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The Legacy & Stewardship


The Australian Shepherd is From?


A wonderful magazine article by Josh Dean featuring the Hartnagle family & dogs



Ernest & Elaine Hartnagle


Elaine & Ernie - 2012

The "unstoppable" Ernie, trialing a dog


"Ernie", as most people know him, spent a lifetime with the breed.  He spent the days of his youth on his parent’s farm in the Boulder Valley of Colorado.


Shortly after graduation, in the dark days of World War II, he served in the United States Navy with the 7th Fleet in the Pacific Theater. He was awarded the Philippine Liberation Medal, which is one of his most treasured possessions.


After the War, he returned home, finished his education in agriculture at the Colorado State University, and continued to help operate the family farm.


This was to last only until he was attracted to the pretty young ranch girl, Elaine Gibson. To this union was born five children; Jeanne Joy, Christine, Joseph, James, and Carol Ann.


During this time he was engaged in diversified farming activities and employed on a prominent Quarter Horse Ranch. Experienced a tour of duty with the Postal Service and later retired from NOAA, a branch of the United States Department of Commerce. The following years found his ship steadfastly anchored in a location north of Boulder Colorado.


Ernest, an honorary lifetime member of The Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) has known and worked with Australian Shepherds for over a half a century.


Ernest served ASCA on the Board of Directors (1973-1975), and then as President during the formative years (1976-1978). He was then retained as a consultant to the Board of Directors for over ten years. He helped draft the present Stockdog Program (1973 – 1977) and was a member of the committee that drafted the original Breed Standard (1975-1977).  He coined the phrases: Sprinting, Trotting and Universal Drive trains.


Ernest was one of the first Conformation Breeder Judges, now an ASCA Senior Judge and one of only a few dual judges (qualified to judge stock trials and conformation shows) in the country. Currently, Ernest is ranching in Kiowa Colorado. He maintains a small band of purebred Dorsett sheep and a few good Aussies.


Together with youngest daughter, Carol Ann, authored the book, The Total Australian Shepherd: Beyond the Beginning.


Ernie with Champion
Las Rocosa Leslie CSD
 (Hall of Fame)



Elaine is considered the driving force behind Las Rocosa. She was born in Colorado and raised on a ranch in Wyoming. Her ancestors were pioneers traveled to the area in covered wagons when it was still a territory.


She was introduced to the breed through her father Neville “William” Zorne Gibson who acquired his first bobtailed shepherd dog in Wyoming during the 1920s before the breed was called The Australian Shepherd.


Elaine is an ASCA Senior Breeder Judge and between 1975 and 1977, served on the original ASCA Breed Standard Committee. From 1982 to 1987 she assisted the ASCA Show Secretary’s Office. Along with Ernie, and their five children they developed the now famous Las Rocosa bloodlines and was the first kennel to be admitted into the Australian Shepherd Hall of Fame for breeding a standard of excellence. She is currently working on a book titled Developing a Bloodlines of Distinction.


Elaine & Las Rocosa Bit-O-Blue



Carol Ann Hartnagle & Kenneth Madsen


Carol Ann has literally spent her entire life with Australian Shepherds. She has competed actively in Stock Dog Trials, Conformation and Obedience competitions since 1971. Carol Ann served on the original Breed Standard Committee (1975-1977) and ASCA as National Show Secretary from 1982 to 1987. She was instrumental in creating the original ASCA Junior Showmanship Program in 1975-1976. She earned her ASCA Breeder Judgeship in 1981 and earned her Senior Breeder Judgeship in 1988.


As an ASCA Senior Breeder Judge, Obedience Judge and Junior Showmanship Judge, as well as an AKC Herding Judge, Carol Ann is highly sought after in the United States and abroad. In addition to judging Best of Breed at the prestigious 1993 and 2003 ASCA National Specialties, Carol has judged manifold assignments at other Nationals, and has presided over ASCA and AKC assignments in 40 states and six countries.



The Hartnagle Family has been associated with Australian Shepherds from the beginning and is one of the first breeders of record.


Since 1955, the family shared their love for, and dedication to this breed. Their kennel – Hartnagle’s Las Rocosa Aussies, earned the distinction of honor as ASCA’s first-ever Hall of Fame Kennel and built their bloodline against the yardstick of performance.


Along with her husband Kenneth Madsen, Carol Ann resides in Colorado and actively competes in all areas of Aussie competition. She is Vice President of Sales for a worldwide company specializing in professional records and document management solutions. Together with her father, Ernest Hartnagle, they have authored the book, "The Total Australian Shepherd – Beyond the Beginning".




Christine Hartnagle Renna & Vincent Renna


Chris, as she is best known, has been associated with working dogs throughout her life and was raised on the ranch where they used Australian Shepherds to handle livestock. As a young teenager, she showed her Australian Shepherds, Champion Las Rocosa Sadie Blue CD, to the distinction of becoming the first female Champion of Colorado and the 18th ASCA champion of record.


Christine is the mother of Vincent and Jason, the two very handsome young cowboys pictured in various Hartnagle books. Her husband, Vince, who has been an important part of the family for many years, can always be counted on for his sage advice and superb gourmet cuisine.


Steeped in a heritage of generations of farm and ranch people, Chris is carrying the baton into the next generation. As you turn the pages of her book, Introduction to Herding Breeds, you will be delighted to learn about the different herding breeds from a fresh perspective.



Jeanne Joy Hartnagle Taylor & Ty Taylor



Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor is the third of four generations to enjoy a lifetime association with stockdogs. She did contract work for a number of years. Her experience has taken her on assignment with the Department of Interior to work wild bison bulls with her Australian Shepherds as well as with the United States Department of Agriculture to gather livestock for various inspections.


Jeanne trains dogs for practical work and has titled her Aussies in all areas of competition. She has also been in the top ten at the ASCA National Stockdog Finals. Success in training and competitions eventually led to invitations to exhibit her stock-savvy dogs at various livestock events, fairs, and rodeos including the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver, Colorado and the Amazing World of Dogs at the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials. Jeanne Joy also performed at the Livestock Expo in Tepatitlan, Guadalajara, by invitation from the Governor of Jalisco, Mexico. She has judged the European Championships at the Continental Sheepdog Trials in Germany as well as presented training seminars all across North America and Europe.


Jeanne is uniquely qualified to talk about stockdogs and has written for numerous publications such as the Western Horseman Magazine, American Cowboy Magazine and The Cattleman, she has authored several books, including All About Aussies: The Australian Shepherd from A to Z, Stockdog Savvy, and Greasepaint Matadors: The Unsung Heroes of Rodeo. All About Aussies, now in its Fourth Edition was nominated for a Dog Writer’s Award, and now we have Stockdog Savvy. Additionally, Jeanne is featured in the stockdog training series, Herding I, II, III by Canine Training Systems.



Jeanne Joy in Alaska


Her co-author and husband, Ty Taylor, is a cowboy who has handled stockdogs from the ranch to the sales yard.  He was first introduced to using working dogs while riding for a major cutting horse operation.  Besides being a cowboy, Ty is a professional auctioneer, and also a country singer, songwriter, and producer who has performed on the Grand Ole Opry numerous times and on Austin City Limits, while working for country legend Loretta Lynn and Doug Stone, respectively.




Jim Hartnagle & Lisa Hartnagle


Jim, who is now retired from the Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association, rode bucking stock in the Bareback Riding division for many years. Of all the awards he has won, among his fondest are his wins from the 1986 and 1989 at the Earl Anderson PRCA Memorial Rodeo in Grover Colorado which he revisits each summer.


“Working has always been a part of my life.  My family has been involved with the breed long before I was born.  The dogs that I played with as a child are now part of the breed’s history and so are my parents. As my life evolved I always had a dog at my side.”


“In 1994, I started entering Stock Dog Trials and have met many good people along the way.  It has taken me from one end of the United States to the other and to foreign countries including Canada and Sweden.”  Jim has finished several Working Trial Champions including WTCH Las Rocosa Pecosa Rojo RD, WTCH Rodeo Romeo and WTCH Las Rocosa Whispers Success as well as qualified for the ASCA National Stockdog Finals.


“Training is not anyone’s big secret.  It is a lot of shared techniques that are used to enhance the instincts and working ability of a good dog,” says Jim.  The way he trains and has shared in "The Working Australian Shepherd" works for him and are the methods that he teaches at his clinics. 


Jim, along with his wife Lisa, focus their efforts on stock dogs.  Lisa also “holds down the fort,” so Jim can travel to trials and host clinics.



Joseph Hartnagle - A Legacy Left Behind

In loving memory of Joseph Hartnagle,
cherished son, brother, friend & mentor to many.
Rest in peace dear Joe
1958 ~ 2005


History plays a significant role in our lives.  History blesses us with the inherent wisdom of the men and women who walked in a time before us.  It is a teacher that guides us in future decisions.  It is also a friend that comforts us with wonderful memories.  Joseph Hartnagle played an important role in the history of the breed.


An encounter with Joseph Hartnagle was an unforgettable experience. He was courteous, kind and gentle.  This seems to be the universal reaction of all who knew him or met him.  Joseph was a simple, yet remarkable man. His generosity was extraordinary.  Joseph loved people and took the time to mentor anybody who needed his help.  Somehow, he made each person feel like they were the most special.

  Joseph with Dahlia at NationalS



Joseph’s involvement with Aussies came from the unique perspective of first-hand experience with the foundation dogs and the pioneer breeders.  He knew Jay Sisler and had met Stub and Shorty.    Joseph was a boy when little Goody used to handle several thousand sheep on the range in southern Colorado.  He lived on the family ranch when our father would send little Jinx across the horizon to bring the sheep home down the lane along the creeks.  He had experienced the loving guidance of an Aussie grabbing his hand to indicate he was heading toward danger (down the driveway toward the road).


He had spent many an afternoon at Juanita Ely’s ranch. Joseph was present on the rare occasion in the sixties when Dr. Heard personally showed his lovely Flintridge Aussies (who later provided the foundation of the greatest percentage of the breed today) at one of the first Aussie shows ever held.  He watched Fletcher Wood suture a horse that had been badly injured at his place while Wood’s Stubby looked on.


Joseph started in the fancy as a Junior Handler when the breed was in its infancy in the dog world and shows were few and far between.  Later he hosted judges’ seminars to teach future judges. He was a well-respected ASCA Breeder Judge and the first to be approved for an AKC Breeder-Judgeship.  He was the first and only dual AKC Judge certified for both Conformation and Herding Events.  While Joseph presided over some of the largest and most prestigious ASCA and AKC events, he never was too busy to help out at the local 4-H Fair – always encouraging young people with their dog projects


Joe loved to share his knowledge with those who shared his passion for the breed.  That enthusiasm led him to author: Australian Shepherds and A New Owners Guide to Australian Shepherds, the first full-color book on the breed.  Joe is featured in the Canine Training Systems video series In the Ribbons…The Dog Show Game demonstrating grooming techniques for Aussies.  Joseph’s third and final work, finished shortly before his untimely passing, is soon to be published.

  Joseph with Dahlia & Blue Diamond


Joseph, Amber Rain and Rowdy   

Joseph contributed greatly to the success of Las Rocosa – his family’s bloodstock and kennel, as the first breeder to be admitted in to the ASCA Hall of Fame.  The achievement he was most pleased with, however, was the realization of producing healthy, happy Aussies that were genuinely loved and cared for as part of their new owner’s family.  He viewed it as an adoption process that was not to be taken lightly and took great care to place his puppies in loving homes


.Joe was getting ready to go to the doctor on that fateful cold, snowy April day, to get relief from a bout with pneumonia.  But prior to leaving for his appointment, his first thought and main priority was to care for his dogs.  We will never know the exact details, but somehow Joseph fell -blacking out from a coughing spell perhaps - and hit his head on a rock.


Though, when Joseph fell, he was not alone.  His beloved Aussies, faithful onto death, surrounded him to watch over him until help arrived.  His favorite Aussie was lying right by his side; one of his young, up-and-comers was lying on top of him to protect him.  Some young puppies were licking his face, as if to say, “Come on Dad, Get up!”


Very few people are able to live their dream. Joseph was fortunate enough to spend his entire life following his dream by working with his lovely, bright Aussies.  Joseph Hartnagle passed away doing what he loved the most, being with his beautiful Aussies.  While Joseph will be remembered for many accomplishments, he will most of all be remembered for his deeds of kindness and the encouraging words he took the time to share with those who needed it most.



In loving memory of Joseph, from The Hartnagle’s

~ ~ ~

His Journey's Just Begun


 Don't think of him as gone away
his journey's just begun,
life holds so many facets
this earth is only one.

Just think of him as resting
from the sorrows and the tears
in a place of warmth and comfort
where there are no days and years. 

Think how he must be wishing
that we could know today
how nothing but our sadness
can really pass away. 

And think of him as living
In the hearts of those he touched
For nothing loved is ever lost
And he was loved so much.

                                                                                                                              Ellen Brenneman



I know your life
On earth was troubled
And only you could know the pain
You weren’t afraid to face the devil
You were no stranger to the rain

Go rest high on that mountain
Son, you work on earth is done
Go to heaven a shoutin’
Love for the father and son

Oh, how we cried the day you left us
We gathered round your grave to grieve
I wish I could see the angels faces
When they hear your sweet voice sing

Go rest high on that mountain
Son, you work on earth is done
Go to heaven a shoutin’
Love for the father and son


Telephone: 303.659.6597
Fax: 303.659.6552
Breeding Sound Versatile Aussies Since 1955
Founding/Lifetime Members ASCA and USASA

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