We have recently moved down to Cape Town from Pretoria (South Africa), where I (Melani) work as a doctor and Chris is a project manager. Our kennel name, Aroha Hills has a story behind it – Aroha means love in Maori and it exemplifies the love we have for each other as a couple as well as the love we have for the breed. Hills comes from the place where we designed and built our first house – The Hills. It is also the house that our first Aussie, Luna, grew up in.  We are registered members of KUSA (Kennel Union of South Africa) and so is our Kennel. We participate mainly in conformation shows with our dogs. We are currently owned by seven Aussies and one Jack Russell. When we glance back a few years, we can almost not believe how our lives have changed since owning the breed

Max, the Jack Russell, was our first dog as a couple. When we got him, we used to live in a small house and we made the same classic mistake as most dog-owners make thinking that – small garden=small dog. We very quickly learnt that we had to burn off some of his energy or he would drive us crazy. This is also a very good example as to why one should really take time to research your chosen breed extensively – it will come at a cost if you don’t.

Fast forward a few years – we were moving into a much bigger house in a nature reserve estate. I started researching the breed and after about a year of searching, our first Aussie, Luna, entered our home. The moment she stepped into our house we knew things would be different. She used to get into so much trouble as a puppy –she had to explore EVERYTHING! She would figure out within minutes how to get onto and into places that was not meant for her. It did not take her 5 minutes to wiggle her bum very deeply into our hearts – I mean who wouldn’t love a “talking” dog that made curly C’s with her body whenever she wanted attention. We started competing in breed shows with her when she was about 8 months old and that was the start of it all. Never has a dog taught me so much about myself than what she did – she is my heart dog and my constant companion. Each of our dogs have their one little "theme song" - Luna's is Rachel Platten's "Stand By You"

The next Aussie to join our pack came from Michele Colborne from Mysticlight Australian Shepherds in Johannesburg (She recently relocated to the UK). Shadow is a special boy in more ways than one – I will tell you all about it one day over a cup of tea, but to cut a long story short – he was unexpected, but oh so welcome and filled a gap that we never even knew existed. He is Chris’ heart dog – his soulmate in the form of a dog if you will. I have not seen a person or dog light up quite as much as when these two are together. Shadow's song is Capital letters by Hailee Steinfield 

Aragon and Olivia then came all the way from Spain to join our pack. Up to this point I only showed when it was really necessary as I did not have the confidence to enter the breed ring – it can be quite intimidating I will let you know. For some reason, Olivia “chose” me as her person – when anyone else handled her, she would misbehave or throw a little tantrum, but when I took the lead she turned into a sophisticated mature lady – she showed me how things were meant to be done in the show ring. She knew that she had to work a bit harder in the beginning for the both of us – and to this day people refer to us as the “dream – team”. Her song is Girl on Fire - Alicia Keys. As for Mr. Aragon  - I could probably write 20 pages about this boy, but for space limitations, I am going to try and sum him up – He is the most confident dog I have seen to date with the sweetest temperament. Other dogs will growl at him and he would think it is a game... As a 12 week old puppy, landing from a flight that spanned over three countries, he stepped into our house with much bigger dogs approaching him head on and he stood his ground, wiggling his bum. If we all take on life the way this boy does, it will be a wonderful exciting journey! His song is Camila Cabello - Never Be the Same

Lilly and Ella then made their arrival from Spain. Lilly is the sweet, quiet girl who gently climbs on your lap, puts her head on your shoulder and after a long day makes you feel like everything is going to be ok. She is definitely our softest girl, who gets very very excited when there are doggy friends nearby. Her song is Bebe Rexha - You Can't Stop The Girl. Ella’s nickname is “bullet” in our household – she is so fast and loves to gives kisses – a dangerous combination when you are trying to dodge her. She is the comedian of the household – when she gets the “zoomies” everyone stands back and watches her go in circles for minutes on end. Her song is Ava Max - Sweet but Psycho

Hudson is a puppy we kept from our Olivia and Shadow breeding. He is the sweetest boy with such a soft nature. He LOVES to get onto to the couch next to you and give kisses..Affectionately known as "groot soen man" (big kiss man). He is also first to wake us up in the morning with kisses. His song is The Greatest Showman Cast/Pink - A Million Dreams

That is a short introduction to our pack. Please contact us if you would like to know more.

Copyright @ 2017 Aroha Hills Australian Shepherds

Photo's taken by Johann Theron, Lizelle Nel, Shannen Jacoby, Melissa Pohl and ePIC