Further history of Clearun (Sugargum) from Leslie:
I have always owned and loved dogs while growing up. But it was early 1978 that I took a serious interest in purchasing and training dogs. As a police officer I had regular contact with dog squad members and their German Shepherd police dogs. I loved their working ability and devotion to their handlers. Hence my initial dogs were German Shepherds.
I trained four of them to the highest obedience titles winning German Shepherd Excellent Medallions at GSD Specialty shows, numerous Best in Trials and also BIT at Melbourne Royal Shows. My dogs also obtained agility titles, tracking awards and conformation titles.
It was in 1992 that read an article in an American magazine on Australian Shepherds. Their temperament, working ability, appearance and size appealed greatly. At that time there was no internet or email system to research breeders or the dogs, so research was carried out through the AKC. I contacted three breeders in the States but only one replied and returned phone calls. This contact led to the purchase of two young dogs in 1993. Chance a RMM and Jazzy BTF who are believed to be the first two imported from the USA and exhibited in Australia.
They were the first to obtain many titles including conformation and agility. Their temperaments were a credit to the breed with friendly outgoing personalities. Chance went on to succeed at Masters Agility and Jazzy to Open Obedience level. Both dogs excelled at Therapy work at nursing homes and hospitals. Disaster appeared to strike when pups from their litter were diagnosed with Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) the parents being ‘carriers’ of CEA. Years later I supplied blood from all my dogs for CEA research at Cornell University that was organised by Dr Kylie Munyard in Perth.
The results showed that Chance and Jazzy were actually ‘clear’ of being CEA carriers and the litter were misdiagnosed, none were CEA affected at all.
I kept a BTF from the litter named BB who had attitude and flair. She was the most outgoing and friendly girl who obtained her Champion title easily with BIG awards. BB had many agility wins and excelled at therapy work and herding where she was at her best working cattle.
In 1995 while attending a Specialty show in the States I purchased a lovely male (Thorn) from Leslie Sorenson (Colorado Aussies), it was pleasing that a day later he won his Sweepstakes Class. He was the first male American Champion imported to Australia to obtain his Australian Championship. Thorn also featured with BIG awards. About 3 months after his arrival in Australia I was at the Canberra Royal, Thorn had been in the trailer for less than thirty minutes while I exercised other dogs; when I returned to the trailer I discovered Thorn was dead. An autopsy revealed cardiomyopathy where the wall of his heart was thicker and restricted his blood flow causing his death.
Not to be put off by a devastating start to Aussies, I arranged the purchase of a BTF, Spotlight (Am Ch LosPinos Spotlight in Paris) from the late Mario Pino (Los Pinos Aussies) whom I had met on earlier visits to the States. I returned to the States to see Spotlight in person at which time I also acquired Gideon (AM &ASCA Ch Moonstrucks Star Slayer) and Carlie (Colorado’s Life in the Fast Lane) at a later date from Leslie Sorensen. Spotlight was imported in whelp to Kiko (Colorado’s How the West Was Won) and she whelped the ‘Fort’ litter on the day she left quarantine.
Gideon and Spotlight’s show results speak for themselves, outstanding with many BIS and BISS awards. Spotlight was to later travel to friends in New Zealand where she took BIG awards obtaining her NZ Ch.
The Spotlight x Gideon breeding produced the ‘Top’ litter, they were a top litter! Many dogs in the litter went on to obtain BIS, BISS, Class In Show and BIG awards. ABMF, GrCh/AmCh Sugargum Top Shelf, Chase was campaigned regularly by her owner Wendy Atkins. At Chase’s very first (major) show (Spring Fair) she was awarded Baby Puppy Class, the visiting American judge wanted to purchase her and take her back to the USA with him.
Chase obtained her Grand Championship easily and has amassed numerous BIS awards. Wendy wanted to send Chase to the USA for her to obtain her American Championship. I arranged for Leslie Sorensen to campaign Chase, title her and breed her before she returned to Australia.
Chase titled quickly and while attending the 2001 USASA National Specialty she placed fourth in a large quality field in Open Blue Bitch class. Chase was bred in the States and when returned to Australia whelped three BMM, one male was Trig who Wendy sent to Robyn and I to be shown in Victoria. I showed Trig (Gr.Ch. Dykinta American Trilogy (IID) HIT) to his first BIS at 18 months of age at the Pet Expo show at Caulfield Racecourse and his Herding Instinct Test certificate. When Robyn and I separated, Wendy quickly took Trig back to Sydney.
Spotlight produced two more litters to Gideon and each litter produced winning dogs that excel in conformation with BIS awards, obedience, agility and herding titles, some dogs obtaining the magical 200 perfect score in obedience. Carlie was also bred with Gideon in 1999 (Star litter) with one dog being exported to Sweden where she received lovely critiques from judges there. Carlie also participated with flair in agility and herding.
Gideon produced some magnificent dogs whose results can be seen at the end of this article. Gideon was awarded the prestigious; Hall Of Fame from the Australian Shepherd Club of Victoria, check out the ‘News” page on this website to see what my other dogs achieved.
1999 saw the acquisition of Rusty RTF (Daysprings Dakota Rust HT), from am America lady who came to Australia, she was not able to keep her any longer. Rusty came from the famous LasRacosa lines, she excelled at herding and therapy work. During that year Rusty was bred to Gideon resulting with the Ruff litter. Many dogs from this litter have put titles on both ends of their name, Ch Sugargum Ruff N Rowdy becoming a triple Champion. We kept a cryptic blue BMM from the litter named Spok (Ch Sugargum Ruff Diamond HT. Spok displays the great herding ability from his parentage and is a marvel at therapy with his gentle manner with children and the elderly. With a small gene pool in Australia some friends, Kerrie, Wendy and Martina pooled some money which saw the purchase and importation of a BTM, Zeke (Ch Good Time Zeke). Zeke’s movement was fantastic and he quickly received BIG and BOB awards. Shortly after his quarantine release Specialist judge Pamela Levin (USA) judged the ASCV Specialty Show, in a very large open class Gideon was placed first, Zeke second and Chance third, all receiving lovely critiques. Zeke was to be bred to Rusty (Power litter) and also to Chelsea (Ch Sugargum Top Notch CDX AD ET), these breedings produced some wonderful dogs that have put titles at both ends of their names with obtaining great conformation results.
We were also very involved with the Pets as Therapy program run by the Guide Dog Association of Victoria. My GSDs were approved and accredited therapy dogs (TD) and it was a natural progression to include the Aussies in this program, as they have the ideal temperament. The testing involved two levels; the first level approved the dogs for working at nursing homes and the higher level of testing was for work within hospitals. The testing involved various ground surfaces (indoors & out), noises, trolleys, prams, children, strangers, sharp movements, stairs and other dogs.
Jazzy, Chance and BB were the first Aussies to be tested and all passed with flying colours. Gideon, Rusty and Spok were later tested and passed, later all dogs were accredited to perform ‘higher duties’ in hospitals as well as nursing homes. I was extremely pleased when training and testing staff at the Guide Dog Association commented that BB and my long coat GSD (Abbey) were the best temperament dogs they had ever tested. The therapy work is a most rewarding experience when you see the joy and pleasure on people’s faces that the dogs bring.
In 2002 a friend, Irene McKay wanted me to look for a nice male for her while I attended an Aussie Specialty in the States. I located a RTM named Bentley (Ch Rhapsody’s Arrogantly Striking). Irene purchased and imported Bentley. Irene asked me to show him and I was thrilled by her request. It didn’t take long for him to dominate the show ring obtaining his championship easily with BOBs, Group and Class in Group awards at nearly every outing. Bentley was later bred with Secret (Ch Sugargum Top Secret) in 2003 and produced the ‘Strike litter’. Some very nice quality dogs from this litter are still shown today and have put titles at both ends of their names.
After my separation with Robyn in 2005, Robyn retained the Sugargum prefix while I have a new prefix; Clearun Australian Shepherds
In December 2007 I imported a BMM named Clash (Gr. Ch Stonehaven’s London Calling (IMP USA) from the States. Clash settled in quickly and in a short time he obtained his Grand Championship winning Multiple BIS awards impressing many judges with his effortless movement and stunning style in the ring.
Clash was bred to Lanie in 2009 that resulted in the Rock N Roll litter. I kept a BTM Rebel (Clearun Rock N Roll Rebel) who is now winning in the show ring. The whole litter has outstanding temperaments, Rebel’s sisters, Chovelle and Jordan obtaining lovely results already.
December 2010 saw the arrival of Cher, RMF (Hotshots Wanna B-A Diva) who I purchased from Becky Noe (Colorado) and Mike, RTM (Rosemere Stolen Goods) who was purchased from Betsy Higgs at Rosemere Kennels (Maryland). At their first shows Mike and Cher took out their classes of Breed. Cher settled quickly taking out BOB’s.
I would like to thank the wonderful people in the States who have mentored and offered great information to me over the years and allowed me to purchase dogs;
Jeff Margeson (Stonehaven Kennels), Frank Baylis (Bayshore Kennels),
Becky Noe (Hotshot Kennels) Betsy Higgs (Rosemere Kennels)
Leslie Sorensen (Colorado Kennels), Mario Pino (Los Pinos Kennels),
Pamela Levin (Agua Dolce Kennels), Sandi Sakal (Summertime Kennels),
Thank you to the judges who have recognised the qualities of the dogs I have, and those I have bred that you have awarded their wins. It has been a pleasure to exhibit under you all.
We would also like to thank all the people who purchased our dogs and obtained their titles and achievements; not forgetting those people who have purchased dogs for companionship and given them a loving home. THANK YOU ALL!
PER: RV102064 VCA: 3008055890