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krazy15k

Breeding Question

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Lately I have been contemplating the idea of eventually breeding my bc. My family has bred dogs in the past, but they weren't bc's, and it wasn't my own dog. I have been doing research on stud dogs, but I can't really find very much information on specific dogs, how much the stud fee is, how to contact them etc., and I haven't found numerous working dogs. My dog works, she has been hip/eye tested, all of those things, I just need to know where do I find info on top working stud dogs?

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Start by reserching the MANY threads here on breeding.

 

A BC should only be bred because it is a great working dog. Working ability should measured by trials, or by a farmer/rancher with many years of BC and livestock handling.

 

The best thing to do would be to start attending and running your dog at trials. There she would be measured up against the proper BC standard of a working dog. You will also meet many others in the working BC community. If your dog does well at trials then you would be in a position of talking to other trial dog owners to find a good working stud dog.

 

Why are you considering breeding her?

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She is working dog (judged by the sheep herder/trainer we go to). She has been hip, eye tested, and has no physical problems. She has a good temperment. Would be an asset to the gene pool. She has many of the characteristics of a bc that I find endearing. And even though it doesn't matter she is a beautiful dog. She is super intelligent. She is a great companion, and I have homes lined up if I do decide to breed (its not official by any means), I want plenty of time to do research. Also, I am at a point where I am ready to have another bc, and I would like to have one from my own bloodline as opposed to rescuing or purchasing this time around. Also, I have done a lot of research about the responsibilities of the breeder, and the process. I have everything covered on the dam side, I just wanted to know more about finding the right stud dog for her. Also, the pups would have plenty of room to run around, tons of love, and all the live stock they can herd ( we have cattle and plan on getting some sheep as soon as I am better at the handler part).

 

As far as trialing, I am not that great of a handler, but I am learning and plan on starting soon. I have also began going to clinics etc. to learn more.

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kt,

 

Sorry to say this but most top trial dog owners will not stud out for any price to a girl who does not at least work all day every day. You pretty much would have to earn the right to breed in that crowd by them watching you walk the walk over time.

 

There is more to a nice new pup than choosing his daddy based on daddy's merit. Bloodlines pair up better with certain others and some others flop in the presence of the same. If you don't know what your bloodline crosses best with then you'd best not breed your girl.

 

I'd highly recommend talking to handlers/breeders at trials (whether you enter or not) and learn from them that way and perhaps purchase your next BC based on them choosing a pup for you.

 

If you decide to do this anyway I'd ask you what kind of homes you have lined up? Not serious working homes I'm guessing. Would a pup with a top working trial daddy be happy in the types of homes you pick out? Or will they spend their lives waiting at the back door with a frizbee in their mouths and no one to play with for 10 hours a day?

 

Are you truly aware of the responsibilities of a breeder? If your girl has 7 babies, did you know that you are responsible for those seven lives for the next 15 or so years? Ask yourself if all seven grown BCs came back home to you with neurotic problems, would you take them back possibly never to leave again? Because this is your ultimate responsiblity as a breeder.

 

My next dog will be an already trained dog that I can learn from- no more puppies for me for a good while.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you say on the rescue site that you dog had a problem with her hips and your vet said there was a chance she would require a c/section if she was ever bred. You seemed to indicate that you would never be willing to take that chance with your dog. I'm confused.

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The best place to network is at trials, if you don't work your dog pretty regularly. You need to figure out not only IF she can work, but what her weaknesses are so you can make sure you don't double up in the pairing. Your trainer has told you how good she is - has he or she told you what her weak points are?

 

I've talked with several experienced breeders and I've been struck with one principle they hold in common. It is important to visualize the worst possible scenario from each parent. Imagine a bit of hesitation lifting heavy stock combined with a good bit of eye on the other side. Or a sulky personality combined with a forceful approach to the stock. Or being over-strong on the heads and super strong willed.

 

Do you know what makes an outstanding cattle dog? The best way to find out is to visit around different farms, especially of available studs. Watch them doing tasks similiar to what you will need, and also watch them performing a wide variety of tasks - especially ones they don't do every day. Visit on days when there is fresh stock as well as when things are more settled.

 

Similiarly, your dog needs to work in a wide variety of situations for you to get a full guage of her work. As has been mentioned, stockdog trials are an easy way to work your dog on different stock in different situations, but it's important for a farm dog to also do things like work stock in unfenced areas, work fresh stock, work a variety of species and breeds, and work on strange farms. Have you evaluated your bitch's abilities in these situations?

 

There are so many dogs dying in shelters - PLEASE don't breed your dog unless there's a REALLY good reason. There's so many nice pups available that probably share your female's bloodlines. Just sit down with her pedigree and start running the names and numbers through Google. You will be surprised, I can guarantee you. Go watch some of those dogs work at trials and maybe you'll meet someone with more experience breeding Border collies with similiar lines. Get a pup from them, have them mentor you, and down the road you'll be ready to breed with confidence and an expert eye.

 

I've been in Border collies for ten years and spayed or neutered my first six dogs. I MAY breed my current pup if she's healthy and I get her trained to the Open level. That will be a few more years - I'm in no hurry - there's so many nice dogs out there that I have to remember I have reached my limit. :rolleyes:

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Did I hear someone say they wanted a dog? Great!!

 

I've got a bunch!

 

I've got 8 month old Cody, a gorgeous black and white male.

 

I've got a lovely 1 year old red and white female named Twist.

 

I've got a 4 month old super pretty sable merle boy named Rip.

 

I just placed an ABCA registered tri bitch named Tess. You missed her. I also just placed an ABCA registered tri male named Alfie who loves to work. Missed him too. Placed a very sweet merle named Divot with oodles of drive. Sorry about that.

 

Not looking for a puppy? I've got a real keen working dog named Marley who's a little older at 5 years. And a keener named Riley who is also 5 years.

 

Not your cup of tea? How about 6 year old Teddy who was bred every heat until her womb collapsed? She's looking for a home too.

 

I could go on all day, but maybe if you visited the website and took a look through the 300 border collies I placed in the last 3-4 years you'll see what great dogs are out there looking for homes.

 

I wish I had more to offer you, but I just can't take in all the dogs people keep trying to dump in my rescue; you see, I don't have enough foster homes to keep up with demand, and there just aren't enough homes out there to adopt them. Sadly, some of them will have to die because I can't help them out.

 

RDM

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Books, She went to a specialist recently, and they rechecked her, and they said she would be fine. This has been a long process, and a lot of back and forth trying to get the best information possible. You hate to completely shut a door until you have truly made an informed decision. If she isn't going to be bred, then I want to spade her, but before rushing into that I think you should really weigh out all the options. This has been an issue I have been thinking about for quite some time, and have spent a lot of time and money reaching the decision.

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Originally posted by krazy15k:

You hate to completely shut a door until you have truly made an informed decision.

 

I'm curious....did you read Rebecca's or RDM's posts at all?

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Corey,

 

My guess is um...no.

 

In any case, RDM what does Marley look like? Just curious

 

kt, spaying your girl if you don't decide to breed her is a good idea. Years ago I did keep coupld of girls that were intact, one had been bred before and the other had never been bred but she'd had a couple of false pregnancies. The girl that had been bred developed pyometra and I almost lost her and the girl that had had the false pregnancies got mammary tumors starting at age 4.

 

It became real costly to have her operated on multiple times and this did not stop after I got her spayed either.

 

I have 2 BC girls now one I got from rescue who is a super dog - and if someone more experienced at handling than me takes her on sheep, she looks great. With me we still are able to move the beasties where we want 'em in practical terms but it isn't pretty by any means. We get the job done better than I could alone. She is my heart dog and because of all we went through together we have become perfect for each other.

 

The other girl I have was picked out for me by a sheepdog breeder and trialer. They own fairly large herds of sheep & goats and they have been doing this a long time. I tell you, I'm a very experienced dog person, heck you could even consider me a professional since I actually make money everyday in the petcare industry and I admit that if I were given a choice in that litter that I would have done an ok job picking out a dog but I would have not picked Buffy so I would not have picked the dog BEST suited to me. I can't say enough good things about the experience. It was just too easy.

 

You don't have to answer any of these posts but I suggest you really think about some of the questions I put to you because the worst case scenario is always a possibility and it's better to prepare for it.

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Annett, complications have def. been a factor as well. I swear I have a pro/con list in my head that is a debate back in worth. This is not a decision I would take lightly by any means.

 

Now, no I don't have as much experience with bc's, but my family has had/bred working cattle dogs since b4 I was born (as well as having the random strays/rescues). And with these dogs you have to pick the best possible match between the dogs, you have to make sure they are healthy, and raise the pups, and find homes for the pups that do not have as much working ability.

 

That being said, I have never said I was going to breed a bc. I just wanted to be as informed as possible on the subject while making the decision. I do know her faults, and so I can keep from pairing her with the same faults. We also breed horses (on occasion) and it is a similar process trying to match the best mare with the best stud for them. Just because a horse is a champion doesn't mean he is going to work with that particular mare to make a great cross.

 

I have spoken with several bc handlers/trainers, and other breeders to learn more about this subject. I have read countless articles online. Seriously I am doing the homework. I just wanted to know more about picking the right stud dog so I would be independently informed, and not just going by what these people say. I believe that it is a must to check out everything before reaching a decision.

 

Now on to the homes question above. They would not go to homes where they would be waiting for someone to play with them all day. They would go to people who have an interest in herding, but not people that are going to treat the bc like just another dog or a tool.

 

No I don't work her everyday but she does go three times a week to work sheep, and has cows to herd everyday when we go to visit the parents.

 

I would never take this decision lightly, or would breed pups so they can end up in a rescue. That would never happen, because I Have the financial means to take a dog back if by some chance someone no longer wanted it. I am not adding to the problem with bc's. I am not a backyard breeder who pairs any dog up because they can. I am someone who has spent years with there dog, and truly believe they are a remarkable example of a bc. So I didn't come here for lectures an=bout how horrible I am, I just wanted more information on the subject because doing random searches online isn't always the easiest way to find things, asking people who can point you in the right direction is. Seriously this isn't a done deal, I have been thinking about this for a really long time. Breeding isn't something to be taken lightly, and I want to make sure I know everything I possibly can before reaching a decision

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I can't resist...

 

Let's talk about Kip. Her hips and eyes were tested. She worked for several years on a dairy farm where her parents, and their parents before her worked. She aided her elderly owner in ways that only a good working dog could do. I'm not a breeder, will never be a breeder, but I do believe that down the line she would have been considered very breed-worthy.

 

She was bred by some careless people who didn't have a concern in the world for her general health. They bred her with a stud dog that can supposedly work cattle. She was in horrible shape when she was bred.

 

After 60+ days of trying to nurse this dog back to health, of spending oodles of money getting her through rocky points...that spunky little dog delivered 5 perfectly healthy beautiful puppies. She was, actually, in decent physical condition when she gave birth. She died less than 16 hours later. And I almost lost the puppies because...it's darned hard to bottle feed puppies for weeks.

 

So, ask yourself that before you even consider breeding - before even you look at the working ability or whatnot. Are you willing to lose your dog, the one you claim to care so much about?

 

Are you willing to get up every hour to check puppy temperatures and feed them and rub their bellies? Are you willing to watch the one that almost died at birth continue to gasp for breath days later?

 

And honestly, I had an easy time of it. I had help from friends, neighbors, and my sweet Recon who stepped in to play the role of mom. Do you have the resources to pull from to ensure you give possible motherless pups every opportunity? By the grace of God (or whomever/whatever you believe in...) these puppies survived and if I watch carefully, will go to homes that will love them and care for them until the day they die.

 

And if the puppy's new owners cannot, at some point, take care of them any longer...are you willing to take that dog back weeks, months, even years later?

 

I don't give a flip if my dog could single-pawedly move 800 sheep from Scotland to Minnesota with grace and style - I wouldn't breed her.

 

So. Everyone knows my opinion. Don't breed your girl. Leave it to the experts. If you want a dog "Just like her" it won't happen anyway. There's not a puppy in this group "just like" Kip. Kip's gone, and no puppy of hers could replace her, no matter how cute and cuddly they are.

 

Contact a rescue organization, go to your local human society, foster a few dogs...find another dog that meshes well with your family.

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The thing is that "experts" don't start out as experts. I think it's great that you're asking questions and taking your time, kt. I also think you've gotten quite a few good suggestions, as well as a view of why it's important to make this decision carefully. The future of the breed depends on responsible breeders and breeding, AND responsible owners. I hope you continue on those paths.

 

Kim

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kt,

 

I do understand what you are going through in your head. I've been there many times before. It all comes down to once it's done, it's done and you can't take it back. I went through that with both Sheltie boys I've had. Both were sired by dogs who have produced over 50 champions. The boy I have now, Indy is a brother to an agility Ch who has won the gold for the world team for the minis. So proven beauty and brains there. I also happen to know what I'm doing in regards to breeding shelties but I neutered my boys instead. And before I did I went through exactly what you are going through. I even had some major anxiety on the day of the surgery because I knew I couldn't take the decision back so I understand where you are coming from.

 

Aerie does have a point and you have to understand that her traumatic experience will forever color how she views the issue. Unfortunately, neglect is a form of abuse that is all too common.

 

One other question. Do you understand that BC culls (dogs that don't have as good a working drive) still don't make great dogs for people who want an average pet? And are you prepared to be very selective and sell your puppies with contracts which will give you the first right of refusal to buy back in the event the new owners can't keep them? Or better yet a clause that states if the original owners can't keep the dog that they must return it to you and cannot transfer ownership at all?

 

Are you thinking about selling pups on no breeding (NB) registration?

 

These are all things you should be thinking about implementing if you breed your dog.

 

You should probably have a laywer draw up a contract so it's legal and binding but that usually doesn't cost too much.

 

Not a lecture just some info that might help and questions about things that you may not have considered.

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You say that random searches on the internet aren't yielding enough information... yet here you are on an anonymous chat board asking your IMPORTANT questions.

 

Frankly seems like you talk the talk but aren't walking the walk. The people here have mentioned what it takes to attain the level of experience neccessary to judge a Border collie, you admit you are still new to them (on your first dog, not your seventh) and that she only works three times a week, possibly only for the duration of a lesson (an hour??? or a bit more) and that she "works" cattle "everyday" whenever you visit your parents...yet you neglect to metnion how often you are visiting your parents?

 

You have been told that a trial is a good place to start and network with truly informed people, yet you haven't answered that issue at all, nor have you expliained how you think she would measure up against an open level trial dog or a dog that works everyday on its own farm doing a variety of chores. Possibly because youhave no conept of what is expected or needed froma dog of that caliber.

 

You have side stepped every single reasonable question that has been posed. While insisting the whole time that you have come to this point after YEARS of thinking (my goodness.. it would take less that a week to gather most of the information through random internet searches, reading the archives and current threads on this board alone etc etc). It sounds to me that regardless of the slow pace you think you are at; you do not/cannot seem to comprehend the true value of time and experience with a given breed and working style. No one likes to be told they are rushing in to things, or that they are not acting in the best interests of their dog (who I'm sure is delighted you are willing to sacrifice her life for a few puppies who will be NOTHING like her).

Slow right down, decide NOT to breed this dog until you can adequately judge the true merits of a good working border collie and by the time you have this perspective you may be retired and have plenty of time to raise the poor motherless pups if the worst case scenario happens.

sara

I'm afraid far too many threads in the recent past of innocent dogs dying, being euthanized in shelters and being poorly bred with horrible temperaments has left me completely disilussioned with "Betty breed my dog 'cause she is so talented and pretty" and "stu stud my dog 'cause I can't neuter my poor boy.. he needs to exercise his semen 'cause its his right to". Otherwise known as the hardheaded ignorami of the world.

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I know it is easy to get your dander up in responding to people here. However I am going to try to not yell. Listen krazy15k, please answer the questions about trialing her. If you think she is really talented, perhaps someone could trial her for you. Or evaluate her. There are lots of folks in Georgia and the Southeast. Check out this link and ask some questions there from people.

http://www.gsda.org/

 

Perhaps some of them are close to you, besides taking puppies back, the no breeding contract is incredibly important if the dog is not going to a serious working informed home. That is where some people get their start in hobby breeding. Buying a pup that is not on a spay/neuter contract. Please don't run off mad from the posts here. But think seriously, double think and triple think and ask at the above site for people close to you for help.

Caroline

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Kaos- I was just wondering if there is a site (like in horses) that lists stud dogs, has clips of them working etc. THat was the only info I wanted. As far as the bitch side of the breeding I Have read about that. As far as your advice, no I don't care what random strangers have to say but I thought they might know other resources I could check into. I Just wanted to know if there were some credible sites from people who know about the topic I am interested in. You want me to answer all your questions here it goes. She is not my first working dog, just the first border collie. I visit my parents pretty regularly. Next, I have been trying to get myself ready to trial and take lessons and work with a trainer who has a large flock of sheep. I am not as good as she is by any means, but I am de. trying my hardest. I have been reading a lot about herding as well so I can try and do the best job I can. I have been going to clinics and talking with lots of other people (about herding, pros/cons of breeding, anything and everything border collie), but I wanted to have some additional information so I could have a basis to ask them questions. OKay willing to sacrifice her life for puppies that are nothing like, okay one that is why we have been to the vets to make sure she is as healthy as possible, and to make sure she is able to breed, to reduce the risk as much as possible. As far as nothing like her, that isn't exactly the case. Pups do get traits from their parents. Here is an example. Our dog had a litter a few years ago, there were four pups. Mine is just like her dad personality wise, but she looks like her grandma. Her sister looks like her aunt and acts like her grandam. The other sister looks just like the mom but acts completely different. Its like in people, some kids have traits like their parents and have unique characteristics that make them wonderful as well. Okay now on to the breeding and having a horrible temp. and being sent to shelters to die. Not goign to happen. She has a good temp. and I would (if I did decide to breed) would make sure it was a dog with a good temp as well). Now back to the pups being sent to shelters, these pups are staying in the family (and maybe close friends I have met through herding but that is a big maybe). So I know for a fact they aren't going to a shelter. But if someone wanted to give a pup back would I take it, of course. Do I have the means to, yes. THat is time and money wise. The chance of losing the mom has weighed in heavily on the decision, it is not something I tale lightly by any means. As far as by the time I have perspective I will have been retired, um, that would be decades from now. Right now I work for myself so the dogs can come to work with me, everyday. So as far as walking the walk, I have been researching a lot. And I haven't side stepped anything.

 

Annette- thanks for understanding that it is a hard decision to make. And I have already read all about puppy contracts, non-breeding homes etc. But I don't think the pups are leaving the family, but if they did I would def. make sure there was a contract (good thing there are so many lawyers in the family!) Like I said I have researched a lot of aspects on this topic. kajarrel thanks too! I am trying to be responsible because this is a big deal.

 

Also rebecca I do know what it takes to make a good/great cattle dog. Our current dogs (although not bc's) are great dogs, (my parents used to raise cattle so they had a large herd that the dogs worked in various situations). So its not that I haven't been around dogs/livestock my whole life, I just take the decision seriously and wanted to weigh all aspects. And bc's are a unique breed and wanted to learn more about them specifically. Also, someone mentioned above do I have the resources to help take care of sick pups? Yes. I have spoken with vets about their policy about being on call during emergencies (no need to consider any farther if you don't have someone to help in an emergency). And waking up to feed babies doesn't bother me (I had a calf a couple summers ago that had to be bottle fed). Also, my parents, would be willing to help me with anything I would need. So I also have friends that could help me with pups if I needed it.

 

RDM- I am truly sorry about all of these dogs, and before considering breeding I carefully thought about having a rescue (actually contacted a couple of dogs but they were adopted and another was in a shelter I drove to see her but she was gone). I have taken in many homeless animals (I have two stray cats right now that I love to death). I also donate to the local shelter every month to try and help these animals, I go to benefit dog washes and all the other stuff trying to help these animals. I haven't completely ruled this out, this has been weighing in on the decision as well. There are a lot of things I have been weighing back and worth.

 

This question wasn't supposed to turn into, hey should I breed my dog discussion, but if I do, does anyone have any sites about stud dogs, matching bloodlines etc. And no I wouldn't do this alone a breeder/trainer said she would help me with this. I just wanted some prior information. But honestly we aren't even at that point. I'm just trying to be informed so if I decide to I will have collected as much information in the next year as humanly possible.

 

Also, the dogs I have looked at I did research them, their parents, and what their pups have done, so before anyone says it I know what's behind them and in front of them is important as well. I know no one believes it but I have been reading up on this.

 

So now, back to my question. Does anyone know any sites that I can do further research on? Any sites on matching bloodlines? On stud dogs so you can see them work online? Any great sites that will give me more insight into herding so she can finally trial with me, so I will be more knowledgeable?

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Most experts also don't breed their very first Border collie. I know a few, but they either spent years on large farms, or had a mentoring relationship with a top breeder, or picked such a good one and had such talent training right from the start that they went to the top with THAT dog.

 

I'm sorry, but you can only responsibly breed as a novice if you have a chance to produce exceptional dogs. And how can you judge that if you don't even know who the exceptional studs ARE? Have you even laid eyes on the top Border collies of our time? Have you seen what constitutes the standard of work in our breed? Can you spot a weakness in a stud dog (yes, they have them too!)? Can you spot a weak flank versus a strong square one at 200 yards? Can you appreciate the good points of a dog used to working lighter sheep, as you watch it learn to handle range ewes, even if it's not successful? I say again, have you seen a variety of good cattle and other stock work other than your parent's farm?

 

If you are still with me, regarding your dog, what UNIQUE feature does she bring to the breed? Is she the end result of a breeding program that has proven its worth on a national or international scale? Does she have some rare talent which she has demonstrated widely? Is she the product of an old cross which has been proven exceptionally productive and itself has been crossed successfully with the lines available today? Is she imported and possessed of unique bloodlines to the majority of what is available in your area? Has she been bred before by an experienced breeder and has pups that are working at the open level and showing a high degree of talent?

 

For an unproven dog in the hands of an EXPERT breeder, I like to see a "yes" to at least one of these (there may be more I'm not thinking offhand, but this is the type of uniqueness I'm talking about). For a female in the hands of a first timer in breeding Border collies, I'd feel squeamish unless there's MULTIPLE positive responses on this front.

 

And again, please don't proceed until you have established a mentoring relationship with an experienced breeder, not to mention until you've talked with some of the other top breeders of our time about what makes a good Border collie.

 

As to your blythe statement that you "won't be adding to the problem" - how do you know unless you know what the problem is, and how you COULD potentially add to it? I came face to face with that with my last pup, and when she was two I spayed her. I didn't think it was worth it to breed what I honestly had to admit was a mediocre dog, compared to some of the fine bitches already being bred. She's a nice little bitch on the sheep but she has some holes that, although I could probably make them up with the right stud, why do that to MAYBE make ADEQUATE workers when there are lots of people producing EXCEPTIONAL workers?

 

What do you think - how does she look? Would you breed her?

 

JenRoundPenMay2004Sm.jpg

 

JenCornerJuly2005.jpg

 

JenFetchJuly2005.jpg

 

JenDriveJuly2005.jpg

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As to your question about web sites. This is a bit akin to someone saying, hey, I want to take out my brother's tonsils - can anyone show me web sites that will show me how to do this properly?

 

What you are proposing is both bringing new lives into the world, and making an impact on a fragile breed that is presently in crisis partly BECAUSE OF the attitudes you are displaying. I apologize if I've read your intents wrong but I'm definitely seeing the typical attitude that sends shivers up my rescuer spine:

 

"I love my dog. I think she's the best regardless of what others think. I have my mind made up that I'm going to breed her even though that might kill her, kill her pups, or kill any dogs in the shelter that MIGHT HAVE BEEN adopted by people who will now be buying pups from ME, MY PUPPIES."

 

Please think. It's life or death whether your young heart accepts it or denies it.

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kt

 

I think that in answer to your question- No there is nothing written that i know of on what makes a good BC and what good proven croses are. No one that is reputable out there lists their dog available at stud and provides videos, like horses.

 

You have to seek people out and talk to them like farmers and wannabes have done for hundreds of years. The trade secrets are kept mystical and mysterious for a reason- if you ain't in, you're out and you have to earn your way in you can't buy your way in. I think it is the absolute best way to preserve the BC.

 

I know this is frustrating and it stems from the fact that there is no written physical standard for BCs like there are for horse breeds (lord knows we've overbred horses and ruined many breeds too). You cannot possibly learn this *info* from reading- it's a legacy bequeathed to those that earn it.

 

Again go to trials, watch dogs run. talk to folks- you will probably be fascinated and have a blast. Do this a few times and start making notes (or keep em in your head if you are that good) on dogs that you like and why. Then you will start developing some idea of what you like. You may discover that your girl is a nice fancy Toyota and a whole world of Jaguars and Bentleys is just waiting for you. What I'm saying is that with this information you will have more decisions to make, more choices available to you, but you can't know if you don't go find out.

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kt,

To find out about the good dogs, good bloodlines, what crosses well with what (and why) there is no substitute for going to trials and meeting the folks who know the dogs. At trials you can meet some of the top handlers and breeders of working dogs in the country. You will learn about a lot of different breeding philosophies (in terms of what to look for in a good working dog, what to avoid in a cross, what to look for to enhance your own dog's abilties and fill the holes, the importance of the dam and her line in addition to that of the stud, etc.). You'll also find people who study pedigrees and working lines as an avocation. Such folks can be invaluable for information about old lines, what has crossed well with what in the past, and so on (thank you, you know who you are!).

 

I have been involved in trialing for five years now. I have met a lot of people and have seen a lot of dogs. I know what *I* like, but also can be realistic about what is the best for the breed (which may not always coincide *exactly* with what I like). I do not hesitate to ask opinions of people who have been at it for longer than I have, even if they clearly prefer a different type of dog. You'll even get contradictory advice and opinions. That's how you learn.

 

There is no website that will give you a "formula" for what breeds best to what. Border collies have been bred by shepherds for centuries, and those shepherds based breeding decisions on their extensive knowledge of the livestock they were working and what they needed to work that livestock. That's part of the reason for diversity in the breed. That historical knowledge has mainly been passed along by word of mouth, which is why there is no substitute for getting out and talking to folks. And you can't just choose a stud on the basis of being a "top dog" for many reasons.

 

First, that top dog may not reproduce himself at all. Or he may only cross well on certain types of bitches. Or he may throw pups that are more like his sire or dam. The only way to find these things out is to talk to people who have made the crosses.

 

Now if you just want a quick look up of pedigrees, you can Google "border collie database" and you will find a Danish site that has a large number of pedigrees listed. The site allows you to see offspring, etc. But, the site is by no means complete, and so you sometimes have to know enough about the dog you're interested in to be able to find a "back door" to that dog's pedigree (for example, I was recently looking for a well-known dog in the database but could not find him listed; however, I did know the name of a littermate, who was listed, so I was able to get the littermate's pedigree, which of course is also the pedigree of the dog I was looking for).

 

Anyway, I also want to second Aerie. One of the reasons I may not breed my little bitch is because if something happened to her in whelping I would lose my best friend, farm helper, and trial dog, and that's a lot to lose--at least for me.

 

So unfortunately, there is no easy substitute for actual really digging for the information and that mainly means talking to people who know a lot about it--and many of those folks can be found at trials. If your trainer thinks your bitch is breedworthy, then as a start s/he ought to have some ideas as to what would be a good cross with her and also some pointers on how to go about finding an appropriate stud.

 

And finally, remember that photos and videos can be deceiving--any dog can be made to look good that way. In my opinion, nothing is better than seeing (and knowing) the dog to which you want to breed. Second best would be getting opinions on that dog from people who know enough about the breed and the work to make informed opinions. To me that means knowing how the dog works on the farm as well as on the trial field, and whether the dog works a variety of livestock well or not. And of course what good things and bad that particular dog's bloodlines carry that come out in his progeny. You can find a lot out just by talking to people, but your're not likely to find it on the Internet.

 

And as this is getting quite long, I'll close by saying that there are some books out there that do show pedigrees and give some discussion of the dogs in those pedigrees. Mrs. Barbara Carpenter's books, some of the memoirs of famous UK sheepdog folks, and Geri Byrne's North American sheepdog champions books all have pedigree information, and at least some of them also have discussions about some of the really important dogs in the working border collie world. You could start there.

 

J.

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krazy15k,

 

What are the working characteristics of your dog?

What are your dog's holes/faults in working ability?

How does your dog handle heavy sheep and light sheep?

Is she too wide or too tight?

Is she natural or does she need to be run mechanically (or in between)?

How is she on hilly ground?

Does she look for sheep when she cannot see them?

Does she have a straight fetch even when she cannot see you?

How good is her balance?

Does she hold the line while driving?

Does she flop?

Is she clappy?

Did she take to outruns naturally or did she need to be taught outruns?

How is she on lambs?

Is you dog white factored?

Is she CEA normal, carrier, affected?

What working characteristics are you looking for in a stud?

Do you want a dog of similar working characteristis so you have a better idea of what you'll end up with?

Do you want a stud with strengths where your dog is weak in an attempt to get some pups with the best of both?

What style of working dog bests suits your personality?

Will your dog produce that type?

 

Lots of questions to think about before breeding and it can be tough to be critical enough about your own dog.

 

Mark

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I just wrote this on another board-- thought it fit here too.

 

I know that I flip a few red flags when I breed...... how many would you flip if you bred your dog?

 

 

Red flags aren't condeming anyone-- it just means that the buyer should be a little more cautious.

 

IE--- if less than 50% of the puppies produced are not being put into a situation where they can proove that they are inheriting solid working instincts. Thats a red flag that they may not be able to sustain a reliable breeding program.

 

If the breeder is involved with AKC- thats a stop dead in your tracks sign- that they may have other GOALS than the perpetuation of the perfect herding dog- that COULD interfere with ideal breeding goals.

 

If there are more than five or six dogs/person involved with their care- thats a red flag that they may not be getting the care or work that having a solid ethical breeding program entails.

 

If the dog is getting spending more time bred than it is getting worked- is a red flag

 

If the breeder is not keeping at least one of the litter for their own use(working only)- thats a red flag that they may be over breeding the lines needs.and it doesn't ENSURE that the litter was bred soley to satisy their working & health standards.

 

If the dogs can't do a credible silent fetch-- thats a red flag that the breeder doesn't value or understand the basic genetics-- so there is a chance that the lines haven't retained those necessary qualities-

 

If the lines aren't backed up by trialing credebly in open or being used reliably on several hundred head of ranch or farm stock- Theres a red flag that the genetics may not have been proven enough.

 

If the breeder puts any empasis on color- thats a red flag that their goals are not in sinc with the breeds benefit.

 

If the dogs have "foo-foo" names its a red flag that they need something flashy to make their dogs and themselves seem better than they are.

 

If the breeder is not trialing credibly in open or working several hundred head of stock- thats a red flag that they may not have the experience to judge breeding stock.

 

If the breeder cannot train a dog from start to finish- thats a red flag that they might not understand the dogs genetics enough to be a credible breeder.

 

If the breeding lines have no working background- thats a huge red flag that the lines May Not have retained the necessary genetics .

 

If the there are not several generations to back up the breeding program- thats a red flag that the breeder may not have identified all or any of the genetic faults--- even with testing.

 

If they are not eye or hip tested on top of not having several generations to back up the line- thats a huge red flag .

 

If the breeder owns two dogs and they are the dam and sire-- thats a red flag that they may not have put a whole lot of thought into the breeding.

 

If the breeder owns one dog- thats a red flag that they bred what they had, instead of what was the best.

 

If the breeder doesn't have the solid working experience background to mitiagate any red flags raised above-- thats a huge red flag.

 

It doesn't condemn anyone in particualr for raising a red flag---

IE-- If Tom Wilson had red flags on some of those isssues i wouldn't be too concerned. If unknown Joe Blow triggered even one of them people should think twice.

 

Red flags just gives the newbies something to think about and base their choices on.

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