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I quite simply found this site on Google and given the very simple name I figured it was a straight forward forum for any/all questions and discussions regarding Border Collies. I was rather surprised to see almost all are against breeding for conformation, so I just thought I should ask rather than assume.

 

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. Much like we rarely use dogs to hunt bears and lions anymore despite still having the breeds. The working Border Collie will always be needed as they are the ultimate farm dog and the reason I was attracted to them was from growing up near a cattle farm that had the dogs preferred by many here.

 

What made me look for a show line rather than a working dog is that after seeing the sheer intensity and devotion to their work that the farm dogs had I don't see how any amount of fetch and tricks and flyball is going to be enough for them. Too much predictability. Like putting an olympic gymnast on a cheerleading squad.

 

I've read how many people on here have those working dogs and don't have them herding so I know the right dog can adapt to do something else for his work. 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. So I looked for more placid, low-drive lines that would be able to live happily without six hours of work a day. 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.

 

By now I'm sure a lot of you are rolling your eyes and may be asking the same question Eileen did. Why get a working breed when you don't want them to work? Well I actually do want her to work, only the tasks won't be as complicated and so I went in search of a dog that will still be satisfied with that.

 

I'll stick around and read more of the posts as I'm sure there is a lot of information I'll find useful. I guess the only thing I may not do is post questions specific to long hair grooming or comment on herding techniques. There's always something to be learned.

I can understand someone thinking "I want a dog that looks like a border collie, except only the ones that have long coats and tipped ears. But I also want it to be a more relaxed type of dog, more placid, with less drive. I don't want them to have so much intensity, or devotion to working with livestock. I want to breed that out of them. I want the dog to 'work' in some way, but not complicated work, and not work with livestock." I can understand someone deciding to breed a dog like that -- to start with border collie stock, and then use it to create through selective breeding a breed with these very different traits. But I don't understand why such breeders would not rename the dog, in recognition of the fact that they have created a different dog. For the sake of tidiness and clarity, if nothing else.

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a dog that had earned a championship in conformation, would it still be a non-Border Collie?

 

If the dog got a show championship here, it would automatically be deregistered with the ABCA (American Border Collie Association). It could never produce pups that would be registered with that registry, and someone will be able to tell us if any previously produced pups would also be deregistered as well.

 

We're pretty serious here about keeping show lines out of working bred dogs. Unfortunately, many of the AKC show people still dual register and will stop showing just short of a championship as an end run around the rules to dupe unsuspecting people.

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^^ 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.

 

I was so prepared for an intelligent, athletic dog. I got that, but didn't get near the difficulty I expected.

 

I didn't expect at all how quickly she would become part of every single thing we did and the routine surrounding it. Putting the kids on the bus, taking them off, knitting, doing laundry, cooking dinner, doing dishes, whatever. She's there and she's involved.

 

Unsurprisingly that's the part that really won my heart. The intelligence and athleticism make me proud but really the thing that's won me over is all the little stuff. I honestly can't imagine life without this dog. EVERYTHING would change.

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would it still be a non-Border Collie? Or does the skill in the paddock wipe out any conformation breeding that took place as well?

 

Please don't think I'm trying to be annoying. I'm seriously asking if this hypothetical were to occur, what would be the ruling in your opinion.

I don't know about the language where you are, but here a paddock is a pen, not pasture or field. And AKC has a "herding" test in a pen that any breed of dog can and does pass. It doesn't require any herding instinct at all, only a dog willing to follow directions. That is definitely not what Border Collies do.

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I can understand someone thinking "I want a dog that looks like a border collie, except only the ones that have long coats and tipped ears. But I also want it to be a more relaxed type of dog, more placid, with less drive. I don't want them to have so much intensity, or devotion to working with livestock. I want to breed that out of them. I want the dog to "work" in some way, but not complicated work, and not work with livestock." I can understand someone deciding to breed a dog like that -- to start with border collie stock, and then use it to create through selective breeding a breed with these very different traits. But I don't understand why such breeders would not rename the dog, in recognition of the fact that they have created a different dog. For the sake of tidiness and clarity, if nothing else.

 

Exactly. It's not the dogs themselves that attract such strong feelings, it's their misrepresentation as border collies. I'm sure a lot of them are very nice dogs of that type, if that's what you like.

 

I'm glad the OP is still here asking questions.

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I'm kind of curious after reading this if you would still say it's not a Border Collie if the dog looked like a show dog but was fully capable and willing to work livestock. Almost everything says "bred for working capability", and if that was bundled in with a dog that had earned a championship in conformation, would it still be a non-Border Collie? Or does the skill in the paddock wipe out any conformation breeding that took place as well?

 

What is a breed? I would say it's a population of animals whose breeding is controlled and outcrossing limited, so that genetic selection can be exercised on it to achieve an agreed-upon result. While there can be minor variations in what different breeders are breeding for, they have to have an overall common purpose. If one faction is breeding to a working standard, and another faction is breeding to an appearance standard, then you have two breeds misleadingly called by the same name, not a single breed. IMO, the breed that's entitled to be called a border collie is the working breed, who had the name first. Once the other guys began purposefully breeding to a different standard, they were creating a different breed. In the first generation or two of breeding for appearance, the dogs might still be able to work livestock to a useful standard, but conceptually they are already a different breed. If you continue down that breeding path there comes a time when many, then most, then virtually all of the differently bred dogs cannot do useful work anymore. If you never put them to the test, you can hypothesize that they could still do the work. But, in general, you get what you breed for, and you don't get what you don't breed for. That's why breeds have developed to be different from proto-dogs in appearance, abilities, behavior and inclination.

 

ETA: To be clear, it's not that a dog looks like a show dog that makes it not a border collie. Given how much variation in appearance there is in the breed, it's certainly possible for a traditional border collie, bred for work, to look like a show dog. It's the dog who is bred for a different purpose that I would say is not a border collie.

 

And I also want to make clear that I'm not saying they're not nice dogs. There aren't many dogs I don't like, and Aria looks like a real sweetie.

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This actually reminds me quite a bit of the GSD vs. Shiloh Shepherd Dog (or even Swiss/White Shepherd).


They were all bred from GSDs. They renamed themselves as the desire for something different came along. There was drama, yes, but far less than here where they recognized that they were breeding to create a different breed. A long coat, oversized GSD might well look like a Shiloh, but it isn't one. A white GSD might look like a White Shepherd, but is not one.

 

A showbred border collie might look like some subsets of a working border collie, but the deliberate breeding for a different purpose means they aren't one.

 

Honestly, they seem like nice dogs. If they called them something else I'd even be interested in owning one. But they really, really need a different name.

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I don't know about the language where you are, but here a paddock is a pen, not pasture or field. And AKC has a "herding" test in a pen that any breed of dog can and does pass. It doesn't require any herding instinct at all, only a dog willing to follow directions. That is definitely not what Border Collies do.

 

In the UK a paddock is a smallish field or fenced enclosure used for grazing or exercising horses.

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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. Much like we rarely use dogs to hunt bears and lions anymore despite still having the breeds.

Oh, this brings back memories... When I first started coming around here I said almost exactly the same thing. By the time Julie, Sue, Gloria, Liz, Eileen and many others got through with me, I was a different person. But the thing is - they were right. And they were so nice about it. It was not an entirely painless conversion, but now I wouldn't be caught dead in a ditch with a conformation bred or sports bred dog. Unless it was a rescue. And even then I'd have reservations. Meaning no disrespect to you or your dog. It's a pretty little pup, and will doubtless be a good friend to you. It isn't about looking down noses or feeling superior. It's about the work. See, if you take a Border Collie or a line of Border Collies and try to make them a little more "X" or a little more "Y" and "Z", then what you have is, maybe a swell dog for some things, but it's no longer a Border Collie.

 

Maybe people don't hunt lions with Rhodesian Ridgebacks any more. But that's because they don't need to. They have high-powered rifles and Range-Rovers, and doG-knows-what else to hunt lions with - should a lion need hunting. So the show people took the Rhodesian Ridgeback, and they said, "Now here's a handsome animal. If only they weren't quite so testy. If only they were better with kids. If only they weren't so active." And now they have a red dog with a ridge down its back that couldn't hunt lions if his life depended on it.

 

Well, with the Border Collie it's different. People still need Border Collies t work sheep and cattle. There's no four-wheeler or robot, or even any other dog that can do what the working Border Collie does. The Border Collie is what he does - stock work. Anything else is just a nice, maybe smart, fluffy dog. And the thing is, if you start focusing on anything besides stock working ability when breeding Border Collies, that working ability just melts away. It isn't something that can be taught. It has to be in the dog when it's born. And it's not just one thing - it's a dozen things or more that have to be there in the perfect balance or it just doesn't work as well as you need it to. And it takes constant vigilance to keep that happening in the breed.

 

So if people here get testy, or if you feel like you are thought of as a second-class citizen because you don't work stock and never will. Don't take it personally. Working Border Collie people are passionate. They kinda need to be. They are fighting the good fight to keep the Border Collie fit for its work. But if you have a problem with your conformation-bred candy-colored dog, they will be right there with the best help and advice you could get anywhere. Because they care. They really care - and not just in an "Oh gee that's too bad!" way. They care in a "Have you tried this?" or "I know how you feel, when that happened to me - try looking into this - and let us know what happens," way.

 

This is the place. Stay. Learn. Welcome to the club. You can't do better.

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I see similarities and capabilities. Note I don't say "skills" or "ability" because it is unlikely that the show dog would know what to do with livestock, but I do see potential.

 

Skills, capability, ability, whatever you want to call it -- you can't see it in a picture. You can only see it in the work.

 

The real work, on a farm, on the hills, in the chutes and the real paddocks. On a trial field.

 

But not in the rinky dink faux "herding trials" and instinct tests that just about any dog can be trained to do. It's not the same thing.

 

And if your show bred "border collie" can't do the work, then it's not a real border collie. Plain and simple.

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Perhaps it's just the Aussie in me that makes me simplify (as we often do).

 

I see this:

 

 

 

and then this:

 

And I see similarities and capabilities. Note I don't say "skills" or "ability" because it is unlikely that the show dog would know what to do with livestock, but I do see potential. And as another comment said, any dogs of any breed can compete in herding trials. I just look at both of these dogs and see Border Collies. I may be alone, or at least I'm definitely the minority here.

 

I'm sure there's a wealth of information that would be relevant here regardless of which dog is sitting in your house.

 

The thing is - what those dogs do in herding trials is a far sight from people who use border collies for work on farms do. Places without fences, and moving across hundreds of acres, often out of sight and hearing, relying on instinct to get the job done.

 

That's the key difference.

 

You can TEACH any dog to do anything, but how it performs on its own? That's something deep down in the heart of a working border collie. The drive, the desire, the ability and knowledge. You train them, yeah, but it's not like agility or dog broke sheep in a pen where you move the dog around and it goes where you want them.

 

That's what makes a border collie a border collie and that's what's not present in the show bred dogs. There's nothing wrong with those dogs, as dogs, but there's a lot wrong with them as border collies. If someone depended on their dog for their day to day work on open range that show dog wouldn't cut it - couldn't cut it, couldn't be taught well enough to cut it.

 

Conformation breeding of these dogs with the same name presents a real risk to the future availability of these dogs who CAN do the work. While the working dogs CAN be pets and sports dog. So... breeding away from the work for purposes that the working dogs can fill and taking away the availability of dogs the sports and conformation dogs can't just doesn't make sense.

 

And it's SCARY.

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Perhaps it's just the Aussie in me that makes me simplify (as we often do).

 

I see this:

 

IMG_1888.jpg

 

and then this:

 

T058574A.jpg

 

And I see similarities and capabilities. Note I don't say "skills" or "ability" because it is unlikely that the show dog would know what to do with livestock, but I do see potential. And as another comment said, any dogs of any breed can compete in herding trials. I just look at both of these dogs and see Border Collies. I may be alone, or at least I'm definitely the minority here.

 

I'm sure there's a wealth of information that would be relevant here regardless of which dog is sitting in your house.

 

I see no similarity except that they are both black and white (but so is my terrier)

 

The first dog is raring to go and shouts spirit, the second typifies the blank stuffed toy you alluded to earlier. Amiable but vacant.

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Real show-bred dogs neither have the mental abilities nor the physical attributes to be hard-working stock dogs. They are simply not. There might be rare instances where one might be but it will be a fluke.

 

A shame about show dogs of all sorts (those from working or hunting breeds in particular) is that they become what people select as their "idea" of the "perfect" dog of the breed and not what the *work* selects and defines as the perfect dog of the breed. In so doing, the essence of what made the dog unique and useful is lost to the image of what someone (or a committee of someones) thought the breed should look like. The nature is lost and it's no longer really the same breed.

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There is such a huge difference between working Border Collies and the conformation dogs that even my 12 year old can see the difference. My daughter loves the gallery and we spend a lot of time looking at the photos posted there. Yesterday, I was scrolling through a thread and there was a photo of a conformation dog and my daughter commented, "That is a really cute dog, but it doesn't look anything like a Border Collie".

 

As far as energy level. My Nattie is the most energetic puppy I have ever had and she does take more work than my other dogs when they were puppies but I have only met two adult BCs that I thought were over the top in energy and one was sport bred and the other was conformation bred.

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Perhaps it's just the Aussie in me that makes me simplify (as we often do).

 

I see this:

 

IMG_1888.jpg

 

and then this:

 

T058574A.jpg

 

And I see similarities and capabilities. Note I don't say "skills" or "ability" because it is unlikely that the show dog would know what to do with livestock, but I do see potential. And as another comment said, any dogs of any breed can compete in herding trials. I just look at both of these dogs and see Border Collies. I may be alone, or at least I'm definitely the minority here.

 

I'm sure there's a wealth of information that would be relevant here regardless of which dog is sitting in your house.

 

You can't see it in a picture, but you can definitely see it in action.

 

This is an AKC Herding Trial:

 

 

This is a USBCHA Herding Trial:

 

 

This is only the Novice course.

 

I just searched "AKC Herding Trial" and "USBCHA Herding Trial" on YouTube and these were the first results.

 

Can you see the difference there?

 

I would like to point out that AKC champions are de-registered from the ABCA but they could still compete in USBCHA trials if they wanted to. *IF* these AKC champions could compete at the same level as working border collies, why don't they?

 

I'm still relatively new to the world of working Border Collies myself. You found these forums and I would suggest reading all of the information on bordercollie.org the parent site to this forum. When I first started researching Border Collies I was looking at AKC breeders, because that's the only thing I knew. However I found bordercollie.org through a Google search and it really opened my eyes to the divide and helped me understand why it is such a big deal.

 

I'm sorry I'm using only American examples, I'm not sure of the equivalents for Australia, though I would bet they are similar.

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I just look at both of these dogs and see Border Collies.

 

It's not the Aussie in you. :) It's that you're used to thinking of dogs as defined by how they look. The kennel clubs define them that way. But there's another way of thinking about dogs -- one that preceded kennel clubs. Thinking of dogs as defined by what they can do, what abilities they have. Try making that conceptual jump, into our POV. If you thought of dogs as defined by what they can do, what would make you think the two dogs in these pictures are both the same breed?

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Australian Collie? Would seem to work well enough.


The problem is that more and more people are seeking out the working bred dogs to bring into show and sports line and claiming to have it all. The gene pool for working bred dogs is shrinking and as more people who could get and do just fine with a working bred border collie (sport and pet people) go to conformation and sport bred dogs, that gene pool shrinks further.

 

In some sense I believe that if the market isn't there and the breed dies, well, so be it.

 

But mostly if it dies, it will be more from misinformation than lack of suitability or purpose. Ie: Working bred border collies are unsuitable pets or sports dogs. So we lose the working ability, the biddability, the sensitivity, the intelligence (in varying degrees these are part of the working package) and everything else that rolls into it - which also makes them great pet, service, and sports dogs- and it's replaced by something else.

 

Not existing in addition to which would be fine, but INSTEAD OF, because of the shared name.


But yeah, I'd say there's fear. And I'd say it's justified fear.

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Not sure about the term "defensive" but "protective" would be a good way to describe many of our members when it come to the Border Collie. ;)

 

The name change conversation has been had many, many times on this forum. I'm just not sure there's a way that will ever happen... The working folks sure aren't going to give up the name and neither are the confirmation folks...

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What I'm wondering now is what else we'd call the show dog line. Poodle is already taken :P

 

Australian Collies. :)

 

ETA: Sorry, I posted this before I saw that CptJack had said the same.

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The show dogs have been labelled "Barbie Collies" (after a popular but obviously unreal doll) and the sports -bred dogs labelled "Sport Collie" by some. Of course, those that breed or choose those do.'t prefer those names...

 

Defensive? We'd hate to lose these amazing dogs to a wave of breeding for all the wrong reasons.

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Australian Collies would be a fine choice, imo, since that's where most of the show lines, at least in the US, originated.

 

But we've already been down that road and the AKC refused. :wacko:

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