Cobalt Kennels Australian Cattle Dogs

Breeder Of Merit of 
AKC Australian Cattle Dogs 

Why should I get an AKC registered dog?

The American Kennel Club works hard to uphold a standard for every breed that it offers registration for. This includes the way a dog looks in color and conformation, the size of the dog and the temperament and drive that should accompany the breed you have chosen to purchase. In the US, only dogs that are registered can be verified as purebred, and the American Kennel Club is the largest purebred all breed registry in the US.

There are plenty of registries that are out there that will register dogs that are not purebred such as the CKC, Stock Dog registry, and many more.

Buying an AKC registered dog from a reputable breeder is the only way to get a truly Purebred dog without importing from outside the country. 

What is a Reputable Breeder??

A reputable breeder always has the dogs best interest at heart.

It is imperative as a buyer to know what should be expected from a breeder and what standard they buyer should hold the breeder up to.

A reputable breeder should complete health testing available to their breeds on all breeding stock in the breeding program. This is usually at minimum OFA hip and Elbow xrays to rule out dysplasia, genetic eye testing such as PRCD-PRA (for ACD's) or CERF eye exams to clear other congenital eye disorders. A breeder should offer a purchase contract explaining all policy's of the breeder and to know what is expected of the buyer for the future of the dog.

A reputable breeder will take back a puppy no matter what the circumstance and take on the responsibility of assuming care for the dog that they brought into this world, whether it be making a place in their home for the remainder of the dogs life or placing the dog in a suitable home where it will be a loved member of the family. 

A reputable breeder will take responsibility for dogs that due to health or temperament cannot live a healthy fulfilled life and have them humanely euthanized.

A reputable breeder will honor all contracts and agreements to be fair to both the breeder and the buyer.

A reputable breeder will not just sell you any dog you please, the breeder will help you to pick a dog that matches your family, lifestyle, activity level, and temperament. This is very important as most dogs that are returned to the breeder, or surrendered a shelter, end up that way because of a mismatch in personalities between the dog and the owner. a quiet mellow human will be frustrated by an outgoing high drive dog.

A reputable breeder will make themselves available to the buyer for life long puppy support and will help you to understand why your dog is doing what it is doing and help to encourage or correct it's behavior as needed

A reputable breeder will  allow you to come and see the dogs and their environment prior to purchasing your dog or puppy and will be happy to address and questions or concerns you may have. this environment should be a healthy one in which to raise a dog.

A reputable breeder should strive to improve the breed that they represent and be knowledgeable about what the dogs purpose is.

In a world filled with chaos and dishonesty, Reputation is VERY important. Please ask around before purchasing a dog from any breeder and ask for References.

A reputable breeder should be happy to provide them!!




What should I expect to spend on a purebred AKC Australian Cattle Dog puppy, and why are they so expensive?

 If you are looking to purchase a puppy, then you have decided to add a member to your family for the next 15+ years.

It is very important when making this kind of commitment that you take into consideration the future health and well being of your new dog.

In California or on the west coast you should expect that the bare minimum base price of an ACD  puppy with AKC registration that is limited (meaning spay or neuter) is around $2000. This usually includes a registration application for you to register the dog, and at minimum the dog will have had its shots and be wormed. often no health testing has been done on the parents. Most reputable breeders charge more and here is why:

Because a reputable breeder usually will offer a contract that protects you as the buyer as well as provides for the dogs health and welfare in the future. 

Most breeders will take the dog back in any situation that renders you unable to care for the dog and most breeders do a huge amount of health testing on their breeding stock to help you the buyer from having issues with your dog in the future. 

Most breeders provide you with a detailed record that shows that the dog has been kept current on vaccinations, deworming, has had registration paid and submitted by the breeder as well as comes with a microchip that is also registered at the expense of the breeder. Breeders also offer countless hours of unpaid time to their puppy buyers in support, phone calls and play dates to help with training issues that arise.

All of these things help protect the puppy and the buyer in their investment as well as come at a higher cost the breeder.

On average co-owned or companion/pet  puppies with all available health and safety precautions go for $2500-$3000. Show Puppies with breeding rights and full registration usually go for $3500 or more.

Remember that although Prices seem high, It is expensive to promote our breed through shows, complete health testing and maintain the health and wellness of all the dogs in a breeders show/breeding program. there are stud fees to be paid, travel expenses and the cost of raising a litter to optimum health. When you are purchasing a dog from a breeder that shows, has Champion titles on the dogs, and health tests you are probably going to get a very good representation of the breed!!

It is fairly easy to find a 'better deal' when shopping for your next puppy, but you usually will find that you get what you pay for. Breeders that sell you a puppy for a bargain price usually have no idea what genetic problems will plague there beloved dogs offspring.  You often will purchase a "purebred" cattle dog that is unregistered only to find out later that there is a little bit of Border Collie or Shepherd or something else mixed in when your puppy grows up much bigger then expected or all of a sudden gets very very fluffy!

Most of the proceeds from puppy sales usually go right back into the dogs and if you are expecting to buy a puppy that has a breeder standing behind it with a guarantee, you will not shop around for the best price,  instead the best dog to suit your life.

It is also important that you purchase from a puppy from a breeder that you 'click' with as it should be a relationship for the lifetime of the dog and you, as a buyer, should feel comfortable asking questions or for support when needed.

Nationwide shipping costs for an 8-10 week old puppy :

 approx $80 for a shipping crate that is yours to keep, $500 in the US for airline shipping and $125 for appropriate pre-flight health screens and paperwork to allow access onto the plane. 

It is always better to purchase from a local breeder when possible preferably in the same state or in one within traveling distance to you so that you can exercise the option of meeting the dogs in person or being close to the breeder should problems arise.



What is Limited Registration, Full registration, and Co-Ownership?

Limited Registration means that the owner and breeder have agreed to spay or neuter the purchased dog. This still allows the new owner to compete in every AKC event, except Conformation, which is the evaluation of breeding stock. 

A dog being sold on limited registration is truly being sold as a companion and if it is bred and produces a litter of puppies, the puppies will not be allowed AKC registration even if they come from two AKC parents.

Full Registration

This gives the new owner every right to do as they wish with the dog, Breed, Show in Conformation, transfer ownership or sell,  the new owner will own the dog outright.

Most breeders will not sell a dog with Full AKC registration unless it is someone that they know or has proven to be responsible and has completed all the health testing on their past dogs and has no records of being an irresponsible breeder.

Contact any breeder out there and ask about dogs they sold on full registration in the past to someone they believed they could trust and you will hear horror stories about dogs bred over and over again, or bred as puppies just barely in there first heat, or how the got a call from the shelter to pick up a dog and its pups that had been left by its owner that could not handle the responsibility of all the puppies.

In most cases to prove you are responsible, Full registration can be obtained by following through with a co-ownership agreement.


Co-ownership is an Ideal arraignment made between a breeder and a new owner that would  like to be able to raise puppies in the future or would like to show in Conformation and obtain championship titles for their dog.

Co-ownership requires both the breeder and owner to be listed on the dogs Full Registration certificate and also requires both the breeder and owners signature should the dog be sold or bred. 

Usually when entering a co-ownership agreement the breeder and the buyer will agree that the dog is to be shown and health tested prior to breeding.

Co-ownership is Ideal in many ways. Most breeders will keep their best most promising stock to keep in their breeding program or to promote in the show ring, but a breeder cant keep every nice puppy they have, and many very nice puppies go into spay/neuter homes.

By offering a co-ownership a breeder can place a puppy that is top quality into a home where it will get shown/promoted and be available to access for breeding in the future. Breeders will often let go of a pick of the litter puppy if they will have access to the breeding of the dog in the future, or if the dog will for sure go into a show home!

The buyer usually agrees to do all necessary health testing, and in exchange gets access and ownership of a top quality show dog that can be used in the future of their own possible breeding program. Usually dogs that are co-owned are less expensive then buying a show puppy outright and provide the new owner with much support at the dog shows including the option to have the breeder handle the dog should they decide not to handle it themselves.

Co-ownerships almost always include some form of breeding rights to the dog before the breeder signs off n the registration. This might include the breeder getting to breed the dog and keep a full litter, getting the pick puppy or two from the first litter (breeder usually picks the stud that sires the litter), getting a certain amount of breeding's from a stud dog, or offering the puppies for sale through their kennel to make sure the puppies go into proper homes. A solid contact is written and signed by both parties so there are not misunderstandings.

Please remember that Co-ownerships provide the buyer with the best quality puppy available, and almost always the ability to have a dog with Full registration in the future. Co-ownerships provide the breeder with peace of mind, and also forms a relationship and allows the breeder to mentor the buyer of the dog. 

 As breeders of AKC registered dogs we make a commitment to ourselves and to our breed to do only what is best for the dogs that we bring into this world and the breeding program and bloodlines we have worked so hard to create and maintain.  We try hard to make sure that no puppy or dog that is born in our kennels end up the subject of foul play or neglect. Unfortunately many people in our world are not trustworthy and  cannot be trusted to honor agreements or do right by a dog.

Providing Full Registration to everyone  who purchases a dog allows puppy mills,"backyard" breeders, and people just trying to make a few bucks to destroy the bloodlines we have worked hard to maintain, and allow disease and genetic disorders that we have worked hard to breed away from to once again become prominent in our breed.


What is the difference between a pet, show, performance ?

Our goal as a breeder is to continue improving the quality of the dogs that are in our program, not the quantity. Each time a litter is planned a lot of thought and effort go into insuring that the combination of the male and female will result in an improvement of both dogs involved for the future offspring. We may breed a really nice female that is ideal most every way except has a less then wonderful head shape. Care will be taken to make sure that the male she is bred to shares the same good points. The father may have some less then great features and be weaker in an area that the female is strong (for example, too light in color), but also has a wonderful shaped head. This will result in some puppies genetically adopting the best characters from each of its parents, and some looking like the mother with a less then perfect head and some looking like the father with too light of coloring. All of the puppies have the potential to be wonderful companions!

The goals for the best results in the litter depend widely on who the breeder is, and what needs strengthening in the bloodlines they have. what is one persons show puppy is another persons pet, and when a breeder labels a puppy with "show potential" it usually means this is, in their eyes, the cream of the crop. Beware the breeder who feels that the entire litter is all show quality. It is rare to find an entire litter of puppies that are all Ideal!!

A "show" puppy meets the standard set for the breed in every way or very close to it. Show puppies are usually the most Ideal in color and type for the breed and the breeder feels that a "show" puppy will excel in the world of conformation dog shows. Temperament and herding instinct are strongly considered but often are secondary to ideal conformation in a show puppy and Show puppies are ideal choices to continue along with in a breeding program. Sometimes a puppy can have perfect conformation, but has a giant spot that is smack dab on the show side of the dog and now it is out of the running for show potential. A show puppy is what the breeder feels that you can take in the ring, and win with when the dog has reached it's maturity. A show puppy is more expensive because of the type of full rights registration that it receives. 

 A "Performance" puppy is a high drive, highly motivated dog that pays good attention and has the correct mindset to  work stock, excel in obedience or agility/flyball/dock diving. It does not mean the puppy has to compete in performance classes, just that the puppy has the ideal temperament to complete such tasks an will be a puppy that works best in life if it has a "job". This type of puppy is usually creative and best not left to entertain itself for too long!!The title "performance" does not mean the puppy costs more or less, just a good description of the type of personality of that particular puppy!

A "Pet/companion" puppy is everything else! A pet puppy can be the most beautiful puppy or pick of the litter and if it goes to a home that is not a show home then it is simply a pet/companion and cattle dogs excel at this above all else. It does not make the puppy less valuable or a reject. There is no price difference based on the quality of the puppy, only on the type on home it goes to! Pet puppies are offered for a lower price because they are spayed and neutered.

Why is it important to buy a health tested dog, and what tests should I ask about?

Problem: Hearing

The Australian Cattle Dog carries recessive piebald alleles that produce white in the coat and skin and are linked to congenital hereditary deafness, though it is possible that there is a multi-gene cause for deafness in a dog with the piebald pigment genes. Around 2.4% of Cattle Dogs in one study were found to be deaf in both ears and 14.5% were deaf in at least one ear.

Prevention: BAER testing of breeding stock and puppies before being bred or  going to their new home. A dog only needs to be tested once in its lifetime, and most breeders will complete this test before sending the puppy to its new home.

Older senior ACD'S can still lose their hearing as they age and this is normal.

 Problem: Vision

The Australian Cattle Dog is one of the dog breeds affected by progressive retinal atrophy. It has the most common form, Progressive Rod/Cone Degeneration (PRCD), a condition that causes the rods and cones in the retina of the eye to deteriorate later in life, resulting in blindness. PRCD is an autosomal recessive trait and a dog can be a carrier of the affected gene without developing the condition. Australian Cattle Dogs also have other genetic eye problems, not all of them have genetic tests available. There is a good chance as your ACD gets older it will lose its vision at an advanced age whether it has PRCD-PRA or not. 

 prcd-PRA is a recessive inherited trait—like blue eyes in humans. The offspring can only become affected by the disease if they are passed two recessive genes—one from each parent. A DNA test can determine if a dog is affected, a carrier of the gene, or clear.

  • Affected: "C" (Homozygous Mutant) If the dog is affected, it carries two recessives and will eventually go blind. An affected dog will pass on one recessive gene to ALL its offspring.
  • Carrier: "B" (Heterozygous) If the dog is a carrier, it has only one recessive; it will likely not go blind from prcd. However, the carrier can pass on to its offspring either the recessive gene or a clear gene.
  • Clear/Normal: "A" (Homozygous Normal) If the dog is clear, then its DNA does not carry the prcd gene.  It can only pass on its clear gene.


 The information above shows how important it is to have ALL dogs who are to be bred tested for the prcd-PRA gene. Even though a dog may have no physical symptoms of prcd-PRA, it can still be a carrier of it. When it is bred with another carrier, each offspring has a 25% chance of being affected, 25% chance of being clear, and a 50% chance of being a carrier. If a carrier is bred to an affected dog, the odds get worse. Each offspring, then, has a 50% chance of being affected and a 50% chance of being a carrier. Only when bred to a clear dog, do the numbers get better. Each puppy will then have a 50% chance of being a carrier and a 50% chance of being clear. When breeding an affected do to a clear dog 100% of the puppies will be carriers only and never develop the prcd-PRA themselves

Therefore, it is important to determine, not only whether or not your dog is carrying the prcd-PRA gene but also whether or not the dog you breed to has the gene. With this knowledge, both the dam’s owner and the sire’s owner can make responsible decisions regarding their breeding programs.

Does this mean I shouldn’t breed a dog that’s a carrier of the prcd-PRA gene? Only you can determine that. However, the genetic testing allows a breeder to choose breeding partners wisely. Choosing breeding partners that are clear allows for the possibility of preventing the recessive gene from being passed on to future generations.

Problem : Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is not common in the breed, although it occurs sufficiently often for many breeders to have their breeding stock tested.

Prevention: OFA evaluated xrays to clear hip dysplasia

The Cattle Dog has a number of inherited conditions, but most of these are not common. 

Based on a sample of 69 still-living dogs, the most common health issues noted by owners were musculoskeletal (spondylosis, elbow dysplasia, and arthritis) and reproductive (pyometra, infertility, and false pregnancy), and blindness. A study of dogs diagnosed at Veterinary Colleges in the US and Canada over a thirty-year period described fractures, lameness and cruciate ligament tears as the most common conditions in the Australian Cattle Dogs treated.

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