McMatt Australian Shepherds

Our Story
About McMatt - The Beginning
Our Foundation
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McMatt's first "Foundation Dog"
CH Showtime's Sir Prize CD

The McMatt Story

McMatt's second "Foundation Dog"
CH McMatt's EZ Victor (Prize Grandson)

(Elizabeth M. Jarrell did an interview for the Australian Shepherd Annual recently and thus I have placed it here for all to see.  This should help answer many of your questions how the McMatt dogs came to where they are today.)

An Electronic Interview with
Flo McDaniel of McMatt kennels
March 30, 2003

Elizabeth M. Jarrell, Kensington, Maryland

EMJ:  When did you first get an Aussie and why? 
FMC: I began in AKC Purebred dogs in 1974 with a Norwegian Elkhound that I put a CD on.  I really liked the arctic looking breeds.  I also had Siberian Huskies for a few years.  While I liked their disposition and look, I was seeking a dog that I could allow to hike with me without being on lead.  I loved hiking in the woods and open fields.  While I loved my Siberian Huskies, I spent more of my time looking for them in the next county.  In 1978, I worked at the St. Louis National Stockyards and was an avid reader of "Dog Fancy" magazine.  They would showcase a different breed each issue.  They showcased the Australian Shepherd with color photos and I really liked what I saw.  Nice medium sized dog, very manageable grooming, but what the article stressed was their intelligence.  That was the key to my thoughts.  I wanted a really smart dog.  I talked my husband who at the time was just a co worker into getting an Australian Shepherd so I could see if they really were smart and while she was far from the breed standard in looks, she made up for in intelligence.  I was hooked and went from there.  Our first conformation aussie came from the Hegers in Missouri and he was a CH Wildhagen's Dutchman son out of a Sunnybrook bitch.  His name was "Attila" and he was a pretty blue merle with a very sweet disposition, unfortunately didn't turn out to be the show dog that I was looking for.

EMJ:  What Aussie kennels in existence at that time influenced you and why?  (Windermere, for versatility) 
FMC:  Coming from the St. Louis MO area, the aussies that were at the shows that we attended were Linda Wilson's - Briarbrook Kennels, Lorna Ludwig had Coppertone dogs and of course Sandy Cornwell - Fairoaks.  I had a pretty broad range of nice dogs to look at.  At this point though, I was just looking at the Aussie Times religiously, reading them from cover to cover and looking at all the other kennels and being very confused.  I really liked the looks of the Windermere dogs and of course, Linda Wilson would come in with some really beautiful dogs.  Sandy Cornwell had a unique color pattern with the reds being so vivid and pretty.  It was hard to say what I liked best at that time. 
EMJ:  Who were your mentors? 
FMC:  My best mentor was Sarah Barkley who exhibited some of the best Bichon Frise in the midwest.  She was very influential as we had traveled together for years with my Norwegian Elkhounds and Siberian Huskies.  She was the one who insisted I look for dogs with sound temperaments as well as making me read and re read the breed standard.  I had also joined an all-breed club and was trying to soak in everything I could from the people who had been showing dogs for many years. 
As far as Australian Shepherd people go, I became friends with many, but Matt and I really became close with John and Susan Rossy and Kris Toft.  We traveled to alot of shows with the Rossy's.  It was not uncommon for us to travel 12 - 13 hours one way to the far Northern side of Michigan for a show or go in a different direction to catch the ASCA shows that were around.  Susan and John at that time had Coppertone bloodlines from Lorna Ludwig. 
 EMJ:  Do your dogs compete in or train for the breed ring, obedience, agility, and herding? 
FMC:  When I first started, I competed in just breed and obedience.  Agility wasn't heard of then.  After I attained a black tri bitch, CH Showtime's Midnight Serenade, STDcsd, I really enjoyed herding and with the Rossy's help and the help of Kris Toft, I trialed "Sere" myself and put her started titles on her.  We would go to alot of Border Collie Trials and I would be the only aussie and Sere would hold her own.  I on the other had was a nervous wreck.  Now, my daughter who is 16, enjoys not only showing in breed, obedience and agility is beginning to explore the herding.  We're dusting off all the old video tapes and bringing out the herding books and she's in the process of training two of her dogs.  
I've had quite a few dogs that I've bred or my stud dogs have sired that have been very successful in all area's of competition.  Probably the most decorated one is a CH McMatt's EZ Victor son, CH Bon Ami's EZ On the Eyes CDX, PT, ASCA CD, FDCH, CGC, TDI, TT "Oliver" owned by yourself. Also, multiple HIT (ASCA HIT Aussie) His litter brother is now a Flyball Champion.  That's pretty impressive to me.  My daughter, Becky is now exhibiting two of our aussies in Agility and is doing quite well.

EMJ:  You have said that you have two foundations, for both your dogs and your bitches.   
FMC:  Yes, that is how I look at it.  I was breeding Prize successfully to my first really good bitch, CH Marqui's Sun-Up Sarah McMatt who was very linebred Windermere bloodlines.  That cross produced some lovely specimens of the breed, but they were missing something.  I was still having trouble getting the shoulder layback I was looking for and nice straight front legs.  While Sarah was clean moving coming and going, she lacked side gait.  Prize had a lovely sidegait, nice rear, but was loose in the front and toed out on his left front foot until he was 5 years old I think.  I wanted to get more depth of chest, and better fronts.  That's what I felt needed much improvement.
 Who was your first foundation dog?  Where was he from?   
FMC: CH Showtime's Sir Prize, CD (ASCA Hall of Fame sire) was my first foundation sire.  I co owned him with Susan Rossy.  He had a very open pedigree.  He was an outcross, but one heck of a showdog and what I consider a dog before his time.  Prize demanded the judges take a second look when he walked into the ring.  I will always be indebted to Christine Doud of Showtime Kennels for allowing Prize to come to Illinois.   
EMJ:  Who was your first foundation bitch?  Where was she from? 
FMC: Now, I had a dog that I really liked, but wanted a bitch to go with him.  I had seen alot of ads in the Aussie Times on the Windermere dogs and really liked what I saw.  I also liked the fact that they were very successful in herding and obedience.  That was what I wanted.  Through my travels I had met Karen Broadus of Marquis kennels and really liked one of her bitches, CH Best Regards of Windermere, STD, CD.  She was linebred on the Windermere dogs and I found out that Karen was going to breed her to CH Rising Sun of Windermere, STD, CDX whom I also really liked.  I quickly got on Karen's list for a puppy.  I was waiting for a black tri bitch, but when the litter arrived and Matt and I took the trip to Louisiana to look at the puppies, a little blue bitch just swept us away.  That was our Sarah.  CH Marquis Sun Up Sarah McMatt (ASCA Hall of Fame Dam)   The combination of Wendy and Rio gave me a nicely linebred bitch to breed to my outcross sire. 
EMJ:  What are some of the biggest wins you had with your first foundation dog and bitch?   
FMC:  Prize was shown in 15 different states in the US.  Probably my most prestigious win was at a Pre-Show National Specialty when he was just 15 months old.  Susan and I had sent him to the Nationals and Mrs. Leslie Sorenson handled Prize to that big win.  He was so young, but ever so impressive.  He then took 4 Award of Merits at succeeding Nationals that we attended.  I was his main handler at that time.  Back then, I did all my own handling.  I was stingy with Prize, Susan hardly got to show him at all, but she was very gracious and we got along great!
Sarah, was just a real solid pretty bitch.  She was very hard to show as she really didn't have time for all this standing around.  She finished her ASCA Championship by the time she was about 13 months old and then just wanted to hang out and produced so many wonderful dogs. 
EMJ:  For your first foundation, can you tell us how you bred your first foundation dog and first foundation bitch and why?   
FMC:  Prize x Sarah was a golden cross.  There is a famous photo of CH Wildhagen's Dutchman of Windermere and CH Thistle of Windermere that I just love.  That was a golden cross in my mind.  They produced some of the nicest dogs in my opinion.  That's how I felt about the Prize x Sarah cross.  The girls were Prize's strong suit.  I did the cross 5 times and when you look back at photos of the different litters, you would be certain that it was one huge litter.  The consistency was amazing.  THey were very strong in the headpieces, the toplines were solid and they were very clean moving.  The temperaments were also really nice.  I would have people come to me years later wanting another one because they were so easy to train and very easy to live with. 
EMJ:  Who are some of their  offspring that were influential in your future litters? 
FMC:  Out of the first Prize x Sarah cross, I placed a blue bitch with a friend of mine that lived close by.  This was CH McMatt's Sarah's Crystle Castle "Crystle".  She was a gorgeous bitch and did a lot of winning.  She was important to my bloodline.  There was another blue bitch, CH McMatt's Secret Obsession "Falon" that was owned by Cathy Pratt of Kansaquest Aussies.  She turned out to be a nice stepping stone in the McMatt bloodline also.  I kept a black tri bitch, CH McMatt's ALL That Joy out of the second cross.  She was just 18 1/2" tall, but she was a lovely mover and producer for me.  She produced CH McMatt's EZ Victor. 
EMJ:  Who was your second foundation dog?  Where was he from?  
FMC: My second foundation dog was CH MCMatt's EZ Victor.  He was produced by "Joy" and a dog that Cindy Castle owned by the name of Castle's Day's of Thunder after the Tom Cruise movie. Cole was from Crystle and a dog that Kathy Pratt owned by the name of CH McMatt's Where There's Smoke, HI "Nike".  Nike came from a cross I did with a full sister to Prize by the name of CH Showtime's Midnight Serenade STD and I bred her to CH Brigadoon's One Arrogant Dude, owned by Leida Jones of Penn Y Cereau.  Nike was the nicest mover I had seen in a long time.  He had so much athleticism and drive it gave you the chills to watch him move.  The litter that "Cole" came out of was phenomenal.  Those puppies were so pretty and such movers.  Cole would have finished his Championship had he not had an accident and left him scarred.  He had most of his points, but that was the end of that.  I didn't care if he wasn't finished, I knew I wanted him somewhere in my pedigree.  "Victor" was the only blue dog and I really liked the looks of him.  He had that pretty Brigadoon look that I liked so much and he just floated around the yard.  He has so much drive and reach it is just poetry.  He is very sound and I knew I wanted to proceed with him. 
Victor has several Best of Breed wins and a Group 2 to his credit.  
EMJ:  Who was your second foundation bitch?  Where was she from?   
FMC:  In still trying to correct fronts, I found CH Caledonia's Crowd Pleaser owned by Karen Godwin.  I saw him and really was impressed.  THe first time I saw him, he was a very young dog and he took RWD at a National Specialty.  He had a wonderful front, nice straight front legs, pretty feet, very nice headpiece and was just a really sound honest dog.  I really liked his temperament. I told Cindy Castle to breed her "Crystle" to Andy and I wanted one of the bitches.  She did the cross and I took a lovely blue bitch by the name of Am/Can CH Castle's Image of McMatt.  Emmy was a big girl, 19 1/2" and around 50 lbs.  She had very clean movement, really lovely temperament, good bone structure, lovely sidegait and a really cute head that I adored.  Emmy just had it all.   I was quite proud when Emmy took First Place at the 1999 USASA National Specialty Brood Bitch Class.
EMJ:  For your second foundation, can you tell us how your bred your second foundation dog and second foundation bitch and why?   
FMC:  Well, I had Victor and then I had Emmy and I just thought I would give it a try.  They really complimented each other. Both of them had the temperaments I wanted to stamp in my puppies. Both of them had the correct fronts I had been seeking.  Both of them had nice sidegait with Victor's being more extreme.  I crossed them and Emmy had 6 puppies.  I kept a blue male from that CH McMatt's EZ Going "Cruiser",
EMJ:  Who were some of their most famous offspring? 
FMC: Probably the most famous is my male, CH McMatt's EZ Going.  "Cruiser" has been a lovely producer himself.  He garnered 16 Group 1's in AKC and 30+ group placements.  He was first runner-up in the 1999 USASA National Specialty Futurity under J. Frank Bayless. 
EMJ:  So in summary, what do you look for when you breed?  Do you linebreed (please define)?  Do you inbreed?  When do you outcross? 
FMC:  I really like to linebreed.  I like having puppies that all look the same.  This is hard right now as I'm still tweek my bloodline.  I do feel that an outcross is very important as you can't keep linebreeding and allowing the genes to get to close.  You have to bring in some new blood and hopefully it will be complimentary to what you are trying to accomplish. 
EMJ:  What is the ideal Aussie to you in terms of both physical attributes and mental characteristics, including temperament?   
FMC:  I want a dog that is trustworthy.  I want him to be sound in mind first and then in his conformation.  While my current dog, Cruiser is on the larger side than what I would ideally like, he is an honest dog and very agile in movement.   He has what I feel is an ideal aussie temperment for me.  He is wary of strangers until he can be around them and warm up to them.  When strangers come into the driveway, he really lets go with the deep bark, then when one of our family members tell him it's ok, he stops barking and allows us to take over the situation.  I feel very safe with him.  When we are out, he is friendly and allows children to pet him and he's always willing to accept a treat when I give the permission.
EMJ:  Why are physical and mental versatility so important to you? 
FMC:  In my opinion the aussie being a herding breed I see too many of the breeds being spooky, very scared of people and even dog aggressive.  I've seen this in the aussies.  I have even euthanized dogs that were biters.  I really feel strongly that we can't allow this.  I have had veterinarians tell me time and again that they've been bitten by aussies and really like when mine come in, they don't worry about being bitten.  This is the mental soundness we as breeders need to continually work on.  The physical soundness is important to their overall general health whether you want an aussie to be just a companion dog or athlete.  They have to be built right to do the job and interact with the family.  I feel that aussies are not a breed that is suitable as just a kennel dog, I like to screen puppy buyers and feel competent that the puppy is going to be interactive with the family, not just stuck in a backyard and ignored.  They have to much love and companionship to offer, we have to keep this in our breed. 
EMJ:  Who are your current stars? 
FMC:  I have many of the offspring that I am so proud of.  Cruiser of course is at the top of my list. Cruiser has daughters that have many Group placements as well as his son, CH Crocker's Weekend Warrior "Simon" owned by Chris Almquist and Pam Heintzelman who just took an all breed Best In Show. Victor has produced wonderful dogs for me and he'll always have a special place in my heart for that.  I'm proud to hear the dogs doing things they enjoy.  Your boy, Oliver continues to break records and is constantly making me proud.  I have dogs that are used for Therapy that I am so proud of.  Dogs that do obedience, agility and breed.   
EMJ:  What was your proudest moment in dogs? (or some of your proudest moments in dogs) 
FMC:  My proudest moments in dogs does involve my daughter Becky.  She is the shining star in my life.  When I watch her compete with the dogs, practice for hours in the yard or just take one on a trail ride with her.  To see her interact with them and teach them tricks as well as commands.  That makes me proud.  She even talks to people at the shows or on the phone about our dogs, she is constantly making me proud with how much she has absorbed about the different crosses we've done and how she can communicate that to people. 
EMJ:  Im sure one of your proudest moments in life involves your daughter Becky.  Can you please tell us some of her many accomplishments? 
FMC:  Becky has finished several aussies in breed.  She has put CD's on the aussies.  She has aussies competiting in agility in the Excellent classes and has done very well in the Junior Showmanship program.  We currently have 3 Cardigan Welsh Corgi's that keep us entertained.  Becky's first Cardigan CH Cavall's Holiday Trooper VC, CDX, HT, OA, NAJ, NAC-JH, OJC-JH, NGC, RS-N, JJ-N, RJ-N, Asca CDX, CGC  that she finished his championship as a puppy.  She has put a Verstaility Title on him thru the parent Cardigan club.  He has 2 CDX's, agility titles in AKC, ASCA, NADAC and an HT (Herding Title) in AKC.  This little dog and Becky are quite the team.  She also showed Trooper at the 2001 Cardigan WElsh Corgi Nationals Specialty and was Best Jr. Handler.  At the 2002 Cardigan Welsh Corgi Nationals Specialty, she showed Trooper and took 2nd place in obedience Open B.  She has been quite successful with her Cardigans.   She has shown 2 of our bitches to WB/BOW at Cardigan Regional Specialties.
EMJ:  What would you like to be most remembered for in terms of your breeding program? 
FMC:  I would like to be remembered or thought of as a breeder that wanted to breed dogs with great temperaments and sound movement.
EMJ:  In your opinion, does your line have any particular strengths or weaknesses? 
FMC: I really like the temperaments I get.  My dogs are all "cuddlers".  They love to be with their people and are very loyal. I think the strengths I have is the movement I get on my dogs.  I'm pretty confident that I have good fronts and lovely sidegait.  I also very happy with the headpieces that I get.  I have pretty heads on my dogs.
My weaknesses in my opinion is I am still coping with varying sizes.  It seems that I can have a small dog that will produce big and vice versa.  I would like to be more consistent with my size.  I would also like some more spunk in my males.  I can get lazy boys.  They are sweet, but need more of an edge on them to make for a more focused showdog.  They seem to get bored easily. 
EMJ:  What lines tend to cross the best with yours?   
FMC:  Boy, that's a tough question.  My lines go back to most of the show people and thus they cross well with most all of them.  Again, you have to look at the bitch as well as the stud dog and see how they compliment each other and be very critical.  I attended a Carman Battaglia seminar and he uses a unique system of breeding dogs, but it works pretty well. 
EMJ:  What is your position on Artificial Insemination?  How did you become so knowledgeable about Artificial Insemination?  (Hutchinson?) 
FMC:  I think it's wonderful.  I've done A/I's for years and have been very successful.  I learned the technique from watching old time breeders (of other breeds).  Then, I read up on it in my veterinary guidebook and quizzed my veterinarian each time I had him A/I my dogs and charge me the fee.  It didn't look to hard and now I do it myself.  What I'm having to learn now is the shipping of fresh chilled semen.  This fascinates me, and I think it's a great thing.  The bitch can stay home where she's safe and can run her normal cycle through.  The stud dog is not in any danger and is happy to accomodate or at least Cruiser knows where the bench is and eagerly runs and hops up there.
I have attended Dr. Hutchinson's seminar and can't wait to find another one to attend.  It was most fascinating and so educationaly.  All breeders should attend his seminars. 
EMJ:  You have been in Aussies for long enough to have seen the breed evolve.  What changes do you see that you particularly like?  What changes do you see that you do not think are good for the breed? 
FMC:  I'm always so tickled to go to a show and see a class of really nice quality dogs that I could be happy taking anyone of them home.  I like a nice moderate size which we seem to be keeping in check.  I like to see happy dogs that are with their owners. 
 What I see that bothers me is the lack of reach and drive in sidegait.  I see pretty pictures standing and then when they move it breaks my heart.  I don't like to see dogs coming at me and swimming all the way down.  I also see alot of close rears.  These things may seem cosmetic, but I think they are important for the soundness of our breed. 
EMJ:  Do you have any pet peeves?  (temperament  ability to connect, trainability, biddability) 
FMC:  I really don't like to see spooky dogs that are fearful.  That is dangerous and it can't be good for the dog.  Temperament has to be #1 priority in any breeding program. 
EMJ:  One of my favorite questions is always this next one.  How did you decide on your kennel name, McMatt? 
FMC:  As all young exhibitors just getting into a breed, a kennel name is very important.  Most of the kennel names had the family names put together.  We toyed with a lot of different ways, FloMatt, which sounded too much like floormat, MAFLO, that sounded like we were involved with the mafia, so I just put McMatt together.  Mc of course coming from our last name and Matt is my husband's middle name.  My husband of 21 years has been involved with me the whole way.  Due to his work schedule he can't travel with me much, but he likes to look at pedigrees and was very involved for the first 10+ years.  He has a good eye for a dog, but keeps my very humbled pointing out my dogs' faults. 
EMJ:  Do you think Aussies are now overgroomed for the breed ring? 
FMC: Yes, sometimes it is quite a routine.  Probably because I was never a very good groomer.  My dogs look acceptable, but I have to work hard at it.  It isn't a natural thing with me.  I really hate to see a dirty dog being shown - that bothers me most.  Before we became AKC recognized, I saw some really filthy dogs.  I think if you don't want to trim and primp, ok, but at least have the courtesy to bring your dog to the judge clean. 
EMJ:  Do you do any special conditioning for your dogs?  Do you feed a particular food?  Do you use certain supplements or vitamins? 
FMC:  I've been a real advocate for Purina Pro Plan.  It really puts pretty shiny coats on the dogs.  They always eat it.  I've tried all the other brands, but I come back to Pro Plan.  I also use Pedigree.  I'm not a big fan of supplements.  I think that sometimes they can throw off the balance of a good nutritional food.  I have used Solid Gold Seameal for pigment before and the Solid Gold Concept-a bitch for my bitches before whelping.  In all the seminars I've attended, the speaker has always said, stay away from supplements and puppy food.  I wean my puppies onto Pro Plan puppy food for about the first 7 weeks, then onto the adult food.  I've been really successful with it.
EMJ:  Do you do any special socializing with your dogs? 
FMC:  Being involved with an all breed club that has it's own training facility, Becky and I take the puppies there after they've had 3 vaccinations in them.  There's always a lot of nice dog people there that know how to socialize puppies and it's a really good atmosphere.  We take our dogs to alot of places with us.  I really think that is important to their temperament and growth of their mind. 
EMJ:  When did you add Cardigan Welsh Corgis to your kennel?  Why?  Other than the obvious, are there any big similarities or differences between Aussies and Cardis?  (color genetics from the brindle) 
FMC:  Becky loves her aussies, but kind of wanted to show a smaller dog.  I told her she had to stay in the Herding Group which didn't leave many choices.  We looked at both the Pembrokes and Cardigans, but really liked the Cardigan's temperaments.  We added our first Cardigan, Trooper in 1997.  We currently have 3 Cardigans.
We love our cardigans, don't get me wrong, but they are different than the aussies.  They are very smart intelligent dogs, but they will tend to wander off and let their nose take them away. 
They also have the brindle color which aussies don't have and their reds are more of a sable than our reds.  I have only bred one litter, but I have to say their color genetics are very complicated to understand.
 EMJ:  Are there any particular people you wish to thank for your success?  (mentors, husband, Becky, etc.) 
FMC:  Of course I want to Thank my husband Matt for all his support and for keeping my feet on the ground.  Becky is the light of my life and without her I would not have been as successful.  She's really turning into a wonderful "dog person".  There are many aussie friends that have influenced me.  My good friend Kris Toft has been a great mentor with herding as well as breeding genetics.  She is so intelligent and a wealth of health information on dogs.  She is also very knowlegeable in genetic diseases.  Susan and John Rossy are good friends and while I dont' get to see them much, I Thank them for being good friends. Karen Broadus of Marquis has been a good mentor.  My mentor, Sarah Barkley who continues to keep me morally right and helps me with my stumbles along the way.  Tim Preston of Cobbercrest has become a good friend and I always enjoy discussing lines with him.  I have accumulated so many good friends along the way, it's hard to point to them all.
EMJ:  Is there anything else you wish to add? 
FMC: After 23 years in this breed I might like to try my hand at judging.  I've judged ASCA non regular puppies before, but I'm not approved under their new system.  I just enjoy going to the shows, socializing and I'm at a point in my life that if I win, great, if not I still had a great time and there's always another show, trial or seminar to attend.  
I'm a Lifetime member of the Belle City Kennel Club holding most all the officers jobs and board positions at some point of time.  I am currently the President of the club and I would like to encourage anyone in dogs to find an all breed club to participate in.  While the people there might not own your breed, there is so much to learn from other breeders of other breeds.  It really helps to listen to the trials, tribulations as well as successes from other people.  I encourage new people to the breed to read as much as you can, learn and attend seminars whenever possible.  You just can't learn enough. 
EMJ:  Thank you so very much for taking the time to help with this interview!
 FMC:  It was my pleasure. 


McMatt's current "Foundation Dog"
Triple CH McMatt's EZ Going "Prize Great Grandson"

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