Collie Breed Magazine - Showsight

BEYOND THE SHOW RING: Breeders with a Multi-Venue Focus

By Jeanine Blaner

F or Shelley Bergstraser of Wild Wind Collies, it all started with a “mostly collie” that she competed with in 4H. Bergstraser explained that she had begged her parents for a dog, “and when I grew up, my poor husband didn’t know what he had gotten himself into when he agreed to buy five acres.” Michelle Shoemaker, Wyndham Col- lies, grew up dreaming about having a collie. Years later, she asked her husband to drive past the home of Jim and Peg Vohr because she wanted to see where Ch. Shamont Stormalong was buried. As they drove past, a group of collies ran up to the front yard fence and Shoemaker insisted that they stop the car. Th ey met the Vohrs and the couples ended up spending the

evening visiting with each other. Th e fol- lowing year, Shoemaker bought a puppy from the Vohrs, whom she named Jasmine. While some breeders focus exclusively on the show ring, others find themselves also drawn to companion and performance events. In Shoemaker’s case, after showing Jasmine to her championship, Shoemaker discovered agility. Jasmine became not only Shoemaker’s first breed champion, but also her first agility dog, herding dog, and obedience dog, and the dam of Shoe- maker’s first litter. While the first collie Bergstraser pur- chased didn’t finish, “I was bitten by the [show] bug and then more collies were added.” To date, Bergstraser has produced nearly 60 breed champions. However, obe- dience was Bergstraser’s first love and it eventually led her to herding and agility as

well. Bergstraser in fact makes her living from obedience training, as the owner of Canine Solutions Dog Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Linda Marie Ward’s path to show- ing began with a sable rough dog named Neeko, who Ward credits with teaching her to show. Ward, who with her daughter Tanya comprises Sinkona Collies, points out that this was the early 1970s, before the other performance options became avail- able. After owning and showing several more collies, Ward changed direction with her breeding program. She leased a cham- pion, herding-titled bitch and bred her to a dog with herding, tracking, and obedi- ence titles. Ward kept Kit, a tri smooth bitch from that litter, who went on to earn her breed championship as well as obedi- ence, herding, and agility titles, and who


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