Q & A: The Australian Cattle Dog


  • June 17, 2019

Pictured above (L-R) Patti Salladay, Lynda White, Laurie Youmans

We asked people in the Australian Cattle Dog community to answer some questions about dog shows, and the breed they love. Here are some of responses. From the June 2019 Issue of ShowSight - The Dog Show Magazine.  Click to subscribe

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs?
  2. How many years in the ACD? Showing? Judging? Breeding?
  3. What, in your opinion, is the secret to a successful breeding program?
  4. What do you feel is the condition of the the ACD breed today? Pros and Cons?
  5. What do you feel breeders need to concentrate on to improve the quality of the ACD?
  6. How do you keep up with a dog this smart and active?
  7. Is the ACD an easy whelper or do you encounter any special problems?
  8. What is your favorite dog show memory?
  9. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate.

THE ANSWERS

Patti Salladay

Patti has loved and lived with cattle dogs since 1975 beginning with National Stock Dogs and Joining AKC in 1980. She is a member of the Australian Cattle Dog Club of America, current Chairman of the ACDCA Standard and Judges Education committee, member of the Cascade Australian Cattle Dog Club, a Code of Ethics breeder, Dog Fanciers of Oregon and are recognized as a Breeder of Merit with the American Kennel Club. She is active in AKC conformation shows and working and have fun in other dog sports. Currently (2018)—I am breeder of three of our Top 20 ACD’s and are loved and owned by two of them. Catchpen is also proud to be breeder of ACDCA National Specialty—2018 Grand Sweepstakes and breeder of the winner of this year’s prestigious award—High In Trial Cattle.

Along with her love for the Australian Cattle Dog, nutrition, health and fitness is a vital part to having great dogs. Patti is a Certified Canine Nutritionist and Certified Canine Fitness Instructor. Along with working for Northwest Naturals, she has FITPAWS classes in her studio located in Vancouver, Washington hosting classes for puppies to senior from show dogs, competition dogs and family pets.

Dogs love to learn, and especially those that compete in any type of sport are athletes and should be treated accordingly.

Proper nutrition and exercise are vital for any canine athlete to keep them sound in Mind, Body and Spirit.

My husband Michael and I currently reside with three ACD’s and one naughty Pug!

I live in Portland, Oregon. Outside of showing dogs, I work for Northwest Naturals, a Raw Pet Food Company as the 
Marketing and Sales director. In addition I am a Certified Small animal Nutritionist and Certified Canine Fitness Instructor spending time teaching classes and giving seminars in training canine fitness 
and nutrition.

I have been involved with the Australian Cattle dog for 40+ years—36 of which are with AKC. I breed on a limited basis and have been active in Conformation, education and other dog sport. I have had the honor of judging Sweepstakes at the ACDCA National Specialty and several Regional Specialties. I currently work for a pet food company, so I cannot apply for my judges license but as soon as I retire, I plan on applying.

The secret to a successful breeding program is patience, perseverance and hard work. 40+ years and I am still working at improving my breeding program.

The current condition of the breed: I feel the type is level, front assembly are a bit shaky and lacking—which in turn affects movement, neck, head carriage and topline. This is a working dog and should have effortless movement, covering the most amount of ground with the least amount of effort.

I feel breeders need to concentrate on quality—not quantity. Be selective and honest with your litter evaluation. Not all puppies are show quality.

It’s tough to live with dogs that are smarter than you and continually challenge your creative ability to keep them busy. We live in suburban, Oregon so we get by working out on with Fit paws routines and playing ball.

Is the ACD an easy whelper? I have not encountered any whelping issues, but health and fitness of a bitch in whelp is crucial.

My favorite dog show memory: I have so many. I have enjoyed my dogs so much over the years but watching new owners and puppies that you have produced achieve titles and accomplishments is the best!

The Australian Cattle Dog is an incredibly smart, loyal, challenging breed. If you are interested in getting an ACD, do your research—meet several breeders, go to dog shows and get the education before you buy. Check with the Australian Cattle dog Club of America for breeder referral and education opportunities available.

Lynda White

I got my first Australian Cattle Dog in 1987, a bitch that I showed to her championship. I have had two national specialty winners, as well as a national herding high in trial. I am a founding member of the Australian Cattle Dog Club of Greater Los Angeles and a member of the Australian Cattle Dog Club of America for over 30 years.

I live in a small town below Kings Canyon National Park called Dunlap in California. I am a registered nurse working mostly in the critical care and emergency room areas.

I got my first ACD show dog in 1987 and have been showing and occasionally breeding ever since. I have shown in obedience and herding in the past. I mostly show in conformation now.

The secret to a successful breeding program: I think objectivity is very important. As a breeder you need to take a really honest look at your dogs. See what needs improvement and pick a stud dog or brood bitch that will help to improve this. I think an open mind is of the utmost importance.

The current condition of the breed: I think one of the pros we have in our breed is that we pretty much see the same dog in the herding arena and in the conformation ring. We have several dual champions and that makes me proud.

I think we need to remember what these dogs were bred to do. Structure is of utmost importance. Proper shoulder and rear structure are a huge consideration. I have been seeing a lot of flat feet lately. I used to shoe horses for a living and we had a saying, no hoof no horse. This can be said for the Cattle dog as well. They need to cover a lot of rough ground in their daily work. Their feet need to be able to hold up or you have no dog.

These dogs need a purpose, as most herding dogs do. It doesn’t necessarily need to be herding, but something to keep their minds active. I do have livestock and let them herd on occasion. I also have a large piece of property that they get to explore. They are definitely thinkers and need to be able to work their brains. Agility is a good outlet. I have also seen several cattle dogs trying barn hunts and scent work lately. Anything that keeps them thinking is good.

Is the ACD an easy whelper? In my experience, they are easy whelpers. I have not had any problems. They are excellent and attentive mothers. Very protective.

Honestly my favorite memories from showing dogs over the last 30 plus years are of spending time with friends I have made along the way. I have met and become friends with some of the most incredible people. When we get together and laugh, and have a great meal, those are the best.

I love this breed. It is not necessarily for everyone. They are smart and funny and often a handful. At times they are almost feral in their behaviors. I think it goes back to their Dingo roots. They really are a fascinating breed with a rich history going back to 
the 1800s.

Laurie Youmans

Tehachapi California is where I live. I have been breeding and showing Australian cattle dog since 1980 when they were recognized by AKC.

When I was a child we had a Queensland healer and it was the best dog we ever had. So when recognized by AKC my mother, Marty Youmans-Griffith, said we would 
breed them.

We started off with a great dog because of my mom’s knowledge of structure. That was Dawn Heir’s Blu Bronco. He was also a Best in Show winning Australian Cattle Dog.

I was a dog handler for 15 years through the 80s. In 1991 I left dog showing for a while to pursue a career with the Pasadena fire department. After a 21 year career I’ve retired and gone back to the show ring campaigning my cattle dog Wyatt. He has been the number #1 ACD for 2016, 2017 and 2018. He retired with a win at Westminster 2019.

My favorite dog show memory would probably be Wyatt winning the 2017 ACDCA National under breeder judge Kathy Hamilton. I was most proud for my mother Marty! Her true dedication to the breed after guiding our 38 years of line breeding. All of the hard work and sacrifices have paid off.

I think the secret to a successful breeding program is breed to the standard. Breed to correct dogs. Don’t just breed to your 
friend’s dog.

The condition of the breed today: I believe there are plenty of correct dogs out being shown. I think we need to work on temperaments also not having so many varieties. I mean different looks. These things changes with education. Which I must say social media is a great tool for that. I believe education is why our breed is getting better every day.

I think breeders need to concentrate correct angles and movement. Before breeding breeders need to be knowledgeable on structure. Don’t just breed to the local dog because it’s easy or to your friend’s dog.

How do I keep up with this breed? They’re definitely very smart and they need to be stimulated; it’s best if you give them a job.

I found that the Australian cattle dog is an easy whelper. I find them fantastic mothers; usually they do everything themselves. 

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