First Show Collies


After a year of marriage, we took the plunge and bought an older home in Richardson, just North of Dallas. The area was going through a transition as the original owners sold out and new owners working in the Telecom Corridor moved in. The lots were huge which is what drew me to it and I just love old houses. Within a week, I had my dog, a new sable collie puppy, only seven weeks old. I remember going to see several litters and suddenly realizing that all my years of owning a collie gave me not one clue how to pick a good female to breed. Because I wanted to breed… and show too.


Of course, I did everything wrong but it was a learning experience I never forgot. Our long time vet had a very knowledgeable vet tech named Pat Marshall of Laderio Collies who, fortunately for me, took me to my first collie club meeting and the learning began. It seemed the puppy I had bought was a possible PRA carrier and really should not be bred. And then when I took the puppy to handling classes, I found that she was not really showable either… too round of an eye, built completely wrong, no coat to speak of, bumpy skull… I could go on…


I remember looking at her pedigree and seeing all the show collies, champions and dogs from show litters and realizing it meant nothing if the dog itself was not of quality. I knew that I wanted something beautiful and that mediocrity would not work. I also did not want health problems and with my parents having a blind dog at home, it was hard not to believe in the horror of PRA. I spayed the bitch and took her to obedience which she loved. I began to look for another dog.


I was lucky again in that a woman in the collie club, Phyllis Autrey, of Random Acres Collies took pity on me and sold me a good dog. Spinner, Random Acres Out For A Spin, was a big sable puppy dog with a heart of gold and who wouldn’t have fallen in love. Phyllis didn’t just sell me a dog which is what most show people do… she also began to teach me about showing, and judging. I learned that I am not a very good handler but I listened to everything she told me about judging. Judging was subjective, every show was a clean slate, judges can only judge what is in front of them on that day, handlers should not matter, trained dogs are easier to judge, well groomed dogs are easier to judge, if the dog is good, it will eventually win regardless of politics…


Spinner wasn’t perfect and I was a crappy handler. We didn’t do much. Then one cluster weekend, I couldn’t stay to show because it was Easter but I didn’t want to break the major… so I hired a handler, Alice Inman, of Schaladon Collies. On Easter Sunday I got a call at home that my big sable boy had taken the major, a real major over a large group of males that only needed a major to finish! Whoo Hoo! I was hooked!