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Do people really choose Border Collies based on color for sports? Honestly, I've never personally known anyone who has chosen a particular Border Collie, or breeder, for sports based on color. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but seriously, almost all of the Border Collies that I know through Agility, Rally, and Freestyle are either black and white or black/white tri. Most are rescues, are from farms, or are working bred. I do know a few people who got Border Collies from breeders who were breeding for sport, but none of them are merle or red or lilac or any particularly "unsual" color.

 

I certainly didn't choose Dean for his color. He is gorgeous, but in his rescue picture he actually looked strange. I'm not really a "merle person". He fit my criteria when I was choosing dogs to meet, so into the group he went even though I didn't really like his looks from the picture. When I saw him . . . well, that was another story because he is stunning in person, but I can honestly say that if he had been as disconnected from us as the first and last dogs that we met were, he would not have been our choice. His looks were a bonus, not the reason why we chose to adopt him.

 

It's an odd idea to me, having a merle, that people would actually seek them out on purpose for sports. People don't think that Dean is going to run faster or better because he's a merle. If anything, I run into more "he's not a Border Collie" out and about in the dog sport world than anything else!!

 

Maybe this is a regional thing or maybe I just don't know the people who are seeking dogs out for particular colors. Do you all know people who have actually done this? If so, why were they looking for a particular color for a Border Collie for sports? What advantage do they think they are going to have?

 

I'm just curious about this since it's just not something I run into among the Border Collie people that I know in Agility, Freestyle, or Rally in my area. I'd like to understand this better.

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:rolleyes: Wow I was about to ask the same question!

 

I think the misconception comes from you have a better chance of seeing a "color" border collie in agility then in herding.

 

The majority of border collies I know are black and white. (but I have seen one blue and white and four merles:one from rescue,one from a farm, one "sport" bred, and one sport-farm bred(his dad herd cattle, his mom herds sheep,obedience)

 

Stella

 

edit: can't count

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Good question. I have no clue, as I don't really know many sports people, but do see a lot of colors when I see agility or flyball at our local annual Wags For Wishes event (pretty much the only place I see dog sports). But somewhere, there must be some sort of demand for colors, as there certainly are a number of breeders out there breeding for color, and apparently selling them. Or is it just a case of breeders going for something "unique" or "rare," and then folks are intrigued and so buy them? At any rate, those breeders who do advertise their colors usually also are advertising their pups as great for agility and flyball, etc., and they do not mention working in any serious way. So, I guess for me the question is: is there really a *demand* for them, or are breeders just producing lots of them, so that's what buyers have to choose from?

 

A

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Or is it just a case of breeders going for something "unique" or "rare," and then folks are intrigued and so buy them? At any rate, those breeders who do advertise their colors usually also are advertising their pups as great for agility and flyball, etc., and they do not mention working in any serious way. So, I guess for me the question is: is there really a *demand* for them, or are breeders just producing lots of them, so that's what buyers have to choose from?

 

A

 

Exactly! You said it better than I did!

 

I have to wonder, too, of the people who buy the dogs from these websites, how many are actually shopping for a sport dog? I think that a lot of those breeders might use the advertising as great for agility, flyball, etc. as a selling point because it will impress some people into thinking these must be great dogs - even if the buyer has no intention of getting into dog sports at all! Kind of the same way they often advertise that their dogs are from "working lines" even though their target market is not really people who are looking for working stockdogs.

 

All of the people that I know who are active in dog sports would not do a Google search to shop for a dog from an internet website. They would ask for breeder references from people that they know and trust, or they would go through rescue. Or they might contact local breeders that are well known in the area by reputation, whose dogs they see running at trials and such.

 

In general, people who are serious about dog sports aren't the type to buy a puppy off the internet, sight unseen, breeder truly unknown, because of "rare" colors or any other "selling points" that the breeders put up on the sites.

 

These sites really do make it sound like people who do Agility, Flyball, etc. are clamoring to buy these particular dogs, but I really doubt whether or not that is true on a large scale.

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I know a number of folks in this area seem to have "dogs of color" that they got specifically for conformation showing or sport. Some I know because they have since crossed over and run in the lowest levels of USBCHA trials; others I knew because they went to the same trainer I did (that is, we didn't run in the same circles; instead we happened to have a trainer in common and so I saw them there). The attraction was the unusual color in these cases.

 

I would think it's not that folks go out and say to themselves "I want a lilac or a red merle for sports," but rather that they want a dog maybe for sports (as in we might do something fun with our dog) and find folks who are breeding "fun" colors who are also breeding for sport, and voila! you've got your next candy colored sports dog. Presumably the people who are really serious (top competitors) are more like the working dog folks--they look at dogs based on what they can do and then choose dogs related to those they really like. So color is incidental. But since sports like agility and flyball are so accessible and there are breeders out there perfectly willing to breed the unusual colors, the two populations come together and you get sports competitors with unusually colored dogs. JMO.

 

Anna,

I think in many areas, rare = valuable and the same holds true (or is marketed that way) in dog breeding. I don't know how many times when I worked for a vet we'd have clients come in who were so proud of their "rare blue doberman" and the like. It's also why you'll see websites with dogs priced according to color. Combine that with the average consumer who wants something special and the demand has been created.

 

I'll never forget the person who came up to me at the finals in Sturgis in 2005 (a member of the pen/set out crew I think). He wanted to buy my dog because she has "lots of chrome." No questions about how she works (although maybe he assumed she'd be decent since she was at the finals, but I imagine that might not always be a safe assumption), just "I want a dog with lots of chrome." Human nature to want the unusual and the unique. And breeders play into it, and buyers buy it.

 

J.

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I think in many areas, rare = valuable and the same holds true (or is marketed that way) in dog breeding. I don't know how many times when I worked for a vet we'd have clients come in who were so proud of their "rare blue doberman" and the like. It's also why you'll see websites with dogs priced according to color. Combine that with the average consumer who wants something special and the demand has been created.

 

J.

 

 

We have a breeder here in MN who prices her puppies according to their color. Merles are more expensive than black or red puppies. I think that when these so called breeders do that they then create the image in the buyers mind that this is something more valuable.

 

Kathy

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We have a breeder here in MN who prices her puppies according to their color. Merles are more expensive than black or red puppies. I think that when these so called breeders do that they then create the image in the buyers mind that this is something more valuable.

 

Kathy

 

I'd be really interested to know - and I guess only those buyers could say - if those who pay more for the merles are generally people who are involved in dog sports and are somehow considering color to be of value to their dogs as sport dogs.

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Kristine,

I doubt they'd say that the color increases the dog's value as a sports dog, but the color may certainly make the owner feel special for having an unusual dog. So the value lies in the "unusualness" of the dog, not in whether the color confers some sort of special ability to the animal.

 

J.

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In this region the typical order of reasons to buy for agility:

 

#1 parents/grandparents have agility titles and are known as "fast" or "world team speed" dogs

 

#2 dogs from same kennel as a famous handler's dog(s)

 

#3 lines are OFA/CERF/DNA/BAER and "guaranteed"

 

#4 color

 

Breeders who produce all 4 of these are known as "top" breeders offering "the best of the Border Collie". They can triple and quadruple the price beyond typical puppy price because of it.

 

Most buyers consider all 4 of these to be equal in their request.

 

Notice that reality...that is actual suitibility of the dog to the home intended...is not considered. The fact that most of the certifications offer nothing in terms of that puppy being functionally mentally/phsyicall sound and healthy...is not considered. The fact that the buyer cannot train or handle like "famous handler"...is not considered...

 

Color though...is always considered.

 

I would think it's not that folks go out and say to themselves "I want a lilac or a red merle for sports,"

 

oh but they do...and I've had them say exactly that when approaching me about a puppy. I've actually had people who should know better, typically good, smart people, lament that I will not be breeding to <insert your rare color here> for my next litter.

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Kristine,

I doubt they'd say that the color increases the dog's value as a sports dog, but the color may certainly make the owner feel special for having an unusual dog. So the value lies in the "unusualness" of the dog, not in whether the color confers some sort of special ability to the animal.

 

J.

 

Well, I guess I can relate to that feeling. Not that I would select a dog on that basis, but I do know how cool it feels when people think your unusual dog is something special. I can see why some people would want that even if it's not one of my priorities.

 

The funny thing is that you would think that Musical Freestyle is the one sport in which people would be more inclined to select their dogs based on looks since the overall appearance of the team can factor into artistic marks. But that doesn't seem to happen, at least not among Freestylers that I know in person or from the Internet.

 

Maybe the color factor among Agility people is a regional thing in some places. Like I said in my original post, I hardly ever see a merle Border Collie at an Agility trial. At the last couple of trials I attended there was a red merle Aussie (with a lovely full tail, to boot!) and I had Dean with me. That was it for merles. All of the Border Collies - and there were a good amount - were black and white or regular black/white tri. Maybe there was a red or two at the bigger of the trials that I attended, but nothing that really stood out as "rare" or unusual.

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I know several sports people who want a certain color for their next dog. They don't think it will make the dog better at agility or obedience -- they just want a certain look. Some are more adamant than others about the color (i.e., will only consider red puppies), but color is part of the package they are looking for. The majority of BC's I see in sports are still black and white, but there are also a good number of merles and reds with a smattering of other colors.

 

I've never seen any of the well known sports breeders ask more money for one color than another. A litter I was just hearing about had a few different colored pups. All the puppies went for $2,000 a piece. That was not based on color but rather the fact that both parents were well known dogs with well known handler/breeders with lots of accomplishments in sports.

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Well, I guess I can relate to that feeling. Not that I would select a dog on that basis, but I do know how cool it feels when people think your unusual dog is something special. I can see why some people would want that even if it's not one of my priorities.

I think people do select largely on the basis of what they like, and if a cool color makes them feel unique, they'll certainly go for it. You say that in your region you don't see many unusually colored dogs. Well imagine, then, that if someone did go out and buy a lilac or a red merle just for sports how much that dog and its handler would stand out. If you believe that most competitions have some ego factor in them, then it certainly would follow that an unusual color could play into that.

 

(Apologies to those of you who have heard this before.)

The first dog I ever owned outside of my family's pets was a blue merle border collie x Australian shepherd. At the time I got him I was looking for a rescue *female* herding type breed, and the night before I saw Indy, I had met with a bouvier (imagine how my life might be different now had I clicked with that bouvier!). Anyway, because my mother wanted to adopt a dog, we went back the next day to get her dog. The woman who was fostering Indy said to me, "I know you said you wanted a female, but I want you to meet this dog because I think you'll like him." Then she brings out this adorable, happy blue merle. Yes, his color was amazing. Before then I hadn't thought about a merle, although we had grown up with a great dane that was sold as a pet because of what I think was the dane equivalent of merle (miscolored harlequin). He had one blue eye and one brown eye, with a speck of the opposite color in each eye. He was definitely eye candy. He was also super friendly. But if I were being totally honest, looking back I would have to say it was his striking color I found so attractive. Once I had him I started noticing the color around me in other dogs. The next merle I met was an AKC border collie that the owner was getting a conformation champion on and was trying to get him started in AKC herding. I never saw merle dogs at sheepdog trials (except for the one mentioned above, which I ran in trials twice for his owner) until recently. Of the two I know that are competing in open, one was indeed bought off the Internet by a handler who admits that she was completely clueless when she bought him. The others I see are all cross-over dogs from agility (that is, their handlers had the dogs for agility/sports first and then decided to try herding with them). So perhaps my view of who wants the unusually marked dogs is colored by my direct experiences and is not indicative of other regions in this country. But I sort of doubt it. After all, you say you can relate to how it feels to have a dog whose coloring is unique, so why wouldn't others pursue dogs for their coloring among all the other criteria?

 

There must be a good reason so many of these unusually colored dogs are being bred. There certainly isn't a demand for them in the highest levels of USBCHA trialing, and in a supply and demand economy, no one would be breeding them if there weren't a demand. So *someone* must want them, and at least in these parts they mostly show up in the hands of sports competitors and pet folks.

 

If this doesn't seem to jibe with what I said earlier, it's because I view one set of potential buyers as folks like me with my first dog. I didn't set out looking for a merle--the color wasn't really even in my lexicon. But once I saw him I thought he was pretty darn cute. There's probably a large group of potential dog buyers just like that out there--they know they want a border collie, but it's not until they actually see somewhere that they come in unusual colors that they decide they must have one of those colors for their own. And then I think there is another population of folks who know enough up front about the dogs to realize that they come in cool colors and these folks do consider color--for that unique feeling--when considering what they want to purchase, be it for sports of something else.

 

J.

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Flame away: I got my BC Skye way back in 1992. Both his parents were black and white or black & white tris and when I went to look at the litter he stood out because he was red and white. He ended up with a USDAA ADCH so he was no slouch at agility. My husband (before we were even dating) got Skye's full brother (different litter); Blaze was a left-over red pup in the litter (the breeder didn't sell him with the rest of the pups because of an infection). Blaze was the first dog in West Michigan to earn an ADCH as well as an MX. Blaze was put to sleep this summer at the age of 14+ and my husband is looking for a merle pup, just because he wants one. Personally, I'm sure color has nothing to do with how a BC performs, but I don't see a problem with picking a pup for color. My sister once got a beige kitten to match her couch, but he was a well loved family pet for almost 18 years.

Barb S

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Sports do not require levels of innate ability that are difficult to find in Border Collies. Therefore, you may as well select a dog for color as any other reason, because for sports purposes, most Border Collies are functionally equivalent.

 

In other spheres, the same is not true. Most Border Collies are black and white, or black tri. Therefore, if you are looking for a good working dog, the odds are that the dog you find will be black and white, or black tri. It is not impossible to find a good working dog of an odd color, but there are fewer colored dogs, and the "good working dog" and "odd colored dog" populations may not overlap all that much, and it is enough trouble that for most people it is not worth it. From what I understand of the conformation ring, black and white dogs have a big advantage over dogs of odd colors, so you don't see as many odd colored dogs there either.

 

Since pretty much any Border Collie can sleepwalk its way through an agility course and do well, dog sports handlers are free to choose a dog based on color. Given the frequency of odd colored dogs at the agility trials I have attended, I would say that yes, sports people are MUCH more likely to buy an odd colored dog than are sheepdog handlers or people who do conformation. How else to explain the differences in frequency? They are too extreme to account for by chance (OK, I have not actually done the stats but I would bet plenty of money that this is true.)

 

At one agility trial, I was propositioned by another handler who wanted to breed a bitch to Solo based on his color and general superstar good looks. She had not even seen him run. When I told her he was neutered, she asked me who had bred him and if they had any other red dogs.

 

I will freely admit that I have a sentimental preference for red dogs and hope that my next Border Collie, which will probably be a rescue, all else being equal, is red. That said, I do believe that choosing based on color -- no matter what the purpose of the dog -- is pretty stupid. After all, when I got Solo, I did not particularly care for red (I think it is an acquired taste for many people) and would have preferred a black and white bitch. Luckily for me, I was not really in the logistical or emotional position to be making a decision based on color. The next rescue I adopt, which will not be for quite some time since in my mind three is plenty, will most likely be chosen on the basis of timing and suitability for living with my existing pack, and definitely not color.

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Flame away: I got my BC Skye way back in 1992. Both his parents were black and white or black & white tris and when I went to look at the litter he stood out because he was red and white.

 

I think there's a big difference between deciding that a particular litter is the right litter to get a puppy from and then choosing from the litter based on color and choosing a dog for Agility or another sport based on color.

 

I also think there's a difference between favoring a particular color or marking in general and those factors being the main criteria in the decision making process. I'm partial to Border Collies who look like Speedy - mostly black face, stand up ears, long coat, lanky. There was actually a dog who looked a lot like him in the group of dogs that we met when we were looking to adopt. I'll admit I threw her into the mix because she had that look, even though she was a little older than what I was looking for. She probably would have made a fine Agility dog, but we didn't "connect" when we met like we did with Dean.

 

I'm not even saying that it's bad if someone wants a dog with a particular look per se. What I'm saying is that I don't think that the majority of people who do sports with their Border Collies seek out dogs based primarily on color. Sure, some do - obviously some of you know people who have. But I haven't run across it myself.

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I think people do select largely on the basis of what they like, and if a cool color makes them feel unique, they'll certainly go for it. You say that in your region you don't see many unusually colored dogs. Well imagine, then, that if someone did go out and buy a lilac or a red merle just for sports how much that dog and its handler would stand out. If you believe that most competitions have some ego factor in them, then it certainly would follow that an unusual color could play into that.

 

Actually, I have to say that being someone with an unusually colored Border Collie, Agility trials are actually one of the few places where Dean's looks go pretty much unnoticed. Maybe that would be different if he had some hotshot handler and his performances really stood out, but as it stands his look gets much more attention outside of dog sport contexts.

 

Now, again, did not pick him for his looks, so I don't care that people don't notice his looks at dog sport events. I'm there to run my dog, not to get noticed. I want people to notice Speedy when he does Freestyle because he's giving an artistic performance (and they do - black and white though he is!). If people notice Dean at all, I want them to notice his Agility skills. Hopefully someday those will get there!

 

So, I'd say that if someone did get an unsually colored dog for sports to try to "stand out", I think it would be a rather disappointing experience. The dogs that are well trained and have a high level of sports skills are going to stand out. Those that don't . . . not so much!

 

There must be a good reason so many of these unusually colored dogs are being bred. There certainly isn't a demand for them in the highest levels of USBCHA trialing, and in a supply and demand economy, no one would be breeding them if there weren't a demand. So *someone* must want them, and at least in these parts they mostly show up in the hands of sports competitors and pet folks.

 

I guess there is no way to find out, really, but it would be interesting to know where the demand truly is.

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I seem to believe that the colored dogs are more pushed towards pet homes and sport homes. People who do sports have no real need for anything special other then a dog who is faster thinking then the average dog, more willing to learn and please, all the while being fast at it. Then pet owners just (not all of them but some) want something that no one else has, something special, something unusual.

 

It you notice, most people who buy these dogs based only on the breeds purpose and creator, buy what they need and what is most likely to get the job done.

 

Wants and needs. Two very different things.

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It you notice, most people who buy these dogs based only on the breeds purpose and creator, buy what they need and what is most likely to get the job done.

 

Correct, and that's why the breeds good qualities have been so long maintained.

 

Unfortunately the opposite is also true. When you deliberately seek out litters with color to purchase from, you perpetuate the litters and breeders of lines that produce exactly that.

 

Color litters for sports, color "lines" (yep, there are whole bloodlines), only exist because demand drives their production. It is a proven fact that these dogs sell for a lot of money, and being typical BCs, they also do well in agility in the right hands. At the sight of blue ribbons 2+2 then suddenly equals 10 and the buddies of Mr Merle Successful now want one too. And the price goes up again...and higher price means quality right? Sure it does. Its like a car right?

 

I haven't been to an agility trial in the last 2 years that didn't include color/sport purpose bred Border Collies. I've also seen deliberately minaturized dogs (less than 17 inches, bred down on purpose, not accidents), dogs out of sires that were know to be/and produce deafness, and many, many pups that were purchased for a minimum of $1500 because of their agility lineage and yes, their color and markings. A few were even exported to this country for those reasons.

 

I would love to live in Kristin's nirvana where this doesn't exist.

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I would love to live in Kristin's nirvana where this doesn't exist.

 

And where did I say that anything does not exist? Please quote me the post.

 

Just to clarify, what I said is that I do not see very many merles and unusual colored Border Collies at the Agility trials that I have been to in my area and that the people that I know are not seeking them out for Agility.

 

I have made an observation based on what I see in in my area. And it is factual. It is quite possible, you know, that the types of dogs seen at trials from region to region in this large country of ours can vary a great deal. You might see almost all merles and unusually colored Border Collies at trials in your area and I might see nearly zero around here. In fact, it sounds very much like that may be the case. There is no implication in my statement of that fact that the phenomenon does not exist in other areas of the country.

 

I still have yet to personally meet any handler who has sought out a merle, or other unusually colored Border Collie specifically for sport. This in spite of the fact that I have met quite a few Border Collie handlers at Agility trials and in classes in my area. That is not an implication that these people do not exist, either - it is simply a statement that I have not come across them.

 

I hope I've been able to clarify that for you.

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Wants and needs. Two very different things.

 

And quite a lot of grey area in between! :rolleyes::D :D

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you asked:

'And where did I say that anything does not exist? Please quote me the post.'

 

To which I quote your original post....

 

Honestly, I've never personally known anyone who has chosen a particular Border Collie, or breeder, for sports based on color.

 

This is your thread right? There are not 2 RootBeers?

 

I think the whole idea of not seeing how well breeders can screw up this breed at agility trials is pretty darn nice.

 

I hope I've been able to clarify that for you.

 

Nope you'll need to get over 4 page emails before my thoughts become clear. Which thoughts they will be though...well, I can't promise :rolleyes:

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This is your thread right? There are not 2 RootBeers?

 

Here is the first line of my original post:

 

Do people really choose Border Collies based on color for sports? Honestly, I've never personally known anyone who has chosen a particular Border Collie, or breeder, for sports based on color. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but seriously, almost all of the Border Collies that I know through Agility, Rally, and Freestyle are either black and white or black/white tri. Most are rescues, are from farms, or are working bred. I do know a few people who got Border Collies from breeders who were breeding for sport, but none of them are merle or red or lilac or any particularly "unsual" color.

 

Exactly how does that differ from anything else I've said. I was very clear in explaining that I was expressing an observation of what I personally have seen.

 

I think the whole idea of not seeing how well breeders can screw up this breed at agility trials is pretty darn nice.

 

That really is a separate topic from what I posted. Perhaps you should start a discussion on it.

 

The question that I posed was - do others see this happening (you, apparently do - thank you for your input) and, why would people base a decision to obtain a particular Border Collie for sport based on color.

 

My question really dealt with the motivation of the purchasers, not the breeder. The well being of the breed is certainly a concern of mine, but it is not what I was asking about.

 

Nope you'll need to get over 4 page emails before my thoughts become clear. Which thoughts they will be though...well, I can't promise :rolleyes:

 

I've never sent you emails, so I have no idea what you are referring to here.

 

Is someone emailing you using my name? If so, I will want to pursue legal action, if possible. I believe the computer of origin of emails can be determined and we can get to the bottom of this fairly easily.

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The "emails" are what I call your longer posts, which to some as computer illeterate to me are one and the same (other than the public/private thing)... don't worry, there aren't 2 of you that I know of....(hehehehehe...got you worried did I?)

 

other than that, I think I'm on topic. But then again, you and I rarely agree so what's new? :rolleyes:

 

I would enjoy a trial immensely where the dogs were more normal working/pet Border Collies as you describe. The fact that you don't see the problems many of us are indicate something nice going on in your region. What types of events do you do? USDAA? CPE? ASCA?

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