- We who love and value border collies are concerned about both the welfare of individual dogs, and the welfare of the breed as a whole.
- For the good of the breed, border collies should be bred only for working ability. The border collie breed was created by farmers and shepherds who wanted to develop a dog which could help them manage their livestock. They bred only to produce good workers, and that singleness of purpose created the breed we love. Changing the way border collies are bred will change the breed itself. Therefore, breeding dogs who have not proven themselves as useful herding dogs, or breeding for appearance/color, or breeding for sports or for "good pets," or breeding for anything other than working ability (which includes the health and temperament necessary for working) is harmful to the breed.
- Border collie owners who don't use their dogs to work livestock are not second-class citizens. Because border collies have been bred for a very demanding job, they have the physical, mental and emotional traits to be good at almost anything a dog can do. They generally don't make good pets for people who have little interest in a dog and little time to spend with it. But for people who are prepared to devote a lot of time and attention to their dog(s), border collies can be excellent companions, and excellent partners for a variety of activities, both formal and informal. If you love your border collie, and give him/her a good home, you are doing right by your dog. Just leave the breeding to those who do train and work their dogs on livestock, and who have the knowledge to breed to the working standard.
- Border collies should not be registered with the AKC. The AKC recognized the border collie in 1994, over the protests of the vast majority of border collie owners and organizations in the US. (For more details about the AKC takeover, read this). But the AKC defines breeds by their appearance, and encourages and rewards breeding for appearance. This is okay for some breeds, but is detrimental to a breed like the border collie, which has always been defined and shaped by its work. Because the AKC is so influential in the dog world, our only hope to preserve the integrity of the border collie--to keep it a useful working dog, in contrast to the many AKC breeds which were once useful working dogs but are no longer--is to keep it separate and apart from the AKC.
- The best place to get a border collie for livestock work is from a reputable breeder of working dogs--not someone who merely breeds "from working lines," but someone who trains and uses his/her dogs on stock, and is breeding to produce the utmost in herding ability. The best place to get a border collie for companionship or for dog sports is from the same kind of breeder, or (preferably, in most cases) from border collie rescue. Buying a pup from breeders who register with the AKC is bad for the breed. So is buying a pup from a pet shop, or from a breeder you know only through an internet website, and in such cases you run the risk of supporting a puppy mill and getting an unhealthy, temperamentally-unsound pup besides.
- We take border collies seriously. We try to take good care of our own dogs, learning and sharing knowledge about their health, feeding, training, work and general welfare. And we do our best to look out for the interests of the breed as a whole, by supporting the measures that will keep them the world's premier herding dog.
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Because the word "flaming" is used so loosely and is frequently misunderstood, perhaps the following examples will be helpful:
Desirable: "I think X because . . ." "I disagree with what you wrote about X because . . ."
Tolerable: "You're wrong about X because . . ." "Nobody thinks X anymore." "X is nothing but the latest fad." "X is cruel." "X doesn't work." "X is the only thing that works."
Unacceptable Flame: "You're an idiot." "You're a joke." "You're an elitist snob." "Spare me your stupid-ass opinions." "You're a gang of mean old ladies clucking among yourselves." "You're one of those testosterone-crazed guys who just has to be right."
Basically, the acceptable stuff is directed toward the issue, and can be responded to by an argument directed toward the issue. The unacceptable stuff introduces an inflammatory personal attack (flame), and any answer to it is going to take the discussion off-topic as well as downhill.