Jump to content


Photo

What is the point of this?


  • Please log in to reply
207 replies to this topic

#181 sea4th

sea4th

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 3,628 posts
  • Location:Hooterville

Posted 04 October 2007 - 08:28 PM

Because it was about GSD's, I posted an article in the Coffee Break Section today, about a working registry established for that breed, an article which addresses the attempts of serious working GSD people to reverse the damage done over the years by the conformation breeders. It's about GSD's, but what happened to them can serve as a warning for any other breed. I think it's relevant to this discussion. There are a lot of similarites. Right now they are scrambling to save their breed. What's happened to the GSD I don't want to see happen to the border collie -- or any other breed.
Vicki
"For the Love of Pete"
Think Dog


"Lord willing, and the creek don't rise"

Our Dogs Past & Present:
http://www.dogster.com/dogs/18267

#182 Brandon M

Brandon M

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,036 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northern CA, Sierras

Posted 04 October 2007 - 08:45 PM

Brandon, the reason for de-registering a conformation champion is not that we assume the dog doesn't work. If he was already registered with the ABC and only recently registered with the AKC, he may well be able to work. But whether that dog himself can or can't work, or does or doesn't work, is not the issue.

The kennel club model for breeding -- adopting an appearance standard for the breed, breeding to conform to it, and judging and rewarding the dogs who conform best -- is contrary to the development of a good working breed. Working breeds which have been taken into kennel clubs and subjected to this reward system for conformation breeding have all, over time, suffered loss of their inbred working ability. We simply do not want that to happen to our dogs.

Entering a border collie in conformation shows, competing for a conformation title, and advertising a border collie as a conformation champion all lend legitimacy to the idea that an appearance standard is an appropriate measure by which to judge a border collie. That is a destructive idea, and one that we cannot allow to take hold in our gene pool. The more firmly the idea takes hold that the conformation ring is a valid measure of quality, the more breeders will buy into this notion and will breed to conform to the appearance standard that is rewarded there, and the more our breed's working ability will deteriorate over time. If working ability is to be preserved in our breed, the border collie must be judged by a working standard and by no other. The working standard must be our only standard of excellence.

Dogs shown to their championship are excluded from ABCA registration not because it's impossible today for an individual dog to possess working ability as well as an appearance that is rewarded in the breed ring, but because of the impact that conformation showing, breeding and judging of border collies will have on the descendants of those dogs in the long run. When border collies are shown in conformation they are placed on a different path, one which will make not them but their descentants a different kind of dog. Once a dog is placed on that path, and shown to a conformation championship, we believe that in the interests of preserving herding excellence in the breed he should not remain in the working registry.


Oh I see. Thank you Eileen. Im sorry you had to write all that out for me. That is a great, informative post. Im sending you a PM.
Brandon M.
Posted Image
All Border Collies - My BC website | Mick & Lance - The Dogs' Blog
"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself." - Josh Billings

#183 bcnewe2

bcnewe2

    If you stumble make it part of the dance!

  • Registered Users
  • 3,960 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Union, MO
  • Interests:Stockdogs, Sheep

Posted 04 October 2007 - 08:48 PM

I'm thrilled that Eileen wrote it all out. It takes the pressure off trying to explain it to others. Very nice post!

Kristen
 

The world is a magical place...
Full of people waiting to be offended by something!

 

 

 

 


#184 ShoresDog

ShoresDog

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 3,833 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:San Diego

Posted 04 October 2007 - 08:54 PM

As to de-registering AKC conformation champions, to me it looks like a very simple and clear statement of principle.

One doesn't often see simple and clear statements of principle acted upon, anywhere, and it's refreshing.

Jan & Daisy & Juno & Star
LJ Shores, San Diego CA

SHORESLIFEPHOTO

 


#185 Olivia

Olivia

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 995 posts

Posted 04 October 2007 - 08:56 PM

Is there a list of de-registered AKC champions?

Olivia

#186 Brandon M

Brandon M

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,036 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northern CA, Sierras

Posted 04 October 2007 - 09:40 PM

I'm thrilled that Eileen wrote it all out. It takes the pressure off trying to explain it to others. Very nice post!


:rolleyes: :D
Brandon M.
Posted Image
All Border Collies - My BC website | Mick & Lance - The Dogs' Blog
"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself." - Josh Billings

#187 Eileen Stein

Eileen Stein

    Moderator

  • Administrators
  • 5,042 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Shady Side, MD, USA

Posted 04 October 2007 - 10:40 PM

I feel very silly for asking this , but I've been wondering for some time. How, exactly, does the existance of barbie/sport collies threaten "the working border collie" as a breed?


Sandra, I think we have to consider two scenarios. First, suppose there is no intermingling of working dogs with barbie/sport collies. In that case, I think the existence of barbie-sport colles poses a threat in a couple of ways, both attributable to the confusion of having one name for what is in actuality two or three different breeds:

(1) There has long been a symbiosis between working breeders/owners of border collies and companion owners of border collies. While some working breeders may sell only to working homes, working breeders as a whole produce more dogs than can be absorbed by working homes. This enables them to breed selectively -- the best to the best -- and also ensures a larger, healthier gene pool. Those who want border collies as companions absorb the "excess" dogs, and in return get the benefit of a terrific companion who is fun to have around and is good at nearly all canine activities and sports. But enter people who are breeding BCs for conformation and dog sports, and that symbiotic relationship is upset. They produce "border collies" too and are better marketers of their pups -- they claim their dogs can do it all and have the titles to prove it -- and as a result they begin to gobble up the companion homes that would formerly be choosing working-bred dogs. And since those sport/conformation dogs are not being tested for so many of the components of herding excellence, they move further and further away, at every generation, from the working ideal, and therefore are able to make less and less of a contribution to the working gene pool. Eventually the working-bred dogs would be reduced to a small fragment of the breed, the gene pool is diminished and/or diluted, and working breeders cannot breed as selectively as before because they have fewer placements available for their pups.

(2) Another problem is that people seeking a border collie as a working dog are misled into buying a sport or conformation "border collie" which cannot do the work; not only do they suffer from the lack of a good helper, but the reputation of the breed suffers because that farmer will conclude that border collies are no good, more trouble than they're worth, etc., and never buy another (as well as sharing his bitter experience with his friends). Some think that this could never happen, because a real farmer would know better than to go to a conformation/sport breeder and would always know to go to a working breeder, but that simply isn't so. Yes, knowledgeable farmers would know, but not everyone is that knowledgeable. There are many people just getting into farming (yes! it's true, despite the overall statistics), and many farmers who have never used a dog and may be considering one for the first time. If you're starting from square one, a dog with AKC titles (excellence certified by a famous organization!) who you're told is a great herder and who is, after all, a border collie may look pretty good.

But an even greater threat comes from the second scenario, where there IS intermingling of working border collies with sport/conformation dogs. Such intermingling has so far been much less than the AKC forces had hoped and some of us had feared, but it is an ever-present threat. Steady erosion and assimilation is the AKC side's aim. That is why they have kept the studbooks open to our working dogs indefinitely, when they were supposed to have closed years ago. That's where the AKC's power and influence come in. The BCSA, AKC's parent club (whose membership is basically sport folks but which also represents the conformation folks), is constantly trying to increase dual registration and merger by various ploys. There is a financial imbalance involved -- "the fancy" tends to have a lot more money than the farmers and ranchers who are the traditional working breeders. Sport dog breeders offer big stud fees to working dog folks. Some will resist, some will succumb. The more succumb, the more it becomes acceptable to succumb. Are the offspring of those breedings working dogs or sport dogs? The lines get blurred. They're all just "border collies." Working breeders see the prices that sport breeders are getting for their pups, and that those pups are easier to find buyers for because of their titles. Maybe it would be good to advertise that one's dog has produced titled pups? Maybe it would be good if one's dog had a title or two of his own to advertise? The pressure is ongoing. If one working breeder goes that way, the pressure is greater for others to follow. And so it goes -- or may go. Our working breeders are generally not theoreticians. They have bred wonderful dogs over the years by considering working excellence as their only criterion. As pressures build to take other factors into account, it would be natural for many of them to think they could do that "just a little bit" and still produce good dogs. And then "just a little bit more." And only see the loss when it's too late. It's this sort of thing -- and variations and multiples of this sort of thing -- that I think is the greatest threat, and it's harder for people to grasp a threat like this because it would be a long, steady slide over a long period of time.

#188 jdarling

jdarling

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 2,054 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 04 October 2007 - 10:54 PM

Wow, this thread has run the gamet. That wasn't my intention, but there seems to be a lot of good information here.

To no one's fault but my own, this thread completely missed my intended mark, and like Maria said, perhaps I should have expanded on my original thought instead of just throwing it out there. It didn't occur to me that it would turn into what it did, I guess, because it was so clear in my mind what I meant.

When I saw the video of the dog show, it just doesn't make sense to me. I wasn't even looking at the dogs. You have a bunch of people in skirts and suits who are paid big money to prance these dogs around the ring, and then their owners are the ones who occasionally pop on to a working board and sit here and try to tell us that they know how a dog needs to be built in order to put in a hard day's work. On what planet? How does putting your hands on the dogs ribs, and feeling for their testicles make someone an authority on what goes into a dog structurally to make him "correct" enough to work stock all day long? Hell, the farmers and ranchers who use dogs all day long have a hard enough time producing litters full of pups that not only have what it takes mentally to work, but physically as well. Ok, yes, we all know you can't judge a dog's working ability by the way it prances around in a ring. But the claim that the show crowd makes that their dogs are built right, and THIS is the test that shows it is preposterous. I mean, seriously, if the dogs were doing something at least active and strenuous that required them to use their brain a bit, the claim might be a hair more valid. But this is just malarkey, and how any intelligent human being can be swayed into thinking that this is how a working dog is created just blows me away.

Jodi

#189 Eileen Stein

Eileen Stein

    Moderator

  • Administrators
  • 5,042 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Shady Side, MD, USA

Posted 04 October 2007 - 11:18 PM

Thank you Eileen. Im sorry you had to write all that out for me.


Glad to do it, and glad you found it helpful.

#190 airbear

airbear

    Talk to the paw

  • Registered Users
  • 2,343 posts
  • Location:Vancouver, BC

Posted 04 October 2007 - 11:21 PM

But an even greater threat comes from the second scenario, where there IS intermingling of working border collies with sport/conformation dogs. Such intermingling has so far been much less than the AKC forces had hoped and some of us had feared, but it is an ever-present threat. Steady erosion and assimilation is the AKC side's aim...It's this sort of thing -- and variations and multiples of this sort of thing -- that I think is the greatest threat, and it's harder for people to grasp a threat like this because it would be a long, steady slide over a long period of time.

Eileen.

This is the best, most well-articulated explanation of the problem that I've ever read. Thank you very much for taking the time to type it out.
Kristi
Wick, Lou and Rex
Bear, forever in my heart
Our Photo Blog

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams - Eleanor Roosevelt

#191 SoloRiver

SoloRiver

    Canis sapiens

  • Registered Users
  • 4,701 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Eugene, OR
  • Interests:working sheepdogs, agility, behavior and training, rescue

Posted 04 October 2007 - 11:26 PM

How does putting your hands on the dogs ribs, and feeling for their testicles make someone an authority on what goes into a dog structurally to make him "correct" enough to work stock all day long?


There's another YouTube video from the same user that's quite entertaining. It shows another of the breeder's dogs at an AKC herding trial. Those are some extremely well-trained sheep -- they continue on the course regardless of where the dog is. Oh well, at least the dog looks interested. That's more than I can say for most Barbie Collies. I'm sure the breeder thinks he's the Best Herding Dog Ever.
Melanie, Solo the Red, Superfly, and Jett Girl
My homepage
My photos on Flickr
Canine Behavioral Genetics Project

#192 Mojo

Mojo

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 338 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Los Angeles, CA
  • Interests:http://www.myspace.com/koisdogs

Posted 04 October 2007 - 11:36 PM

Unfortunately, out here in California there are "puppy stores" who sell border collie puppies. Gaahhh! Barkworks is one of them. Pet store sale should be outlawed, for the sake of all the dogs, though I do agree that it isn't the largest part of the problem for border collies.


ETA: I know very little of working Border Collies, so I have nothing productive I can add to the discussion on that front. I deeply apologize in advance if the following derails this thread a bit, but I just had to respond to the above comment....

Look at all the ridiculous breed mixes on that Barkworks listing! Gah. Pet stores make me really, REALLY, *MAD.* There is a big, upscale mall called the Beverly Center here that has a pet store in it, right next to the high-end fashion boutiques. There is no other way to describe its presence in this mall as anything but "irresponsible." Yes, there are actually people who go to the mall, buy some $1200 Manolo Blahnik boots, and pick up a $3500 York-shih-poo while they're at it on a total whim, without having done any research on breeds, much less general puppy care and dog ownership. Trust me--this pet store doesn't just get window shoppers; they do quite a lot of actual business.

Call me anal, but I do hours of online research before I buy any high-ticket item, let alone a living, breathing puppy that could very well be one's constant companion for the next 15+ years, which is more than anyone could say for a flat-screen TV.....but I would venture to say that Joe Public puts more effort into selecting electronics than his child's next pet. Less than forty-five seconds spent on Google will bring up any number of sites that advocate the banning of pet stores and puppy mills, and yet, these stores and the mills that supply them still exist, and people continue to patronize them. I knew when I was seven years old that pet stores were bad news for dogs and cats. Hardly anyone had even heard of the Internet back then...is it so hard for other people to find this information today?

The ONLY halfway logical excuse I have ever heard from someone who had a pet-store puppy was that she had bought it because she felt sorry for it, and wanted to "rescue" it from its predicament. I certainly agree that the lives of individual pups hang in the balance, but of course, by buying a puppy, one is only making way for future inventory to be put in its place, perpetuating the cycle. I completely understand that it is *very* hard to walk by any pet store with a hardened heart and ignore one's noble desire to save all of the sad, sick-looking puppies in glass cages....I have actually been guilty of going into that particular store on the pretense of viewing puppies and saying aloud, "Wow, look at the incredible prices they are charging for all these unhealthy MUTTS." Does anyone within earshot even pretend to listen to me? No.

It really pains me to think that Mojo might have come from such a place, for all I know. :rolleyes: It would explain a lot about him, though (seizures, indecipherable breed mix, lack of socialization, hair-trigger reactivity).

Does anyone know WHY there is no nationwide ban on pet stores that sell live dogs (and cats), when it is almost universally acknowledged that 1) pet stores are no place for puppies, 2) pet stores are supplied by puppy mills, and that 3) puppy mills are no place for puppies? I know that the majority of puppy mills are not even USDA-licensed because they do not sell wholesale, so there can't be a USDA subsidy...can there? I DID just do a Google search on this topic, and while I found over 27,000 sites that exhorted the ban of pet stores and puppy mills and begged for puppy mill legislation, there is no readily apparent reason for why the government has not stepped in to enforce these pleas. Is it because there are no defined standards for what constitutes a "reputable breeder," and that unless specific tenets of the Animal Welfare Act or requirements for commercial kennel licensing are being broken, there would be no way to shut down a puppy mill? In that case, wouldn't it be fairly simple to enact a law to curtail these practices at the other end, forbidding "retail" sales of pets to consumers in a pet store/commercial environment (like the mall)??
Posted Image
Saving just one dog won't change the world,
but surely will change the world for that one dog.
Visit our Dogster and MySpace pages,
and watch our videos on YouTube.

#193 sandra s.

sandra s.

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 3,559 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Lenggries, Germany
  • Interests:rock music (mostly Oasis and all their heroes and influences), nature (esp. geology), rockhounding, hiking, daydreaming, taking photos (still learning!), any activity that Kessie enjoys (with some exceptions, like rolling in you-know-what!).

Posted 05 October 2007 - 02:18 AM

Some think that this could never happen, because a real farmer would know better than to go to a conformation/sport breeder and would always know to go to a working breeder, but that simply isn't so.


Yes, I sort of assumed that farmers, with all the expensive equipment they have to buy, would know better than to fall for snazzy advertising and "we are the best"-slogans. I didn't know that the AKC is already so far beyond advertising that they're just accepted as being whatever they claim to be, even among folks who should know about the principles of breeding for certain traits.

I also assumed that, since there seems to be a demand for working-bred pups among sport people, there'd be plenty of room to absorb the "excess" pups of stockdog breeders. But you're right, if people start breeding specifically to fill that gap, those homes will be lost.

Thanks for the long and well-written explanation!

When I saw the video of the dog show, it just doesn't make sense to me.


If the results of these shows weren't so sad, it would make me laugh until I cried. Those are funny, funny people. Because they're so dead serious about what they're doing!! I know, hobby trialers might also be difficult to explain to a visitor from space, and folks who walk up and down mountains in their free time should shut up anyway, but I think those dog show folks are in an extra league :rolleyes:. No offense meant to anyone - everyone needs their fistful of loose screws and I have a box full myself - but it's funny.

I'm sure all those dogs have irreplacable personalities, and would quickly become characters if anyone gave them a little room to grow, but that's not the side of them their folks seem to be proud of.

ETA:

Steady erosion and assimilation is the AKC side's aim. That is why they have kept the studbooks open to our working dogs indefinitely, when they were supposed to have closed years ago. That's where the AKC's power and influence come in. The BCSA, AKC's parent club (whose membership is basically sport folks but which also represents the conformation folks), is constantly trying to increase dual registration and merger by various ploys.


I don't quite understand what they're hoping to get by assimilating or eroding the "real" stockdog lines. It sounds like trying to sell cars that are no good for driving, by making sure they are the only cars on the market. People would just go back to using bikes. They still wouldn't buy cars that don't drive.
And the few pet homes that get their BCs from working breeders can't be worth that much of an effort for a huge organisation like the AKC. Power games, probably - yuck. Surely they aren't deluded enough to think that their "border collies" will be widely used and accepted as stockdogs if they only get rid of the "competition" first.

#194 pammyd

pammyd

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 460 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Glasgow Scotland

Posted 05 October 2007 - 03:29 AM

Some good points here - and I have changed my mind about things several times in the pages here
I am not as good as putting into words what I think as many of you here
But here is my tuppence worth

I agree that it would be a really bad thing to loose the working collie

But I also know here in the UK there are tonnes of farmers who carry on doing what they do day in day out without access to the internet and they couldnt care less about the show dogs - they are not going to pay over the odds for a pup when John down the road is expecting another litter. His dogs have never been in shows - whether conformation shows or trials - he knows the dogs are good cos they move sheep around every day
his dogs dont even have their papers cos he dosent need that to know that he has a good dog

Sure a new farmer might make a mistake and buy a rubbish dog for big money - but eventually he will take his complant to a real farmer in a pub somewhere and the farmer will put him right and show him a propper dog

also people looking to buy dogs, many will be put off by the large price tag of the fluffy dogs- the farmers sell their excess pups pretty cheep

Granted in time this means that there are two distinct types

And there is a misconception I have seen on some forums that working bred dogs make rubbish pets - buy a show line dog
I heard all that, I heard how difficult collies can be - and so I spent over a year recearching the breed before I even got a dog
I saw all the problems that the show dogs have (bred for looks not the ability to make a nice family pet)
and even now I decided to rescue a mutt untill I have some more experience and hopefully get a collie (although it looks like I might have got a border collie x Jack russle great because I loove agility - but I would never buy a specificly bred border Jack ewww)

So I think you are right to keep fighting the good fight- I for one did listen
But as long as farmers need to move animals there there will be good dogs to do that

And as long as the land where animals are kept varies then there will have to be varity in the dogs that do the job
(over time what is to stop the border collie in america being slightly different from the one in the UK from the one in europe from the one in oz?? - they all have to work different land - and people prefer different ways of working)

Hope I am not talking total rubbish - it makes sense in my head!

#195 juliepoudrier

juliepoudrier

    Poseur extraordinaire and Borg Queen!

  • Registered Users
  • 15,246 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Virginia

Posted 05 October 2007 - 05:55 AM

ETA:
IIt sounds like trying to sell cars that are no good for driving, by making sure they are the only cars on the market. People would just go back to using bikes. They still wouldn't buy cars that don't drive.

I don't think your reasoning works here. This is *exactly* what the AKC (well, maybe not the parent organization, but certainly the breeders associated with it) *have done.* That's why there are so many breeds formerly known to have been working breeds that can no longer do what they were meant to do (cars that don't do what they are meant to do, but are the only ones on the market). And yet folks still buy them (to be fair, the people buying htem probably aren't looking for a dog that can do what it traditionally did; they're looking for a pet whose looks they like).... Granted, there are a few "bikers" out there who are trying to undo the damage done to their breeds by years of breeding for a particular look, but you can't easily put back what's no longer there. And that's why there are more than a few examples, border collies included, of breeds that have split into show lines and field lines. In those cases, some folks did realize that breeding for looks would be the ruination of working ability and resisted assimilation and in doing so saved the working characteristics of their breed. But they face the same problem that border collie folk face: How do deal with the co-opting of their breed by an organization with scads of money and a PR machine that would make any presidential candidate proud. And so, John Q., who decides he wants to start hunting waterfowl, may have *no idea* that there are field labs and show labs and since the show labs are what he sees on TV and what are touted by the AKC (which is beneficent and has the reputation of promotoing "the best of the best" in the public mind), that's very well what he might end up with--unless he comes across someone in the know who can explain the difference (and he's willing to listen).

J.

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

~Vincent van Gogh



mydogs_small2.jpg

Julie Poudrier
New Kent, VA
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, Twist, Lark, Phoebe, Pipit, and Birdie!
Willow's Rest, Tunis and mule sheep



Visit me on Facebook at Poudrier and Crowder, Set Out Specialists (P&C, SOS)


#196 Geoffrey

Geoffrey

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 315 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NC

Posted 05 October 2007 - 06:37 AM

From a slightly different perspective.....

I think conformation can have a purpose in some breeds - the toy breeds, breeds bred solely for companionship....breeds with no working purpose. Their entire reason for being (being a pleasing pet) is based on their looks and personality so it sort of makes sense to "preserve the breed" by judging their looks and personalities in the ring. For the most part though, I think that the majority of breeds were created for sporting/herding/working/ratting etc purposes and really have no business being bred for conformation purposes. Several breeds have had their working ability pretty much wiped out - at least in AKC registered dogs, and it's EXTREMELY difficult to find lines that retain any instinct or ability at all.

Conformation Irish Setters - tall, lanky, tons of silky fur...very pretty. Unfortunately, they are nearly incapable of performing an honest day's work, not just because of their lack of instinct, but because the AKC show ring rewards their hugely overangulated rears. It's much flashier to "stack" a show dog with it's rear legs thrown out behind it....but a dog with it's rear legs angled in that flashy way has a much harder time getting it's legs UNDER it's body to jump and run. Irish setters in agility are generally a disturbing sight because they have to throw themselves over jumps in a very awkward fashion, while normally structured dogs sail over them with ease.

Conformation English Setters - nearly the same, although not quite as extreme. Some lines are attempting to be dual - but they still have to shave their dogs down and give special treatment etc if they even want to attempt field work because all that coat is completely impractical. I have a feeling they lack stamina and athletic ability as well, becasue their "correct structure" is also impractical, and inefficient (but very eye catching).

Conformation Terriers - the majority of them have become long-legged with stiff gaits. I wonder how this tall, spindly dog is supposed to go down rodent burrows? They don't even FIT. As for ones that are supposed to "keep up with the hounds" - their stiff gait is hardly going to keep up with a running foxhound. The people in the working Jack Russel Terrier Club have totally different dogs.

Herding breeds - well, I believe we all know that story.

One thing though, is that some of the sporting breeds have managed to retain hunting ability and do conformation at the same time (eg. Brittanys, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers). Many of these conformation AND working bred dogs are capable of winning field trials against some of the top working lines in the country - of ALL Breeds (ie. many chesapeake bay retrievers have won field trials - competing agaisnt the top working retrievers of ALL breeds). Actually, even non-conformation retrievers are nearly always AKC registered. The top lines of working Labradors, for instance, are AKC dogs - just from working lines. I find it kind of interesting that this only occurs in sporting breeds though - you'll never find an AKC CH herding dog that can compete with working BCs or other working-bred herding dogs.

ETA: Hopefully I made sense, I wrote this in a hurry before my classes start for the day.

#197 sandra s.

sandra s.

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 3,559 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Lenggries, Germany
  • Interests:rock music (mostly Oasis and all their heroes and influences), nature (esp. geology), rockhounding, hiking, daydreaming, taking photos (still learning!), any activity that Kessie enjoys (with some exceptions, like rolling in you-know-what!).

Posted 05 October 2007 - 07:32 AM

And so, John Q., who decides he wants to start hunting waterfowl, may have *no idea* that there are field labs and show labs and since the show labs are what he sees on TV and what are touted by the AKC (which is beneficent and has the reputation of promotoing "the best of the best" in the public mind), that's very well what he might end up with


Since these boards were my introduction to the "official" dog world, I had no idea that this was possible! It seemed to me that John Q., as soon as he developed an interest in hunting and hunting dogs, would be hit in the face by the facts pretty soon, just by reading up or talking to other hunting folks.
Most of all, it seems to me that once a breed loses its ability to work, it would also lose its good image after a while, so people would stop buying the dogs for work, and the AKC would get no more profit from those whose working lines they ruined. So I wonder what they're after in the long run.
But you're right, someone DID ruin those other breeds. I guess I just can't get my head around the image of some farmer - even a new one - watching those Westminster shows and thinking "That's just what I need for my sheep!".

#198 Maralynn

Maralynn

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 4,491 posts

Posted 05 October 2007 - 08:11 AM

But you're right, someone DID ruin those other breeds. I guess I just can't get my head around the image of some farmer - even a new one - watching those Westminster shows and thinking "That's just what I need for my sheep!".


Okay, that is a funny image!

Maybe not westminster, but how about a slick website naming champion lines? Or a sport breeder saying they breed for health checks and temperment (not that those are a bad thing, but if they're skipping the working ability, then they're missing a big part of the picture). Those things sound good to a novice to BCs. BUt they don't say anything about the working ability of the dogs being produced.

When I started looking for my first BC, I looked through sheep publications. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, anyone can advertise. Looking back, at least half of those adds were still what I would now classify as BYBs, not really interested in perserving the working BC. But if you go to a website, they look and sound pretty good to those who don't really know. Then if the pup doesn't work out right, and the breeder can't help you (because they don't really understand working livestock with BCs), where does that leave the farmer? Perhaps wishing they'd never gotten the dog in the first place, and telling others that BCs aren't that great for stock work.

Mara
Kenzi & Kolt

Kipp, my little dude 2004-2014
Missy, my good girl 1999-2011
K9 Knitter Woolie Dog


#199 Eileen Stein

Eileen Stein

    Moderator

  • Administrators
  • 5,042 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Shady Side, MD, USA

Posted 05 October 2007 - 09:20 AM

A couple of points:

Pammy, I think you in the UK are in a much better position than we are because the working border collie is more entrenched (for want of a better word) there. The breed originated there. I would bet that even the average city person in the UK thinks first of a working sheepdog when a (border) collie is mentioned, and thinks of Crufts only second or not at all. The breed is well defined in the public mind as a sheepdog. Its usefulness as a stockdog is more established among farmers, and farmers and shepherds would be much more likely to know "a good dog man" and to know where and how to get a good dog. I also doubt that the Kennel Club is the "Dogs R Us" monopoly there that the AKC is here. So I think those who need/love the working border collie over there have less to fear from the show/sport border collies than we do here, especially because my impression is that the KC side is equally willing for the two branches of the breed to go their separate ways and BE separate. Even though it's inherently confusing for two breeds to have the same name, I think the potential for actual confusion has been much less over there than it is here.

Sandra, the "cars" do not go overnight from cars that drive as cars do now to cars that don't drive at all. There is a long, slow downhill progression. During that downhill slide, the "manufacturers" are claiming that the car is as good as ever. They have trials and titles to "prove" how good the cars are. Those trials can be made easier as the dogs become less capable, because there's no need that they retain any relationship to the real needs of a stockman. They are not administered by stockmen. Yes, there will come a time when the "cars" have deteriorated so much that someone who really needs a car would be better off with a bicycle, but the AKC doesn't care what the farmer does then. They don't care if he buys their useless dogs or not. He can get a four-wheeler and make do. He can take all day to do a job that could be done in an hour with a good dog. He can lament the good old days. They don't care because the farmer and his needs are of no interest to them, and neither is the actual, practical working ability of the dog, because much as they love the notion of "herding instinct" they have no need of actual, concrete, useful working ability. They don't even know what we mean when we talk about it.

What is of interest to them is HAVING this breed, the border collie, the smartest dog, and "improving" it -- i.e., shaping it as they think it should be shaped. The conformation people care most about how it looks, and the sport people care most about how good it is at games, but overall their mantra is versatility. That's the ideal border collie to them -- a jack-of-all-trades and master of none who can be titled in all different pasttimes. They want to define and control the breed -- the AKC because that's their business, and the BCSA because as they see it this is "their" breed. They mostly have nothing but disdain for the farmer, even though it was the farmer who created the breed. The stupid farmer knows nothing of the principles of operant conditioning or responsible breeding. What business has he got having a dog anyway?

I don't want to sound too pessimistic here, because we have held the line better than anyone ever thought we would. When AKC took the Australian Shepherd the breeders grumbled but they felt they had no choice but to register with the AKC, or how could they sell their pups? (This will give you overseas folks some notion of the power the AKC name carries over here.) I'm sure the AKC was confident that the border collie people would have to do the same, but for the most part the border collie people have not registered with them. That's why they kept extending the time for closing the studbook, and now have decided to keep it open to our dogs forever. They simply didn't have enough registrations to close it, so they have positioned themselves for a long war of attrition. What the final outcome will be is anyone's guess. I don't think the working border collie will be lost, but it is harder and harder to maintain the essence of a breed when it dwindles to a marginalized fragment of the nominal "breed." So I don't know what the future holds, but you asked how the working dog is threatened, and I think this is how.

#200 Kyrasmom

Kyrasmom

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,011 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:California

Posted 05 October 2007 - 09:24 AM

From a slightly different perspective.....

I think conformation can have a purpose in some breeds - the toy breeds, breeds bred solely for companionship....breeds with no working purpose. Their entire reason for being (being a pleasing pet) is based on their looks and personality so it sort of makes sense to "preserve the breed" by judging their looks and personalities in the ring. For the most part though, I think that the majority of breeds were created for sporting/herding/working/ratting etc purposes and really have no business being bred for conformation purposes. Several breeds have had their working ability pretty much wiped out - at least in AKC registered dogs, and it's EXTREMELY difficult to find lines that retain any instinct or ability at all.



Maybe but unfortunately even in these "bred only for companionship" breeds the health is being bred out of them. The teacup breeds are smaller and smaller, the squishy nose breeds are getting their faces squishier and squishier. I think the first things that companion dogs need to be bred for is health and temperament because if they keep getting bred for the fad of the moment, they're going to self destruct at some point.

Maria


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

Copyright: All posts and images on this site are protected by copyright, and may not be reproduced or distributed in any way without permission. Banner photo courtesy of Denise Wall, 2009 CDWall. For further information, contact info@bordercollie.org.