Welcome to Baqilodge
where we love
to have lots of fun!
(We will be continuing to edit and add material to this new website over the next few months. We hope you enjoy seeing our dogs).
I am an Australian Pedigree Dog Breeder
I am proud to be a dog breeder. The number of dogs I own and care for on my property is between 10 and 20. The numbers fluctuate because of puppies, young dogs that go to live with other kennel associates to be exhibited in conformation for periods of time, and old dogs who sadly pass on to Rainbow Bridge.
My dogs have the best of both worlds. They have human one-on-one time – playing, training, socialisation and house time. They also have a dog world – where they live in packs and play in packs. Sadly not all dogs have the opportunity of their own species’ social world – not just another dog or dogs to play with occasionally in the park, but a pack or group of dogs that live together and interact with each other on a daily basis – a ‘dog family’. Some people would have us believe that a dog has to have human attention and interaction 100 percent of the time for the dog to be happy and contented. Well that might make some owners feel good, but the truth is that even though dogs enjoy human company and even thrive in human company, company of their own species is a special place for them.
I appreciate, love and value my dogs for what they are – dogs. Social animals who live in packs with a structured hierarchy; fabulous animals that live by simple yet complex codes and not human values. They are not my furkids, they are my treasured dogs. I feel that once we start calling them furkids or ‘children’ we devalue them as dogs. These amazing creatures have the ability to adapt to us – being able to live right along side us, bringing so many positive things to our lives. This skill of adapting to living with people in so many different circumstances, settings and rules and then when required (in most cases) to easily change to different environments and rules is truly remarkable. I wonder if we humans appreciate this as much as we should.
I enjoy all breeds of dogs – including the dogs of mixed and unknown heritage. However I value the work and expertise that has gone into developing the form and function of pure breed dogs that are bred to a plan that allows them to have the physical and mental characteristics that will best enable them to perform, most easily and effectively, the work or roles for which they were initially bred.
Purebred dogs are bred to conform, as closely as possible, to a written plan called a breed Standard. A Standard is the blueprint that describes what is required of a particular breed in terms of function, structure and temperament – the elements required for the breed to fulfil the role for which it was developed – in addition to being great family companions. It is patently obvious that without good health a dog would not be able to fulfil any task or role (including being a show dog). So health (both mental and physical) is number one priority in any breed. Nobody sets out to breed unhealthy dogs. The highly emotive talk of the anti-dog lobby wants you to think this happens. Can you really believe that people intentionally set out to create this sort of distress in their own lives? No! Just like people do not plan or desire to give birth to unhealthy or deformed babies, breeders do not plan to have unhealthy or deformed puppies. But it does happen. This is the way of nature.
Dogs of mixed breeds, also known as designer dogs or mutts are no more likely to be free of health problems. You see, they are part of nature too. (There is any amount of documentation supporting this – just do the research).
Once a health problem does present, it will be the educated and dedicated breeder who will best know how to proceed in a breeding program. This will not make it all plain sailing. Because of the complexities and unknowns in genetic science, there will still be room for problems and mistakes. Most breeders will take great care in dealing with health problems when they are aware of them. It is only a few (as in all areas of life) who, for whatever reason, ignore the problem, believe the problem has nothing to do with them and their stock or just hope the problem will ‘go away’. This allows health issues or problems to perpetuate. However, I still believe these breeders do not set out to continue to breed unhealthy dogs. Sometimes they are not aware. Some do not have the knowledge or resources, and they close their eyes, cross their fingers and hope it won’t happen again – which might even be understandable in some instances but is not the right way to deal with any problem. This is one element that separates ‘so called breeders’ from ‘responsible breeders’.
The breeders of mixed breeds most often belong to the ‘so called breeder’ group as it is highly unlikely, and it would be very unusual, for anyone to have a depth of knowledge of the health status of individuals over multiple generations, in any mixed bred dog.
That is a question I have asked myself many times. Tongue in cheek, I tell you – this question comes up most often when the ‘going gets tough’. To be a dog breeder you have to be tough (mentally and physically), and it is, at times, heartbreaking. It is difficult and heart wrenching when you loose your oldies to ‘old age’ but nearly intolerable when you lose a young one – for whatever reason.
The commitment is 24/7. It does not matter if you have a headache, the flu or an important appointment, the dogs come first. It does not matter when your bitch starts to whelp at 2:00am and you have sat up with her for the last 24 hours and you feel close to dying – you need to be there. It does not matter that it is lunch time, Christmas Day, and that it is going to cost the earth to get the vet in for the dog that has eaten the turkey and got a bone stuck in its neck while you were busy feeding puppies and that your family is now ready to disown you. You have responsibilities.
You get home from work in winter at 6:30pm and you still have dogs to walk, play, feed and groom in the dark and cold and you know it will be 11:00pm before you finish. You know that you will be up between 5:00 and 5:30am the next morning to walk and play again in the dark before you go to work. You will do this every day of winter – you might not openly complain but you might ask yourself once or twice, ‘Why am I a dog breeder?’
Then there is the owner who bought a puppy a little while back and they ring to say they are upset because their puppy has grown into juvenile delinquent who rips clothes off the clothes line. On close questioning, it is discovered that, when he was a baby puppy, they played with him by wriggling socks or other clothes in his face before pegging them on the line out of his reach. Now though, he has grown and is tall enough to grab the items from the clothes line. Even after the owner has been congratulated on training their dog to take the clothes from the line, they do not see their involvement in their canine’s ‘crime’. And I ask myself, ‘Why am I a dog breeder?’
Of course, I have asked myself this question in the cold, hard, rational light of day and obviously I have to enjoy it to continuing doing it – that is number one. And I do enjoy it.
I love the dogs. I enjoy caring for them – be it grooming, feeding, caring for sick or wounded ones. I don’t mind doing yard pickups and kennel cleaning. I especially feel gratified when beds, kennels, blankets, toys etc. are all spotless. I like training young ones, cuddling old ones and playing with the middle aged group. I don’t begrudge that nearly all my money goes on their upkeep and welfare and that holidays have firmly lodged themselves in the ‘fantasy or dreams’ section of my life.
Dog behaviour and genetics; studying pedigrees and breeding strategies; keeping abreast of current and new medical discoveries; training or studying other dog related subjects – completely fascinates me.
So it is probably not a great leap from this place to wanting to be a dog breeder, breeding dogs that will bring the same joy to other people as mine do to me. That is on one level. On the next level, I want to be able to make sure the puppies I breed embody all the qualities and characteristics of the breed I have chosen; that they are as good as, but hopefully better than, their parents. I want to make sure the breed goes from strength to strength and I don’t want to just leave this important task wholly and solely to others. I also believe the more breeders there are the greater the opportunities of preserving breeds with good diversity in the gene pools.
One cannot breed in a vacuum. It is necessary to compare your dogs with others in good competition. This helps to let you know if you are on the right track in your breeding program. This is important, and we do it by entering dog shows. To the serious breeder, showing is important even if it is not the most interesting aspect of breeding puppies. It is also an avenue to allow other breeders to see the stock you are producing and it is a place to see other collies belonging to other breeders.
For me three of the greatest highlights of breeding are:
- to watch healthy puppies and adults running and playing free in large open spaces knowing they are sound, happy, intelligent dogs enjoying life to the full.
- a family telling me the exploits of their Baqilodge collie and that they are one of their most precious possessions. And there is nothing more special than hearing that a dog I’ve bred can perform the function for which the breed was originally developed and that it is highly valued for its working ability, as well as being a loved and loving family companion.
- having a dog I bred go Best Exhibit in Show at a National, in the best competition in the land, under an international breed specialist.
I have had the enviable joy of experiencing all of the above and it is more than enough to tip the scales away from ‘the tough times’. I am happy to be a proud dog breeder. I am lucky enough to enjoy the advice and expertise of experienced and world renown breeders from other countries and the same support and camaraderie of Australia’s best breeders.
For those who say dog breeders are producing puppies when there are already too many puppies. I say – people who buy puppies from me want collies (not just any dog from a shelter) and they want a puppy that has been reared well and socialised, that is born of healthy typical collie parents with known traits and characteristics. These people would not buy a puppy from a shelter.
As a registered dog breeder I would hope that I could screen my puppy buyers well enough and have them trust me enough to never have a dog I bred end up in a shelter. If one should, I would be the first person to retrieve it. I am not the problem of any oversupply of unwanted puppies.
As a member of the Australian National Kennel Control, through my affiliated State Canine Association, money from each puppy I breed goes towards the Canine Research Foundation, founded in 1992. Over half a million dollars had been granted from this Foundation to University veterinary researchers to fund projects such as the following:
- Molecular Signalling Mechanisms of Eosinophilia in Rottweilers.
- Global Gene Expression Profiling of Canine Lymphoma.
- Long term use of Phenobarbitonein Cane Idiopathic Epilepsy.
- Using the Dog Genome Sequence to identify Genetic Disorders.
- Detection of Ceroid Lipofuscinosis in Border Collies.
- Liver Dysfunction in Tibetan Spaniels.
- Vaccination of Bitches to Prevent Uterine Disease.
- Disease Gene Mapping.
- The role of Apoptosis in Cardiac Disease.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy in the Irish Setter.
- Plasma Products for Transfusion.
- Studies on Blood Donor Dogs.
- Developing Tests for Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Predictors of Tumour Malignancy
I am a proud Australian pedigree dog breeder – striving to breed healthy, happy dogs, typical of their breed and conforming to their breed Standard as closely as possible.
Baqilodge Collies 2009