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Guest Aria The Border Collie

2 January 2015: Nothing new has been added to this thread. I have just removed my posts as I would like my whole presence on this forum removed, but having been told this isn't possible by the moderator I'm just doing what I can.

 

I love my Border Collie. She a lilac tri color puppy, she was bred from show stock parents who likely couldn't work sheep, and certainly not like the dogs I (very affectionately and with genuine admiration) now call Farm Collies. She fits the written standard for a Border Collie which is no surprise due to how she was bred, but she is not mentally or physically on the same level of the dogs bred, as you say, "solely for working capability". They do not fit in any standard besides working ability and so I agree that they're not the same as my dog. They're Farm Collies. A collie-type dog of ANY physical appearance so long as they're physically sound and are bred from the finest working stock available graded ONLY by how efficiently and willingly they herd livestock. There is no written standard for this dog; they don't fit the guidelines for the breed they're labeled under.

This forum is not the community for me as I don't have a Farm Collie (and again, don't mistake my different name as derrogatory. It is anything but that. Unlike "Barbie Collies" like my dog has been called.) and while I think that working dogs are wonderful, I'm not cut out to handle the down putting of the dog I regard as spectacular, just as you all love yours and I have never said they are anything less than perfect (a courtesy not extended to me with comments like "but please don't be thinking she's a real Border Collie").

Perhaps one day I'll get a working dog when I have the space and requirements to not feel it's cruel to a dog bred for having a lot of "go power". But until then I ask that the downgrading the dog I love to nothing more than a mindless ornament be ceased. I'm waving my metaphorical white flag to surrender a war I didn't even know I'd walked in on.

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http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.php?showannouncement=1&f=6

 

You might want to give this a read. It's a very comprehensive explanation of the perspective of many members of this forum.

 

You are likely to find little to no support for show line breeding in this community BUT what you will find is a large number of people who love and cherish their dogs and the border collie breed. I would encourage you to stay, read, discuss and learn, even if the opinion of the board members may be different then your own.

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You are correct in your understanding that this board doesn't condone purchasing pups from show lines or from parents that don't work stock (and there are plenty of working breeders who do health screenings). But I too would encourage you to stick around and learn the perspective of those who wish to preserve the incredible essence and abilities of the breed. There are lots of people here who don't do stockwork and participate in other activities with their dog. And many of us have dogs that aren't exactly working bred (lots of rescues) but we do agree with the philosophy that breeding for the work is the only way to really preserve and maintain the breed and that when you don't breed for working ability you begin to loose some of the pieces that make a Border Collie a Border Collie.

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There are plenty of people here that have non working line dogs or no BC at all, and all are welcome. But we don't support breeding for anything other than what makes a Border Collie a Border Collie, and that is stockworking ability. We don't approve of the idea of what happened to German Shepherds and all the other AKC breeds happening to our beloved breed.

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the background interest may be to maintain the working ability of the BC... But as others have said, many using this board do not work their dogs on stock..

 

The discussions on this board are usually very polite, constructive and informative. If you have a query, you'll probably get a range of differing opinions and advice. I find that other people's persoectives are very educational..even if I don't always agree with them😄😄

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I see that you are from Australia. Most (but by no means all) participants on these Boards are in the US. I am wary of drawing conclusions about countries where I don't have first-hand experience, but in the US the kennel club's recognition of the border collie occurred less than 20 years ago, so show Border Collies are not as long established here as they are in Australia, and a lot of us have struggled and are still struggling to keep show dogs from becoming the definition of what a border collie is. I don't think there can be any doubt that when you change what a dog is bred for, you inevitably change the nature of the dog, and it doesn't take many generations for that to happen. Those are the inexorable laws of genetics. If someone's only concern in getting a dog is that the parents be health screened, there are so many breeds to choose from. At least here in the US, I would wonder why it makes sense to choose a dog who is "bred to be . . . not a worker" from a breed that was created for work.

 

Whether you will feel comfortable here depends a lot on what you're looking for in a forum. We have certainly always had members whose dogs were from show lines, including at least one much-valued long-time contributor from Tasmania. I don't know of any better way to determine whether you would be happy here than to read extensively on the Boards. That will tell you if this is what you're looking for, and if these are conversations you would enjoy taking part in or not. But as Camden's Mom says, READ THIS FIRST.

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There is nothing wrong in wanting a dog whose appearance pleases you and whose temperament suits your own. What people here object to is the mistaken idea that if a dog vaguely resembles a border collie then that's what it is. It's a labeling issue. If the show world had picked a different name for what they have made of the breed there would be less of a problem.

 

There are many breeds that started out as working dogs where the show version differs markedly from the original and has lost much of the essential qualities of the breed. I'm sure those who still work such breeds will feel the same as members of this board.

 

If you want a dog that has a good chance of leading a long and healthy life where better to look than the working world where good structure and soundness is vital? And working dogs are not all crazy, despite what you may have been led to believe. You won't find a lilac tri but check out the photos on here and you'll see some pretty darned handsome dogs and that's without breeding for appearance.

 

Breeding for show does nothing positive for any breed and can do a great deal of harm by limiting the available gene pool.

 

But as others have said, stick around and learn more about the breed and lots of other dog related stuff too.

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There are working collies with a lot of coat. Many people here also prefer long coats.


This is minor to what I really want to address here, and I am going to do so as politely as I can.


The idea that a working collie - or collie from working lines - must work some insane amount or go insane is nothing more or less than propaganda perpetuated by people breeding for conformation or who are just frankly, ignorant.

 

I do not have a farm. I do not have livestock. I did grow up with relatives who had both, and working dogs. Do you know how relatively little work a working sheepdog on a farm has? Yes, a few days of the year they may be working all day. However, for months on end the dogs have NO or very minimal work.


Do you truly believe that the farmer is out there creating work to do for the dog, running or throwing a ball for hours a day to make up for the lack of work for the dog? Do you really believe that the farmer would tolerate his working dog becoming a neurotic, manic, mess during the times when there was little to do no work for said dog?

 

No.

 

The BEST BET anyone has of getting a good dog, with good ability to turn off is to go to the people who work and trial their dogs. Period. Yes, they have stamina and energy, but they also have the ability to turn off, lie down and behave in the lack of it. What makes a border collie a dog dog -for sports, for work, or the right pet home - is ALL related to WORK. That's where the intelligence, the responsiveness to people, the sensitivity, ALL come from.

 

Working != Neurotic and destructive mess if not working constantly or provided with 6 hours of exercise a day.


I don't dislike showbred border collies as individuals though I don't prefer them and I don't believe they are actually border collies (Ie: I will never dislike ta dog based on its breeding, whatever I feel of the breeding or whether or not it should happen.)

 

However, hearing that working bred dogs are endless motion machines who must work 6 hours a day drives me up the wall for how simply, blatantly, OBVIOUSLY wrong it is. Yes. They need exercise and mental stimulation. No, in my opinion, they do not need loads more than many working breeds and no, it doesn't have to be herding sheep.

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I'll echo what CptJack said re: working dogs. While I understand and appreciate how and why one might reach the conclusion you did (and lots of other people come to the same conclusion), it's not exactly accurate. My working bred dogs have been a delight to live with in the house and have an excellent ability to settle as needed. I just took my 6 m/o to a weekend seminar and he was calm and delightful to work with when I needed him to be calm. And ready to PLAY when it was the appropriate time and place. His job is going to be SAR rather than stock work and a SAR dog needs to have the drive and stamina to both work through challenging situations and the ability to "chill" and relax when not working.

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A lot of working dogs have long coats. Plenty of practical advice to be had to keep her coat in good (but not show) condition.

 

Unfortunately you have been misled into thinking that working bred bcs need 6 hours of work daily. It's a common misconception. In truth the work most of them do is sporadic and there is a lot of just hanging out doing nothing so they have to have an off switch. Farmers don't have the time for needy or demanding dogs.

 

My nearly 16 wo very much working bred pup is currently asleep on my lap and if there is nothing going on he will often just sleep at my feet. Our nearly 9 yo rescue (but probably farm bred) is the same in that he knows how to chill but can switch right on when needed.

 

Don't get me wrong, you can turn a working BC into a non stop screaming dynamo but if you do it's your own fault. It doesn't have to be that way.

 

PS I type very slowly and started typing this before others had said pretty much the same thing.

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Welcome! Others have explained the philosophy of these boards and the reasoning behind it.

 

I have three dogs - one from sheep-working lines, one from cattle-working lines, and one from disreputable breeding. None of them work daily on our cattle farm. Some days they get get pretty tired with cattle work. They live in the house, travel with us, go biking, walking, and boating. Two of the three are truly working-bred, and all settle well in the house, car, vacation house, yard, motel, or wherever we go.

 

Working-bred dogs don't need constant or exhauting activity but, like any other dog, they thrive under mental stimulation and reasonable physical activity.

 

What makes a Border Collie a Border Collie is what's inside, not superfluous exterior appearance. The dogs here, from whatever their background may or may not be, are loved, enjoyed, and appreciated for whatever they do in our lives. But the philosophy here does not condone *breeding* for anything that does not preserve the unique characteristics of the breed, which is careful breeding for the suite of chcracteristics that comprise *working ability*.

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PS - My dogs' daily exercise regime is normally just two half-hour walks, as much for them as it is for me. It varies but that's the norm. And none of them go bonkers...

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Yeah. I mean admittedly my BC right now is only about 6 months old she's really, really a well balanced dog (from two working parents). Yeah, she'll play ball and go and play and train like crazy when the opportunity's there, but she's got no issue settling inside. She gets maybe an hour or two hours of exercise a day, and it's not all at once. More on weekends, but weekdays that's about it.

 

She wakes up in the morning to go potty, plays with the GSD for about half an hour, then comes inside and gets breakfast and sleeps until noon (which, let me add, my 2 yo gsd mix and 2.5 year old chi mix definitely don't) . Then she gets up, potties, and then has a while of mixed training and play. Sometimes that lasts for half an hour, sometimes it's 15 minutes, sometimes it's 45. Then she comes inside and dozes on the couch or chews a bone for a few hours until the kids come home, tools around with the other dogs until we've had dinner. Then she gets a walk and some more play. There's some hanging out after that, a short (like 10 minutes) training session and she's in bed for the night by 9.

 

So, seriously? No, there's not a crazy amount of exercise being had. In fact she's easier to exercise than some dogs because she wants to both learn and play things like ball and tug and she's good to play off leash.

 

We DID have to reenforce settling in the house and will probably have to do so some more in the future, but she's just not a difficult dog. The big thing with her is that she be involved in our lives and what we do. She's curious and interested and wants to be close and learn and do and be part of things, but those things can be laundry for all she cares.

Basically, I understand your reasoning but it really doesn't apply. Frankly my chihuahua mutt gets cagier without physical exercise than Molly, and what Molly needs isn't at all above average.

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I also happen to quite like the long coat over the short coat (though I know many of you feel like that it makes it less of a dog and more of a stuffed animal) and that was a trait more readily found in show lines.

 

Oh, I don't want to go too far off topic but I wanted to share this with the OP based on the above comment.

 

Here's a link to a really fun online gallery that shows the practically infinite color and coat type possibilities of the border collie. They even have a section showing lilacs, like your Aria. http://www.bordercolliemuseum.org/BCLooks/BC_Looks.html

 

I think board members preferences for long or short coats is all over the map. I am personally a fan of the medium to long coats as well. Either way, I just wanted to share that link so you could enjoy seeing the nearly endless variety of color and coat types in the border collie!

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The other thing I want to say here is that... well, border collies even in open space on a farm can't exactly go wandering around and amusing themselves. If they mess with the livestock without direction it's just harassing them and that's bad. Most border collies aren't huge on tons and tons of play with other dogs and want to be with people, anyway.

 

So, most of what those bcs on a farm do IME is lie around chilled out and waiting for work, or tagging along while their people do assorted chores. I don't think the dogs care if that chore is collecting eggs or folding laundry. They just want to be part of your life. Farm life, on its own, isn't really entertainment I guess is what I'm saying. It's the involved and helping part that counts.

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I have one sheep bred dog and one cattle bred dog. They work for a grand total of 5-15 minutes a day. They play fetch for about 5 rounds, 10 if I'm highly motivated. They accompany me on my chores, but that just requires walking along, and lying down and waiting. And they go for a mile walk every day with training thrown in. They go to a training class once a week. The rest of the time they do like they are doing right now, lie around on the couch. They are always ready to go if I have something special planned, but otherwise are content to just hang out.

 

Well, actually, I think Gideon wants his own blog. He keeps trying to use my computer.

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I personally believe there's a place for both working and show lines as (like with most other working breeds) the dogs aren't needed purely for the task they were bred for in this changing world anymore.

 

In a nutshell, no, there's not. Not within the same breed, because the show lines will inevitably be (and have already become) very different dogs. I'm sure someone here will point you to a graph that shows the show border collies (from predominantly Australian show lines) are so genetically dissimilar as to be different breeds of dogs. And this came about because someone decided that they could breed border collies to be show dogs. They couldn't; they just created another breed but refused to change the name and remained under the illusion that they were the same dogs.

 

My objective (knowing my life and the types of opportunities available for my dog) was to find a more relaxed version of the same dog.

 

And what you got was a dog that kinda sorta looks like a border collie, is misnamed a border collie (misnamed because it's not a border collie any more, as the above mentioned genetic differences confirm), and so most definitely not the same dog.

 

The sad thing to my mind is that you're missing out on what truly makes a border collie a border collie. And that comes in a package that became what it is because of the working ability. It's a package that includes the brains and personality other traits that are part of a whole, and without certain parts of that whole that have been bred out to make a different sort of dog that's somewhat similar in appearance (if you can consider cookie cutter specimens "similar" to the huge variety of appearances in border collies), it's just not the same dog, no matter what you call it.

 

As for more relaxed versions, there are tons of people living in apartments or small houses with small yards with their well bred working border collies. They're incredibly adaptable as long as their basic needs -- needs that aren't so very different from most dogs -- are met.

 

I wish you and your dog well. But please don't be fooled into thinking that it's a real border collie. (There's reason I no longer capitalize "border collie.")

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They just want to be part of your life.

 

^^ This I think this says it all! When I got my BC I had read all the "hype" about how they would need endless amounts of stimulation and exercise. I was prepared to devote hours and hours (daily) to exercising the dog so it wouldn't chew up every molding in the house...

 

At the end of the day the thing I was expecting the least was how much the dog wants to be a part of my life. I wish somewhere, in all of the literature I read, they had stressed how much the dog wants to really integrate into your life over how much exercise they need.

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Dogs who earn championships are deregistered with the US working registry.

 

Almost everyone asks this question and I get why, but the fact of the matter is - there has only ever been one criteria for a border collie and that's the ability to work. That is the one trait the kennel clubs have (deliberately!) discarded. BC have never have a coat, color, ear, size, or even temperament standard! Just. The. Ability. To. Work. Literally, appearance and even general disposition are not part of the deal. The only standard bc have been bred to for hundreds of years is the ability to work. Discard that and, no, what you produce isn't a border collie.

 

The upset here is that the kennel clubs have literally taken the ONE thing that defines a border collie and has for generations, tossed it out, and kept the same name. Had they called them something else, no one would care. It's just... stupid, frankly. The definition of the breed is that it's bred for work. Some dogs fall outside that standard, yeah, but that's still what was bred for and what defined the entire breed.

 

And while it's a nice hypothetical working ability degrades very, very fast when it isn't selectively bred for.

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