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Our History...
   There is more than one reason for this page. The first reason is to brag about the dogs I grew up with. They were part of our family and they were great dogs. They earned their keep and we're proud of them. The second reason is that I think people should know how the breed developed and why. People like my family were part of how Aussies came to be. No we didn't show or trial our dogs and most of them were National Stock Dog Registered not ASCA, but they were good farm dogs. They had great temperaments with good working instinct and they were conformationally correct. That is what Aussies are about-not show rings and titles- but good farm dogs. Yes, shows and trials and even to some extent politics all has its place with any registered breed. Just don't lose sight of why the working dog is there while you're involved with the finer points. Finally, I was hoping that maybe someone might know a little more about the bloodlines of our original dogs than I do and could drop me a note about them or someone will remember buying a pup from a lady with goats and might now have a pup they could sale back to us. Just a hope.

Panda Bear...
     Rose Marie was managing a small goat dairy and raising bottle calves while caring for foster children during the early seventies. She was looking for a dog that could help around the farm and would also be good with kids and would enjoy outdoor activities (like keeping up with her while she was horseback riding). She researched the major herding breeds (Border collies, Blue Heelers, etc) and she was very impressed with the Australian shepherd. Some of the information available at the time was not quite factual. (One prevalent theory was that Aussies originated from the dingo.) However, the most important information was completely accurate. The Aussies we owned were very active, fun, intelligent, family oriented dogs that worked both goats and cattle.
     Rose Marie bought her first Aussie in 1974 from a man named Fred Peyton near Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Aussies were hard to find in Arkansas then and the breeder of that litter believed his dogs were the only Aussies in the state. The dam, Peyton's Koala Bear, had been taken out of the state to be bred to a dog named Holt's Colorado Storm. Rose Marie bought a blue merle female from the litter and named her Panda Bear. I don't remember Panda Bear much, but Rose Marie can tell stories about how they would play hide and seek with her when she was young. Someone would hide in a closet and another person in the house could tell Panda Bear to find the first person. Panda Bear would always find 'her' person. I guess she missed her calling as a Search and Rescue dog. When she was young, Panda Bear was bright and active and full of spunk. Unfortunately, someone decided to poison a group of wild dogs living in the area of Rose Marie's farm. In the process, the poison killed many of the pets in the area including a registered Irish Setter that lived a few houses down. Panda Bear also got into the poison, but Rose Marie was able to get her to the vet before the poison killed her. After that incident, Panda Bear was still a sweet lovely dog, but "it was like a veil went over her eyes." She would still help with the chores, but she couldn't think as fast and she had lost her spunk.

Panda Bear

     Rose Marie was at the sale barn one day when she noticed a little blue dog working cattle in the chutes. She could tell the little dog couldn't be much more than seven months old and she was being put on big Charlois bulls. She would get after the bulls and until one would throw her through the air against the back wall and then the process would repeat. The dog wouldn't stop and the amazing thing was that she was winning. Rose Marie's first thought was how could anyone be stupid enough to put a young dog in a closed alley with those bulls. Her second thought was, a dog with that much spunk was one she wanted. After a little questioning, she found the little bitch was not for sale, but she did get the address of the man who bred the litter. The breeder of the little blue bitch from the salebarn was an elderly gentleman near Sheridan, Arkansas. He only had his one momma dog called Blue Lady and a seven month old male and female pup (sired by a dog named Toby George) that he had kept back for himself. Rose Marie watched the momma dog and female pup work together to put a cow into a designated stall . After a short discussion, Rose Marie was able to buy the male pup and so Shep joined the family.
     Rose Marie had never trained a dog to work. Her methods of training were her own, so she and Shep learned together. She took Shep with her on a long line when she brought the goats home. She could pull him back and teach him "easy" or make him down while he was on the long line. Once he understood these simple commands, she let him roundup the goats and she would just go along to make sure all went well. After a while, she could send him after the animals with a simple "bring 'em up" anytime she needed them. Shep would find the goats wherever they were and bring them to the barn. If the animals ever needed moved from pen to pen, Shep would be pointed in the direction the animals were supposed to move and he would put them in the pen. Granted, he certainly would never have won a herding trial with our crude commands, and if our farm had been larger with more pens, he would probably have needed more directional commands and better training. Even so, Shep was pretty darn good. It was as if he could read our minds. There was one time in Marcena that the neighbors livestock decided to take out the fence and visit our place for awhile. Shep took it upon himself to separate the neighbors animals from ours. He created a line down the middle of the field with a bit of help from Sadie. Our animals were on one side and the neighbor's animals were on the other and he herded the neighbor's stuff right back through the hole they made and waited for us to fix the fence.

Shep with Louis Brandt (in his younger and woollier days)

Blue Pup...
     There are some dogs that you can just look at and see the intelligence behind their eyes. In the late 70's, Rose Marie came across one of these dogs. He had belonged to a rodeo man for most of his life. When the rodeo man, had too much to drink, the dog would take him by the hand and lead him back to his sleeping quarters. When the dog became too old for life on the road, the rodeo man gave him to a farmer in Arkansas to finish his days in ease. Rose Marie bred Panda Bear to this rodeo dog, but, due to unforeseen circumstances, she wasn't able to keep any of the pups when they were born and they sold around eight weeks of age. A year later the owner to one of the puppies called us back and said she didn't want it anymore. Rose Marie drove a couple of hours to get the blue dog. The pup had not been to a farm in the past year and Rose Marie was not expecting it to know one end of an animal from the next. When Rose Marie got back to the farm and opened the door of the truck, the blue pup jumped out like a shot. There were geese scattered around the yard at the time and the little blue pup rounded them all up, put them in a fence corner, and turned around with a look that said, "Wow, look what I did! Now what?" Rose Marie will swear that was the best puppy she ever raised. (Since I can't remember the blue pup, I'm still partial to Shep.) More than one person who came to the farm for completely different purposes asked Rose Marie to name the price for the blue pup and they would pay. Rose Marie just laughed and said she wasn't for sale. I'm still not quite sure what the blue pup looked like because Rose Marie always says she didn't have the conformation of the show dogs of that day. "She looked like a little bullet with a pointed nose." Rose Marie had to sale her farm and move less than a year after she got the blue pup back. She couldn't keep many of the animals we owned and decided to give the blue pup to a man she knew and trusted who appreciated working dogs. We kept Panda Bear and Shep since they had been part of the family for so long.

     Rose Marie intended on maintaining our Aussie line by keeping back a female or so from Panda Bear and Shep and then purchasing "better" males to breed too. (At the time, Rose Marie didn't think her dogs where anything special.) Therefore, she was always on the lookout for a good Aussie male. One day in the early eighties while reading through the classifieds she found an ad for a free adult red merle Aussie male. At the time, red Aussies were rare in Arkansas and Rose Marie couldn't believe someone would give one away. (She has a soft spot for the reds.) After calling the owner, she found out that the red male was ASCA registered and had an OFA of good. She was really confused why the dog was being given away and decided to go look at it in person. Rose Marie and Lou drove about four hours to a place in southern Arkansas (near Texarkana?) and found the Aussie tied to a tree in the middle of a couple of acres. His conformation was good and he seemed healthy, but he looked incredibly sad. The owner showed Rose Marie Choice's papers and the bloodlines looked good. When they went to examine him closer, a young child tagged along. Choice never looked at the child and never changed his posture or attitude. However, the instant the child came close to the dog, the owner began beating Choice and screaming that he was a mean and vicious dog. Choice didn't try to defend himself or snarl or even whimper. He just accepted the beating with sad resignation. Rose Marie and Louis didn't ask any more questions, they just said they were taking him home and loaded Choice into the truck. It took years before Choice wouldn't flinch when you raised your hand for any reason and he never joined in fun and games. I remember Choice as a sad but stately fellow. I don't know what kind of working dog he would have been. He didn't consider being mildly aggressive with anything-people or animals-in all the time we had him. His working instinct had definitely been beaten out of him. He had a good, peaceful life with us and in his old age he even began wagging his behind and giving us a big toothy grin when we came home.

Choice's Pedigree
Shiloh's Irishman
Miller's WW Spud Butler's War Chief Richard's Red Buck
Mistretta's Francisca Di-Sal-Vita
Butler's Kandi Lear's Whiskey Pete
Dimke's Tootsie
Miller's Blue Dollie Miller's Zip Miller's Boots
Miller's Daisy
Miller's Palmer Park's Royal Prince
Park's Lady Bird
Shiloh's Burgundy Las Rocosa's Red Hud Hartnagle's Hud Taylor's Whiskey
Taylor's Buena
Las Rocosa's Ruby Cannon's Red Bob
Canon's Poppy
Las Rocosa's Salty Las Rocosa's Shiloh Boehmer's Four Man
Hosmer's Jill
Las Rocosa's Rye Whiskie Hartnagle's Hud
Beien's Falcon Star

Sadie and Sam...
     Sadie was from a Shep and Panda Bear litter born during the early eighties. Rose Marie gave Sadie to some good friends with the understanding that we would get the pick of her first litter. Sadie only had one pup in her first litter and we gladly took the little female. Panda Bear was getting older and we weren't sure how long she would be with us. The little female was dubbed Sam and she was everything an Aussie should be. She would follow Nathan and I around on all of our adventures. She would round up the ducks and geese given the opportunity and, when we let her, she would help Shep with the larger livestock. When Sam was barely a year old, she disappeared for two weeks. We searched everywhere for her to no avail. Then one day Sam came running home full speed with a lead that had been chewed in two daggling from her neck. She was shaking all over and had scratch marks on her like she had climbed under a wire fence to escape. Sam was always locked up inside the barns when we were gone after that. (Previously she stayed in pens that had access to the outside, but we preferred Sam not to be visible to strangers anymore.) However, she was stolen again before the month was up and we never got her back. Fortunately for us, Sadie's owners decided to move to town where they could not keep this type of dog and they gave Sadie back to us. Panda Bear had died by this time and we did not have a female Aussie.
     Sadie was a good work dog and she helped Shep whenever it was needed. She was a little gentler on the stock than Shep, but she never backed down from a job either. She was a good working dog, but my major impression of Sadie was of a little mother. She looked after everyone and made sure the goats and other livestock were safe from harm. If one of the does had a baby and left it, Sadie would always find it for you. Her mothering nature also extended to my brother and I. Nathan and I were pretty good kids, but occasionally we liked to have fun. One day we had all gone to the creek and there was a deep spot that Nathan and I could flounder and scream in until we convinced Sadie that we were drowning. She would dive into the water, grab us by the shirt collar, and drag us out of the water. When she decided we were safe, she would go check on the rest of the family and Nathan and I would repeat the charade. Eventually, Grandma caught on and threatened to "beat us with her walking stick if we didn't stop worrying that poor dog." You just don't argue with Grandma.
     We lost Sadie and the last puppy we had from her in a sad accident when we were moving from Marcena to our current home. Shep had died of renal failure a couple of years before Sadie. Choice was still with us for a few years after we moved to Marcena. We probably should have gotten a puppy from Choice while we had the chance, but Rose Marie didn't realize just how special her dogs were until much later when she tried to replace the dogs she once had.


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