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The History of The Australian Shepherd Club of America


Chapter VII:  The Original Stock Dog Committee


Bob Carrillo, the Stock Dog Committee Chairman, a decorated WW II Veteran and his wife, Jean were one of the original 24 people to attend the meeting in Redding, California to decide the future of ASCA in 1973.


They used their driving dogs to work the 300 head of commercial and purebred dairy herd on their 500 acres of rolling coastal hills and wooded canyons with open fields near Santa Rosa, California. Their slogan was "A Working Man's Thinking Dog."


They got their original dogs from Don Brezeale, another dairy farmer in Northern California who acquired some foundation breeding stock from Juanita Ely in the 1930’s. It all started with Cookie. She was credited for saving 17 heifers out of the flooded Russian River by swimming them to high ground. They felt Cookie exemplified the "LONGEVITY, ADAPTABILITY and the insured WORKABILITY" of our Australian Shepherds." as quoted from their ad in the 1957 - 1977 ASCA Yearbook.


Carrillo said that Cissy Bird, a descend of Cookie had a special talent to sort cattle by color and for finding lost calves. Her granddaughter, 'Tammy' could separate Gurnseys from Holsteins. Tammy's son Smoky was a 'heel' dog, and excelled in the brush when sent in for a cow, only brought cows, ignored any deer or jackrabbits that happened to be in the area. And down the line to her daughter 'Kip,' a top calf and corral dog.



Ernie Hartnagle, raised on a farm in the Boulder Valley, used shepherd type dogs from the time he was a boy living on the family farm until later when he worked on the IK Bar Ranch, which is now the Vail Ski Resort site. A WW II Veteran, Ernie returned after the war to get a degree in Agriculture from Colorado State University. He and Elaine also attended the decisive Redding meeting in 1973. Ernie served ASCA on the ASCA Board of Trustees 1972 - 1975 and was elected President in 1976 through 1978, and later became a consultant for the ASCA BOD.


He and Elaine ran a diversified farming/ranch operation using their Aussies to work both sheep and cattle. These dogs could be characterized as able to face a stubborn ram with authority, undaunted by cattle, yet gentle with lambs. They were known for "Breeding the Quarter Type of the Dog World" and "Breeding Dogs for the Real World."



Walter Lamar, a county extension agent for Major County Oklahoma, he graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Agronomy. Walt served on the ASCA Board of Trustees from 1969 to 1970, and was one of the Original ASCA Stock Dog Judges. In mid 1960s, he was living in Kingsville, Texas when he attended some of the early ARF trials with his blue merle Aussie female, 'Ida.' Ida went on to produce a black male that went to the foreman of a 100 section ranch at Border, Texas. The report came back that the dog was one of the "workingest" dogs he'd ever seen. The pup, a natural heeler went to work on cattle, and was more help than three (3) men. The Foreman stated that he would not be without an Australian Shepherd from then on.


In 1966 Walter was living back in Oklahoma, an avid horseman, steer roper and team roper was also one of the first people to actively gather data for a comprehensive genetic study on the natural bob tail and color inheritance of the breed. Walter, along with Ernie Hartnagle were the first breeder judges, both qualified to judge Conformation and Stock Dog Trials.


Walt is especially known for Lamar's (Mansker's) Turk, a blue merle foundation sire whose name can be found in thousands of Aussies pedigrees today. Point of interest, US Supreme Court Judge, William Rehnquist acquired a dog by Lamar's Bo and Lamar's Adobe Bob Candy, and littermate to Taylor's Kachina Doll from Walter Lamar.



Carol Schmutz - Although she was not on the Stock Dog Committee officially, Carol contributed immensely due to her extensive experience in the Poultry industry; and served ASCA as one of the Original ASCA Stock Dog Judges. In 1961, she and her husband moved from Northern California to the Timberlake Farm in Molalla, Oregon. Carol used Aussies on her turkey farm where she ran over 1500 prime Cannonball White hens. Her dogs, Schmutz's Liz of Poverty Ridge, Schmutz's Dr. Ben's Freddie and Schmutz Michael of Poverty Ridge would gather and bring turkeys to the barn, help collect eggs, and watch over and guard the farm. In the Spring of 1971, she was awarded Farmer of the Year for setting a record on turkey egg production. Today, Carol's dogs can be found in the pedigree of ASCA's first Supreme Versatility Champion, Apache Tears of Timberline TD.



Steve Stevenson, the original 'Stock Dog Certification Chairman' from Chatsworth California was not actually a livestock person, but was interested in maintaining the working instinct in the Australian Shepherd breed. Steve and his wife Janet also attended the decisive meeting in Redding. He was ASCA Vice President from 1973 to 1975 and served on the ASCA Board from 1976 to 1978. They welcomed guests to their home with "The latch string is always out and the coffee is always hot." Guests were greeted by Moss of Flintridge, Stevenson's Aussie.

Bob Carrillo, Ed Emanual & Ernie Hartnagle at the office of the National Stock Dog Registry.



What  type of Aussies did they use and need?

They used and needed dogs who were unafraid.  They chose Aussies with the stamina and power to move large numbers of sheep on the range, that could stand up to an obstinate ram and who were fearless of a charging bull, yet kind to lambs.


There was diversity in type, but one type was never promoted over the others in fairness to the different family bloodlines, and the different situations they were needed for.  Pups were chosen because they worked by basic instinct and they could learn during the routines of their daily work.  Most of them never saw the inside of a kennel.


The Australian Shepherds who would have been considered inferior by all involved were those Australian Shepherds who lacked desire with good concentration and those who were unnecessary biters, slashers or vicious.

What set the Australian Shepherd apart from other herding breeds commonly found in the farm and ranch country?

The Aussie was hardy with endurance and stamina to go the distance.  They were sensible and dependable.  They were chosen because they could get the job done.  They could think for themselves. 


Up on the Gore Range Ranch, known as the IK Bar, which is now where the Vail Ski Resort operates is where my father's uncle ranched (base elevation at 8,120 feet).  In the early springtime, the cattle loved to graze on the lush meadows.  The meadow grass was to become hay for winter feed, so they would have to push the cattle up the steep mountains (now ski runs) with the vertical rise 3,450 feet in elevation to the summit at 11,570 feet in elevation to take advantage of the high mountain grasses.  If they didn't do this before ten o'clock in the morning when it got hot, the cattle would balk and become next to impossible to move.


At that time, Daddy was working Rover, a black 'bob tail,' as they were referred to, and two of Emmett Nottingham's Border Collies.  They were excellent dogs, but when push came to shove, they did not have the sand (stamina and power) to keep going when the going got really tough.  Rover had the staying power (endurance) to keep going, even when the others were done and could not. 


Aussies had the intelligence to think and didn't have to be told every move, but were willing to listen and wanted to please.  The early ranchers were not dog trainers.  The Aussie's keen intelligence and natural working abilities enabled him to learn as he went along doing the actual work.  They were not taught in formal training situations as they are today.


It was not uncommon for the Aussie to save the day.  One morning during the early hours, Hud ran into my parents room and caused such a commotion by running out of their room through the house and to the back door.  He did this several times.  My father realized something was wrong.  He let Hud out the door while he put his boots on.  As Dad got outside he saw a neighbor's stallion and ours striking and biting at each other across the fence.  Just then, the fence gave way, the next thing Daddy saw was that Hud grabbed the nose of the neighbor's stallion and spun him around then heeled him hard.  The next instant, he turned to head and heel our stud and herded him back into our pasture without having to be told what to do.  Hud's natural instincts and intelligence allowed my father to get control of what could have been a dangerous situation.


The herding and guarding instincts were important.  The western ranch country was relatively wild.  Bears, Coyotes were commonly encountered.  And the dogs could be depended upon to watch over their charges as well as herd their charges to safety in an unexpected storm.

How can we keep from losing the usefulness in Australian Shepherds?

According to Viv Billingham, a Shepherdess with years of practical experience of working sheepdogs in the Cheviot Hills of Scotland, "There are very few shepherds now.  They made the dogs what they were.  They had to as without them they couldn't do their work.  Now farmers look after four times as many sheep on a quad bike.  It is difficult to get determined, intelligent dogs because the existing ones are not truly tested.  My dogs are the old kind and I mean to keep them that way.”


She continued to say, “There are people in Wales and England that work light sheep and can get away with light dogs.  Strong dogs would spook the sheep at their trials.  In Scotland, Blackfaces are difficult to manage and the top handlers work strong dogs but these dogs are getting scarce.  For breeding you need a strong dog or the breed gets watered down."


We agree.  In order to remain useful, Aussies must be chosen by the yardstick of performance.  Early Aussies were sound, athletic, had good stock savvy, were trainable and willing to please.  The breed was founded on Australian Shepherds who were proven by hard continuous ranch work in real working situations where they learned how to handle themselves in varied terrains under diverse conditions.  The early Australian Shepherds, which provided the foundation for the breed, were tough enough to turn a charging mother cow, yet gentle enough to nudge a lamb with their nose to get it moving along. 

Used with permission of Ernest Hartnagle, October, 2004
© 2004 By Ernest Hartnagle & Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor


Copyright photos provided from the Hartnagle family archives.


Back to top of page


Chapter I:  ASCA During The Early Years


Chapter II:  Highlights - 1970 - 1972


Chapter III:  Highlights - 1972-1976


Chapter IV:  Highlights 1977 - 1979


Chapter V:  The Original Purpose of the ASCA Stock Dog Program


Chapter VI:  The Original Stock Dog Program


Chapter VII:  The Original Stock Dog Committee


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