The sisters at Novi 2020

The sisters Twyla (left) and Tilly (right) went to the Michigan Winter Classic and both came away with lovely five point majors at Supported Entry shows handled by Maria Neff. Big thank you to Amy for getting the girls to the show and showing them.

Twyla is ASCA/CKC Ch. Bayberry’s Afterglow owned by Oracle.
Tilly is ASCA/CKC Ch. Bayberry’s Dusk ‘Til Dawn co-owned with Amy Lewis.

MBVISS, AOM CKC CH, Multi. Premier HOF ASCA CH, AKC CH Paradox Pickwick, HIC “Pike” x ASCA/AKC CH Vinelake’s New Leaf “Willow”

Bred by Bayberry and Vinelake Aussies

2019 was Spencer’s Great Year!

To describe the excitment over watching Spencer’s 2019 year is almost impossible. Spencer was no stranger to winning big before this year. He was Winners Dog at USASA Nationals in 2017. But when Spencer teamed up with Chelby Marling in 2019, their winning was unstoppable.

Spencer’s 2019 included:
6 Best in Shows
Including a clean sweep of all four Best in Shows at SD&G and two Best in Shows and a Reserve Best in Show at Aurora & District (which are two of the largest shows in Canada)
9 Reserve Best in Shows
41 Group Wins
2 Best in Specialty Show Wins

Making him the #1 Australian Shepherd
#3 Herding Dog
#12 All Breed

He also went to Orlando in December and in five days of showing completed his AKC GrCh in style winning a Best in Show at the Central Florida KC Show (one of the largest shows in North America) and skyrocketed to #2 Australian Shepherd all systems in the USA.

Spencer wins BIS

Big thank you to Spencer’s co-breeder Becky Androff of TreeStarr Aussies, his owner Dominica McCutcheon and his handler Chelby Marling.

Colorado Nationals 2018

Amy and I drove for two days with three dogs and my two year old to go to Colorado Nationals. It was worth the drive – even though we sometimes question our sanity for making the drive.
“Tilly” took Winner’s Bitch to finish her ASCA CH at a Pre-Show
“Pike” took Third in the Stud Dog class
“Jagger” won Best of Breed at the National

Pictured: Pike in front of Jagger (Pike x Violet), Nori (Pike x Willow), Spencer (Pike x Violet) and Tilly (Pike x Willow)

Finding an Ethical, Preservation Aussie (or any Breed) Breeder

How do I find a reputable breeder?

Well, it’s not always easy, but it’s not as hard as people think. Start with an internet search for breed clubs – in Aussies the parent club is ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America). You can contact them and ask for the name of the local club in your area or local breeders. In Canada, there is CNASA and ASC of Ontario as well. 

At this point, you will have a list of local breeders. Start contacting them. Here is a sample letter that will help you properly introduce yourself to your future potential breeder (“do you have puppies?” in the subject line, followed by no text in the body, never makes a good impression). This sample letter is designed to get you thinking about what you want to say to a breeder and selling yourself to the good breeders. An e-mail consisting of “I am looking for a Blue Merle puppy with blue eyes” in the body and that’s it, will not attract the right breeders. A good breeder is screening for the best homes. Lifetime homes. Someone who is only interested in colour has probably not thought through all the reason why an Aussie would or would not fit in their home. If a breeder responds to that e-mail with “yes, three. When would you like to pick her up?” She’s probably not the breeder you want to deal with. I am not saying your colour preference is not of some interest to a good breeder, it’s just not what makes their heart beat faster about a family.  

Here is the sample letter:


My name is [Your name] and I live in [Name of City]. My household consists of [who lives with you – human and animal]. I am looking to add a new member to my family. I have been researching breeds and think the Aussie will fit well into our family because [Reason. Hint: Don’t say you like the markings. Think about why the Aussie’s temperament and traits would fit well into your family. This is a very important part for a breeder about deciding if the family is the right fit for one of their puppies]. 

Here is a little bit about myself and my family: [Please include things that tell the breeder about your lifestyle. For example your work life, your sports involvement, current hobbies and how you spend your time. Also include things about any kids or other housemates]. I see an Aussie fitting well into this family, because we are looking for a dog who can [explain the things you want to do with your new Aussie and how you see them fitting into your family.]

I am writing inquiring about your dogs. I would love to know more about how you raise your dogs and your breeding philosophy. We are looking to add our new family member [within the year, next year, down the road or whatever time frame you are looking at]. We are inquiring with local breeders as to who is planning litters around that time and starting to visit with them. We would like to know if you are planning any future litters and if you would be open for us to come meet your dogs and you ahead of time. 

I also have a few questions about your dogs:

Do they live in the house with you?

What kind of guarantee do you offer on a puppy?

How do you match your puppies to the right home?

What health tests do you do on your dogs?

How much do you ask for your puppies?

What is your favourite thing about your breed? [This is a getting to know your breeder kind of question. The answer should give you some ideas of the breeders focus and priorities and the time they are willing to give you.]

Thank you very much for your time, 

[Future Mom/Dad of an Aussie]

Okay, I contact the breeder, now what?

Finding a good breeder is also finding a lifetime friend. A good breeder should be always there for you before and after you leave with your puppy. Your new dog may be yours, but a good breeder feels connected and responsible for each and every puppy they produce. Finding a lifetime friend is not usually done by e-mail. The best way to know how you feel about a breeder is to visit, meet them and meet their dogs. This person will be there for you for the lifetime of your dog and if you have found the right breeder, probably your lifetime, too. In this day and age, it’s almost like online dating. You chat for a while, decide you like the person, go to meet them, meet their family and if everything clicks, you may just make that big commitment. 

What do I need to know about a breeder before I commit?

How are the dogs raised?

Where do the dogs live?

What are they breeding for/what are their breeding goals? (This will tell you something about the quality of breeder, too. If someone is just producing puppies, they will just breeding the same breeding pair over and over again and produce puppies. Someone with health, betterment of the breed and producing excellent companions will mention those things in their response.)

Have the dogs been health tested – eyes, hips, available genetic tests?

What food do they feed?

In the litter that you are looking at, what were the qualities they liked about the parents? Why did they think it was a good match?

How do they/did they decide the puppy you are taking home was the right one for you?

What things do they require from you?

Do they vaccinate? If so, how often? What do they require from you? We don’t say “Do the puppies have all their shots?” because we don’t want puppies over-vaccinated.

Do you have a guarantee and sales contract?

This sounds complicated, Kijiji is selling puppies online, can’t I just go there?

No. Don’t shop online for a puppy. You will only be supporting people who breed for profit. If you are looking for a rescue, search These rescues are available through rescue organizations, they have been temperament tested and seen a veterinarian. People offering dogs on Kijiji may not have the knowledge to match you with their pet they are trying to get rid of and breeders on Kijiji are just selling puppies for money. Yes, I am stating that categorically, because I have never come across an exception.

I saw this website where I can pick a puppy, pay online and they ship it to me, can I just go there?

No. Again, those are just fronts for puppymills. You will only be padding the pockets of people who breed for money with little concern for the health, wellness and lifetime of the dog. 

I heard “Designer Breeds” or mixed breeds are healthier, is that true? I heard they benefit from “hybrid vigor”?

This is an absolutely myth. The scientific term “hybrid vigor” refers to crossing two different species. For example a horse and a zebra or a coyote and a wolf. The genetic differences that make one breed different from the other are not significant enough to create and genetic vigor. If you have a Lab parent with Hip Dysplasia in his genes and you breed him to a Poodle with Hip Dyplasia in her genes, you are going to get puppies that suffer from Hip Dysplasia. The genes are simple not different enough to not double up. 

OFA has a list of breeds and ranks the breeds in order from most occurrences of Hip Dysplasia (#1) to least (#160). The mixed breed (“hybrid”) listed as #36 out of 160 for hip dysplasia. It’s ranked higher than the GSD (#39), which has a terrible reputation for bad hips. They have the Labradoodle listed as #65, while its purebred counterparts, the Labrador Retriever and the Standard Poodle, were rated #85 and #77. 

The problem is only a reputable breeder checks their dogs for Hip Dysplasia. They will only breed the dogs that get the clearance from OFA. People producing “Designer Breeds” very rarely care about health. They are just producing puppies, lying to people saying they are healthier or hypoallergenic and they very rarely do any health clearances. 

Don’t be fooled into believing a “designer dog” is healthier than a purebred from a reputable breeder. It’s simply not true. 

How Oracle Aussies Raises Puppies

Below is information on our breeding program and how our puppies are raised. We raise puppies the right way with lots of individual attention and just as much focus on brains than beauty. Puppies go lots of places, meet lots of people and get lots of training before they leave. We happily share photos on Facebook and post video on YouTube of the puppies as they grow, so you can see the development and effort that goes into raising a puppy here at Oracle Aussies. 

Why do you breed Aussies?

The biggest reason for breeding Aussies for us is the love of the breed. We love to share that love and special bond with others. We think having an Aussie to love is a special feeling and there is no greater feeling than knowing we bred a dog that fills someone else’s life with love. 

How often do you breed? 

Maybe once a year. Maybe twice, at most. Each litter gets our full and complete attention from before they are born to the day they leave. 

What are your goals in your breeding program?

Health and temperament are the biggest factors for us when breeding a litter. 

Health is an obvious one that includes an absence of disease, a pedigree that lacks substantial risk, health clearances such as hip tests, eye tests and genetic tests and sound structure and movement.
Because we are advocated of raw feeding and minimal vaccinations, we also look forward to health improvements as we have more generations of Aussies raised this way. 

Temperament has many aspects to it. We want an Aussie that has a true Aussie personality. They should be smart, active, reserved with strangers (they reserve love for their people or people who pass their inspection – this does not mean shy or aggressive) and they should have natural instincts on stock. Many of our dogs’ pedigrees combine Champions and Working Trial Champions (dogs that have been proven to know how to work stock in a trial). 
For us what makes an Aussie special is their intelligence and devotion to their people. There is no other breed quite like an Australian Shepherd and to know them is to love them. 

You will notice that our litters thus far have been planned using dogs we own or have lived with us. This has given us the chance to ensure we are breeding for the temperaments that we are after. We have been looking at outside studs for future litters and it is important to us that we meet every one of them to ensure the temperament is what we are looking for. 

There are other elements that go into our breeding program. We are the home of multiple Best Puppy in Show winners, a Best in Show Winner, Multiple Best Puppy in Group winners, Group winners and group placers, multiple Champions, Nationals Class winners and placers – and the list goes on and on. Sound structure, sound movement and breed type – also play into our breeding plans. We want a dog that has all the good looks, too. 

Where and how are your puppies raised?

Our puppies are whelped in our spare bedroom. I set up the whelping box and a bed for me in that room at least a week before the puppies are due. The dam gets used to sleeping in the whelping box and has the comfort of me in the room with her. The puppies are born and raised in that room. The hustle and bustle of life happens just outside their door, so they become accustomed to noises and sounds of the house hold from a very early age. 

From day one the puppies experience Early Neurological Stimulation exercises, designed to make them healthier and stronger. They have toys and other surfaces to crawl over and experience. We play a sound CDs for them that includes all sorts of noises to get them accustomed to all sorts of environments. 

Once they are old enough (around week 3), they are moved to a big play pen. The play pen allows them room to stretch their legs and play. They are again surrounded by things to climb on and under. They will have crates to curl up in to get them used to that. They will get toys to play with. 

They will also begin the process of potty training. By their 3rd week, they will know to go to their potty area to go potty. This creates an easy dog to potty train when they go to their new home.

The puppies are allowed visitors starting at 3 weeks and of course there is always a line up of people to come see them. They enjoy socializing and playing with new people. They are taken outside and get to explore and experience the world. They get to meet our crew starting at 4 weeks, so they learn all about other dogs. By the time they leave they are used to playing with the big dogs. They get outings to our store and new places at week 7. 
The puppies start clicker training at 4 weeks old. They learn about the clicker and rewards and we do basic recalls with them for some yummy yogurt. They think that’s grand! 

At 6.5 weeks, we start crate training, too. The puppies sleep paired up with a littermate in a crate, then eventually are separated into their own crates. This involves some sleepless nights for us, but hopefully makes the transition easier at home. 

The puppies are never forcefully weaned from their mother. We allow nature to take it’s course as the dam chooses. We believe that a mother’s milk is providing the puppies with antibodies and a stronger immune system, so the longer they have that, the better. 

Puppies have lots of outings and particularly one on one outings where we see their reaction to new things, places and people without their littermates around. This gives us a solid handle on their strengths and weaknesses in their temperament. 

We love the puppies to play with and learn from the older members of their family. We think that is very important for their socialization and learning. 

The puppies are checked for parasites at 6 weeks and treated if need be.