Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Patrick Shannahan & Riggs

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, Patrick Shannahan, and Red Top Riggs, my champion sheepdog.

My home is on a small sheep ranch in Caldwell, Idaho, where I run a commercial flock of Katahdin hair sheep and work with individuals to train and work livestock dogs at Red Top Kennel.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I usually look forward to coffee every morning. My day doesn’t start without coffee.

What's brewing?

Drinking Peets coffee. Just drip brewed, as I do every morning.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Well, this morning I am eating plum crisp that I made for some guests last night. It's great with coffee.

Any treat for Riggs on this occasion?

Riggs is a good eater, and would love a treat of most anything. I usually don’t give treats, as I save all the good stuff for his regular meals.

Congratulations to you and Riggs for winning the recent 2010 National Finals Sheepdog Trials as well as collecting three secondary awards for best in gather, best in drive, and best in shed. How did you celebrate?

That happened over a week ago, and I am still really just starting to feel the impact. We celebrated that night with a dinner with friends at an Irish Pub, but have a couple more celebrations planned. Hope to have an Open house here for all the local people who have helped me these past few years.

I understand you and Riggs' great-great-grandmother Hannah were also crowned national sheepdog champions in 1994. How far back do Riggs' ancestors go with you?

Hannah was the first Border Collie that I owned. Most every one of my dogs go back to her. I have kept her lines in all of my breeding animals.

Several years ago you and Riggs were named the reserve national nursery champions, which recognizes the best sheepdog in the nation under the age of 3. Riggs is now 8-years-old: is that a typical age for a national champion? Do they need that many years for training and maturity?

No, I think that I had other opportunities to win earlier in his career. In 2009, we had a very good run going before he had a ewe break at the pen and ruined some of his chances. Most of the time, a dogs best years are from 4-7. When they are younger, they can be great some weekends. When they get older, their experience helps them be better on more weekends.

How did Riggs get his name?

It is from the movie.

What's an ordinary day like for Riggs?

We usually work sheep in the morning. He doesn’t need much training, so he helps me sort and prepare the sheep for the other dogs. He usually hangs out the rest of the day, sometimes in the dog yard, sometimes in the house. Occasionally he goes running with me.

Who is Riggs's best pet-pal?

All of my dogs love Riggs. They understand his role here at the house, and give him respect. I would say that Andi is his best pal, as she goes on most trips with him. And as his daughter: she looks up to him, and wants his respect.

What is Riggs's best quality?

His temperament is the best quality. He wants to be a team player, and to please me all the time.

If Riggs could change one thing about you, what would it be?

That I could stay home more with him. Since I give so many training clinics, I have to be away from home more than he (or I) would like.

Learn more about Patrick Shannahan and Riggs at the Red Top Kennel website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue