If you read my first post, you know we got a puppy in September!
We’d been looking for a sheepdog to join our (very little) family, but we wanted a smaller one since we don’t have much of a (usable) yard. We seriously considered a Sheltie – Justin grew up with a red sable Sheltie and is a big fan of them. But we remembered we’d seen a small Australian Shepherd once in old Folsom. We aren’t usually the type of people to stop a dog owner in the street to ask (nag) about his dog, but we were curious, so we did. The owner told us he was a toy Australian Shepherd and he was only about 12 in tall at full size.
We reminisced about the cute little guy and did some research. Toy and miniature Australian Shepherds share the same great qualities as full-sized shepherds, but their smaller size makes it easier for suburbanites to own and care for them. Toys and miniatures are the result of breeding smaller Australian Shepherds. They are individually recognized breeds, but are still Australian Shepherds. It’s not like a shepherd was bred with a smaller dog and the result was a toy/mini (Lots of people ask if he’s part chihuahua).
Anyway, we settled on a toy and we knew we wanted a male blue Merle – we also wanted to avoid a spay/neuter agreement, a practice that’s really popular with Californian breeders. It took a lot of searching to find what we were looking for, but we finally decided on a breeder. The puppy had to be flown out to us, which made me nervous – imagining my little guy in a kennel by himself, bumping around in the cargo area of a plane – but when we picked him up he was energetic and happy. Probably won’t have a puppy shipped to use ever again, though. It took almost an hour after his flight had landed for us to figure out where he was being held (The airport staff insisted he’d be at baggage claim).
We named him Coach Blue of the Merles because we’re super clever 😉 His call name is Coach. He’s got black markings under his eyes that reminded me of a football player… see where I’m going with this? The name worked out well, the breeder called him Colt, so Coach sounded similar enough that he picked up on it quickly. Coach is 5 months old now, his coat is starting to fill in and he’s lanky. I guess this stage is called the puppy uglies, but I think he’s a total cutie. He’s so smart – he needs consistent attention to keep him occupied. And he’s adorable. It’s hard to leave him at home all day. He’s great with kids (Which is good for us…someday in the future ;)) and isn’t shy of strangers. He has been barking at walls and windows lately, which freaks me out (I should stop watching the Paranormal Activity movies). And whenever we take him somewhere, we get stopped by every single person we see. “What kind of dog is that?” “He’s soooo cute?” “Aren’t you precious!” (Yes, most people speak directly to the dog). He’s totally stolen my heart though. And my socks (His favorite ‘toys’). Did I mention he’s adorable?