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The History of Las Rocosa Aussies


Chapter II:  Developing a Bloodline of Distinction


We started our bloodlines with Hartnagle’s Badger (Ely’s Blue and Christensen’s Buster) and Hartnagle’s Goody (Ely’s Feo and Ely’s Blue). 



Ely’s Feo was brought to the United States by a herder from the Basque country in Andorra.  The herder was employed by the Warren Livestock Company at the time.



Juanita Ely, a rancher, was one of the oldest documented breeders in the country. She had acquired her first Aussie in the 20s with two bands of sheep she bought in Idaho.  As a livestock person, she knew the value of recording the lineage of the dogs, to preserve and establish them.  Juanita recognized the need to need to register the ancestry of ‘Blue Australian Shepherds,’ and was largely responsible for contacting Ed Emanuel at the National Stock Dog Registry (a division of the IESR) to use their services to register the breed.


Juanita Ely used her dogs to herd their several bands of sheep and cattle on the range in the harsh working conditions (thick cactus, heavy crusted snow, heavy underbrush), rain or shine in the real world. Ely’s Blue, the dam of both Goody and Badger had been proven on the ranch, day in and day out.


We traded Goody to a very close friend of ours who owned Jinx, a litter sister to Goody, who ran a very large sheep operation in southern Colorado.  Jinx had gotten crippled by a broken shoulder.  Even though Jinx worked on only three legs; when it was time to gather sheep on our place in the Boulder Valley, my father would send Jinx.  She would disappear in the horizon until finally she had gathered every ewe and brought them down the lane along the creek.


Goody’s next four years were filled with every description of hardship and irresponsible herders.  One day, one of the herders suffered a heart attack while out on the range.  Little Goody watched over him and guarded him for three days (without food or water), and protected him from predators until our friend, Joe Fernandez, found them.


Goody was then mated to her sire, Ely’s Feo while at the sheep ranch. It was there that she whelped Hartnagle’s Goody II (Ironhide), a dog who later became the foundation matron for our Badger line. Goody II was named “Ironhide” because of her tireless endurance. She was fearless.  She worked stubborn rams, or handled bulls just as easily.  Goody II was inbred Feo. 


The Badger line had courage, longevity, and staying power. We admired these characteristics and continued to breed for them.  Once when working a single Brahman bull, Badger got tromped pretty hard.  Dad thought the bull had killed him.  He sadly picked up Badger’s limp body and laid him aside, so he could bury him beneath the lilac bushes at the house.  Apparently, the bull had just knocked him out cold.  After a few minutes, he came to and shook his head.  The next thing we knew Badger went back to work and put that bull in its place.


The years progressed and Badger (1954 - 1969) entered his twilight years.  Mom and Dad traveled many, many miles all across the country looking for a suitable replacement for Badger.  It was no easy task.  Finally Hartnagle's Hud came into our lives.  He filled the bill beyond our wildest expectations.  He was everything we had hoped for and more, and he proved it time after time.  Hud was intelligent, athletic and fun to have around.  He never held a grudge.  Hud was a clown, but when it came down to business, you could trust him with your life. If a mad mother cow or a grizzly bear had you pinned to the ground, Hud would protect you even if it cost him his life. He was dependable.  As tough as he was with rough stock, he was equally as gentle with babies.




We were so pleased with Hud we decided we had to have a female of the same cross. Hartnagle's Fritzie Taylor and Hud were by Taylor’s Whiskey and out of Taylor’s Buena.  Whiskey and Buena also were proven by hard, continuous ranch work in real working situations where they learned how to handle themselves in all types of terrain and under varied conditions.


HOF Las Rocosa Lester was the product of a mating that bred Champion Las Rocosa Leslie CDS (out of Hartnagle’s Fritzie Taylor) back to her sire, Champion Las Rocosa Shiloh (out of Hosmer’s Jill). Leslie had been proven on the Taylor Ranch.




Shiloh’s dam was a full sister to both Hud and Fritzie Taylor, who were all of the same family lineage. These dogs were sound, athletic, had stock savvy, were able to face a stubborn ram with authority, and who were undaunted by cattle.


Not only did Shiloh have heart, trainability, stock savvy, power and endurance, he had a style all his own.  He was the Champion of Champions.  Shiloh worked like a cat on the hunt.  He could handle anything and without even asking, he would gather the stock and bring them to us.  If something tried to break away from the bunch and tried to escape, it did so only once before Shiloh put it back in its place.  He had the uncanny ability to read and rate whatever was being handled.  Shiloh was prepotent for reproducing his natural style  (the distinctive performance which is a combination of intelligence, working attitude; concentration and force), consequently today, you’ll see many Aussies exhibiting a stylish blend of eye and a natural fetching style, with balance.


Both Leslie and Shiloh were sound, athletic, dependable, could head and heel with equal ease.  They demonstrated above average stock savvy, trainability and willingness to please.  And most importantly they were tried and tested against the yardstick of performance.


We felt the cross between Shiloh and Leslie would be a cornerstone for the future of our bloodline.  The cross was made and produced Las Rocosa Lester.  Lester was bred to only a few of our very select bitches and for our own use.  His record is unsurpassed.  He went on to sire some very prominent working dogs who (by virtue of line breeding) were able to transmit the qualities of their ancestry.  Lester was one of our most prepotent sires (capacity to transmit those qualities back to the offspring) whose offspring have stood the test of time, and have gone on to make their own mark on the breed, many of which are recorded in the ASCA Hall of Fame.




Working Trial Champion Las Rocosa Bonny Kyle RDX (a linebred Shiloh) sired by Lester born in the fall of 1981 worked anything (ducks to cattle) with enjoyment, though his first love was cattle.  His natural working style was ideal for handling cattle and typical of his illustrious ancestry.  He could head or heel with equal ease.


On the range, Kyle demonstrated his ability to handle the rankest range bulls or the maddest mother cows without hesitation.  With his intricate sense of balance to read and rate stock, Kyle was pure power with a stylish blend of eye.  Time after time, Kyle has proved he had the heart to go the distance, even when the going got tough.


As we developed the Las Rocosa bloodline, we knew we also wanted to maintain the traits we highly admired in the Badger line.  We were able to do that with Champion Stonehenge Justin Case of Las Rocosa CD.  Justin Case was by Champion Las Rocosa Shiloh and out of Champion Shanahan’s Phantom CDX.  ‘Fanny,’ was a descendant of Hartnagle’s Jinx who was later registered as Dye’s (Deines’) Jinx in the Stock Dog Registry.


Justin measured up in every way. He embodied the type of temperament (trainability and intelligence), working style, stock savvy, soundness and athletic ability we demanded in our dogs. He proved his value as a sire, by passing on those same characteristics.




We have always recognized it is vital to evaluate every generation to determine the qualities and characteristics that are being perpetuated.  It  eventually came time to appraise the cross that produced Las Rocosa L’Oreal (Las Rocosa Lester and out of Las Rocosa Cornflower who was also by Lester). This litter was linebred on Shiloh, and inbred Lester.  As the litter developed and started working, we evaluated that indeed the offspring personified the beneficial attributes of the ancestry. The owner of Las Rocosa Poco Lena ATDsd OTDc (L‘Oreal‘s littermate) wrote: “Lena grew up to be a very stylish worker, with the eye and class that Lester is famous for producing.”  He continued to write: “She is very prepotent for her type and style and her puppies are sociable and very trainable.”


When it came to handling stock, L’Oreal used eye to balance and control livestock.  She worked on her feet with authority, and could head or heel as the situation demanded.  L’Oreal was structurally sound and able to dodge horns and hooves with superb athletic ability.


L’Oreal exhibited intelligence, but we found she was extremely independent.  She typified everything we had been breeding for, except for that one trait. We have always bred Aussies that were able to think and act independently, but that were willing to listen and take direction…and that we were not going to compromise.  After carefully deliberating, we decided to breed L’Oreal to Champion Just Jake of Las Rocosa.  Jake was by Champion Stonehenge Justin Case of Las Rocosa CD.


The criteria on which we chose Jake was his outstanding temperament and proven working ability.  His disposition was delightful to live with.  Jake was willing to listen and wanted to please.  He had a unique ability to work his way into a pen, packed tight with sheep, up against the fence and move them off with pure power. We never worried about Jake biting erratically and injuring the sheep.


When Jake was only nine months old we used him to move 1500 head of sheep out of the Mountains of Utah into Colorado. He herded on pure instinct and was able to think independently without being told every move to make, but exhibited willingness to listen for redirection.



"Jake" & "Leo"   

Years later, in 1987, I used Jake on the government project for working Wild Bison for the Department of Interior in Yellowstone National Park.  This was a dangerous job.  We chose Jake because he was dependable and level-headed.  He was sound mentally and structurally.


Jake demonstrated the qualities we value so highly in the Australian Shepherd. Jake was unafraid. He had the power to handle large numbers of sheep on the range, he was able to and would stand up to an obstinate ram and was fearless of a charging bull, yet gentle enough to send in a pen of lambs in order for him to nose them out of a corner.


The cross between L’Oreal and Just Jake produced Las Rocosa Katy Did It DNA CP.  Katy became an ASCA Hall of Fame Dam for producing WTCH Las Rocosa Western Legends RTDs DNA-VP, CH Las Rocosa Take This Chance OTDs STDcd, WTCH LasRocosa Whispers Success RTDs DNA-VP and WTCH Las Rocosa Red Hot Hanna RTDcs.

"Jick, Little Wolf &
 Just Jake


A successful breeding program has to be based on more than blue ribbons, it has to be built upon a strong foundation that is tested from one generation to the next proven by the yardstick of performance.


Note - The point of inbreeding (the practice of breeding two dogs that have close-up ancestors in common (daughter to father, mother to son, and brother to sister matings) is to get the progeny as predictable and consistent (homozygous) as possible.  Line breeding is a type of inbreeding, but not as intense (cousin to cousin, niece to uncle, nephew to aunt matings).


Both inbreeding and line breeding tend to cut down heterozygosity and variability in the offspring, while fixing (setting) type by increasing uniformity (homozygosity).  The type being fixed is selected by the breeder and governed by the traits exhibited in the ancestors.  If the breeder ’selects’ Aussies with genes for a specific working style or character, then by inbreeding, it is possible to get these genes in homozygous condition to reinforce them in the family line involved.  This breeding system (staying in the family) should only be practiced when intensifying the good qualities through line breeding and weeding out the poor and inferior genes.


Let me make it very clear.  Inbreeding or line breeding should ONLY be practiced if the ancestors and individuals involved are healthy and free from genetic disorders, intelligent, structurally sound, and possess proven working ability of the desired type.  If so, then inbreeding can be constructive.  Inbreeding does not cause the offspring to be more liable to manifest a disorder, less hardy, or cause a decrease in size, unless those characteristics are already present in the genetic makeup.


It is correct that inbreeding and line breeding intensify a strong constitution, good bone, vigor, and working ability OR a weak constitution, lack of vigor, delicate bone, or lack of working ability, if these traits have been well developed in the bloodline. 


Out-crossing is a better breeding system for inexperienced breeders because unrelated dogs would not be as likely to double up on the same harmful genes.  However, two different bloodlines can carry the same recessive detrimental genes.  In developing a bloodline it is also necessary to out-cross to maintain strong, healthy immune systems, which are dependent on genetic diversity.



© 2004 By Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor

Back to top of page


Chapter I:  The Beginning


Chapter II:  Developing a Bloodline of Distinction


Chapter III:  The Dogs ~ The Foundation of Las Rocosa


Chapter IV:  The Las Rocosa Hall of Fame


Chapter V:  Working Wild Bison With Stockdogs


Chapter VI:  Elaine Hartnagle and the Pony Express


Telephone: 303.659.6597
Fax: 303.659.6552
Breeding Sound Versatile Aussies Since 1955
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