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merle explosion?

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Also, I don't think the trial field is the only way to determine if a dog is worth breeding. What about regular stock work, where peope use their dogs to actually work. The trial field does demonstrate a dogs ability, but actually having a job and being great at it seems like a good measure as well. So really just because you don't see them on a trial field does not mean they aren't out there doing what bc's are supposed to. Working.

You're right, the trial field isn't the only way to prove that a dog is worth breeding, but it's the only way for a variety of folks to decide if a dog is worth breeding. The problem with dogs who only work on their home ground with their home livestock is that the livestock get used to the dog, everyone is used to the routine, and even mediocre dogs can look good doing the same job they do day in and day out. A dog that can adjust to different fields and different livestock and work them well I personally think is likely to be a better breeding choice. But border collies were certainly developed by folks who just used them for daily work and bred the ones they liked best as the most useful dogs. I think this works if the owner/breeder can be completely openminded, honest, and as unbiased as possible about their dogs' strengths and faults (i.e., not kennel blind), which means not breeding your dog just because its special to you but because you can honestly say that the dog has the talent, skills, the je ne sai quoi, that make it worthy of breeding.

 

As for breeding a merle who's a good worker, well, if you think the dog is good enough for it to contribute to the gene pool, and that the breeding has a chance of improving on any weaknesses in both the bitch and the dog, then I don't think anyone would fault you. But if you make excuses for your dog (not you personally, but anyone thinking of breeding) in order to justify breeding it (because you also like the color and would like to perpetuate that) then that's an astoundingly bad reason for breeding. Ultimately breeding decisions are up to the individual, and all anyone can hope is that the breeder be truly objective about the abilities of the breeding pair and whether the cross is actually good for the working prospects of the pups and also wether the cross is likely to make a positive contribution to the breed as a whole.

 

J.

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Also, I don't think the trial field is the only way to determine if a dog is worth breeding. What about regular stock work, where peope use their dogs to actually work. The trial field does demonstrate a dogs ability, but actually having a job and being great at it seems like a good measure as well. So really just because you don't see them on a trial field does not mean they aren't out there doing what bc's are supposed to. Working.

 

Fair enough, but the truth of the matter is that >95% of people with border collies don't have enough sheep or enough land to provide what could be reasonably defined as real work that would test a dog. Moving 30-100 sheep around the farm does not constitute real work that will test a border collie. Working 100's to 1000's of sheep on unfenced rangeland or on "the hill" will sort out the real working dogs from the poseurs right quick. You'll find out who's got the stamina and who's got the biomechanics not to break down, who can handle the heat/cold, and most important who has the head and the heart for real work. However, those situations are few and far between these days.

 

Given the lack of honest to god real work, the trial field is the best leveler. Of course you have the problem that a mediocre dog on a certain type of field with certain types of sheep and a skilled handler can look like a word beater, but over a couple of seasons and good trials that attract good dogs, the cream will always rise. So, trialing may not be the best test of a dog but it may be the best we have.

 

Pearse

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This is only my opinion, and it may not be a popular one.

 

If I had a really good merle -- good enough that she really deserved to be bred -- I would breed her to the best solid colored stud I could find, keep a solid colored puppy, sell the solid colored puppies to working homes, and sell any merles on a spay/neuter contract or alter them before sale. That way I have a chance that her good working genetics are getting passed on to generations beyond, but her color is not.

 

I think merle is a lovely pattern, but I think it is a liability in and of itself, enough so that it should not be perpetuated in the breed. It's a color that can too easily lead to heartbreak in the hands of bad breeders. It's a color that has almost zero market value in working homes, which means that most of the people who would want them are people who may be wonderful homes but should not be breeding Border Collies. There are health issues associated with depigmentation in heterozygous as well as homozygous merles.

 

Yes, there is an outside chance that by doing this I may be speutering the greatest merle working Border Collie that ever lived, but the odds are quite low and I think the benefits outweigh that risk. I really think the breed would be better off without merles. This doesn't mean that individual merle dogs aren't great dogs, but across breeds, it really seems to me that nothing good comes of merle.

 

I would have the same policy about red if it were inherited the same way and had the same health liabilities, but it's not and it doesn't. I have a red dog and I love him, but I don't love him BECAUSE he's red and I certainly didn't choose him for his color, and I would love him no matter what color he was.

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But Melanie-

You cannot know the working ability of ANY puppy. You can only keep a few pups, grow them out, start them, and see what they are looking like they might be. If you automatically cull any puppies out of that breeding, including any merles, you are shooting yourself in the foot, in your breeding program. You simply cannot know what is worth keeping/culling at such a young age. If you follow this logic, you should just really not breed your merle girl no matter how good she is. In each litter, the pups fall into this range:

okay, pretty good, really good, and not worth the effort. There simply isn't any way to tell until you work them. I think if your philosophies hold true on merles, you just shouldn't breed them period- lest you keep only the marginal pups out of a litter.

 

This is only my opinion, and it may not be a popular one.

 

If I had a really good merle -- good enough that she really deserved to be bred -- I would breed her to the best solid colored stud I could find, keep a solid colored puppy, sell the solid colored puppies to working homes, and sell any merles on a spay/neuter contract or alter them before sale. That way I have a chance that her good working genetics are getting passed on to generations beyond, but her color is not.

 

I think merle is a lovely pattern, but I think it is a liability in and of itself, enough so that it should not be perpetuated in the breed. It's a color that can too easily lead to heartbreak in the hands of bad breeders. It's a color that has almost zero market value in working homes, which means that most of the people who would want them are people who may be wonderful homes but should not be breeding Border Collies. There are health issues associated with depigmentation in heterozygous as well as homozygous merles.

 

Yes, there is an outside chance that by doing this I may be speutering the greatest merle working Border Collie that ever lived, but the odds are quite low and I think the benefits outweigh that risk. I really think the breed would be better off without merles. This doesn't mean that individual merle dogs aren't great dogs, but across breeds, it really seems to me that nothing good comes of merle.

 

I would have the same policy about red if it were inherited the same way and had the same health liabilities, but it's not and it doesn't. I have a red dog and I love him, but I don't love him BECAUSE he's red and I certainly didn't choose him for his color, and I would love him no matter what color he was.

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I guess I just don't understand what is so wrong with Merle? As far as health problems associated with Merles, first off there are health problems with all dogs, secondly, it's not like all Merles have health problems, and as with every breeding, you make sure your dog has good hips, get there eyes checked, and realistically you already know there ears work because you have been training them. And by the time you get ready to breed you would know that your dog is sound because you have been working it for many years at that point. And, as mentioned before you breed to a solid colored dog to avoid any homozygous merles. Which are generally the ones with health problems.

 

Now, as far as breeding all merles out because of color. Not choosing a good pup because of color is just as backwards as choosing a bad pup for a specific color. Because if you breed a really good merle to a really good black and white all those puppies have the same chance of working. The color isn't going to affect let's say their out run, each puppy is going to do what they are going to do in accordance with their training and natural ability. I don't get why you would limit your chance of getting a great dog by automatically throwing out half of the litter. As far as you having these pups and then selling them to people who are going to start mass producing puppies with them, for me that would never happen. Because I wouldn't have so many puppies that I wouldn't know the people they went to. I wouldn't give a puppy to someone who was going to start breeding mass quantities of pet merles. But that's just me.

 

And what is the liability? At a distance a dark merle looks like a black and white. I can attest to this. I have seen my girl at a distance and she pretty much just looks like a black figure with white on the ends. And, having no value in a working home, I know most people want a good dog, and are not going to turn a pup down because of the color. Trialing homes may not be as open minded, but that is due to the belief that a judge will mark you down for having an off colored dog. I have had people say this to me. But I don't know about any one else, but I want a good/healthy dog, I don't care what she looks like.

 

I guess I look at this from my point of view that I have a working Merle who would never be irresponsibly bred, and some people are looking at the problem from the irresponsible merle breeder perspective. I just wish there were not so many out there giving the rest of us a bad name :rolleyes: And that people could distinguish between the two, and see that it is just a color.

 

Oh by the way, I wasn't saying the trial field is a bad way to evaluate bc's by any means. I was just sayign there is more than one way. And, granted there aren't thousands of sheep around, but there are some people that do use them for farm work, and use them on various types of stock, such as goats and cattle. A good trial dog doesn't always make a good farm dog, and a good farm dog doesn't always make a good trial dog. But there are some that can do both. So sometimes it is difficult to evaulate who is worth breeding.

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I don't think Melanie is saying that she wouldn't want to breed the best working dogs. But merle coloration is a siren song to coat color breeders who want those merle pups over any other consideration. By selling an unneutered merle pup you could never be free of the risk that it would end up being bred unethically or, worse, unsafely. Don't underestimate how much people crave merles! Check out these San Diego Craigslist postings that appeared just this week:

 

I'm looking specifically for a blue merle border collie puppy

 

Yes blue merle border collies are real, I didn't mistake them for Aussies

 

Of course border collies come in merle!

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If, until the AKC accepted Border Collies into their registry, the Border Collie was, solely or for the most part, bred strictly for working ability and not look, why didn't the merle gene disappear completely long, long ago?

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Another prime example of stupid people. I still say there aren't things wrong with the dogs, but stupid people misusing them for profit. And being so damn greedy that they can't see what is best for their dog. Not just in bc's but in all dogs people need to quit getting dogs to breed to line their coat pockets with a little extra cash. As far as just wanting a specific color, this person obviously hasn't been educated about the breed. Let us hope if they do get a pup they take the time to learn about bc's, and eventually join our way of thinking.

 

Also, that is a very good point about them not disappearing :rolleyes:

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If, until the AKC accepted Border Collies into their registry, the Border Collie was, solely or for the most part, bred strictly for working ability and not look, why didn't the merle gene disappear completely long, long ago?

 

Because the working Border Collie community is not the Borg, thinking as one unit. Some farmer/breeders considered the pattern to be a unique marker for their own lines - they liked being different. Since it is a dominant pattern it could easily be used in this way.

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A good trial dog doesn't always make a good farm dog, and a good farm dog doesn't always make a good trial dog.

 

Why wouldn't a good trial dog make a good farm dog? To what are you basing your assumption? Sometimes this old refrain make me wonder if those who are spouting it realize as to what level of difficulty our trial dogs are being trained.

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Now, as far as breeding all merles out because of color. Not choosing a good pup because of color is just as backwards as choosing a bad pup for a specific color. Because if you breed a really good merle to a really good black and white all those puppies have the same chance of working. The color isn't going to affect let's say their out run, each puppy is going to do what they are going to do in accordance with their training and natural ability. I don't get why you would limit your chance of getting a great dog by automatically throwing out half of the litter. As far as you having these pups and then selling them to people who are going to start mass producing puppies with them, for me that would never happen. Because I wouldn't have so many puppies that I wouldn't know the people they went to. I wouldn't give a puppy to someone who was going to start breeding mass quantities of pet merles. But that's just me.

Have you read this entire thread? Merle isn't "bad" in and of itself. The problem comes when people choose the dog specifically for the color and then because they want more dogs of that color they don't take an unbiased view of their merle dog's working ability and therefore suitability for breeding. It's a statistical thing. Merles, until recently, did not exist in statistically significant numbers in the general population of working border collies. Therefore, (unlike with red) to get a merle dog, the breeder had to consciously breed for it. In doing so, the breeder could not also be considering the best working dogs for mating. In other words, if a shepherd had 5 dogs and wanted to breed two of them and really wanted to get a merle puppy, then s/he would have to choose the merle dog as one half of the breeding pair, whether or not the merle dog was one of his/her best dogs. Now folks can argue all day long that the merle is just as likely as any other dog that shepherd has to be *the best* dog, but statistics would say otherwise. To put it in extremely simplistic terms, if there's one merle dog for every thousand b&w or tri dogs (and I'm just pulling these numbers out of the air as an illustration--they have no basis in fact--as I have no idea what the ratio of merle to nonmerle was before the recent expolosion), then the chances of that merle being in the elite few who are top workers is slim. It's based on *numbers* not color.

 

The argument always seems to come down to "If no one ever picked the merle puppy, then who's to say it might not have been the best puppy in the litter?" While that's a reasonable argument, the fact remains that at least among the folks who developed the breed the merle puppy was not picked (or very rarely picked) and so the numbers of workig merles dwindled (if they ever really existed to any great extent in the first place) to a statistically insignificant level within the working genome. You can't put in something that's not there.

 

This is why many of us have said over and over in these threads that consciously choosing to breed for a color means choosing against proven working ability. I think it's true that many trial folks would hesitate to take a merle, but if all those wonderful working merles out there start showing up at trials and beating all the competition, then you can rest assured that the folks using and trialing the dogs will look beyond the color at the dog. It seems there are at least a couple of kennels iin the UK that are trying to do just that. But so far I haven't seen any of the merle progeny coming out of those kennels making big names for themselves there or here. It *could* happen, but I think the process is akin to what the breeders of those other herding breeds are now doing--attempting to put the working ability back in after allowing the various breeds to be bred strictly for a look rather than ability over many generations.

 

To say it again, merle puppies don't generally appear "out of the blue" in a litter. One parent has to be merle. If merles don't exist in the working population except in very small numbers, it's just not possible for them to make a large contribution to the gene pool, unless someone is choosing to breed them *because of* the color and not with a completely unbiased view toward working ability. I think folks would do better if they didn't take these sorts of arguments as value judgments against the color but rather looked at them through a lens of statistics and probability.

 

J.

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Why wouldn't a good trial dog make a good farm dog? To what are you basing your assumption? Sometimes this old refrain make me wonder if those who are spouting it realize as to what level of difficulty our trial dogs are being trained.

I second Wendy's comments here. My main farm dogs are also my trial dogs. I wouldn't need the finesse/fine tuning for the farm work that I need for trial work, but for most folks I know their farm dogs are also their trial dogs. We don't keep a set of dogs for trialing and a set of dogs for farm work. This "trial dogs don't make good farm dogs" argument always seems to be brought up by people who don't trial, for whatever reason.... (And interestingly it's also the argument used by AKC/AHBA/ASCA aficianodoes as the reason the ranch classes in those venues are a better test of farm dogs--since they supposedly are more geared to real farm work. I for one found the work ridiculously easy for my farm/trial dogs. Oh, and that goes hand-in-hand with the argument that border collies are only big field dogs and can't work well in small areas, to which I also always reply as I did above--I surely don't have a different dog I pull out when I need to do pen work vs. gather a field.)

 

J.

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Dogs having Mm and MM genotypes typically have blue eyes and often exhibit a wide range of auditory and ophthalmologic abnormalities (3). Reetz et al. (4) studied the auditory capacity of Dachshunds and found that 54.6% of MM and 36.8% of Mm dogs had auditory dysfunction, ranging from mild to severe deafness. All control dogs (mm) in the study had normal hearing. Klinckmann et al. (5, 6) conducted ophthalmologic studies with three groups of Dachshunds (MM, Mm, and mm) and found that merles and double merles had significantly greater frequencies of ocular abnormalities, including increased intraocular pressure and ametropic eyes.

 

From Retrotransposon insertion in SILV is responsible for merle patterning of the domestic dog, Clark et al, PNAS 2006.

 

Health Problems Associated with the Merle Allele

Both heterozygous merle (Mm) and homozygous double merle (MM) dogs may exhibit auditory and ophthalmic abnormalities including mild to severe deafness, increased intraocular pressure, ametropia, microphthalmia and colobomas. The double merle genotype may also be associated with abnormalities of skeletal, cardiac and reproductive systems.

 

From GenMark's merle fact sheet.

 

I don't know which puppies are going to be the best workers when they're born. If one-quarter of my litter is merle, that'll be maybe one or two puppies if the litter is normal sized. I am willing to play those odds, if it means that I can eliminate a potential health problem and puppymill magnet from my lines. (This is all hypothetical; I don't breed dogs.)

 

For me, it is like using the DNA test for CEA to eliminate the possibility of breeding CEA carriers, while still being able to breed from a good dog, if that's something I want to do, except that heterozygous merles are obvious, so I don't need to do a test to know they carry the allele.

 

If this is a problem, then no one should ever sell to sports homes either because those pups are usually effectively lost to breeding programs. Is selling to a sport or hobby home also "shooting myself in the foot?" Some people might say yes. If I were breeding, I would sell to sports home -- but also on a speuter contract with non-breeding registration (I forgot that ABCA offers that option; ABCA should publicize it more).

 

By choosing certain puppies to keep, certain ones to sell to working homes, certain ones to sell to sport homes, one is already making decisions about what will and won't get worked to its full potential. It would simply be my choice to cut my losses in this sense, and try to keep the dogs most likely to be healthy and least likely to be a liability in the working gene pool. I don't place any particular value on merle, so there is no loss to me by not keeping this color around. I think it's pretty clear that the merle allele is NOT linked to particularly good working ability, otherwise there would be more (or any, for that matter) great working merles. That's not the same thing as saying "merle means a dog can't work," but I'm sure someone will read it that way anyway.

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Because the working Border Collie community is not the Borg, thinking as one unit. Some farmer/breeders considered the pattern to be a unique marker for their own lines - they liked being different. Since it is a dominant pattern it could easily be used in this way.

 

So, do you consider that irresponsible breeding, or not breeding to get the best working potential, in those cases? Particularly in the pre-AKC days.

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I am not saying that all trial dogs make bad farm dogs or vise versa. I was simply saying that a trial is not the only way to see if a dog is a good woker. And some that trial are more fine tuned which sometimes causes them not to be as independent as a regular farm dog who knows his job and gets it done. Which isn't always pretty. And some farm dogs don't have the finesse of a trial dog, which doesn't mean it is less talented or able, it just has been used for a different purpose. For example when working a herd of cattle, sometimes you have to let things slide that you wouldn't with your trial dog because you want to keep them fine tuned to listen to your every command. And you don't want them to get in to habits. I am not saying people have different dogs for each. I am not biased against trial dogs, I was just saying that there are different ways to see a dogs working ability. I think the trial dogs at open level are great, and they do have a lot of talent and are good dogs. I am sorry if I was not clear in my statement, because I was by no means bashing trials. I was just saying that a trial is not the only place to see good working dogs, and perhaps the pups that are off colored were sent to working homes and not trialed. So we don't know what is out there. My trial and farm dog are one in the same. Granted I am not a great handler, and starting a business means I don't have time to trial much, but I respect the difficulty of a trial and the training to get t that level. And the time and energy put into it by the people and the dogs.

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And some that trial are more fine tuned which sometimes causes them not to be as independent as a regular farm dog who knows his job and gets it done. Which isn't always pretty. And some farm dogs don't have the finesse of a trial dog, which doesn't mean it is less talented or able, it just has been used for a different purpose. For example when working a herd of cattle, sometimes you have to let things slide that you wouldn't with your trial dog because you want to keep them fine tuned to listen to your every command.

 

I hear this a lot. And it's true that many people who train for the high levels of trialing, want a dog that is more attuned to them. But I've learned that even the most supposedly robotic trial trained dog can loosen up pretty easily if he's got the natural wherewithall to work independently.

 

I've watched cattle work and the prettier it is, the better it is for everyone concerned. I'm not personally interested in being around cattle that are being handled by dogs that won't take any direction and just stir things up to "get the job done." Neither horse nor fourwheeler will protect you when things go to hell because your dogs wouldn't stop when asked.

 

I hear the mantra about "I've had trial dogs here and they couldn't move my sheep/goats/cattle/ostriches/elephants worth a crap." Well, the interesting point is, that 90% of farm dogs probably couldn't either. Not the first time, anyway. And, even if they could chase them over hill and dale, the next question would be how useful they'd actually be.

 

One time we were trying to get a group of first timer cow/calf pairs mixed with heifers, over a hill and into a barn. There were several of us humans involved and one dog who'd never worked cattle before. We'd get those cows moving off the nice lush grass they were in, but once they got over the hill, they'd break here and there, through and around us. We could chase them about anywhere, but we couldn't convince them to go where we wanted. That really taught me a lot about what the point of "herding" was - it's not just modified chasing, but it's about the dog being able to communicate to the stock and that takes a lot more than prey drive and obedience.

 

That's what a good dog can do, whether he's trial or farm trained. Trial training merely ensures that this ability is fixed in the breed at the highest level possible - it's not in opposition to farm training, but a complement to it.

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I thought there were trials for cattle work as well. Did I think wrong or is it just less prevalent than sheep trials?

 

I am just asking because it seems to me that needing a good cattle dog shouldn't be an excuse for not trialing with potential breeding stock if some sort of cattle trials are available. Of course if you are in an area where that isn't reasonably possible, you might have to make some decisions on your own, but in that case I'd expect a lot of breeding would be done more to replace and expand one's own team than to sell.

 

In my inexperienced opinion, and I expect to be corrected if I am wrong here, breeding for one's own needs for working dogs isn't _as_ irresponsible if you ensure that you place any extra puppies in responsible homes and that all are spayed and neutered if not going into the hands of people with an appropriate respect for the BC as a working breed. Especially if you are breeding competent working stock that trials capably or is well-tested under similar conditions when trialing is not possible (for reasons like lack of available trials, not laziness or "dog could if trainer were better").

 

I personally wouldn't automatically view trials as the only test of a dog's competence, but I respect that I am too inexperienced right now to make any educated judgment of what else might work and accept the recommendation of the more experienced BC people that most real life work conditions right now are not sufficient to test the dog's potential thoroughly enough to judge breeding suitability.

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What are the right set of parameters for you?

 

Karen

The parameters that would cause me to concider breeding my merle are so hypothetical that I won't sidetrack this very informative thread by going into them.

My point was that I am unwilling at this time to close the option of doing so to be a possibility.

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Why wouldn't a good trial dog make a good farm dog? To what are you basing your assumption? Sometimes this old refrain make me wonder if those who are spouting it realize as to what level of difficulty our trial dogs are being trained.

 

 

A trainer friend of mine, who I have a great deal of respect for told me a long time ago that the dog that wins a lot of trials, isnt necessarily the best dog. It didn't make sense to me at the time but it does now, and I've come to believe he's right. And yes, I do realize what level of difficulty our dogs are being trained to. A prime example, is a friend of mine that I trial with has a young bitch, was pretty much a little phenom as a pup, took to it right away...anyway she has a list of wins the length of your arm, about to point out, and will more than likely be named Dog of the year next month at our Texas state finals. This dog would no more make a good ranch or farm dog than my grandmother. She is a weak dog, and if the sheep are heavy, she either can't move them or times out. My friend has learned to handle her way out of a lot of situations running this dog, and as I said she wins a lot of trials with her, but would you want this dog working on your farm, trying to load sheep, or moving ewes with lambs or doing any kind of work that required a dog to move tough or heavy sheep? No. And I'm pretty sure this isn't an isolated case. I'm not saying that dogs can't do both, there are a lot that can, but I am saying that the dog that wins all the trials may or may not be the best dog.

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krazy15k,

You might not believe it, but many trialing farm dogs are perfectly capable of taking a lot of direction on the trial field and working quite independently at home. These dogs are smart and they can figure out the context well enough not to be fooled by going from one "venue" to another.

 

Frankly I want the work my dog does on the farm to be pretty. Even on cattle. The whole point of having your dog for farm work should be the capability of handling your stock in a more stress free manner. If my dog is doing work that's ugly, then I can pretty much guarantee that the stock are likely feeling more stress than they should. And stress = weight loss and other health issues = less money when sold.

 

Now if all your dog ever does is go find and bring home rough range cattle that have seen neither dog nor human all their lives then you're probably going to need a dog that's a bit different. But to claim that farm work in general requires less finesse or more roughness than you would see on a trial field is misguided. The only real difference I can see is that at home I wouldn't have the patience to wait on an animal that wanted to challenge my dog and therefore would probably give the dog leave (or ask it) to bite a lot sooner to get things moving along. Obviously that's not as acceptable at a trial, but then again, any judge worth his/her salt when it comes to stockmanship will recognize when a grip is necessary and allow it.

 

Bexie,

I don't really have a beef with someone breeding for their own use and responsibly placing the remaining puupies, as long as they don't misrepresent those pups as something they're not (i.e., parents not proven beyond the owner finding them useful) and as long as they take steps to prevent the owners of those pup (S/N or nonbreeding on the pedigree) from continuing to breed from those offspring without proving ability.

 

There are cattle trials here--moreso out west than in the east, so even cattle dogs can be proven by trialwork if one chooses. I think it may be more common for cattlemen and -women to breed from their own stock and keep using their own lines without proving on the trial field than it is for sheepmen and -women, but as I'm not a big cattle rancher, I can't say that with any authority (just inferring it from the folks who have developed dogs like the Hanging Tree cowdogs and the like).

 

I also think that an experienced stockperson and has used dogs for a good part of his/her life can probably evaluate a dog just working on the farm, but I doubt the average stockperson who has little experience with working dogs (or who has a useful dog at home) can do the same. That's why trials are valuable---because they do set a standard for good work.

 

J.

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Don't underestimate how much people crave merles!

 

Not to go completely off topic but two things of interest from another perspective.

 

1) I recently had someone apply for a blue merle Aussie we have in rescue because, and I quote, "we have recently fallen in love with the blue merle breed." The blue merle breed? She also referred to the dog as a border collie throughout her email.

 

2) When we have merles in rescue, they take longer to get adopted than traditional black and whites. The same goes for smooth coats. Why? Because they don't "look" like border collies. Border collies are supposed to look like Fly. The general populace, who knows little about border collies (and asks me every.single.day.of.my.goddamn.life what mine are "mixed with") thinks they are getting ripped off and that a merle BC in rescue is really an Aussie mix. The people who KNOW that border collies come in merle don't want a merle much of the time; they want a traditional looking dog or a red one. I can place a traditional looking for with issues up the wazoo a lot faster than a perfectly stable merle border collie.

 

OTOH, I can place a merle AUSSIE in no time, but a tri colour Aussie takes forever.

 

I therefore find it so interesting that breeders-for-colour can sell their merles like crazy and for so much money.

 

RDM

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When I actively worked in rescue, we had a similar problem--we didn't have Aussies--but merles were generally harder to place than any others, except perhaps BWs with blue eyes (or even a single blue eye).

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I therefore find it so interesting that breeders-for-colour can sell their merles like crazy and for so much money.

 

RDM

 

 

I have noticed the same thing. I had a beautiful purebred blue merle for months before he found a home. He was a wonderful boy and as handsome as can be, but not traditional. The family's vet convinced them that Zane was a mix. The picture might not be great. My old computer, where I had it saved, crashed, so I pulled this off our website's page. The photos change, but if you refresh long enough, a photo of him comes up. ARC Border Collie Rescue

 

Emily

 

post-7626-1193079466_thumb.jpg

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I therefore find it so interesting that breeders-for-colour can sell their merles like crazy and for so much money.

 

RDM

 

That's actually easy to explain.

 

Most people who are adopting rescues are new to the breed. They've got the traditional BC in mind - the dog of Scottish legend, the Babe, the classic Black/white they saw on TV, or all the dogs they watch at the local herding trial. They don't even think to look for "rare" (color or type) because the classic is what they have been inundated with. They actually have a lot in common with the herding people in that - they wonder if the "rare" is for real, and if it is, what's different in it compared the smart, useful majority that's solid colored.

 

now with education, and time, they may too love the merle as a pleasent surprise that is equally BC, and just as good for a companion ....but they have to be educated

 

The people seeking merles deliberately from breeders already have seen or own the "classic" BC...they want the new, better, keeping up with the Jones version that will set them out even beyond their friends who "just" have black and whites. To get one from a specialty breeding...oh my, that's even better. :rolleyes: Like the next color of car, the next feature on the Hummer...that is what they must have.

 

not sure if education is ever going to help those people. I'm leaning towards a good old V8 smack at this point

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not sure if education is ever going to help those people. I'm leaning towards a good old V8 smack at this point

Indeed! Would anything work, one wonders.

 

In a situation that is really dire, people who rescue blind and deaf white Aussies have tried to educate people not to go for the extra white coat colors, without being able to stop the supply of handicapped pups. And their websites are guaranteed to make you cry.

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