The diversity seen in God’s creatures is inspiring. I consider dogs a special gift from God – especially Collies. Whether show dogs or pets, Collies have a beauty of spirit that is truly inspiring. I’m grateful to the breeders that helped shape collies into the most beautiful of all dogs.
I got my first pet collie as a 7 or 8 year old, and he inspired my never ending love for the breed. ‘Tuffy” was a useful farm dog, and a perfect companion for a lonely kid on a farm.
As an adult, I wanted a Collie- but I got involved with my husband in the ’70’s showing Irish Wolfhounds instead. They are also remarkable dogs with their own kind of beauty and wonderful spirits too. During the time we showed IW’s, I often watched the Collie judging and planned to have a Collie again someday. I didn’t yet study Collie names, and bloodlines, but remember being impressed with a handsome collie in about 1979 by the name of Ch Random Acres Christmas Cowboy- a lovely sable dog.
In about 1990, at an all breed show in Dallas, I saw the first collie that literally took my breath away- Ch Gambit Chill Factor. He was so perfectly groomed, and had a head profile that looked like a picture of the standard. I am still a huge fan of Gambit Collies, and related families. That same year I also saw an adorable rough tricolor bitch at the Fort Worth Collie Club show called- Ch. Glenorka’s All Night Affair. She was showy, soundly made, and so cute I could hardly stand it. Not only that- this tri girl could MOVE! I have had a special love for tricolor bitches ever since I saw her.
I’ve been inspired by the efforts of many collie breeders. I love the Parader types like Tartanside, Countryview, Southland, and many others producing classically beautiful collies. And yet I am irresistibly drawn to the gorgeous glamour type families like Milas, Clarion, Afterhours, Tallywood, Donnybrooke, HiCrest, and others. Some of the most outstanding collie families are successful blends of the Parader and Brandwyne type families- like Wyndlair and Aurealis.
I have been going to dog shows, and devouring dog books and magazines on every dog related topic for fifty years. I try to learn from every dog and dog person I meet. Two generous ladies let me watch their dogs from whelping box to veteran’s class for several years. Alice Inman, and Peggy Conger- noted Collie breeders, and judges, answered hundreds of my questions, and gave me good advice.
More recently I have been inspired by Cheryl Kobularcik, and her Cherann’s Collies. Her dogs are known for their elegance, sound movement, and hardiness. Cheryl has produced champion collies- mostly on her own- for over four decades.
Outside the collie world, a very special dog–an Irish Wolfhound– taught me something about real quality, correct structure and movement. I did not own him, but had the pleasure of watching him at his owner’s home a few times, and at the IWCA national specialty. He was bred and owned by Jill Bregy, and his name was Ch Wild Isle Warlock. He finished his championship as a one year old with an all breed best in show. He was used in one of the Rachel Page Elliott films – “Dogsteps” to illustrate proper movement. He was beautiful in type, and character, and never put a foot wrong. My dreams are in the Collie world- but Warlock set the quality bar in my mind of what I’d like to achieve someday in collies. This picture is the one I took of Warlock at the last place I saw him- winning the 1979 IWCA national specialty for an unprecedented 4th time. Photo credit was given to me for this photo in the Harp and Hound IWCA magazine that year as Debbie Abshire– a detail long forgotten by now. What will not be forgotten is an IW of superb quality and presence. He stood head and shoulders above the commonplace, and still inspires my dreams of breeding remarkable collies.