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For most of us, the image of a working farm dog
is a black and white Border collie herding sheep into pens.
Yet they are just one of over 20 distinct breeds of British herding dogs.
But all except the Border collie have either gone extinct
or are in sharp decline.
Crossbreeding and changes in how we farm
are threatening our native herding dogs.
But some of these breeds are now starting to fight back.
Meet Teg, my two-and-a-half-year-old sheepdog.
She's proper Welsh, isn't she?
Teg's a Welsh sheepdog,
a breed brought back from the edge of extinction.
We found 80 of them but, of the 80,
20 were too old to breed.
Teg's now old enough to have puppies and I want her to contribute to
the survival of the Welsh sheepdog.
We need a new bloodline, really,
in Wales, in the Welsh dogs.
But before I get her in the family way,
I need to fully prove her Welsh credentials
and, for that, I must turn her from a soppy house dog
into a lean and mean herding machine.
Will my quirky Welsh sheepdog help save her breed
or will this all end up as a shaggy dog's tale?
It's going to be a nightmare. It's going to be a nightmare!
Eight years ago, I left the city for the good life in Wales.
I bought a farm in Monmouth and a mix of livestock.
I adopted two rescue dogs, but there was one thing missing.
I just need a dog, a dog that can work.
And, much as I love these two, they weren't going to cut it.
So Teg came into my life.
I was told she's a Welsh sheepdog,
a rare herding breed I never knew existed until I set my eyes on her.
She's meant to work every day.
However, there's another side to this story,
as my husband, Ludo, knows only too well.
Well, when Kate said she wanted to get a working dog,
or another dog, I thought, "Absolutely no way!"
But eventually I said yes to having a third dog because she's a very cute dog,
no question about it but, as long as Teg stayed on the farm,
it would be fine, I thought. But then...
And she'd learn how to be a proper sheepdog.
The next thing I knew, Teg wasn't on the farm,
she was on our sofa at home, so...
She's not on the sofa that often!
She still sleeps outside.
It's those two words, "that often", though, isn't it?
She's hardly the tough, working dog that...
'You get the picture.'
Whilst Teg was supposed to spend all day, every day, herding sheep,
she actually spends most of her time with our two rescue dogs,
Bella and Badger.
The truth is, she does sneak onto the sofa sometimes.
When I'm not around,
she sets up camp in Ludo's office.
And he's no better than I am at helping
her find her true identity.
I just sometimes think it can undermine the work that she's doing
and it sort of exacerbates, really,
this slightly strange role that she has,
which is sort of a paw in both camps.
She's part pet dog and part working dog.
And I think sometimes she feels a little bit confused about her identity.
You know, "What am I?"
'To be considered a true Welsh sheepdog,
'Teg must renounce her pet privileges
'and become a proper working dog.
'I want to contribute to the future of this breed, but to do that
'I need to establish exactly how Welsh Teg is,
'and so I need to put her to work.'
We're heading to the hills above Trawsfynydd,
in the heart of Snowdonia,
where sheep are still raised on vast,
rugged landscapes by shepherds and their highly skilled dogs.
We've been invited to join them today on a traditional hill gather,
to help Teg connect with her ancestral roots
and so I can learn about what makes a Welsh sheepdog.
Slightly apprehensive this morning.
This is going to be a really big test for Teg
because she's never done a gather before.
I don't quite know how this is going to work.
Alan is a proper, proper Welsh farmer
with proper Welsh sheepdogs and both of us, I suspect,
could get very shown up today.
My concern is that, as of late,
Teg has been more of a pet than a worker and she hasn't been around
a large number of sheep for three months.
-You're going to get a proper workout today, Teg!
We'll see whether that ancestry is any good at all, shall we?
Eh? Shall we?
'Alan Jones's farm has been in his family for three generations
'and they have always used Welsh sheepdogs to herd their flocks.'
And these are both Welsh dogs, too?
-Both Welsh, yes.
-It's really interesting, isn't it,
how different they are - the look - as a breed?
Yeah, they look a bit different
-but they mostly work the same.
'Well, Teg certainly doesn't look like them,
'and that's the first thing I learn -
'no two Welsh sheepdogs look exactly the same.
'Unlike most dog breeds that conform to a distinctive look,
'they're bred for their herding behaviour,
'believed to be ingrained in their genetic make up.
'The only way Teg can start to prove her Welsh credentials is on the mountain.
'Today, Alan is bringing the sheep down for shearing
'and Teg and I will get a chance to help,
'or perhaps hinder, this traditional gathering.'
Joining us is Dafydd Gwyndaf,
only the chairman of the Welsh Sheepdog Society,
the organisation that can certify Teg's Welsh credentials
and shed some light onto what distinct behaviours
a Welsh sheepdog should display.
He doesn't eye the sheep.
You know, he works quite freely and doesn't go down on his belly
or anything like that.
He works on his feet all the time, with the occasional back.
'So, naturally, I'm keen to introduce Teg to him.'
Cos her mother's got a complete blue eye...
-..so she's got the half on one side
and then she's got a little star like David Bowie.
I always think she looks like a cross between David Bowie and Basil Brush!
So, what's the plan, then?
Well, the plan is to go up to the mountain now.
-And we'll meet Alan up there.
What a spot!
-Nice view for you.
So is everything we can see your land?
Wow. You must feel like king of the castle when you're up here.
Yeah, it's nice when it's dry, like today.
We're having a kind day!
So I can see a few sheep in the distance.
-Your job then...
-Push them down.
Make sure they don't come back up.
OK, Teg, were you listening?
Were you listening to that?
Yeah? All right.
-We'll wait here and see how you get on.
'And so Alan and his dogs set off to do what they do best -
'round up about 300 sheep with five dogs
'over 400 acres of mountain.
'Herding dogs share the amazing ability to control the movement of animals.
'They also have great reserves of stamina
-'which allow them to work from dawn to dusk.'
'And that's why, historically,
'they've always been viewed as real assets to their owners.
'Back in the day, hardy men known as drovers and their Welsh dogs
'would drive livestock long distances to markets.
'The Welsh sheepdogs were animals in charge not only of herding the animals,
'but protecting them and their owners from predators and thieves.
'With the arrival of the railway and motor vehicles,
'transporting livestock became easier
'and the droving tradition slowly ended.
'This is probably as close to what the drovers used to do
'as it gets in the 21st century.
'It's teamwork at its best.
'Before we know it, the sheep are coming down from all corners,
'lining up to a more manageable spot.'
'And that's our cue to join in.
'Although we have both done a little bit of training over
'the last 18 months...'
SHE WHISTLES Teg!
'..it soon becomes clear it's not been enough.'
Come here, Teg. That'll do.
That'll do. Teg. Teg, come here!
He has mastered "wait".
'Whilst no-one can dispute our enthusiasm...'
Teg, Teg, Teg!
'..there appears to be a communication breakdown.'
Go back, Teg! Teg!
'And I think I know where the problem lies.'
Teg! SHE WHISTLES
You've lost the lot. 'I'm the one that lets her down.'
Teg, come here!
I just don't feel confident in any way as a handler.
I don't know where to stand,
I don't know when to give her commands
or when not to give her commands.
Steady. Teg, come back!
For me, it's all so new and I feel quite self-conscious
and...yeah, a little bit like I'm letting Teg down some of the time.
'I wonder if the professionals agree.
Well, not too bad.
Needs a few lessons.
Yeah. Well, I think I need the lessons.
-Well, yes. A bit of both, maybe, yeah?
All she needs is a bit more work and more practice
and you have to tell her off every now and then.
So I'm not firm enough with her?
I suppose what I wanted to establish was that she had the potential...
Oh, she's got the potential, yes.
If she was up here for two or three weeks, she'd be a different dog.
-You're not stealing her!
'Yes, we both can do with more training,
'but I think the experience has definitely proved that Teg has
'the instincts and latent skills of a working Welsh sheepdog.'
It's quite frightening because out on the hill today
I realised that, actually,
I've got a dog that is far cleverer,
far more superior than me,
and I was hugely proud of her and it was wonderful
to hear all these people who I suspect were quite sceptical,
and with good reason,
see what a good dog she was.
The thing that I realised, though,
more than anything,
was how completely...
inexperienced I am
and unable, really,
to support my dog.
'I get it. If Teg is to work better, as her handler,
'I need to pull my weight and train her properly.
'I now feel like I kind of owe it, not only to her,
'but to the Welsh sheepdog as breed.'
Throughout Great Britain,
most ancestral herding dogs are suffering.
Their decline began after the Industrial Revolution,
when droving dwindled.
Then the economic depressions of the 1920s and 1930s
lead to smaller farms
and smaller flocks which didn't require such high-stamina dogs.
Finally, between the wars came the rise of sheepdog trials and
the stars of the show, the Border collies,
began to catch the eyes of sheep farmers all over the country.
Here in Wales, the Border collie is often crossbred with
the Welsh sheepdogs, or they simply replaced them,
even though both dogs are distinctively unalike
in the way they work.
This is really where you see the difference
between the borders and the Welsh.
If this was a Welsh dog,
they'd be upright, standing behind the sheep.
The Border collies are so controlled.
You see them working right down on the ground,
they're attentive to every sound.
But it's interesting that I've spoken to enough Welsh farmers now,
farming in, you know, quite rugged environments,
and all of them have said a collie wouldn't cut it out here,
it's got to be a Welsh dog.
To date, at least 12 other herding breeds have gone extinct in the UK.
The remaining ten have mostly become pampered pets or show dogs
and are rarely found working.
Luckily for Teg, the Welsh sheepdog has survived,
thanks largely to two neighbouring farmers,
John and Hugh, and a dog named Topsy.
-What a beautiful morning.
-Hello. Good to see you, John.
So this is Topsy's great-great granddaughter?
'Topsy was the first dog to be registered as pedigree
'by the Welsh Sheepdog Society
'which, for Teg, is almost like being related to the Royals.'
I wanted a dog to mate with Topsy,
a Welsh dog, to keep the breed going.
-And I could see they were getting less every year
and Hugh was going around the country,
around farms, so I phoned him one evening
asking him if he knew of a good Welsh dog somewhere
-which I could put on Topsy to keep the breed going.
'Hugh and John were very clear about
'why they wanted to reinvigorate the breed.'
I mean, you will find that the sheepdog trialists
will send the dog away. "Come bye. Away to me!"
And so on, and so moving the dog left and right.
The Welsh dog does this naturally.
Its own instincts it tells him what to do.
If he sees a gate, he'll drive them towards it.
And that's what we want.
Why should we become neurotic about
moving things yards this way and yards that way
when the dog can do it himself?
'Together, they kick-started a nationwide search
'for pure Welsh dogs,
'and the findings were alarming.'
We found 80 of them,
but of the 80, 20 were too old to breed,
so that reduced it to 60, which is a...
It's getting to the stage where extinction would have occurred
in the next five years, without any shadow of doubt.
I suppose the main message was then, "Go forth and multiply,"
which is what they did.
'Today, there are about 2,000 Welsh sheepdogs registered in the country,
'which is a remarkable comeback from such a small gene pool.
'But, in reality,
'that number compared to the population of giant pandas left in the wild.'
The Welsh sheepdogs have helped shape the rural landscape of Wales.
Traditionally, they've always been selected on working rather than visual traits,
which in this day and age seems to be a bit controversial.
Rightly or wrongly, modern popular convention
appears to associate a breed with the way a dog looks,
while the Welsh sheepdogs don't have a uniform look.
So can they be truly considered a breed of their own?
There's one way to find out.
'We're teaming up with researchers from Aberystwyth University
'to get to the bottom of it.
'Matthew Hegarty is a DNA scientist,
'and this morning he's collecting a sample of Teg's saliva.'
What we'll do now is take that into the lab
and go through the progress of extracting the DNA from that.
Fantastic! It'll be fascinating.
Hey, Teg! We'll find out what you are, mmm?
We'll find out what you are, instead of just a ginger monster!
'Matthew and his team are studying the genetic markers of
'the Welsh sheepdogs to do what they call a breed assignment.'
What we're aiming to do with the help of the Welsh Sheepdogs Society
is to get the DNA from maybe 20-25 registered Welsh sheepdogs
as well as many Border collies as we can
that we're going to then take through and compare.
That should give us the basic information we need to tell if the two breeds are different.
'Using the latest technology,
'the DNA of all the dogs taking part in the study is captured
'by millions of probes in little slides like this.
'The complex job of analysing the DNA matrix of letters
'is done by Rob McMahon.'
As far as I understand it now,
the Welsh sheepdog is a tricky one.
It doesn't have a particular look.
They're different colours, they're different sizes, they're different shapes,
and so they don't seem to have a breed type.
It may be that Welsh sheepdogs behave the way they do
-because of their training.
But it may be that they behave the way they do
because of their genotype.
The problem is that we don't have a scientifically agreed definition
of what a breed is.
-A breed is something that the breeders say it is.
It's a human construct.
So if we can persuade
the breeders that what we're looking at represents a unique...
mixture of genes,
then there would be good reason for defining that as a breed.
'So if the herding behaviour of the Welsh sheepdogs
'is marked in their DNA,
'then the Welsh dogs could challenge
'the modern concept of what a breed is.
'As for my ginger monster Teg,
'by throwing her DNA into the mix,
'the scientists will hopefully be able to tell me
'how Welsh she really is
'and whether her puppies can contribute to the future of the breed.'
It does feel like such an enormous responsibility.
I mean, it's an enormous responsibility to have any dog,
but I'm now becoming increasingly conscious
of how special Welsh dogs are
and how rare they are and that, sort of, slightly unwittingly,
I've found myself with the potential
to do something for this breed.
'And as it all comes down to Teg's working ability,
'I need to improve as a shepherdess if Teg is going to be a better dog.
'It's a challenge I'm determined to face.'
Now then, where have you got to with your handling?
-Can you give a "come bye" and "away" and it'll work?
Yeah. And she'll pretty much listen to that.
'My guru, Adeline Jones,
'has been working with me and Teg for over a year now.'
There. Stand there! Stay there.
'She's the secretary of the Welsh Sheepdog Society.'
No, no, no.
'And to be registered with them as a true Welsh dog
'Teg must prove she can work with sheep.'
The voice of evil!
-She recognises you!
-You need to keep her back there.
'Adeline is a master handler
'and Teg works better with her than she does with me.'
You need to keep her from running all over you,
because what's she's doing is,
-"I'm in control."
Which she is!
And, "You don't really matter at all and I can run over the top of you."
'The roles are reversed here -
'Teg is the one handling me.'
Steady, Teg. Steady.
I suppose you have that inherent understanding
that I don't have of the position that a dog's going to be
-and what that's going to do to the sheep.
And at the moment, I haven't joined those dots.
She picks up that I haven't got the confidence.
-Do you think that's right?
-I think that's entirely true and I think you
need to work on taking control of the situation.
-And where to stand, it'll come with experience.
You just have to learn it.
Good girl, steady, steady.
Stand. Stand, Teg.
She's in control now.
She's put a bit of pressure on.
She's got them back, she knows what she's doing.
Come and have this gate and shut it across the back.
Now, that was you and her.
-Very little of me!
Teg knows what to do.
I mean, it's pack instinct.
It's how they hunt. They observe,
they see what's going on and they fit in
with whatever they need to do.
And...well, Kate isn't a dog
and doesn't do it that way.
Perhaps Teg can teach Kate.
That's where it hopefully will go anyway.
'Adeline is right.
'Learning to work a dog is difficult and, as I discovered,
'not a straightforward trajectory.
'There are days when things go right...'
I've felt for the first time just a bit more in control.
'..and there are days when things go wrong.'
'But practice makes perfect.
'So, for the next six weeks,
'we do it until we feel confident we can impress
'the most sceptical member of the family.'
You need to come and see her.
-Are you sure it's the same dog?
At a distance, it could be some other completely different dog!
You're so rude about her!
'So, to try to prove Ludo wrong,
'we invite him to join us at Adeline's farm to see us in action.'
Now, are you sure you haven't spent weeks training these sheep
-to do exactly what they're told as soon as they see Kate and the dog?
-No matter what dog turns up.
No matter what dog turns up. No.
'Our plan is to work a small number of these sheep and load them onto
'a trailer, which sounds far simpler than it actually is.'
Teg. Teg, get back.
What's going on in Teg's head now?
What does she think she's doing?
She's got a default mode that, at this stage,
is bringing them to Kate.
'Teg's exhibiting her natural instincts,
'and so am I.'
Is Kate going sideways? Is she just showing off for me now just to prove that she can move the sheep around?
'No, Ludo. This is what a dog-handler partnership looks like.'
-That was quite impressive.
Here. Here. Here, Teg.
Teg. Teg, look back.
Teg. Here, Teg. Teg.
Very good. Impressive.
-Wasn't bad, was it?
-That was really good.
She's quite a clever dog, really.
Very clever. Well done.
All right, I believe you now.
Well, she's finished sheep dog school,
she just needs to go to sheep dog university now.
Then she'll be sorted.
'Tomorrow, Teg is going to be assessed
'by the Welsh Sheepdog Society.'
We have to look tough and manly when working.
'If she can demonstrate that she works
'with the characteristics of a Welsh sheepdog to a panel of experts,
'she will be given her Welsh Sheepdog Society registration
'and then, if I breed from her,
'her puppies could contribute to future generations.'
It's judgment day.
Teg and five other dogs are about to be scrutinised.
A team of experts will be watching their every move.
If they perform well,
they'll be awarded a breeding licence by the Welsh Sheepdog Society.
The way they work will be crucial,
as it's this that defines their Welsh credentials.
Their style of working is very particular to Welsh sheepdogs.
With their tails held high, they dart boldly around the flock.
Unless told otherwise, they're constantly on their feet.
Unlike Borders, they don't use a fixed stare,
yet their eyes don't miss a thing.
And when the occasion calls for it,
they're not afraid to be vocal.
It's our turn, and first impressions count.
You all look quite intimidating.
Morning. Kate. Lovely to see you.
How are you, Ian? Nice to see you.
-Hello, good to see you.
So, this is Teg
and...yeah, we're both a bit nervous.
'The moment of truth is here.
'We take centre stage to show them what she's made of.'
'The aim of the assessment is to show how Teg behaves
'when herding the sheep.'
What it wanted was a five-mile run before starting...
That would make it settle down.
'Our plan is simple -
'to move the flock from one side of the field to the other and stop by a gate.'
-Oh, a bit wild there.
Teg, bye, bye.
The dog seems to have got it about it, it only needs some training.
Tail comes up on the corners.
Right, we're...in business.
Now that is showing far better now.
Tidy. Keeps them in a bunch.
-Steady. Stand, Teg.
That'll do. Come here.
Good, good. Excellent, Kate.
Well, it takes us a little bit of time to find our feet.
But what did you make of her?
-Yes. Very good.
Actually, she worked on her feet.
She was working in a Welsh manner.
Yeah, tail up, bit of a bark every now and then.
-Acceptable, yeah. Yeah.
Only thing, she was a bit over-enthusiastic.
-Oh, yeah. But that's...
-Bit like her owner!
'It's all looking good for Teg
'but then they dropped a bombshell.
'They want to know if Teg's parents are pure Welsh sheepdogs
'and I simply don't know the answer.'
The problem you have got,
you don't know her full history...
-..of her bloodline.
-So, we wouldn't be able to register her puppies.
They would have to be tested working first.
Does that mean she can't be registered?
'Hmm. OK. So we have a bit of good news and a bit of bad news.
'On the bright side,
'they all agreed that Teg works in a Welsh way,
'and if I mate her with a pure Welsh dog to form the third generation,
'her puppies could be registered, as long as they show
'the same Welsh working traits and pass the assessment.
'But on the downside, Teg can't be registered.
'Although I'm not going to give up quite yet.'
The stumbling block is the fact that we don't know her maternal line.
We know who her father is and we know his breeding
but we don't know anything about Missy, her mum, and her breeding.
And that's the thing that's stopping them saying, "We can register her."
So I think I've got a bit of a detective story on my hands.
'Confident that Teg's puppies could help the breed,
'I've one more hurdle to get over, much closer to home.'
She's been assessed.
-And the general consensus is that she is a good dog
and if we bred her, she,
the puppies could be registered if they worked,
you know, in the same way that everything else...
-As Welsh sheepdogs.
-As Welsh sheepdogs.
So, she would then contribute to the future of the breed.
OK. I thought you were going to say contribute to the household budget!
Would they be pedigree?
They would be able to be registered as Welsh sheepdogs.
Well done, Teg.
You passed the first test.
The big question is,
are you ready for puppies?
Where are you going to live when she has them?
Well, she could come into season sort of
October, late-October, November.
So, we could have puppies...
That's Christmas or something, isn't it? Ridiculous.
Can you imagine anything sweeter than...?
It would be appalling. Can you imagine it?
So, what do you think?
Do you think we should do it?
I don't know. Do you want to do it?
I promise we won't keep any.
I can see you holding your fingers.
So what do you think? Should we do it?
-Do I have to commit, do I?
-Because it's being filmed and if you commit now
you can't get out of it!
Well, you obviously want me to say yes, do you?
A nice clean...yes...
without you talking over me like that, so...
All right, then.
Good. HE LAUGHS
It's going to be a nightmare. It's going to be a nightmare!
It's going to be three months of puppy poo
for Christmas and beyond.
We were going to go on holiday then and everything.
Tell you what,
I'll go on holiday
and you can look after puppies. Would you wean them?
'Yes, we'll see about that.'
I still want to try and register Teg because that way her puppies
will be automatically registered
and her contribution will be more immediate.
To prove her Welshness,
I need to piece together three generations of her family tree.
First stop is on the outskirts of Cardiff to meet her father.
-What's his name?
-That's Welshman, isn't it?
Of course it is.
That's your daughter.
'Cymro is definitely Welsh and registered.'
He has that lovely Welsh joy.
-Yes. Isn't it?
-There's something kind of just, they look always so joyful when they're working.
-They are. He's a happy dog.
-He's a good dog. Aren't you?
-He always looks as if he's smiling.
-Unless I swear at him!
Cymro's heritage traces back to Topsy,
the first dog to be registered by the Welsh Sheepdog Society
and who saved the breed from extinction.
But I still need to solve the mystery around Teg's maternal line.
Back at our farm in Monmouthshire,
I meet up with Teg's mother, Missy,
and her owner, Bronwen Tango, to see if
there's any more information she can give me.
Did you go to a farm to pick her up or...?
No, I didn't. We just met.
It was prearranged with the farmer I was working for...
-..and they'd done all the planning.
-I was just going there to collect a puppy...
-..on the Horseshoe Pass.
-Oh, right. So, yes.
So, it really was. It was like a sort of little illicit meeting?
-That's right, yes.
So, at the moment, we don't know anything about Missy's breeding?
-No, no, no.
-Nothing at all?
-Well, if you think there's any way,
if you suddenly wake up in the middle of the night and go,
"I know, he was called Bert," phone me...
THEY LAUGH ..and we'll see what we can do.
'Whilst I leave Bronwyn to rack her brains, I try another tack -
'appealing directly to the public for information.'
So, if anybody does know Teg's grandmother, what should they do?
-They should contact your programme.
'And after numerous Tweets, countless e-mails
'and 65 phone calls, our efforts pay off.'
We have found the man who bred Teg's ancestors.
At least I can find out once and for all whether Teg can be registered
as a Welsh sheepdog.
It all hangs on him and her ancestors.
In North Wales at the Morris farm
I learned that Teg's grandmother was
called Nell and she WAS a Welsh sheepdog.
Well, Nell was, she passed away last year,
so she'd be about 12 years old.
-She was the first Welsh that we ever had.
And did she work quite independently as well?
Did she have that, sort of, Welsh trait
of not needing lots of instruction,
of just sort of going and saying,
"I know what you need to do, I'll go off and do it?"
Well, I don't know if it was a woman thing but she did her own thing very often!
That's the beauty of us girls.
And when you thought about breeding her,
what was your, sort of, criteria really?
Well, I hadn't actually thought of breeding her, to be honest,
but we had a dog off my cousin,
which is Rex, and he was a Border collie.
'So because Teg's grandad, Rex, was a Border,
'that means that Teg isn't 100% Welsh
'and as a result, I can't register her with the Welsh Sheepdog Society.
'But what's interesting, though,
'is that this kind of innocent crossbreeding between Welsh dogs
'and Border collies is in fact what nearly drove
'the indigenous Welsh sheepdogs to extinction.'
You know, that is the trouble with farmers.
They don't tend to cross them accurately enough -
the red coat and the collie and the collie, you know.
But to be honest, you know,
the point is you want a dog that works well.
-Well, this is...
-You crossed two dogs that were really good working dogs,
you know, and anyone would do the same.
I suppose the disappointing thing is that obviously, you know,
this is clearly a breed in trouble
and I wanted to be able to contribute
to the future of that breed
and, because Teg can't be registered,
it's now a little bit more complicated.
It's really important that we find the right sire for Teg and that that
pedigree is absolutely, you know,
spot on and then that the puppies she has all work well.
If they work well,
they can be registered and they can then go on to breed.
So, it's not the end of the world.
She can still contribute to the future of the breed.
To be honest, for me,
I just think she's the most wonderful dog
and I couldn't be happier.
I don't care whether she's got a little bit of collie snuck in there.
'I go back to Aberystwyth to find out
'if the Welsh sheepdogs have a distinct genetic code.
'The DNA results are in.'
Is there something that makes the Welsh sheepdog distinct?
They are very specific herding dogs.
Is that something you can see in the DNA?
The Border collies, shown in red squares,
split out from the Welsh sheepdogs.
Where are those differences occurring in the DNA?
The predominant message is one of neurological.
So, sticking my neck out on this,
it looks like the main difference between the Borders and
the Welsh sheepdogs is down to behaviour.
If I were to bring you two samples,
one from a Border,
one from a Welsh, but I didn't tell you
and said, "Test those and tell me what you think,"
would you be able to tell me which one came from a Welsh
and which one came from a Border?
With approximately a 95 to 98% probability of being right, yes.
So, are you saying, in a ground-breaking moment,
that Welsh dogs could be described as a breed?
They're an incipient breed.
And what does incipient breed mean?
They are genetically distinct.
-And if they were line bred,
they could be made into a separate breed.
-So, is it because they haven't been selectively bred to be a particular look?
Because some of them were used for herding sheep,
some of them were used for herding cattle
-and some of them were used on Welsh mixed farms.
And therefore they've kept components of the
ancestral herding behaviour
that the Border collies have lost because they've become specialised sheepdogs.
How Welsh is MY dog?
-It looks like Teg is about 75% Welsh sheepdog.
-So she's more Welsh than Border?
To be recognised as a breed,
the Welsh sheepdogs would have to be bred to look alike and to specialise
in herding one type of animal.
In other words, all the dogs would have to share the same characteristics.
But for me, the beauty of the Welsh sheepdogs is that they are all different.
And this DNA research scientifically validates everything the Welsh sheepdog is.
These dogs are unique,
and that's something to be truly proud of.
I'm certainly proud of my 75% Welsh dog.
With science backing us up,
we now know her puppies will be around 7/8 Welsh,
as long as I find a bone fide sire.
'Luckily, all 2,000 dogs of the Welsh Sheepdog Society are on a database,
'and before long some familiar faces soon pop up.'
So, this is Cefncoch Will...
-Yeah, this is the one...
-..who you saw at the assessment day.
Yeah. In that slightly sort of Jane Austen sort of way,
like the pushy mother trying to find a nice husband for her daughter,
I did look at him and thought,
-"Mm, yeah. He looks like a fine one."
'And then there's Ben,
'Alan Jones's dog we met at Teg's first hill gather,
'which Teg seemed to have taken a shine to.'
Have you made a friend?
I know, he's quite handsome, isn't he?
We might have to come back.
But in the valleys of south Wales
there's one tough dog Adeline suggests I meet.
Six-year-old Tango and his owner Simon Mogford
have the hardest job in shepherding -
rounding up wild sheep.
These are animals that have escaped from farms
and formed feral populations in the wild.
Over the past three decades, over 2,500 feral sheep have been caught.
Simon and Tango's job is to recover these rogue sheep
before they spread disease and destroy the forests.
A sight that has to be seen to be believed.
Tango takes the lead.
I think he's keen to impress me.
I don't think I've ever seen sheep..
..in a habitat like this.
Stand. No, quiet. Quiet now.
What's really interesting is that that upright way that
the Welsh dog works is completely essential
in an environment like this one.
If Simon was working a collie,
I just don't know how it could do it because it would be so fixated on
sheep and not on the environment around it.
I just don't think it would manage.
He's managed to catch one.
So, Tango was standing,
almost mesmerising the sheep to keep it still.
He's standing where they can't get away from him.
A collie behind the brash and stuff there could be stooped down,
whereas they see a way out when Tango's up.
Just his presence is enough.
It's just lovely to watch.
It's just this great partnership.
It seems like Tango completely understands what Simon needs to do.
Simon knows that Tango will do his job,
and between them they're catching sheep
that maybe haven't been handled ever, ever in their lives.
Tango, you were amazing.
I wait for Simon and Tango to secure the flock.
Come here now.
There's another potential husband.
Not Simon, obviously. He's married.
I'm not... For Teg. Tango, I mean.
'Once captured, these animals will either be reclaimed by farmers
'or sold in a market.
'If a sheep belongs to a farm, it's usually marked in some way.'
So now the big burning question is,
you've got your sheep all trussed up, now what do you do with them?
Fun part now - pick them up and carry them back.
Right, bags I take a little one.
I'm getting... You can have the big boy.
-Round the middle.
Tight into you.
Then just turn him over, so I got him.
He's on my shoulder, I've got an arm free.
Go back to the truck and your hopefully not too tired.
He's like Superman.
Right, which one of you is going to weigh the least?
And this is a tiddler.
'There are eight of these to be loaded
'and I haven't even delivered my first one
'while Simon is storming ahead.'
This man's like a man mountain.
If I've learned one thing today...
it's that I'm not going to be competing with Simon
to be Wales's finest feral sheep catcher,
but it's also another remarkable insight
into just what incredible dogs these are.
Choosing the right mate is hard work,
but now I have a shortlist of three,
I want to give Teg the opportunity to give them a once over.
So, we travelled to mid-Wales for the biggest event in the Welsh sheepdog calendar
to gauge her reaction to my chosen candidates.
The Welsh Sheepdog Competition Day showcases the best
working Welsh sheepdogs from north, south and mid-Wales.
So, as the farmers and their dogs show off their herding prowess,
I focus on the ulterior motive behind this annual competition,
which is basically speed dating for Welsh dogs.
You come and meet some different people in a different area.
You know, if you see a good dog you can consider taking
their own bitch to that kind of dogs and then, you know.
-Because it's important, really,
to see dogs working before you, you know, take a bitch to it, isn't it?
Yeah, before you commit. Yeah.
'Right, let the dating begin.
Look, it's Will.
I have to confess, I've had my eye on Will.
'I think there's a little chemistry going on there.'
You've got a nice bitch there.
Yeah, she's very nice.
'Oh, the flattery trick is always a winner!'
Would you consider allowing him to mate with her?
Would that be something that you would allow to happen?
Yes. It'd be all right.
'The second date is with Ben, who I have a soft spot for.'
I love the way he works.
He's got a really nice temperament, hasn't he?
Yes. Cool, calm.
'But maybe Teg thinks he's too cool and calm,
'as I can't see any sparks between them at all.
'But Simon's dog, Tango, is the one who seems most keen.
'He tries his luck once...'
KATE LAUGHS Yeah, you know, we girls play hard to get.
It's our prerogative.
'And the third time, he seems to be asking Teg for a dance.
'Oh, I think we have a winner.
'What a smoothie.
'OK, boyfriend sorted.
'But to become a mother, she first needs to come on heat.
'That's when a female dog is hormonally preparing her body for breeding.
'Most female dogs come into season every six months,
'but obviously Teg, being a bit of a diva,
'had to be different.'
look at the diary.
Your last season was then,
was in May, which means that by now..
you shouldn't just be in season, you should have had sex.
'When she finally does come on heat in late January, I'm away filming.'
I just noticed a couple of little spots of blood behind Teg as she was
moving around the kitchen.
The joys of fatherhood, eh, Teg?
Oh great. It's all over the bloody wall as well.
Kate obviously gave me a great long list of stuff that,
you know, what to do when Teg comes in season.
So, then panicking, sending e-mails left right and centre saying,
"Oh, what do I do now?"
If Kate starts going away filming quite a lot and I'm left, you know,
with an armful of puppies like 101 Dalmatians
or something and they're all peeing everywhere then...
no, thank you very much.
How many puppies are you going to have?
You do the decent thing and have about four then stop.
'Because bitches can be territorial
'I ask Ludo to take Teg to the chosen sire, Tango,
'so they can mate without a fight. Hopefully.'
Out you come. Stay there.
Good girl, Teg.
Oh, hello. He knows exactly what's going on, doesn't he?
'It seems like they remember their first encounter.'
-He knows what this is about.
-He knows what to do, then, yeah.
She's a combination of excited and nervous I think, isn't she?
Yeah. I would say not far away, though.
Oh, you recognise these sort of signs, do you?
'Ludo hasn't been too keen on the idea of puppies
'but Simon has a surprise for him.'
Oh, look at this!
'This is Tango's latest litter.'
Oh, my word.
Oh, they're adorable.
Oh, look at this.
Hello, little puppy dogs.
'Tango is a bit of a ladies' man
'and Teg won't be the only girl he's got knocked up.'
Are you going to come and say hello? Are you going to come say hello?
Am I a convert? Erm...
'As for Teg, this is a reality check.
-No, no, don't growl at them.
Don't growl at them. You're going to have your own to look after soon.
'At least she seems to be interested in the mating side of the process.'
Some of that behaviour there, it's quite sweet,
the sort of nose to nose and just talking to each other.
A bit of kissing behind the bushes, yeah.
Well, I'll bring the stuff in and then we'll leave her to it.
-See if she can get Tangoed.
-'I wish I could have been there for Teg.'
Oh, no, she's going to follow me down the drive.
'But I know she's in good hands.'
'Five weeks later and I'm back from the other side of the world...
'just in time for the big reveal.'
That was really good.
'Teg is getting an ultrasound.'
Feeling a bit nervous, really.
It sort of feels like a very big moment, this,
finding out whether you're going to be a granny or not.
I don't know how you read these things.
So, generally speaking, black is fluid.
-And then the whiter something is, the more sound it reflects.
-So, that sort of wriggly...
That little round fluid filled sack there is probably...
a little foetus.
What I might have to do, I might just put the lights off for a second.
-Kate, can you just see in the middle of that one in the centre of the screen...
..there's that little fluttering just to the left of below centre?
-Yes, yes. Is that a heartbeat?
-That's a little heartbeat, yeah.
-Oh, my goodness!
Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.
As things look, it's probably looking like five or six at the moment.
She's definitely, definitely pregnant.
Everything's gone very much according to plan.
-Well done, Teg.
-Well done, Teg.
Well done, Tango.
He's your Welsh beau.
-Are you proud?
-Did you want some pictures to take home?
Yes, of course.
I've never had baby pictures.
I'd much rather have puppy pictures, that's much more fun.
We'll get some of those in a second, then.
It's great. I'm glad there aren't ten.
Yes. I think she's probably quite glad there's not ten.
I don't think she knows an awful lot about it quite yet.
No. I think it's very, very exciting.
'For a dog, the gestation period is about nine weeks.
'Halfway through it and her mammary glands begin to enlarge.
'We still have a few weeks until her due date
'so reluctantly I take another job filming abroad,
'hoping I'll be back in time.'
The main thing is, I'm hoping that Kate will be back from America when the puppies are born.
Kate really wants to be there when Teg starts whelping.
I've been slightly dreading the possibility that Teg
might just start suddenly giving birth when I'm around
or in the middle of the night when I'm fast sleep and, you know, what can you do?
'Eight weeks into the pregnancy and Teg's lost interest in sheep.'
Look at her.
I mean, is this the kind of dog that wants to be chasing sheep?
'She's stocking up on food...
'..and showing the extra baggage.'
I felt a head in there the other day, I think.
Or a skull or something.
Come on, Teg, let's go.
'Then, literally two hours after I arrived home from the States,
'a week ahead of schedule, the magic happened.'
I got back this afternoon about 4pm
and I hadn't seen Teg for just over a week
and she just seemed very restless and quite clingy.
She wanted to be with me
and she couldn't settle anywhere.
And I thought,
"I think she's going to have puppies now."
And we weren't really expecting them possibly for another week.
I sort of let her in here and just left
her quiet and went and unpacked my bags and then I came back in here
to hear this sound and Teg licking the first of her two puppies
that she has now given birth to.
So, the first one was born at about 6pm this evening.
It's now 10pm, she's only had two and she might be having five or six,
so, having not had any sleep at all last night
or indeed the night before,
I was quite looking forward to an early night.
I don't think that's going to happen tonight, is it, Teggy?
'My husband Ludo was on camera duty
'whilst I played the role of midwife.
'Excited and a little bit nervous.'
Would you come out or would I bring her in?
I have just talked to the vet
because it's been nearly three hours
since she had the second puppy.
He said sometimes if everything sort of appears to have ground to a halt
its a good idea just for him to check her over
and maybe give her an injection of something called oxytocin,
which gets everything kind of moving again.
So, we're going to wait another hour and see,
and then call him back
and make a decision.
She might need to go down to the surgery.
I think we'll leave her in peace now.
An hour later, we pop in to check,
and thankfully she's had her third puppy.
Oh, clever girl.
Is that another one?
She says, "I'm just doing it in my own sweet time."
Is that number three, Teggy?
If you're in the lambing shed,
ewes don't like to give birth in front of you.
They like to do it, sort of, discreetly and at their own time.
So, we'll just leave her in peace now
and then pop in and out.
'It was a bit of a rough night.'
This is where I spent the night.
Bella and Badger keeping me company on Teg watch.
I checked her again at about 2am
and she'd had another three,
so I don't know whether that was an indication that actually I'd been
a bit overzealous and she just wants to be left in peace
to get on with it.
Two of those three puppies absolutely healthy, fine,
suckling along with the other three
but the other one, sadly, was dead
and I can't see any discernible reason why that was.
It was all cleaned up, not in a bag.
It was just sort of at the side of the whelping box.
Of course, you're incredibly upset at losing a puppy and it's very cute
and its more than a sheep or a pig,
it's something that lives with you.
You know, it's a dog and it's your companion or one of your companions,
so losing puppies is very sad but, you know,
it's nature and it just happens sometimes.
You sort of go, "Damn. You know, what a shame they didn't make it."
It's not uncommon for a dog to lose puppies in her first litter
but happily we've got five very healthy ones,
four girls and a boy.
Three weeks later, they've opened their eyes
and they're starting to move around.
They'll stay with their mum for another five weeks.
And I grab every moment I can with them.
It's hard to imagine that
it was almost exactly one year ago
that I started thinking about
the possibility of breeding Teg.
It wasn't a straightforward decision
but now that she's healthy
and she's turned out to be such a good mum
and we've got five absolutely captivating, healthy puppies,
I kind of couldn't have wished for more, really.
I started this journey very unsure,
very unconfident about handling her and really worried that somehow
I might have ruined her or suppressed her natural instinct to work,
and with the tremendous help and encouragement and support
of the farming community throughout Wales,
I feel like, you know, we've made significant steps.
We've got an awful lot to learn still
but I just feel like we have managed
to form a bit of a partnership.
The partnership that, you know,
I kind of yearned for when I first took on a working dog.
There are so many different types of dog out there,
but I think the working dogs, the herding dogs,
they have an extraordinary heritage.
And the fact that they are as relevant today
as they were 1,000 years ago,
I think says a lot.
These dogs still have a role.
There's nothing out there that can do their job better than they can.
There is no machine, there is no technology,
there's no app,
and that, to me, is justification enough to fight to keep
these breeds alive and genetically diverse enough
that the breed can remain intact.
She says, "What do you want to hug those puppies for when you've got me?"