Jump to content


Photo

Breeding Question - different aspect.


  • Please log in to reply
67 replies to this topic

#1 Keegan's Mom

Keegan's Mom

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,223 posts

Posted 08 August 2005 - 09:57 AM

Something got me thinking today about breeding in general of border collies - and no not mine - they are all neutered/spayed.

General understanding is that border collies are bred for their working ability. How much does knowing about the dogs structure and their susceptibility to health problems go into a decision to breed a dog for future working dogs?

For instance, if a dog has a poor structure (been clinically tested to prove this) but works very well, would you choose not to breed or would you breed hoping to pass on the working ability? Or is the probability of passing on structure problems too great? Also, what are the chances that most "good" breeders of border collies even test for good structure before breeding?

Also, how do you really test for temperament in a dog? Isn't some of the temperament of a dog based on their owners? For instance, Keegan is dog aggressive, but I wonder if he would act the same way given that he went to a stronger, more able owner who could stop the problems that I cannot control due to lack of experience. With that said, with me he has an iffy temperament around other dogs, and if he could work really well, I would choose not to breed due to his temperament. However, change the situation and someone else raised him and he didn't have the aggression issues, would that person then breed him given his great temperament??????

Where is the fine line of temperagment that is learned and temperament that is bred?

#2 krazy15k

krazy15k

    Member

  • Registered Users
  • 51 posts

Posted 08 August 2005 - 10:53 AM

I think it depends on the breeder. Some breeders are more concerned about health/temperament than others. In my personal opinion I think it is ridiculous to breed a dog that has health issues because there are many working dogs that do not. But I think people who have working dogs on farms etc. are primarily looking for a cross that works well for them so I doubt hip and eye testing is as big of a deal.

As for for the temperament nature vs. nurture question at the bottom, I think it is a little bit of both. I think that some animals are naturally more aggressive than others for example, but the way the animal is raised and handled can curb the natural aggression.

#3 BigD

BigD

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,313 posts

Posted 08 August 2005 - 11:12 AM

I read on another board a few years back about a woman that had wanted to breed her bitch to a very good working dog. She had waited years to see if her bitch was worthy of being bred (as a working dog herself) and had just about come to the point where she felt she was ready. The male was then diagnosed with cancer and had semen taken and frozen.

This woman still wanted to breed her bitch to this dog. Desperately in fact.

At that time, I stopped reading those other boards because I just couldn't see how the "dogs are bred to work and only work! BTW, did you get your puppy from OFA/CERF breeder?" folks could see that this was ok?

I understand the need to pass on really strong working lines. But it seemed very hypocritical of them to say "yes, breed her asap!" and in the next thread trash anyone that didn't get CERF/OFA scores on their dogs before they bred?.

Am I misinformed in this case? Wouldn't you NOT want to introduce a cancer "line" in a breeding - especially to very fine working stock?

Denise

#4 jeanine

jeanine

    Member

  • Registered Users
  • 83 posts

Posted 08 August 2005 - 11:19 AM

I Think if your breeding for working ability...good structure is a given. How can a dog work well if he does not have the right body to do it. Likewise, if your breeding form dogs with proven working ability then other health problems like hips/eyes are not that likely. However, good breeders that breed working dogs still test for these things.

Temperament is the same. Breeders/farmers will probably only breed dogs with temperaments that suits their needs( why would someone want to breed a non-biddable sulky dog). So I think what I am trying to say is that " working abiliy" includes good structure and temperament... you can't have a good working dog with out them.

Jeanine

#5 Miztiki

Miztiki

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 3,396 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Michigan

Posted 08 August 2005 - 11:27 AM

I can answer the last part of your question.

The basic temperament of a dog will always be there, despite how it was raised. That temperament can be managed to varying degrees but it will still always be there.

Maybe there's a dog that's overly shy by nature. The breeder has worked very hard with this dog for years and the dog rarely shows an indication of it's extreme shyness, but the breeder knows it's right there below the surface and if they don't continually work with the dog on this aspect, the dog would revert right back to being overly shy.

The same can go for an overly dominant dog who tends towards aggression. You can manage such a dog with good results to where it's easy to forget the dog has an issue with it, but if the owner knows that any slacking on their part will result in that dominant aggression quickly resurfacing, then that dog also wouldn't be such a good candidate for breeding.

#6 Annette Carter & the Borderbratz

Annette Carter & the Borderbratz

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,262 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 08 August 2005 - 11:40 AM

Denise,

I know some cancers are inherited but some are not. Gene mutations can be caused by outside influences ao I'd want to look at that possiblity first and how young the dog was when it was diagnosed. In reality though, there are probably better choices or more plentiful choices of healthy working dogs- for instance, older (healthy 9 & 10 year olds) working/trialing stud dogs would be a great way to ensure overall health in the progeny. A problem is we often forget how nice they were in their glory days and tend to breed to the newest happening dog on the trial circuit.

#7 kajarrel

kajarrel

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,180 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Central New York
  • Interests:Many.

Posted 08 August 2005 - 12:06 PM

Some breeders are more concerned about health/temperament than others.

But I also think that dogs that are worked don't always have issues that pet dogs do. So it may not be that breeders "aren't concerned" about temperament, but that problems don't occur until the dogs are placed in homes where 1) they don't have appropriate stimulation (and I'm beginning to think that *some* dogs really need to work) or 2) the owners are not dog savvy enough to deal with the working personality (e.g., focused, driven, sensitive, etc.). Also, pet owners may have different ideas about what constitutes acceptable temperament vs. working breeders/farmers (no value judgment here, just different needs/living siutations).

Regarding health: It's a rare dog that gets physically tested to the extent working border collies do. Assuming that people don't breed a young dog (that may not be exhibiting problems yet), I can't imagine that a dog with bad hips/eyes/hearing would go undetected and perform to the standard that's required to work stock day-in-and-day-out, so that a person who is really breeding for herding ability would breed that dog.

Just my current (pessimistic - sorry) thoughts on this issue . . .

Kim

#8 juliepoudrier

juliepoudrier

    Poseur extraordinaire and Borg Queen!

  • Registered Users
  • 14,701 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Virginia

Posted 08 August 2005 - 12:38 PM

My two cents, but first Rachel you need to define what you mean by "clinically tested to have poor structure"? Are you talking about CHD? Other structural problems?

Like Kim said, if the dog works day in and day out and doesn't break down then chances are it's got good enough structure (if by structure we're referring to a particular conformation--using that word gives me the AKC willies, though). For example, as far as I know elbow dysplasia is not a problem in this breed. So is there any real reason to test for it?

As for breeding to older dogs, I'm not against it completely, but one should remember that as we (and dogs) age, our DNA repair mechanisms become less efficient, so an older dog's sperm might actually have a greater likelihood of containing unrepaired "mutations" than a younger dog's would. I know of older dogs who have never thrown pups with HD, for example, and are clear themselves in that department, but when bred in their later years suddenly HD appears. Is this the fault of the puppy buyer? The breeder? Or just plain bad luck because the older dog's sperm just "ain't as good as it used to be"?

Gotta run, but will write more later (I'm sure everyone will be waiting with baited breath.)

J.

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

~Vincent van Gogh



mydogs_small2.jpg

Julie Poudrier
Oxford, NC
Willow, Farleigh, Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Twist (the troll), Katty Rat, Little Miss Larky Malarky, Phoebe (the rabid possum), Pipit (aka Goober), Kestrel (aka Messy Kessie), and Birdie!
Willow's Rest, Tunis sheep and mule sheep



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


#9 Sue R

Sue R

    Bark less, wag more

  • Registered Users
  • 10,706 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Bruceton Mills WV
  • Interests:Stockdogs, horses, chocolate

Posted 08 August 2005 - 01:33 PM

Julie - You are a writer! It's "bated" breath, isn't it? (Means your breath is "abated" or held, right? Not "baited" like fish breath.)

Maybe the two days of clear liquids only and the seven doses of laxative today, in preparation for my colonoscopy tomorrow, are kicking in. And maybe it's just me!
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#10 juliepoudrier

juliepoudrier

    Poseur extraordinaire and Borg Queen!

  • Registered Users
  • 14,701 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Virginia

Posted 08 August 2005 - 03:24 PM

You're right Sue. I was in a big hurry to make it over to the "pickin' and grinnin'" at the local Ruritan Club and just wasn't paying attention. Now I'll just have to leave my error there 'cuz if I fixed it the rest of this discussion wouldn't make any sense!

Oh, and even writers are allowed a mistake now and again! That's what editors are for. Oh, damn, I'm supposed to be an editor too. Well, I guess I have no excuse, other than the aforementioned one--it's been a month since I've heard any "homespun" music! :rolleyes:

And don't call me fishbreath! :D

J.

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

~Vincent van Gogh



mydogs_small2.jpg

Julie Poudrier
Oxford, NC
Willow, Farleigh, Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Twist (the troll), Katty Rat, Little Miss Larky Malarky, Phoebe (the rabid possum), Pipit (aka Goober), Kestrel (aka Messy Kessie), and Birdie!
Willow's Rest, Tunis sheep and mule sheep



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


#11 nancy

nancy

    Dixie's Old Fogie

  • Registered Users
  • 3,030 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Durham, NC, USA
  • Interests:Grandgirl, cycling, reading, needlework, Dixie & Maggie, Chuck

Posted 08 August 2005 - 04:00 PM

Maybe the folks here do bait their breath. Or maybe you assumed they were eating kippers?

One thing a good editor knows is how to turn those errors into intentions.

I remember when I was writing about tutoring ESL students at UNCC. I typed "tutouring" instead of tutoring. When the prof circled it in red, I explained that I really did mean the "tour" of learning that both the student and I were experiencing - the distances we travelled and the new lands of insight we discovered in working together. I got my creativity and imagination points.

In math, you have to get the right answer; in English, you have to argue well for whatever answer you have.

#12 Keegan's Mom

Keegan's Mom

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,223 posts

Posted 08 August 2005 - 04:02 PM

Julie,

The only information I can provide on that right now...for the purposes I'm using this information...is to structurally sound in determining if their body is structured to endure the various activities that we may want our dogs to do. (agility, flyball, herding, etc).

I will post more information as I read up and develop my thoughts further.

Edit: From what I can tell, dogs can be evaluated to see if their structure is best able to support the activity that they are doing. The evaluators can then tell you if your dog's body is enduring too much given their structure.

Thanks.

#13 Caroline

Caroline

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 489 posts

Posted 08 August 2005 - 04:09 PM

just a note for Sue and the colonoscopy, get some Desitin, been there done that..
Caroline

#14 Annette Carter & the Borderbratz

Annette Carter & the Borderbratz

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,262 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 08 August 2005 - 04:18 PM

Also, some temperament problems that we might see in a forced socialization setting like the burbs or packed agulity trials might not be evident in dogs that are never forced to experience the close proximity of strangers like farm dogs. And then how important is it for the farmer's dog to be social? It's more important for the dog to be effective in it's job. So I can see why some temperament issues are perpetuated- they either don't show up or show up so infrequently that it isn't worth considering to the breeder.

#15 Sue R

Sue R

    Bark less, wag more

  • Registered Users
  • 10,706 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Bruceton Mills WV
  • Interests:Stockdogs, horses, chocolate

Posted 09 August 2005 - 12:33 AM

Julie - Even editors may need editors sometimes! Like you, I "gotta" run, too.

Caroline - thanks for the well-wish and the advice. Too late now but I am doing okay. I think yesterday afternoon was probably the worst of it and I am just looking forward to lunch some time after the procedure!

As for this thread (sorry to hijack), I find trial dogs to be among the best socialized dogs I have ever seen, with humans and with other dogs. It is amazing. I have met dogs that are reserved but never a "hostile" dog (at least not out of its crate or off its chain, and even a friendly dog can "warn you off" when its in its little space). Farm dogs may be another story, particularly if they don't get the opportunity to "get off the farm and into town", so to speak.

I think there are dogs that are bred because they can "perform" in a superior manner with the right handler/trainer and not always because their temperment is excellent. I can think of a couple of winning trial dogs (one very nervous in nature and the other that can't think for herself - but what part of this is training and handling) that have been used for breeding.

These dogs are bred to work, not to be children's companions. I admit that children are a whole 'nother issue for dogs that are not accustomed to them. What is suitable temperment for stock work is not necessarily suitable temperment for a family pet. However, I do think a dog should not be considered for breeding if it has bad temperment flaws that make it a hazard to stock or people.
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#16 juliepoudrier

juliepoudrier

    Poseur extraordinaire and Borg Queen!

  • Registered Users
  • 14,701 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Virginia

Posted 09 August 2005 - 01:50 AM

Rachel,
The next question I would ask, then, is how do you propose to determine structural soundness? The conformation folks believe that you can "measure" angles, lengths, compare parallelism, even look at the movement at a TROT with the head pulled up unnaturally, etc., to determine that a dog is structurally sound and therefore capable of doing the work it was meant to do. Yet, rarely, if ever, do they prove out that "theory" with real work.

I think if we start using such standards, we head down a slippery slope where the work no longer counts because we are so concerned with various structural aspects, never taking them together in the whole package and testing that package "on the hill."

One caveat: I care not one whit whether these dogs are structurally suited to do dog sports like agility and flyball. It may be that those sports have structural "requirements" that aren't quite in keeping with the soundness/structure needed for herding ability. If a structure that is suitable for herding is also suitable for those other things, great, but if those other things require some sort of different structure, then I for one wouldn't be breeding for that alternate structure--it goes against my personal ethics as an advocate of the working (herding) dog. Now before any dog sports people get themselves up in arms over that statement, I just want to say that it's perfectly in keeping with the philosophy that these dogs are first and foremost herding dogs, and since that's what I want to be able to do with my dogs now and in the future, that's where my thoughts on breeding and structure lie.

Take the HD issue, for example. Many folks want dogs to be "certified" by CERF or PENN Hip, and I won't rehash past HD discussions on this list beyond saying that some folks see a need for a more lax hip if the dog is to be "structurally sound" for herding, hence the Cornell program, accepted by ABCA, to certify the hips of working border collies. The Cornell program recognizes that one type of hip doesn't "fit all" and so looks at the hips from a utility *and* soundness standpoint (and that's simplifying things tremendously). In other words, cow hocks and flexible hips can be a good thing. But you wouldn't know it if all you considered important was a hip that fits quite tightly in its socket.

When you speak of being able to "endure" the things we use the dogs for, once again I would say that the dogs who do endure with minimal problems are those who are structurally sound. Those enduring dogs are likely a disparate lot, but their structure, for whatever reason, works for them in their jobs. Does that make sense? Just go to trials and see how differently any of these dogs are built. Who's to say which of these dogs has the good structure and which the bad? If they are more than just Saturday morning dogs (that is, they do real work regularly at home) and make it to 8 or 10 or older without any significant health issues, then they must be structurally correct, in general.

Then the question might be, well, how do you know that the dog will last when you're making breeding decisions at ages 3, 4, or 5? I think you can take a historical view in this case. If the parents, siblings, other relatives have all worked into later age without trouble, then you are reasonably safe in assuming that your dog will do the same (barring catastrophic injuries).

Of course I should remind you that there are no guarantees, as you know, so you do the best you can. But when I am choosing a stud for one of my bitches, I don't stop and think "What is his structure like?" When I am choosing a stud, it will be a dog I have seen working in a number of situations, one whom I know is used regularly for work on the farm, and one who has working qualities that I need to complement those of my bitch. I will do the health clearances I think are necessary on my bitch and hope that some of those clearances are also available on the stud. But I won't discount a stud just because he doesn't have all those clearances, mainly because if I use real work as a criterion, as has been said here before, the dog must be able to see, hear, run long distances, and work all day. Granted, all that doesn't mean that the dog won't break down sometime in the future, but I honestly don't believe that all the structural evaluations in the world will predict longevity any more than watching the dogs work and knowing how other dogs from those bloodlines have fared over time with work.

Nancy,
Yes, that's it. I was baiting the hook to try and lure folks back for my next installment! :rolleyes:

Oops, gotta go to my site visit! (I'm sure they'll understand why I was late! Ha!Ha!)


J.

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

~Vincent van Gogh



mydogs_small2.jpg

Julie Poudrier
Oxford, NC
Willow, Farleigh, Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Twist (the troll), Katty Rat, Little Miss Larky Malarky, Phoebe (the rabid possum), Pipit (aka Goober), Kestrel (aka Messy Kessie), and Birdie!
Willow's Rest, Tunis sheep and mule sheep



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


#17 kelpiegirl

kelpiegirl

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 4,368 posts

Posted 09 August 2005 - 02:19 AM

hi everyone:
This is a discussion that has come up a lot in my life Anyway, for knowing if a dog has good structure- basic things are a good sign- good layback or shoulder and decent croup, and not overdone angling of the hocks. These are some of the attributes in a dog that can go all day- ease of movement, to me is very important. I have Kelpies, and one in particular has a great all day go body. The only thing I would like changed is that her back is a tad long- this can give problems later in life. I like to see a dog be able to trot when working, or what have you very easily, and with minimal effort. I see that in working dogs a lot I also like to see a not *too* large dog, because less weight is less stress on the joints.
Love the topic
Julie
Never wrestle with pigs, you only get dirty, and they like it.


http://kelpiematrix.blogspot.com/

#18 kelpiegirl

kelpiegirl

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 4,368 posts

Posted 09 August 2005 - 02:20 AM

Hey-
I have an idea, anyone have any pics of their dogs trotting while working? Would love to see those awesome workers- I think I know what they look like already
Julie
Never wrestle with pigs, you only get dirty, and they like it.


http://kelpiematrix.blogspot.com/

#19 Rave

Rave

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 2,555 posts

Posted 09 August 2005 - 02:33 AM

Re: structure, the problem I see with "letting the work prove the dog" is can today's small farm work actually prove that? The "test of the hill" is no more for a lot of these places. Today's small time farms don't seem to have every single dog work really long hours every single day. So if a 3 y.o. dog was trained to about a pro-novice level and worked sporadically on a small time farm, and we all know BC's are very stoic creatures and will work in pain, how can that work really determine if the dog is sound?? And with so many BC's out there who have already proven their worth, why go with a virtual unknown?

I know of one working dog (whose owner is on the boards and will probably pipe up) who was working great on a small time operation for years and then it was determined by x-rays that the dog had no hips (I believe the "ball" was gone, so it was basically a natural FHO)! The dog had built up so much muscle, it could get by and do the work w/o anyone to the wiser. Now would you breed this dog? Heck no! Would you know this w/o x-rays? the owners didn't.

#20 Rave

Rave

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 2,555 posts

Posted 09 August 2005 - 02:36 AM

Kelpie girl has said it nicely. It's not about parading a conformation dog around a ring, it's about how your dog is put together to allow it to do the work you want it to.


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.