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#61 bexie

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 12:40 PM

What I've gotten out of all this discussion, beyond stretching my brain on the intelligence of breeding or not breeding my quarter horse mare (thanks by the way, not really relevant, but a good exercise), is a very good understand of how confirmation really goes wrong.

It seems like there ought to be a theory in there that makes it work somehow, but I can understand that it doesn't--not even for horses. I'm clearly too inexperienced in the realities of the horse show world as well in thinking I'd really get much benefit out of a stallion's confirmation results. I knew Western Pleasure was _BAD_, or at least has had periods in which it has been bad, which keeps me far away from even the small DK pleasure classes, but I didn't realize that even the halter classes were that harmful.

Unfortunately, it looks like the practice of confirmation breeding in any breed is far too swayed by the whims of human nature for animal health. Striving for a certain look encourages inbreeding. While very limited and cautious inbreeding might enhance a breed in rare cases, it is far more likely to bring out diseases (just look at illnesses, mental disorders, and other weaknesses prevalent when human inbreeding occurs). The natural world weeds out the majority of these weaknesses but human nature and modern medicine coddles the weak and allows the use of weak animals (and human) as breeding stock.

This is really where the risk is--the selection of a weak animal or one that carries weak genes as breeding stock.

If anyone things I'm just spouting off a load of theory, this theory is actually why I don't breed. I don't consider my own genes appropriate breeding stock. I've got too many negatives that are known to be inheritable. I'm not doing that to a child. Why would I do it to an animal?

Sorry, more babbling.
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#62 Sue R

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 01:21 PM

Anyway...I'm sure someone was waiting for me to post this....


I was waiting for you to chime in, Maria, because I think you always lend a lot of valid points to a thread like this. Your posts in these types of threads aren't always popular but I do think they have a lot of validity.

I think we largely all share a similar philosophy concerning responsible breeding, although many of our dogs have "come from" situations that weren't the result of responsible breeding. A lot of us (and myself included) have learned a lot about that very philosophy from these boards. I think we agree that, whatever our dogs' backgrounds, we do and should love them and be actively involved with them in whatever pursuit they and we enjoy.

I can join in a storm of criticism and sarcasm as quickly and vehemently as the next poster. It's sort of a mob mentality in jumping into beating up on the underdog. But, if we need to criticise, I think we need to look at criticizing the decisions that result in breeding for the "wrong reasons" (whatever they may be), rather than the dogs that are the innocent products of those decisions. It's not the dog at fault, it's the people who are at fault.

Calling someone's dog "ugly"? Well, maybe I feel that way but someone loves that dog as much as I love mine. Calling it "not representative of what a Border Collie should be" is perhaps more appropriate. I've got a dog that's kind of ugly, but he's my dog and I love him, and don't let me hear someone else calling him "ugly".

As for the type of lives show dogs live - I know some that live outstandingly enjoyable lives and I know that there are some that don't. The same can be said for working-bred and/or stockworking dogs. Some live excellent lives and others are the victims of owners you would wish on no dog. I don't think we can make blanket statements about how all show dogs are treated any more than show folks can make blanket statements about how stockworking dogs are treated.

I probably should have just kept my mouth shut, or at least kept my fingers off the keyboard...
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#63 bexie

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 01:26 PM

I probably should have just kept my mouth shut, or at least kept my fingers off the keyboard...


Why? You wrote a reasonable, eloquent post stating your point of view that I don't think anyone should find offensive. I think it makes several good points.

No group is all good or all bad and the dogs aren't responsible for their breeding.

Please continue to contribute.


(the one who should keep her mouth shut is me, who goes off on a tangent about quarter horses instead of sticking to BCs)
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#64 Carson Crazies

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 01:38 PM

Several thoughts.

Bexie - although maybe its tangental, I think the issue is relevant. Sometimes we have to break things down into chunks that make sense to us and work them out from there.

Sue - I agree with you. I typically cringe when a discussion turns to how "ugly" or "fat" a confo dog is (regardless of what my gut reaction is when I see said dogs - and I can tell you that reaction is pretty violent).

I actually *do* get what "the point of this" is. I truly believe that conformation folks believe they are doing their best to "improve the breed". To many of them a conformation standard is all they know - and having been immersed in the doctrine it is difficult to change one's thinking. I do believe they think they have good intentions, but are unfortunately misguided and dead wrong. I think the dogs are not at fault and certainly won't put them down - all the while I disagree with what their owners/breeders are doing. I do cringe when I see these dogs, and see what has been done to them through this version of selective breeding.

I have acquaintances with folks who do show their dogs in conformation (none of them BCs though) - and they are trying to see that their dogs meet the standard. In many cases this is a good thing - IMO all breeds need a standard. It just so happens that in many cases there has been irreperable damage done by using appearance standards, and entire breeds of working type dogs have been ultimately altered and basically wiped out. We're fortunate that the Border Collie still has us, and many like us, to champion it.

So yes, their point is to try to pick the best of the best... it's just unfortunate, IMO, that their selection criteria is one that will devestate the very breed they're trying to champion.

Oh, and most dogs being shown in conformation are a good 10-15 lbs overweight - that's what wins.
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#65 Sue R

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 01:39 PM

But I think that the situation in Quarter Horses is a lesson to all of us concerned about our breed, and what breeding choices will result in "down the road".

Is the American Quarter Horse a single breed? For all the fabulous horses that are papered as American Quarter Horses, I don't think it is a single breed any more - I think it is descendents of Quarter Horses that are now Reiners, Cutters, Halter Horses (Barbie Quarters?), Racers, Pleasure Horses (Western and Eastern - can't tell the difference except by the tack and clothing), Hunters, etc.

Line a bunch of them up in a row and darned if you could say they were all representatives of the same breed. Watch them move and work and darned again if you could say they were all representatives of the same breed. Is there any one defining characteristic of the breed nowadays? I don't believe so. Isn't a defining characteristic (or more than one) what separates a breed from all others?

In all the variability of the working-bred Border Collie, the stockworking instincts and accompanying physical and tempermental abilities are/should be the defining characteristic of the breed, not the appearance or any other talent or aptitude.
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#66 Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 02:03 PM

I think that in my book, the main problem comes from the fact that across the board, dog shows encourage certain characteristics to win. A conformation dog minimally matches the standard. After that the winners and the losers are determined based on arbitrary things that attract a judge's eye - attitude, flashy superficial points, overall attractiveness. In a breed like a Border Collie, what seems to be rewarded is the wide-eyed innocent look, the soft expression, the velvety generous coat, the straight-shouldered flying gait - as someone mentioned, a la' GSDs.

Those of us who work dogs, as Lenajo said, look at the result of selection for breed ring excellence, and instinctively react with a shudder. We realize that they've selected for things that not only aren't ideal for working, but would actually work against the dog's ability. Our knee-jerk reaction of "Ewwwww" is the same that we'd probably have if we saw a favorite movie star that had gained a bunch of weight and grown a scruffy beard and hair style. What we once appreciated is all gone, replaced with something that just won't "do" - for whatever reason - and we say, "WHY?!?! We liked it better the way it was!"

Of course it's rude to react that way. But it's gonna happen. Just like the AKC folks make fun of how supposedly unhealthy our dogs are (making that assumption simply because of the high rate of BYB dogs and the fact that we don't do 15 clinical tests at each breeding).

See you all in February! Or is Eukanuba doing the Thanksgiving show this year, I forget? :rolleyes:
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#67 bexie

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 02:19 PM

Is the American Quarter Horse a single breed? For all the fabulous horses that are papered as American Quarter Horses, I don't think it is a single breed any more - I think it is descendents of Quarter Horses that are now Reiners, Cutters, Halter Horses (Barbie Quarters?), Racers, Pleasure Horses (Western and Eastern - can't tell the difference except by the tack and clothing), Hunters, etc.


Actually, if want to get really picky about it, the American Quarter Horse has _never_ been a single breed. It is a breeding organization for a mixed breed horse--a type of horse named originally for its ability to run a quarter mile very quickly. It is intended to take lots of different types of horses and mix them together to create an effective work horse to meet the organization's standards. At one point, it wanted cavalry horses, which is why it refused the colored horses and there was a need to create the Paint breed. It ended up being a very versatile breed, which is why it has so many different registered classes. The "ultimate" Quarter horse can do a decent job at anything you want it to do. You can work the farm, doing all the chores you need to do, then show on the weekend. In theory, the various Western classes are derived as a way to prove that your horse can do the ranch work. But it also has enough versatility that with the training, your cow horse can just as well also be your daughter's jumper or dressage horse. You can't be tops at everything, but you could be a family that had horses to get the job done and used those horses to hunt and to go ride whatever.

In a lot of ways, the border collie is very similar... he's a dog designed to get a job done... or really, a lot of jobs. He's your farm hand dog that can do so much more. The breeding requirements during creation were making something that worked. Add a little of this and a little of that and when it worked, keep doing it.

The comparison is probably more accurate than I realized.

The problem is when you take away the work need. It's easy when you are testing the animals day in and day out and on every front. The problem is when you get too many specializations and when the show racket becomes more important than the work. It used to be you showed for fun or as a way to prove that your work animal really could work the way you said. Today the show is all it is. In both the dog and the animal world.

I want to learn to work cows with my horse and my dog. Not because I want to show. But because I want to go move cows. Not my own, but my neighbors. Then probably for other people who move herds a couple times a year and don't want to bother to have dogs and horses for that and haven't the time. For me it's a hobby, but I want to do the WORK for the fascination and the challenge of it. I don't want to go play in a sandbox somewhere and get ribbons.
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#68 Kyrasmom

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 04:36 PM

Hi Jodi,

I hope this post makes sense, pretty soon we'll not know who said what. :rolleyes: My last comments are in bold.

With all due respect, you might want to re-read your own posts.

I don't need to but I did, I didn't even mention my dogs if not to say that I don't have only one type of dog and thus am not advocating that one is better than the other or prettier than the other. My point was that I don't care if they have prick ears or floppy ears as long as the ears hear me when I call them.

Doesn't change that we all love them...and should.

Please point out to me where I said you shouldn't love show dogs.

You didn't, and neither did I insinuate that you said we shouldn't.

I don't believe that two wrongs make a right but I also don't get a kick out of disparaging other dogs based on their appearance simply because I've got nothing better to do.

Neither do I. I am simply questioning the showing of the dogs in conformation itself and questioning what it proves. I saw the video and found it even more disturbing than what I had pictured in my head. I honestly don't get it.

Fair enough, as I read the initial post it didn't seem to encourage conversation enough but we all interpret, that's how we get into these discussions. My initial, perhaps incorrect assumption, was that it was just another "bash barbie's" post

For once, it would be nice if a Westminster thread went beyond "ugly, dumb, and fat".

It would be nice if Westminster itself went beyond ugly, dumb and fat, but that's what they want. So that's what they get. What else are we given to judge these dogs on other than their looks? It's the exact nature of the beast.

I would prefer judging how these dogs got to be who and what they are. I don't much care if people get their feelings hut and Eileen once pointed out that the dogs don't really read the board so it shouldn't matter, but it does to me.

If the intent of your post was as you prefaced in your first paragraph above, I really wouldn't have a big issue with it but it didn't seem very constructive as initially presented and nor did it develop, up to my reply, with anything terribly constructive.

Why not specifically point out the drawbacks to adapting a breed to coat/color standards and/or flavor of the month?

Because that's not what I wanted to know when I posted the thread. Next time I'll check with you on what I would like to know before I post, okay?

While that would be awesome!! Just kidding, really, really really (I'm not half as snippy as I probably sound)...again, to my interpretation, I didn't get much of what you wanted from the initial post and as it was left so open, the easy way was taken.

Why not take it a step further and add that the dogs are probably overweight because they don't get to have any fun because their owners don't do ANYTHING with them beyond trotting around a show ring?

Make a complete point for any lurker who is reading of the difference between show bred dogs and working bred dogs are not in the coat but in the aptitude for work and that striving for coat eliminates the other?

I don't like conformation showing for many reasons ... so don't even attempt to insinuate that I'm defending practices I neither participate in nor condone.

Well, considering everyone tells me that there are NO conformation dogs in rescue, it would stand to reason that you bought your conformation-bred dogs, and by doing so, isn't that condoning conformation?

It is and if you check my profile you'll see I've been here a long time and have taken considerable heat for my initial choices to get a border collie. But I've learned differently and while I have what amounts to three fluff butts, I also have 3 that aren't...not that they are any right of entry to the working dog club but accusing me of condoning conformation now is akin to me accusing a multitude of members here of condoning sport breeding and/or puppymills and or BYB based on where their dogs came from. As for the numbers, as someone who does do rescue (all breed though) AKC BC's are in rescue but in a minority to the what is the stereotype of the working bred BC. A lot of these are also AKC registered but don't look like the Westminster dogs do. By and large, of AKC type dogs, I'd say we see more sport bred dogs that actual fluff butts but I'm sure that'll change as people give up dogs equally.

I would hope that if a point needs to be made, it's made for the right reasons.

I agree. What is the point of attempting to defend show dogs on a working dog board every time the subject comes up? You talk about the theme of these thread getting old. It's as old as your dissertation.

Because I'm not defending the breeding of show dogs and as old as my dissertation may be, so are the same old comments regarding dull, ugly and fat but alas we all have the opportunity to say them. And in keeping with my old disseration, this board is read by a lot of people who do have AKC bred dogs who don't feel comfortable posting but who may, as I did, learn something when the conversation is constructive. Anyone who comes here and reads that their dogs is ugly and dumb may not be willing to hear the rest.

I was hoping this thread would have sparked some interesting conversation, and it has. But, as usual, some are taking offense. But, being that this is a working dog board, I guess I should have asked my question on the AKC Yahoo Group. ::shudder:: Nevermind.

Actually it has sparked interesting conversation so why go back to lurking? I'm certainly not upset by any of the comments beyond feeling the need to point out what are my opinions, which I did. The way I see it, if even only one person takes something constructive from the post, you'll still have done something good...and it did get interesting.

Maria

#69 Kyrasmom

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 04:40 PM

As for the type of lives show dogs live - I know some that live outstandingly enjoyable lives and I know that there are some that don't. The same can be said for working-bred and/or stockworking dogs. Some live excellent lives and others are the victims of owners you would wish on no dog. I don't think we can make blanket statements about how all show dogs are treated any more than show folks can make blanket statements about how stockworking dogs are treated.

I probably should have just kept my mouth shut, or at least kept my fingers off the keyboard...


You're correct Sue, it was unfair of me to insinuate that all show dogs lead a bad life...I'm sure that's not the case. The dogs in the video did look a bit prodded and pulled and I posted based on that. I just love dogs being dogs even when it means that my fluff butts jump into mud puddles! For me their happiness is akin to my own which is probably why I always end up defending the pooches even if they can't read!! :rolleyes:

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#70 OurBoys

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 05:00 PM

We all have history, with mistakes and triumphs. It is as the quote, I think by Maya Angelo goes...Success and growing is about that ..."I did the best I knew at the time, and when I knew better, I did better".


I like that, Wendy. Thanks for posting.

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#71 Sue R

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:16 PM

Maria - Actually, my comment on show dogs' lives had nothing to do with your comments. Someone (and I'm not going to look back through everything again) said something along the lines of them being kenneled (or whatever) except when being pulled out to be prepared and shown, and then stuffed back into crates or whatever.

I can see where many show dogs must lead horribly boring lives if they are limited in their activities by whether or not it will damage or dirty their coat, etc. I've seen young Quarter Horses (there they are again, but I'm sure animals of all breeds/species that are show animals experience this to some extent) in stalls 24/7 (can't risk scratching or sunburn or that nasty dirt), fed loads of grain and minimal hay (wouldn't want a hay or pasture belly, would we?), given steroid shots to bulk them up (so they have those show ring "muscles"), and basically seen nice youngsters become monsters as they have virtually gone nuts with boredom and confinement and nothing to do!

The dogs I know that are shown in general are family members and pampered pets. They are not crated any more than many other pet or working dogs. They lead lives that, generally, are the envy of many other dogs. Good food, excellent vet care, lots of time and attention. Good grief, one friend of mine has a custom van for taking her dogs places! Meanwhile, I was sleeping in my Subaru in order to go to trials. Go figure!

You and I both agree whole-heartedly that there are good and bad folks in both "camps" and that Border Collies are Border Collies should be when they are bred for the work. We love our dogs even if their breeding isn't stellar or if their source wasn't, but if you are like me, I sure have learned a lot here that will help me when and if I ever get another.
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#72 Sue R

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:29 PM

Bexie - Actually, I think you and I are thinking at cross-purposes here. I feel that the breeding of QHs in many different lines for many different disciplines, has essentially produced multiple breeds descended from the original QH (which was an amalgam of many breeds/types).

I think that for some to breed Border Collies for work, some for conformation, some for sports, some for obedience, some for pets, etc., will (and it has already as we can see) result in multiple breeds that are descended from the Border Collie but most of which are no longer truly Border Collies.

As a majority of QHs have been bred for traits other than stockwork, so has the ability to work stock diminished in the QH within the lines where stockwork has not been selected for. And, for those lines bred for *competition* stockwork, just how practical are those animals in a real world farm/ranch setting, I wonder?

A reasonable and healthy variability in a breed is a good thing. To breed lines that, at some point, no longer share that common defining characteristic (in our case, stockworking instinct and ability) means you are no longer really breeding Border Collies. Just like I feel that *some* of the lines of QHs are no longer really QHs, but breeds descended from the QH, which was a marvelously adaptable and practical stockworking horse that could do a day's work on the farm/ranch with the stock (and whatever else was needed) and then take you to town in the evening. How many modern QHs could do that?

I think that the "progress" the QH breed has made over recent decades is an allegory for what can (and is?) happening to the Border Collie, and it should serve as a warning about what happens when a breed is bred for something other than the purpose that made it great. You may produce a terrific horse or dog, but will it really be a Quarter Horse or a Border Collie, or will it be something else descended from Quarter Horses or Border Collies? That is my concern.
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#73 Eileen Stein

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 08:08 PM

Eileen, my apologies for posting this thread. It was not my intention to insult anyone or their dog(s) on this board. Please feel free to delete this thread.


Jodi, I have no problem with the thread. The conformation mentality -- the idea that the best, defining exemplar of a breed is the dog who wins in the show ring -- is pervasive in our society, and now that border collies are recognized by the AKC and shown in conformation, that fact is a threat to the border collie breed. To ask, as you did, "What is the point of this?" is to question that pervasive, accepted conformation mentality, and questioning it is something that we should never stop doing. I think a show person would say that the point is to create the most beautiful (and therefore most perfect) Border Collie, and given that, it's hard to avoid commenting on the beauty/ugliness of what the system has produced. Since beauty/ugliness is very low on the scale when I myself am appraising a dog, it's hard for me to see much sting in a dog being called ugly. As long as no dogs are hurt by an honest appraisal of their looks on these Boards -- and no dogs ARE hurt -- I don't really see the harm, although I wouldn't be interested enough in their looks to comment myself. Yes, I suppose there may be a show person or two on the Boards who are shocked and insulted at the idea that we don't find the Barbie Collie ideal beautiful, but I think on the whole it's good for them to be made aware of that fact. Most people don't question their assumptions if everyone they know shares the same assumptions; if they learn there are people who don't share them, they may begin to question.

I think this out-of-season thread has produced some interesting stuff. Along the lines of Bexie's question, one of the most interesting things in Donald McCaig's new book The Dog Wars was the historical insight into how dog show standards were developed, and how weak is the theoretical basis behind them in terms of their efficacy in assessing working quality. BTW, for those who haven't read it, the show Suffolk thread that Sue referred to can be found here, and it makes for very interesting reading.

#74 billiegirl

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 11:24 PM

Last Saturday, DH & I went to a local park that had a 'dog's day'. While we were walking around, a man walked up with his son and told him "This is what normal border collies look like." Normal?!?!?! Normal?!?!?! That's what's wrong with AKC conformation! There is no *normal* look for bc's.


here here! as i've been learning. when i searched for black and white dogs on google.....trying to find sophie's breed.....this board was on nearly the third page, i think. i can't remember because i usually stop at ten when i'm googling. and, i found several pics that looked spot on. the area that i live in doesn't hurt. the difference is the beauty....the model dog is beautiful, too, but not unique....they all looked the same to me. dog's aren't like people, but who would love Jewel without her snaggle teeth and unique voice? who would love Demi Moore without her slight lazy eye? who would love Joaquin Phoenix without his scar or Jack Nicholson without his eyebrows?

That's beauty to me. The sad thing is, I'm not a dog expert, but, when I watch these shows, I can pick the winner every time! They're Christy Brinkley or Catherine Zeta Jones, or Rock Hudson or Britney Spears or a plumped up Angelina Jolie. They're no Albert Einstein or Oscar Wilde or Virginia Wolfe or Ghandi or Steve Buschemi or Jack Black, in appearance. They are what they are----please don't get me wrong, everyone has something to offer-------but, as far as appearance goes. Why can a novice pick a winner on TV? That shouldn't be.

#75 OurBoys

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 11:51 PM

Ah, billiegirl, that guy tried plucking on my last nerve more than once. When he made that comment, I stopped, looked at him and said "Excuse me??" He then proceeded to tell me his neighbor tried to tell him his dog was a bc but his dog had some brown markings on him. I told him there are some tri-colored bc's. He said "Oh, yeah. I know." I then started to tell him, in a nice way since his son was there, that bc's come in a variety of colors. "In fact, I know a bc with a sable color that I would like to have." (I was referring to Debbie's Rusty.) He then changed the subject and asked me how much JJ weighed. When I told him, he told me is was rare for a bc to weigh over 50 lbs. At that point I knew I had to walk away before I lost it and started blessing the guy out in front of his son.

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#76 billiegirl

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 12:09 AM

he told me is was rare for a bc to weigh over 50 lbs. At that point I knew I had to walk away before I lost it and started blessing the guy out in front of his son.


ugh... :rolleyes: i haven't been reading the forum for more than a month and i realize THAT!............what a pompous ass. if you're interested in your dogs naturally bred characteristics, it seems that you might wanna find out all of the representations of it. no matter what the mix, if there is one.

if i had a dog that was a spangreyhoundapoodlerman i would wanna understand all the aspects of the breeds it represented. if i had a ten foot tall yorkie......it would still be a yorkie.---just kidding :D , but you get my point.

#77 AKB

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 01:30 AM

If someone has already said this- forgive me- I think I have read the whole thread but I'm not positive. :rolleyes: My issue with conformation show dogs, all of them not just BCs, is that they fall prey far too easily to stupid human fads. Using the QH analogy, I think rampant popularity has done a lot of harm to that breed, and show people have too. When I had friends who showed, little feet, low tail carriage and slow trots were the big thing with quarter horses. People were actually breeding for little feet- dumb! And the teacup muzzles on Arabs- dumb! I just hate to think of any breed of anything I like being subjected to those kinds of trends just because at one show it was a look a judge liked.

#78 bexie

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 02:11 AM

I think that the "progress" the QH breed has made over recent decades is an allegory for what can (and is?) happening to the Border Collie, and it should serve as a warning about what happens when a breed is bred for something other than the purpose that made it great. You may produce a terrific horse or dog, but will it really be a Quarter Horse or a Border Collie, or will it be something else descended from Quarter Horses or Border Collies? That is my concern.


Thank you for clarifying. I went in a historical direction instead of a future direction and missed your point. You're seeing the breed split into several subraces with only one ability while I was still embracing the versatility. I'm too far away from today's reality to be aware of it. My memories of Quarters in the US are still my little girl dreams that drooled over just about any horse and over here we seem to have some pretty well-rounded stock yet--probably because most riders are playing at all disciplines and Danes can't afford to import top-of-the-line one-discipline stock.

It would really be a shame for the border collie (and for the quarter horse) to lose its original value. I think that has happened to many breeds in both species. How much has the German Shepherd been bred away from its original herd purposes to an aggressive guard dog with horrible hip problems? The Oldenborg was originally a work horse. Daisy is still the old heavy type but most today are lighter and sportier. The same has happened to the Norwegian Fjord. It isn't easy to find good breeding stock in the "old" style. People don't need a work horse anymore so the breeds are remade into a lighter riding horse but it often costs much of their stability, sturdiness, and temperment. Although Daisy can be a bit stubborn, she is also very patient. The lighter ones I've known are much more hot-headed. Daisy's way of letting me know she doesn't want more rides is to keep her distance in the pasture when she's had enough. She doesn't give me any trouble under saddle. She takes no advantage no matter how bad a day I'm having (my hip popped out one day in the woods and she carried me calmly home on primarily voice commands and stood still as a statue while I climbed off. the others I'd known would have run off with me in that situation and has been known to do so to her owner and to run her owner down).

Sorry, babbling again.
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Rebecca and Molly the Border Collie, SD
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#79 Guest_pax_*

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 08:18 AM

Bexie, is it that cold blooded mare you posted a pic of that you are thinking about breeding down the road?

Or the one that's away in training?


In either case, I can understand why you are struggling with the conformation standard vs performance issue. For horses, here's what I would look at...

I WOULD check the conformation. I would want to know the horse I am breeding is set up to do the job correctly. There are some structural defects that just cannot be worked around, no matter how keen or wonderful the horse is.

So I guess when I'm looking at a breeding, confirmation plays a huge part, but not because I want them to look a certain way. I want to know they will be capable of performing their job if all things go well.

There's a MINIMUM comformation standard. Once they pass that, then you decide if their performance (work ability, whatever) is good enough to consider passing it on. I'm not talking about craziness like measuring the exact angle on a hock. I'm saying, you don't breed something whose pasterns are lying on the ground, no matter how well it jumps.

You could just as easily look at it the other way around. IF it's in the top 10% (or pick any arbitrary number you like for the sake or argument) in it's arena whatever it is, say, show jumping, well then yes, it's worth looking at breedability. Then you look at it's conformation and decide if there's anything there you just can't risk passing down.


QH's are ubiquitous and cheap around my neck of the woods, they are written off as "grade" most of the time. As much as I really like the typical QH sensible attitude and general affability, I avoid them like the plague, because it's a rare QH in this day and age that is sound past 10 years without a lot of help. What modern conformation breeding has done to a QH's feet and legs is about akin to what AKC breeding has done to the German Shepherd's hind end. Those of you with sound QH's, get back to me when the thing hits it's teens. Bar shoes, laminitis, bute, isoxsuprine, and more bute, until you colic it or end up nerving it to make it comfortable. No thanks. Not to mention the whole HYPP thing. Holy crap. No wonder they just show them in halter. If my horse was likely to start twitching and then fall out from underneath me, I'd stop riding the thing too.

It takes a year to grow a foot from top to bottom. I hope you see improvement in your girl's feet before that. If she weren't QH, I'd say pull her shoes, keep her off the really hard ground, and let her do it her ownself, with regular trimming. Then you'd really see what you've got. As she's QH and likely to do that whole founder thing up front if she's left barefoot, maybe that's not an option. Failing that, an x ray can eliminate a lot of questions about what you're seeing in terms of natural conformation as opposed to poor shoeing.





PS..."nerving" is cutting the nerves to the feet. You know what it's like walking around on a foot that's gone to sleep? Similar. I don't let my kids ride things that have been nerved, I think it's dangerous. Some people do, though.

#80 jdarling

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 08:52 AM

Maria -

"I would prefer judging how these dogs got to be who and what they are. I don't much care if people get their feelings hurt and Eileen once pointed out that the dogs don't really read the board so it shouldn't matter, but it does to me."

And herein lies the problem. No offense, but it's not about you. Westminster, by its very nature, judges dogs on appearance. These dogs were bred solely for their appearance. When watching them in the ring, people are not going to say, "Oh, Maria doesn't want their feelings hurt, so let's talk about how these dogs got to be who and what they are, and not what they look like." People will judge them on appearance, and they should, considering that's what they are intended for and that's what the people who show them strive for. They don't want you to talk about how they got to be who and what they are. All they care about is how the dog looks. And the people on this board are judging them by what they see also, which is to be expected. This is a working dog board.

To me, I won't comment on how they look, as how they look pracing around the arena doesn't matter to me. Do I love them? Yes, I love all dogs. But all dogs can be trained to prance around the ring. With the more dogs I see, own and train to work livestock, the stronger my feelings get about being "bred to work." The whole versatility thing is a farce, going to a puppymill with "working lines" you might get lucky but probably not, but once you've owned a dog that was honestly bred solely on working ability and you quickly see that it knows why it was put here, there is nothing like it in the world. The raw talent blows my doors off.

Yesterday, I felt the irony of apologizing for unintentionally insulting someone on a working dog board who owns a show dog. I don't think I should have to worry about that every time I mention conformation in general on this board. It breaks my heart to watch a dog that appears to be a Border Collie bouce bouce bouce and bark bark bark when working livestock, and if I can't discuss it on the "working" dog board I belong to, where am I supposed to go? I think we should all be speaking out against conformation, whether people take it personally or not.

Jodi


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