I've been busy with rescue emergencies so I didn't get a chance to
respond to Joan's great posts...
At 8:07 AM -0400 5/1/99, Joan Neidhardt wrote:
>Thanks to Ace Collins, all of the Lassies will forever be known by names they
>started out with as a pup! "Howard" will not even look at you or respond to
>you if you call him by that name. The call names in the book are sort of
>like the names breeders give pups before the new owners come along.
I always sort of figured theLassies were all called Lassie but the
different names make it easier to refer to the various dogs from a distance
through time. If I said "I really like Lassie's blaze" for example, you
might not know that I meant, oh, HeyHey (pulling a name out of memory) and
not Howard or Spook or Pal. (no idea if I do prefer Heyhey's blaze, I was
just using that as an example...)
>I think the thing that is forgotten is that Lassie's breeding is done for
>different reasons than meeting the AKC standard, reasons that are required in
>the business of TV and movies, trademarks, as well as live appearances.
>While Lassie has been an excellent ambassador of the collie breed, his reason
>for being what he is has nothing to do with "improving the collie breed", it
>is to please an audience of TV and movie fans, many of which think of Lassie
>as everyman's dog, not as a collie. It's to present a fictional character
>that has specific requirements, sort of like a Lassie standard, versus an AKC
I just wanted to say, looks aside, I think the Lassie standard is
superior to the AKC show standard. I know they are looking for a certian
Lassie look but obviously as you've said, trainability and temperment are
just as important for each official Lassie. While breeders claim to care
about temperment (and health) those 10 minutes in the AKC show ring test
neither and many collies show the lack of the focus on those attributes...
>But Lassie could never be Lassie is he wasn't a collie. Bob has often said
>that so much of what makes Lassie so endearing, so well loved, so
>believeable, are common traits of the collie.
I guess this is where I came in. I agree that Lassie coudn't be
Lassie and not be a collie, I don't think an ES or a BC no matter how
pretty or how great an actor and a diplomat could ever be Lassie. So, I was
thinking that Lassie should maybe be a spokesman for the breed and help
lead the way toward. healthier and better tempermented collies. But,
ultimately, that's silly of me (alas) because "show" people drive the breed
and I'm sure they generaly don't give a fig about Lassie of what the
Weatherwax Family is doing with the Lassies. Lassie probably helps them
indirectly with puppy sales and that's about all that most want to think
about Lassie at all.
But I'm still the idealist I guess. I think Lassie owes a lot to
the collie breed - the traits we love about collies, the traits that got
Eric Knight to write the book are Collie traits. If Lassie can't really
affect the breed or influence the Collie Club and the tunnel vision
breeders "she" can still give something back to the breed that made her
possible. I do think that there are plenty of people who get collies
because of Lassie and I know Collie Rescues are swamped all over the
country. In the back of the book _Nop's Trials_ is a little disclaimer
trying to convince people to not rush out and get a BC. Couldn't Lassie do
something to try to convince people considering a collie to consider a
rescue collie first. After all, Pal was basically a rescue dog and plenty
of the collies in rescue would love an opportunity to be a Lassie for
just a thought, anyway...
National English Shepherd Rescue
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