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Breeding Question

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#21 Annette Carter & the Borderbratz

Annette Carter & the Borderbratz

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Posted 27 August 2005 - 08:04 AM


I think that in answer to your question- No there is nothing written that i know of on what makes a good BC and what good proven croses are. No one that is reputable out there lists their dog available at stud and provides videos, like horses.

You have to seek people out and talk to them like farmers and wannabes have done for hundreds of years. The trade secrets are kept mystical and mysterious for a reason- if you ain't in, you're out and you have to earn your way in you can't buy your way in. I think it is the absolute best way to preserve the BC.

I know this is frustrating and it stems from the fact that there is no written physical standard for BCs like there are for horse breeds (lord knows we've overbred horses and ruined many breeds too). You cannot possibly learn this *info* from reading- it's a legacy bequeathed to those that earn it.

Again go to trials, watch dogs run. talk to folks- you will probably be fascinated and have a blast. Do this a few times and start making notes (or keep em in your head if you are that good) on dogs that you like and why. Then you will start developing some idea of what you like. You may discover that your girl is a nice fancy Toyota and a whole world of Jaguars and Bentleys is just waiting for you. What I'm saying is that with this information you will have more decisions to make, more choices available to you, but you can't know if you don't go find out.

#22 juliepoudrier


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Posted 29 August 2005 - 03:47 AM

To find out about the good dogs, good bloodlines, what crosses well with what (and why) there is no substitute for going to trials and meeting the folks who know the dogs. At trials you can meet some of the top handlers and breeders of working dogs in the country. You will learn about a lot of different breeding philosophies (in terms of what to look for in a good working dog, what to avoid in a cross, what to look for to enhance your own dog's abilties and fill the holes, the importance of the dam and her line in addition to that of the stud, etc.). You'll also find people who study pedigrees and working lines as an avocation. Such folks can be invaluable for information about old lines, what has crossed well with what in the past, and so on (thank you, you know who you are!).

I have been involved in trialing for five years now. I have met a lot of people and have seen a lot of dogs. I know what *I* like, but also can be realistic about what is the best for the breed (which may not always coincide *exactly* with what I like). I do not hesitate to ask opinions of people who have been at it for longer than I have, even if they clearly prefer a different type of dog. You'll even get contradictory advice and opinions. That's how you learn.

There is no website that will give you a "formula" for what breeds best to what. Border collies have been bred by shepherds for centuries, and those shepherds based breeding decisions on their extensive knowledge of the livestock they were working and what they needed to work that livestock. That's part of the reason for diversity in the breed. That historical knowledge has mainly been passed along by word of mouth, which is why there is no substitute for getting out and talking to folks. And you can't just choose a stud on the basis of being a "top dog" for many reasons.

First, that top dog may not reproduce himself at all. Or he may only cross well on certain types of bitches. Or he may throw pups that are more like his sire or dam. The only way to find these things out is to talk to people who have made the crosses.

Now if you just want a quick look up of pedigrees, you can Google "border collie database" and you will find a Danish site that has a large number of pedigrees listed. The site allows you to see offspring, etc. But, the site is by no means complete, and so you sometimes have to know enough about the dog you're interested in to be able to find a "back door" to that dog's pedigree (for example, I was recently looking for a well-known dog in the database but could not find him listed; however, I did know the name of a littermate, who was listed, so I was able to get the littermate's pedigree, which of course is also the pedigree of the dog I was looking for).

Anyway, I also want to second Aerie. One of the reasons I may not breed my little bitch is because if something happened to her in whelping I would lose my best friend, farm helper, and trial dog, and that's a lot to lose--at least for me.

So unfortunately, there is no easy substitute for actual really digging for the information and that mainly means talking to people who know a lot about it--and many of those folks can be found at trials. If your trainer thinks your bitch is breedworthy, then as a start s/he ought to have some ideas as to what would be a good cross with her and also some pointers on how to go about finding an appropriate stud.

And finally, remember that photos and videos can be deceiving--any dog can be made to look good that way. In my opinion, nothing is better than seeing (and knowing) the dog to which you want to breed. Second best would be getting opinions on that dog from people who know enough about the breed and the work to make informed opinions. To me that means knowing how the dog works on the farm as well as on the trial field, and whether the dog works a variety of livestock well or not. And of course what good things and bad that particular dog's bloodlines carry that come out in his progeny. You can find a lot out just by talking to people, but your're not likely to find it on the Internet.

And as this is getting quite long, I'll close by saying that there are some books out there that do show pedigrees and give some discussion of the dogs in those pedigrees. Mrs. Barbara Carpenter's books, some of the memoirs of famous UK sheepdog folks, and Geri Byrne's North American sheepdog champions books all have pedigree information, and at least some of them also have discussions about some of the really important dogs in the working border collie world. You could start there.


I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream.

~Vincent van Gogh

Julie Poudrier
New Kent, VA

Beloved, and living in memory:
Willow (6/1997-5/2014, run free, my heart), Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Farleigh (12/1998-7/2014, RIP), Kat (4/2000-6/2015, I miss you, my sweet, funny little clown), Twist (11/2001-11/2016, you were my once-in-a-lifetime dog and forever my BEST girl), and Phoebe (7/2006-8/2017, gone too soon).

The current pack:
Lark, Pipit (Pip), Birdie, Kiskadee (Kiss), Rue, Corbie, Kite, Cooper, and little Lonesome Dove!

Willow's Rest, Tunis, Tunis mules, Leicester Longwool, Teeswater, Border Leicester, Karakul, and Gulf Coast Native sheep

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#23 Pipedream Farm

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 04:36 AM


What are the working characteristics of your dog?
What are your dog's holes/faults in working ability?
How does your dog handle heavy sheep and light sheep?
Is she too wide or too tight?
Is she natural or does she need to be run mechanically (or in between)?
How is she on hilly ground?
Does she look for sheep when she cannot see them?
Does she have a straight fetch even when she cannot see you?
How good is her balance?
Does she hold the line while driving?
Does she flop?
Is she clappy?
Did she take to outruns naturally or did she need to be taught outruns?
How is she on lambs?
Is you dog white factored?
Is she CEA normal, carrier, affected?
What working characteristics are you looking for in a stud?
Do you want a dog of similar working characteristis so you have a better idea of what you'll end up with?
Do you want a stud with strengths where your dog is weak in an attempt to get some pups with the best of both?
What style of working dog bests suits your personality?
Will your dog produce that type?

Lots of questions to think about before breeding and it can be tough to be critical enough about your own dog.

Mark & Renee
Gyp, Peg, Bette, Nell, BJ, Tally, & Eve

#24 Howdyjabo


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Posted 29 August 2005 - 06:08 AM

I just wrote this on another board-- thought it fit here too.

I know that I flip a few red flags when I breed...... how many would you flip if you bred your dog?

Red flags aren't condeming anyone-- it just means that the buyer should be a little more cautious.

IE--- if less than 50% of the puppies produced are not being put into a situation where they can proove that they are inheriting solid working instincts. Thats a red flag that they may not be able to sustain a reliable breeding program.

If the breeder is involved with AKC- thats a stop dead in your tracks sign- that they may have other GOALS than the perpetuation of the perfect herding dog- that COULD interfere with ideal breeding goals.

If there are more than five or six dogs/person involved with their care- thats a red flag that they may not be getting the care or work that having a solid ethical breeding program entails.

If the dog is getting spending more time bred than it is getting worked- is a red flag

If the breeder is not keeping at least one of the litter for their own use(working only)- thats a red flag that they may be over breeding the lines needs.and it doesn't ENSURE that the litter was bred soley to satisy their working & health standards.

If the dogs can't do a credible silent fetch-- thats a red flag that the breeder doesn't value or understand the basic genetics-- so there is a chance that the lines haven't retained those necessary qualities-

If the lines aren't backed up by trialing credebly in open or being used reliably on several hundred head of ranch or farm stock- Theres a red flag that the genetics may not have been proven enough.

If the breeder puts any empasis on color- thats a red flag that their goals are not in sinc with the breeds benefit.

If the dogs have "foo-foo" names its a red flag that they need something flashy to make their dogs and themselves seem better than they are.

If the breeder is not trialing credibly in open or working several hundred head of stock- thats a red flag that they may not have the experience to judge breeding stock.

If the breeder cannot train a dog from start to finish- thats a red flag that they might not understand the dogs genetics enough to be a credible breeder.

If the breeding lines have no working background- thats a huge red flag that the lines May Not have retained the necessary genetics .

If the there are not several generations to back up the breeding program- thats a red flag that the breeder may not have identified all or any of the genetic faults--- even with testing.

If they are not eye or hip tested on top of not having several generations to back up the line- thats a huge red flag .

If the breeder owns two dogs and they are the dam and sire-- thats a red flag that they may not have put a whole lot of thought into the breeding.

If the breeder owns one dog- thats a red flag that they bred what they had, instead of what was the best.

If the breeder doesn't have the solid working experience background to mitiagate any red flags raised above-- thats a huge red flag.

It doesn't condemn anyone in particualr for raising a red flag---
IE-- If Tom Wilson had red flags on some of those isssues i wouldn't be too concerned. If unknown Joe Blow triggered even one of them people should think twice.

Red flags just gives the newbies something to think about and base their choices on.

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