A herding dog’s work!

Gwen Shepperson Sheila

Gwen Shepperson:

Wish I would have had my phone to video Sheila loading a semi of calves on Sunday–if I could teach her to count, I wouldn’t even have to be there, she could do it all by herself! All I had to do is get the right number of calves for each section of the cattle pot, and she put them up the alley, up the loading chute and in, without one word, just a great big smile like, “that was FUN!” when she was done!


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STAR DUST -Born to be Killed?


I am STAR DUST, lively and happy. I am living in Finland, where there are no deaf Cattle Dog puppies. The vet has a big litter box… I propose, that no vet is killing deaf puppies anymore (like in Germany, f.ex) and the breeder murders the little pup with the wagging tail by his own hands. Maybe then we shall have some happy ACDs with happy owners. I am convinced, there are warmhearted Finnish people.

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Hip Dysplasia and the Cardigan Corgi


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How to select a suitable puppy

BOB WW 2014There is a new litter and new people, who request an ACD puppy.
First question of the breeder is always for the experience of the new owner.
The ACD is an active herding dog, needing quite a lot of activity. Over and above he is very intelligent.If the ability and the spirit of the new owner satisfies the breeder, he asks if the new owner favourites a certain sport, which this dog should fulfill.
Let us take agility f.ex.: an excellantly suitable ACD should be out of not too heavy lines, quick, ready to work, healthy because of its body proportions and an intelligent spirit with the ability to work equally on on its own as to follow the trainer’s instructions. For this he needs a good concentration. For his future career, he also needs a careful building up and training of his capabilities.
Another dog lover would like to go to shows. While body and spirit in a puppy can be foreseen by an experienced breeder, the development of a certain winner spirit is due to the influence, which the puppy will experience in his early age.
Therefore the breeder can only promise, that a certain puppy is promising. To develop his promising virtues the knowledge and capability of the new owner is needed. During this process both will learn from each other to develop its temperament.
The experienced breeder will help to give every puppy to a suitable new owner, where human and ACD are fitting like twins

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Westminster 2015


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The Code of Ethics in Us

Being devoted to the breed of Australian Cattle Dog means to protect every specimen ,who improves the development by skilful breeding. Who supports the talent for sport activities according to the standard and last not least is up-to-date in health matters and takes severe care in keeping the ACD healthy.
Everyone, who is concerned about the ACD, has an inner code of ethics and responsibility towards the breed. Every breeder of his time is footing on the honest basis of earlier breeder generations. And so it will go on. Every breeder must be able to rely on the breeding facts of earlier breeders, while he is honest in his own breeding. This honesty in breeding makes the improvement of our breed.
Compared to earlier breeders we are in the lucky position to have a data base, which is a very helpful tool to pass on breeding facts to our own kennel and make good use out of it.
Improving the breed of ACD must rely on honest breeders. The truth in breeding is the most important basis on which future generations will continue improving the breed.Only one dog with a WRONG title, which promises good nerves, will spoil his offspring. And these faulty genes go random like a red thread through an endless row of generations, because mental health is recessively passed on.
Our love to the breed and its responsibility must care for clean breeding.Help to keep our gene pool clean!

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Please, click this link to study the different forms of epilepsy and its treatment


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Australian Cattle Dog Description

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World Winner Helsinki 2014

Australian Cattle Dog
total number of dogs:12
Judge: Kärdi Maret
BOB Windwarrior’s Sweet N’toxic (Heikkinen Tuulia, Komi)
BOS Erkkertin Blue Flying Dutchman (Kuikka Juha, ESPOO)
BOB,Veteran Freya’s Charm Cidabro (Heikkinen Tuulia, Komi)
BOS,Veteran Kohon Elton (Vainio Seija, Muurame)


AVO Erkkertin Blue Firecracker (poissa)
Erkkertin Blue Flying Dutchman ERI AVK1 PU1 SA, VSP, CACIB
VAL Erkkertin Red Ranger EH VAK2
Windwarrior’s Dream Catcher ERI VAK1


JUN Windwarrior’s Lady Bulldozer EH JUK1
VAL Erkkertin Blue Foxy Lady ERI VAK2 PN3 SA, VARACA
Erkkertin Blue Nifty Maid EH VAK4
Windwarrior’s Sweet N’toxic ERI VAK1 PN1 SA, ROP, CACIB
Worrigal Hero Haylee ERI VAK3
VET Freya’s Charm Cidabro ERI VEK1 PN2 SA, VET ROP
Windwarrior’s Flaming Redrose EH VEK2

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Judging ACDs by Carrol Beckett (Australia)

It was commented that the GSD should be more angulated than the ACD because they patrol perimeters. The GSD is NOT more angulated and the ACD in-fact their shoulders are permitted to be at an angle of 90-110° therefore the GSD can be legitimately less angulated according to the standard. The hind-legs of the GSD are even more open at 120°. It is not the angulation but that greater length of bones and the sloping top-line that gives the illusion to the untrained eye of greater rear angulation.

The recent comment that ‘most judges do not know what they are looking at’ absolutely INFURIATES me. Yes, there are a few judges who are not as knowledgeable, but as a judge I can honestly say that 95% do know EXACTLY what they are looking at and can clearly identify both the virtues and the shortcomings of the dogs before them. Judging is a process of weighing up the good with the bad, and then making an on balance judgment.

Judge’s training is extensive, exhausting, methodical and definitely NOT easy. The criteria to train and pass are not for the faint heated. If you don’t have an eye for a dog, if you can’t articulate what see and you don’t know your standards you will NOT pass. Judges are required to attend lectures and write 1,000 word essays on EVERY breed in the group. They must judge and write written critiques on over 100 dogs all before they can even apply to gain a licence. Then they must pass an extensive written test on the standards and a practical examination under the scrutiny of three experienced assessors who know what they want to hear from the candidate. If you can’t place the dogs correctly and justify why, you don’t pass. If the JTS was easy then there would not be such a high dropout rate.

It greatly angers me when I hear people complain and criticise a judge’s knowledge if their dog is given a less than desirable critique. Let me say that judges are encouraged through the whole education process to be POSITIVE and constructive in their comments. We don’t feel powerful or take pleasure in saying negative things about any dog.

A critique is intended to give an appraisal of the dog before us on the day.
If as an exhibitor you receive a negative critique then LISTEN, understand why and take it on board. Is it not a personal attack on you or your dog it is meant to be a learning tool. You have paid for this person’s educated opinion. You can take it or leave it. Jumping up and down and claiming that the judge is used to seeing a particular ‘type’ in their own country and so that is what they will ‘put up’ is poor form.

Recently there were Australian judges in Europe and their judging was criticized in this way. Can I say that I have exhibited under these people. They are all extremely experienced senior level judges and furthermore although not their breed, they all have extensive experience judging ACDs.

There is not one particular TYPE ‘running around now in Australia’ and ACDs have NOT CHANGED in recent decades. The same types are running around now as there were here 40 years ago, at least there has been in the country of origin. There is not a ‘new fangled heeler’ that has recently been invented for the show ring.

All Judges have a picture in their mind of what the ideal specimen of each particular breed looks like and then they look for the dog that not only most closely fits the static picture and also moves the way described in the standard. They consider the presence/absence of breed hallmarks and then lastly overall presentation and performance.

A judge can only judge what is put before them! If there is not an ideal dog in the class you close your eyes and you say to yourself…OK so which one looks like a Pomeranian or a GSP, or whatever the breed is you have before you.

Judges do not live in the bubble of knowing about only one breed. They might not be an expert on the finer points of every bred they can judge. But they know damn well what correct structure and correct movement constitute for that breed. And believe me that can mean a very different thing from one breed to another. For example; the OES should ‘amble’, the British Bulldog must move unevenly with specifically the ‘right’ shoulder in front. The Chow has ‘stilted’ movement, the Dobermann has ‘rotary’ action, the Min Pin must ‘Hackney’ in most counties.

The defining things that constitute breed type are paramount. Head type is essential if judging for type amongst similar breeds. Sometimes the only difference in a written standard between similar breeds such as spaniels might be the absence or presence of fluting, the shape or position of the eyes or ears. Identifying correct breed type that distinguishes one breed from another (and I am not talking about the obvious things like coat and colour) take a great deal of skill and experience. I am not saying judges get it right all of the time but credit where credit is due please.

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ASH video

This is what the ACD and the was bred to do…move and control unruly cattle…working as a team with the stockman on his ASH (Australian Stock Horse)…unfortunately now it is mostly heli-mustering.

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Our ACD the Living, Correct Standard. Explained by Carol Beckett


The standard for the ACD is very clearly written. It requires the dog to be well angulated, compact, powerful and with substance, and breadth in the head, the chest and down through the entire body.

It is NOT a standard that in ambiguous, it is NOT a standard that is poorly written or unclear. Yes the finer points might need clarifying for a novice but for an experienced breeder or judge it is very clear especially when compared with other vague and lesser detailed standards that do exist for many other breeds.

If you are a novice then hopefully this post will help you to consolidate what you think you understand from reading the standard a few times, looking at photos and dogs around you. If you consider yourself to be experienced in the breed but you think you know better than the standard or that it is wrong and the above ‘essentials’ are NOT necessary then I CHALLENGE you.

I challenge you to read all the standards within the Working/herding group this weekend, not just the ACD but all working/herding breeds. If you have done this and you still think the ACD standard is written incorrectly and that ‘form does not follow function’ throughout the entire standard, then you are fooling yourself. If you accept this challenge and still believe that the BASICS (angulation, proportions, movement) not necessary then stop trying to justify
your position with comments about other breeds or trotting horses or whomever authority/author you choose to quote to give you opinion weight and get out of the breed!

The ACD is REQUIRED to be well angulated. That is; ‘well laid’ shoulders with equal length in the bones (including the upper arm) and forming an angle of 90°. The hindquarters are ‘well turned’ and should also be 90° to create a balanced animal.

There is NO ambiguity, it is written in black and white! I do not want arguments over a moderately angulated dog being balanced and able to show more endurance than a correct well angulated dog…what a crock of rubbish. Anyone who has owned moderate or straight angulated dogs and also owned well angulated dogs, knows only too well the difference in their ability to cover the ground and move. You only need to place these two dogs into an open area to free fun to see that an angulated dog with both outrun and chase down the lesser angulated one. Doing roadwork or any type of sustained exercise (as we do with our dogs) it is clearly apparent that an angulated dog has much more endurance.

As for statements that ACDs now days are over-angulated….sorry but I do not and have not seen this. Maybe I need to post a diagram of exactly what 90° actually looks like….it is actually ¼ of an entire circle, or in layman’s terms a right-angle!

It is NOT rocket science it is simple kinetics….Over a set length of ground a correctly angulated dog having a greater stride length will take say 10 steps to cover this area…a moderately angulated dog will take say 13 or more steps and a dog with straight angulation will take say 16 steps or so to cover the same piece of ground.

Equate this to a whole day working and following cattle over many kilometres. Dogs who do not have the required angulation break down quicker as they do it much harder. The ACD should move freely, flowing over the ground with minimal effort. If you can walk beside your dog in a show gait (even a puppy) then there is something very wrong and it is not displaying effortless movement with correct reach and drive.

As for the comments that current show dogs are hyped up animals who fly around the ring at an un-natural pace which is non-sustainable. Rubbish! The ACD is required in the standard to be ALERT and AGILE. They should be excited to move and willing to do so. If one is to judge by the standard they are LOOKING for an active dog not a lump of meat standing at the ring entrance that has to be encouraged to move and plods around the ring. The image the ACD must portray is one of an active working dog.

If a dog has the required angulation (and is sound) it should move freely ‘free, supple and tireless’ and at the pace described in the standard, ‘the capability of QUICK and SUDDEN movement is essential’. QUICK refers to the pace, quick to cover the ground, NOT slow, stilted or plodding. Meaning as the handler you run to keep up on your dog’s shoulder you could not ‘walk’ beside such a dog. SUDDEN, referring to the dog’s ability to both start from a standstill and change direction suddenly. Powerful hindquarters and strong SHORT loins are required for a dog to be capable of this.

Quick movement is easy to see and this is how the dog should be gaited. This is ‘breed speed’ for the ACD. I am not talking about legs flying in an uncontrolled manner going ‘ten to the dozen’ around the ring and looking like a frantic blur…this is ’busy movement’ and busy movement is NOT is what the word ‘quick’ relates to in the standard, nor is it efficient or sustainable. CORRECT Sustainable ‘quick’ movement means that the dog covers the ring quickly and easily, it swallows up the ground in an effortless manner when compared with the quick moving but ‘busy’ dog.

Sudden movement is not so easy to see/assess in the show-ring but all too apparent if your dogs free run. Although if a dog presents with short, muscled loins and powerful hindquarters you can bet it will more than likely have sudden movement and be able to explode of the mark and pivot on it’s quarters to change tack.

Yes, let’s DO talk about CORRECT proportions, we don’t need another threat to do so because as with the angulation being clearly laid down so TOO are the requirements for correct proportions….That is, if you know how to understand what is written in the standard. Correct proportions do not JUST relate to applying a simple RATIO of 10:9 there is a lot more involved and it IS explained in the standard.

PROPORTIONS are NOT just created by length of BACK…it is the sum of all the dog’s parts that give it’s proportions. It relates to; length of back, length of loin, development of fore-chest and height of the dog.

You DO NOT asses if a dog has correct proportions by simply looking at it’s length to height and by JUST measuring to see it is in fact 10 long to 9 high. A dog who accurately measures 10: 9 from the fore-chest (brest-bone/pro-sternum) to behind the buttocks when compared with height does NOT necessarily have correct proportions! There is more to it than just a measurement.

For example:
A dog which has very little pro-sternum development and a longer than required back or loin may still MEASURE with correct proportions because he lacks chest out the front (chest and shoulders contribute to the overall measurement)…Lets call him dog ‘X’

A dog who has the required developed pro-sternum (obvious from the side profile) with a correct SHORT back and SHORT LOIN will ALSO measure with the correct 10:9 proportions. Lets call him dog ‘Y’.

Both dogs measure with the correct 10:9 ratio and one could WRONGLY assume both were right…however dog ‘Y’ is the only one with the correct PROPORTIONS because all his parts are correct (assuming for argument sake that he also has correct leg length).

Therefore in the ACD much of the extra length in the 10:9 ratio does not come from length in the back it actually comes from the extra length created by correct fore-chest development ‘in-front’ of the dog. More often than not this dog also has the correct lay of shoulder and front assembly.

Leg length and depth of body is also important in creating proportions. For example, a dog that is short in leg may give the false impression of being long in back when in-fact the leg are the part that is actually incorrect.

It has been stated that the ACD is not a ‘square’ breed. Yes that is correct but with the correct body parts (short loin and back, good pro-sternum and well-laid shoulder) they are not far off being square. What the ACD is NOT is long backed. That much is clear if you read and understand the general appearance requiring a COMPACT animal.

As a judge you learn that aside from heads one of the primary considerations defining type differences between similar breeds are the differences in body proportions and how to correctly assess this. It is drummed into you from the get go and something that good judges have a natural eye for.

Proportions are a primary consideration defining breed type. Amongst my own 4 Australian breeds there are 4 different required proportions. The ACD is compact (short bodied but not square) at 10:9. The Stumpy (ASTCD) is ‘Decidedly Square’, the Aussie Terrier is ‘Long and low set’ the Silky is slightly long and low. Believe me, in a line-up you could never confuse the difference in body length between one of our ACDs and our Stumpies.

For those who believe an ACD does not have to work all day and that a GSD needs to patrol perimeters and therefore cover more ground, I say RUBBISH! The ACD was not bred to follow a few sheep around a pen. It was not breed to work human friendly tame dairy cattle or fat breeds of beef cattle in small paddocks…the ACD was developed to move and control feral beef cattle across vast areas. Cattle on huge stations that have never seen a human, who may have been mustered once to be tagged and castrated at the most or more likey, never been rounded up until being sent to market or fattening yards for a few months. Wild cattle who’s only contact with a dog has been wild dingoes or feral dogs. Cattle that have a high flight instinct, and a fear of the unknown. If you have been involved in mustering such beasts you would know if takes many days/weeks for an animal who has been wandering in the bush for years to settle and not break away from the main group or try to head for the thick scrub.

The ACD was developed before the day or road-trains, motorbikes, heli-mustering or bull catchers (open 4wd vehicle). The ACD was required to chase down these runaway animals and bring them back. Some of these cattle would also be young tenacious uncastrated bulls which are headstrong and have known no discipline.

cattle dog in moving

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How to develop a new bloodline

To start takes much effort and much time, because you have to find a couple, which combines both the phänotype and the the genotype of future ancestors in your kennel. Do not forget the importance of a human friendly temperament. Over and above you have linebred on a certain import kennel, whose offspring shall be a link to the new line.The best possible couple to start with was:

FI & EE CH JAYBLUE AUSSIE SALUTE, Australian import  : 2 litters  in 2011 und 2014,
HD:C-B, ED:1, EYES: free
Pavesi Wind Spirit, Australian Import
HD:C/B, ED:0-0, eyes: free

Daughter I:

HD:D-D, ED:0-0, EYES free
Daughter II:

World Winner 2013:CH Windwarrior´s Rundown N Rollback

HD:B2, ED:0-0, EYES: free
HD:C-C, ED:0-0, EYES: free
their dam was:
HD B-B and ED 0-0, EYES: free
BAER Normal, PRCD A, PLL Normal                                                
 HD B-B, ED 0-0,EYES: free
BAER Normal, PRCD A, PLL Normal (obligated)                          
2nd litter of 2014:DAM:

Windwarrior’s Bulldozer BOB Puppy
The first aim was to improve the results for HD and ED in the sir! Both sire and dam had the same HD result: B/C. The three examined offspring showed not really the wanted results: HD D-D (in Finland),HD C-C /in Finland) and HD B (in Germany). But already the grandsons were B-B (in Finland)
All examined offspring was ED 0-0.
The phenotype showed after only two litters several BOB, CAC, title and C.I.B winners. Biggest success were the two bitches, who gained the World Winner title in 2013 in Budapest and 2014 in Helsinki.


CH Jayblue Aussie Salute


Pavesi Wind Spirit


WW CH Windwarriors Sweet N’Toxic


WW CH Windwarrior´s Rundown N Rollback





CH Windwarrior’s Blue Argon


Windwarrior’s Blue Bulldozer

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Legacies: How to Ensure Your Bloodline Goes Forward

Whether just starting out on your path of breeding or looking to pass on your bloodline to the next generation, none of it can happen without a good plan for the future.

By Jonathan Jeffrey Kimes | March 20, 2013

Bull Terrier authority Raymond Oppenheimer mentored a worldwide network of students through his letters. Just like Oppenheimer, breeders of today should pass along their knowledge and bloodlines to the next generation.

For the true dog breeder, one who has devoted decades to developing a bloodline, the greatest concern must be the assurance that all the effort, all the learning, all the eventual mastery of the art does not dissolve into thin air upon your retirement. Nothing can be more satisfying and enriching than to believe you have made a lasting positive impact on your dog breed of choice, one that will continue onward long after you have stopped making the breeding decisions yourself.

The term “bloodline” is often subject to misuse by those in the dog fancy. Only a very small percentage of breeders have the right to call their efforts “a bloodline,” and yet we hear the term bandied about by almost everyone. I must assume that many, when speaking of “my bloodline,” are not referring to the decades of careful breeding and development of a family of dogs. Instead they are referring to the dogs they currently own. However, to rightly refer to your breeding efforts as a “bloodline,” you must have developed a unique, identifiable and consistent family of dogs that are interrelated through many generations. A bloodline must be physically identifiable, which is to say it must have distinguishable family characteristics. In essence, a bloodline is the manifestation of a breeder’s vision of their concept of ideal breed type. Although there are useful and useless bloodlines, with regard to the perpetuity of such we need only consider those that have proven themselves to be valued as a virtuous family.

Healthy Bloodlines

Although I do not subscribe to any actual rule regarding what constitutes a bloodline, I will put forward that it must be a genetically related, phenotypically consistent family of dogs that are of a viable population to maintain basic consistency even as relatively unrelated dogs are added into the gene pool. It has become the current fashion by many in the dog fancy to refer to the “danger” of inbreeding coefficients as an argument against close breeding. Although we cannot make generalizations about all dog breeds, as each breed is unique with regard to phenotypic variation and genetic health, there are many bloodlines with generations of closely bred ancestors that have excellent health. Indeed, while sloppy inbreeding is guaranteed to produce defective dogs, an intelligently managed bloodline can boast exceptional health not in spite of but due to close breeding. By carefully weeding out unwanted characteristics, including diseases, a skilled breeder can absolutely create a healthy family of dogs. The attempt at wholesale regulation of the inbreeding coefficient should be critically questioned upon the veracity of applicable scientific data. In other words, there are breeds in which close breeding is inadvisable and breeds in which it can be very beneficial. I know of no controlled scientific study using experienced breeders that can prove otherwise, and I have extensive personal experience to support the concept of a bloodline. The canine genome is the most expansive of any living species, and most broad generalizations are invariably refutable.

So let us describe what a bloodline worth perpetuating would be. Through decades of dedication, it must be one in which breed type virtues are exploited to a very high degree. In essence we want breed examples that are verging on perfection in many ways; they will not be perfected in all ways, but they will be considered “the source” for many breed type features. The breeder creed is to produce ever stronger and ever more breed virtues in one’s stock. Do not misinterpret “stronger” to mean “exaggerated,” as unwanted exaggerations are just as unwelcome as deficiencies. Yes, many breeds are the subject of exaggeration of the original desired characteristics, and they must be brought back to balance through the skills of true breed connoisseurs. A good example is the Pekingese coat. Traditionally, the coat has been an enhancement to the breed, but over the last few decades, the breed began to look for all the world like a moving tumbleweed, attractive to no one but restless hairdressers. Today we see a strong swing back to a manageable and proper-fitting coat that enhances this proud lionesque dog. Likewise, the athletic and square Afghan Hound went through a phase where the appeal to exhibitors and judges was more focused on yards of hair than the amazing hunter under the coat. Today I wonder just how much taller Poodle and Shih Tzu topknots must be before their breed intelligentsia tire of the infantile silliness. It is never the followers who force these corrections; it is always just a handful of knowing breeders who lead breeds out of their dark corners.

Every legacy breeder must feature breed health as a top criterion. And by that I mean, the breeder must aggressively work to identify animals with unhealthy genes and remove them from the gene pool. This, of course, must be countered with maintaining appropriate genetic variability within the breed, a sometimes difficult and complex balancing act. The dog world today must realize the “purebredishness” of most of our dog breeds is a relatively recent invention. Some breeds that are plagued with disease may have gotten there through misfortune, but refusing to find solutions is tantamount to mismanagement. Falconi in the Basenji breed has been addressed through the importation of native African dogs to good effect. Development of genetic testing for Lens Luxation has pulled the Miniature Bull Terrier back from the brink of inevitable extinction. Aggressive programs to wait until full maturity is helping the Pomeranian combat Black Skin Disease. A broad spectrum of strategies must be used to right seriously compromised breeds that today face real risk of becoming extinct in the next human generation. The option to introduce healthy genes through cross-breeding to phenotypically and/or genetically related breeds if intra-breed options are not viable must be included in that arsenal.

The dog fancy has done itself no favors by setting up benchmarks that do more harm than good for a dog breed. I have always spurned top producer rankings as little more than devices to spread unhealthy genes throughout a breed. And so there are instances in a number of breeds in which once rare health conditions are now on the list of required disease testing because of popular and overly used stud dogs that transmitted disease to a large population of dogs. These situations didn’t occur without the cooperation of participating breeders. For a bloodline to carry on, for it to be worthy of continued propagation, it must be genetically healthy. And while you may have learned to “manage” existing health problems in your dogs, you are kidding yourself if you think there are others in the next generation who will do the same, regardless of what else you have achieved with your breeding program. Health is absolutely critical to the continuance of a bloodline.

In a similar vein, the over-importance of show ring success can also have deleterious effects on the continuation of a viable bloodline. For instance, surgically correcting tail carriage in many of the long-legged terriers is as common as having dewclaws removed. Yes, you may have produced generation after generation of top-winning show dogs, but if every one of them requires cosmetic surgery, coloring or some other falsification to allow them to win in the ring, the chances of finding someone else equally committed to doing the same with your bloodline in the future is going to have a very low probability at best. Your dogs must be honest. They must thrive on normal diets, their temperaments must be typical of the breed, and they must be sane and healthy animals.

Creating and Passing on the Legacy

As a teenager, I saw a series on television with a line that has ultimately directed my whole life. It was uttered by a woman who had worked her way up from the bottom to ultimately owning a fine London hotel. She opened the doors of her new establishment eager for customers. When an unpleasant gentleman entered, she decisively refused his business. To her astounded staff she said, “I am starting out as I mean to go on.” To do this you must examine your own morals, your values and firmly draw the line in the sand. You must decide what you will and will not tolerate in your bloodline right from the start because once you give yourself permission to include sires and dams with significant health problems or dogs needing fakery or some other inappropriate allowance, you will allow it a second time and a third — and before long you will have infected your bloodline so completely a legacy of your work will be out of the question. Start out as you mean to go on.

Equally important, and ultimately more critical to the survival of your bloodline, is instilling in others the “vision” that is manifested by your breeding efforts. Indeed, it could be argued that your legacy through mentorship could prove to have more impact than the survival of your bloodline. The development of the “look” of your bloodline is driven largely by your perception. Because of your “eye,” you will make breeding decisions and resulting puppy selections that are unique to your perspective. The transference of this “eye” is dependent upon your ability to mentor.

It is wise to realize that your accomplishment in developing your bloodline is based on your own unique talent. Let’s be quite clear on the meaning of “talent” versus “skill.” Talent is an aptitude, a natural ability to do something. Talent is therefore something innate; it cannot be instilled. Skill is a learned capacity to do something. Obviously, the more talent one has, the greater the skill that can be achieved. With a lack of talent, the skill cannot be perfected. When choosing one or more individuals to mentor, those who hopefully will continue your legacy, you must be very aware that they must have the talent to do so. I have seen many bloodlines over the years become a sad shadow of the original developer because the individual assuming the bloodline did not possess the talent to do so or was not properly schooled in the founder’s “eye.”

Once the “who” to mentor has been identified, the challenge is “how” to mentor. Obviously, taking on an individual who is physically co-located, who can participate in every daily activity and is present for every decision-making opportunity is the ideal. Many happy situations have occurred when the original owner brings in a new partner who is as eager and as talented as the founder of the bloodline. The new partner can assist with the physical demands, often allowing the founder to remain active with his or her bloodline much longer than would ordinarily have been the case. If the individual has financial resources, such as employment, additional benefit can be achieved with appropriate sharing of expenses.

My mantra in working with another individual is “contract, contract, contract.” Regardless of whether you enter into a co-ownership agreement on a single dog or a sharing agreement on an establishment, ensure a proper contract is drawn up by a qualified lawyer and that both parties are appropriately covered. Although both parties will assure themselves there will never be a need for a contract, I can only say if people knew at the onset exactly if and how long-term relationships might change, there wouldn’t ever be a divorce! It is exceptionally bad judgment not to very clearly delineate how a partnership will be dissolved should the occasion ever occur.

If such a close relationship is not possible, the next choice may be to at least have someone who can travel to dog shows or who is at dog shows with you. Staying in contact with them through the week will keep them interested and fully invested in the ups and downs of managing the kennel.

Even if a close physical relationship is not possible, effective mentoring can occur across distant countries. Today with easy access to the Internet and with social media such as Facebook, an ever-present communication construct is easily devised. I recently tested this theory by setting up a private group on Facebook where topics can be discussed and pictures and videos shared. The participation can be limited to two individuals or can include multiple participants. Another “free” communication medium is Google Chat where you can have free video chats with one or more individuals. So for the cost of a computer and an Internet connection, you have a number of technologically advanced, basically cost-free solutions for communicating frequently.

One of the best examples of mentorship I have ever seen was demonstrated by Raymond Oppenheimer of the world-famous Ormandy Bull Terrier kennel in England. As revealed in W.E. Mackay-Smith’s book, Letters from Raymond, during the 1960s and ’70s, he maintained a worldwide network of students he mentored with endless passion. His letters not only shared his views on current circumstances of the Bull Terrier in England, he requested mercilessly of his students to share their observations of the outcome of every significant specialty. He wanted catalog markings, descriptions of the dogs and perceptions of the judging. Through his questioning he forced his students to really look at the dogs in the ring, to evaluate them and to compare their perspectives to what the judge did. He provided suggestions on breeding their bitches and wanted to know what choices they made, why and the eventual outcome of the resulting litters. Through this tireless interest in his students, he effectively shaped world opinion of Bull Terriers. Although his kennel was the leading producer of top-quality stock, his development of intellectual capital across the planet was in every way as important and lasting.

If you think about it, it is the whole mix of your husbandry that makes your bloodline successful. To mentor the next generation effectively thorough communication and understanding will be your never-ending task. In terms of breed type, your view of outline, head type, proportion, structure, movement and temperament is vital. What are your views on size variation? What are the key elements which must always be considered for exceptional type? What are the things you don’t like, can’t tolerate and why? How are your dogs kept, exercised, groomed, socialized, trained? Think about every task and decision you make through the day and relate this to your pupil. Share and share and share. As a teenager, I greatly treasured the two-hour conversations I had on a weekly basis with my mentor Norma Chandler. She brought the past alive in my mind, shared what she used to believe and what she believed now. I was allowed to share her past, her present and her thoughts on the future. I shared my thoughts, and she helped me to greater insight.

And finally, you must consider what will happen to your dogs when you pass into the great dog show on the other side. Make decisions about who should get your dogs, what you want done with them and ensure the intended recipients are fully aware of your wishes. An unexpected demise without your proper preparation may well ensure the end of your line.

Whether just starting out on your path of breeding or looking to pass on your bloodline to the next generation, none of it can happen without a good plan for the future. Every day affords us the opportunity to direct the rest of our lives; if your bloodline is the stepping stone to future breed improvement, do all that is necessary to ensure that is the legacy you leave behind.

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20 Basic Breeding Principles by Raymond Oppenheimer

1. Don’t make use of indiscriminate outcrosses. A judicious outcross can be of great value; an injudicious one can produce an aggregation of every imaginable fault of the breed.

2. Don’t line breed just for the sake of line breeding. Line breeding with complimentary types can bring great rewards; with unsuitable one, it will lead to immediate disaster.

3. Don’t take advice from people who have always been unsuccessful breeders. If their opiinions were worth having, they would have proved it by their successes.

4. Don’t believe the popular cliche about the brother or sister of the great champion being just as good to breed from. For every one that is, hundreds are not. It all depends on the animal conceerned.

5. Don’t credit your dogs with virtues they don’t possess. Self-deceit is a stepping stone to failure.

6. Don’t breed from mediocrities. The absence of a fault does not in any way signify the presence of its corresponding virtue.

7. Don’t try to line bred to two dogs at the same time; you will end by line breeding to neither.

8. Don’t assess the worth of a stud dog by his inferior progeny. All stud dogs sire rubbish at times. What matters is how good their best efforts are.

9. Don’t allow personal feelings to influence your choice of a stud dog. The right dog for your bitch is the right dog, whoever owns it.

10. Don’t allow admiration of a stud dog to blind you to his faults. If you do, you will soon be the victim of autointoxication.

11. Don’t mate together animals which share the same fault. You are asking for trouble if you do.

12, Don’t forget that it is the whole dog that counts. If you forget one virtue while searching for another, you will pay for it.

13. Don’t searh for the perfect do as a mate for your bich. The perfect dog for every bitch does not exist — never has, never will.

14. Don’t be frightened of breeding from animals that have obvious faults, so long as they have compensating virtures. A lack of virtues bis by far the greatest fault of all.

15. Don’t mate together non-complementary types. An ability to recognize type at a glance is a breeder’s greatest gift. Ask the successful breeders to explain this subject — there’s no other way of learning. (I’d define non-complimentary types as ones which have the same faults and lack the same virtures).

16. Don’t forget the necessity to preserve head quality. It will vanish like a dream if you do.

17. Don’t forget that substance plus quality should be one of your aims. A fool can breed one without the other.

18. Don’t foret that a great head plus soundness should be one of your aims. Some people can never breed either.

19. Don’t ever try to decry a great terrier. A thing of beauty is not only a joy forever, but a great terrier should be a source of aesthetic pride and pleasure to all true lovers of the breed.

20. Don’t be satisfied with anything but the best. The second best is never good enough

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