Tails have been a controversial topic for as long as I've been in this breed. We all do what we feel is best for the breed we love.
I am a PRESERVATION breeder which means I respect what our founders created for us and I want to preserve that legacy by following the written breed standard to the best of my ability and that means docking tails almost all of the time.
Will I have puppies with Tails? YES. But they will always be Mini Americans. I will NEVER leave tails on my Australian Shepherd litters so long as it is legal in Ontario to dock. It is a personal preference only, no other reason but it is my strict policy.
Do breeders ever leave tails on just one puppy? Yes some of them do and in my opinion they are money hungry back yard breeders with no regard for the puppy or you as the buyer. Period. I do not support that practice and they should be ashamed of themselves for putting money from a sale above making the best match possible. ANY breeder who does this is ONLY and I do mean ONLY in it for the money. I stand behind that statement because if they were in it for any other reason it would be about the best match over all and not just a tail.
I am not that breeder. I do not need your money or the sale bad enough to ruin my reputation and risk placing the wrong puppy in your home where both you and the dog will be unhappy. I would like to think I am ethical in how I place puppies. I want the puppy to be happy, if you live in a condo and he's a barking lunatic I do not want you forced to yell all the time and possibly resort to a shock collar just to shut him up so you can keep him. I'd rather you get a quiet dog that you love that fits in easily. If you are a calmer home I do not want to give you a hyper bounce off the wall puppy, instead I'd rather find you a puppy that is more suited to the lifestyle you live and will fit in. No breeder can promise that at a day old, I don't even try.
So the way it will work with me, and I can not speak to any other breeder and their methods, but I ask for paid applications before I make any final decisions on which litters to breed so I can try and meet my own needs as well as yours. I do have a section on the application where you can choose a tail or a docked puppy. So I am giving you options but there are also very clear limitations. Always keep in mind my main priority is the puppies and placing them where they will be happy, and they don't care about your hair colour or skin colour :) They care that you can meet all of their needs. With me as the breeder, when it comes to tails. You DO NOT get to request colour. Sorry. We have taken that section of the application off completely if you want a tail. You can request gender and we will take that into consideration based on why you have requested a certain gender, and you will tell me how much energy you can handle and what activities you plan to do with the puppy so I can narrow down which litters you might be able to make happy but that's where it ends when it comes to selecting a puppy with a tail. You will get no say in colour, markings or which puppy in the litter you take home. Sorry.
So when we get applications for puppies with full tails we look at what you want and compare that to each of our litters, the parents, their size, personality, athletic ability, energy level, drive, what they have produced for us in previous litters etc We have to compare everyone's needs that have asked for a tail and pick a litter we feel has the best chance to produce puppies that those families can make happy and keep satisfied. You see how I worded that, I am NOT concerned whether you get a blue eyed blue merle, I am concerned whether YOU can make the puppy I give you happy and meet all of it's needs or not.
So once I have 4-6 applicants who want tails I will pick a litter I think may work out, a litter I feel I will be able to match the puppies personality with what you can provide for that puppy. I will tell you which litter I am willing to leave tails on once I have enough paid applicants. You can like it or not. I don't really care, I will not choose a different litter if I do not feel it's the right litter. I will advertise which litter I am considering leaving tails on. Everyone who is looking for a tail is welcome to send in an application and payment for that specific litter.
When the puppies are born we will let you know how many she had. We will accept that many applicants. If we do not get at least half of the litter reserved within 24 hours, we will dock the litter. Period. Which is why we wait until we have enough people interested in tails before we pick a litter. If we end up only having 1 or 2 people who commit and 6 puppies left without homes, we will dock the entire litter. It is all or nothing. We will not leave a tail on just a few puppies. It's the entire litter all the way around, either everyone keeps their tail or everyone is docked. No exceptions. If people back out when they are born and we dock the litter, you simply stay on the waiting list until we have enough serious people to try again down the road or you can at any time take a puppy with a docked tail.
Once I leave the tails on the litter and we have people lined up the puppies get two identifications. They will get a litter name that all of their paperwork will refer to them as, and they will get a colour reference. Only I will know who references which colour. As the puppies are growing up and developing personality I will reference it to colour, so as an example, Red is a barker and more suited to a house, Blue is hyper and needs a more active home, Yellow is more submissive and needs a calmer environment etc
The kicker is you do not know which puppy references that description. In this way when I tell you that you live in a condo and I'm telling you Red does not fit and you agree, you are agreeing for the right reason, because the personality does not fit your lifestyle, and you are not hung up on colour and markings. We will work together based on anonymous personality to match you up with a suitable puppy. After the 8 week vaccinations, vet check and eye exam, then and only then will I tell you which puppy you will be taking home. You will not know which puppy is yours until literally 24-48 hours before pick up and no sooner.
If you choose to walk away because it's not the puppy you had fallen in love with, even though I am very clear on how it works, you walk away from your application fee and loose your place on our waiting list. We will not accept you back for a tail, if you wish to continue to work with us you can send in another $500 application for a docked tailed puppy and we will process you as a new applicant.
So if you choose us as the breeder you want to work with and you want a tail on your puppy, with us you get no selection on colour or litter. I will make all of those determinations and you can either choose to work with me or not. We do not want to mislead anyone and if you are not comfortable with this process we suggest you choose a different breeder to work with.
If anything is unclear in the process feel free to contact me at any time.