Stockdog Corner: Development of the ASCA Stockdog Program – letter from ASCA 1976

By April 18, 2017July 20th, 2017No Comments


By Terry Martin in the Aussie Times (date unknown)

After I found out on a phone call that my dear old friend Shiree Christiansen (Brushwood Aussies) had kept some ASCA material from back in the 1970’s (which happens to be when the original ASCA Stockdog Program was written), she offered to send it to me. (Thanks, Shiree) So this is going to be a historical discussion of a time far different than the present.  This was a time when ASCA did not have an office nor did ASCA have any paid employees.  When I first was elected to the Board of Directors, ASCA had $1500 total in the bank.  The various record keepers were located all over the country working as volunteers for this fledgling organization.  One of the things that this organization took advantage of was their Affiliate Clubs.  I am not going to look this up, but I believe there were about 15 total Affiliates in the mid 1970’s.  The different clubs were often given tasks such as working on the Breed Standard, working with a Committee on new programs like the Stockdog Program and Show Program, and various other projects.  Shiree was Affiliate Rep and Secretary at one point or another during those times of the ASC of Utah, and it was in these positions that she received material from ASCA.  I am going to mail some of this to Cynthia rather than re-type or scan and copy it, but will do that for the next installment.

I do have the letter from ASCA that was sent to the membership in October of 1976 accompanying the original Stockdog Program.  It reads:

“To The ASCofA Membership

From: The ASCofA

This Stockdog program has been worked on by some of ASCofA’s best working dog people.  They have tried to create a workable program that will allow us to keep our Aussies a working breed.  They have also tried to cover every aspect and have created rules to cover as many things as possible.

This does not mean, however, that unforeseen problems will not occur, or that things that have been covered, will not have to be changed from time to time.  We plan to keep a “Standing Stockdog Committee” to help solve problems, make decisions, and decide upon revisions when necessary.

The enclosed is a basis and a foundation for our Stockdog Program.  After you have read the program, I suggest that you actually “try” it, “work” with it, get the “feel” of it with your dogs.  If you should see room for improvement, your workable suggestions will be welcome.”

It is unsigned.

Just an overview, there were three types of ASCA trials listed, Training Trial, Fun Trial, and Sanctioned Trial.

The Trial Divisions for sanctioned trials were:


PROMISING YOUNG DOG “This is a special class created to stimulate interest in training the Aussie to attain perfection at an early age.  This dog must be under two years of age as of the day of the Trial.”

OPEN DOG “This class is for the experienced dog that has worked undere previous trial or ranch conditions.”

At this beginning stage of the program there were no titles for Started Dogs.  Dogs in the Promising Young Dog division and the Open Division could receive certification on three classes “sheep or goats”, “cattle”, “hogs”.  A dog that moved from PYD to Open between their two qualifying scores did carry the score forward.  [note – no ducks]

The program also offered a Ranch Dog Certification and a Working Dog Certification.  The Working Dog certification was for unique situations that are not ranch or farm (examples a feed lot dog, stockyards, sale barn, a dog that worked rodeo stock, etc.)

The only ASCA course is what is now referred to as Course A.

I very much want to share with you the original score sheet, but I think it will print better if I mail it to Cynthia for the next issue and she can better fit it into the space.  There are 13 blanks to be filled in and scored as well as the course score.  Some of them are still incorporated into our present day score sheet and some are not.  Some are amusing, but I will leave that for you readers to decide.  It was a beginning!  The scoring of course is totally different than with today’s score sheet and a perfect score was 170.  A dog was certified Good if it scored a minimum of 119 points with 25 of them earned on the course (course worth 50 points).  To earn a Very Good the dog had to score 136 points with 30 on the course.  To earn an Excellent the dog had to receive 153 points with a minimum of 35 on the course.

Interesting that a National Finals Trial is part of the original program and yet one was not held for another 12 years (1988).  This original Finals does not specify that it will be held at the National Specialty.  It was to have both Sheep and Cattle and Hogs could be added for a third category.  Any dog who had earned 125 points or more in Promising Young Dog or Open was eligible.  See why none of the original dogs in the program do not have ATD’s?  There was no Advanced class.

I am again going to apologize for this being short.  There are two interesting score sheets I want to use in the next issue.  One is as mentioned above, the original trial score sheet.  The other one is an idea that was kicked around, also in the 1970’s for a way to obtain an official evaluation on HOW the dog works using a paper that described traits seen by the “evaluator” which was to be an ASCA judge while the dog is working free choice on stock.  There would be no score.  The object was so the owner of a breeding dog would have an expert opinion on HOW their dog worked rather than their own opinion.  More on that next issue.

I found it interesting looking at these old letters from ASCA that ASCA is referred to as ASCofA and the dog head that is still our logo does not have the circle around it.