2011 Year In Review

New Years’ eve. I enjoy this time because it is an opportunity to be thankful . I am thankful for what we have accomplished; I am thankful for the many wonderful people I have met because of the dogs; I am thankful for great owners; I am thankful for the great dogs with which I share my life. Really, I have A LOT to be thankful for, and I am.

In 2011 my work had me travel to NC for 3 consecutive weeks. I am so fortunate that the "dog community" is a nation-wide community and is just so wonderful. I was able to visit with many wonderful breeders and see many wonderful shelties. This trip ended up having a lasting impact on not just me, but my breeding program as well.

I got the opportunity to judge Sweepstakes at a Specialty in Chicago. I was able to stay with my good friends, Merrylee and Chet. I had a really great time visiting with them and getting to see so many really beautiful puppies. Ellen Erickson lives in Illinois too and she brought her Acadia bred puppy for me to see. At this same show I got to see Penny competing with Show Low in Utility. It was a great time!

I was quoted on the online magazine http://www.sheltiesonline.com/ . I found that to be thrilling.
Amy and Quill completed the coveted UD title. I am so inspired by Amy!! I want to be just like her (88 and still showing her dogs!!) I am looking forward to sharing many, many more of Amy’s successes.

Three dogs from the same litter completed their championships this year. Acadia Peace of Mind “Dove” was the proud mother of Ch. Acadia Presence of Mind, Ch. Acadia Prince of Peace, and Ch. Acadia’s Peaceful Garden.

I had a GREAT time showing Ch. Acadia Presence of Mind, “Cassia”. I showed her exclusively in the Bred-by- Exhibitor class. She won two specialty majors and really made me so proud.

Ch. Acadia’s Peaceful Garden was shown by Sue Healy and she won a Herding Group 1.

Ch. Acadia Prince of Peace placed 2nd in a huge open sable class at the ASSA National, and also won a Herding Group 2.

Sharon Bradshaw’s NATCH, V-NATCH Acadia Paint The Town, “Hannah”, passed away this year. Ch. Acadia’s Bright Idea, NA, NAJ, RA and his litter brother Ch. Acadia Rock Solid, HT also passed away this year. They are all deeply, deeply missed.

Linda Hall and Acadia’s Warrior Princess, Xena, took the top award for number of titles earned in one year. The two of them earned 9 titles in 9 months. They had 50 qualifying scores this year and about 5 more titles that are in the works, and could have possibly been completed this year if Linda had not suffered a back injury that has put her in the hospital. Linda will undergo back surgery in January- and I hope that that Xena will be there to help her make a full recovery. Linda- my thoughts and prayers are with you for a full and successful recovery.

The following is a recap of the completed titles for 2011. I am always afraid that I have forgotten someone. If you and your Acadia sheltie have earned a title in 2011 and are not listed, PLEASE let me know. I am really thankful (and Proud) for each success- yours and mine. Titles earned this year are in italics.

Ch. Acadia’s Crowning Glory
Ch. Heart Lake Acadia Le Roi De Coeur
Ch. Acadia Presence of Mind
Ch. Acadia Prince of Peace
Ch. Acadia’s Peaceful Garden
Acadia Infinite Spirit, CGC, PT, ASCA Herding Started
Acadia Aquilegia, UD, MX, MXJ, RE
Acadia’s One Very Special Puppy, MXP, MJP
Acadia Angus Macphangus, CDX
Acadia’s Warrior Princess, (AKC titles) NAJ, OAJ, AXJ, NA, (TDAA titles) Games 1, (USDAA titles) PK1, PJ1, (ASCA titles) JSN, GSN


Acadia's Hidden Treasure "Cache" and his mother, "Faith"

I LOVE raising dogs and knowing the family. I think family is important! I just love this picture of mother and son. Cache (on the left) is one of the Rincon x Faith puppies from 2010. He is the littermate to Finn and Xena.

Faith has amazing pigment. It can be difficult to get truly black blacks. A lot of tricolor shelties have red tone- not Faith. She passed on her great black pigment to her son Cache. She also gave him naturally tipped ears, good bone, all in a moderate (reference to size) package. I couldn't have asked for more.


Finn wins Reserve High In Trial on Saturday, and High In Trial on Sunday for 2 HS legs!

WOW! Kathy emailed to tell me about Finn's first AKC Herding Trial. A Trial includes the Started, Intermediate, and Advanced classes. It takes 3 legs to earn the Herding Started (HS) title and Finn showed them how it was done this past weekend. Kathy said, "Just wanted to let you know that in his first run in Started Sheep at the AKC trial today Finn came in second place with a score of 94. We got Reserve High in Trial. The first place dog had a score of 94 1/2. We did the run in 3 min 15 second. I'm am so pleased !!!! The first picture is with the judge Priscilla Phillips and the second is with Priscilla and Finn and my trainer Sandy Moore.

We go again tomorrow. The weather today was cold, but no snow or rain as predicted. Great day for trialing :)"

On Sunday Kathy said, "Just had to share again :) Today Finn was High in Trial with a first place in started sheep. Our score was 96.5 points. Linda Rorem was the judge. We did it in 3 min 7 sec. It was overcast and snowy in the morning, but got sunny in the afternoon for Finn's run. He needs one more qualifying run for a started title in sheep."


Cache- dreaming of WIT

The large ribbon in the center is WIT's. He and Cache both belong to Morene Brown and that ribbon is the ASSA National High In Herding Trial ribbon from the 2010 ASSA National- which WIT won. Cache likes to sit on that end of the couch- and I like to pretend that he feels closer to home and his housemate WIT. It is my hope that Cache will grow up to be a Ch/VCX dog, and I am confident that between Morene and I, we can make that happen.


Cache and Xena have a very good weekend

(picture of Cache taken at home in our yard)
Cache was Winners Dog on Sunday for his first 2 points. Saturday he was Reserve Winners Dog. That is certainly a nice way to start a show career. This was Cache's first dog show, and it was indoors. I had chosen to set up my grooming space along a wall. I didn't give much thought to the electrical outlet that was way above my head- until Saturday when one of the extension cords that was plugged into it blew up with a loud bang and a flash of light. Someone had plugged in a damaged cord, and had electrical tape around the damaged area, but then plugged a strip into the extension cord and had 3 dryers coming off of it. That was too much for the damaged extension cord and it blew up- right over the crates my dogs were in. I thought, "oh my gosh. I have just ruined Cache forever!" Nope. Luckily we had already shown that day, and the next day he won! It is so nice to have good steady temperaments!

Linda called Sunday night to say that Xena (littermate to Cache) had completed an ASCA jumpers course in 5.84 feet per second- that is SMOKE'N! Good luck keeping up with her Linda! I think it is so cool that Linda competes in so many different agility venues. That is a great way to keep the dogs interested and up on the game. Each venue focuses on a different aspect of the sport. For one venue it is speed, or another it is the ability to call your dog off an obstacle, or another it is the ability to handle from a distance. Each is a good skill and each gives confidence and makes the dogs think.

It is so nice to be able to report on the successes these dogs and their owners are having.


Acadia's Hidden Treasure "Cache" is visiting

This is a Rincon x Faith son. He is the littermate to Xena and Finn and he is owned by Morene Brown in Arizona. He has come back to visit with me in Pennsylvania for a few months this winter.


Ch. Acadia' Bright Idea, RA, NA, NAJ (10/17/1998- 6/17/2011) and Ch. Acadia Rock Solid, HT (10/17/1998- 10/6/2011)

Today is the birthday of Payson and Rocky, but they were not here with us to celebrate.

Friday, October 7, 2011, we had a memorial service for these brothers and laid them to rest at Acadia. Mary and Martin Smith, their daughter and grandchildren along with Erica Smith (no relation) and her daughter, and Mike and I attended. Rocky had lived with Mary and Martin and their family for the last 7 years and had become a very important part of their family. Each summer he enjoyed going to the beach (pictured above) and he always enjoyed just going for a walk or a ride in the car. Rocky enjoyed Mary's cooking and Mary was happy to cook for him. He passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Payson passed away while I was in training in North Carolina. It was quite a blow to get the phone call from Mike telling me Payson would not be there to greet me when I got home. Mike said that Payson waited until he came home from work, greeting him, then when outside and laid down.

It is Never easy. It doesn't matter if you have one dog or many. The love for each is deep and the bonds that are formed are real. This was not the first service we have had, and it won't be the last, but it is painful and raw every time. Payson and Rocky- we love you and miss you.


Acadia Whatever It Takes, HXAsd, AX, AXJ wins ANOTHER Major and ANOTHER 1st Place win towards the Herding Championship

WIT is now just 3 points away from being a Herding Champion (HC). WIT has continued to amaze me with his consistent and steady herding. This dog is not just good, he is GREAT. Since he only goes to one or two trials a year, it is taking a while to get the championship, but when he gets to the trial, he makes the most of it. This is one sheltie that has not had to worry about meeting the requirements (a major and a 1st place win)- he has done that over and over. His next trial is not until Feburary- and then I hope to report a new champion!

Congratulations to his owner Morene Brown and Trainer Sue Bradley
(The Ribbons are from the ASSA National Herding Trail in Tucson when WIT was High In Trial- Sheep and Reserve High In Trial-ducks)


New Champion: *Ch* Acadia Peaceful Garden

Today Eden became the third from the Charlie Brown x Dove litter to finish the AKC championship. She is the littermate to Ch. Cassia and Ch. Manny.

She had some real high points along the way- she won a 5 point major and a Herding Group 1. I am so thrilled by this litter.

She was shown to her championship by Sue Healy in Arizona.


yard solutions to muddy dogs

I wish I could say this is my yard, but alas, it is not. We have had a lot of rain these past few weeks and Sally sent me these two pictures of her "new yard" with Utley. Utley likes to run along the fence as many shelties do. Of course that creates a dirt path which just gets muddy. They had the sod cut back away from the fence and put in a synthetic mulch. This keeps Utley clean and makes for attractive yard.


The Johnny x Josie puppies


Josie took the puppies for a walk


Tucker then and now

Donna Dugger sent this picture of Tucker- the puppy is Tucker as a baby, and a current picture of him. He is sired by Rincon x Faith and a littermate to Xena and Finn.

Donna reports that he has 2 Q's in Jumpers and one in Touch n' Go. She said he is super fast too.

Thanks for the picture and update Donna.


Grandgables The Acadian wins a 4pt. specialty major

"Caddy" is his call name. He is one of the Rincon x Allie puppies born this January and is the littermate to Claire. He is now owned by Grandgables shelties and yesterday he won Winners Dog and Best of Winners for his first major. Congratulations to Guy, Mark, and Caddy.

Eden also won a 3 point major bringing her within 1 point of her championship as well. She is in Arizona being shown by Sue Healy.


Rain, Rain, go away, little puppies want to play

Faith & Josie's puppies above

Pennsylvania was hit be tropical storm Lee and it rained, and rained, and rained. There was so much damage due to flooding, but luckily for us, we are on a hill. Our basement did flood, but it could have been much worse.
The puppies finally got to go outside and enjoy some SUN...


Acadia's One Very Special Puppy, OAP, AJP

OAP= Open Agility Preferred
AJP= Excellent Agility Jumpers with Weaves"A" preferred

Piper is a littermate to Dove. Heidi had another sheltie named Zoe when she got Piper as a puppy.
This news came from Heidi in July, but I wanted pictures too. So here is what Heidi had to say about Piper (her "doggy extraordinaire!!)

"Who Knew? I started agility as a means to help Zoe overcome her shyness. I had no expectations but to have fun and her success motivated me to attempt an excellent jumpers title. Enter Piper. It was natural to throw her into the agility ring and again i thought it would be nice to see if we could get a Preferred Excellent Standard Title and a Preferred Excellent Jumpers w/ Weaves title. Apparently she had other ideas. So far this year:

March: 1st Place- Novice Standard (2nd Leg) 2nd Place- Novice Standard (3rd Leg- Novice Title)

April: 1st Place- Open Standard (1st Leg) 2nd Place- Open Standard (2nd Leg)
1st place- Excellent Jumpers (1st Leg) 1st Place- Excellent Jumpers (2nd Leg)

May: 2nd Place- Open Standard (3rd Leg- Open Title)
2nd Place- Excellent Jumpers (3rd Leg- Excellent Jumpers Title)

July: 1st Place- Excellent Standard (1st Leg) 1st Place- Excellent Standard (2nd Leg)
1st Place- Excellent Jumpers B (1st Leg) 1st Place Excellent Jumpers B (2nd Leg).

So yes-- we are now working on our Master Excellent Jumpers Preferred Title with only 8 more Q's needed. In my wildest dreams I never would have thought we could get this far or that a Preferred Agility Excellent title would be in our reach. Piper is no speed demon on the course. She's consistent and very focused and think she's going to be dangerous as our team skills improve. But I guess all of this should be expected when the dog comes from an incredible breeder! We get to have more fun in Sept/Oct- will keep you posted on her next milestones!

Heidi and Piper (doggy extraordinaire!)"


How do you evaluate your puppies?

Although this post is long; it is not the definitive writing on our puppy evaluation.

When do you decide which ones you are going to keep? What age can I get my puppy? When can I come visit the puppies? These are a few of the questions people ask a lot. The answer to the last question is - I only allow people to "come visit" the puppies when it is time to take one home. It is only human nature to "pick a puppy"- and it is the answer to the other questions that will help you understand why I can't run the risk of disappointing people.

Evaluation begins at birth, but the puppies change, and grow, and change... so I just have to observe, until they have grown enough I can start to get "real" information about them.

1st criteria: No obvious Faults

The reason I have litters of puppies is to produce my next "show dog". There is a written Breed Standard for each breed which describes the perfect specimen of that breed (it is this breed standard that judges at dog shows are using to evaluate each dog in the ring). Sometimes when a puppy is born, you know it has an obvious fault that may (will) prevent it from being a show dog. (pictured is Bianca: more than 50% white is a disqualifying fault). Those puppies can go to their new pet homes at 8wks.

Unfortunately for sheltie breeders, the genetic makeup of this breed is rather diffuse. This breed is not very old and a lot of breeds and mixes of breeds make up the sheltie. Genes don't get "diluted"- they get inherited or not (that is very simplistic and not entirely true- but for the purpose of this blog post it is good enough). One example is, as recently as the 1930's collies were cross-bred with the Shetland Sheepdog to cement more of the "collie look"- but it also added "collie size". Our breed standard says that any dog over 16" or under 13" (measured at the point of the shoulder) is to be disqualified from the conformation show ring.

2nd criteria: Measurements

How do you know what the adult height will be when they are babies? Well, sheltie breeders have been dutifully measuring their puppies for years, and growth charts have been developed that are a very helpful guide. They are not perfect, but they do give a breeder a "best guess". We begin measuring our puppies at 6 weeks of age, but we like to see a few measurements to know how they are tracking along the chart. Puppies that are over the charts at 6 and 7 weeks can go to their pet home at 8wks. Puppies that are "in-size" and quality stay longer.

3rd criteria: Testicles (obviously this applies to males only)
Males must have two testicles to be shown. The testicles can be felt as young as 7 weeks, but I don't usually check until around 8 weeks. If a male is nice, and meets the standard, but I can only feel one testicle, I may keep him until 10 weeks of age. If he is really, really nice I might keep him until 12 weeks of age. Testicles have been known to descend as late as 6 months, but I don't want to keep dogs that keep me guessing that long.

4th criteria: Do they have virtues? Do they have a temperament I want to live with? So maybe they don't have obvious faults, but do they have virtues? I like to photograph them between 6-8wks to get a different perspective on how they look. The picture above of Liza is the type of picture we take. I want to get a sense of overall structure and build. I find these pictures to be very helpful and I usually see them in a different way than I do when they are just playing. With temperament, what I want to live with might be different than what someone else would like to live with in terms of temperament and personality. It is in my best interest, and the best interest of the puppy, to try and ensure that each puppy gets to live the type of life that will make it happy and where it can be successful.

Evaluation is a process. We are constantly evaluating our puppies. We get to see how their reactions to new things change, we get to see how their bodies change. By the time a litter is 8 weeks we usually know a lot and most puppies go to their new homes at that age.

Of the puppies that stay here, there are still things that can render them "pets" and not "show dogs".

6-7 month criteria: Teeth Did all of their teeth come in straight and are they all there. Sometimes we have puppies available in this age range because of teeth issues.

Statistics say that of "show" breeders, only 1 in 8 shelties ever becomes a champion (that number is different in different breeds). When they are born, they all look like champions, but as the weeks go by- they begin to weed themselves out. By 8 weeks of age I may be down to one or two that I want to keep longer.

Height is always a factor. Pipi is a good example of that. She was tracking up the growth chart just fine- and she was very pretty- so I kept her. She quite growing at 6 months of age and didn't reach 13"- so she can not be shown.
Temperment is also always a factor. Not all dogs want to be "show dogs". It is difficult to win with a dog that doesn't enjoy the shows. It can be done, but it is not as fun for me either. I do this as a hobby and a way to enjoy my time with the dogs. I want them to enjoy it too.
So- the answer is be patient- they are changing and I am observing!!


Dove's puppies


This past weekend was a busy one

Friday evening Josie had 4 sable and white babies- 2 girls and 2 boys. Saturday Faith had 1 tricolor girl. Two weeks ago Dove had 1 boy and 1 girl.