My history in show collies began in April 2015, when I went to Bossier City, Louisiana to pick up Gunner. It must have been fate for us to get him. Gunner was born in Michigan at Afterhours Collies, bred by Carole Stanley. Mrs. Stanley’s Afterhours Collies have been known around the world for decades as superb collies. It’s amazing I was able to purchase a show prospect male from her, considering I was a novice regarding dog shows.

Having identified the show collie families that appealed to me most, I began to contact those famous breeders. Carole Stanley told me about a sable merle male puppy she had, but was not sure she was going to let him go (especially to someone she didn’t know.) She described this big, white factored sable merle boy sired by the breathtaking CCA winner GCH CH Headline’s Soldier of Light ROM, out of her pretty tricolor girl. Carole’s puppy sounded like one I would be lucky to own. The hard part was talking Carole into letting him go, and the logistics of getting him from Michigan to south Texas. She would not put this precious pup on a plane.

At this point the stars began to align for me to get Gunner. Debbie Jones knew Susan Joslin was going to Afterhours Collies to pick up her girl Polly on her way home from New Jersey. And Debbie knew Susan was coming to Bossier City for a dog show coming up right away. Debbie called Susan, and Carole and asked about sending Gunner with Susan to Bossier City. I talked Carole into selling me Gunner and letting Susan bring him to the Louisiana shows. It was much easier to drive to Louisiana than Michigan! When I walked into the Bossier City show building and saw this big, handsome pup on Susan’s grooming table - my heart began to pound!  He was so cute! Susan liked him too. In fact, I think she might have kept him if I didn’t take him. Susan and Cheryl Kobularcik were nice enough to show me the ear taping process on Gunner, and let me film it. Tina Patterson took me to Courtney’s show supplies and helped me select the gear I would need for my show puppy. I stayed to watch the show and started learning right away. I even helped show some collies entered in a fun match! The next day I headed home with a smaller savings account, and a new puppy that had already begun to change my life.

I was smitten with Mr. Gunner! He was a sweet boy and immediately became an irreplaceable part of my family. I had loved a collie before, but showing was a whole new world to me. I listened to people experienced in showing and raising a show puppy. I distilled their advice until it made sense to me, and did everything I could to make Gunner a successful show boy.

I heard that a lot of show prospect puppies don’t turn out as expected, but Gunner seemed to be on track to be a good one. Since he finished his AKC and International championship before he was two years old, I think it’s is safe to say he is turning out very well. I believe he will only get better as he matures.

Since I was bitten by the show bug now, I had the common ailment of ‘You can’t just have one!” I began to think about getting a second show puppy and companion for Gunner. I decided to look for a very nice tricolor girl. When I contacted breeders of the collie families I admired most, I ran into the same situation as before with top breeders being reluctant to trust a novice with an outstanding pup. I was fortunate to hear about a litter bred by Jeanie Driscoll and Nick Moyers that had a pedigree full of beautiful glamour-type collies. The sire of Jeanie’s litter was the great moving white rough boy, JJaed’s Pride of St. Roch, and her dam was the black beauty, Afterhours Cashmere Princess. I was fortunate that Jeanie had more beautiful puppies than she needed, and let me buy a very promising puppy from her. In July of 2016, I drove to Oklahoma to get a tricolor girl as cute as she could be. I named her Duchess – aka – Commander’s Diva in Silk Stockings of JJaed’s. As much as Gunner is the big, dignified male, Duchess is a petite, adorable imp, getting into trouble Gunner never dreamed of. 

I am over the moon thinking about the future with Gunner and Duchess. Duchess has already done well as a puppy at the few shows she has attended, winning six best puppy awards and a major reserve. She is a natural show girl, and I have no doubt she will get her championship.

I think Gunner and Duchess make a great match, and I look forward to doing that breeding eventually. It will double up on the Afterhours line without being a close breeding. That will be the start of my future as a collie breeder. I hope to create my version of healthy, beautiful collies based on the work of breeders that came before me and their great collies of the past.

Gunner is a son of the exquisitely handsome CCA winner - GCH CH Headline’s Soldier of  Light ROM (Trooper), bred and owned by Theresa Sutter-Ballantyne. Trooper was produced from two outstanding SMOOTH COLLIES. His sire was a CCA winner’s dog, and award of Merit winner CH Corjalin’s the Whitelighter – a great moving and masculine collie. Whitelighter’s pedigree is full of outstanding Gambit and Afterhours collies. Trooper’s dam is the breathtaking, elegant sable girl - CH Hollyoak’s In the Face of Danger- a CCA Best of Variety winner and ROM girl from the Hollyoak family.

Gunner’s dam is a lovey example of Afterhours breeding with a cross to the magnificent best in show winner - CH Donnybrooke Mallorca – who is a son of the great Milas stud – CH Windhaven Stranger in Paradise.

Duchess sire is the good-looking, great moving white rough male – JJaed’s Pride of St. Roch. Pride is a CCA class winning son of the very handsome CH Scarborough Milas Intensity. Pride’s dam is the unforgettable group winning CH St. Roch’s Moonlight Serenade (known to friends and fans as Flurry.) Flurry was produced from the outstanding Clarion line of collies.  Duchess dam – Afterhour’s Cashmere Princess - is actually a sister of Gunner’s great aunt, being solid Afterhours breeding with a cross to CH Donnybrooke Mallorca.

It’s fun to Google all the magnificent collies in Gunner’s and Duchess’s pedigrees. So many lovely collies… I’m grateful to the breeders that produced these collies, and look forward to trying my hand at producing some beautiful collies myself.