ASCUK is the foundation Australian Shepherd Club in the UK and was formed in 1986 by a few dedicated breed enthusiasts.
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Here we are 32 years on since the first Australian Shepherds came into our lives here in the UK, and the first Australian Shepherds appeared on the obedience circuit a few years later.
In 1991 Gefion Gorgeous Keepsake represented the Southern Area Regional team event at Crufts. In October 1995 Janet Bates was the first person to qualify her 5-year-old Australian Shepherd ‘KC’ Accra Coffee Cobbler for (Ticket) Championship Class. Janet’s dog ‘Grundy’ Accra Uncle Bulgaria qualified ticket at Thames in September 2000 and ‘Oliver’ Accra Stringfellows Klub OW at BAGSD in September 2001
In 1998 Susanne Jaffa was contacted by ASCUK Aussie Rescue to say they had a 6-month-old bitch available for re-homing, Susanne jumped at the chance. Her name was Dee and in 2003 Dee became the first Aussie to win a Challenge Certificate in any discipline in UK, and she also went on to break another record by becoming the breed’s first Obedience Champion in 2004. Combined with her outstanding success in working trials and qualifying her for Crufts at Susanne and Dee’s first attempt in breed ring, proved she was very versatile.
Dee had a very long retirement never competing again after Crufts 2005 and Ob.Ch Cagasa Dark ‘N’ Delicious OW CDex UDex WDex is the only bitch so far to qualify to work Championship class to date.
In 2006 Susanne got a male puppy sired by her own dog WT.Ch Accra Eazel Bob CDex UDex WDex TDex PDex and called him Buck. Buck qualified to work obedience ticket in May 2009 and won their first CC at their first attempt. A few short months later, he was crowned Obedience Champion, the following year Buck retired after Crufts 2010 after winning the dog obedience Kennel Club Championships this allowed them to concentrate on competing in the working trials discipline. In January 2011, Buck gained his working trials title and is now known as Ob.Ch and WT.Ch Amberslade Buckaneer CDex UDex WDex TDex PDex
The second Ob Ch dog to date is with Sue Beavers homebred dog Ob.Ch Topeka Railroad Stitch OW. “Stitch” who won his first ticket in July 2009 at St Helens DTC and was crowned OB CH September 2010. He came 6th at Crufts at the Obedience Championships 2010 and also qualified and competed at the 2011 Championships.
Buck became the first dual champion for 30 years, the previous two being collie bitches. and just oozes power and presence, followed by the equally talented Ob.Ch Topeka Railroad Stitch OW
In 2018 Kat Farrants’ Solarwind Star Sapphire OW 'Shanti' became the second ever Aussie bitch to qualify to work ticket Obedience. She is also the first Aussie in six years to have won an Obedience Challenge Certificate, and is the only Aussie to date, to have won an Obedience CC and a CC in the show-ring as well.
Within the last 10 years there has been an up rise in clicker, motivational, positive reinforcement training methods and the Australian Shepherd is more adaptable and accommodating to these reward-based methods of training. But as with most breeds the rate of learning is only as good as the trainer. Reward based/ motivational training is the only way to go in my opinion, luckily Aussies are usually greedy so it’s easy to start them off.
Article kindly provided by Sue Beavers