Jump to content
BC Boards
jdarling

What is the point of this?

Recommended Posts

Something I just ran across on a totally unrelated webpage:

"Pedigree indicates what the animal should be;
Conformation indicates what the animal appears to be;
But, Performance indicates what the animal actually is."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dean actually does resemble a wolf more closely than he resembles those dogs . . . hmmmmmmmmmmm . . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll kick myself later and probably amuse others in the process BUT what's the point of this post? I don't see too many constructive posts about appropriate breeding as the trend seems to be just disparaging dogs for no real reason beyond some obscure need to say that yours are better because they might wear sheep poop?

I agree, the show bred border collies should not be bred but so shouldn't what probably amounts to a good majority of the backyard bred dogs on this board that were NOT selected for working ability and didn't come from working environments that cared enough for the breed to protect it either and it wouldn't be fair to knock on them either. It would be wrong because regardless of why they're in this world, they didn't ask for it.

And as a Westminster post wouldn't be complete without what I say every Feb, if a BC shouldn't be judged on looks, then why do you all seem to enjoy it so much? It never fails to surprise me how absurd these posts become by people who by and large seem to be caring and smart. I like fluffy BC's, that would be my first choice, doesn't change that I have 3 smooths...but even if I didn't, and I sincerely liked only fluffy dogs, would I ever dream of disparaging the pets on this board...and by and large, that's what most of them are, pets. The actual working dogs, bred to work by conscientous and responsible breeders, are in the minority on this board to pets, bought from newspaper adds or found at the shelter.

And before we say I'm disaparaging any of the above, I have two show bred border collies, 1 from mixes show/working lines, 2 shelter border collies, 1 working bred border collie mix from a crappy breeder who dumps excess puppies at the pound, and a couple pits from the shelter so I have no prejudice against any. I just think and hope that the people from this board are better than these posts.

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

Maria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Kyrasmom' post='186495' date='Oct 1 2007, 07:46 PM']I'll kick myself later and probably amuse others in the process BUT what's the point of this post? I don't see too many constructive posts about appropriate breeding as the trend seems to be just disparaging dogs for no real reason beyond some obscure need to say that yours are better because they might wear sheep poop?[/quote]

Actually, mine don't work stock. They are my companions, they dance, and they play sports.

When I first read this post, my response was actually somewhat along the lines of the bit of your post that I quoted.

After watching the video, my reactions were:

1. It drives me NUTS to see people yanging on leashes attached to choke collars like that. To me it doesn't look "showy", it doesn't look professional - rather, it strikes me as quite callous and utilitarian.

Maybe it's the Rally handler in me, but I appreciate a dog heeling on a loose leash. Better yet - walking with the handler without a leash with a good connection.

2. I really don't care for that style of grooming for a Border Collie. Coat type is what you get. What you do to the coat is your choice.

To my way of thinking, I like to see a dog in a show (of any type) that is clean, but natural looking. Let the coat do what nature intends it to do. I think it just looks better that way.

All that blow drying and brushing and product simply does not, I feel, accentuate the beauty of the Border Collie.

3. I think it's a shame that the Conformation bred Border Collie is taking on that one same look across the board. No disrespect to those who like that type. I like it fine among the variety that one finds in the breed, but I do think that breeding to get that look is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I don't mean to be insensitive to anyone. But I think there is a constructive discussion to be had on the matters I listed above.

My comment earlier in the thread was a joke intended in good humor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This may not be relevant to this post, but it reminded me of something. What I don't understand is why all of them look the same once they get so far in showing. The only reason I say this is because I have Rain in an obedience class through our local kennel club right now. Immediately after the class, the conformation class comes in. The BCs that I've seen come through in there and one that belongs to a trainer (she is going to be showing him in conformation), that I know, don't look like the dogs in the video. They look more like the ones we see on these boards, only more grooming gone into their coats. One of them is heavier in the way of his stocky build, but he looks nothing like the ones in the video, plus he is used for other companion sports. I always loved watching the dog shows as I was growing up, but I'm not a fan anymore. If AKC would recognize the breeds for what they were bred for, I wouldn't have a problem with them. I just can't stand to see what is happening to our beloved breeds. Plus, I don't like the way I've seen the trainers for conformation treat the dogs. I had Dreamer in a conformation class last year. I was just curious about it and I thought that it would benefit us in socializing him, teaching him how to do a good stand for exam, and it would give me an insight into the world of showing. Well, one thing that really upset me was that Dreamer wasn't good on the leash yet. I was working with him, but he was still a pup. Anyway, he would sit and refuse to move. The trainer told me to keep walking anyway. I told her that I was NOT going to drag my dog. Shelties are a sensitive breed and you have to be careful when working with them, because of that. He walks fantastically on a leash now, but that just irritated me since there are other ways to go about teaching them. I'm sorry for swaying off topic for a sec, but I just wanted to give you my experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, Maria, I figured we didn't escape with your initial comment. ;-)

What is the point of this thread? I want to know what is the point of showing in conformation, breeding dogs that look like that, how anyone arrives at the conclusion that this is what the breed was intended to be, how dogs that look like that are supposedly built properly to work, and how anyone thinks that ANY of those dogs are actually enjoying themselves.

I'm sorry you feel you have to defend your dogs. "Would I ever dream of disparaging the pets on this board?" I am not doing that here, either. But please don't attempt to defend or justify the showing of Border Collies in conformation by pointing out the number of "working" bred dogs that shouldn't be bred, either. As it has been pointed out over and over, it's all in the numbers. The AKC hasn't had Border Collies that long, but give it time ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When I was thinking about getting another BC I had totally forgotten about all the working ones in my area and almost bought an AKC one. I talked to my obedience trainer and she said I have 2 BC's I'm working with right now. One is AKC and the other comes from Pat Shanahan. The AKC one has a huge head, buckets and buckets of coat and isn't very bright plus wouldn't chase a squirrel (she works right off her back yard for training- good distractions) if he saw it. The one from Pat is more like your other dogs. I'd recommend against it. My obedience trainer is also a rally judge and an obedience judge and has Airedales. So she isn't prejudice as far as lines go.

One thing I might add, though, and I don't want to sound snippy, but you really don't see very many AKC ones at the shelters or in rescue. Is it us with the working lines that are over breeding? Just a thought- didn't mean to cause friction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Bo Peep' post='186536' date='Oct 1 2007, 11:13 PM']Is it us with the working lines that are over breeding? Just a thought- didn't mean to cause friction.[/quote]

I don't think it's over-breeding. Working lines are bred to work. Period. But sometimes when people see them work, they also want one for a pet. I don't think they get it.

We don't have sheep but our boys still have a job. We make sure they are worked mentally as well as physically. The people that don't get it, also don't understand why we spend so much time with them either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think that's why I enjoy these boards so much. Everyone here is as nuts about the quirks of border collie attitudes and such that it seems they are the only ones that understand WHY I am so hooked on the breed.

A lot of my question is guilt. I wonder if "I WAS" a BYB. My dogs never made it to open level, never past n/n. I don't know why so many people called me wanting to be put on my waiting list for puppies. I had 5 litters in 20 years and never a return. I had hips tested and certified and then the eyes had to be done every year. I was as picky as one could be before I sold a pup or even took a deposit, but yet I still fell a little guilty. So, I probably shouldn't have typed that, but........ can't change it now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Bo Peep' post='186536' date='Oct 1 2007, 10:13 PM']One thing I might add, though, and I don't want to sound snippy, but you really don't see very many AKC ones at the shelters or in rescue. Is it us with the working lines that are over breeding? Just a thought- didn't mean to cause friction.[/quote]

I don't know about that. Not all puppies born to AKC registered Border Collies look like the ones that make it "to the top" in Conformation. And don't forget the ones that are "sport bred". Many of them are AKC registered, too, but there is a lot of variety in the looks of those dogs - a lot of reds and merles and such. At least I've heard that.

Between those breeding for a certain look, those breeding for sport, accidental litters, those who breed just because they want to and don't really have a specific goal, and those that are just out to make money off this breed that is gaining in popularity, I'd guess that the percentage of Border Collies in rescue/shelters from working lines is particularly great in comparison.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bo Peep, Another way to look at it is - How many people got their bc first and then got sheep??

5 litters in 20 years??? I wouldn't consider that a BYB.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In the park we were taking about crufts b/c's
All there people with b/c couldnt believe that you could even get a b/c to show- to stand while someone poked about with it, to trot round the ring oblivious to everything

The idea we all thought about the same time was that if you are going to truly show a b/c then a wee trot round the ring does not show the type

Should be something of the lines of a nice outrun to the top of the ring then a sculk head down eyes on judge back round to handler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='pammyd' date='Oct 2 2007, 07:30 AM' post='18658
Should be something of the lines of a nice outrun to the top of the ring then a sculk head down eyes on judge back round to handler
[/quote]
That would be the in a perfect world. That's what sheepdog trials are for. Notice the dogs have no "J" in their tails? limp. If it were me. I'd be showing them with a tennis ball & tuck it in my pocket. These dogs just work for treats. Most of the dogs on the boards here work for praise. At least that's the feeling I've gotten by being here for awhile. These dogs are probably tucked in a kennel and only work for show and get out very seldom. Only for practice for show. Sad but true.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='OurBoys' post='186557' date='Oct 1 2007, 11:47 PM']Bo Peep, Another way to look at it is - How many people got their bc first and then got sheep??

5 litters in 20 years??? I wouldn't consider that a BYB.[/quote]
I look at it differently. If the dogs weren't proven working dogs (and N/N proves nothing--even conformation-bred dogs with a modicum of instinct can usually get around an N/N course), then the breeding was a backyard breeding. I say kudos to Bo Peep for making sure you had great homes and healthy dogs, but your criteria for breeding can't really be defended. Volume doesn't matter. You certainly weren't what I would consider a puppy mill, but you were definitely a BYB. I hope you don't take offense at that, but I'm guessing from your post that you already knew that's what you were doing.

And I agree that the dogs you find in shelters are really more a question of numbers adnd recognizability. Far more ABCA-bred dogs are registered than AKC-bred dogs. So it stands to reason that the numbers of each seen in shelters would reflect that difference. And as someone else pointed out, there's no telling what the breeding is on a dog in a shelter if registration papers aren't available.

Our Boys,
There's nothing wrong with getting a border collie and *never* getting sheep. It comes back to the same old mantra: breed for working ability; use them for whatever you want. It's the "breed for working ability" that is the sticky part here. One can argue that a dog may not have to make it to open to have proven working ability, but I think most would agree that novice-novice is not a proving ground for breeding dogs.

J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bo Peep, I noticed the tail thing too
Was going to comment because I thought part of the breed standard was tail curling up at hocks? - havent looked for a wee while but that would mean that these bred for conformation dogs are not following the standard

I think there is too many dogs just for show or whatever, but its not just in the show ring. I read on an agility website one womans rant about how its not fair that the b/c get all the attention in agility and not her dog, and she had actually got herself a b/c so she could compeate but "found it impossible to train" so she couldnt do agility with it so she had given it away - more like she had only got it for agility, haddnt bothered to bond properly with it or learn about the breed and because it wasnt a star had given it away

You are so right - Ben works (well does stuff not real work) because he wants to do things for me - because he likes to make me happy
He did his whole puppy agility course the other week without a single treat

I cant imagine the dogs on this board standing in the ring with their people and not having a waggy tail! ball treats or just because they love doing anything with their person

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='pammyd' post='186598' date='Oct 2 2007, 06:27 AM']I cant imagine the dogs on this board standing in the ring with their people and not having a waggy tail! ball treats or just because they love doing anything with their person[/quote]

If I took Speedy into a ring with, say, 4 or 5 other Border Collies - with or without treats, he would give me an eager look and be happily ready to do whatever I wanted, even if that was simply to go in brisk circles around the ring. The leash would need to be loose or off, though. He would heel or simply go around with me at my side - my choice. And his look would resemble that of the dog in the Freestyle video that I posted in the sport section.

But if I choked up on his leash and yanked it like those handlers were doing, he would be very worried, and I could see his demeanor becoming very "lifeless".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The whole question with confirmation is how much confirmation has an impact on working ability. In horses, for example, there are both confirmation and working classes. I would never choose a stallion that only did confirmation showing, but does that mean it's a bad thing that Quarters have confirmation classes? Does it mean that I am going to rule out a stallion for my mare just because he doesn't do well in confirmation classes? No. But might I take that into consideration? Yes.

I think the question is really the sort of standards that are used and how much these standards impact the working ability of the breed. In horses, I know confirmation can impact important parts of the horses body structure and that can impact how well the animal can run and hold up in the long term to the work you want it to do. You're using an animal for breeding before the end of its life and you want to consider how well it can resist injury and how long and how intensely it can work.

I can imagine that parts of this apply to dogs as well, even though we are working with smaller and more resilient animals that aren't needing to carry a rider along with their own weight. If their legs and the rest of their bodies aren't put together properly for the work they need to do, they are going to be more prone to injury and less able to work day after day in the long term.

In a world where we aren't judging a dog by how well it works every day day in and day out on the farm, we may need to consider some aspects of confirmation as well as its placement in trials to properly consider its potential. We have a great deal of medical care available today, but it isn't healthy to breed animals that rely on that. We can't tell in a 2 or 3 year old dog when it's joints will start giving it trouble or when arthritis will take it out of work.

The real problem, as far as I understand it, with AKC breeding and confirmation is that the standards are based more on fashion and popularity than good sense. What the border collie needs is confirmation standards that reflect a typical good healthy build of a good working sheep dog and don't fluctuate with fashion or the personal preferences of a few top judges. It also needs for these confirmation standards to be considered only a _very small part_ of the basis of evaluation of a border collie. With the primary standards being working standards and personality aspects. Color should be irrelevant because it is not an important aspect of this breed. It is to other breeds because it impacts who they are as a breed, but the border collie is different.

Am I thinking this through properly or is there something I'm not understanding? I'm really very inexperienced with this, even in horses, but this is what I understand as the purpose of it all. I also thought half the point of the confirmation classes in horses was also to have something to do with the youngsters so they could get used to the noise and bustle and learn to behave properly and also to show off their potential when they were still too young to do any "real" work...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The problem with that line of thought, Bexie, is that no-one can point out a set of abitrary physical attributes that determine or suggest why this working dog or that working dog IS a good one. The only thing that determines that is the work itself. If the dog cannot stand up physically to the task, it doesn't get bred. If the dog cannot stand up in other ways to the task - it doesn't get bred. Judging a Border Collie in ANY way based on it's conformation - even in the way you mention - will (as obviously seen in the KC type dogs) result in losing vital parts of the working ability... the working ability is not tied up in physical attributes.

It sounds like a good idea... and at least the KC folks initially paid lip service to the exact reasoning you point out. We can all see how that worked out. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If [b]I[/b] took Annie (ABCA-registered, not AKC-registered) into a show ring, the same thing that happened at the local frisbee trials, and at the local Scottish Festival (where they actually show working dogs [b]working[/b]), would probably recur. You see, Annie [b]loves[/b] everyone and everything; so instead of focusing on the show, she would want to go visit the other dogs, the handlers, the judges, the spectators...in other words, she would be focused on everything except the conformance requirements...and would be looking at me as if to say, [i]"Gee, this is fun! Now, where's my ball?"[/i]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Carson Crazies' post='186619' date='Oct 2 2007, 02:38 PM']The problem with that line of thought, Bexie, is that no-one can point out a set of abitrary physical attributes that determine or suggest why this working dog or that working dog IS a good one. The only thing that determines that is the work itself. If the dog cannot stand up physically to the task, it doesn't get bred. If the dog cannot stand up in other ways to the task - it doesn't get bred. Judging a Border Collie in ANY way based on it's conformation - even in the way you mention - will (as obviously seen in the KC type dogs) result in losing vital parts of the working ability... the working ability is not tied up in physical attributes.

It sounds like a good idea... and at least the KC folks initially paid lip service to the exact reasoning you point out. We can all see how that worked out. :rolleyes:[/quote]

So there aren't even a few basic points that do make sense or is the anticonfirmation reasoning that the points are so few (basic good health) that there is no value in judging it at all?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote]So there aren't even a few basic points that do make sense or is the anticonfirmation reasoning that the points are so few (basic good health) that there is no value in judging it at all?[/quote]

I think any good working breeder takes into consideration health, temperament and soundness of their dogs (and most do some sort of testing - CEA and hips if nothing else). The thing is - health, temperament, and soundness are also part of the working package so to speak. Breeding for working ability and taking into account the physical and mental soundness of the dog go hand in hand. A dog that is unsound will break down under the strain of working - and that dog shouldn't be bred. Conformation certainly doesn't take into account the dog's mental soundness (ever see them holding their dog's mouth closed as the judge touches them???), and how can it possibly test for physical soundness? One trot around the ring and feeling up the dog won't show the judge that the dog can stand up to the work. Working the dog to a high level and standard will though. :rolleyes:

I think when it comes to conformation maybe it IS a good thing for some breeds... some breeds (such as say... the Papillon) NEED a standard by which they're judged, and an appearance standard may be all they have. The Border Collie already has a standard - a working standard - and it's a standard that's served the dog well for many years. It weeds out the bad, and seperates the wheat from the chaff - in ALL respects.

I think the idea of "a working dog should have THIS much angle to his hock" or "a border collie needs a rough coat to keep him warm in the winters" or whatever sounds good in theory - but when you look at the working bred dogs one may have THIS much angle, and that one has THAT much angle, yet they're both superb dogs and physically sound. Why would we limit the gene pool by chosing only one of those dogs - we might accidently weed out something very good based on this arbitrary angle that we *thought* made up a good working dog.

Editing to add - I don't mean to pick on you specifically Bexie, just the concepts that you've outlined. It's obvious to me that you're working hard to work all of this out, and I really commend you for stretching yourself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Carson Crazies' post='186632' date='Oct 2 2007, 03:11 PM']Editing to add - I don't mean to pick on you specifically Bexie, just the concepts that you've outlined. It's obvious to me that you're working hard to work all of this out, and I really commend you for stretching yourself.[/quote]

Don't worry. I don't feel picked on. I'm just trying to compare it to something where I can see some value in confirmation--horses in horse breeding--and trying to work out whether there _ever_ could be a value for confirmation for BCs for something for someone (in a hypothetical universe) or if the entire concept really should be trashed for this breed of dog.

I think it works out to my comparison doesn't really work. I consider the Quarter horse a working breed of horse and although I still think it should primarily be judged by its working ability, I can imagine times when it is useful to know that potential breeding stock or ancestry of a potential horse has its confirmation in place, like if considering a stud when you can't get up close and personal as much as you'd like ahead of time and you want to be sure the animals have a good potential to be compatible. But despite being two working breeds, I think my comparison just doesn't work. For one thing, dogs don't bear near as much weight or have nearly so clearly problematic confirmation problems.

Part of why I'm thinking about these things now is that I've got a mare who clearly wasn't given proper farrier treatment as a foal. She has a few issues with her feet that are treatable but we don't really know how much is something she was born with and how much is something caused by neglect or oversight. But if I ever do decide to breed her, the confirmation of the stallion is going to be an essential point to consider.

So this is where my line of thought came from. Although I wouldn't accept a stallion only based on his confirmation (it is not unusual in DK for people to think that a Quarter stallion that has never been ridden or barely been ridden and only been shown at halter is valuable breeding stock), I definitely consider it very important for _my mare_ that a stallion have extremely good confirmation, especially in his legs, to potentially correct her flaw rather than risk worsening it to the point of creating an unsound foal.

Having this judged externally rather than having to judge it personally can help me rule out a stallion more quickly and it can also help to be able to check his bloodlines for any possible problems he might be carrying.

Sorry, I'm babbling about things no one cares about. Just trying to explain my reasoning in case it makes more sense than I do...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='juliepoudrier' post='186592' date='Oct 2 2007, 04:28 AM']Our Boys,
There's nothing wrong with getting a border collie and *never* getting sheep. It comes back to the same old mantra: breed for working ability; use them for whatever you want. It's the "breed for working ability" that is the sticky part here. One can argue that a dog may not have to make it to open to have proven working ability, but I think most would agree that novice-novice is not a proving ground for breeding dogs.

J.[/quote]

Julie,

Thank you. You definitely know more about sheep & bc's than I do. Sometimes when I see JJ making sure all of the frisbees are gathered in the same area or watch Jake circle around and then suddenly face JJ and start walking toward him in a slight crouch, I wonder if I'm holding them back...not letting them reach their potential. Sometimes I feel guilty for not having sheep. But then again, just because they 'herd' frisbees, doesn't mean they would be good at herding sheep.

And your right (as always)....n/n wouldn't be a proving ground for breeding dogs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I can see where you're coming from in regards to horses - and I think it's just a little greyer there than with Border Collies. Particularly with things such as back problems and foot problems - I think with careful consideration of conformation and performance you CAN fix certain problems in horses (ie a slightly weak back, etc.). {Edit to clarify - maybe I would be more accurate to get across what I mean hear by saying "with consideration of a specific horse's structure and soundness in that regard - not necessarily conformation as a whole practice}

However, I absolutely ABHOR the practice of breeding based on horses that have only been shown at halter. I used to spend a lot of time around Arabians, and the dichotomy between performance horses and halter horses is just staggering. I know exactly where you're coming from there - and can tell you that you're right in thinking that maybe the comparison doesn't quite make it. In theory it should, but in reality it just doesn't when you try to compare that method to border collies. I think part of that has to do with the weight bearing jobs of horses.

You're in sort of a tough position with your mare (if you decide to breed her) - trying to determine how much of that is genetic and how much of it is environmental. I think you're right to consider even more cautiously so the soundness of the stud, even if you DO think the problem is environmental/early care related. Then you've got to consider if there is the possibility that the problem IS genetic, will it be fixable - and do you want to risk it. Tough spot - I'm feeling it there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×