Our breeding program
In 2010 we started to build up a small and reputable breeding program, under the kennel name « Lost Island » and raised five wonderful, healthy Mini Aussie litters to the best of our knowledge and belief, and registered them with US registries. After the last litter from our first "couple" Charlie & Jenna was born, we took a two-year puppy break. In April 2018, the first litter of our new female Malia, who was imported from America in 2015, was born. In January 2020, she had her A-litter with Buddy, a son of Charlie & Jenna, which got registered with the German Kennel Club (VDH) under our new kennel name « Lost River ».
We're breeding with lots of love, understanding and amost 15 years of experience, since we have bred Parson Russell Terriers from 2007 to 2014 under the kennel name « Parson of Pirates ». Back then we already attended seminars about dog breeding, gynecology, and genetics, and passed our breeder's exam. Since then we've raised a total of 16 litters with 89 pups (out of six bitches) that we found many great families for, who we became very good friends with.
I'm also very proud and grateful for the Puppy Puzzle workshop based on the knowledge and experience of Pat Hastings, that I did in March 2019, because it doesn't only enable me to plan matings even better, but also helps me evaluating the puppies based on their body structure as family, sports or breeding dog, because only a healthy structure guarantees a long lifespan without physical wear and tear.
When the Miniature American Shepherd was recognized by the VDH in May 2019, we became a member of the CASD which is the Parent Club for our breed in Germany now. The official recognition got us to change our kennel name to « Lost River » which is now internationally registered and protected by the FCI (World Canine Organization), so that « Lost Island » has become a name of the past.
We have successfully passed the "kennel inspection", where a trained CASD breeding supervisor checks if all the requirements for the ideal keeping and breeding of puppies are met. Within the first two weeks after the birth of a litter, and shortly before the puppies move out, the environmental conditions and the condition of the mother and her puppies are checked by the same breeding supervisor again. Each puppy then receives its own final inspection report in which the health status of the puppy, as well as any kind of faults (that may lead to not being suitable for breeding), and the name and address of the new owner are written down.
We attach great importance to the health and nature of our dogs and do all examinations and health tests that are available for the breed in order to prevent diseases and to be able to guarantee the health of our dogs and puppies as well as possible. This also includes receiving a breeding license of the CASD for all of our dogs. To get approved for breeding all health testings have to be done and the dog must be examined for its conformation, character, and overall breeding quality by a licensed judge.
My breeding goal is to produce a physically and mentally sound Miniature American Shepherd that matches the breed standard and has a steadfast, friendly and open-minded character, as well as a balanced, yet hard-working temperament. I breed for brains and beauty, correct size & structure, and above all attitude!
Therefore every mating is well-wrought and based on extensive genealogical research. We won't have a litter that's not carefully considered or that we won't have enough time to plan and raise, because not only genes play a role in the (character-) development of the puppies, but especially epigenetics – the biologically controlled genome that “goes beyond genetics” – where external influences in form of keeping of the dog, food, and mental and physical stress permanently changes the genetic material which not only affects the dog's behavior, but also the health and life expectancy of the dog. For this very reason, we attach great importance to the correct keeping, upbringing and physical education of our breeding dogs – before mating, during pregnancy and rearing, as well as in the time between litters. That's also why we don't breed our bitches until they are fully grown and mature, which is around 2 ½ to 3 years old for an Aussie, as they are late bloomers. After a litter we give our bitches a break of up to two years until they will have another litter. In addition, they do not have more than 3-4 litters in their life. Find out everything about our unique REARING.
Who are we ?
The answer is: We are Gabi and Julia Bettendorf, mother and daughter.
My mother has been a retired bank clerk since 2019 and actively supports me in raising our litters. Otherwise, the dogs and breeding are my sole responsibility. I myself am running a small business for photography & web/graphic design ( Julia-Bettendorf.com ) since 2014 and am specialized in event photography, so I'm flexible in terms of time, work from home and can schedule my jobs so that I have enough time for the dogs and can take care of the puppies.
We live together in Wiesbaden, in the beautiful Kohlheck district, where, thanks to the direct edge of the forest, we are only 170 meters from the countryside. There are almost endless paths through the adjoining city forest, which, with a size of 5,600 hectares, makes up a quarter of the city area and serves as a fresh air lock and source of drinking water for Wiesbaden. That's why 96 percent of it is designated as a landscape conservation area or nature reserve. As a result, I can be out and about with my little pack several times a day, for hours and kilometers, in our dog-friendly landscape conservation area and the dogs have lots of social contacts — pure nature on the outskirts of Wiesbaden.
And if we get bored of the meadows, stream valleys, forest fields, etc., we have many other options within a 5 km radius, such as fields, vineyards and the Rhine, to walk or swim with the dogs.
Our 3-room condominium has a separate single entrance and from our living room we have direct access to our little garden where we have a small goldfish pond.
In front of our front door we also have a small front garden, which borders on the common area of the residential complex and is located right next to a small sandpit for the children from the neighborhood. So our puppies collect a lot of impressions and have contact with children from an early age, as well as strangers and dogs that regularly walk past our house. They are already living a real family dog's life and know many things that other puppies usually don't experience because they grow up in an idyllic peace in the country or in a large enclosed garden.
Everything else about the unique rearing of our puppies can be found here .
Have fun on our website!
Julia & Gabi Bettendorf
But how did we go to the dogs?
Translated by Google
Back then we were fascinated by Border Collies. Unfortunately, a dog of this breed was never an option for us as beginners, also because of the size and the sometimes very strong herding instinct and the common staring at animals, people, toys, etc. – which, of course, is also influcened by the upbringing of the owner – which is why we just didn't dare to do it.
When I went to a training camp with our PRT Tino for the first time in June 2006, I "discovered" the Australian Shepherds, that I thought, were Border Collies. Because I was so enthusiastic about the Aussies, I immediately started my research about them and soon got to know the first one in our neighborhood. But the breed was still too big for us and we sticked with the Parson Russell Terrier.
Two years later, at the camp in 2009, two 8-week-old Aussie puppies were visiting, which made me looking for little Aussies again.
I finally found an ad for Toy Aussie puppies and was amazed that they were the same size as our Russells – I knew I needed one! But since there are a lot of toys that are just too small and no longer look beautiful, I looked for slightly larger Toy Aussies and came across the Miniature Australian Shepherds.
A short time later, I found a breeder near us whose bitch had given birth to her first litter the day before. I waited anxiously for the first pictures and when I saw them, the decision was made. Without telling my mother anything, I reserved one of the 3 blue merle males. I had only seen him in a picture from above, squeezed between his siblings, but I knew that this puppy would be mine. When the first individual pictures of the puppies were online, I showed them to my mom, who said they were cute, but declared me insane wanting another dog.
After intensive persuasion, we drove to Hövels, "just to have a look at a Mini Aussie in the flesh". Actually, we drove to look at the male I reserved – but my mother didn't know. When we arrived, we were completely fascinated by the breed and the puppies. As fate willed, my mom, who was 100% convinced that there would be no other dog, picked up that exact puppy I'd reserved – and this pic was taken.
Since the breeder had another potential buyer for him, she asked us if we will take him. I will never forget my mother's face, but of course she played along and after we had discussed the whole trip back, the decision fell onto our Charlie .
Since Charlie developed so well and everyone was amazed by the breed (most of them thought he was an old and blind bitch with a glass eye...) we decided to look for a second Mini, just because we wanted him to have a "like-minded" friend to play.
After more than 6 months of searching and over 3,000 kilometers, because of visits at breeders all over Germany, we finally found our 2nd Mini Aussie: Jenna ! – and this is how everything started.