Madisonville locals Mark and Kelly Enloe have been raising Miniature Australian Shepherds ever since they got one for their daughter Darby 10 years ago and have now started showing them over the last seven months.
It has been quite a success. Their male miniature stole the show at the American Stock Dog Registry (ASDR) Invitational Show in Las Vegas. Matt Dillon, the miniature who stands at 10 inches in height, won Champion Toy Aussie, Champion Bred by Toy Aussie and Reserve Best in Show.
“We have been raising them for about 10 years,” said Kelly Enloe. “We thought we had some pretty nice dogs so we decided to venture out and try something new. We have started with the confirmation category, which is how the dogs look. We have only showed in confirmation so far, but we are looking into reaching out into other categories as well.”
The Enloes have traveled to Kentucky twice, North Texas and the most recent invitational in Vegas. In order for a specific dog to participate in this particular show, they had to have already won a best in show or best in breed in the past.
“We took two dogs to Las Vegas,” said Kelly Enloe. “We took our female, who had actually won more at the time, as well as our male. Our female was reserve champion in her class and champion in toy female.”
The first dog the Enloes ever got was named Jesse James, which has started a tradition that has lasted all the way to Matt Dillon. Whether it is a male or female in question, the dogs are named after a famous Western character. The female shown in Vegas is name Etta Place, but they call her “Tank” because of her large size for a miniature dog.
Currently, the Enloes have 27 breeding dogs, but some of them are retired.
“That is something we do that other breeders do not,” said Mark Enloe. “Once they get through breeding or showing their dogs, others will just give them away to whoever will take them because they are done with them. We got them because we love them and have fun with them. They are always part of our family.”
The couple has done extensive research since they began breeding, as there are a lot of complicated steps in the process. But the Enloes are known for their “super tiny” dogs.
“When we started breeding them, there were not many breeders in the U.S. who could consistently get them that small,” said Mark Enloe. “We happened to be one of the three breeders who could do that at the time. We were fortunate enough to have that technique down.”
In order to produce the desired results, it is necessary to continue extensive research and focus on the little things, such as bite composition, for example. The Enloes are continuing to aim for smaller results, but would also like their dogs to be a little thicker.
Kelly and Mark have been married for 31 years and have spent all of them in Madisonville. Along with dogs, they have had cattle, horses and chickens on their ranch.
The shows will not start up again until March, but the couple is already looking forward to new venues and new categories with some of their other dogs.
“Our goal for every dog we are breeding is to make them a champion,” said Mark Enloe.