‘I’m giving you a bitch with a bloodline i think you’ll like’,he said.‘Sure maybe she’ll be the one that will get you started again.’This is what happened after my friend John Heffernan called me and told me to drop in to see him.
The bitch John gave me was well bred alright. Her mother was a bitch calledGrabelonging to man called Michael Dunne.Grawas a bitch that was in nurseries around the time I was leaving dogs in 2000. She was the picture of her father Norman Deacon’s dogRoy, of whom I had a lot of first hand experience and loved as a dog.Grahad plenty of desire for work with ample power and pace and lovely balance, a cooler calmer version of her father.
The father of Heffernan’s bitch (a dog i have never personally seen) was a dog belonging to Frankie McCollough that won an Irish national a few years back, according to reports he was a good hard hunting dog. Frankie’s Craig.
John gave me the bitch in August and i knew exactly the dog I wanted to use on her, but then September came around and so did the bitch! She was in season and it looked like she would just be a little early on the 14th of September..so i decided to postpone my original mating program for the moment and head for the International in Roscommon.
I arrived on the Saturday and it was nice to be back among friends after a long time away from the sport. I really like the sheepdog crowd, good practical people, all about the working ability of the dogs. I wasn’t long there till i met a man I knew from Wales, The Butch, Eirian Morgan. I love meeting Butch as he is full of life and it doesn’t be long until i find myself grinning ha. Butch introduced me to Aled Owen. One of the things i like about this sport is that the top competitors are always accessible for a chat or bit of advice. Butch had won a supreme since I had last spoken to him, so i was glad of the opportunity to express my delight at hearing of his news in 2011. He mentioned that he had a nice bitch in pup to the dog that won the supreme and that he’d send me over a pup to try if he had a big litter ha!
I like to go with my feeling in situations like picking a pup, buying a dog or choosing a stud. I don’t give too much time to in-depth analysis or research and I rather be influenced by hearing or seeing a few things that seem to ‘fit’. My philosophy is to try and find a dogman with similar values to mine and his dog is generally a reflection of those values. I watched Neil Gillon hunt Bhoy and at the pen I thought to myself ‘that’s not a bad sort of a dog’, not too sensitive or delicate looking. I watched Neil as he came off the field and made my way over to him. I allowed after seeing his dog that anything he’d have to say would be worth paying attention to so i began to interview him abit. It wasn’t long before he told me about Shearer’s young dog and then about the man himself. ‘he might only go to trials 3 or 4 times a year’, ‘he does a big amount of work and needs dogs that work’, ‘that Jim dog won a national and has been on the team a few times and he’s only 4.’ My mind was nearly made up now, nothing to do only interview the man himself.
After asking Michael Shearer a few questions my mind was made up. I liked this man, no drama and the studfee was at a working price, and from a man that won the worlds a week or two earlier. I allowed after talking to him that he is a good practical man that doesn’t spare his dogs on Monday regardless of how they do on Sunday and that’s the type of workmanlike practicality that sits well with me. I hadn’t even seen the Jim dog work, though incidentally i remembered mentioning to Dennis Birchall, who was the Irish judge for the international that i had a bitch that was in season and all he said was ‘Shearer’s dog’! And just to devils Advocate myself i decided to ask an accomplished Irish handler for an opinion on my decision..he said ‘Shearer’s dogs are good but he has his own ol’ line and they’d take too much work to break down because he breeds them to work hard.’..i’d heard enough the deal was sealed! Later that day i was talking to Martin Doherty (who qualified 6th in the Final that day) and i asked him, out of curiosity ,what dog he would use there if had he a bitch in seaason.. and without hesistation he said ‘i like that dog of Shearer’s.’
Michael had another bitch coming to the Jim on Saturday evening but as it happened the bitch had gone out and despite Jim making a big effort she just wasn’t right. But as a result Jim wasn’t as enthuasiastic as he might have been for the date i brought him so i arranged to meet Michael on Sunday morning. I wasn’t fully sure my bitch was bang on, i allowed we were still maybe a day or two early. Myself and Michael headed off down the field away from the action of the Supreme Final. Jim wasn’t particularly impressed with my presence on Saturday evening however on this Sunday morning he was oblivious to me and in a short time he was tied in the bitch and the deal was sealed!
I would normally like to get a bitch lined twice with the second time being two days after the first but in this situation i had to settle for one as Michael was heading home to Scotland that evening.
It is now January and while the pupping wasn’t as successful as I had hoped, myself and John Heffernan have a dog pup each as a result of that September weekend. The next time my bitch comes in season i will go back to my original breeding plan but for the moment i am very excited about my young Scotch bred pup. He is growing in confidence and is a sturdy build of a pup not showing any submissive behaviour so that’s a nice start i feel. I play with him with a teddy bear toy and he chases it and kills it which is probably not any kind of relevant behaviour for indicating future super star but i have a good feeling on him and for me, thats all that is important at this point.
I am really looking forward to implementing my original plan for breeding this bitch however, that Shearer pup puts me in a good mood every time i see him and I am delighted that him and him brother will be the first two pups to carry the Churchmount prefix forward on their pedigrees. John Heffernan may well have been right when he said ‘’maybe this will be the one to get you started again’