Old English Sheepdog | Jere Marder

Jere Marder


Interview with Herding Group Breeder Jere Marder

It’s been my pleasure to know the subject of this spotlight for over thirty years. It’s also been my privilege to learn from her every time we were together, for she remains a teacher in all situations. Not that the didactic aspect of her personality ever overshadows her smile; Jere Marder is one of the most enjoyable and interesting people it is my pleasure to know.

Few people in the sport don’t recognize Jere Marder as she’s been in the Winner’s Circle for many years. However, I felt it would be a treat for us all to get to know her—and her breed—a little better.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Mrs. Jere Marder. —editor.

1. Tell us a bit about your background, where you live and your interests/hobbies outside of dogs.

Jere Marder: For 40 years I lived in a condo on the near northside of Chicago raising many litter of OES. We moved to Valparaiso, Indiana on five acres and the dogs have a great time. I am still learning about the country (kind of like Green Acres and Eva Gabor!).

My interests are with the theatre and dance. As a past dancer and choreographer, I love to attend the theatre, musicals and dance concerts. I also love all sports. I have a B.S. in Education where I taught high school and had my own dance studio with over 100 students each year averaging from two-years-old to 80-years-old.

2. Why Old English Sheepdogs?

Jere Marder: My husband gave me an OES puppy as a surprise Christmas present and that was the beginning of my life in Dogdom. After seven years my pet passed away and I couldn’t live without another sheepdog. We were led to a great breeder, Caj Haakansson who sold me a show dog and that was the beginning of my desire to show and succeed. My life with OES evolved over the 40 years, loving them and their great personalities and temperaments.

3. Few have accomplished what you have in our Sport. Can you express the importance of mentors and your experience as both student and teacher?

Jere Marder: I learned from the best, Caj Haakansson, Bahlamb Farms. He moved from Sweden, to England, to the U.S. I would drive 12 hours one way and spend many days with him learning about this breed. He taught me the essence of grooming this breed correctly and the correct structure of the breed and not to be fooled by false grooming.

I wanted to learn and I listened carefully. First and foremost our standard is our guide, not fads or our own opinions. We are not here to change the breed, but to reflect the standard. I try to teach the people that buy my puppies these values. I could not have made Lambluv OES so successful if it weren’t for the Lambluv family that listened to me and learned from my mentoring. They represented the breed standard and followed through showing to the best of their abilities. All of this dedication has produced over 100 Lambluv Champions.

4. What is your biggest health concern facing the breed today?

Jere Marder: Careful breeding and learning from other past breeders’ mistakes has helped me make my decisions on breeding the best I can. Being honest with yourself about your dogs is very important. OES now have numerous markers which helps immensely. If breeders are honest with each other, we can lessen the health problems. My line has had a problem here and there but nothing in great numbers. CA was somewhat of an issue but now we have a marker so it should never be produced. Autoimmune issues from allergies to thrombocytopenia are in some lines. Deafness now has the BAER test which also helps in a breeding program. Breeding is percentages and if you have great percentages of healthy dogs, you are doing well. We don’t know what recessive genes could pop up but low percentages of any problem is going in the right direction in my eyes.

5. Do all Old English Sheepdogs Pas de deux? Yours are certainly famous for it.

Jere Marder: I have always danced with my dogs. They are my partners at home and in the ring. The OES thrives on human companionship and love. They are not kennel dogs and I would never sell one of my puppies to a kennel situation. Loving homes are very important.

6. What 3 words best describe the Old English sheepdog?

Jere Marder: Affectionate, loyal and humorous.

7. What is the biggest mistake new judges make?

Jere Marder: I feel the biggest mistake is that judges don’t use their hands to assess a dog’s conformation, they only look at the grooming of it, or don’t know what they are feeling. Going over the dog and stopping at the hips and not feeling the hindquarters for a long sweeping second thigh and bend of stifle, down to the low let down hock which is the correct hindquarters on an OES.

8. How has this amazing working breed adapted to urban living?

Jere Marder: We must remember they were the Drover dog that ambled and paced driving the flock to market. They had to go long distances and preserve energy. We don’t want them to race around the ring. Keeping this in mind, urban living was very easy for me. I walked them to the park at least 4 times a day. I could roadwork them when I showed them. They were easily socialized in the city with people, sounds etc. I find in the country they lay around and sleep a lot. I have to still take them out for a good walk or run.

9. Docking is very controversial. What are your feelings about OES tails?

Jere Marder: The OES is the Bobtail. I hope we never have to leave a tail on our OES. We do have a standard. I am not sure how this started in Europe but I don’t feel the government should be making all these laws telling us what to do with our dogs pertaining to our breed standards.

10. What is the best way for a judge to learn to look through the coat to see the body within?

Jere Marder: I think the more judges go over an OES the more they will feel the
differences. I think they must ask questions from reputable breeders that have been in the breed a long time. Go to seminars and listen and then apply this knowledge when going over a dog. I don’t expect anyone to understand my breed in the beginning. It is a hard breed to understand but, a judge can learn what is right if they want to make the effort. We are not a breed that you just look at; you must feel with your hands and use your brain.

11. What was your most exciting win?

Jere Marder: My most exciting win was winning the Group 1 at Westminster, not once, but twice. I still remember every thought I had in the group from 1991 and 1998.

12. And, for a bit of spice…what  was your funniest experience at a show?

Jere Marder: My funniest experience was in the group. I was doing the individual and going around my skirt started to fall down. As it was going down, my legs were bending lower and lower until I was sitting on the floor with my skirt in a heap around me. Thank goodness I wear a slip. The judge never saw this sight and everyone around was laughing  hysterically. HAHA!

1 – Ch. Lambluv’s Winning Maid Easy 1993

2 – Ch. Bahlambs Beachboy was from Veteran class 1983

3 – Ch. Rholenwood’s Taylor Maid 1985

4 – Ch. Lambluv’s Last Tango in B.A. 2001

5 – Ch. Lambluv’s Gambol on Diamond Diva 1999

6 – Ch. Lambluv’s Desert Dancer 1996

7 – Ch. Lambluv’s Desdemona 2003

8  – Ch. Lambluv’s The Devine Miss M 2004

9 – GCHP. Lambluv Gambol on Blue Thunder 2013


From the June Issue of ShowSight. 

  • My husband gave me an OES puppy as a surprise Christmas present and that was the beginning of my life in Dogdom. My life with OES evolved over the 40 years, loving them and their great personalities and temperaments.

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