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Puppy picking: Big Decision!

puppy agility herding merle red merle smooth black tri

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#1 Solyss247

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 09:44 AM

Hello! Long time lurker, first time poster! I have been waiting on a few litters of working bred border collies puppies and they have all finally made it safely into this side of the world! Now comes the hard part: choosing!

 

Litter 1: Working bred rough coated Red tri male (45lbs) x Working bred black tri smooth coated female (38lbs). CEA clear/clear, hips good/excellent. The bitch is out of incredible lines, bred and brought up for one year by Norman Close as his pick of the litter. She ended up not being pushy enough for the trial environment and was sold to their close friend who has a small sheep farm. She is athletic and FAST! Lovely temperament and structure. I have pick between two females. This is the female's first litter.

 

Litter 2: Same sire x Rough coated red merle female (50lbs). CEA clear/carrier, hips good/excellent. I love the temperament of these dogs! Litter produced mostly red merle and one red tri, I have third pick of females. Puppies from previous litters of this same pairing appear to be lovely dogs in mind and drive, and are successful stock/ sport dogs.

 

Originally when I started my search, I loved the idea of a red border collie, the red merles are also pretty, but as I have been researching, color is my last priority. This pup will be my sport prospect, especially in agility and dock diving, with intention to work stock as well, possibly trial.

 

I am leaning toward the smaller black tri pups, but I still can't get over how gorgeous those red merle puppies are. I know there is a lot of prejudice with the merles, and worry about that in an active sporting/trial career.

 

Thoughts?

 



#2 Sue R

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 10:50 AM

Good for you to be doing your research and finding a breeder with pups that are truly working-bred. Norm and Vicki Close are good people. 

 

My best advice is to ignore the color (as you seem to be doing) and pick the pup that "speaks" to you since most everything else seems pretty equally good between these litters. There are some great trial (working) dogs in all sorts of colors, and I think that color prejudice is something that is reducing over time as there are top handlers with top dogs that run the gamut of the colors that the working-bred dog comes in. As long as the dog is physically and mentally suitable for the jobs you have in mind, to me, personality is the top consideration. That is where your bond will be made, in the interaction of your two personalities as you learn and train together. 

 

The most important thing is the fit of the dog to you. If you lose out on a placing or a ribbon because someone is prejudiced, that's their problem, not yours if you and the dog are a good partnership. That's just my two cents. 

 

Very best wishes! 


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#3 Solyss247

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 11:16 AM

Thank you! We have been planning for this puppy for months, and now that it is decision time, it is a very difficult process. If I could take one from each litter, I would! Haha. I lost a young dog earlier this year, and having something to look forward to has helped. This is my first "planned" puppy from a breeder.



#4 Blackdawgs

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 11:36 AM

I'd be focusing on the attributes that would make a good sports dog and forget about color....resilience (recovers from scares quickly), no noise sensitivity, brave, sociable, toy drive, food drive, trainability, likes water (although I've seen this turn into an obsession)....

 

PS Judges don't care about color in agility and dock diving



#5 Solyss247

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 11:42 AM

I know sport judges don't care so much. I am working hard at finding access for stock work because I absolutely believe that this dog should be able to do to her intended job. I think this will come down to a coin toss haha. The red/merle litter had me at #8 originally, so I had written it off, but now I have bumped up to #3 pick for a female!



#6 denice

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 12:40 PM

In my experience the pups PICK ME, even out my own litters.

Is it possible to wait until they are 5/6 weeks old then visit the litter?  Many breeds choose which pups go where, or possibly say either of these two.  The breeder should know the pups best.

 

For example I choose the most confident independent pups to go to experienced bc folks to work cattle if I have those folks on my puppy list.  I choose quieter easy pups for fist time bc homes or pet homes.

 

Me making those picks eliminates color coming into the discussion for the most part.  Some have a sex or coat preference due to weather and dynamics at home.



#7 Smalahundur

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 12:54 PM

I agree that color should not be taken in consideration making these kind of decisions.
That is why I would avoid merles. I am suspicious of any such "special" colors, because I would expect them to have played a role in the choices made by the breeder.

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#8 Riika

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 06:50 PM

I agree-I'm always a bit skeptical about merles, and they have to be put under the microscope more than normal colored dogs. Merles aren't looked down upon in the sporting world, but definitely in the herding world, outside of the AKC. They have to prove their worth, alright.

That said, both litters sound pretty good, though I'd see videos or in person of the parents working before deciding. 

I'm curious-whereabouts are you? I'm not terribly far for the Close's, and had been researching them when looking for my last pup. 


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#9 GentleLake

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 07:48 PM

I agree-I'm always a bit skeptical about merles, and they have to be put under the microscope more than normal colored dogs.

 

There's nothing inherently inferior about merles. Unfortunately they've too often been bred for their colors rather than their working ability, especially in recent years, but any color, including back and whites, will suffer from poor breeding choices. It doesn't make it the fault of the color yet no one maligns black and white border collies because so many are poorly bred.

 

My first border collie, 35+ years ago, was a merle and he was a fine working dog. He was trained by one of the earliest Scottish shepherds to come to the US and train others to train their dogs. He told us more than once that he'd have been happy to have him as one of his dogs and that he'd have made a fine hill dog, despite the prejudice that exists among shepherds in that area about merles. And I had more than one person offer to buy him.

 

I for one am thrilled to see that there are some people responsibly breeding good working merles . . . and trialing them. It's just as wrongheaded to dismiss merles out of hand because of their color pattern as it to say any other color is superior because it's the color it is. There've been plenty of people saying the same thing about red border collies or overly marked white dogs over the years, yet we see more and more of them doing well at trials.

 

Saying any of the colors are inferior because of their color is as ridiculous as fearing wolves (or dogs) because they can get rabies; rabies is the thing to be feared, not the wolves. Poor breeding is to be disdained and avoided, not the color of the dog. If the dog is well bred from good working lines that produce good working dogs, then there's no way I would balk at the color, no matter what color it is.


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#10 Riika

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 07:52 PM

I would buy a merle if I knew it worked good. What I meant was, I'll do more research into the breeder, whether or not they register with the AKC, what other offspring the parents have produced, the bloodlines, etc. to make sure that the dog was bred for work and not color. More than I would do for a normal colored one, yes, but I won't eliminate the possibility of a merle just because it's merle. 


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#11 GentleLake

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 08:00 PM

What I meant was, I'll do more research into the breeder, whether or not they register with the AKC, what other offspring the parents have produced, the bloodlines, etc....

 

That would be the basic investigation I'd be doing for any dog I'd be looking to buy, even if they'd never produced anything other than black and white dogs. :rolleyes:


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#12 aschlemm

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 08:33 PM

I'm not a merle person but I've always picked my puppy on personality.  I'd like to think if a merle had the personality I was looking for and picked me I'd be able to look past the color.  The old saying is "A good horse is never a bad color" I think that applies to dogs also.



#13 Journey

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 09:02 PM

I'm curious...how is it you found two litters, same sire? You didn't say anything about working wrt the merle bitch. Does she work? And the sire, you say "working bred" but does *he* work? Just a couple of things that raised a flag for me..good luck!
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#14 Liz P

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 09:46 PM

I would want to see the pedigrees of all 3 parents first, sire and the two dams.  Call me skeptical about the red merle, but I've seen a bunch of red merles out west advertised as being out of a great working bitch.  They were out of a bitch who I personally knew of that was sold several times for being a failure on sheep.  (No stock sense, super weak.)



#15 Solyss247

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 09:51 PM

The Sire and Red merle bitch are both active working dogs, I have seen them in action, and like how they work. They have had a couple of previous litters that have produced sound, successful working dogs, some in a trial atmosphere, others in local ranching and do sports. I have contacted a lot of those owners as well to discuss the drive and temperament of their dogs. 

 

Same sire for both litters at it was advertised with the original breeder's site that an outside bitch has also been bred by this stud. He is producing quality, consistent working and sporting dogs. 

 

These are ABCA dogs, all of which work stock daily. They have also tested for CEA and had hips scored, it has been hard to come by quality working bc breeders with health testing. :)



#16 Journey

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 02:42 PM

 
These are ABCA dogs, all of which work stock daily. They have also tested for CEA and had hips scored, it has been hard to come by quality working bc breeders with health testing. :)


Not really but you've done your ground work!

Still have a concern with either/both...if one wasn't quality enough for the Closes'..what changed and made her breeding quality? Sorry,just asking questions as I read what you wrote..
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#17 Maralynn

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 03:58 PM

Forget color and pick a smooth coated one!

On a more serious note, have you asked the breeder for their recommendation based on your goals? I might even reach out to the Close's and ask their thoughts as well. Have you expressed to the breeder the specifics that you're looking for in a dog?

I'll also say that, for me, the idea of a repeat breeding that has produced nice dogs could be a definite bonus. But if enough is known about the other bitch/line then it may not be that big of a deal to me.

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#18 ramp

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 01:27 PM

If you are engaged with a reputable breeder, listen to their input but in the end its your decision.

 

For me it was temperment that was the deciding factor.

 

Enjoy the hunt. 



#19 Bordercentrics

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 07:47 PM

As I understand it from friends who work with  Norm Close, he is looking for potential High in Trial dogs.  Just because they don't meet his standards doesn't mean they won't be great working dogs.

 

Kathy Robbins



#20 Solyss247

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 08:34 AM

The litters are all 6+ hours away, so I am really only able to drive up to pick up at 8-9 weeks old. I have been very fortunate to be able to chat with several owners that have full or half siblings to these puppies and the temperaments between them seem to be pretty stable and similar.

 

I have committed to the litter born on October 1st. I have been in contact with this breeder since the beginning, but I was #8 on the list and have my heart set on a female, so the odds of that happening were low. When it came down to people on the list committing, I actually bumped up to #2 pick of 7 puppies, 4 of which are female! I am sure there are several other potential owners who are very excited by this, as the wait list was pretty long for this pairing.

 

We won't choose a puppy for a while yet, she will either be a red tri or red merle. Looking forward, I have found some contacts to start her on sheep when she is the appropriate age, and another gal that is getting a pup from this litter has two other dogs produced by the breeder that are highly competitive in agility! We are just over the moon with excitement for this little bundle of joy after losing my young dog earlier this year to renal failure.





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