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#61 Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 02:11 PM

UK Beardies, especially of the past generation and before, tend to have a lot more eye and direct approach to the sheep than what you describe, which sound like KC Beardies that I've seen here in the States. KC Beardies are bred for that lovely trot, which, in my opinion, translates to a weird bouncy gait when they need to put on more speed.
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#62 Katelynn & Gang

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 04:33 PM

I would modify this to say that today, in thinking influenced by the Kennel Clubs and their appearance standards, a Border Collie is a Border Collie and a Bearded Collie is a Bearded Collie. But the ISDS certainly registers dogs that are bearded, and will register on merit a dog that the KC registers as a Bearded Collie (for example, Turnbull's Blue).


Thanks, that is just what I meant. :rolleyes:
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#63 Flamincomet

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 04:40 PM

"What I understand you to be saying here is that most judges of most AKC Border Collie classes don't know enough to choose good Border Collies even by conformation standards. Don't you see this as a flaw that discredits the entire system?"

So one flaw discredits an entire system? I believe this is called a hasty generalization. You are judging the entire AKC orginization based on one aspect of the system. I don't believe that this should discredit the entire system, I believe that we AKC Border Collie breeders should be working very hard to make sure that there are more breeder-specialist judges, even if that means that I have to become one myself.
It is a popular saying in conformation that meaningful judging ends at the breed ring.

"Why then is a "round judge" wrong for putting up dogs with straight back legs, since the standard approves them?"

As I have explained before, round judges base their decision based off of what moves better at group level. NOT at breed level. I never said that they were completely wrong for putting up a dog with straight back legs, but they are more likely to put up a dog with parallel hocks rather than one with slightly cow-hocked ones, even though the standard approves both of them.

"How many? Name them."

Lockeye BCs are the ones with the website explaining how to glue BC ears for prick. They do it, and I'm assuming since they have a page explaining how to do it, many other people do it also. I have seen people at my obedience classes with BCs, who have their ears glued for prick. No I don't know their exact names, I was more focused on my own dog. Apparently Wendy V and Bo Peep know people who do it too.

"But as others have said, the point is not what the standard says, the point is what is getting put up, which sets the ideal that is held up to the world as the perfect Border Collie, and which conformation-minded people then breed for."

I think you are living in a very close-minded world. Not all BC breeders breed these "westminster" dogs. The people with money are the ones that can campaign their dogs and win at big shows, like westminster.

"Then truly, what's the point? How can anyone be proud of titles awarded by incompetent people for things that don't matter?"

I think you missed my point. I was replying to the comment that conformation people think that working breeders breed unhealthy dogs. I do NOT think this. I was simply stating that there are bad and good breeders in BOTH strains.

"I don't know where you got the portion I have put in boldface from, but if it is true, then you should be looking for Breeder C."

A dog that is PROVEN to be healthy is a lot less likely to produce unhealthy pups then a dog that has not had any health tests done at all. I got that from the common sense portion of my brain.

"Another case where the standard was changed"

I don't understand why you are complaining if the standard was changed for the better. I am very glad they included that revision, otherwise I would not be able to show Ghost, since he has one blue eye.

"As others have said, the ABCA does not take away a BCs herding titles."

Yes, and I corrected myself, thank you.

"I know of no instance of dogs being judged to a written conformation standard following sheepdog trials."

Taken from http://www.bonnidune.com/info.html

"Many trials, including the very first one in 1873, also had a "type" competition after the dogs ran the course. The "type" competition was, essentially, what we call today a dog show. There the dogs were evaluated on physical structure to determine which was best suited to perform the job of sheepherding. The farmers and shepherds who participated in the first trials and type competitions were, above all else, stockmen. (Women did not get involved in sheepdog trialing until much later.) As stockmen, they were comfortable with the idea of evaluating an animal's physical structure against a standard based upon the animal's purpose: whether that purpose was wool production, meat for marketing or working stock."



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#64 grenzehund

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 05:25 PM

Taken from http://www.bonnidune.com/info.html

"Many trials, including the very first one in 1873, also had a "type" competition after the dogs ran the course. The "type" competition was, essentially, what we call today a dog show. There the dogs were evaluated on physical structure to determine which was best suited to perform the job of sheepherding. The farmers and shepherds who participated in the first trials and type competitions were, above all else, stockmen. (Women did not get involved in sheepdog trialing until much later.) As stockmen, they were comfortable with the idea of evaluating an animal's physical structure against a standard based upon the animal's purpose: whether that purpose was wool production, meat for marketing or working stock."
Autumn


Too bad the author of those words didn't cite her source for this "information". But it does nicely support her breeding program.

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#65 Pippin's person

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 05:40 PM

"How many? Name them."

Lockeye BCs are the ones with the website explaining how to glue BC ears for prick. They do it, and I'm assuming since they have a page explaining how to do it, many other people do it also. I have seen people at my obedience classes with BCs, who have their ears glued for prick. No I don't know their exact names, I was more focused on my own dog. Apparently Wendy V and Bo Peep know people who do it too.


Wasn't the original claim that you knew of working stock people who glued dogs' ears to make them prick? I don't think the breeder you mention is a good source of support for the claim you are making (besides having 20 breeding dogs, which is itself alarming--her breeding goals don't seem to be working stock dogs really)--, nor are the people at your obedience classes or the many people who might be reading the lockeye BC website.

I'm not sure where you're getting your information about these things, but I've never seen someone who breeds working BCs glue their dog's ears (or do any other kinds of modifications toward a visual standard).
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#66 Laurae

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 05:58 PM

I don't know any working people who would consider Lockeye a working breeder.

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#67 Eileen Stein

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 06:05 PM

I wasn't thinking of the coat type or looks but the working style.


Okay, I must have misunderstood you, Janba. I never saw Turnbull's Blue working, but I would be very surprised if he bounced and barked. I don't think a bouncy, barky dog could have satisfied the working standard for ROM. I have seen a number of his descendants working, and they worked with eye, and without bounce or bark.

#68 Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 08:10 PM

A dog that is PROVEN to be healthy is a lot less likely to produce unhealthy pups then a dog that has not had any health tests done at all. I got that from the common sense portion of my brain.


A dog that has had health tests has only been proven not to have the conditions tested for, at that time. There are numerous conditions that can affect the soundness of a performance dog, for which there are no clinical tests. Examples: epilepsy, weak soft tissues, feet problems, spine problems, metabolic issues like exercise intolerance, and temperament problems.

There is no test for the likes of these other than simply training to a high level, and being patient before breeding, researching the lines both in terms of direct ancestors and siblings, and having a very honest subjective view of your young dogs.
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#69 Eileen Stein

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 08:11 PM

"What I understand you to be saying here is that most judges of most AKC Border Collie classes don't know enough to choose good Border Collies even by conformation standards. Don't you see this as a flaw that discredits the entire system?"

So one flaw discredits an entire system? I believe this is called a hasty generalization. You are judging the entire AKC orginization based on one aspect of the system. I don't believe that this should discredit the entire system


Have you ever heard the joke, "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"? I would say that that one flaw discredits the entire AKC conformation system in the same sense that one flaw spoiled Mrs. Lincoln's entire night at the theater on April 14, 1865. If the flaw is that fundamental, one is enough. And that's even before you get to the main point -- that what's being judged is of no real significance.

It is a popular saying in conformation that meaningful judging ends at the breed ring.


If what that means is that there is no meaningful judging within the breed ring, I would certainly agree. Doesn't that fact kinda discredit the system?

As I have explained before, round judges base their decision based off of what moves better at group level. NOT at breed level. I never said that they were completely wrong for putting up a dog with straight back legs, but they are more likely to put up a dog with parallel hocks rather than one with slightly cow-hocked ones, even though the standard approves both of them.


You said round judges (do you mean all-around judges? I've never heard the expression "round judges" before, though I've seen some) put up "more BCs with straight front legs and back legs, instead of being slightly cow-hocked, which is correct for a BC. Since these dogs with less correct structure are winning . . ." If having straight back legs is "less correct structure" than being slightly cow-hocked, "which is correct for a BC," why does the standard approve both of them equally? Wouldn't that be the standard's fault, rather than the fault of the round judges? Not that it matters, of course, because none of it matters.

Lockeye BCs are the ones with the website explaining how to glue BC ears for prick. They do it, and I'm assuming since they have a page explaining how to do it, many other people do it also. I have seen people at my obedience classes with BCs, who have their ears glued for prick. No I don't know their exact names, I was more focused on my own dog. Apparently Wendy V and Bo Peep know people who do it too.


Although I'm pretty sure Lockeye owns livestock, I think of her mainly as a place that sells dogs to AKC folks. And what makes you think the people at your obedience class are "working breeders," as in "many WORKING BC breeders gluing up their dogs ears for prick. And yes, I know of many people who do this"?

"But as others have said, the point is not what the standard says, the point is what is getting put up, which sets the ideal that is held up to the world as the perfect Border Collie, and which conformation-minded people then breed for."

I think you are living in a very close-minded world. Not all BC breeders breed these "westminster" dogs. The people with money are the ones that can campaign their dogs and win at big shows, like westminster.


But wait a minute -- You're the person who said, "more people will breed to [dogs who are winning more], often thinking the judges know what they are doing, so they assume the dog must be nice because a judge says so." Are you now saying that conformation-minded folks DON'T tend to breed to and for what is winning?

A dog that is PROVEN to be healthy is a lot less likely to produce unhealthy pups then a dog that has not had any health tests done at all. I got that from the common sense portion of my brain.


Hmm. AKC breeders often test for CL and TNS; you are probably including them when you refer to "all health tests." Working breeders rarely if ever do. But I bet you can't name one working breeder who has ever produced either disease. I certainly can't. Seems to me it's pretty hard to say that "it is more likely that a pup will have health issues in the future" if it comes from working breeders who have not done those health tests. In those cases, the fact that they have not tested for them has NOT meant that they are more likely to produce them.

Don't get me wrong. I advocate testing for the testable border collie diseases which are found to any significant extent in our border collies, which means CHD and CEA. But I think you would be surprised if you delved into the science of how weakly linked CHD test results are to CHD in offspring. In any case, the failure of breeder B to do all health tests would not make me more likely to buy from Breeder A, who is doing something at least equally harmful to border collies. I would look for a different breeder altogether.

"Another case where the standard was changed"

I don't understand why you are complaining if the standard was changed for the better. I am very glad they included that revision, otherwise I would not be able to show Ghost, since he has one blue eye.


Oh, I'm not complaining. I don't think it makes a drop's worth of difference what the standard says. I'm just (1) explaining that in some cases the people you're correcting were referring to a previous AKC standard for Border Collies, and (2) pointing out how arbitrary these supposed determinants of quality in a Border Collie are, since they can just be changed to make a dog that was "incorrect" suddenly "correct," and vice versa.

"I know of no instance of dogs being judged to a written conformation standard following sheepdog trials."

Taken from http://www.bonnidune.com/info.html

"Many trials, including the very first one in 1873, also had a "type" competition after the dogs ran the course. The "type" competition was, essentially, what we call today a dog show. There the dogs were evaluated on physical structure to determine which was best suited to perform the job of sheepherding. The farmers and shepherds who participated in the first trials and type competitions were, above all else, stockmen. (Women did not get involved in sheepdog trialing until much later.) As stockmen, they were comfortable with the idea of evaluating an animal's physical structure against a standard based upon the animal's purpose: whether that purpose was wool production, meat for marketing or working stock."
Autumn


Oh, okay. Yes, some of the earliest trials, including Bala, included a beauty contest, but Bonnidune is putting quite a spin on it in saying that stockmen were responsible for that or had anything to do with approving of a standard, if one was even used. As Albion Urdank points out in his article "The Rationalisation of Rural Sport: British Sheepdog Trials, 1873-1946," Rural History (2006) 17, 1, 65-82, the Bala trial, and other trials that emulated it, was a result of upper-class patronage -- an event created by the gentry "freighted with elite values and notions of what properly constituted the shepherds' craft." The trial's organizing committee included the Viscount Combermere, the Marquis of Exeter, and Viscount Down of Yarmouth. Urdank notes that the trial "began with a 'beauty contest,' in which a show ring was formed and the competing dogs judged both for their good looks and how well they seemed 'put together' physically." There is no mention of a written standard being applied, although this is roughly around the time that John Henry Walsh (most definitely NOT a stockman!) published his notions of standards by which breeds should be judged in bench shows. I suppose, therefore, that it's possible a written standard might have been used, but if so, it would not have been a standard that stockmen developed or supported. The stockmen were the entertainment, not the designers of the event. Urdank traces the gradual decline of the influence of the aristocracy and gentry over trials and the growing influence of the actual farmers and shepherds, until the adoption of ISDS rules in 1906 sealed "the rising ascendancy of the farmers' and shepherds' common view that breeding for working ability alone was all that mattered."

BTW, Donald McCaig's The Dog Wars contains an Appendix B which relates how Walsh originated the standard for judging collies in bench shows and how it was modified by him and others over time, as the working collie was being co-opted by the aristocratic devotees of the sport of purebred dogs and turned into the magnificent but useless show Collie. It is fascinating reading.

#70 Flamincomet

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 01:49 AM

"Too bad the author of those words didn't cite her source for this "information". But it does nicely support her breeding program."

I don't know where she got this information either, this is simply where I learned of these "type" competitions. Just because she doesn't cite sources doesn't make it untrue though.

"Wasn't the original claim that you knew of working stock people who glued dogs' ears to make them prick?"

Yes it was, but since I can't prove that they are what you all consider to be "working" people that apparently makes whatever I say untrue. Never mind that two other people said they knew of people too.

"I'm not sure where you're getting your information about these things, but I've never seen someone who breeds working BCs glue their dog's ears (or do any other kinds of modifications toward a visual standard). "

This doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

"I don't know any working people who would consider Lockeye a working breeder. "

I am still new to border collies, and I did consider them to be working breeders, even if they don't meet everyone's high standards here.
Just as I would consider an AKC breeder who has one or two show champions a comformation breeder, albeit a poor one.

"A dog that has had health tests has only been proven not to have the conditions tested for, at that time. There are numerous conditions that can affect the soundness of a performance dog, for which there are no clinical tests. Examples: epilepsy, weak soft tissues, feet problems, spine problems, metabolic issues like exercise intolerance, and temperament problems."

In theory, if a breeder tests for CEA, CL, TNS, OFA's, and CERFs, and another breeder does none of these, the second breeder's dogs have a longer list of possible illnesses that could afflict the puppies in the future.
And yes, I do know that there are illnesses that cannt be tested for, but I believe that since there are some that we CAN test for, we SHOULD test for those and eliminate those from the breed, making the breed healthier as a whole.

"Have you ever heard the joke, "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"? I would say that that one flaw discredits the entire AKC conformation system in the same sense that one flaw spoiled Mrs. Lincoln's entire night at the theater on April 14, 1865. "

I think that murder is a much more serious flaw than the one you are referring to.

"QUOTE
It is a popular saying in conformation that meaningful judging ends at the breed ring.


If what that means is that there is no meaningful judging within the breed ring, I would certainly agree. Doesn't that fact kinda discredit the system? "


My mistake, what I meant to say was "meaningful judging ends AFTER the breed ring"

"You said round judges (do you mean all-around judges?"

Round judges, meaning they encompess many breeds. Yes, this is a correct term. You can also call them all-around judges.

"If having straight back legs is "less correct structure" than being slightly cow-hocked, "which is correct for a BC," why does the standard approve both of them equally? Wouldn't that be the standard's fault, rather than the fault of the round judges? Not that it matters, of course, because none of it matters."

All I was simply saying was that a round judge is more likely to put up a BC with straight back legs rather than one with slightly cow-hocked ones, reguardless of what the breed standard says.
I think you are taking me to be a completely Pro-AKC person. I am not. I simply have a BC that I plan to show in conformation, and since this post asked for a conformation point of view I supplied it.
And I guess I'm confused, if none of it matters, why are you here debating?

"Are you now saying that conformation-minded folks DON'T tend to breed to and for what is winning?"

No, I am saying that not ALL do. There are plenty that do, but there are those that don't, myself included.

"Hmm. AKC breeders often test for CL and TNS; you are probably including them when you refer to "all health tests.""

I include CEA/CH, CL, TNS, OFAing and CERFing

"But I bet you can't name one working breeder who has ever produced either disease."

No I can't, I didn't claim I could. In fact I disagree with the popular theory by some conformation people that working breeders breed unhealthy dogs. I still think that the health tests should be done though, until they are completely wiped out.

Autumn

#71 Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 03:47 AM

Just because she doesn't cite sources doesn't make it untrue though.


The point of citations is not to prove or disprove. It is to give a context to information that the writer has gleaned, so that the reader can go back to the primary source and draw their own conclusions. Not including this information (the citation), implies that the source itself may be suspect. But Eileen addressed this topic very thoroughly (with citations).

To touch on her point again, the inclusion of a breed show at the early shepherds' trials was the fancy of the gentry who sponsored the events. It was, in fact, a rather demeaning thing and the shepherds and farmers themselves quickly abandoned the idea when they themselves started organizing trials upon the formation of the ISDS.

It is incorrect to say that farmers consider structure to be important when evaluating an animal for performance, whether for milk production, calving beef steers, siring wool sheep, or mothering pigs for meat. Farmers evaluate performance only - structure only coming into play where it has a direct bearing on performance. Today I was evaluating a ram lamb I will be saving as a flock sire - I need depth of body, a nice long loin, and a particular twist in the butt - all to sire lambs which will themselves have lambs with the right frame to hang meat on.

Livestock shows are entertainment and very little related to the actual production of livestock. If you don't believe me, compare show sheep to sheep which are actually bred for meat.

Yes it was, but since I can't prove that they are what you all consider to be "working" people that apparently makes whatever I say untrue.


Again, it's a matter of authority. You yourself note that you are new to all this. You are trying to maintain a position that "working" breeders manipulate their puppies' earsets in a way comparable to show breeders. Many of us have said, "Not that we've noticed." Your reaction is, "You must be wrong. I am new but I saw it once on the internet, and it looked like a working breeder to me!"

Now, if you moved to Australia, and saw one mail carrier who drove on the wrong side of the street, you might draw the conclusion that it is common practice for mail carriers to drive on the wrong side of the street in Australia. So you mention this on an internet forum. Many Australians say, "No, that's really not how we do things here." You say, "I am new here, I have no idea if you are right, so I'm going to assume I'm right!"

Do you see why you are making some of us apply our foreheads to the desk here?

Eileen said: "I don't know any working people who would consider Lockeye a working breeder. "

Autumn: I am still new to border collies, and I did consider them to be working breeders, even if they don't meet everyone's high standards here.


*headdesk* Case in point. Being new is perfectly all right. It is not cool to be new and claim authority over those who have "done their time" training dogs, raising sheep, building fence, participating and judging trials, and most of all soothing the broken hearts of people who get taken in by slick internet or magazine ads, and end up with dogs that fall far below their expectations.

We don't have high standards. We have basic standards. A Border Collie that one is considering breeding should be able to do X-Y-Z, as shown on the ISDS style trial course. Very simple.

It is as if I were to demand the same respect for my little pet Chinese crested, as the Eukanuba winner, though I haven't put the work into her, her hair is fragile and has a curl to it that is a standard no-no. Well, you know, you people who consider Eukanuba winners to be better candidates for breeding, you are just snobs with standards that are too high. I am new to Chinese cresteds, Zhi is my first, and therefore you all can't possibly know what you are talking about.

I am not trying to bait you. I sincerely hope you can understand that you aren't going to make any headway trying to argue that because you are new, we have no idea what we are talking about.

I am going to address another point in a new thread.
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#72 Katelynn & Gang

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 04:12 AM

I still think that the health tests should be done though, until they are completely wiped out.

I was just wondering. Have you ever even looked at the dogs names and where they are registered (as in how they are bred) who are either carries or affected with TNS? Or CL?

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#73 Janba

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 04:16 AM

It is incorrect to say that farmers consider structure to be important when evaluating an animal for performance, whether for milk production, calving beef steers, siring wool sheep, or mothering pigs for meat. Farmers evaluate performance only - structure only coming into play where it has a direct bearing on performance. Today I was evaluating a ram lamb I will be saving as a flock sire - I need depth of body, a nice long loin, and a particular twist in the butt - all to sire lambs which will themselves have lambs with the right frame to hang meat on.


I totally agree with this statement. I have just spent the weekend training on a large sheep station (about 12,000 acres) who breed merinos. We discussed at one point how they select their breeding stock. They sample the wool and have it analyzed for micron count. strenghth etc then correlate this with the fleeece weight at shearing. Any sheep whose correlation is below a certain score is culled. Comformation only comes in if there is something seriously wrong with that sheep and then it probably would have been culled earlier.

As stockmen, they were comfortable with the idea of evaluating an animal's physical structure against a standard based upon the animal's purpose: whether that purpose was wool production, meat for marketing or working stock."


Even if they were comfortable with comformation judging how many went on to serious wroking dog breeders or beef or wool producers bred with the winners or did they still breed based on performance or production or were they comfortable with it just as bit of fun.
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#74 juliepoudrier

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 09:17 AM

Even if they were comfortable with comformation judging how many went on to serious wroking dog breeders or beef or wool producers bred with the winners or did they still breed based on performance or production or were they comfortable with it just as bit of fun.

Janba,
I'm not sure what you're saying here?

J.

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#75 Janba

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 09:35 AM

Janba,
I'm not sure what you're saying here?

J.


"Many trials, including the very first one in 1873, also had a "type" competition after the dogs ran the course. The "type" competition was, essentially, what we call today a dog show. There the dogs were evaluated on physical structure to determine which was best suited to perform the job of sheepherding. The farmers and shepherds who participated in the first trials and type competitions were, above all else, stockmen. (Women did not get involved in sheepdog trialing until much later.) As stockmen, they were comfortable with the idea of evaluating an animal's physical structure against a standard based upon the animal's purpose: whether that purpose was wool production, meat for marketing or working stock."


I am trying to say that at the time of the quote above that while they may have taken part in a "type" competition would any of them have bred from the winners of the "type" competition based on that result only or would they have still bred from dogs selected for their working ability and the same for livestock based on production. My opinion from the farmers and working dog breeders I know here it would have been a bit of fun and wouldn't have influenced their breeding decisions.
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#76 Eileen Stein

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 12:24 PM

"Have you ever heard the joke, "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"? I would say that that one flaw discredits the entire AKC conformation system in the same sense that one flaw spoiled Mrs. Lincoln's entire night at the theater on April 14, 1865. "

I think that murder is a much more serious flaw than the one you are referring to.


Sorry, I guess my whimsical example caused you to miss my point. I will restate: If, as the AKC claims, its conformation system is designed to select the best exemplars of a breed as champions and the most worthy to be bred from, but most of the judges the AKC licenses to make these selections are incompetent to do so, that is a flaw that discredits the entire system. The fact that the standard applied by these incompetent judges is insufficient to identify the best exemplars of the breed is also a flaw that discredits the entire system, of course, but I was talking about the first of these two flaws because that was the one you wrote about.

My mistake, what I meant to say was "meaningful judging ends AFTER the breed ring"


What does that mean?

"If having straight back legs is "less correct structure" than being slightly cow-hocked, "which is correct for a BC," why does the standard approve both of them equally? Wouldn't that be the standard's fault, rather than the fault of the round judges? Not that it matters, of course, because none of it matters."

. . . . And I guess I'm confused, if none of it matters, why are you here debating?


When I said "none of it matters," I meant that neither the wording of the standard nor which dogs the judges choose to put up matters. The fact that there IS a conformation standard, and that judges DO choose Border Collies to be champions based on how they look and how they trot, matters very much, unfortunately.

I still think that the health tests should be done though, until they are completely wiped out.


This is one of the things that trouble me about the AKC/BCSA test-happy mindset -- the notion that we should use the few tests we have to "wipe out" the few genetic diseases we can test for. That approach is contrary to basic principles of populations genetics, and potentially very harmful to the breed.

There are thousands upon thousands of deleterious recessive genes in dog populations. Probably all of our dogs -- and all of us, for that matter -- carry one or two or more of them as a single copy. When two copies of them meet up in the same dog, they cause a health problem in that dog. By maintaining a diverse gene pool and avoiding inbreeding, we minimize the chances of that happening.

If a genetic defect begins to surface in the breed, it makes sense to use a genetic test (if we have or can develop one) to avoid breeding two carriers of that particular recessive gene together. By doing that, we ensure that no offspring have the defect. If we try to go beyond that, and try to "wipe it out" by excluding every carrier from breeding, we are reducing the diversity of our gene pool and increasing the likelihood that other bad recessive genes -- ones that we may not yet know about or have a test for -- will pair up in future dogs and make those dogs unhealthy in a different, previously unseen way. As more and more gene tests are developed, if we pursue this course of action with each of them -- run every test and exclude every carrier from breeding -- we could soon constrict the genetic diversity of our population to the point that it could prove extremely difficult to find matings which would avoid one genetic defect without reinforcing another. We would also decrease the general vigor of the breed.

CEA/CH is the only current disease for which we have a genetic test that is common enough in the working border collie population to make testing advisable IMO. In the show border collie population, particularly those descending from Oz/NZ imports, CL and TNS may be common enough to warrant testing -- I really have no opinion on that subject. But I would hope that the show community would not try to "wipe out" those diseases by excluding all carriers from breeding, because the price of that approach over the long run would be too high -- not in dollars but in the overall genetic health of our dogs.

CHD is in a whole different category. We have no gene test for it, and are unlikely to have one in the foreseeable future because it is almost certainly polygenetic and is strongly affected by environment. Radiographic rating of parents is only a weak predictor of CHD in offspring, as compared to the accuracy of gene tests. Therefore, while I personally advocate OFA or Cornell rating of breeding stock, and I think most highly-regarded working breeders do this, I couldn't say with confidence that a good working breeder who did not OFA but whose breeding stock did physically demanding stockwork over a sustained period of time without symptoms of lameness would be more likely to produce dysplastic offspring than a sport or show breeder who did OFA.

This brings me to the second thing that troubles me about the AKC/BCSA test-happy mindset -- the disdain for maintenance of working ability in the breed that so often accompanies it. Most AKC breeders pat themselves on the back for doing health tests (a good idea), and pat themselves on the back for doing more of them than the next guy (a dubious idea), and pat themselves on the back even more for not breeding anything except "excellent" or "clear" (often a bad idea). They usually go on to say that they are dedicated to preserving working instinct or ability in the breed, but if you ask what exactly they do to ensure that they preserve working instinct or ability in the breed, the answer usually boils down to nothing. Just hoping that will happen. Lip service. Yet they are very quick to disparage a working breeder who puts tremendous effort into developing and breeding only high-functioning, useful workers -- which is much harder than having a few tests done -- and says he is committed to preserving the health of the breed, but doesn't do the array of tests that they like. I think the attitude that he is not as good as they are is fundamentally mistaken. Breeding based on health tests with little if any regard to stockworking ability could not have produced the border collie we all admire; breeding based on stockworking ability without health tests DID produce the border collie we all admire.

#77 Rubzoe

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 01:06 PM

And that is the truly sad part. The fashion show, dictated by the personal preferences of judges, precludes numerous dogs that do meet the standard but that simply don't match exactly what's being put up by the judges. As we all know, dogs that don't match the latest trend in the breed ring don't stand a chance, so the people who want to win (because after all winning = prestige and translates into puppy sales) conform to what the judges are putting up. Next thing you know, you get those big boned extremely hairy dogs with bulging foreheads (and so on) that all look alike (for the most part) and that are currently winning in the show ring. And all the while, the people breeding, judging, and showing them will claim that they are breeding for a structure that somehow implies the dog could work, if only given the chance. And we all know how true (not!) that is.
Actually, it probably is possible. All you'd have to do is find an ABCA (or ISDS) registered working-bred dog with good potential on the trial field and that looked a lot like what was being placed in the show ring. While such dogs might not be as heavy of bone, they could certainly have a lot of coat, tipped ears, and perfect Irish markings. Where you'd be in trouble is if you put a conformation champion on that dog, which would cause the dog to be deregistered from ABCA. But (and it's a big BUT), even if the dog is deregistered, it's still eligible to compete in USBCHA open trials, and even in the finals (it would simply not be eligible for the prize money offered up by the ABCA). So in theory you could take a conformation champion and win the National Finals with it and no one could stop you from doing so. So you could, in fact, compete in the show ring and compete seriously on the trial field. The only thing you couldn't do is register your conformation champion or its progeny with the ABCA or win prize money put up by ABCA. So I disagree that ABCA is at fault. The registry disagrees with the breeding of border collies for a show ring standard and has decided to "put its money where it's mouth is," but the only practical outcome of that notice of deregistration is that you can't register the pups of your conformation champion with the ABCA. If the dog were truly a good one (from a stockworking standpoint), inability to register pups probably wouldn't be a problem. In theory. I personally don't think you could do the reverse, however (that is, start with a conformation-bred dog, get the conformation champion, and then manage to win the National Finals because as you have noted in the quest for that conformationally "perfect" dog, most show breeders have let working genetics fall by the wayside, deliberately or not).

J.


This may sound pretty naive, but has this group tried to influence/educate the AKC judging/evaluation of BC's? Would it be possible to add categories for evaluation of a BC to measure working ability rather than looks? Does the AKC evaluation measure the same things regardless of the breed?

This group has such a vast knowledge on what will keep the breed what it was intended to be, and it seems a shame to me that AKC (who like it or not - NOT) is looked to by the uninformed as an authority in what makes a breed "good". What can be done to change AKC?

#78 Rubzoe

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 01:16 PM

"When a breed club has the margin of freedom to revise or replace one standard with another, no matter how horrid and derivative their standard may be, they are "setting the written standard."

Penny: Mostly no. The group that became the BCSA and parent club asked to have a minor livestock working standard included. The AKC flatly refused this. What the breed club wanted did not matter. The breed club had to toady to AKC requirements or the Border Collie Alliance would have been chosen.

The border collie is defined by its skill on livestock; that is the border collie standard in reality. The breed club asked to include some small measure of working skill for, I think, a breed championship award; the AKC refused; the breed club knuckled under. How can anyone say the breed club makes the rules?

The AKC makes the important rules. The breed club says, "Yes, sir," then is allowed to define whether cow hocks matter.


Hi again, I've continued reading through this string, and came upon Penny's comments (2 years ago!), which speaks to my earlier question. It just seems nuts to me when I read "the AKC refused" and so the breed club knuckled under. Why take no for an answer? What needs to happen for AKC to not refuse?? Why can't they (AKC) be influenced?

#79 Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 03:08 PM

Hi Rubzoe,

I have tremendous admiration for your patience in wading through this old thread!

A quick summary can be found here: http://bordercollie.org/akc.html for more in depth reading, I highly recommend Don McCaig's new book The Dog Wars.
Becca Shouse - Irena Farm, Semora, NC
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#80 Rubzoe

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 03:40 PM

Hi Rubzoe,

I have tremendous admiration for your patience in wading through this old thread!

A quick summary can be found here: http://bordercollie.org/akc.html for more in depth reading, I highly recommend Don McCaig's new book The Dog Wars.



Thanks, yes, I've ordered the book - it's coming on Tuesday. Sounds perfect - based on the title, I think it is exactly what I'm looking for. In case you can't tell, I hate taking "no" as an answer!

Susan



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