I love dogs.
Unfortunately I don't have photos of many of the dogs I have owned. Much of my earlier stuff has gone astray, for various reasons, mainly I suppose because when you are living out of a suitcase (which I have done on anumber of occasions), there isn't really much room for anything that isn't absolutely essential. I have pleasure in showing you these...
Before doing so, I would like to mention that links to larger pictures may not always work. Pictures take up a large amount of server space, which may be needed (from time to time) for other purposes. If that is the case when you visit, I apologise in advance.
Candy was a cross bred bitch of about two years who I saw one morning while working at Adelaide's ADS Channel 7 television station in about 1973. I had just lost a "mutt" to distemper due to a mix-up over whether or not it had been innoculated, and one Saturday morning during kids' television (yes, kids had their own time in those days), the Animal Welfare League had a photo of this beautiful creature looking so forlorn. I had that 12x10 black and white photo for a number of years (but not any more). She took my heart, and every day the following fortnight I visited their Horsnells' Gully property at the foot of the Mount Lofty Ranges and got to know her. Eventually I was able to collect her and take her home. Not long afterwards, she was enrolled in the South Australian Obedience Dog Club, which met weekly in the south parklands of our beautiful city.
Candy was partly Golden Retreiver, and partly something in the hound category, and before she put on weight as she aged, I often felt that an exotic breed like Saluki could well have been the other part of her genes pool.
Candy was a natural at obedience training, once she discovered that she couldn't get away with running riot, and during a night-time trial at our own club's grounds in March 1974, she obtained her third and final qualifying score in Novice class, resulting in the awarding her of the Companion Dog title by the South Australian Canine Association a day or so later.
She also took out the Highest scoring Novice Bitch prize at the trial, with a score of 188 out of a possible 200, there being a dozen good competitors in the ring. The trophy and prize card for highest scoring bitch are prominantly displayed in front of a very happy looking Candy, photographed the following morning in the parklands where the trial was held.
At that time, South Australia was the only Australian state which allowed non-pedigreed dogs to compete in officially run obedience trials.
Candy went on to win a white "Special Novice" Ribbon (Novice are green), again with the highest score for a bitch in that class (183), and we had already started training together for the "Open" competition which leads to the title of "Companion Dog Excellent".
Here we see Candy with the three Novice Qualification ribbons draped over her back, and the CD certificate issued by the SACA in front of her. Look at the way she is standing, not posed by a human, the natural way in which a hound or gundog will stand.
Discussing the fact that I was travelling considerable distances to and from training, and consulting with several instructors at the club, and the President of that time, I decided to form a small local community obedience school near where I lived, in order to develop my own thoughts in dog training for non-competitive purposes. Most clubs at that time really only catered for those whose dogs were to compete. With the "blessing" of those with whom I spoke, I got a small group going, using the grounds of the Christies Beach High School. Within about six months we had about half a dozen classes going in two sessions on a Saturday afternoon, with a couple of enthusiastic and capable volunteers to help me. The catalyst for this was the South Australian club's demonstration team putting on a show in a small central grassed reserve, and they passed enquiries directly to me, which greatly helped our group get started.
Interestingly we had some quite nasty vocal opposition during our training from a man who visited wearing the club colours of another group located ten miles or so away. We as a group were extremely concerned about his behaviour because he flatly refused to control his German Shepherd on the leash, which was one of our school's rules, and equally he refused to leave the premises. Eventually his dog almost nipped the daughter of one of our members, and dog and handler had to be removed and banned through a complaint to the police. This man, some ten years or so later, became the president of another club, and actually refused me permission to train a dog in "his" club, on the basis that I was an undesirable person!
An amusing anecdote about Candy's participation
in an "Open" Obedience Trial can be found here.
Rough Coated (Scotch) Blue Merle Collies
There are four different and equally acceptable colourings that Rough and Smooth Collies can have, in accordance to the Australian Kennel Council rules, which are a direct copy of the (British) Kennel Club rules.
They are firstly the well known "Lassie" colouring known as "Sable" which can optionally have white as well (then known as Sable and White), if the white is evenly placed, and the approved body locations for the white are tip of tail, muzzle, under belly, legs and muzzle.
Then there is "Tricolour" which is a darker brown than Sable (Tan) with the addition of White and black.
Black and Tan was still acceptable in the 1970s, but history tells us it appears to have been bred out for most of the century. This is the typical Border Collie colouring, and while the breeds are different, there is a connection back in last century where interbreeding took place in the Scottish highlands.
The fourth colouring is what is officially described as "Merle" or "Blue Merle", a smoky blue-grey, the name coming from a word meaning "marbled", rather than from the name of the bird. Blues usually look better when there are also tan and white patches on the body.
White Collies are totally unacceptable, and usually have eyesight problems, as albino animals of any type do.
I fell in love with (figuratively speaking) the first blue Collie I ever saw. I resolved to try to breed good quality ones. This is difficult as the Blue genes are recessive and will easily breed out. Blues are best bred with tricolours in order to retain a contrasting coat colour, yet some breeders have succesfully bred with really dark coloured Sables with success. Generally breeding with Sables will produce a lightly wishy-washy coloured coat.
Here is "Smokey" - Westbein Lavender Blue C.D. - a blue bitch bred in South Australia, which I bought as a 9-week old puppy.
From talking with others involved in the Obedience world at the time, it is my belief that Smokey was the first pedigreed Blue Merle Rough Collie to obtain an obedience title in South Australia, as they were usually bred for showing.
Smokey's line of blues was demonstrably good in colouring, though there were nose shape problems (this is often so with Collies).
I also obtained a petite Tri-Colour bitch - McFarlane Sweet Carol (who became known to us as "Mac") - because of her very good colouring and heredity, with the aim of breeding from her as well, and then combining the two lines to produce a genetically stable line of blues and tri-Colours.
Family disasters precluded the continuing of this hoped-for activity, and after producing three litters which were not particularly outstanding, I ended up on my own hundreds of miles away.
Here are the only litter snaps I seem to have, representing one of Smokey's litters, which you may find interesting. They show how the colouring is evident right from the start.
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Updated on 1st May 2000 using the Australian html editor "FlexEd"