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Guest Aria The Border Collie

Demographic of the forum

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It's weird and kind of awkward, but I think they mostly believe it? A lot of them run rescue BC, in fairness, but they see the dogs bred from sports, and some of them are totally over the top and I think the reasoning jumps to "CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW MUCH WORSE A WORKING BRED DOG WOULD BE?"

 

There's a few steps missing there.

 

Of course most of these people are only believing she's a border collie in the last month. Short coat, you know?

 

Oh trust me I know, I've owned a bc for 2 months, and I'm already used to the "she's a border collie?" look. She has medium/short hair, not completely smooth, but now that she's lost a lot of her fur because of stress and puppies she's had, to the general population she now resembles a bc even less. Some downright don't believe me when I say she is. They have the "okay.. not convinced" look. :D

 

The drama around the working bc here usually stems from people who have never ever had anything close to a bc. They've seen or heard something and they repeat it like parrots, one would think that a bc is actually an alien that no normal person could cope with. We don't have any bc rescues here (there aren't many up for adoption either, but what we do have is labelling every black and white mix a bc mix, but that's a whole different story), actually not many breed specific rescues in general.

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I was surpised at the animosity towards merles here also.

 

Sorry, I just couldn't ignore this. There is no animosity towards merles here, none. There is animosity towards people who breed for merle and there are people here that don't care for the merle coat pattern, but that is not animosity towards merles. We don't blame the dog for it's coat color, pattern, length, or pretty much anything.

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I haven't read all 102 posts so I apologize if I am covering old ground here but I found this discussion quite informative. When I started using this site I had no idea what its mandate was. All I knew was that the contributors were all very helpful. I think I made it very clear from the start that my Juno iwas strictly a pet and companion for me yet I received nothing but well intentioned advice. When I discovered much later what the mandate was I was quite surprised but didn't think anything more of it. This discussion has made the mandate a little more clear for me and I can see why it is in place. I am just glad that the contributors are lovers of all Border Collies and want to help everyone who owns one.

Bill

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I Always wonder about using a border collie in the Frisbee sports, to me I would think they are going to endure much pain and troubles with their hips over time, all that jumping and hard landing, I don't let Gidget play with frisbees for this reason, I could be very mistaken.

 

Honestly seeing this breed in their true environment hearing is such a beautiful thing to me. It just amazes me, They are just so beautiful and talented.

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Sorry, I just couldn't ignore this. There is no animosity towards merles here, none. There is animosity towards people who breed for merle and there are people here that don't care for the merle coat pattern, but that is not animosity towards merles. We don't blame the dog for it's coat color, pattern, length, or pretty much anything.

Well that is what I was thinking about, I mentioned in few of my posts that I don't believe anyone here doesn't like a dog, just what his breeding heritage represents. Being against conforomation show breeding I understand that completely. I'm sorry if it sounded the wrong way, it's just I've never heard of people breeding bc's for sport mainly or for coat pattern mainly before coming here. If I did think of breeding for coat, I'd think a more exotic colour like purple here. Merle never sounded anything unsual to me as I know working litters where merle would show up. Again, sorry for how it sounded and thank you for clarification.

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I've read enough of your posts that I really didn't feel that you actually felt that way, which is why I apologized for not letting it pass, but I kind of felt that it was a point that needed to be addressed in case a newby read it and that was what they took away from the whole discussion.

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Merle is dominant. It won't "show up" unless one of the parents is merle. Merle x merle crossings are dangerous; there is a high risk of blind, micropthalmic, and/or deaf puppies. Hence the merle trait provides a particularly strong example of this forum's stated philosophy of NOT breeding for color or conformation. Even so, we love all dogs, and I know a certain merle dog (Mike Burk's Sport) I especially like.

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These boards are a whole new world to me. It's my fault I didn't phrase it better, I'm glad you responded to it.

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Merle is dominant. It won't "show up" unless one of the parents is merle. Merle x merle crossings are dangerous; there is a high risk of blind, micropthalmic, and/or deaf puppies. Hence the merle trait provides a particularly strong example of this forum's stated philosophy of NOT breeding for color or conformation. Even so, we love all dogs, and I know a certain merle dog (Mike Burk's Sport) I especially like.

 

I know, I didn't mean show up like show up out of the blue in a b/w x b/w, but show up like every now and then a merle parent x b/w parent = litter of merles and b/w's. They are not so common here so every now and then a litter with some merles comes up for sale. I think in Croatia there was only one litter this last year. Blue merle dam x b/w sire (this is the girl http://bordercollie.pedigre.net/en/details.php?id=6130, you can see the litter if you scroll down)

 

I know that merle x merle is out of the question, no reputable breeder would do that.

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I'd want to do a lot more research on that litter before being convinced that it comes from true working breeding on both sides. At first sight it suggests it may be sport bred but I could be wrong.

 

There are a lot of Astras in that pedigree so I'm not surprised about the merle. The Astra web site lists the variety of different colours they have (or did last time I looked) which someone breeding above all for working ability would be highly unlikely to do.

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I do not begrudge any individual their individual dog - whatever its provenance and lineage.

 

I do begrudge, in general terms, the *breeding* of these dogs for purposes other than working as that changes the breed. It's not complicated at all. They are wonderful dogs BECAUSE of the steadfast unwillingness to breed for anything except working ability and, frankly, I resent our crazy culture for its unwillingness to respect any boundaries.

 

This is the first BC puppy I have ever had and I grew up on a working farm, spent a great deal of my life around working dogs and train service dogs. I did have retired working dogs - usually 2 or 3 at a time. I never got a puppy before because I was living away from the farm and didn't want to get a sheepdog that would never have a chance to actually *be* a sheepdog. It's a personal thing. Doing "my part".

 

That all said, I respect everyone's individual right to do what they want with their dog.

 

The deal I have with myself is that around 6-7 months my puppy will be sent out to "meet the sheep" with the farm puppies of her general age on their first foray into the pastures. If she has a sheepdog's heart, that will be apparent and I will ... well, I will let her be a sheepdog.

 

I am not a stockperson - I don't handle the stock except the horses and we do not use dogs on horses except as tandems for handling the cattle - and we do not tend to use BC for that task. So, if she IS a sheepdog, I will essentially lose her. Which will make me sad - but not as sad as watching her wish she was working the sheep instead of whatever thing I have her doing.

 

If I did not live on a farm, I doubt I would have gotten a BC puppy and would have gone, again, with a Toller for the service work I do.

 

But that is ME and my strange ways. I have an idea of the workings of a sheepdog and I know, first hand, what it does to them if they discover their sheepdog soul and have to .... not be sheepdogs. Saddest thing in the world is an early retired sheepdog who CANNOT work. If you have ever met one, you would understand.

 

Do I think anyone else should think this way? No. Not at all. All I hope is that people who get these dogs for non working functions respect what they have and don't breed them.

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I'd want to do a lot more research on that litter before being convinced that it comes from true working breeding on both sides. At first sight it suggests it may be sport bred but I could be wrong.

 

There are a lot of Astras in that pedigree so I'm not surprised about the merle. The Astra web site lists the variety of different colours they have (or did last time I looked) which someone breeding above all for working ability would be highly unlikely to do.

I've heard about Astra and their supposed breeding for colour just recently from someone I know from facebook groups on dog training in general. That breeder is the only breeder based here that I know that has dogs sold to working homes, but also to a lot of sport homes all around the world, and predominantly sports homes I think. I must confess I can't say more at this point. I've heard about sports bred bc's yesterday for the first time. However, I do know the man and he always stresses out he doesn't care about the looks and to him work ability is the number one reason for breeding. Now what he says and what he does may very well be two different things. He breeds border collies and croatian sheepdogs, both working breeds.

The more I think of it, the more I realize that maybe all the breeders around here breed dogs maily for sports. Or their dogs just end up being sport dogs, since not much stock work is done around here. In the neighbouring county Serbia, I only know one breeder, and she has conformation show dogs. In Slovenia, mostly sport dogs, much like here. Don't know what to make of it. :(

 

I'm so glad I got my rescue.

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Demographics: My dog Josie and I live in the Inland NW, USA (meaning East of the Cascade Mt. coastal range, including Eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle). This is primarily cattle/wheat country, and for some reason dogs are seldom used for stock management. Small flocks of sheep are kept here and there, many for sheepdog training purposes. Josie was farm bred, and is unregistered. We train on sheep frequently, and occasionally assist with farm-work. As a youngster, Josie gained much from obedience/socialization classes, as well as agility and flyball. After years of higher education, my mind was dulled/misshapen by most classes, but since graduation I am feeling much better. Others may disagree <_<. My dog and I explore trails, swim, take walks. She is my house-pet/companion, we work sheep, play frisbee/ball, our own agility-on-steroids, and did I mention sheepwork. My wife and I are happy on a large fenced lot in suburbia.

 

Welcome: Aria the Border Collie (OP), welcome to BC Boards. You have a Border Collie, and this forum is about BCs. What more needs to be said?

 

Broken-hearted Sheepdogs: I have heard this before. It has not been my experience. We often go weeks and months (particularly in deep snow and cold parts of winters) without sight of a sheep. Of course, I understand that this is not exactly complete retirement from stockwork, but I see no sign that Josie is any the worse for long breaks. IMO, sheepwork has been an extremely positive thing for both of us, but it is only one part of a range of our activities together. I highly respect CMP's broad hands-on experiences with dogs, and appreciate that she has room for other opinions. To me, a dog who is a one-trick-pony may suffer on retirement from sheep, and this could be the case for some farm/trial dogs, just as for its parallel to people who retire. In summary, I feel that if a dog has full and varied activities throughout his/her life, long breaks and/or retirement are going to be no big deal. -- TEC

 

PS -- CMP, if you should get your Molly back after a try on sheep, she will be just fine. You and her will continue-on as if nothing had intervened. I sense mixed-emotions about allowing her to fulfill her nature, yet not wishing to lose her to stockwork portions of your family. Must be hard. If it were me, I'd draw a line in the sand -- "Stand-back, Molly's mine". She is getting a great life with you right now.

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I agree with TEC about retired dogs.

 

Maybe they can go into a decline if they are just left to their own devices because they are of no further use, but in a home that has time to provide alternatives they can thrive, whether they ever see another sheep or not.

 

And of course some are retired because they didn't really want to work in the first place and it comes as rather a relief. I know dogs like that.

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At least with a rescue you don't concern yourself about the dog's background.

 

Yes and I'm beginning to appreciate that fact a lot lately.

 

These boards are a world of knowledge.

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I too haven't experience the broken hearted sheepdog phnomenon. I agree that there is something innately fulling about working sheep for a Border Collie and that they shouldn't be bred for anything but the work. But IME they are happy when they have an outlet for their physical and mental abilities and a person to belong to.

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Maybe it is because I live ON sheep farm but I have seen the phenomenon of dogs whose spirits seemed nearly broken when they couldn't work sheep. I have also seen dogs who look at the sheep, wonder what all the fuss is about and could take them or leave them.

 

At the very least she needs to be trained not to be a menace around the many sheep she will enounter every day.

 

It's much more likely she will be like one of the 85% or so of moderates, dogs who can and will work sheep but don't seem overly disturbed not to even if they are around them. I don't quite want her to be the 7.5% (or whatever the actual numbers are) that is afraid of/predatory towards the sheep but I would really love it if she was not one of the ones who, once bitten, never get over the bug. Those dogs DO exist and I have met a few.

 

You are all right, of course, it may all turn out perfectly.

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My dogs work sporadically. While they love working the cattle more than anything, they are still happy dogs when not working.

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I have three retired working BC living with me. Two are fine. One is not. Two are like any other dog. The third lies around all day looking towards the main farm yard and sometimes cries when the whistles start. Maybe they've given her whistle calls to another dog already and she's hearing it. I dunno - all I know is that she is not a happy dog and she used to be.

 

She was retired young (7) due to an injury that has left her permanently lame (but not in any pain, she got into it with a coyote and her leg was mangled quite badly and never set properly). One of those ones that probably should have been put down on the spot. Hindsight and all that.

 

Oh, we've had all sorts here. Yesterday the puppies went out to meet the sheep and while Molly seemed interested, she was not fixated. Two puppies had to be collected and removed with some (gentle) force. Two started eating poop and playing with leaves, one ran yelping to someone's legs when a ewe turned quickly on him and one other simply didn't go into the pasture - he waited by the fence post.

 

Not all BC have that "bug", for sure.

 

Edited to add: so this is the morning after. My test was going to be letting her decide where to go first thing. She did not want to go to the main yard where she was taken yesterday. She did not want to go towards the pasture she was taken to. She wanted to go where we always go ... through the forest and across the brook and up to "grampy's" where she had her sip of his coffee and a piece of his toast, like we do most mornings.

 

So...all that angst for nada :) So, yeah, you all were right.

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Maybe it is because I live ON sheep farm but I have seen the phenomenon of dogs whose spirits seemed nearly broken when they couldn't work sheep.

 

 

Just curious - what exercise and attention those dogs given outside of sheep work? Life on a working farm understandly revolves around the work and not working usually means you don't have much to do at all. I beleive that if a Border Collie has a meaningful life outside of working sheep then they're much more likely to be fine when not working them.

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Just curious - what exercise and attention those dogs given outside of sheep work? Life on a working farm understandly revolves around the work and not working usually means you don't have much to do at all. I beleive that if a Border Collie has a meaningful life outside of working sheep then they're much more likely to be fine when not working them.

 

I'd like to add one more question to that - would a dog that once worked sheep and gave it's full heart and soul to that ever be a "normal" pet? Maybe it would be kinder for these dogs to adopt them to homes where they wouldn't have to look at sheep and not be able to work, and be just pets with some type of pet work like sports, tricks and such. Or would it cause just the opposite, more heartache?

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I will have to make one thing clear that I did not - both of my work dogs are *not* happy to be left and know I'm working the other. They are both happy however to be hanging around us when no other dog is working. My mistake for not explaining properly.

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She wanted to go where we always go ... through the forest and across the brook and up to "grampy's" where she had her sip of his coffee and a piece of his toast, like we do most mornings.

 

.

Coffee and toast? Well, there you go. Don't all shepherds have coffee (or spot of tea) and toast before bundling up for morning chores? There's your answer ;) . She will take to pasture path soon.

 

Josie has me trained to have my coffee with her in the kitchen, leaning against the counter as she eats her breakfast. She wags her tail, puts her head down, and digs into the kibble. Otherwise, she follows me around the house or to the home-office, eating only when she is hungry enough. I think she's afraid of missing-out on something.

 

It's a well known pre-instinct screening test :) -- Best wishes, TEC

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