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#1 simba

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 09:08 AM

Put away the pitchforks for a minute, but I never saw collies (sorry, border collies) as particularly beautiful dogs. Just, I don't know, dog-shaped black-and-white dogs, never bred to look impressive. I'd never seen a bc I'd class as a 'pretty' dog. The ones bred for work were ordinary. The ones bred for looks were positively ugly. I didn't mean it in a bad way, 'twas just my subjective opinion; it's not like looks are particularly important in a dog anyway.

Now I've changed my mind. I saw a lost young collie today (out the window of a bus so I couldn't do anything about it). He looked both ways before crossing the very busy road and, a little uneasy, loped away gracefully along the path. He had unusually pointed pricked ears, and he was the most beautiful dog I've ever seen. The way he ran! The way you could see him thinking!

It was nothing to do with his coat or conformation, and if I'd seen a photo I would have thought he was nothing special. But when you really saw him, he was gorgeous.

So why do they judge the aesthetics of the border collie, without seeing them run or think?

Sorry for devoting a topic to such a trivial subject, I just wanted to share the 'lightbulb' moment and didn't see a thread which would suit it.

#2 Sue R

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 09:51 AM

Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder - I, for one, can't see any beauty or appeal in dogs with flat faces (Peke, English Bulldog, Pug, for example) or distorted structure. But others find them totally appealing.

Even some collies that, standing still, aren't "pretty" become positively breath-takingly beautiful when they work. Beauty is as beauty does, and all that.

Meanwhile, I find my two very different boys to both be handsome, each in their own way, and my little bitch to be terribly appealing and cute - but maybe love does color one's perceptions a bit...

Have you read "The Dog Wars" by Donald McCaig? It is very illuminating, particularly with regard to how breed standards (show ring standards) have come about. They are terribly arbitrary, based on someone's thoughts about how some breed *should* look - but not really based in what actually is practical or functional in real life, even for pet dogs (where health is certainly not a criteria in the pursuit of a certain appearance standard). I think the breed standards are all smoke and mirrors - if you *think* it should look this way, and you *make* it look this way, then it *will be* this way, and that's not the way real life works. Form follows function (if you want a functional animal) - not function follows form (when the form is an arbitrary standard).

One interesting thing is that you can look at photos of functional dogs from some decades back, and compare them to present-day show dogs of the "same" breed - and they may look nothing alike, truly. On the other hand, you can look at the great (and common) working-bred collies of decades gone by and chances are, you will see dogs of all those shapes, sizes, and styles at any sheepdog trial, because they are bred for function not for whatever appearance is deemed "correct" at the current time.

Off my soapbox now...
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#3 Donald McCaig

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 09:56 AM

Dear Doggers,
When Anne met our first Border Collie,Pip,she said, "He looks like a rat in a tuxedo."

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#4 Lewie'sMom

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 12:01 PM

I agree with the OP on some points. A dog, or person for that matter, while appearing unremarkable at rest, can take your breath away when they perform the duties they were originally bred to do. Personally, I find watching a dog do his natural job is one of the most beautiful sights on earth.

I never used to find smooth-coat, prick-eared BCs attractive. I've always been a fluffy-butt, drop-eared lover. But, after spending time on this board and seeing so many pics and videos of the working dogs, I have changed my opinion. I will always love the look and feel of a luxurious rough coat, but I see a beauty in the smooths I never appreciated before.
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#5 SecretBC

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:40 PM

Everyone likes a type -- and it's probably a good thing that we all don't like the same thing. :D

I've seen many examples of this in my work at the shelter. I've seen people walk in and fall in love with a dog that I feel is the most homely, ugly looking thing I've seen in a long time. They don't see that -- they see a fluffy little dog that is perfect for them.

Some people love the bay of a beagle or other hound-type dog. That sound makes me want to stab my ears out with a spoon. :lol:

Some people love giant dogs. I see them and consider the food bill and the difficulties they would have fitting through a 24" agility tunnel. ;)

I think I've always thought border collies were attractive, but I didn't consider them beautiful until I got to know the breed better. It's more than their look that I love, it's their personalities. Everything just combines into one perfect package.
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#6 Jedismom

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:43 PM

Over Thanksgiving break we rented a place in NC on 5 acres surrounded by 100 acres of just beautiful grass and trees. It was the first time my dogs were able to let loose and run on a property that big. I'll never forget it. I took Jedi's leash off and he just looked at me...then looked around....I said, "Go, run Jedi!" He gave me a look like, really? Then he ...ran and ran and ran. I'll never forget what a beautiful sight that was. I still get goosebumps. When he was done, he came up to me with the biggest smile on his face that said thank you. You have no idea how much I want to live out on acreage now. :)

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#7 mum24dog

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 03:29 PM

I never used to find smooth-coat, prick-eared BCs attractive.


Me neither - until we got one. Well one ear pricked at least.

But I never thought much of scent or sight hounds until we got one of each, or terriers until we got one, or just nondescript little mongrels until ....

I am fairly consistent though - I like unexaggerated athletic dogs with a coat short enough to see the dog underneath and I do get a buzz from seeing them run.

I can't see myself ever wanting another hairy dog (sorry Ross) but who knows? I couldn't turn down the right dog for having too much fur but I wouldn't seek one out.

#8 ejano

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 07:58 AM

A Border Collie's athleticism is certainly a beautiful thing...and to see them doing the job they were intended to do, breathtaking. I love everything about them. Their heads, the shining intelligence in their eyes, their gently waving tail...whether on the run, or snoozing at my feet. I've never seen a Border Collie I didn't like, but then...okay, I'm biased.

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#9 ejano

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 07:59 AM

Over Thanksgiving break we rented a place in NC on 5 acres surrounded by 100 acres of just beautiful grass and trees. It was the first time my dogs were able to let loose and run on a property that big. I'll never forget it. I took Jedi's leash off and he just looked at me...then looked around....I said, "Go, run Jedi!" He gave me a look like, really? Then he ...ran and ran and ran. I'll never forget what a beautiful sight that was. I still get goosebumps. When he was done, he came up to me with the biggest smile on his face that said thank you. You have no idea how much I want to live out on acreage now. :)



I had a similar experience with a rescue dog -- after we were sure he'd come back, I turned him loose in the near field...his joy was pure and simple.

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#10 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:26 AM

This breed's beauty, purpose, breed standard is in action (function) which is very difficult to see in photos and impossible to assess without seeing these dogs in action.

My preference is pricked ear smooth coated tri color, but I don't see these things when the dogs are in action.

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#11 Root Beer

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 11:19 AM

Me neither - until we got one. Well one ear pricked at least.


Same with me with merles. I've never been a merle person, and I really still am not.

But I think my own is absolutely gorgeous, and I am now more partial to merles that are similar to him.

Apparently, though, my preference is black and white, mostly black, especially in the face!!

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#12 ItsADogsLyfe

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 12:11 PM

One day, a few years back, while sitting in a chair beside the fence during a sheepherding class, a stray dog ran up to the gate and was standing there watching the sheep inside the pen. I looked at that dog and thought what a beautiful dog. It was a medium coat tri with not much feathering but his coat was shiney and silky. He had such a nice intense look in his eyes. His white ruff was so white and his black shined almost with a blue tinge.

It was this dog and it took me a few minutes to realize I had been looking at my own dog. A dog which I had actually always thought of as common looking.

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#13 gcv-border

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 01:19 PM

One day, a few years back, while sitting in a chair beside the fence during a sheepherding class, a stray dog ran up to the gate and was standing there watching the sheep inside the pen. I looked at that dog and thought what a beautiful dog. It was a medium coat tri with not much feathering but his coat was shiney and silky. He had such a nice intense look in his eyes. His white ruff was so white and his black shined almost with a blue tinge.

It was this dog and it took me a few minutes to realize I had been looking at my own dog. A dog which I had actually always thought of as common looking.

^^^ Sweet! :)

I have loved reading all the responses.

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#14 Maralynn

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 05:02 PM

I have to say that one of the things that puts the biggest grin on my face is watching my dogs run all out in the field really enjoying themselves - it both relaxing and exhilarating to me. Of course the other thing is watching them with the sheep seeing them get it then seeing the look of satisfaction that comes from the job.

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#15 D'Elle

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 08:46 PM

My Kit dog has way of sitting crooked and with her front legs splayed out in a highly unbecoming manner. Top that off with airplane ears and the tip of her tongue protruding and you have a rather dumb looking black and white dog. But get her running.....and oh my!! The grace and beauty that she displays sometimes takes my breath away, not to mention her speed and focus.

I think border collies are the most beautiful dogs in the world most of the time, but hands down when they are working.
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(not meaning to imply that my Kit is a working dog. She is a companion. But she is gorgeous when she runs and would've looked pretty fine on the outrun if she'd been trained to sheep) ;)

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#16 bcnewe2

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 08:58 PM

Personally I find border collies beautiful. My preference is a small smooth coated any color. But any BC will do in my eyes.
Then you add a beautiful working dog and it takes my breath away.

There is a certain look that Mick has that is stunning, beautiful, classic and very regal. Then there are times he looks at me and all I can think of is Marty Feldman and giggle.

There is no other dog I'd rather look at than a border collie.

Not taking in account the barbie collie with the big wide head and their big bodies. Doesn't do it for me in the least.

There is no accounting for taste but, for me, Border Collies will always be the most beautiful dog I've ever seen and that's not even counting a working dog doing it's beautiful dance of work.

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#17 geonni banner

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 09:07 PM

I love watching people react to my dog. They will glance at her and move on as if they didn't care for what they see. But one step on, many will turn back and give her a second look. A good look. Many of them will say, That's a beautiful dog! What is it?" I will answer, "A Border Collie." They will keep looking and say, "Her eyes!"

Of course, to me, she is the most beautiful dog in the world. Physically, yes. But it's her focus, intelligence, and the way she engages totally in what she's doing that make her irresistible.

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#18 simba

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 09:26 PM

^^^ Sweet! :)

I have loved reading all the responses.

Jovi


So glad I started this topic now. The original post was mundane; the responses have been wonderful.

#19 Sue R

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:13 AM

They will keep looking and say, "Her eyes!"

One thing I feel strongly about is that when you look at a Border Collie's face (and I don't mean a Barbie Collie), and look at or into his/her eyes, you can see there is "something" behind those eyes. There is a brain, a thinking process, something that I am sorry to say I just don't see in many dogs. Not that I don't like other dogs or find them terrific companions or active partners - there's just *something* there that I don't often see in other dogs.

And maybe I'm just prejudiced.
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#20 Root Beer

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:36 AM

One thing I feel strongly about is that when you look at a Border Collie's face (and I don't mean a Barbie Collie), and look at or into his/her eyes, you can see there is "something" behind those eyes. There is a brain, a thinking process, something that I am sorry to say I just don't see in many dogs. Not that I don't like other dogs or find them terrific companions or active partners - there's just *something* there that I don't often see in other dogs.


I find the same thing.

I don't even see the same thing in my own mutts, in whom I see a lot that other people don't since they are my own dogs and they are special to me.

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