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AKC Breeder of Merit Kym Burch-Ryan has raised and shown Australian Shepherds since 1993. She lives on a 20-acre farm in Roxbury, Kansas. Her daughter Brandi shares her passion for the breed; she has shown Aussies since she was 8 years old. Kym’s younger daughter, Hadlei, is also now showing Aussies.

AKC: How did you get started breeding dogs?

Kym: I got my first Aussie in 1978 when I was a freshman in high school and totally fell in love with the breed. In 1993 I bought my first female Aussie, Sidney, who was AKC Foundation Stock. Her first litter produced our first Mi-T conformation champion, who also earned his CDX which started our journey to earn the Breeder of Merit status.

AKC: What is the most important thing to know about the Australian Shepherd?

Kym: That they are intelligent and active and require both mental and physical activities to be happy and healthy.

AKC: How has the AKC Marketplace helped you find potential puppy buyers?

Kym: The Marketplace has been very helpful by allowing people to research the breed and then making it easy to connect with me so I can further educate and mentor them and hopefully match them with their next family member.

AKC: What is your favorite question to ask potential puppy buyers?

Kym: Have you previously owned an Australian Shepherd? If not, are you familiar with the breed?

AKC: What are the main qualities you look for in potential owners?

Kym: Someone who has researched the breed, visited with owners and breeders, and is prepared to dedicate the time and training necessary to help their new puppy become a confident, happy dog and valued family member.

AKC: What is the best advice you would give to novice breeders?

Kym: Study your breed standard, attend breed seminars and dog shows (with a mentor, if possible), and sit ringside and watch, evaluate and learn. Know the health issues of your breed and do appropriate testing on every dog in your breeding program.

AKC: Do your dogs participate in AKC sports?

Kym: Yes! My main goal is to produce healthy and structurally sound Aussies that can compete and be successful in any ring or arena. Over the years we have produced many conformation champions and numerous Australian Shepherds that have earned titles in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and coursing.

AKC: What do you like best about breeding dogs?

Kym: All of it! From researching prospective stud dogs, whelping and raising puppies, meeting their new families and getting updates on them throughout their lives, showing in bred-by-exhibitor, competing in performance events with them, traveling and showing with my daughter and granddaughter, it’s all an adventure and I love it!

AKC: Do you have a favorite breeding story?

Kym: Probably my current litter. Male puppies have dominated my litters for the past five years or so, and my current litter is seven girls!