Our Dogs

Our dogs- Poppy, Smudge, Willow, Widget and Cookie

2 Labradors and 3 B-earded Collies, all mothers or daughters. Technically, Smudge and Widget are Sue’s dogs, Cookie, Poppy and Willow are Stu’s dogs. The only time it matters is when we’re in the park and it’s time to decide who cleans up.

Smudge is a bearded collie (beardie) born in March 10.


Smudge is an intelligent, independent, sociable dog who has more friends than the rest of us put together. She is happiest if she can make you laugh, but she has a very loving nature and enjoys cuddles. Her favourite game is with a stick. Smudge can run very fast. She once won a race with a (6 foot, 20 year old) man on a bike, down a hill. She likes eating and is rather fond of flapjack, yogurt and fruit.

Smudge’s fantastic hip test results (3:3) have mean that it is possible to breed from her.

We chose Bryonyhill Triple Truffle (Cosmo) as he also has a hip score of 3:3, he has a wonderful temperament and pedigree. When we put their names through the Kennel Club Inbreeding Coefficient Indicator we squealed and cheered as the puppies would be 3% less than the national average. This is an extremely important factor in the breeding of this wonderful, but rather rare breed as we intend to only positively influence the health and well being of these amazing dogs. Their litter of 10 was born safe and sound on the 14th of June 2013 and we kept one for ourselves.

widget 13 weeks

Widget (Smudgester Curly Whurly)

Widget is Smudge’ and Cosmo’s daughter, born 9th out of a litter of 10 pups, on the 14th of June 2013. We wanted a brown girl so we could tell her apart from her mum in the park and out of our 5 girls, Little Widget is the only brown female puppy. How lucky we are- she is sweet and fantastically loving in nature and heart stoppingly adorable, just like her mum. Smudge is proving to be a wonderful mother- we are really proud of her and delighted with our new family member. Widget got her name as I was trying to think of something original, which is not so easy when you know as many dogs as we do! She is just too cute for words!

Bearded collies were bred to be left minding cattle- which meant they would be alone and had to make some decisions for themselves. This means if you say to a Beardie go from A to B, the dog will end up at B but may not take the route you expect. Beardies are not usually credited with so much brains- in Coren’s typology they are ranked the 34th brightest breed, right along with the Staffie (who, in my experience, should be also ranked higher as they consistently learn faster than a Doberman, German Shepherd or Poodle).

I consider the Beardie’s independent thinking a different type of intelligence than that of the much higher ranking Labrador, who will dutifully follow your instructions to the letter. A Beardie will learn a trick or task much faster than the compliant Labradors- but only if they see the point.

Poppy’s pedigree name is Delicate Flower


Hips: 2-3

Elbows: 0-0

Eyes: Clear

Poppy is a 5 year old black Labrador.

Her favourite food is chicken or meat and her favourite game is fetch where she can swim.

Poppy learned “find it” easily and after we taught he the smell of bank notes she will  bring us any money she finds in hedgerows- she has found over £200 so far.

After she learned our names her favourite task is to carry a small parcel or a handwritten note from person to person, which has turned out to be very useful and practical.

Poppy is capable of inferential reasoning and she can understand pictorial references- she loves seeing videos and pictures of herself and Willow and Smudge.

Her laugh is very loud and pronounced- like “ho ho ho” and she loves to have her belly tickled. She can get a joke – I first heard her laugh when I pretended to be the squeak in a broken toy in the week that she came to us.

Poppy is very bright. She understands many words and can quickly learn tricks.

She loves to play football and can pass the ball and shoot a goal between her sister’s legs.

Watch Poppy in action

Poppy had 8 puppies on the 26/01/12P1010971



Smudgester Laughing Willow is a dark chocolate Labrador, Poppy’s daughter, born 26th January 2012.


She got her name because she’s always wagging and laughing.

She loves to be tickled, she enjoys playing and likes eating and sleeping.

She seems to have Poppy’s brains as she can learn tricks incredibly quickly 🙂







Smudge’s daughter and Widget’s full sister, Cookie will be 1 on the 29th of June 2016




 Tara Pup


We were looking through old photos and found some treasures!

Here is Sue in 1990 in Donegal with her eldest son, Brendan and Manchester Terrier Tara

As we lived in Ireland at the time, Tara was multi-lingual, she knew some commands in English and others in Irish!

Tara isn’t with us any more, but will always have a very special place in our hearts.





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