Ch. Chelsea Shadowgold

A Cindy Alvarado pastel of Ch. Chelsea Shadowgold (whelped in 1980)

We are proud members of: The Collie Club Of America The Collie Health Foundation The Quarter Century Collie Group The Dog Writer's Association of America Author of two awarding winning books: "The Collie in America" & "Century of Collies"

Licensed AKC judge for Collies and given the honor of judging BEST of BREED at the 2013 Collie Club of America "National Specialty"!

Breeder/Owner Handler


However, we are most proud of our 47 year, champion-producing, small family, breeding program! Read our Small Kennel Success Story, as it appeared in the 12/04 issue of Collie Expressions Magazine



Home of Chelsea Collies in Southern California!

Chelsea Collies is a small breeding and showing hobby kennel located in Valley Center, California (about 40 miles north of San Diego). For over 35 years I raised Collies in the heart of Silicon Valley in San Jose, California on ¼ acre. Here in beautiful Valley Center we have almost 3 acres! This area is truly one of the best kept secrets in California! Though I will always love and miss the Bay Area, we are adjusting nicely to this very rural, picturesque, and VERY dog-friendly community!

I have been involved with the Collie breed since 1968 when I purchased my first Collie. Actually my Collie involvement began long before that as I grew up with a mostly Collie mix that was the love of my life! Additionally, as a youngster, I was a die-hard Lassie fan AND an avid reader of all the Albert Payson Terhune Collie books. I even wrote Albert Payson Terhune a letter in 1957, not realizing he had been dead since 1942. In other words..... I grew up a Collie fanatic; a Collie zealot.... Whatever you want to call it, I have been afflicted most of my life!!

I joined the Collie Club of America in 1969. By 1972 I had already raised a couple of litters for fun, but I decided to become serious about breeding and showing. I loved Pat Starkweather's book "All About Collies" and it became MY Bible! I consider Pat one of my earliest mentors even though I had not met her up to that point. Per the advice given in her book, the search began for two good bitches to start my breeding program! Thanks to the ads and pictures in "Collie Cues" magazine, I fell in love with GinGeor Collies. At the time GinGeor was one of the top winning Eastern Kennels -- Ch. Jadene's Breeze Along, Ch. GinGeor Bellbrooke's Choice, Ch. GinGeor Jack of Tamarack, Ch. GinGeor's Indelible Choice, Ch. GinGeor Indelible Ink and Ch. Sontaw's Trudy Fair...all of them gorgeous and excelling in outline, coat, style and extremely beautiful faces. My eyes were especially drawn to the beautiful head details that made these dogs so very appealing -- beautifully finished muzzles, length and cleanness of head, pretty expression and they had elegance! I also considered George Horn (one half of GinGeor Collies) a friend and a mentor. A wiser Collie man did not exist! Sadly, George Horn died in March 2017. I sure am missing him already......our conversations and and his endless words of wisdom and advice.

OUR BEGINNINGS................Though I contacted George Horn in the early 1970s about getting a puppy, he didn't have anything available, so he referred me to several other breeders working with his family. Following a two year search that started in 1970, I was lucky enough to acquire two bitches of GinGeor breeding: Marnus Chelsea Morning a tricolor daughter of Ch. GinGeor Indelible Choice bred by Marcia Keller of Marnus Collies and Chelsea Evening Elf a normal-eyed sable daughter of Ch. GinGeor Jack of Tamarack that came via Joan Able of Tamarack Collies. Over the years we have added liberal amounts of Arrowhill, a dash of Wickmere, Countryview, Tartanside and most recently incorporated Barksdale. Though we have incorporated several different Collie families in our breeding program over the years, all of the families have similar virtues we admire and all trace to common bloodlines and ancestors. Our dogs are definitely of a "Parader Persuasion". Current breeding stock traces multiple times to both foundation bitches........9X's to Evening Elf and 15X's to Marnus Chelsea Morning!

Though I had plans of breeding both bitches back into the GinGeor family, fate stepped in and decreed I do otherwise. Who knows what might have been had the DNA test for PRA been perfected in the mid 1970s........? Consequently, both foundation bitches were bred to two different sons of Ch. Arrowhill Oklahoma Tornado and each produced a champion, including our first homebred champion, "Tiara" (Ch. Chelsea Gold Mist), whelped in 1973. Forty-four years and thirteen and fourteen generations later, lead to the current dogs being shown and bred!!

My first time in the show ring came in 1970, but I didn't start seriously exhibiting until 1975. Year after year in the early 1970s, I went to every dog show I could just to watch. Finally in 1975-76 I felt I had something good enough to show. It's hard to believe it has been over forty years and I am not sure where the time has gone, but I have enjoyed every minute of it. There are lots of ups and downs in breeding and showing dogs. I have had plenty of both but wouldn't trade it for all the money in the world!!

My first Collie champion, Ch. Chelsea Gold Mist finished in 1976 with 4 majors! That same year her daughter, Ch. Chelsea Moon Pebble (Marty) won one of the largest Futurities on the West Coast (breeder-owner-handled!), under judge Ben Butler of Kinmont Collies in his last judging assignment. Two weeks later, this same bitch was breeder-owner-handled to a 4 point specialty major & Best Puppy in Show from the 6-9 puppy class (beating 61 bitches!) at the San Gabriel Valley Collie Club's first show! That did it, I was hooked! Interestingly, Collie entries in those days were huge and it took 71 rough bitches for a 5 point major.

Since that time I have bred a number of champions and point winners. I have finished 30 homebred champions, which might not sound like a lot these days, but I did it my keeping a limited number of adult dogs, having a limited number of litters, rarely using handlers and I have never gone to "timbuktu" for easy points (preferring to show in California at the top specialty shows)! My most recent champion to finish is Ch. Chelsea Here Comes The Sun! Click HERE to see my champions over the years! All of them trace multiple times to both foundation bitches purchased in 1972! To see pictures of the current dogs, please click here. One of my all-time favorites is pictured at the top of this page. Heather (Ch. Chelsea Shadowgold) finished in 1982 in 11 shows. She finished with 3 majors, all from the BRED BY EXHIBITOR class...two of them 5 pointers (in the years before it became fashionable to show in this class!). Heather is behind all of my current dogs...multiple times.

For various reasons, some of the dogs over the years did not finish their championship. Nonetheless several of these have made important contributions to my small family of Collies. Click here to see pictures of the non-champions.

NEW BEGINNINGS..........By the mid-1990s, I felt my breeding program needed a shot in the arm (it happens to anyone who breeds long enough!). In 1997 I judged a puppy match and fell in love with a scrumptious 10 week old tri bitch. Following the match, I could not stop thinking about her. Puppies like this usually are not for sale, but luckily, she was (ironically she was first offered to several other breeders before I expressed an interest)! Ch. Chelsea Charidan Carte Blanc, HIC, ROM, better known as "Betsy", came to CHELSEA a few weeks later. I purchased her not only to show, but with the express purpose of breeding her to Ch. Chelsea the Crown Prince (Bailee). Their family backgrounds were similar, both tracing to a variety of closely-bred "Parader" descendants, through Tartanside and Arrowhill. Not only did Betsy finish her championship with 4 majors, all owner-handled, but she proved to be a wonderful producer (especially considering she only had two litters). In 2002 she tied for top rough dam of the year! Betsy ended up producing 7 ROUGH champions, thus qualifying her for the coveted REGISTER OF MERIT title! Her 7th champion Ch. Chelsea Sunshine Girl finished in 2007. Natasha was breeder/owner/handled and finished with three specialty majors at some of the largest specialty shows on the West Coast!! All of Betsy and Bailee's kids finished the hard way with multiple specialty wins under Collie breeder judges and more importantly, several provided the links to the next generation.

Two Betsy/Bailee daughters were instrumental in moving my small family forward........Ch. Chelsea The Crown Jewel, HIC & Ch. Chelsea Summer Blonde, HIC. My current young dogs and puppies trace to both bitches, in some cases, multiple times! Both bitches produced beautiful litters and contributed to the gene pool while moving into the next generation. In 2006 I finished Crown Jewel's daughter, Ch. Chelsea Midsummer Classic. Representing the 11th generation of breeding, Diva was breeder/owner/handled to her championship and won all her points from the Bred By Exhibitor class. In 2008, I finished Summer Blonde's daughter Ch. Chelsea CoCo Chanel. She too was breeder/owner handled in the BBE class and finished with 4 specialty majors!!! In March 2010, CoCo Chanel's brother, Ch Chelsea Major Obsession completed his championship with a four point specialty major (also from the BBE class!). Another product of the Betsy/Bailee cross is Ch. Chelsea T' Crown Regent of Squire, HIC ("Cailean"). In 2009, at the age of 9, I borrowed "Cailean" (from owners Tim & Marilyn Mothersell), so he could be bred to his niece, Ch. Chelsea CoCo Chanel. The result was a beautiful litter of 9 that produced 2 champions, including Ch. Chelsea Blonde Bombshell!

I am especially proud of Ch. Chelsea Blonde Bombshell, finished in 2012 with 4 specialty majors! Most rewarding to me, is the fact that she is 12 generations Chelsea breeding and she traces on both sides of her pedigree to just about every specialty winning champion I have bred over the course of the last 47+ years. This includes her 2X’s look alike great, great, great, great grandmother Ch. Chelsea Shadowgold, whelped in 1980. Whether it is something in her demeanor......a twist of the head, her beautiful expression, her similar rich coloring, her stance, or even in the way she plays with the other dogs, she looks like she could be Shadowgold’s daughter. This is the most gratifying part of breeding a continuing family line and one of the most satisfying aspects of breeding your own dogs! Click here to see Harlow's "Collie Expressions'" cover picture! I finished her pure-for-sable daughter CH. Chelsea Pop Princess in the Fall of 2015. "Whitney" started her show career in Fall of 2014 by winning the Southern California Collie Club Futurity (this was my third year in a row, winning this prestigious Futurity). Whitney is a double granddaughter of Ch. Chelsea CoCo Chanel and double great granddaughter of one of my all-time favorite bitches, Ch. Chelsea Summer Blonde! Going even further back, she is 3X's the top producer, Ch. Chelsea Charidan Carte Blanc, HIC, ROM; 3X's Ch. Chelsea Shadowgold and 6X's Ch. Chelsea Ice Castles. She traces 9 X's to our first Champion, Ch. Chelsea Gold Mist whelped in 1973; 9 X's to one of my foundation bitches, Chelsea Evening Elf and 15X's to the other foundation bitch, Marnus Chelsea Morning! Additionally, Whitney traces 13 generations from foundation bitch Marnus Chelsea Morning and 12 generations from the other foundation bitch Chelsea Evening Elf!! Continuity has been very important in my breeding program and I have actually owned a high percentage of the dogs in my pedigrees.

I am extremely proud of my dog's accomplishments. I have exhibited infrequently-- mostly in California with it's big entries, and usually at very large Specialty shows. I have rarely used a handler and I have NEVER sent a dog out with a handler! All of my Champions have finished with MULTIPLE SPECIALTY majors in top California competition and championship points have been won almost entirely under Collie or Sheltie breeder-judges. I much prefer showing to Collie breeder-judges….those who have had true experience with the breed rather than an all-rounder who judges a gazillion breeds and knows little about Collies. If you can't win under the people that know the breed, what's the point? Over the years, my dogs have won some of the largest Sweepstakes, Futurities and Specialty shows in Northern and Southern California, many times over. Most have finished by the age of two and most were owner handled! My favorite class to show in is Bred By Exhibitor and in the Fall of 2013, I qualified for the special "Silver Bred-By Medallion award" from AKC, by finishing 5 champions from the Bred By Exhibitor class. I've even had a few puppy flyers, though those are extremely rare in California. Several champions have done some nice specialty winning since finishing, but I rarely show champions once they obtain their championship. Because I have mostly kept bitches the biggest concern has been getting them bred, rather than showing them. For more than forty years, my interest has always been moving onto the next generation!

Recently we made an exception to showing finished champions. We decided to "special" BRONZE GCH. Chelsea Casanova Cowboy. Not only has he been a top specialty winner in California over the last couple of years, (only shown at large Specialties), but he finished 2015 in the prestigious Collie TOP TEN! He tied for number 4 Rough Collie. This was an amazing accomplishment considering he was only shown in 14 shows during 2015 and they were all specialties. He achieved BRONZE status the same year by winning all specialty majors!

Here's a link to our "Collies Online" Breeder page, showing all the ads we have done over the last 13 years. Here's a copy of our latest ad on the cover of the September 2014 Collie Club of America Bulletin.

Over the years, not only has our breeding program been restrictive (mostly because of living in Silicon Valley), but we have always kept a limited number of adult dogs. Our philosophy is the same here in Southern California even though we have the acreage and space to keep lots of dogs. I like to keep my numbers small and manageable (Collies are not livestock!), so I typically keep 6-8 adult dogs. Every dog gets groomed weekly whether they are being shown or not and this includes a monthly full spa treatment! It's a lot of work keeping up the dogs the way I do, so I never keep more than I can handle. This is by choice - not by accident!!! We do not have a kennel - we have a house and a yard! Three to four dogs live in the house (usually the older ones), but all dogs get daily "quality" house time. My philosophy has always been, why have the dogs if they aren't part of your everyday life!? Because we live with our dogs day-to-day, temperament is extremely important. We like the kind of dogs that fit easily into home life and are easy to live with on a day to day basis. Though we breed primarily for the show ring (in pursuit of the perfect Collie), our breeding program also concentrates on health and temperament. A breeder does not have to sacrifice beauty for health and/or temperament. All three play equally important roles in a successful breeding program. Don't let anyone tell you that you have to sacrifice one for the other. There are many beautiful and healthy Collies out there with great temperaments!

MY BREEDING PHILOSOPHY: Breeding a quality, carefully planned family of dogs is no easy feat and it’s no accident. It's a delicate balancing act that can be fraught with pitfalls every which way you turn. Sometimes a breeder can take two steps forward and then two steps backwards. The idea is to breed beautiful representatives of the breed that fit the Collie Standard of perfection. At the same time, I want the best in temperament and intelligence. I also want healthy dogs and will not tolerate an unhealthy dog in my breeding program. I like having healthy and long lived dogs! I routinely do most of the health checks and DNA tests (and then some), that are available for the Collie breed. I want easy keepers. I do not want dogs that have to be coddled and kept like hot-house plants. I want dogs that can handle being vaccinated and dogs that can eat regular dog food without stomach upsets or having to be coddled with special homemade diets. I want dogs that can handle the stress of going to dog shows and not come home sick. In a nutshell, my goal is to produce Collies that are beautiful, healthy and smart!

From the start we have almost exclusively kept bitches and they just happen to be our favorite of the sexes. We strongly believe in the motto that a kennel is only as good as its bitches and currently we have 6 champion bitches ranging in ages from 3 years old to 12.5!! However......we always seem to have at least one "token" male! Currently we have two different sets of four generations on the property! Typically our Collies are long lived.

Due to self-imposed limitations, we have only had 12 litters since 2000. These 12 litters have produced 13 homebred champions, plus several others with major points that are close to finishing their championship. We hope our future holds a few more champions and a continuation of the family's gene pool, though small that it may be! Our goal is to improve the breed while providing the next stepping stone in our own breeding program. We are constantly striving for that perfect Collie, one that is a combination of physical perfection, good health and typical Collie temperament!

Occasionally we have puppies for sale and those offered for sale receive identical care to those we personally keep. I would like to point out that we do not do Internet sales and we DO NOT ship puppies (never have!). All our puppies are raised in the house (primarily in our large kitchen area) where they are exposed to lots of noises, people and action! They receive a lot of attention and socialization! Every puppy is inoculated and wormed. We absolutely believe in preventative medicine!! All puppies are health-checked by my Vet at 5 weeks and are eye-checked for "Collie Eye Anomaly" by a Certified Ophthalmologist at 6 weeks. Puppies are usually ready to go to new homes by 8 weeks! We have many repeat buyers!! For more information on Collies, please visit this page. It is extremely important that you decide a Collie is the right breed for you, before you purchase one.

We are also interested in the Collie "Herding Instinct" and many of our dogs have been tested and have passed! We have bred several obedience title holders owned by others. We have also bred several dogs that have done really well in other areas of Performance. Our latest is CH. Chelsea Twilight Time, VCD1 CD TDX AX  AXJ CGC. Check out her page to see how she has been burning up the performance arena!! Not one to rest on her laurels, she recently completed her championship!

As mentioned previously, from the beginning we have concentrated not only on physical beauty, but on health and temperament as well. Without health and temperament, you have nothing.....and both are just as important as how a dog looks! Therefore, we support all available health screening and routinely check our dogs' eyes (for Collie eye and PRA), hips and thyroid! We have also recently added the DNA test for DMS (Dermatomyositis) to our regimen. Here's a link to our dog's OFA web page.

Thanks to our start with normal eyes, many of our champions have been normal-eyed and we have a continuous line of normal eyes coming down from one of our foundation bitches! Recently we tested for the PRA gene through Optigen. All dogs tested "normal" and are non-carriers for PRA. Unbeknownst to us, we started with two daughters of PRA carriers. Both bitches had already produced one litter each when news of PRA hit around 1975. Our current stock traces 24 times to both foundation bitches, so the fact that everyone tested clear, is great news and puts to rest any worries and suspicions. We have not DNA tested the younger dogs for PRA because relatives have already been tested and cleared. OFA does not recognize more than one generation of "cleared by parentage", but we do. All of our current breeding stock is cleared for PRA because all the relatives behind them have been cleared.

We feed "Eukanuba Lamb and Rice" and our dog's health and condition are testimony to the wonderful benefits derived from using this food exclusively!! We have used this food for 19 years! Our puppies are fed "Eukanuba Lamb and Rice for Puppies"!!

A picture of the gang shortly after our move to Southern California - picture taken December 2006

Left to right - Ch. Chelsea Sunshine Girl, HIC - Natasha, Ch. Chelsea Midsummer Classic, HIC - Diva, Ch. Chelsea The Crown Prince, HIC - Bailee (pictured at 11½ years!), Ch. Chelsea Summer Blonde, HIC - Camille, Ch. Chelsea Charidan Carte Blanc, HIC, ROM - Betsy (pictured at 9½ years!), Ch. Chelsea CoCo Chanel - Greta, Ch. Chelsea The Crown Jewel, HIC - Wendy & Don's dog Mollie (Bailee's sister). Two sets of 3 generations! This was such a cool bunch of dogs. They all made the long trek from Northern California, crammed in my big red van.They loved the new house and property!!

UPDATE- Sadly...only one of the above pictured dogs is still living. Eleven years gone by has taken it's toll. We still have Greta (age 13). But most of the above pictured dogs live on here at Chelsea through their descendants!!

We love our place here in Valley Center. We love the hilly terrain, the wildness, the bougainvillea, orange groves, the palm trees and the weird and crazy weather!

House pictures taken in 2007 click here

For pictures right after we moved in 2006 click here!

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