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Long Interview Of A Border Collie Breeder About Modern Dog Breeding

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Hi guys,

 

Just thought I could share this long but great interview of Tammie Rogers, owner and dog breeder at DarnFar Ranch. It is published on Breeding Business, the dog breeding online magazine. She talks about the creation of a new line/breed, using border collies as service dogs, and more.

 

 

What Border Collie lines outside of yours do you find remarkable?

 

I think most well-bred herding-working Border Collies have something to offer in the way of high quality herding work. However, they are not always partnered with the right job or the right handler for one to examine that potential.
A dog that is naturally talented at reading and adjusting to flighty sheep may struggle working in chutes with hardened, belligerent ewes and the dogs that can handle cattle may lack the finesse to work ducks. In the years that I offered herding lessons, I often felt that a dog was handicapped by its human as much or more than the human became frustrated with the dog’s working ability.
That said, and the fact that often times you cannot breed a dog and get a carbon copy of its parents, I have not really spent much time analyzing “lines.” Seeing a dog working at a trial (or on a farm) is not just a presentation of that dog’s genetic potential, but is also an illustration of the partnership it has forged with its handler and the handler’s skills at training the dog.
Trying to assess a “line”, therefore, is quite challenging.

 

Check it out..

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Ok. I did check it out. So the original question was "What Border Collie lines outside of yours do you find remarkable?" And this lengthy response seems to me to be a non-answer. This person says "I have not spent much time analyzing lines"..."trying to assess a line, therefore, is quite challenging"; both of these statements say nothing at all. Is it a good thing that this person is telling us that she is basically ignorant of the great working lines? If you look at the top breeders and handlers (who really *are* breeding for the work, just not saying they are, as this person seems to be doing), they have indeed spent a LOT of time studying the lines, and can tell you quite a bit based on those hours of studying. So I guess I am not sure what the point is here--what exactly are we supposed to gain from this "interview"?

A

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Her website sure seems to place a premium on AKC and other venues, and "accomplishments" in them.

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I wondered when I saw the source for the article. Didn't sound like an outlet for working breeders.

 

It looks like most of her current border collies are dual registered with ABCA and ACK. http://darnfar.com/darnfardogs.htm

 

Interestingly, one of the exceptions is the merle bitch, who's registered only with ABCA. However, looking at her pedigree (http://darnfar.com/dog%20pedigrees/DarnFar%20Opal.htm) there's Wildrose in her background. I suspect the owner is a relative of MAH. Same last name.

 

But there are no current border collies solely registered with ACK.

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I had a very bad experience good learning experience with this breeder... stay away. Far, far away.

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I had a very bad experience good learning experience with this breeder... stay away. Far, far away.

 

 

I'm still chewing over her assertion that she doesn't pay attention to "lines." That flies in the face of everything I've learned about border collie breeding and even what lines may or may not suit a person. I know people who breed very thoughtful, deliberate dogs who seem a bit soft for my tastes, (but who do fabulously in the hands of other people,) and people who breed fast, zippy, hard-driving dogs that also are fabulous trial dogs but again, who don't suit me because I can't think that fast. :P Some breeder's lines are strong driving dogs but are a little harder to teach a good outrun, others are tremendous natural outrunners but tend to flank a lot on the drive or fetch, and so forth. Knowing or learning about the traits of any given breeder's breeding seems like one of the most important things a person can weigh, when looking for a puppy.

 

And if one is breeding dogs, it would seem to me important to know if the bloodlines of a dog and bitch carry heritable traits that are apt to compliment each other. Of course genetics are always a crap shoot and as she says, one can never replicate a dog on purpose. But I'd think it could very useful indeed to know stuff like one grand parent was a bad gripper under stress, or another grandparent was afraid to walk into pressure, because that sort of thing can and does appear in puppies a generation later. Or if a line of dogs is known to pass on very strong eye and be a bit sticky, then perhaps one wouldn't want to breed a dog like that to another strong-eyed dog, and so forth. Assessing a line IS complicated, in my view, but various traits do seem to come through the generations, whether physical or working traits.

 

In short, I have no idea what this lady is trying to say. :rolleyes:

 

Looks like she mainly trials in AHBA and ASCA. HRD is Herding Ranch Dog in AHBA, which has levels I, II and III on sheep, goats and ducks. HTD is Herding Trial Dog (arena) also in AHBA, same levels. STD is Started Trial Dog in ASCA.

 

~ Gloria

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From the ABCA's website:

 

Note: The ABCA does not recognize any registry that promotes conformation showing of Border Collies. Consequently, registration with the American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club, the Kennel Club (UK), Federation Cynologique Internationale, Australian or New Zealand Kennel Clubs, or any such body will not be accepted as a basis for registration with the ABCA. (http://americanbordercollie.org/registration.html Italics added.)

 

ABCA certainly doesn't sanction or encourage dual ABCA/ACK registered dogs. But how are they to police people registering ABCA registered dogs with the ACK (and similar organizations) as long as the latter has an open stud book? It would be a mammoth undertaking to cross reference every single dog's registration with ACK's registry.

 

I wonder if the 2004 amendment to registration policy requiring applications for registration to come from the breeder rather than the owner (see page cited above) may have been a way to stem some of the dual registrations.

 

I do believe they monitor Championships given to ACK registered border collies and delist them from ABCA when they're found. (Someone please correct me if there's not an active monitoring taking place. I do know that delisting does occur.)

 

Dogs ineligible for ABCA registration:

 

The ABCA is a working stockdog registry and believes that breeding for conformation standards rather than working ability is detrimental to the health and working ability of the Border Collie. Consequently dogs or bitches which have been named a "Conformation Champion" by a conformation registry are not eligible for ABCA registration, even if they otherwise meet the requirements for registration. The ABCA will de-register any ABCA registered dog or bitch should it be named a "Conformation Champion" after January 1, 2004, and will not register the offspring of any dog or bitch named a "Conformation Champion" after that date. (Ibid. Italics added.)

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An animal that is AKC-registered (or any of the other groups Roxanne mentioned) can not then be registered with ABCA on the basis of their AKC, etc., registration. ABCA only recognizes (and has reciprocity with) CBCA and ISDS that I know of (I don't know if there are other working Border Collie or sheepdog registries that it recognizes, like the one in Australia).

 

The trouble is that once the owner has the ABCA registration papers, any purebred pup can be dual-registered with AKC. AKC has an open stud book. Dogs/bitches are only ABCA-deregistered if they are shown to a conformation championship, and then any offspring produced could only re-enter the ABCA stud book by ROM, which would certainly be a test of their ability.

 

It is interesting that in the complicated issue that registration is in Europe, some excellent ISDS animals have been dual-registered with the KC because the FCI (which is the governing registration body in numerous European countries) only recognizes the KC and not the ISDS (as I understand it). So some European countries accept ISDS registration and some do not (but accept KC registration). It can get pretty weird over there when pups or adults are changing hands and boundaries at the same time!

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I'm with Gloria (and others) in not seeing the logic in the article referenced.

 

While the breeder is quoted as having taken animals to USBCHA Open level, there's really no readily seen indication at the website that any of their dogs does much other than alternate venues, and several of them in the "breeding program" seem to have accomplished only lower levels of "achievement" there. I did not take the time to read in depth. The website does really seem that any emphasis is not really on genuine working ability but many other things.

 

PS - As for having taken a dog (or dogs) to USBCHA Open level, a name everyone would recognize once suggested that I could do that, too, by entering a trial, walking my dog to the post, and retiring as soon as I wanted after I sent my dog. There is a world of difference between "training to Open" and being "successful at Open". JMO. And I'm certainly only a low-level handler myself.

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A dog that is naturally talented at reading and adjusting to flighty sheep may struggle working in chutes with hardened, belligerent ewes and the dogs that can handle cattle may lack the finesse to work ducks.

 

Well, shoot, if it works cattle well but can't work ducks, it's clearly a biscuit eater...

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Biscuit eater? Darn, I've got 4 of them then....off to buy more biscuits :)

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Same here Karen, ducks, geese, sheep, goats, cattle, oh and chickens, turkeys, and guinea and pea fowl too. Better go buy lotsa biscuits!

 

J.

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Hey, guys, leave a few biscuits for the rest of us to buy, would you, please? Geesh. I've got a couple of dogs that really need those...

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Laz, as you may have figured out by now, this is a (healthily) skeptical bunch. They want to see convincing results before calling someone a 'good breeder', or calling a dog 'a worthy dog', or calling a handler 'a skilled handler.' Hence the slightly critical response.

 

I gather from your own website, https://breedingbusiness.com , that you are mostly familiar with people who breed for marketing their dogs. I would go so far as to say that the name 'breeding' shouldn't even be shared by folks who breed casually, for show, or for market (all different, I know); and folks who breed to maintain a supply of healthy, productive dogs with good working qualities as their only guiding criterion. But the English language only provides us one word to use, so everyone uses it equally - but with some pretty different intentions. So notice that what everyone here has looked for so far is, 'how does this person contribute to maintaining or improving successful working lines?' From what I've seen on this site here, that will always be the first, gatekeeper's question.

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Touche' Medic09, well said! Right now though the gatekeepers are all out buying biscuits, however, the biscuit *eaters* are on gate duty!

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Oh jeez, that got a lot of reactions.

 

This is no marketing ploy at all, at all. I am signed up here because I love Border Collies and own one.

 

Breeding Business website is about the community of responsible breeders, obviously not mills. Yet, within these responsible breeders, there are many shades. The interviewees and contributors on the website are sometimes references, sometimes controversial figures, sometimes just breeders who breed.

 

There is no long and deep investigation of who is interviewed, however, there is a check just to make sure it is not someone who would not fit our definition of responsible.

 

I love to allow people from very different views and opinions to come and explain them within the very same space.

 

If anybody knows someone who would like to bring the contradiction to this interview, I would be more than happy to ask you or this person a few questions and have it on the website.

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Well, I'll jump in and say that the person interviewed is "not someone who would...fit our definition of responsible." If we were talking about any of the many breeds that make wonderful pets, then the person is probably responsible. But we are talking about border collies here, and border collies are a purpose-bred dog--they are bred for a very specific purpose and that purpose is "the work." Breeding for anything else is simply not responsible breeding. If you have now read the "read this first" at the top of each page, then that should help you to understand.

A

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You can be a literalist about the breed you love, but you cannot coerce other breeders who love the breed as much as you or so they say into using the exact same definition as you.

 

She does have a peculiar breeding programme, or several programmes I should say, but she doesn't seem unknowledgeable and she, to me, seems to know what she is involved in. Far from being perfect, though.

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Hmmm...you are in the UK, where amazing working dog handlers and breeders abound! Maybe you can find someone to interview right there. Give us a region within the UK where you are located and we could probably point you to a breeder of excellent working border collies.

 

ETA: Oops, my reading comprehension skills must be slipping--I see you are in London. Is there an area you'd like to be pointed to for the names of breeders to interview?

 

J.

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Good working breeders don't need to big themselves up in the UK; word of mouth is enough. I'm sure most are very busy people too and not much given to idle theorising.

 

I think the only way of understanding what it takes to produce a good working dog is to get out and see for yourself and talk to people involved face to face.

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