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merle explosion?

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I wonder, if when this dog was young, if she were introduced to, and trained to work tougher stock- would she be able. If you don't ever expose them to that, they never learn to handle it. Some trial areas have a majority of well broke stock- but it behooves (hee hee- no pun intended) the handler to get that dog out, and expose it to these tougher animals. If THEN the dog still can't handle it, then so be it. Courage is not something you know you have until you have to use it. We need to give these dogs a chance to call it up.

 

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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I wonder, if when this dog was young, if she were introduced to, and trained to work tougher stock- would she be able. If you don't ever expose them to that, they never learn to handle it. Some trial areas have a majority of well broke stock- but it behooves (hee hee- no pun intended) the handler to get that dog out, and expose it to these tougher animals. If THEN the dog still can't handle it, then so be it. Courage is not something you know you have until you have to use it. We need to give these dogs a chance to call it up.

 

 

Well just my opinion but while you may be able to instill confidence in a dog, at the end of the day a weak dog is still a weak dog....and yes she has been exposed to differing sheep, from fairly light hair sheep to big ol' mean no nonsense range ewes. The sheep can size up a weak dog in a second ;-( and it really is heartbreaking to see someone have a nice run going, then on the drive the sheep turn and your dog is sunk ;-(. I mean what can you do to fix that? You can't train power or presence...so you go help your dog and wait for the next trial where the sheep better suit you.

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Well just my opinion but while you may be able to instill confidence in a dog, at the end of the day a weak dog is still a weak dog....and yes she has been exposed to differing sheep, from fairly light hair sheep to big ol' mean no nonsense range ewes.

 

If the dog in the original example is winning/placing in a multitude of open trials held under different circumstances, with difficult stock (not just an arena trial series, or 3-4 local open trials with similar set ups) there is way more to this dog than training and handling. There will always be people who feel this or that dog is weak or strong, and for each person they are 100% right. There is a reason why their is a multitude of different dogs....and just the same, there is something good about a dog that can do well at a lot of different difficult Open trials.

 

I can get by doing farm work with a commen mutt who's willing - better than "get by" actually, based on most farmer's standards. I prefer to handle my stock with a quality trial dog, and I find most who get used to that standard don't ever want to go back. The difference is just unbelievable, and the livestock benefit enormously as well as the stockman's (or stockwomen's) nerves.

 

Good work dogs that are great trial dogs...Laura Hick's Zac, Steve McCall's Katch.....

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Wanna know the most "fun" thing for me at a trial? Loading up after the trial. I was just JONESING to do this at a trial I was at, but, alas, someone else's dog got to do it. Oh well, our time may come...

 

If the dog in the original example is winning/placing in a multitude of open trials held under different circumstances, with difficult stock (not just an arena trial series, or 3-4 local open trials with similar set ups) there is way more to this dog than training and handling. There will always be people who feel this or that dog is weak or strong, and for each person they are 100% right. There is a reason why their is a multitude of different dogs....and just the same, there is something good about a dog that can do well at a lot of different difficult Open trials.

 

I can get by doing farm work with a commen mutt who's willing - better than "get by" actually, based on most farmer's standards. I prefer to handle my stock with a quality trial dog, and I find most who get used to that standard don't ever want to go back. The difference is just unbelievable, and the livestock benefit enormously as well as the stockman's (or stockwomen's) nerves.

 

Good work dogs that are great trial dogs...Laura Hick's Zac, Steve McCall's Katch.....

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Little bo boop says;

 

"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."

 

The dog that wins a trial may or may not be the best dog of the day, but the argument was whether GOOD trial dogs make GOOD farm dogs. Sure, there are trials that showcase better for a fancy, weak, but highly biddable dog. I've been beaten by plenty of them. But I would venture that good trial dogs would make more than ample partner for farmers/ranchers.

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The thing is when I originally said it I didn't even mean that one was better than the other. Just that there are good dogs in both catagories, and sometimes they can cross over and sometimes they can't. But there are a lot that can do both. But I think that different people have different ideas of everyday work as well, and that might be a factor contributing to all the confusion on this topic. But I didn't mean to spark the debate on which was better.

 

But as far as trial dogs being good for farmers/ranchers. It depends on the dog. A strong trial dog will be plenty of dog on the farm, and there are trial dogs like the ones mentioned above that wouldn't be. It depends on the dog. I don't think we can use a blanket statement and say all trial dogs do this or all ranch dogs do that.

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Well just my opinion but while you may be able to instill confidence in a dog, at the end of the day a weak dog is still a weak dog

 

YES!!!! Agreed, you can do things with a dog to help it gain confidence, but, it boils down to genetics--the dog either has what it takes or doesn't. Somewhere earlier in this thread there was talk of working cattle. (sorry, I've been displaced for the last week, and am coming into this discussion late) I think it is even more evident there--you can perhaps get away with a lot of stuff with a weak-ish dog working sheep (or at least some sheep) (as the example given earlier of the phenomenal young dog), but when it comes to working cattle, they just don't bluff the way sheep can.

 

I think the difference between farm/ranch dogs and trial dogs is this: if they work to any degree, they can all be useful at home. The stock learns the dog, the dog learns the stock and the routine, and gets it done pretty well. The trial dog has one up on that, and that is that it can take the PRESSURE needed for trialling. Different stock--hopefully some really nasty ones along the way, different settings, and, at least for cattle trials, different courses and tasks at every trial. The dog has to constantly adjust to different sets of circumstances, rather than just do the same job with the same (or mostly) same stock. The dog is also working against the clock, so it has less time to size up the stock and make the correct decisions as to how much pressure to put on the stock, etc. than it normally would at home. At home, if the cattle don't want to go into the trailer, you can go get a second dog to help; at the trial, if this one dog doesn't get it done, you're not going to place well. So, for me, I think it's all about the dog that can take the pressure to move from a good solid farm dog to a trial dog,

A

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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.

 

Bo Boop, the fact that you said this dog is "about to point out" suggests to me that she is not trialing in Open. Is that right? I have found that a weak dog can often do well in the novice classes, competing against "hotter" young dogs whose work is not as tidy, but when the weak dog moves into open it will often find the going much harder. So I don't even think you can call a dog a "good trial dog" until it is doing well in the Open class.

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Deb and Wendy have very good points - and I agree.

I was in the UK (England) a few years back and had the opportunity to visit with Jim and Shirley Cropper. Jim took me out to his pastures on "the hill" (a mountain by East Coast standards) and I noticed how the tall unmown grass was the exact color of my red dog. It was tough to see Jim's black dogs, and would be virtually impossible to spot a red on those hills. I would venture that a farmer/shepherd's selection DOES have something to with serviceability that way, and not just that reds and merles are poor workers or "politically incorrect". In Britain, where so much in life and sport is done in concert with "tradition", I would think breeding the "traditional" colored dogs would be in favor. I also think that selection against merle was a "safety measure" since a farmer would not have to worry about an unplanned merle-merle breeding if he didn't own one.

I noticed when in Ireland there were quite a few more merles and oddly marked/colored dogs working. The Irish have always been known for their "independent thinking". In that case maybe the dog's ability would outweigh the desire to have a "politically correct" dog.

 

The ISDS magazine had a good article a while back about merle working Border Collies, and the bloodlines/shepherds they came from. I will try to dig it out. As I recall, a shepherd named JP Burke in Wales was well known for working his merle bitches at trials in the set out/exhaust; and bred them to some top trial dogs along the way. His puppies were in high demand from those who weren't offended by the color.

 

Have just read through this whole topic with great interest - sorry to have come to it so late.

 

What I've always heard over here (England) is that shepherds think sheep won't respect a red dog. But it certainly also makes a lot of sense about the dog standing out colourwise, as my red tri Merry blends perfectly into the golden brown bracken that covers the hillsides in the autumn. Not everyone shares the dislike, though, and the 2004 Int Sup Ch is a red tri.

 

The dad of my younger BC Bliss (Merry's half sister, same mum) is owned by Colin House, who has partial vision and is registered blind. He chooses b/w or tri pups that have plenty of white on them so he has a better chance of seeing them. My good luck that Bliss is a very black tri then! Bliss via her dad has a lot of J P Burke dogs behind her - http://www.agilityaddicts.freeuk.com/blissped.htm - no idea about their colours though, sorry, and the litter were all black tris like their parents.

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Have just read through this whole topic with great interest - sorry to have come to it so late.

 

The dad of my younger BC Bliss (Merry's half sister, same mum) is owned by Colin House, who has partial vision and is registered blind. He chooses b/w or tri pups that have plenty of white on them so he has a better chance of seeing them. My good luck that Bliss is a very black tri then! Bliss via her dad has a lot of J P Burke dogs behind her - http://www.agilityaddicts.freeuk.com/blissped.htm - no idea about their colours though, sorry, and the litter were all black tris like their parents.

 

 

What a small world - Your Bliss' sire Harriott Jaff is a full brother to the sire of my Pod (blue merle tri) and younger sister Cooper (black and white). Harriott Roy is a blue merle tri who was imported to the US. That would mean that Colin House's Jess (bred by JP Burke) is also merle, (I know Morris' #Mac is a black and white tri, from a picture someone sent me). With Colin's vision problems, it makes sense that he keep a "traditional " pup from that breeding, selling the merle pups. I'd love to know more about the Harriot Jaff pups - or their relatives that Colin has bred. Laurie

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Who imported Harriot Roy?

Jody - I'm guessing you probably know the answer to that - and I'm not in the mood to stir that pot again. Laurie

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Jody - I'm guessing you probably know the answer to that - and I'm not in the mood to stir that pot again. Laurie

 

Wow. Thanks Laury. I wasn't looking to stir any pot, as you ladies were mentioning names I'd never heard of, so I thought that maybe I had the wrong impression about who Harriot Roy really was. I didn't ask who owned him. I didn't ask who bred the shit out of him. I was trying to find out if he was actually imported, and not just claimed to be by some woman who ... nevermind ... I guess the topic is a little touchy, eh?

 

Jodi

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Just want to say I'm really sorry that my earlier message sparked off a row. :D :rolleyes: If it's any help, I can easily find out more about Harriot Roy from this end as I'm in regular contact with Ken, Bliss' breeder (and he knows Colin House very well).

 

Anyway, while I found out as much as I could about my little girl's dad, it's the mother's side that probably interests me more, as Ken's the shepherd who also bred my older collie Merry, Bliss' half brother. The Taddymoor dogs also include the 2007 Reserve International Supreme Champion.

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Quicksilver,

I thought Taddymoor was Richard Millichap's prefix? And yet when I look at the pedigree I don't see his name anywhere. Am I mistaken as to who uses Taddymoor?

 

At any rate, if it is Richard's lines, I have to say I was quite impressed with his dogs when I met him (and them) and took a tour of his farm while visiting Wales in 2005.

 

J.

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No, Taddymoor is Ken Gwilliam's prefix. He's the owner of the dam, Richard Millichap of the sire of the 2007 Res Int Sup Ch Taddymoor Cap (a later Taddymoor Cap than my Merry's dad, of course). The farm where Ken used to live is on Taddymoor Lane in Hopesay, in the Shropshire Hills on the Welsh border, and as the prefix is quite well-known they kept it after moving to a cottage not far away.

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Just want to say I'm really sorry that my earlier message sparked off a row. :D :rolleyes: If it's any help, I can easily find out more about Harriot Roy from this end as I'm in regular contact with Ken, Bliss' breeder (and he knows Colin House very well).

 

Thanks! That would be awesome - I appreciate the offer, and no hurry. I like knowing as much about the background of my dogs as I can - and it's harder if the relations are overseas. Both of my girls sired by Harriot Roy are little workaholics and are very sound mentally and physically. Although I make a living teaching agility, Pod and Cooper's natural ability on sheep, coupled with their drive and determination has gotten me hooked on this sheepdog stuff. :D I definitely see a resemblance to your Bliss. Laurie

I added links to a couple pictures of Bliss' cousins Pod (merle) and Cooper (B&W).

cooper-1.jpg

photo by Pup Art

Podclose-upHickoryHilSDT.jpg

photo by Christine Henry

podweaves.jpg

photo by Victor Steel

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Nice to see piccies of Bliss' relatives - thanks for that. And at least the piccie of your Pod brings this thread back on topic - merles! :rolleyes:

 

p.s. will let you know whatever I find out about Harriot Roy as soon as I can, though I've got a busy few days getting the paperwork sorted out for our next agility show (on the 23rd), and before that I'm down in London with Bliss as she's competing at Olympia.

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Nice to see piccies of Bliss' relatives - thanks for that. And at least the piccie of your Pod brings this thread back on topic - merles! :rolleyes:

 

p.s. will let you know whatever I find out about Harriot Roy as soon as I can, though I've got a busy few days getting the paperwork sorted out for our next agility show (on the 23rd), and before that I'm down in London with Bliss as she's competing at Olympia.

Fiona - Good luck! Let us know how she does.

Laurie

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This topic has gone on for a long time and surely has reached the end of its natural lifespan, but here is one more link. It's the website of a double-merle border collie and gives a pretty good picture of what the consequences are for the dog. Poor guy is such a sweet looking fellow, too.

 

Bing

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Wow, that thing about Bing is so sad. It makes me incredibly angry to see dogs that have to live like that because someone wanted a pretty, flashy colored border collie. His adopters are great for taking him in and giving him a wonderful home. I'm sure he's so happy how he is now, but just imagine how happy he would be if people had been responsible and he could see or hear! :[

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all this talk about merles is making me feel guilty for having one...but you know what...i love maceo...he is a great dog, and a fine athlete, strong, fast, smart, and the most loving boy...

he has lots of white...and blue eyes...just the thing that apparently makes the majority of the people on this thread's skin crawl...

but i'm not going to be guilty...he was born to be my dog...and i love him just the way he is...

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...he was born to be my dog...and i love him just the way he is...

Of course! That's a very good thing. But breeding for merle coloration is what is not OK, I think we can agree.

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Of course! That's a very good thing. But breeding for merle coloration is what is not OK, I think we can agree.

 

agreed... :rolleyes:

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