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Guy Stevens

Breeder question

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Julie, I responded to you privately - like I told bob, I appreciate what you all do here, those of you who have been into BCs for years. I have only known BC's for four years - and its all a learning experience.

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Originally posted by juliepoudrier:

Once a person has an individual dog, we really don't care what activities (or not) you plan to do with the dog. But we do care very deeply about how that dog came to be.

... and about whether or not you plan to perpetuate that dog's genes by choosing to breed it yourself.

 

My first response to this thread, which I amended because I knew someone would probably take offense, stated that if a breeder is asking for much more than $500 for a well-bred pup, then I'd be willing to bet it was a conformation breeder.
... or sports or performance breeder (agility, flyball, etc.).

 

I could not agree more with anyone's opinions than I do with Denise and Julie. Read their posts with an open mind and be ready and willing to LEARN.

 

Love your dog and provide a great life for him/her. Don't buy another dog/pup that doesn't come from proven, well-matched working parents. Don't breed a dog that isn't proven worthy of breeding (proven by the WORK not by appearance or performance sports).

 

There are many working-bred dogs that will not make it as trial/farm/ranch dogs. They can be wonderful pets and outstanding performance sports dogs. There is no need to diminish the breed by breeding for anything but the WORK.

 

As for the concept that working bred dogs are obsessive, high-strung, etc. - where did you get that idea? I am a novice and I admit it. I have visited breeder/trainers and USBCHA trials. It is not the working-bred dogs in suitable homes that give the Border Collie this bad image. It is the poorly-bred and/or unsuitably-homed dogs that perpetuate this erroneous impression of one of the world's truly useful, working breeds of dogs.

 

And, yes, my working Border Collies are both neutered.

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Thank you Julie for being more thorough and diplomatic than me in your response.

 

Here is my passionate plea to all potential puppy buyers:

 

If you love the breed, please love it for what it is meant to be, the working border collie, and choose your dogs either from those bred the way the breed was meant to be, or from rescue.

 

The future of this breed goes beyond just loving your individual dog. I'm sure you all love your individual dog(s); I surely love all mine. But do you love the breed?

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Julie - thanks for your response. I know that all of this isn't a personal attack, but I still get very angry when I get the comment of why didn't you get a 'real' border collie...Dublin is 100% real BC and it angers me when someone says differently. Also the comment of "why didn't you get a Golden" I also find annoying - first of all, goldens are retrievers...hunting dogs...they are also working dogs and that comment shows a lack of understanding of the breed.

 

I did a ton of research into BCs before I made the decision to get one...and most of the resources I reviewed (books, websites, handlers) stated that many BCs are given up to shelters because they had strong instincts to herd and were absolutely miserable as a pet. I didn't want to do that to a dog so I was looking for a dog without a strong instinct-it doesn't mean that he has no instinct - he will still try to do an outrun around any dogs he is playing with, doesn't like it when we aren't all in the same room and I am sure that if he was exposed to sheep/cattle he would fair well with appropriate training - but it does mean that he is less likely to escalate to nipping when my young nieces are playing with him and run away and he can be occupied during the day with other tasks. The breeder I went to isn't a BYB, nor a high-volume breeder. She doesn't do the 'one dog fits all" she has separate herding lines as well as show/companion lines. Does that mean her 'show' lines don't herd? No...but it does mean that if those dogs don't go to a working home, they won't be miserable because they can't herd. Yes, BC were originally bred to herd sheep but there are many characteristics about the breed that make them a desirable companion (intelligence, energy-level, biddible)in addition to a herding instinct. IMO, people who think that BC should just be bred to herd, are selling the breed short.

 

 

I'm sure I'll get a lost of comments to the contrary but that is my opinion.

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Geez. ..There are flames literally jumping out of this thread.

Jessica, try not to be too upset. I understand about not being able to travel. I had two breeders to choose from in my area. Some may say that the breeder that I chose breeds too many dogs, but compared to the alternative

(a conformation breeder), they were the best option. At the time I new nothing about the battle for the breeds future. I was completely ignorant until I stumbled across this board, so I understand the frustration that is felt by the people who are passionate about the cause. The only reason that I chose the breeder that I did was price. Which brings me back to the original question on this thread. 500 is reasonable.

Just a thought-I think some of you are quick to attack. Its hard not to take it personally. There no denying the feeling of superiority here on this board. Id love to live on a farm and have sheep for my dogs. I came to own my first girl by chance, I cant see myself with any other dog. I may not be your ideal owner, but I love border collies.

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Arrrrgggh. Border Collies that are in rescue because of working instincts aren't PROBLEM dogs. They are just in the wrong homes for whatever reason. Border Collies with working instincts are BORDER COLLIES, not "problems" - why would you want a dog from a breeder who purposely breeds for less than the breed ideal?

 

That's like a breeder who says, you know, the problem with Great Danes is that they are just too darned big. Let's breed little Great Danes for sale to apartment dwellers! (thanks to Melanie for this great analogy). Is that a breeder who has the welfare of the breed in mind or one who is just serving their own selfish interests?

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It seems the flames had cooled by the time I actually got mine posted. The moment seems to have passed. Story of my life, always running behind.

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...first of all, goldens are retrievers...hunting dogs...they are also working dogs and that comment shows a lack of understanding of the breed.
When you think of Golden Retrievers do you think of what they do or how they look? Do you think of the dog working all day out with hunters or of they being docile family pets? Why is it we are more likely to think of them being docile family pets? Could it be that over time the breed as a whole has shifted away from being working dogs towards being family pets and show dogs with a few working lines. Of the Goldens you know, how many truly "work" (i.e. are used by hunters to retrieve fowl)? Do you think most Goldens can be taught to be good working dogs? If you asked a professional trainer of working retrievers how do you think they would answer the last question?

 

I love this quote: "There is tremendous variability within each breed, due to the differing goals and strategies of the breeders. We are interested in describing, and differentiating between, the best working dogs typical of the three breeds. Dogs bred for show, color, or any other purpose than retrieving ability are unlikely to meet these descriptions." Retriever Breeds in Training

 

It shows that breeders & trainers of "working retrievers" know that not all Goldens are "working" dogs. Notice it doesn't say dogs doing other things besides working it says dogs bred for other things besides working. I'll bet you'll find most hunters believe there are two breeds of Golden Retrievers: working and other.

 

BTW this sounds a bit more involved than retrieving a bumper from a pond and I doubt any house pet could be trained to do this.....

 

"Such a dog is a real joy to work. When John's Golden, Sport (Oakhill Sportin' Life of Hobo***), was about twenty months old and running a blind retrieve, John blew the whistle to stop the dog just as he got into an area of tall cover--over his head. In a moment Sport's head appeared above the cover. He was standing, stock-still, on his hind feet, holding his front paws against his chest like a kangaroo, in order to see his master's cast."

 

Mark

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Kerry,

 

Much of what you've learned about the breed thus far is inaccurate. Perhaps you would like to go to main site of the host of these boards, the USBCC, and read about border collies here

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Kitch,

 

If you aren't interested in the working heritage of the Border Collie and preserving its identity and ability as a working stockdog, I'm not sure what you're doing here.

 

My question to you is, how do YOU define "Border Collie?" You have a dog that, wonderful dog as he probably is, comes from generations of breeding that (a) has nothing in common with the working breeding population -- i.e., it has been divergent and separate for dozens of generations, and (:rolleyes: a dog that has been selected for totally different criteria than true working dogs. To me, that meets my definition for a different breed. I believe that Dublin is a wonderful dog, and I also believe it is no insult to point out that in fact, by any reasonable definition of the word "breed" he is not the same breed as my dogs and not a Border Collie. A dog isn't a Border Collie just because that's the label he carries -- if so, the label means nothing.

 

Conformation-bred Border Collies meet all the criteria for being a separate breed: separate gene pool and totally different selection criteria. Like I said, perfectly nice dogs, but not the same dogs. And it's not an insult to point it out -- my Papillon isn't a Border Collie either, but he's a perfectly wonderful dog.

 

I'm not here to insult anyone's individual dogs. My favorite dog is a rescue who originally came from what anyone would call a shitty breeder. The production of his litter was mostly careless and probably motivated purely by profit. It doesn't make him worth less in my eyes; he is my heart's dog and if I had to give up one of my Border Collies it would be the other one, the one with impeccable breeding who came from overseas, not Solo. (Sorry, Fly.) I, as an individual, and Solo, as an individual, are both very lucky that we are together. He is very special to me, a once in a lifetime dog.

 

But then there's the matter of the greater good and the future of the breed as a whole. The fact is that there are way too many Border Collies and not enough suitable homes. In this climate, only the best should be bred, and by the "best" I mean dogs that will improve the breed, in terms of health, temperament, and above all, working ability.

 

Dogs bred like Solo are a dime a dozen in the Mid-Atlantic and northeast. They fill the shelters and end up in rescue. Most of the people who buy from breeders like Solo's are well-meaning folks like Jessica who only wanted a pet. Some of them are like Jessica and will do right by their dogs (as I have all faith she will) others won't. By not having higher standards, these buyers support the business practices of breeders who are not improving the breed, and inadvertently compound the shelter and rescue problem because for every litter these breeders manage to sell, they are encouraged to make more.

 

Solo got lucky. After between four and six previous homes (all before the age of 16 months), he ended up with me. I loved him so I kept him and worked with him but most people wouldn't have. I wonder often what happened to his littermates, especially if they all had the same kind of hereditary behavioral problems he does. Most likely, they're all dead. Solo is five years old now.

 

A well-bred working puppy from a responsible breeder is more likely to exhibit the characteristics that are desirable in a Border Collie: intelligence, intensity, biddability, stable temperament (people who think working dogs are temperamentally unstable have obviously never been to a sheepdog trial). A well-bred working puppy from a responsible breeder will have a network of outstretched hands below him should anything happen to make him lose his home. He may even have people lined up to buy him when he is a promising adolescent. He will not be the neglected, gawky teenager that ends up in the shelter or rescue with no one in the world to care for him.

 

Puppies should come from responsible working breeders for these reasons:

 

(1) Because there are not enough homes and so only the best should be bred.

 

(2) Because the identity of the breed itself depends on continued selection for the characteristics that should typify it.

 

I can love my favorite dog and still recognize that really, his litter should never have been bred. I can think Kitch's show-bred dog is a perfectly nice dog and still recognize that he isn't really a Border Collie any more than my friend's Sheltie is. We all say we love the breed. Loving the breed calls for acting in a manner to safeguard its welfare. Buying puppies from breeders who breed for the wrong goals, or no goals other than profit, is a sure way to destroy it. And if that happens, yes, I am going to take it personally and blame every last person who acted to make it happen.

 

I'm sorry if feelings are hurt here, but to me the welfare of the breed is more important than feelings.

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I have a question. At some point I would like to get a puppy. Maybe we will all be ready when fall comes, certainly not sooner.

 

Anyway, I know there are puppies out of working litters who don't seem to have much herding potential and who might even be more laid back than your typical BC. That's what I'm looking for.

 

How do I find these types of puppies? I don't know how often a pup like that would come along. Should I get the word out now?

 

Maybe someone bought a pup for working and soon realized that the pup didn't have it in him (her, I want a female). Or maybe the breeder can tell by the time the litter is to be sent out that a certain pup isn't working quality.

 

Ideally I would like a young puppy but if someone knew with 100% certainty that the older puppy was raised well, without behavioral issues, other things I would have to "undo", then that would work too.

 

How do I find this puppy?

 

BC Rescue of Texas is way up in Dallas or other far away places. I realize after Dixie that it's important to be able to visit a potential dog several times and spend alot of time with it, and that's not practical when the dog is 5+ hours away. So unless someone (even me) in the Houston area begins fostering, then I doubt I'll go that route.

 

Sorry for hijacking your thread Guy. I hope that your puppy is just what you are looking for, even if it's not the one you mentioned above. And welcome to the BC forums.

 

edit: Good grief! Nine new replies to this thread while I typed this out! :eek:

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Miztiki,

 

I believe there are BC connections in the South TX area. E-mail Linda from the BC Rescue TX and ask.. Otherwise, I do know there are currently 2 border collies sitting in a Houston shelter, one is a smooth coated tri. Not sure if you wanted the shelter route, but I thought I would mention it.

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Miztiki,

 

I went to CAP (Citizens animal control of Houston) on Saturday and saw a B&W BC puppy with freckels (Probably around 6 months). He just got picked up so not available for adoption yet. It's a kill shelter too. :rolleyes:

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Originally posted by SoloRiver:

 

"My question to you is, how do YOU define "Border Collie?" You have a dog that, wonderful dog as he probably is, comes from generations of breeding that (a) has nothing in common with the working breeding population -- i.e., it has been divergent and separate for dozens of generations, and (:rolleyes: a dog that has been selected for totally different criteria than true working dogs. To me, that meets my definition for a different breed. I believe that Dublin is a wonderful dog, and I also believe it is no insult to point out that in fact, by any reasonable definition of the word "breed" he is not the same breed as my dogs and not a Border Collie. A dog isn't a Border Collie just because that's the label he carries -- if so, the label means nothing."

 

To address the above comment - I understand many people's objections to breeding border collies for show...I even agree with a good portion of it...what I don't agree with is the 'all or nothing' approach. Is Dublin a 'show dog' - technically yes...does his more mellow (using that term loosely )nature adapt better to non-farm work - yes. Is he genetically different from other so called 'real' border collies - no. Were both of his parents show champions? Yes. His father also has two herding titles and his maternal grandmother has one as well. In my opinion, that is the ideal...a dog that wins in the show ring because of his true form and function...his immediate genetic line *has* proven themselves in the true working sense (as much as a trial can mimic real life). There are other herding titles and a few agility titles in his background as well, but honestly I don't have them memorized. If I had only mentioned that Dublin came from a background of herding titles, I doubt I would have gotten the response of he's not a "real BC"...yet he is still the same dog. My point is that everyone shouldn't be so quick to judge or categorize...just because Dublin didn't come from a working farm, doesn't mean he is a piece of fluff.

 

 

"A well-bred working puppy from a responsible breeder is more likely to exhibit the characteristics that are desirable in a Border Collie: intelligence, intensity, biddability, stable temperament (people who think working dogs are temperamentally unstable have obviously never been to a sheepdog trial). "

 

Gee...that describes Dublin very well...

 

I have been to various sheep dog trials in my area...and I agree that watching a BC work sheep is a thing of beauty...but as anyone who has attended trials can tell you, there are varying levels of intensity shown by the competing dogs...some sit at attention for hours focusing on the trial field, never taking there eyes off of the sheep, and then there are those that a happy to curl up under their trailer when their turn is through... Are the ones that curl up and go to sleep less of a BC?

 

"A well-bred working puppy from a responsible breeder will have a network of outstretched hands below him should anything happen to make him lose his home. He may even have people lined up to buy him when he is a promising adolescent. He will not be the neglected, gawky teenager that ends up in the shelter or rescue with no one in the world to care for him."

 

 

This also describes the breeder I got him from...I could have gotten a pup from the few BYB that were advertising in the local papers, but I chose not to go that route...instead, I researched in order to find a responsible breeder...btw, if I was looking for a working dog, I would have ended up at the same breeder as she is the only one recommended in my area. I spoke with her vet as well as other vets in the area...she is well known and respected and none of the various vets I spoke to had ever seen a genetic defect in her dogs...I also spoke to various agility groups in the area that were familiar with her dogs and they also had good things to say about the soundness of her dogs...none of these are related to the show ring.

 

 

I don't think I did anything wrong in going to her...I did all the research we often complain is not done before purchasing a dog...and I have changed my life in many ways to make it more BC friendly...I simply chose a dog that was on the more mellow end of the border collie spectrum to make for a happier fit for both Dublin and me.

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Is he genetically different from other so called 'real' border collies - no. Were both of his parents show champions? Yes. His father also has two herding titles and his maternal grandmother has one as well. In my opinion, that is the ideal...a dog that wins in the show ring because of his true form and function...his immediate genetic line *has* proven themselves in the true working sense (as much as a trial can mimic real life).
I do believe you'll find a small difference in the level of "testing" between a herding title and a USBCHA Open trial. Before you start professing expertise in what makes a "real" border collie you should do some more research; perhaps attending an USBCHA sanctioned trial and then an AKC herding trial. You might like having binoculars for the USBCHA trial. :rolleyes:

 

Mark

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Guest hdk9s
This is NOT an ideal breeder in my mind. Far from it. This is yet another a show breeder convincing someone their dogs "have it all" and this is how the real working border collie breeder is put out of business.
But so we really want the people looking for this type of Border Collie owning a working dog? Think that if they did not then good working dogs would not get dumped at the rescues.

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>

 

No, border collies were not just "originally" bred to herd sheep. They are bred to herd sheep NOW. That is the essential characteristic of a border collie -- it's a dog bred to herd livestock. Golden retrievers, OTOH, were "originally" bred to retrieve fowl, but their working nature was bred out of them to make them show dogs and easy pets. We are fighting to keep the working nature from being bred out of border collies. We are fighting for the sake of the breed -- because being bred for herding ability is what makes the breed what it is -- and also for the sake of the livestock producers who depend on the breed. If we lose, border collies will become black and white golden retrievers -- more show dogs and easy pets. THEN it will be accurate to say that border collies were "originally" bred to herd sheep.

 

Kerry, you say you did a ton of research before deciding to get a border collie. In all that research, what was it that made you think a border collie was right for you? Did you feel you had to have a dog whose "height at the withers varies from 19" to 22" for males, 18" to 21" for females" and one whose "body, from prosternum to point of buttocks, is slightly longer than the height at the withers with the length to height ratio being approximately 10:9" and one whose "skull and muzzle are approximately equal in length. In profile the top of the skull is parallel with the top of the muzzle"? If so, then you were looking for conformation traits. But if you were looking for intelligence, energy and biddability, those are traits that result from the border collie being bred to herd. If a conformation breeder claims credit for these traits, she is deceiving either you or herself. These are among the many traits that have been selected for for a couple of hundred years in the working border collie, and which may survive for a while in show dogs, but which will steadily trickle away in dogs that are not bred for livestock work. They are part and parcel -- along with whatever you mean by "herding instinct" -- of the working ability the border collie is bred for.

 

Working-bred border collies can make great pets, because of all these wonderful traits that have been selected for in the course of breeding them to be useful livestock dogs. Some people looking for a non-working pet WANT these border collie traits, and they go looking for a real, working-bred border collie to be their pet because they like and appreciate these qualities. No one would criticize them for that. A true border collie can be very happy as a pet if his owner appreciates what he is and cares enough to spend time interacting with him in interesting, satisfying ways. But if you DON'T want those traits in your pet, please, PLEASE don't encourage the ruination of our dogs by buying from breeders who are breeding away from the traits that define a true border collie, and yet calling the results a border collie. Border collies are one of the few breeds of dogs who are not defined by their looks, who have not been (and should not be) bred to look a certain way. They are defined by what they can do, they are bred to be a useful sheep dog.

 

If you wanted a dog who "just wants to love and be loved," that's a very good goal in getting a companion dog, and it's a goal that can be very easily achieved. Most of the dogs waiting and hoping in any shelter or rescue would fit the bill. I'm sure you love Dublin totally and he loves you, and you can't imagine having another dog, but the fact is that you (or nearly all good dogowners, anyway) would feel that way after awhile about any dog you took into your family and made your own. Dogs in general are endearing and loving and loveable and wonderful. You don't need a border collie to get that, and you certainly don't need a "show dog from champion parents" to get that.

 

Two more quick points. First, no one is saying your breeder is a BYB or a puppy miller. From what you say, she certainly isn't. But those are only two of the ways you can be a bad breeder. Breeding border collies for show is another way, IMO, because it's a distortion and betrayal of the breed. And second, I know some excellent breeders of border collies in NY and the northeast generally, and I don't know a single one who charges $1,000 or anything like that for a puppy. There's no reason whatsoever to charge that much for a pup except that, as Julie says, it's part of the conformation culture to do so.

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>

 

No, again. The kind of trials where titles are awarded do NOT prove a dog in the true working sense as much as a trial can mimic real life. Those are play trials, feel-good trials. As Mark says, go to a USBCHA sanctioned Open trial, and compare that with the kind of trial that yields titles to decorate show dogs.

 

Also, "mellowness" is not a disqualifier for a working dog. I have at my feet right now as mellow a dog as anyone could ever want. Yet he is from pure working lines and an Open trial winner, who qualified twice for the National Nursery Finals and three times for the National Open Finals. Some of the other dogs lying around waiting for me to stop typing and do something interesting are not as mellow, but so what? "Mellowness" is not something by which it makes any sense to judge the quality of a border collie.

 

>

 

Recommended by whom? I don't know where you live in NY, or how wide you consider your area to be, but I certainly know responsible breeders of good working border collies in NY, whom I would not hesitate to recommend.

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Guy -- getting back to your question --

 

I'm assuming you're looking for a pet -- is that right? There are two questions I'd be asking if I were you. First, were the sire and dam x-rayed and evaluated for hip dysplasia, and were they (or will the pups be) examined by a canine ophthalmologist (or DNA-tested) for collie eye anomaly? If these tests were done, the price might be higher, and more important, it would show that the breeder knows and cares about the health problems that can crop up in the breed. Second question, is there anything in particular about either of the parents that would make pups from them more desirable than pups from any other parents? If the answers were no to both of these questions, then it sounds like they just bred a male and a female because they had a male and a female, in which case the price seems too high to me AND that's not a breeder I'd want to encourage.

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Wow! what a tread. It's almost like a soap opera, but educational .

 

from Eileen,

I know some excellent breeders of border collies in NY and the northeast generally, and I don't know a single one who charges $1,000 for a puppy.
We got Piper from a farm/breeder for $150, with papers (not that I cared) in upstate NY. Affordable puppies do exist in the Northeast. We did try the resuce route originally but we didn't have a fenced yard and so were not deemed good candidates.

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I dunno how kosher it even is to say this but there is a breed of dog that is similar to a BC but not a BC that may work for some people who want "laid back" BCs. The breed afficionados claim that it is the original old farm collie but it seems to me like it could be a long time US breeding of the Northern Scotland BCs that are more laid back and sort of a "Drover" herder. They are somewhat larger and have similar and some fluffier coat types (like the driover BC of northern Scotland). It's the English Shepherd. People have to be careful when selecting pedigrees though because some unscrupulous breeders have introduced the modern BC recently to gain flashier white markings in their black dogs. They make nice pets, will bark at strangers, and are fairly easy to train (as in they learn novel simple behaviors in about 10 repetitions on average like a sheltie versus the BC who learns them in about 5 or less on average). The girl I rescued (thought she was a non flashy, big hairy BC) is very biddable (as biddable as a sheltie), she's alert, but not intense like my BCs. She is not likely to stare at trees looking for squirrels all day or impulsively bring me a ball for hours on end. She does herd but is an upright, loose eyed dog and have a tendency to harrass stock if not asked to work. Just a thought as a BC preservationist idea. I love the dog, she's a marshmallow, but she is not a BC.

 

Not that working BC culls aren't deserving of good homes (yikes!Don't shoot!) but in the absence of culls or people who actually want something different than what a BC is supposed to be.. : )

(editied to add that my 5 year old BC is sacked out at my feet and the yearling English Shepherd is happily being beaten up on by my yearling BC girl)

 

Annette & the borderbratz

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