the veterinarian who will provide care for the puppy or has provided care for a previous dog.
  1. A responsible breeder will be willing to answer your questions about any possible hereditary problems. They should be able to explain the various screenings for the diseases which are most common in Aussies and why they do or do not participate in regular testing and genetic disease registries such as OFA, CHIC or CERF.
  1. A responsible breeder should be able to show you a clean environment; healthy, well-socialized puppies; and a dam with a good temperament. You should avoid:
    • shy, whimpering, fearful puppies,
    • puppies with dull coats, crusty or running eyes, signs of diarrhea, rashes or sores on their tummies,
    • signs of neglect, such as lack of water, pans of uneaten food, and dirty conditions,
    • a breeder who will sell a puppy under eight weeks of age (in some states this is against the law). Early separation from the dam and litter mates can be very detrimental to the puppy, both psychologically and physically,
    • a breeder who lets you handle a very young puppy, as there is a real risk of transmitting disease before puppies are vaccinated.
  1. A responsible breeder will provide you with a record of the dates and types of vaccinations and worming done, feeding instructions, a 3- to 5-generation pedigree, and a “blue slip” to apply for registration of the puppy in your own name with the American Kennel Club (AKC). Sometimes the “blue slips” are not available at the time you take your puppy home. If this is the case, have the breeder state on a dated, signed receipt of payment that the application will be sent to you as soon as possible. The registered names and AKC numbers of both parents, date of birth of the litter, and the puppy’s color and sex should be indicated. You can then contact AKC with complete information should there later be a problem with the registration papers.
  1. A responsible breeder will give you written instructions on feeding, training, and care. There are many books that are useful; some are listed in the Australian Terrier bibliography ( ) on this website.
  1. A responsible breeder will provide a written contract and/or conditions of sale. Any warranty of quality or health of the dogs, and any warranty against development of hereditary problems or show-ring disqualifications in an animal intended for showing or breeding, should be in writing. The warranty should be absolutely explicit, and a signed copy should be provided to each party. Both pedigree and registration papers are provided by reputable breeders at no extra charge. (The practice of charging extra for “papers” is forbidden by the AKC and should be reported. This should not be confused with withholding papers until the dog has been spayed or neutered, which is how puppies not purchased for showing/breeding are sold by some responsible breeders. The responsible breeder may sell the puppy with limited registration, meaning the puppy should not be bred and any puppies produced cannot be registered.
  1. A responsible breeder will make it clear that his/her responsibility continues long after you have taken your puppy home, and in fact as long as the dog is alive. If ever for any reason you are unable to keep the dog, a responsible breeders will ask that the dog be returned to them or only placed with new owners who meet the responsible breeder’s approval. A responsible breeder will be available for advice whenever needed and can ease your way over many rough spots.

If your breeder meets all of these points you are in good hands. If you find yourself with a negative response to any of these points, think twice and discuss the situation with someone else. Don’t be impulsive and do ask questions.

**Disclaimer**  The Australian Terrier Club of America does not recommend, guarantee, endorse, nor rate breeders, their kennels, or their stock.

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