The Future: 2010-?

I think one of the hardest things in my life thus far besides giving up owning horses until I had land of my own was realizing I would have to curtail most of my dog activities due to lack of funds and ultimately time. Working full time and raising two children alone did not leave any time or extra money to pursue conformation titles, herding activities, and finally breeding. I have been blessed with very healthy and sound dogs and that is a plus when funds were limited. But we got by and the dogs thrived despite not being able to compete and I had a houseful of beautiful collies.

I have learned so much about collies and genetics by keeping the four littermates from my 1997 litter here. They have taken me from a budding conformation enthusiast and breeder to someone that understands pack mentality, dominant and recessive traits, different personalities, and the variation available in the collie as a breed even when the individual dogs are littermates. I loved watching them together in our “winter” if you can call it that because they still slept in a “puppy pile” to some degree. There was grumbling sometimes but by and large they were still the same littermates they were from birth until their passing.

I also learned about the benevolent alpha bitch by watching Licky rule her pack. Every day she chewed on her family’s heads and rubbed her body against them and they loved it and groveled, every one of them. Her daughter Kate took on the role of puppy teacher and plaything and yet the other dogs all treated her well even though she was obviously the omega in the pack. In her old age, Kate became a diva and the others seemed to acknowledge that she was full of dignity just because she was old. When Licky died, Kenya took over as alpha with little fuss. Her siblings all deferred to her and her nephew seemed to know from birth that she was the boss, even over his own parents. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Kenya “bitch” at her sister Boo and bite her wherever she could reach her when Boo got “yelled” at by me for not coming in or not stopping barking or whatever. Kenya was always the good girl and always made the perfect example of how to treat the true alpha, me.

Now that my kids are older and one is about to finish college, I have reevaluated my goals and plans and have determined where to go from here. I will be starting over with new collies but hopefully what I have learned from my past collies will help me be the best breeder possible while starting on a new road to follow in the art of breeding healthy, proper temperament, conformationally sound, and beautiful collies. As long as I am honest with myself and other breeders I have dealings with, I know that I will be able to once again pursue my dream. My dogs may not be perfect but I will never stop trying to obtain that.

Currently in 2010, I am still researching bloodlines and have decided if I have to virtually start over that I will try to find collies that resemble the ones I have loved and bred although the new collies may not be the same bloodlines. I feel very strongly about using all available definitive health tests to determine the genetic status of breeding stock and will be testing all my future collies as they are old enough. While testing does not always prove genetic soundness, it can be helpful in avoiding certain conditions.

Of course, I publicly thank all my mentors and all the people that have helped me with advice and their own shared knowledge. This is a great breed to be proud of and I hope I have learned enough to do no harm now or in the future. And with enough humbleness, I really hope to continue learning as there is never an end to the twists and turns of breeding and loving collies!