“The Blankenships’ Best Friend,” written by John Blankenship, is an article that outlines the history and significance of the Black and Tan English Shepherd dogs, particularly focusing on the Blankenship family’s experience with these dogs in Tennessee. The article was originally published in the English Shepherd Club of America Who’s Who Breeder Manual in the 1950s.
Key points from the article include:
Historical Association with Farming: The Black and Tan English Shepherds, referred to as “The King of the Cattle Dogs” and the Gold Nugget Strain, are associated with progressive farming in Tennessee. They are linked with the name and legacy of John and Pauline Blankenship, signifying their importance in the history of the family and the region.
Family Tradition: The article recounts Charles B. Blankenship’s use of Black and Tan family pets for herding and other farm duties in Wilson County, Tennessee, about seventy years prior to the writing. It also mentions the dogs’ presence in the lives of John Blankenship’s wife’s family, tracing their origins to Virginia and North Carolina.
Breeding and Utility: John Blankenship details his journey into dog breeding, starting with the acquisition of a registered English Shepherd named “Tex” in 1946. He emphasizes the dogs’ multifaceted roles as companions, guardians, and working dogs on the farm.
Characteristics and Achievements: The article highlights various dogs, such as “Old Shep,” “Duchess of Windsor,” and “Lassie,” noting their skills in herding, protecting livestock, and vermin control. The dogs’ lineage, going back 100 years, signifies the depth of the breeding program.
Modern Farming and the Shepherd Dog: Blankenship acknowledges the changing landscape of farming, with mechanical farming replacing traditional methods, and notes the increasing importance of Shepherd dogs in managing livestock and serving as companions and protectors.
Bloodline Success and Popularity: The Gold Nugget Strain of Black and Tan English Shepherds is celebrated for its excellence, with the Blankenships’ successful breeding program distributing puppies across various states.