Interview with Terri Collins, Breeder of Collinswood Australian Shepherds
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? What is your breed? What is your kennel name? Do you have a website? How long have you been in dogs? How long have you been breeding dogs? Who are some of your best-known dogs?
Terri Collins: I grew up with always having dogs in my life, as I’m from a family of dog lovers. We have been breeding quality Australian Shepherds since 2007. I have been blessed since the beginning of my journey in this amazing breed. My first Aussie, “Razz,” AKC CH MACH5 Agile Collinswood Razzmatazz CD MXG2 MJS2 MXF, ASCA CH ATCH, USDAA ADCH, was my heart and soul boy who could do almost anything.
My second Aussie, “Deuce,” CH Vinelake Collinswood Yablon OA OAJ NAP NJP, ASCA CH, was my heart girl. She was a multiple Best in Show winner, National Specialty winner, multiple Breed Specialty winner, and the first Australian Shepherd to win the Herding Group at Westminster. My third Aussie, “Wizard,” CH Vinelake Collinswood Oz OA AXJ, lived up to his name by siring multiple Breed Champions all over the world… some of whom were his “magical” offspring. A Deuce daughter, “Una,” GCHS Collinswood One In A Million AX MXJ XF, and Wizard blessed me with one of my most talented Agility dogs, “Keeva,” CH MACH Collinswood Crimson Keeva MXB MJS MXF T2B2, who has in turn given us some of the most promising Sport Dogs in our breeding program as well as some Breed Champions.
Our boy “Kai,” GCHS Collinswood Cayenne Pepper Of Arboroaks DS, is a multiple Group winner and BOB winner at Westminster and has proven himself in multiple Champion offspring that possess his talent and outstanding temperament. Our latest up-and-coming superstar is a Deuce granddaughter, “Ghia,” GCH Collinswood Ghiradelli. She won the National specialty in 2023 after just turning three, and is destined to make her mark and further carry on the legacy of Collinswood Aussies.
As a Breeder, can you share your thoughts on your breed today? Is breed type strong? Are there things to be concerned about? Are there any health-related issues? Have you worked with breeders overseas? Are pet homes typically available for your breed?
Terri Collins: I am encouraged with what I see as an upswing in overall quality. As in any breed, however, there are always issues to be aware of and try to breed away from whenever possible. EPI and cancer are among those most devastating conditions that, unfortunately, there are not yet genetic markers for. The myriad of genetic tests that we do have available are definitely helping to strengthen the health of our breed. The key is to use these tools that we have and to make smart breeding decisions.
I have had the pleasure of working with several reputable breeders/owners overseas over the years. Are pet homes available? Yes, ACTIVE pet homes being the key word. Aussies are typically smart and athletic and thrive on having jobs to do, even if it’s playing Frisbee in the backyard. As with all dogs, socialization is a priority right from the onset.
As an Exhibitor, can you comment on recent entries in your breed? Are majors available in your area? Does your breed often participate in Companion and Performance events? How can newcomers in your breed be encouraged to join the sport of dogs?
Terri Collins: There seems to be a decent entry for the most part in my area. Does our breed participate in companion and performance events? Absolutely! Agility, Herding, Dock Diving and Disc Dog events, Obedience, Rally, Fast CAT, and Flyball are just some of the events that Aussies excel in.
Most of our puppy buyers come by word of mouth, from previous or current owners who have been seen out in the dog world being successful. I think public demos are key, as people who see what these amazing dogs can do are more likely to want to try it themselves. Perhaps newcomers can be encouraged by more incentive programs to get the public interested in attending dog events. Perhaps more offerings of Meet the Breeds, which is also a valuable resource for those new to dog-related activities.
What are the biggest challenges facing the dog show community as a whole and how can we address them? And finally, what are some of the positive changes you’ve seen in your breed and in the dog show community as a whole over the past decade?
Terri Collins: Perhaps if there weren’t quite as many shows offered the entries would be bigger. I am thrilled with the increasing number of new dog sport offerings that have become available to dog enthusiasts over the past few years. The AKC has stepped up and allowed much more diversity in titling competitions for all breeds. In our breeding program, a well-rounded dog has titles on both ends of its name.