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FARMCOLLIE Home

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FARMCOLLIE  May 1999

FARMCOLLIE May 1999

Subject:

Re: Lassie Health

From:

Joan Neidhardt <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Farm Collie Breed Conservancy and Restoration <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 1 May 1999 08:36:42 EDT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (73 lines)

In a message dated 5/1/99 12:03:43 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

<<  Do they know if the Lassie line has CEA? Are any of the Lassie's
 ever OFA'd? >>
<<do the Weatherwaxes ever consider just going out and searching the
country for a likely looking Collie of good quality and star presence
instead of breeding the old Lassie line?>>

None of the Lassies (or siblings that I know of) has had CEA.    While they
are checked by their veternarian, I don't think any has ever been officially
OFA'd.
On the second question, the Weatherwaxes DO search the country for collies
that meet a certain criteria to breed with.   The qualities they look for are
health, eyes, bone structure, disposition, coloring and more.   This dog has
to be strong, agile, good with children and old people, have trademark
markings, intelligent, possess stamina and more.  This isn't a dog you take
in a ring for a 5-10 minute "show".   Lassie is required to be "Lassie" 7days
a week, 24 hours a day.  There is no down time for Lassie.   Pedigrees are
checked for possible health problems.   There is a lot of concern for eyes.
Some of the bitches that have been bred are champion show collies, especially
in more recent years.   While breeding for Lassie 9, a number of show
champions with strong health lines were bred, none produced the trademarks
required in any of the pups.   Ironicly, it was a bitch owned by his daughter
(no relation to the Lassie lineage) that has produced Lassie 9.    So while
he has searched the country, this time around the answer was in his own
family!

 I think the "quality and show presence" you speak of is more of a personal
preference for a certain look in a collie, versus whether or not the dog is
actually a quality dog.   From traveling with Lassie I can personally tell
you that "Howard" has his fans mesmerized and the same words are always
repeated-  He is SO beautiful!    For myself personally, before I met him I
thought he was a nice looking dog, but the first time I saw him running
towards me in person, I was captured by the "magic".   There is something
about him, and his lineage, that is just not there in other collies.    I
once went out on Lassie's boat with him.   Bob was up on the flying deck,
Lassie was below with us.   Kids on the shore line called his name.  He
climbed up on a seat, ears alert and barked back at them as if he was saying
"hello"!   I've never seen him at any time of the day or night, not
fulfilling the "character" of Lassie.   He's always regal, always has
presence, never seems to have a "bad day" where he's cranky or whatever,
always responsive, always eager and willing to do whatever is asked.

I have the full gambit at home.  I have a sable that has show quality
breeding.   I have a blue rescue that came from a kennel known for health
problems.   And I have a sable pup that is Lassie's son.    I love them all
equally but there is something in the face, in the eyes, of the little guy
that is just not there with my other two.

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
standard.

Don't get me wrong.  This doesn't mean that Bob is not interested in
improving some fault of Lassie's in future breedings.   Be it coloring (he'd
like to get more mahoghany back in Lassie), or some other health or
appearance issue that comes up in a line, Bob will look for specific
qualities in the next Lassie's mom to try to breed out whatever it is that is
not pleasing.   Actually, we should all be so lucky with our collies.   With
the exception of one Lassie that died very unexpectedly of cancer at a young
age many years ago, all of the Lassie's have lived to be 15-18 years old!

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.

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