Jump to content
BC Boards
marcoBC

Working Border Collie Breeders

Recommended Posts

Hello,

 

I have been researching BCC breeders lately. I come across a lot of breeders for strictly working dogs. I don't know why, but the working dog breeders speak more to me others. I don't want a working dog because I don't have a farm and I don't think it would be fair, nor do I think a responsible breeder would sell a dog if I weren't using it to work. Occasionally, I find breeders who sell dogs to people looking for a pet that don't have a huge passion to herd. Is this a sign of a bad breeder? What does it mean a dog that doesn't have a huge passion for herding? Are they lazy, not smart, or have too much eye? I am not looking to get a new dog right away. I am just searching for the moment. My 12 month BC, Marco keeps me plenty busy but I would like to get another dog in the near future.

 

Thanks,

 

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My limited experience with Border Collie breeders in my general area (Mid & Northern Michigan) is that dogs are bred for herding and/or agility. I haven't see "strictly pet" Border Collies, other than ones not from breeders, such as listings on Craigs List & Hoobly, possibly coming from an "oops my dog got pregnant" situation. Although, to be honest, some of them are probably from breeders, and I should give them more credit. I did actually find my pup's breeder on Hoobly, after all, and was very pleased with the entire experience. They just tend to be more difficult to get information on their puppies, pricing, and future litters until the dogs are ready to find homes.

 

When purchasing a herding dog, I would expect that both parents are working. Not just that they come from herding lines. I was told that my dog will have a natural tendency to herd once he "comes of age." Both of his parents have herding experience on a large cattle farm. I believe about 80% of the puppies that came from these parents over the years are working dogs, but some are not. I did not get the impression that the breeder was disappointed about the other 20%. Some of them actually are pets for some marathon runners, and he seemed pretty happy that these people found his dogs which were capable of running high milage with them.

 

Maybe my breeder was more relaxed than some, but I think he'd be happy just to know that you'd give the pet a good home, love it, and give it what it needs.

 

If a dog isn't bred for herding, I would expect that it might have less of a natural tendency to herd. Although, it might still have that tendency, just that the parents don't have formal experience in putting it to use. I wouldn't say for sure that it wont have a strong tendency.

 

From my experience, some of the "real farm dogs" actually had a more affordable price point than the Border Collies which were advertised for agility and show. Again, I'm sure this varies for every area. It's just what I observed in doing research before bringing home my pup.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use my BCs daily on the farm so expect them to be able to put in a good days work without lots of input from me. I occasionally breed selling pups and started working dogs. A few of those pups go to what I think will be good pet or hobby homes. Just because it is a 'working' home does not mean it is a good home, just because it is a pet home it does not mean a bad home.

 

I think Border Collies crave companionship and challenges, they excel in homes where they are physically and mentally active spending the majority of their time with their people. As pups grow I do my best to choose the correct place for them. The outgoing, over the top, adventurous, super confident dogs are first selected for working home. The sleep on your lap, not as confident pups do well in a stable home with routines ect.

Even from working parents not every pup will excel in a working home. I do the best I can to match the pups personality and temperament with the family and goals of the family. That all can change down the road you just make the best choice you can.

 

I always suggest breed rescues as a place to look for pets, even before my pups.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, when a breeder breeds working dogs that doesn’t necessarily mean that all pups should go to a working home?

 

I have a one-year-old BC. I rescued him when he was 4 months old. He's an all around great dog, smart, obedient, friendly, energetic but very calm indoors. He shows some herding instinct but I don't think comes from a responsible breeder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any working BC breeder will tell you that no matter how amazing the parents, there will always be some pups that just don't inherit the innate working skills. Genetics is a crapshoot; you never know for sure what will come out. Maybe they are too timid, maybe they are disinterested in sheep, maybe they go in too hard, maybe it just doesn't come naturally to them. It is not necessarily a fault in the breeding or the breeder.

 

So a working breeder may very well be willing to sell one of these pups to a "pet" home, either as a young pup or as a tried and failed working dog. A good breeder will still want to match the dog to the right home.

 

I will say I would much rather buy a failed pup from a working breeder than from an agility (or worse, a "show dog") breeder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

 

I have been researching BCC breeders lately. I come across a lot of breeders for strictly working dogs. I don't know why, but the working dog breeders speak more to me others. I don't want a working dog because I don't have a farm and I don't think it would be fair, nor do I think a responsible breeder would sell a dog if I weren't using it to work. Occasionally, I find breeders who sell dogs to people looking for a pet that don't have a huge passion to herd. Is this a sign of a bad breeder? What does it mean a dog that doesn't have a huge passion for herding? Are they lazy, not smart, or have too much eye? I am not looking to get a new dog right away. I am just searching for the moment. My 12 month BC, Marco keeps me plenty busy but I would like to get another dog in the near future.

 

Thanks,

 

Matt

 

 

I've known a number of working breeders to sell to non-working homes. Sometimes it's as simple as having an excellent non-working puppy buyer who will give a pup the best quality of life, which is what any good breeder really wants.

 

When a dog or pup is sold as non-working it can mean a number of things, but often it just means the working instinct isn't as strong as the breeder wants, leaving the dog with a lackluster attitude towards working. The dog is not lazy or stupid by any means, it just missed that particular twist in the DNA strand. :rolleyes: And it certainly does not mean a bad breeder. Genetics are curious things and two top dogs can be mated and only produce mediocre pups, while two relatively ordinary dogs may produce excellent pups.

 

I also would say that if a working breeder is willing to sell to you, for whatever reason, you'd do better than getting a pup from such a breeder than from an agility or show breeder.

 

Gloria

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info everyone,

 

I was always more interested in buying from a breeder who breeds working dogs. I've been looking around, not just at breeders but border collie rescues. If I do end up going for a breeder I will definetely consider a pup who isn't a strong herder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly there is No Way to KNOW for Sure at 8 weeks old which pups will excel at stock. Then there is the whole other issue that the dog may well have all the instincts in the world but does not suit the handler. It could be a simple little personality thing or could be the handler enjoys one way of training and working the dog favors another. Just like people dogs do not all do things the same.

 

It also depends on your goals for the pup. Obviously getting a pup from parents that you see work and like their 'style' of working is the best way to go and increases your chances of the pup working like the parents. Better yet is to see older sibling work. But if you breed two dogs with 'different' work tendencies - one more eye, one wider outrunner, one pushy ect You simply do not know how things will shake out. While those people that have worked many different dogs may be able to see at 10 mo or 1 year old the pup will not suit - them, their work, their goals- working dogs grow, develop, change lots between 1 year and 3 years. So what the pup is really capable of is not known till later. Add to that his raising and training and experiences all influence the skills he was born with. We can enhance and nurture them or we can negatively affect them.

 

Working dogs, I am convinced, are born with knowledge in their heads from the generations of dogs before them. Still no way to know exactly how that instinct will express itself. Is the dog capable of being a calm confident working dog for a ranch or sheep farm? Would that dog excel with a hobby person with 10 acres and 20 sheep? Would that dog excel on a trial field readily taking precise instruction from a handler?

If we could into the eyes of an 8 week old pup and Know how it would turn out it all would be easy. Unless you are willing to take a year old dog or older so you have more info on just what that pup is like no one can predict, we make educated guesses. Often it is a gut instinct. I know super talented dog and I know dogs who work their heart out for their person - the dogs with heart usually get the job done, sometimes better, and more fulfilling to work beside those dogs.

 

I know dogs I raised and started that simply did not work well for me. It was a chore to take them to sheep, I did not enjoy it at all. I have handed those dogs to different skilled handlers over the years - Aled Owens, Kevin Evans, Jack Knox,,,-in their hands the dog LOOKS and works Amazing. SO is it really the dog or is the dog simply not suited to Me.

 

Tons more complicated than some dogs work stock and others do not. I have seen dogs from rescues come to 3 day clinics here - never seen a sheep - by day 3 they are out in a big field. I have had dogs from My working dogs used daily by me for chores that I started who showed promise but they never went beyond that level and some regressed. I do not repeat that breeding but you simply do not know till you try it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love reading the BC Board topics. A lot of very dedicated talented folks here. I continue to gain knowledge of this most interesting breed of dog.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I do end up going for a breeder I will definetely consider a pup who isn't a strong herder.

 

Any breeder who tells you definitively that an 8, 9 or 10 week old puppy will or won't be a good herding dog is selling you a bill of goods.

 

Some pups may show a lot of promise at a few months old (older than the age a puppy's usually sold at for puppy price) and end up being a dud in the long run. Others don't turn on for many months, even past a year of age.

 

Puppies are a crap shoot. Anyone telling you otherwise is dealing in alternative facts. :lol:

 

That said, I do believe that generally speaking (again, there can be a world of variation and exceptions to the rules), a working bred pup's more likely to have a more balanced temperament. I really believe to that too may sporter collies have been bred to be wired. That's not the kind of dog I'd want to live with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Careful with that GentleLake, at times we can tell if the pup has what we are looking for at 8-10 weeks or so, which is directly related to if the BREEDER feels that it will be a good working dog or likely suited for the work that the buyer is expecting the dog to eventually carry out.

 

And that's NOT a alternative fact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Debbie are you saying you can tell what the pup will be (predicting the future) or are you saying this pup is like other dogs from our lines when they were pups?

 

I do agree breeders who know their lines will reconize personality traits (traits that will influence how they work or are trained) in their pups and if these will or will not suit the puppy buyers (if the breeder learns enough about the puppy buyers).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Careful with that GentleLake, at times we can tell if the pup has what we are looking for at 8-10 weeks or so, which is directly related to if the BREEDER feels that it will be a good working dog or likely suited for the work that the buyer is expecting the dog to eventually carry out.And that's NOT a alternative fact.

I echo Mark's question, can you really say anything about how an eighth week old pup is going to turn out in respect to working ability temperament etc?

I am interested in your thoughts as I am waiting to take a puppy home.

The method of selection of the breeder is "I grab a random one, that is yours" (you only get to choose sexe).

I always leaned on the "close your eyes and pick one" way of selecting a pup from a litter, so I have no problem with this.

But maybe there is more to it, how do you select your next stock work prodigy from a litter that you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Debbie,

 

As Jack Knox once said, "If I could tell which pup was going to be a topper I'd'quit this training and breeding and make my fortune picking pups."

 

Donald McCaig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To the OP:

 

I have a really well bred working bred Border Collie and he is the happiest house and pet dog imaginable. He is just a content boy who adores day to day living.

 

I have no idea what his potential would be as a stockdog because that is not his lot in life. His breeder (who is on these boards) knew that I would be a pet/sport home, and she was cool with that.

 

But I never feel like I have been unfair to him in any way just because his mission in life is to love and be loved and to be a household companion.

Granted, I am a sport person, but not a super driven one. He does take weekly Agility and Rally classes, and he participates in Freestyle and Parkour. But we aren't training all day long, nor are we trialing a whole lot. He is a phenomenal demo dog for the online classes that I teach - he is always a willing partner to make videos or whatever I need. That said, he and I spend more time together playing ball.


So, it's not like he is a couch potato with nothing to do. At the same time, he is, primarily, a house dog and companion. And he is perfectly happy.

 

I would definitely choose a well bred working bred Border Collie again in the future. I actually consider him to be the perfect pet. At least for our household.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never said topper, talking about which would be better suited to be sent out as pets, yes can tell, especially after working with a specific line for 10 years plus and over 3-4 generations. How great a individual will be, that's a different story, though once again, after working with a specific line for a long time a breeder may be able to spot ones that are "special" at only 5-6 weeks old. Anyway you can tell based on past experience which your better off letting go and what type of owner / home they would be better suited for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe the temperament/personality of pups allows me to make an educated choice of where best to place them. The older they are the more you "know" them. I do usually choose pups for new homes, or say pick between these when you come. Their personality is an ongoing developing trait but at 8 weeks you see consistent tendencies.

 

Within the litter there are quiet, shy, confident, outgoing, bossy, determined...For me I place the most determined, confident outgoing pups in working homes. If I have folks with cattle the most confident, level headed pups go there because cattle require that type of dog. Raised correctly I think that pup has the best shot of excelling in that environment/work. Sometimes it is a gut feeling honestly, I do not discount those. Often the pups that stay are chosen on the day they are born.

 

As they grow and begin to play with other dogs you can see eye and outruns develop and that seems to stay consistent on stock. I have a 4 mo old pup that I bought that is beginning to show some working traits now.

I also will keep two pups train them for several months to a year to get more information about the dogs I am breeding. My dogs tend to go to working farms, most folks do not train their own dogs. Raising them here, getting to know their strengths and challenges and personality I can make the best choice for them. I do turn down some homes and steer people toward a dog I think will suit them. I do not sell them if I do not think it is a right fit.

Even with that sometimes it does not work out. It is easier to judge the pups than it is to judge the people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Breeder I'm looking at specifically also sells dogs that have been trained a bit in herding but just haven't taken to it.

 

Is this common? What does that mean about the dog besides he doesn’t herd? Is he stubborn? At what age do they determine this?

 

My overall feeling is that I should talk with breeders and see what fits best for everyone.

 

I would like to wait a bit longer. The process of finding a dog takes a while so I am starting the search now. I want to wait until Marco is closer to 2 years and a bit more mature. :D

post-19142-0-30142400-1488033504_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Gibbs is trained in the basics, came from a sire & dam that produced a dog who made it all the way to the national trials, I believe. Gibbs was in a litter after that dog.

 

I got him from some one on these boards who had bought him as a started dog, kept him for a year, and decided he wasn't the dog for them. I got a wonderful pet and companion who is the opposite of stubborn, I find him even a little bit timid and soft.

 

In fact, when I went looking for another border collie, this board was the first place I came, then needed to look no further.

 

All it means, is that for whatever reason, the dog isn't doing the job the way the owner would like. Could be stubbornness, could be timidity, could be lack of interest or just not quite a 'fit' between dog and owner. Could be a lot of things.

 

Each dog is individual, is what it boils down to.

 

Ruth and Gibbs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You will find there are few if any hard and fast rules when it comes to working dogs. As Ruth said it all boils down to 100s of individual traits and people and dogs that Click to make to enable a good match.

 

What one person would call to soft may suit someone else perfectly, what One calls pushy or stubborn or determined may just be what is needed for someone else...

 

Again the age when a dog is started on stock varies. I had had pups drop dead serious about working at 3/4 months old. Crawl through fences to get to sheep and gathered the entire herd of 60 ewes. I had to teach them to call off sheep to get them out of the pasture then we just kept going from there. They were doing simple chores well at 7/8 mo. Others are not ready till 10 mo, a year... I have bought dogs between a year and 2 yrs old because they would not work for owner, within a few days working for me quite well. It can be More about the TEAM than the dog, through no fault of either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll just interject that Gibbs most definitely landed in his perfect home with Ruth! :wub:

 

Amy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is about pups changing characters. I have a pup from working dogs, the litter was bred as it was time for the breeders to have a new dog. Originally they were going to keep a bitch and said I could have the first pick of the boys. As I could not meet the pups I asked her to pick for me based on what I wanted my dog for (agility and pet) so out of the 5 she picked 2 who she felt where her favorites, another one she said was going to make a fine dog, and 2 she felt were going to fireside ornaments they were so lazy and she also thought they weren't very smart. By the time we went to Scotland to pick up the pup the dynamics had changed the two bitches in the litter had left and the two lounge lizards had become the naughty pups, who were leading the rest in mischief and were being kept in a separate crate as they caused so much mayhem! the breeders had decided to keep these two as they were so much fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I once chose a pup with the breeder's help because she was very laid back and quiet, but not at all shy or timid. Pretty shortly after I got her her home her personality changed dramatically. She was no longer the the quiet, retiring pup but became a very busy girl (fortunately she learned an off switch). She also became quite fearful, but I attribute that to her having a frightening experience during what may have been a fear stage. She ended up becoming a very fearful dog.

 

Puppies can change dramatically from what they were like in their litters once they've left the dynamics of their brothers and sisters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...