|About our family
We are the Cunningham family of West Chicago, IL. We've owned and loved Australian Shepherds since 1991, and made the
commitment to breed them in 2003. We are Joe and Kathie, along with our daughters Jessica, Jamie, Katey, Tara, and Ann, with
Grand kids, Cat, Ahmad, Akeem, and Eli. We live on two acres of horse property 30 miles west of Chicago.
Our dogs are all working dogs and family pets. We are "hobby breeders", and do this souly for the love of the breed. We are
committed to maintaining the highest breed standards for the Australian Shepherd line, and play an active role in placing our pups
in the best homes possible.
Why Australian Shepherds?
Joe grew up in the South West, where Australian Shepherds have always been a popular dog among ranchers and farmers. It was
easy to see that Aussies were one of the most intelligent, loyal and hardworking dogs. Although Joe never owned one as he was
growing up, he was familiar with the breed from friends that did.
Our first Aussie, Chesterfield's Olivia (we called her Free), came to the family when our youngest daughter was two years old. She
was given to us by a relative who was moving out of state and could no longer keep the dog. Free and Jess got along so well, and
we soon began to see the natural instincts of the breed shining through. Free would keep a watchful eye on Jess as she toddled
around the back yard and instinctively knew when Jess was getting too close to the boundaries. We were amazed to watch how
the dog would "herd" Jess back towards the house. She was quick, she was agile, and yet very gentle. We knew we had the
perfect family dog.
Breeding is a huge commitment. Why did you choose to breed?
Free lived to be 12 years old, and during that time, we learned more and more about the breed. We talked with all kinds of people
about the breed and kept hearing the question, "Where can we find one?" Knowing that there are a few breeders in the Chicago
area, we still thought that this would be a great family project to do on a limited basis. As I mentioned earlier, we take our breeding
very seriously, and have no desire to flood the market with Aussie pups.
What are your facilities like?
We believe that well socialized puppies make better dogs, so our whelping room is actually the fourth bedroom in our house. The
puppies get constant attention from family and friends as they mature.
We keep our males and females separated when they are not supervised. The boys are kept in the kennel area in our attached,
heated garage, and the girls on the opposite side of the house in our large, converted laundry room. The garage has five larger
indoor kennels, and is equipped with more cabinets and counter top surface than our kitchen to accommodate feeding and other
daily needs. A large sink, in the garage, is where the dogs are bathed and groomed regularly.
Do you show your dogs?
Not at the moment. As I mentioned earlier, our dogs are working dogs and family pets. We're certainly not against showing, and
would love to someday have one of our pups show up on the championship podium in a major show. But as of now, our goal is to
produce a limited number of pedigree Australian Shepherds that other families can enjoy. By the way, we shared in the excitement
along with all Australian Shepherd breeders when Cailtland Isle's Take a Chance, a five year old Blue Merle, won Best in Show at
Cruft's 2006... The largest dog show in the world.
How did you come up with the name King's Gate?
The name King's Gate comes from two verses in scripture. The first is Revelation 19:16, where John is describing Christ coming
down from heaven on a white horse. This verse reads - On His robe and thigh was written this title: King of Kings and Lord of
Lords (NLT). The second is John 10:9 where Christ says, "Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved.
Wherever they go, they will find green pastures." (NLT)
We are a Christian family. While we were trying to decide whether or not to buy this property, I (Joe) was studying the Gospel of
John. I came across this verse and really felt that it spoke about this property, after all, the property has a front gate...and green
pastures. I went to Kathie and told her that I felt we should buy the property and call it "The Gate". She thought it was a stupid
name, but we bought the property anyway. We kicked around names like, "Gateway" (which sounded too much like a computer),
and "Green Pastures" (which sounded too much like Green Acres). We thought about, "Sheep's Gate", and "Lamb's Gate", but it
didn't seem to fit. Then I came across Rev 19:16 and thought, "What an awesome name for our Lord and Savior - King of Kings
and Lord of Lords." So, Kathie suggested, "Why don't we call it King's Gate." We think it has a nice ring to it. And after all, all of
what we do in our lives is for His glory.
Joe recently updated his online bible study and devotional
ministry, appropriately named "Average Joe Ministries". It now
features a segment on Joe, & his daughter Jessica's, baptism in
Lake Michigan, Joe's personal testimony, and a link to Joe's
newest Blog - "The Random Acts Project".
There is still a link to a small collection of Joe's bible studies that
we hope will bless you and encourage you.
Click on the logo to the right to check it out.