My Aussies (and other family members)

My Deaf Aussies

Love works, even when ears don't

Welcome! This site belongs to my two deaf Australian Shepherds, Gwydion and Gwenhwyfar, but they let the cats have a corner of it too. I've tried to include as much info as I can about living with deaf dogs (Aussies in particular). I'd like people to see that deaf dogs can be wonderful pets, if they're just given a chance. You can get around the site either by using the headings on the left, or the links on the bottom of each page.

They're deaf?

If you check out the pictures, you'll see that my dogs are mostly white with merle splotches. girl with dog They are both the result of "merle to merle" breedings (color genetics), which will statistically cause 25% of the puppies to be born as "excess whites" (pictures of white Aussies). These dogs are commonly known as "double merles" (properly as homozygous merles), not "lethal whites" (I loathe that term). Unfortunately, the currently accepted "responsible thing to do" is not to avoid MxM pairings, but to go ahead and do it, and then quietly kill any white pups produced (without even waiting to see if there will be anything "wrong" with them). This secrecy means that the general public has no idea that these dogs even exist, much less how to prevent them from being born. Most people think that if you have a "pretty blue female" and you want more "pretty blue pups," the logical thing to do is find a "pretty blue male." They are probably just as surprised to see the solid color pups (who will also make up 25% of the litter) as they are the white ones.

My dogs were lucky, and were allowed to live. The white fur, while very pretty, means that the skin underneath it lacks pigment. gwen with ball All puppies are born deaf, and then as they grow, the nerve endings make connections and their ears work. When there is no pigment inside their ears, the nerve endings never develop (or begin to develop, and then atrophy), so the dogs stay deaf (longer explanation).

There is a lot of just plain wrong information out there on deaf dogs. Some people claim that they will become aggressive (there are no statistics to support this). Other people claim that they are hard to train (most deaf dog owners find the opposite to be true), or that they will be hit by a car (like there has never been a hearing dog in traffic). Deaf dogs are trained with hand signs (as many hearing dogs are) and do not lead "sad, restricted" lives. They don't know anything different and don't miss hearing. All that they really need is a creative person who is dedicated to the welfare of any pet, and willing to spend the time to train their dog (just as they would if the dog could hear).

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