Our Breeding Philosophy

Home-Grown Pups

We breed the occasional litter of pups; mostly for the sheer pleasure of it and usually just one litter a year. Enormous care is taken to find the right partners for our dogs; matching temperaments, breed lines, physical qualities and health tests. Puppies are born and raised as part of our household; they are raw-fed and holistically reared.
Our pups receive our undivided love, attention and devotion. Each one is a little piece of our hearts. If your ideal dog comes in a currently fashionable size or colour, or is farmed on a breeding kennel with impersonal concrete runs and wire mesh fencing, then you're looking on the wrong website. Kilnhursts are home-grown pups, our pride and joy.

Our standards of health testing, husbandry and quality of aftercare are in excess of any breed club requirements.
We hold ourselves to the very highest standards and ethics in every respect.

All our dogs past and present (mutts, crossbreeds, pedigrees, imports, rescues, home-growns, failed fosters, Uncle Tom Cobley and all) plus every litter we have had, are proudly on this website.
Here at Kilnhurst, what you see is what you get.

Working breeds for Active Homes

In addition to lovely temperaments, our puppies are bred with working activities in mind. Our past pups are making us proud in a whole range of performance venues including Agility, Flyball, Obedience, Tracking, Rally-O and Scentwork. Many have qualified for and competed successfully at prestigious events such as Crufts, Discover Dogs and the UKA Grand Finals. We count a number of registered Therapets and Kennel Club Good Citizens Gold amongst our pups, too. In pre-covid 2019, Kilnhurst owners banded together and raised over £1,000 for Battersea Dog and Cats home by completing the infamous Muddy Dog Challenge.

Both Mini Americans and Border Collies are working breeds; it takes committed owners to embrace their boundless energy and specific requirements. The MAS in particular look cute but couch potatoes they certainly are not! They are bright and learn quickly, but that means they can learn bad habits just as fast as good ones. It's fair to say that the average MAS regularly out-smarts the average human.

Because of their need to be worked, our puppies are totally unsuited to sedentary homes, or where they will be left alone and lonely for large parts of the day. These dogs would send an inactive home, and themselves, completely crazy. Neither breed is a good choice the first-time dog owner, or for training by children.

Potential owners are strongly advised to research and familiarise themselves with the specific requirements and strong working drives of both these breeds and should not consider either unless able to assure a dog an active, secure and loving home for life.

Health and Temperament Tested

Every dog we breed from has undergone an extensive range of health tests and the results are shown on each dog's page. Kilnhurst is completely transparent in this matter, each dog's FULL results are published, not just the good ones. We are happy to show you the original documentation, discuss the tests, the results and their implications.

The evaluation of our dogs for health, temperament and conformation is an ongoing process. Any dog that falls short of our standards is not bred, or in the case of pups, breeding endorsements will not be lifted.

Our puppies are Volhard Puppy Aptitude Tested before they leave home. The results of this non-invasive test gives future owners a snapshot insight into the potential character of their new dog and can suggest the training style and approach which each pup may respond to best. The results and implications of the Volhard tests are discussed with each potential home.

Our puppies are NOT, never have been, and never will be, subjected to the Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) programme. Don't even ask.

When placing our pups, we try of course to accommodate preferences for gender and coat colour etc, but our priority in finding the most successful and enduring match between pup and prospective home, is character. These dogs will become an integral part of your life and your family for hopefully more than a decade. There is no point offering you a pup that we know from the outset, will never make a good fit.

Registration and Sales Contract

All our pups are registered on the Kennel Club Activities Register which entitles them to compete in the full range of dog sports, but not the KC breed ('conformation') ring.
The MAS litters are also registered as pedigree Miniature American Shepherds with the American Kennel Club (AKC). The KC do not recognise the breed yet.

Our pups are sold with their registration papers with all registries, endorsed against breeding. In exceptional circumstances this breeding endorsement may be lifted at our absolute discretion once the pup reaches two years of age, subject to proof of satisfactory health testing and following full discussion.

Lifetime Support and Take-back Guarantee

We guarantee to be available to our owners for support and advice (if the owners so wish) for the pup's whole life. If the pup is ever to be re-homed we require absolutely the right of first refusal; our pups have a completely unconditional, non-judgemental lifetime take-back guarantee written into the sales contract. There is no need for one of our pups to ever face the ordeal of rescue. A Kilnhurst can always come home.

We maintain a waiting list for our litters and are happy to discuss our amazing breeds and to share our information and enthusiasm with potential owners.
The quality, characters and natures of our pups, combined with the love, affection and attention to detail over their raising, has resulted in numerous repeat customers (maybe better called 'offenders'?!) over the years. We don't advertise our pups anywhere other than via our own social media (this site or our Facebook page), most of them are placed by word of mouth which is exactly how we like it. Waiting lists are usually closed long before a litter arrives.

If you are interested in a future Kilnhurst puppy, please introduce yourself and kick-start the conversation via the Questionnaire on the Puppy Application page.
Please be aware that we are unlikely to respond to puppy enquiries that arrive without a completed questionnaire. People who can't find the time to answer a few questions, probably haven't got time for a puppy, either.