Terry Martin and Slash V Steel Smoke

Terry Martin, home of HOF Slash V Aussies.

KH: Can you tell me about your foundation dogs? Who do you consider had the most influence on your program?

TM: My foundation males that my present dogs trace back to were these.  I did have Aussies before them, but they are not in my pedigrees today.  These dogs were born in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

Martin’s Tim Tim who was a Taylor’s Whiskey x Taylor’s Buena son bred by Joe Taylor, Moab Utah.  Blue merle, red producer.

CH Slash V (George’s) Buckeye Bobby who I purchased from Lois George (2 different names because he was NSDR reg and ASCA reg) and out of Tartaglia’s Chocolate x Caligari’s Lady.  Red merle

Also purchased from Lois George was CH Slash V (George’s) Rocky Top out of George’s Dago Rojo x Keeps Waltzing Matilda.  Red Merle

I consider Martin’s Red Fudge my foundation bitch but I did own her mother, Martin’s Josie who was a full sister to Tim Tim.  Red Fudge was from an accidental litter out of Josie and Tim Tim.  My first red merle and they were rare back then.  All of my dogs trace back to Fudge.  She was an 18” stocky built serious little heeling dog who would bite a head if a cow turned on her but had no interest in going to the head.  These dogs were worked on a cow/calf operation and had no training other than just being there and expected to help.

KH: What did you breed for? What traits were you looking in for in the dogs – did you have a long view or did you match the dogs in other ways?

TM: In the beginning we were breeding for ranch dogs and we used ours on the ranch.  I was totally unaware of others with Aussies in the beginning.  We were breeding for exactly what the breed was then – a dog to help us on a cow/calf operation, be companions for us and our young boys who had a Fudge sister and a Fudge daughter as their personal dogs growing up.  I bought Bobby and Rocky because Fudge was from a brother to sister cross and I had to have an outcross.  In doing so I learned there were others out there around the country with Aussies.  We raised and showed Quarter Horses, so I had an idea what structure I liked and what kind of athletic ability I wanted without  having any real knowledge of breed standards or canine terms.

KH: What has changed for you over the years? What has stayed the same?

TM: Because we all showed in conformation back in the seventies and for the first half of the decade there were no stockdog trials, I did learn more about structure and type and was happy to see I had dogs that fit the Standard and were competitive in shows.  For me not much has changed as far as my dogs and how I view them.  Maybe not anything.  If I could breed another Fudge and the dogs I had at that time, I would be happy.  Actually I have some like that now and have had along the way.  I want to breed dogs like I started with.  I can’t improve on those dogs.

 KH: What specific qualities do your dogs have that makes your line stand out from other lines?

TM: There are other lines that have similar traits, and over the years I have bred to outside dogs when I needed to get something less related.   I have tried to use dogs that fit the same mold as mine only with a different pedigree.  My dogs are mostly on the small end of the Standard and so were my original Aussies.  I like an 18” bitch and a dog between 20 and 21”.  A little under is okay.  I have never owned a dog over 21 ½”.  I began with breeding for a cow dog and that is still my top priority.  There are a lot of other traits to weigh in both in appearance and temperament of course.  I don’t mind a guardy dog, actually prefer it for a dog of my own.  Right now I don’t seem to have it although my dogs are not the kind that go begging strangers for attention.  I like reserved with strangers.  I began with red dogs and at times have had nothing but reds.  All of my dogs are carrying the red gene.  I like a pretty face and prefer high ears to big droopy ones (actually have never had those).  I think everyone breeding cow dogs wants a dog that will grip both ends and be comfortable at the head or behind, and I agree.  However, I would rather have a nice low heeling dog than one that prefers the head and won’t heel.  When we had the ranch we used our dogs to wok on the same side of the stock we were on.  I still find a lot of ranchers want that so it kind of fits my dogs.  They do need to be able to handle a head if necessary.  I absolutely will not breed a dog that is yappy and never have.  I prefer them silent from the first time they see cattle.  I’ve had many dogs that made really keen sheep dogs, but it is not a priority for me.  I just expect they will at least be an adequate sheep dog.

KH: What kind of homes do you look for when breeding? How will the dogs be used?

TM: I provide dogs to a wide variety of homes.   An Aussie is an amazing dog to be a part of a person or family’s life.  Whether it is a plus or minus that an Aussie makes a wonderful companion even if it never sees livestock is debatable.  It’s a detriment and a plus for the breed.  I would be a hypocrite if I did not allow my puppies to go to companion homes considering that my sons and four of my grandkids have an Aussie that is their personal dog.  They all grew up with them.  None of them have livestock.  Their dogs are all bred to work.  Pretty much all the companion homes I sell to are people who are dog savvy and most  have had Aussies before or do now.  I do sell probably 60 or 70% of my puppies to working homes ranging from really large ranches to smaller farms.  I also have sold some dogs to agility competitors where they have excelled.  That kind of surprised me the first time, because I do not think of my dogs are liking to play.  Maybe because I do not throw balls for them and such and they are content.

KH: What advice or hope do you have for those using your dogs in their programs?

TM: I hope that they will make wise choices in choosing mates for their Slash V dog, but I do believe once a person buys a dog, it is their dog – their choices.  I am glad to advise and give opinions if asked and like to be involved, but it is their choice.  I try to give them some insight into the dogs behind their pup and what they might want to avoid or to look for when breeding.  I also try to have people realize that not every wonderful puppy grows up to be a breeding dog and not every dog has to be.

For more info, read her article: History of the Slash V Dogs