Australian Cattle Dog Q & A
“I love this breed. It is not necessarily for everyone. THEY ARE SMART AND FUNNY AND OFTEN A HANDFUL. AT TIMES THEY ARE ALMOST FERAL IN THEIR BEHAVIORS. I think it goes back to their Dingo roots. They really are a fascinating breed with a rich history going back to the 1800s.”
National Park called Dunlap in California. I am a registered nurse working mostly in the critical care and emergency room areas. I got my first ACD show dog in 1987 and have been showing and occasionally breeding ever since. I have shown in obedience and herding in the past. I mostly show in conformation now. The secret to a successful breeding program: I think objectivity is very important. As a breeder you need to take a really honest look at your dogs. See what needs improvement and pick a stud dog or brood bitch that will help to improve this. I think an open mind is of the utmost importance. The current condition of the breed: I think one of the pros we have in our breed is that we pretty much see the same dog in the herding arena and in the conformation ring. We have several dual champions and that makes me proud. I think we need to remember what these dogs were bred to do. Structure is of utmost importance. Proper shoulder and rear struc- ture are a huge consideration. I have been seeing a lot of flat feet lately. I used to shoe horses for a living and we had a saying, no hoof no horse. This can be said for the Cattle dog as well. They need to cover a lot of rough ground in their daily work. Their feet need to be able to hold up or you have no dog. These dogs need a purpose, as most herding dogs do. It doesn’t necessarily need to be herding, but something to keep their minds active. I do have livestock and let them herd on occasion. I also have a large piece of property that they get to explore. They are definitely thinkers and need to be able to work their brains. Agility is a good outlet. I have also seen several cattle dogs trying barn hunts and scent work lately. Anything that keeps them thinking is good. Is the ACD an easy whelper? In my experience, they are easy whelpers. I have not had any problems. They are excellent and attentive mothers. Very protective. Honestly my favorite memories from showing dogs over the last 30 plus years are of spending time with friends I have made along the way. I have met and become friends with some of the most incredible people. When we get together and laugh, and have a great meal, those are the best. I love this breed. It is not necessarily for everyone. They are smart and funny and often a handful. At times they are almost feral in their behaviors. I think it goes back to their Dingo roots. They really are a fascinating breed with a rich history going back to the 1800s. LAURIE YOUMANS Tehachapi California is where I live. I have been breeding and showing Australian cattle dog since 1980 when they were recog- nized by AKC.
When I was a child we had a Queensland healer and it was the best dog we ever had. So when recognized by AKC my mother, Marty Youmans- Griffith, said we would breed them. We started off with a great dog because of my mom’s knowledge of structure. That was Dawn Heir’s Blu Bron- co. He was also a Best in Show winning Aus- tralian Cattle Dog.
I was a dog handler for 15 years through the 80s. In 1991 I left dog showing for a while to pursue a career with the Pasadena fire department. After a 21 year career I’ve retired and gone back to the show ring campaigning my cattle dog Wyatt. He has been the number #1 ACD for 2016, 2017 and 2018. He retired with a win at Westminster 2019. My favorite dog show memory would probably be Wyatt win- ning the 2017 ACDCA National under breeder judge Kathy Ham- ilton. I was most proud for my mother Marty! Her true dedication to the breed after guiding our 38 years of line breeding. All of the hard work and sacrifices have paid off. I think the secret to a successful breeding program is breed to the standard. Breed to correct dogs. Don’t just breed to your friend’s dog. The condition of the breed today: I believe there are plenty of correct dogs out being shown. I think we need to work on tem- peraments also not having so many varieties. I mean different looks. These things changes with education. Which I must say social media is a great tool for that. I believe education is why our breed is getting better every day. I think breeders need to concentrate correct angles and move- ment. Before breeding breeders need to be knowledgeable on struc- ture. Don’t just breed to the local dog because it’s easy or to your friend’s dog. How do I keep up with this breed? They’re definitely very smart and they need to be stimulated; it’s best if you give them a job. I found that the Australian cattle dog is an easy whelper. I find them fantastic mothers; usually they do everything themselves.
242 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2019
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