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What is the point of this?

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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 ...

 

First of all, if you re-read my post, I'm not justifying anything, and you've conveniently attempted to turn around what I said. I don't defend my dogs (as they don't need it) nor do I justify the breeding of anything besides working ability when done responsibly. But most of the dogs on this board are pets and were not the result of real working dogs just because they're prick eared and smooth coated. Not that that really means much anyway as there are many fluffy working dogs, some much fluffier than mine.

 

They should not have been bred as mine should not have been bred. Doesn't change that we all love them...and should. I don't believe that two wrongs make a right but I also don't get a kick out of disparaging other dogs based on their appearance simply because I've got nothing better to do. For once, it would be nice if a Westminster thread went beyond "ugly, dumb, and fat". I never fail to be amused when I read, "lifeless eyes" well, duh, these dogs are bored beyond tears in that ring, I think my eyes would glaze over also! Heck, the eyes of a working bred dog may glaze over also if that was all he got to do!

 

If the intent of your post was as you prefaced in your first paragraph above, I really wouldn't have a big issue with it but it didn't seem very constructive as initially presented and nor did it develop, up to my reply, with anything terribly constructive. Why not specifically point out the drawbacks to adapting a breed to coat/color standards and/or flavor of the month? Why not take it a step further and add that the dogs are probably overweight because they don't get to have any fun because their owners don't do ANYTHING with them beyond trotting around a show ring? Make a complete point for any lurker who is reading of the difference between show bred dogs and working bred dogs are not in the coat but in the aptitude for work and that striving for coat eliminates the other?

 

I don't like conformation showing for many reasons, including the fact that the dogs don't seem to be terribly happy so don't even attempt to insinuate that I'm defending practices I neither participate in nor condone. I would hope that if a point needs to be made, it's made for the right reasons. :rolleyes:

 

Maria

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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.

 

Laura - Well said, especially that quote!

 

Bexie - I think one problem with conformation showing in many (any?) species is just what Laura alluded to. While lip service may be paid to performance requirements, winning is based largely on style. It is often based on extremes of style, which is even worse. And, as conditioning "tricks" often provide a misleading appearance, the supposed integrity of the showring is even more compromised.

 

Witness the recent discussion concerning Suffolk sheep in the US (versus the UK, where "show sheep" are similar to commercial sheep) where the winning show sheep have little resemblence to commercially viable stock. How about the tiny feet so popular (and part of a winning "package") in recent years in the Quarter Horse? Talk about being counterproductive to breeding sound, hard-working horses.

 

Look at the styles prevalent in winning show cattle over the decades - the short, stubby cattle of the fifties to the leggy, long, upsloped rumped cattle of more recent decades. Both have been extremes around a moderate build of cattle that is more thrifty, sensible, and commercially productive. And both extremes carry their own setbacks, whether it's breeding issues (upturned rumps in heifers/cows) or mobility issues (those stubby cattle couldn't cover much range). But if you look at commercially successful cows over the same decades, you will tend to see a more moderate, healthier, more productive animal.

 

Sorry to say it but I think conformation is often the fantasyland of the animal world. Sounds good but doesn't work, at least not what we see in the US. I can't speak for elsewhere. The problem is that people equate show winning animals with quality, just like they equate "champion lines" and other platitudes with quality. It's a delusion.

 

There are going to be working-bred dogs that show poor quality in one aspect of soundness or another. Those dogs won't/shouldn't be bred if that particular trait will adversely affect soundness. One of the strengths of the breed is variability because it reflects genetic variability, which is a healthy attribute. Physical variability also reflects the fact that responsible working dog folks aren't breeding for superficial traits, but rather breeding the good ones to the good ones, to perpetuate and improve the breed.

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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.

 

The Quarter Horse is rare here, making her valuable breeding stock simply by location. Her father is a very high-placed reining stallion in Sweden, so she's got good bloodlines and my trainer, who shows internationally, is quite pleased with her progress. I only want her as an at-home horse, maybe a little work, so for me it isn't a big deal either way. But she is showing an excellent temperment in training and so far her problems are treatable. I'd tell you what they are if I could remember the English terminology. She's only five, so I've got some time yet before I have to decide whether I want to put foal in her at all let alone more than one and to be looking for a decent WORKING stallion. She's got to prove herself as a good stable riding horse before I do anything. The farrier input we're getting so far is that she was trimmed wrong for a very long time (our farrier didn't catch it but has never had American horses before and isn't even trained to shoe, just trim) and that put a lot of strain on the hooves. The trainer's farrier has corrected it and she is getting shoes on the front now. And we're getting a new farrier for her and the paint for the future that will hopefully be better able to maintain and manage them. So once she's recovered from the damage, we can have a serious talk with farriers about what kind of issues we're looking at and with the trainer as well. And if I get as far as considering breeding, I've got the good trainer with whom I can consult about breeding potential and stallions. I'm not about to do it just to do it unless I really think she's worth it. Otherwise it's probably better in terms of price and animal treatment to import one on an equivalent level from the US or Canada. I think half the "quality" stallions over here wouldn't make it as geldings at low-end club shows in the US. If I'm going to breed, I need one of the other half.

 

But all this gets me back to me at least half agreeing to throwing out the confirmation stuff. At least until someone can find a sound basis by which to judge. This would probably be a vet check before the work test...

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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...

 

 

 

 

There is nothing wrong with taking an animals conformation into consideration when evaluating said animal. Especially if the animal in question is to be a 'using' animal. And that would be especially true of horses. But thats not the problem, the problem comes when people, and the QH is a prime example, start contriving artificial standards, fads really, that some, sorry can't think of anything else to call them but idiots :-( decides, wow this horse is nice...but wouldn't he look better with REALLY tiny feet :D or maybe a really small head! and hmmm ya know what, the way these horses carry their heads? well wouldn't they look so much better if they carried them really low...you know with their noses practically dragging the ground. I could go on, but it makes me too angry LOL IMHO the QH is very much like the Border Collie, in that they were both bred to be working partners with man, they both have a rich heritage and history, yet it seems people like those in Ack and the QH Ass. totally disregard all of that. THe thing that really makes me sad is the total disrepect for the breed it seems to be fostering in young trainers and handlers (and I'm talking strictly horses now) but I got into a 'discussion' with a gal the other day on some of the 'techniques' used in WP horses...injecting tails with alcohol, so they wouldn't swish them...tying heads up high in the stall for hours...regular hock injections....this young woman thought nothing of any of this and freely admitted advocating it ;-( said I just didnt understand the discipline :rolleyes: thank god for small favor eh?

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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.

 

We can only learn through sharing and honesty and I commend you for "confessing" the five litters. As Julie said, it's not about volume and while you did almost everything right, those pups should not been bred and hopefully someone reading this can learn from what you've thoughtfully shared.

 

Maria

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Actually, in defense, all of my males litter mates were in open. My male was a rescue and the only reason my dogs never got higher than novice was me. I waited to long to teach them how to drive. I'm glad I fessed up and feel much better about it. That was a long time ago and I have learned my lesson. Usher is neutered.

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Lots of interesting comments on this thread to get one thinking. I have to admit to a bias against show situations because I don't feel comfortable with the whole concept of a narrow breed standard in the case of Border Collies. The breed is so wide ranging, and I'm just plain smitten with diversity of size, shape, color etc. Having said that I sure don't mean to put down the show dog people here. I know they love their dogs as much as I do, want the best for them and give their heart and soul to their dogs.

 

But my reaction to the video was one of OMG what fat and out of shape dogs they have there being held as a breed standard. Poof is one thing but those dogs looked like they weren't ever exercised. They moved heavy. We all know BC's, and we know what happens when they don't get enough exercise. Ok, I may be off base here as I like my BC's lean and in shape from lots of running and play. Active, is imho, a requirement of the breed physically and mentally. (I wouldn't approach raising a German Shepard or a Rottie the same way.) I don't herd with my dogs although I have almost reverential respect for those who do. My BC's are my companions 24-7 and the days are usually quite active. I know my BC's are happy. I just have this gut reaction though that the show stuff was almost like trying to shape a square peg into a round hole.

 

-jay

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First of all, if you re-read my post, I'm not justifying anything, and you've conveniently attempted to turn around what I said.

 

My apologies. That was not my intention.

 

I don't defend my dogs ...

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I fail to see how this is my fault. I cannot control what other people post.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I know why they are fat. I don't need to "disparage" the dogs publicly. The draw to what drives people to prance their dogs around the ring is what is escaping me.

 

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

 

Aren't there 40 bazillion threads like that to be found here?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Into lurk mode,

Jodi

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The point is actually rather simple:

 

It is as wrong to say a dog *will* work by looking at it stand and trot, as to say it *won't*.

 

That said, most conformation dogs *are* fat, and many are being deliberately bred to have docile, passive personalities that don't cause any issue when they are crated for long hours and not exercised more than ring training.

 

Basic structural correctness can be judged by any person familiar with livestock and dogs. It is not the same as a superficial "standard", and is the equivilant of knowing the basics of how the farm tractor works. You don't give a darn about the tractors paint, or if the seat is as a 45 or 48 degree angle, or if the tire rims are white or green. Things that matter is that it *functions* well doing the job that it was created for.

 

A significant part of evaluating structural correctness is actually using that conformation in a functional manner at work. If the "look" doesn't equally functional soundness, then the "look" isn't worth anything.

 

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

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Quick point on QHs...

Remember that with 'using' horses a lot of their working ability is inherited, just like Border Collies ...ie a cutting horse has got to have a lot of 'cow' in them...if they don't then no matter how athletic they may be and no matter

if they have the best conformation for cutting, well....

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Sorry, more babbling.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Please continue to contribute.

 

 

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

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Several thoughts.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

The comparison is probably more accurate than I realized.

 

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

 

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

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Hi Jodi,

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Maria

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

 

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

 

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

 

Maria

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

 

I like that, Wendy. Thanks for posting.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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