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Guy Stevens

Breeder question

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I don't know if Boyden is an ES or a BC mix, but I DO know that he's not BC-ish. I love him, he's a nice dog, but he's not a BC, even if he is a BC, if that makes sense. I want a BC because I love their intelligence & personality, though that doesn't really describe it. There's just something about their mind. So, I hope to someday get Boyden a BC girlfriend.

 

If Boyden is an ES and does represent the ES breed, then I would say that an ES would leave someone who wants a BC feeling a little disappointed. I would not describe Boyden as a laid back BC.

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I WUV WUV english shepherds. Sadly, I caught the Border Collie bug and got spoiled, but if I'd known the ES first I probably wouldn't have looked anywhere else for a dog. I agree with being careful about breeders - just as with the Border collies, look for a breeder that respects the working traditions of the breed (in ES should include guard, hunt, watch, AND herd).

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Hey Kitch,

Still waiting to hear if you signed a spay/neuter contract? I find many working dogs to be calm and not neurotic. I agree with Denise and Eileen about this thread.

Caroline

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Miztiki,

 

You don't really describe Boyden as being active enough to even be an ES (I'm giggling here!). I do have to say though in response to Rebecca's post that I WUV my Phoenix too but I'm spoiled cause my BC's learn in half the time and they are more dependent on me for direction whereas she is just a tad more stubborn. But we are fixing that- as long as she gets her pay offs she is starting to see things my way but I'll never have a 150 yard "down" on her like my BCs.

 

Annette

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In response to the spay/neuter contract on a $1000.00 pup. I wouldn't sign one. I'd rather a price reduction so I could afford it..

I was offered a $1000.00 show pup and the contract stated that I would have to finish it and she had breeding rights and if it couldn't be finished by the breeder or handler of her choice she'd give you money back. Well they will still finish just about any BC with 4 legs, a tail and 2 eyes but it takes money. I was curious, I passed up the offer. Bought a pup from proven working parents instead : )

Annette

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Originally posted by Kitch:

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.

Um, well I think perhaps I should just give up, but what the heck, what's one MORE windmill? I'm not sure if AKC is like AHBA when it comes to competing for titles, but if it is, then a dog starts at the lowest level and works up. If that's the case with AKC, then two titles would probably mean HI (herding instinct) tested and perhaps some level akin to Junior Herding Dog. Neither of which implies that a dog has a lick of herding ability. But you didn't want a dog with herding ability, so the fact that the titles mean basically nothing probably doesn't really matter to you, except that it allows you to claim that your dog can indeed do it all should you have any desire to actually do it all with your dog. After all, your dog's parents are show champions and have some AKC herding titles....

 

But for the sake of anyone else who may read this thread, I dispute the fact that as you say "the ideal...a dog that wins in the show ring because of his true form and function..." is the ideal. That's just more pap sold to the unsuspecting public by the conformation breeders of this world. If one particular form was indeed necessary to ensure ideal function (i.e., superior ability to herd, and not as defined by AKC but as defined by the shepherds who developed the breed), then most border collies from real working lines would like alike. The fact that they are a very diverse group when it comes to looks and form means one thing: that there is no ideal working form. And no matter how much the conformation breeders wish to make it so by saying it's so, it just ain't so.

 

I'm quite sure you're happy with Dublin. He's as mellow as you wanted, and you can truthfully claim to all and sundry that he comes not only from conformation champion, but also herding- and agility-titled parents! And by doing so, you will do further diservice to one of the only breeds that can still do what it is meant to do, and at a level far and away above anything a conformation organization could even dream of.

 

Next time you look at a champion conformation border collie, consider that its ears have probably been taped down or otherwise altered so they will have the perfect tip necessary to place in the breed ring. Also consider that the dog may have had its ears tied up as a pup so that they will sit in the appropriate spot on the dog's skull. Oh, and let's not forget that an "unbroken" collar of white is also necessary if you hope for a judge to put your dog up. And soft eyes. And a skull shape as defined elsewhere in this thread. So far I haven't mentioned one thing that has absolutely ANY bearing on the dog's ability to do what it is meant to do--herd livestock.

 

Consider also that the rough (Lassie) collie and the border collie spring from the same stock. The rough collie was popularized during Victorian times and was soon taken over by the conformation breeders. Since the original Lassies came from the same stock as border collies, they at one time had the same abilities as border collies. I don't think anyone today would claim that the rough collie is even remotely capable of handling stock at the same level as a border collie. That's what conformation breeding does for a breed. If you want to help perpetuate the ruination of yet another fine working breed, no one can physically stop you. But don't expect us to stand by and let you tell the rest of the world what a great breeder you got your dog from....

 

As I glance around at my working dogs and rescues all resting quietly throughout the house (gee, well-bred, well-trained dogs do know how to mellow out--who woulda guessed?) while I play the role of Don Quixote, I just want to cry for a wonderful breed that is well on its way to ruination thanks to the all-pervasive conformation culture and the uneducated public on which it preys, who then turn around and help to sell the conformation breeders' message to even more unsuspecting folks.

 

J.

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I wish I knew where the stereotype that working Border Collies are "neurotic" or "hyper" came from. Those are the last two adjectives I'd use to describe these dogs.

 

My first Border Collie, the carelessly-bred rescue, has behavioral problems. He has anxiety issues, and is fear aggressive. He has what you might call a not-ideal temperament. His personality, however, is stellar and is what got me addicted to these dogs: he is intense, highly biddable, freakishly intuitive and mad-scientist intelligent. I knew that my next dog would be another Border Collie.

 

No one is more obsessed with good temperament than I am. Already having one dog with issues, I knew I could not handle another at the same time. I needed a bombproof dog. I did not want to take away from Solo's rehab by taking on another project dog, and I needed a dog I could trust to be a good role model for Solo. NOTHING was more important to me than stable temperament.

 

I decided to get a well-bred working Border Collie for this reason. By far, the most stable, well-adjusted, sensible, no-nonsense dogs I know are working dogs. If you go to a sheepdog trial (I mean a real sheepdog trial, not some AKC fiasco), you will see dozens of Border Collies and their masters -- calm, fantastically obedient, almost none of them on lead. Interacting well with all people and all dogs. Absolutely trustworthy. I knew that was what I needed.

 

And I got it. Fly has as near perfect temperament as anyone could want. She is confident, sensible, steady, tolerant, and has a great sense of fun. Fly is always happy. She fears nothing. If she had a talk bubble over her head, it would always say, "Yay!" She is a good friend to Solo, and understanding of his foibles. He is at his best when she is around, and finds her bold, trusting nature to be a stabilizing influence.

 

Is Fly intense, energetic, and active? Yes, she is all of these things. Does she need a good deal of exercise and mental stimulation? Yes. But for god's sake, if I wanted a dog who would lay around and "be mellow," which for most people is code language for "exhibits little to no behavior," I wouldn't have gotten a Border Collie. If you can't handle an intense, intelligent dog who needs a job to do, do everyone a favor and get some other breed that is made specifically for that role.

 

By the way, all three of my dogs (including the Energizer Bunny, er, I mean Papillon who lost two homes because he himself was too active) are at the moment laying at my feet and either napping or watching me quietly. There is no neurotic or hyper behavior in this house because my dogs' needs are met by their exercise and training schedule. Even my temperamentally weird dog is perfectly normal at home -- his problems only manifest themselves in strange places and around people he doesn't know well.

 

Border Collies are great dogs for people who love to do things with their dogs. Yes, they are too much dog for some people. For those people, there are literally hundreds of other perfectly nice breeds that would make more suitable pets. People who buy conformation-bred dogs as pets invariably either (a) didn't know better and thought they were getting the real thing, or (:rolleyes: for some reason, like the IDEA of a Border Collie, but they don't really want one ("too intense! too energetic! they stare all the time!") so instead, they go out and get a "Border Collie." I'm sorry, I just don't get it. I can't imagine being the kind of person who is so interested in labels and brand names that I'd be motivated to go out and buy a counterfeit that I tried to pass off as the real thing. I'm interested in what things ARE, not the package and advertising they're surrounded by.

 

If Barbie Collies were the only "Border Collies" left on the planet, I'd have something else. I really and truly consider them to be a different breed, and not even my second favorite one after Border Collies. They are truly that different. Nice dogs, yes. Border Collies, no. If Border Collies disappeared forever, I guess I'd have Kelpies.

 

Border Collies won't disappear as long as there are people like the ones on these Boards who care. Unfortunately, as the people who are only interested in labels (and, of course, expediency -- i.e., "I want my Border Collie NOW and the only breeder that had puppies is this one that isn't so hot, but I want my puppy NOW so I will rationalize how this one puppy purchase is not so bad -- see, I'm SPECIAL, everyone else should be responsible but I REALLY want my puppy NOW so I should be allowed to buy this one from this not-so-hot breeder because hey, he's AVAILBLE NOW") increase in number, real Border Collies will be harder and harder to find.

 

Do you want to find yourself reminiscing in 15 or 20 years about the great old Border Collies there used to be? How they were so smart and so fast and so wonderful and gee, where did all those great dogs go? I don't. If these dogs mean something to you, put your money and actions where your mouth is and DON'T support misbreeders. Demand the real thing and don't settle for anything less, and there will be Border Collies for you and your children and your children's children to enjoy. Your children and I will thank you. And so will the considerable population of people out there who still NEED for these dogs to be able to do what they are currently able to do.

 

Love your dogs, I do. But love the breed too.

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Julie / Melanie / Denise / etc

 

I know these types of posts are frustrating - and never ending as well. And they often don't seem to reach the original poster. But Julie said this:

 

"...other interested folks reading these threads will be educated by the discussion, and perhaps even those people who didn't make the best choice of breeder the first time around will reconsider their source for a pup if they decide to get another border collie in the future."

 

And I can say that I am one of those "other interested folks" who was educated by these types of discussions. I got Riley from a BYB, though I didn't know it at the time. But after being on these boards for the last 2+ years, I know my next dog will be from rescue. Don't get me wrong, I love my dog and wouldn't trade him for the world, but I'll go rescue next time.

 

Just wanted to let you know your efforts aren't completely in vain...

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The entire point is that dogs put up in the show ring cannot compete at the open level in ISDS style trials. This is true in Great Britain, Australia and now the United States. Does the rare dog exist that can do both things (the show ring and competively trial, USBCHA not AKC) probably somewhere but rare to nonexistent I bet. No one wants to belittle your choice for you, just don't breed your dog. And don't say your dog is from working stock when it was AKC.

Caroline

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Concerning the English Shepherd, Annette, I forgot to address the bit about the history of that breed. I love well-documented history and the ES possesses some nicely documented background material.

 

The opening of the western ranges offered room for not only huge cow operations, but also gigantic sheep grazes. British shepherds migrating during this time found to their amazement that they could get unbelievable remuneration for their contracts, and moreover they had basically the same social status as the freelancing cowpunch, tradesmen in town, small land owners, and stagecoach operators. Contract shepherds were the dirt of the earth in the UK despite the vital nature of their economic role. In spite of the horrendous conditions that existed during the Range Wars, they enthusiatically maintained their positions, encouraged fellow shepherds to join them, and most of all to bring "good dogs".

 

This was in the mid to late 1800s - and it was BEFORE the Scottish shepherd's dog split into what would later be the standard (or "Scotch") collie, the Border Collie, and what I call the proto-collie - the predecessor of many splinter herding breeds like McCallums[EDIT: meant McNabs, New Zealand Heading Dog, Kelpies, Austalian Shepherds, and the English Shepherd.

 

OK, if you're still with me :rolleyes: I'm getting to the relevant part. The British shepherds brought over their "good dogs", which were drawn from the gene pool that would later produce the Border Collie. Both of them continued to be used as working dogs in their own lands and continued to be bred exclusively for their working abilities.

 

So why are the two breeds so different? This is where Kennel Club types like to invent those lovely "just so" stories about how hill dogs needed a lot of hair and lowland dogs needed to be heavier in bone and "herded" with a more "upright style", blah, blah, blah.

 

The difference is what happened immediately after the mothers and fathers of the English Shepherd left the Old Country. The shepherds who used those SAME DOGS decided to make a concerted effort to fix a certain set of working abilities and characteristics in the breed. They did this by setting up the ISDS trial, which grew into the trial system we know today. In effect they dictated a standard for the "shepherd's dog", which allowed breeders to measure their dogs' abilities and compare them to other dogs, and easily locate dogs to breed to or get pups from.

 

Meanwhile, the English Shepherd became a general purpose dog, very versatile but less trainable. This doesn't mean they are INFERIOR, just different. A Border Collie would really suck (most of them anyway) at sitting on the porch making sure the hawks don't get the poultry, alerting if a lamb were ill (though Rick and Random both do this if they), and not many are good at treeing small game. On the other hand, I've seen an ES try to gather a large unfamilar field and it wasn't pretty. They are defintely yard dogs.

 

Border Collies can fairly easily be taught to do things like working yards, pens, driving and sorting and do them very well. It's very difficult, however, to teach a plain working dog like an English Shepherd to do blind gathers, hold a line, or square out naturally on a flank.

 

Trials are not something fun to do or a way to get titles for breeding stock. ISDS style trials define this breed - without those trials the Border Collie will return to the plain working stock whence it came. The Border collie will then be something different from what we know today - the focus, the drive, the joie d'vivre, the desire to please: all gone down the road where the working characteristics of the sheltie and the collie went. If that's not what you want, support the responsible breeding of working Border Collies.

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Maybe I explained it wrong...temperament might now be the ideal term to use...Dublin's line is more mellow...(if you can call a border collie mellow) and he isn't obsessive about herding...as many 'problem' border collies that end up in rescue are...
Just a quick comparison: (ok so not so quick)

 

I have working bred BC's and a few of the other's (byb, not necessarily ACK) It's the poorly bred dogs that have issues.

 

My good friend has 2 ACK bred Aussie (sorry Aussie folks) type bc's. When these dogs come over to hang with the real dogs, it is them who can't sit down or have herding quirks that can't be fixed. One runs around in a circle ALL the time. Poor fella, and he's got his championship ACK thing. The other has no hip sockets, (his parents were winning ACK dogs) he never seems to relax. Even when tired he lays there panting waiting to get to the non existent sheep in his brain. Can he work sheep...if that's what you want to call it, but he has no hips so really he can't. She paid $1000.00 for each of them.

 

Point?....Guess it's really draining to keep trying to convince the non working breed people why they should not keep supporting the wrong dog. It's not personal....but if they could only experience the right dog it would sure be easier!

 

I have tried to understand the other point of view as in "live and let live"....I've gotten to the point of feeling like Soloriver....beating my head into a brick wall, unending and damn fine headache after the battles. It's when they start bad mouthing working dogs as being hyper or "bad", that I get my feathers ruffled.

 

My best working dog went on a non sheep trip with me last week. We both had a wonderful time but couldn?t wait to get home to sheep. My friends laugh at him because they say he?s so lazy?how lazy is he??? Well, he slept for 8.5 hours with 2 potty breaks while in the car?got up and sniffed the air for half hour then back to sleep till I pulled in the driveway. The minute he saw sheep he was up and raring to go? no sheep?means sleep to him! So there goes that hyper working dog thing!

 

BTW My dogs will either be or are spayed or neutered after a few years on the trail field...unless they show me they can better the working breed. The rescues were altered right after coming here or came that way.

 

Someone said earlier not to judge to soon....

 

Can we please say the same....till you experience a real BC....can you please keep your mouth and your dogs legs shut??? :D

 

If you care to educate yourself, please do so and feel free to come over to our side of the fence. The grass is defiantly greener over here!

 

All dogs deserve to be loved, I love my children too...doesn't mean I want to breed them!

At least not till they prove themselves out on the trail field! :rolleyes: (just kidding bout the kids...guess I can't fix them...just educate them!)

Cheers to all the people who continue to fight the fight and raspberries to all who can't or won't get the true meaning of a BC!

Happy St. Pat's day

Kristen

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I think this bears repeating. I posted my novelette about the same time as Melanie's post and I don't want this point to get lost in my blathering about history:

 

Border Collies won't disappear as long as there are people like the ones on these Boards who care. Unfortunately, as the people who are only interested in labels (and, of course, expediency -- i.e., "I want my Border Collie NOW and the only breeder that had puppies is this one that isn't so hot, but I want my puppy NOW so I will rationalize how this one puppy purchase is not so bad -- see, I'm SPECIAL, everyone else should be responsible but I REALLY want my puppy NOW so I should be allowed to buy this one from this not-so-hot breeder because hey, he's AVAILBLE NOW") increase in number, real Border Collies will be harder and harder to find.

 

Do you want to find yourself reminiscing in 15 or 20 years about the great old Border Collies there used to be? How they were so smart and so fast and so wonderful and gee, where did all those great dogs go? I don't. If these dogs mean something to you, put your money and actions where your mouth is and DON'T support misbreeders. Demand the real thing and don't settle for anything less, and there will be Border Collies for you and your children and your children's children to enjoy. Your children and I will thank you. And so will the considerable population of people out there who still NEED for these dogs to be able to do what they are currently able to do.

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this is the essence of this whole thread for me:

 

Do you want to find yourself reminiscing in 15 or 20 years about the great old Border Collies there used to be? How they were so smart and so fast and so wonderful and gee, where did all those great dogs go?

that one line twists it all into focus.

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