Thursday, September 14, 2023

Titles, history, and enriching your dog’s life…

Some people are history buffs.  They may be fascinated by the Civil War, or Ancient Rome, still others may be obsessed with prehistoric times or the Salem witch trials.  There are endless time periods and subjects to study, and with all the resources we have at our fingertips, almost anyone can do research on whatever passion drives them.  For me, it’s the history of the collie that keeps me captivated, and also keeps me trying new things with my collies.

I enjoy pouring over the many volumes of the Collie Club of America’s Library of Champions.  I am always excited to find new sources of information about the collies and breeders of the past.  And one great source for collie historians are the older CCA Yearbooks.  Not everyone may be aware that each year the CCA publishes the collie yearbook for its members.  And if you aren’t a member, or if you are a newer member, some of the older yearbooks can be found on EBay and other websites.  While the Library of Champions is a wonderful record of all the past collies who earned that title, the CCA Yearbook also includes and celebrates all the other titles the collies have earned each year.

There is a great saying, “A well balanced dog has titles at both ends.” (Of its name). I know the American Kennel Club, or AKC for short, believes this to be true, which is why they created the title “AKC Breeder of Merit.”  Earning the coveted “CH” before a dog’s registered name is a cause of celebration.  Becoming a conformation champion means that a dog conforms to the breed standard in both appearance and structure.  But equally important, in my opinion, is that the dogs we breed are also capable of earning titles that appear at the end of their names.  That’s why the CCA Yearbooks are equally valuable when learning about the more recent history of our beloved collies.

With the CCA Yearbooks, you can look back through the years and see which breeders have produced collies that have earned herding, agility, obedience, Farm Dog, Scentwork and other performance titles.  The ability to earn these other titles demonstrates the soundness of mind, body and temperament of the dogs we are producing.  Our collies should be more than than just a pretty face, they should be able to perform the work they were originally bred to do.  That doesn’t mean the champion title before their name isn’t valuable, it is a huge honor to earn that title, but I think the other titles are just as important.

I’ve mentioned before that when looking for a reputable breeder, it’s important to find one who has earned the title of AKC Breeder of Merit.  But many may not realize how a dog breeder earns that title.  To qualify for this title, the breeder must meet all of these requirements:

  • Has a history of at least 5 years involvement with AKC events.
  • Earned AKC Conformation, Performance or Companion* event titles on a minimum of 4 dogs from AKC litters they bred/co-bred in each breed applied for.
  • Member of an AKC club.
  • Certifies that applicable health screens are performed on your breeding stock as recommended by the Parent Club.
    Health test requirements can be found on the Breed Health Testing Requirements webpages.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to ensuring 100% of the puppies produced are individually AKC registered.
Our Kori, herding ducks

There are so many fun and exciting things to do with your dogs, and your dogs will love all the individual time and attention.  When deciding which sport to try first, or which title to pursue, I think researching your collie’s own ancestry, and all that those dogs have accomplished, is a great place to start.  If you see many collies in their pedigree earned herding titles, you may want to consider giving herding a try.  Or maybe when researching your collie’s own history you discover that many of the collies have earned obedience or agility titles, try taking a class to see if you and your collie enjoy that type of competition.  The collie truly is a versatile breed, and the sky’s the limit for activities you can try together.  And when your collie earns a title, they will become a part of the breed’s history!  My Sophie and I have decided to try Barnhunt next month, not sure how it will go, but I bet we will have fun while doing it!


  1. Very interesting! You are a walking collie encyclopedia. lol Didn't know they were so versatile. Only known them as herding dogs. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I think that's fabulous that you're a student of such a fun and fasctinating topic like those sweet pups. Good for you!