Australian Cattle Dogs

Maureen Fanthorpe

Aro, who had such a good beginning, proved that solid foundation training works. He was in all the beginner clinics with Lynn Leach and by May we decided to skip tested and go straight to started. His first qualifying run was the highest Australian Cattle Dog run on sheep and the highest Australian Cattle Dog run of the day. His last qualifying run of the year was the 3rd leg and his Started title with a first place. In between he got an ASCA started sheep title and two legs of a Started sheep AKC title. He did well in an AHBA HRD 1course but didn't qualify. He even managed to try his best at a HTD 1 course which is a huge field for a young started dog. He is quiet and calm and kind to the stock. He still does not sleep well and thinks 430 am is an appropriate time to wake the household. We have started Rally O which he does well and enjoys so will be pursuing that in the coming year.

Australian Cattle Dog Herding Sheep at Herding Trial
Aro, Australian Cattle Dog, Herding Sheep

Pippin, ah Pippin as my vet would say. She started the year fit and ready to go and she finished the year fit and ready to go, a triumph of physio and two very determined owners who helped keep her that way.

Australian Cattle Dog Herds Sheep in Herding Trials
Pippin, Australian Cattle Dog, Herding Sheep in Herding Trial

Lynn Leach handled her for the CKC trials and they had some real success. 1st place and a RHIT in Stock Dog Intermediate, an Advanced Area title, and two legs of her AKC started sheep with a highest ACD the second leg. They finished the year with a 3rd place and 1 championship point in September.

In between, I handled her at ASCA and to my total astonishment we came first in Open sheep. On a more Pippin like note, she did drive a cow right over a fence, but she also did some reasonable cattle work for me at the AKC in Gig Harbor WA.

Merry, well I left my best day for last. Merry finished her CKC Intermediate title, AHBA HRD 1 and RLF 1 with decent placings. Then comes my best day of the year. I moved her up to RLF ll at Fido Farms in WA. Thirty large sheep who just wanted to get their heads down and eat, Merry pushed them across the bridge, walked them up the road and then drove them away from me most of 250 feet through a panel and held them on a graze for over a minute, I was way back at the handlers post. She then came back and did a huge outrun lift and fetch back to me and marched them on home. Those sheep did not want to come back but like the Australian Cattle Dog she truly is, Merry explained that she was in charge so we finished with a nice repen and 3rd place.

Australian Cattle Dog, Merry, Herding Sheep at Herding Trial
Merry, Australian Cattle Dog, Herding Sheep at a Herding Trial

So for 2011 clinics and practice and hopefully a few more great memories.

Aro came to us in mid March a half brother to Merry and Pippin born on Elvis’s birthday. From the beginning the differences between a male dog and the girls proved challenging.  In early April my sister Lynne fell and shattered her ankle which was to prove to be the challenge of the year for me her and the dogs. We have had two wonderful friends who supported and helped with the dogs when I was out of town, Dennis who is 83 came every day I was away and collected Aro for his walk and the looked after him for the day and returned him around dinner. Marilyn did the same for the girls. How do you thank such folks, well we can’t. They continue to take and interest in our dogs and we walk with them regularly.

Aro, Beautiful Cattle Dog 
Aro, Australian Cattle Dog

In late Oct. Aro was lucky enough to go to a Larry Painter clinic for his introduction to herding. 4 lessons in three days it was a great start and it shows. He continues to improve and will be participating in the beginner clinics this winter and spring and hopeful be ready for the trial season by the May long weekend. I just wish he would learn to sleep later than 4am.

Pippin struggled all year with lameness and while we finished her ASCA duck title, and her CKC Intermediate arena, plus got an advanced leg in CLC arena, in mid July we had to stop everything while we tried to cure her chronic tendonitis.

Pippin, Australian Cattle Dog, finishing her ASCA Started Duck Title

It was the beginning of 6 months of restrictions and regular physio. That or retire the dog.  By Christmas the limp was gone and we slowly began to return her to fitness.  X-rays proved to be totally negative so now we will see what is to be this coming season.

And then there was Merry. She finished all her started legs, including an AKC started sheep title. She finished 2nd behind a working border collie in a large flock AHBA trail and finally she came first in a AHBA HTDl trial ahead of the working border collies, pretty good for a Cattle dog.

Merry, Australian Cattle Dog, competing in AKC Started Sheep A Course at beautiful Whidbey Island

She always goes to work when asked, never sulks, and has never let me down. I am now looking foreword to seeing if I can get caught up to her enough to get those intermediate titles this year. Oh yes and for the 2nd year in a row, she was second to Leroy as ACD of the year.

So now Sister Lynne’s ankle is mended, Pippin is sound, Merry is happy as always, 2010 here we come, oh and last night Aro slept until 445 am.

Maureen Fanthorpe and Merry and Pippin (2008)

After an amazing year with Lynn handling her, Pippin and I started afresh. A bit of a struggle doesn’t do the process justice? I went home from training at Downriver in tears of frustration more times than not. Hours in the round pen, blowing me off at Handy dog trials, finally on some advice from a fellow handler I started a new tactic, stop talking and stop yelling. Wow.

Over the course of the season, Pippin and I finished her ASCA cow title, got an ASCA duck leg despite predictions that she would try and eat the ducks. We did both legs of an HTAD 1 and had some real success in many other trials.

And then there is Merry! Happiest dog on the planet. The dog that someone once said would never let me down and she never has.

Merry finished her CKC Started title, got a leg on her Stock Dog started title, finished and ASCA sheep and got one leg on ASCA cows and ducks. We started on our AHBA HTAD 1 and did well in the first of the Handy trials. One ahead of Pippin.

Most amazing of Merry’s accomplishments was at the AKC trial on Whidbey Island. She qualified both days on started sheep and was one of only two dogs all week end to qualify on cows. The judge who was more than generous comment was “this little dog went in and told those cows who was boss and did her job” Could any of this happened with out Lynn and Downriver hah not a chance. So thanks to Lynn and everyone who makes Downriver what it is and let’s get going on that driving stuff for next year. For anyone who doesn’t know my dogs they are full sisters Merry is standing in the photo, Pippin lying down.

Merry and Pippin also have legs in ASCA, AHBA and CKC and Merry has legs in AKC

Pippin HS, SDS, HTDl, HRDl, HRDll,STDsc,HTADl CGN 
Owned by Maureen and Lynne Fanthorpe 
Trained at Downriver Farm by Lynn Leach



Merry and Pippin




Saturday the 23rd.
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