MEMORIES OF WORKING AUSSIES OF YESTERYEAR

A pastiche of several discussions which have taken place on the internet board Aussie-Herders. Because of the nature of yahoo boards, there has been much editing to fit an article format. Dogs mentioned include Zephyr’s Crimson King, Angel Fire’s Hoo Doober, Slash V Slide Me Sweet, foundation Slash V dogs, Mini Acres Peppermint Patty, Oliver’s Romulus Five. Video added from the Aussie Archives – TheAustralianShepherd.net

May 23, 2002

Dana MacKenzie–
. . . Jumbuc’s sire was Zephyr’s Crimson King (Tony Rohne’s Bud), a great working and trialing dog that figured in the early Hangin Tree Dogs and a lot of Montana pedigrees as well as Texas. Bud was a neat dog. You could show him a hole in the fence where a calf has escaped and he would go find it and bring it back and put it through the hole.

I once watched him gather a pasture of pairs that had never seen a dog before. With no commands he used all the junk piled everywhere to his advantage, ducking under something when a cow got too belligerent, popping out here and there to head or heel and working the group as needed. In 15 minutes all the cattle were at Tony’s feet.

He was a small, barrel chested, red merle who was extremely intelligent. He wasn’t opposed to nipping a stranger either. He had Tony’s goats so well trained that if they got out and Bud was nowhere around, Joan, Tony’s wife would stick her head out the door and call Bud’s name and they would run back into the pen.

Jumbuc’s dam was Mary Angel’s Hoot, real name Angel Fire’s Hoo Doober I think. I watched Hoot trial years ago on very light Barbs, the kind that hit the far end of the arena and try to kill themselves once out the take pen gate with no dog anywhere near them. Hoot was a young dog then with very little training, in Started I think. She read the situation, hit the arena fence and did an arena-long outrun, reading her stock and brought them to Mary’s feet. That is all I remember about the run but have never forgotten the impression it made.

She was a old time Aussie with nothing of a Border Collie in her either. Jumbuc, though mostly a pet, had a lot of eye for an Aussie and could control her stock at a distance but was tough on cattle. Jumbuc is the granddam of many of the dogs I have owned, worked, trialed and loved. She was the mother to the best Aussie I ever knew, Corydon’s Jack Straw, who I called Straw Puppy, sired by Wade Carter’s Bar LW Inspired Blue. Unfortunately Straw Puppy was killed before he could pass along his qualities. Enjoyed the trot down memory lane.

June 2002

Melanie Snyder-Block
(quote: “I remember Red Oliver talking about the old Woods dogs . . . anyone want to elaborate?”) There’s lots of info out there if you really look. Hoflin publishers has a lot in their old quarterlies and their annuals. Woods dogs encompass a lot more than just Slip (WTCH Slash V Slide Me Sweet CD).

Terry Martin–
Slip was only a tiny fraction Woods anyway. Her sire was 1/4 Woods with a tiny bit more back in the 6th or 7th generation on his mom. I don’t consider Reddy Teddy (WTCH Jones’ Reddy Teddy) a Woods dog. Joe Piz took Woods dogs, had his own priorities and bred Piz dogs, which Reddy Teddy was. It is kind of like someone else taking Slash V dogs and crossing them with half a dozen other lines and still saying they are Slash V dogs.

I didn’t use any Woods dogs except Reddy Teddy. He was different than most Woods dogs in appearance and working style – not in temperament.

Red Oliver had the best trained dog in Slip; what did she produce and what dogs are there still around from the several puppies she produced? If you know that then you realize what short lives dogs have. It’s all about who’s winning today. On pedigrees Slip is back in the 5th generation or off the paper.

Just my opinion but I feel Slip was a great individual but did not feel she produced very well although it may have been she wasn’t crossed with what would be a good nick. She had a few really nice offspring of course, but she had a lot of pups – she is a HOF dam but a lot of that depends on who gets the pups. My full sister to her, Paper Doll, produced far better – that is my own opinion of course!

. . . (quote: ” Woods dogs were developed from ornery old ranch dogs who only liked one person, liked to use their mouth a lot whether it was work or play; very independent, very dog-aggressive, very smart, very devoted and too much dog for the average person.”) That is accurate.
. . . My Buckeye Bobby dog was sired by a red dog (red dogs were very rare) named Tartaglia’s Chocolate. That dog’s parents were black dogs brought to California from the Oxbow Ranch in Oregon. Their parents were/are listed as “Oregon Ranch Dogs”. Tartaglia’s Chocolate was bred to a blue merle Aussie bitch named Duart’s Silver. They produced Caligari’s Lady, a red merle. Caligari’s Lady was bred back to her sire, Tartaglia’s Chocolate to produce my Buckeye Bobby and another bitch who produced multiple Champions and working dogs, Quaglino’s Miss Pooh (Dam of CH Copper Canyon Caligari, granddam of WTCH Windsongs Raisin Cain, among others).

So if Tartaglia’s Chocolate’s black parents were indeed English Shepherds then my Bobby was 3/4 English Shepherd. And what was an English Shepherd back then? –a black Aussie with a tail? From what I knew of the breed then they were a loose-eyed worker with a similar temperament to the Aussie. Lois George once showed me old pictures of both of Bobby’s parents. They were terrible photos but Tartaglia’s Chocolate appeared to be a real heavy coated red dog with a broad head.

Caligari’s Lady was nearly slick haired but of course could have been out of coat, had kind of a narrow head and body and was definitely a red merle. Bobby was a really terrific conformation dog with a moderate coat, great movement, 20″ and 42 pounds and I did finish his Championship. He was a loose eyed worker with a lot of instinct to keep things together but never had any training – we used him moving cattle on long drives when we wanted a dog to just keep things moving and together on his own. So who was he? For me, I am just glad he was there.

25 June 2002

Terry Martin–
Re: Mini Acre Peppermint Patty— I saw Pepper work a number of times. Very cool dog! She did have a lot of eye but was, as I remember, a very upstanding worker. Her head would be low at times but she was mostly upright – she had really correct conformation but was not pretty as she was lean and leggy and didn’t carry much coat. Just a really neat dog but she was different – very calm and deliberate but usually moving laterally to the stock. Long time ago though! I don’t think I really have ever seen a dog work quite like her. She was Ken Claussen’s breeding and he had some really good cattle dogs (Mini Acre). A truly memorable dog.

Bruce Nelson–
Re: WTCH Oliver’s Romulus Five (Silverledge Charlie Russell x Slash V Slide Me Sweet). Well you asked for it. Here is my analysis of Rom. Rom was a large dog about 65 lbs at his peak. His ears were not flat to his head but not pricked either. He had good air circulation in them, keeping the insides dry. He had good bone coverage around his eyes, no bulging or protruding eyes. He was a dark blue merle with a fairly course coat that was fairly resistant to cockleburrs and stickers,no white.

He was a little close up front but it gave him great agility.He was very light on his front end; he did not have the showdog stride, he was more like a cheetah, using his hind quarters for propulsion and his front end for steering. He had very tight feet with toenails that were high on the toe, He seldom got mud or snow between his toes. Temperament wise he was a one-man dog basically; he avoided or ignored everyone else. Once I had pneumonia and my wife let him out and he wouldn’t allow anyone else close to him. I had to come out and put him away.

There was nothing mean about him at all. However, I am told that when I was away he didn’t hesitate to let any intruder know that he or she was not supposed to be there. He was a violent dog on stock,. primarily a head dog. He did not heel. He hit heads right on the top between the ears, driving the cows head into the ground. He was so agile in front of a cow he would look more like he was dancing with the critter than fighting it.

The way he hit heads isn’t the way most like nowadays, but it was pretty effective. I don’t want a dog that bites from underneath because it drives the cow up and over the dog making injuries more likely. Rom used to make contact and the cow would actually push him out of the way, much like when a rodeo clown puts his hand out and the bull actually throws him clear.

When he worked hogs his job was to keep the area clear when I scooped with a shovel or Bobcat, he also would go in the crates and bring me baby pigs when I moved sows or was vaccinating. He was also an awesome jumper which was because of his power coming from his hindquarters, and because he jumped from hog pen to hog pen. I also used to tell him to get in the garage and he would go jump through a window that didn’t have glass in it, to his spot. This was pretty cool until Rita fixed the window.

Rom really wasn’t a great trial dog; he just didn’t mess around at all. I remember a trial where we were the only team to get through the course and the judge only gave us 19 points. We won our share but for the most part he was just a sledge hammer kind of a dog.

He could get fancy when he worked ducks. I also trained Remus and Bear (his brothers). Neither of them had the rear wheel drive Rom had, but they were both good dogs, both would heel but did not head as well as Rom. I guess there was a female in the litter that went to Michigan but I never heard much on her. What I liked best about Rom was his sheer guts. If I asked him for something he would do everything in his power to do it no matter what the cost, he was fearless and faithful–what more could I ask for.

I used to use him to help start dogs. If a dog needed some backing, I would ask Rom to come in and he would help out. Once I was starting a poor female that was to be a cattle dog and she just wasn’t getting it. I asked Rom to stir up the cattle as they kept holing up in a corner. Rom got creamed because I sent him to a spot where he had nowhere to go, the steer stepped on his hind leg and severely broke it at the elbow.You know Rom never yelped or stopped, he just repositioned himself with his leg sticking out at a 90 degree angle. For this kind of courage and grit I greatly loved this dog. I still feel terrible guilt for that incident. I don’t think Rom was a terribly intelligent dog but maybe if he had been he wouldn’t have done all the dangerous things I asked of him.

I bred him to a black tri dog I got from Gail McMillan out of Abilene Texas 3 times producing 21 pups, this female, Whirlwinds Hesilia’s Chance (she had multiple Chulo representation) and Rom produced the highest percentage of good dogs, although almost every litter he sired had at least one great pup in it.

This is a little long winded but you asked. I am sure that there are many thing I didn’t mention, but these are today’s recollections.

January 2003

Jane McNee– For those of us just learning, what traits are you describing when you say “fanciest” working dog? Like Lisa, I’d love to hear more anectodal stories of some of the great aussies (like Kyle) whose names are predominant in our dog’s pedigrees. Also, when you talk of ‘power’, this is clearly an instinctual (certainly not “taught”) behaviour . . .have you ever encouraged or developed this ‘power’ in a dog that you sensed had the abiltiy but was not applying it correctly? If so, how?

Thanks!

Melinda May — I have a tape with Spir working cattle at the 1989 Finals. . . I think it was that year. Anyhow, it was the year he won HIT cattle at Finals. The cattle were tough, or so it seemed from the other runs on the tape. 🙂 Spir got them down to panel 1 on A course and then they sulled up and faced him off at the panel. He quietly held his ground, nose to nose, never moved, never took an unnecessary grip, and then the leader turned slowly around and Spir fell in quietly behind and moved them in a controlled manner through the course and didn’t rattle the stock. It’s what always comes into my head whenever the term “power” comes up. I have replayed that video in my head probably a thousand times or more . . .

. . . Spir is HOF WTCH Crown Point Inspirator Bar LW, RDX owned, trained and trialed by Wade Carter, Utah. (HOF WTCH CH Las Rocosa Kublia Khan Crown Pt RDX x WTCH Mighty Fine Second Chance CD)

Maarten Walter — Wade Carter’s dog Blue had the most power of any Aussie I’ve seen. Unfortunately this made him a difficult dog to trial because he couldn’t get very close to this stock. Nothing that Blue did, he just stood there and the stock reacted strongly to his presence. I imagine he was a great dog at Wade’s place working cows.

That’s WTCH Bar LW Inspired Blue.

Terry Martin– Just have a minute so will answer just part of Jane’s questions. I consider “fancy” a dog who makes instinctive moves like heeling real low, gripping right on the nose (talking about cattle dogs – I don’t talk much about sheep dogs), those totally “stock savvy” moves that are not taught like sometimes feinting at a grip but not really doing it because not necessary. That kind of thing.

Let me describe a bit of old tape I have of Bonnie Kyle (WTCH Las Rocosa Bonnie Kyle) working at a trial. The cattle are breaking down the fence and have missed the second panel. Kyle comes around putting himself, not right at the head of the cattle but ahead of them, nips the nose of the front one and instantly hits another. They all turn back but when the second one is mid-turn to its left he nips the right front leg – way down low. The instant they are turned he goes across and heels (right on the ground) all three of the back ones, one after the other. He didn’t appear to be a hard heeling dog – just enough to be effective. He also was a wide wearing dog when driving. To me just a fancy dog – a little extra flair that may not be necessary to get the job done but pretty to watch.