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Old 01-05-2013, 10:32 AM
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AllieMackie AllieMackie is offline
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Originally Posted by Beanie View Post
On the subject of herding - IMHO, in the US at least, herding has become a "sport" (ie. herding trials) for a great many people and an actual means to a livelihood for very few. It is incredibly important to me to find a sheltie breeder with a dog who can move sheep, but the number of breeders who own their own sheep to test this is very slim and seems to be getting smaller all the time. I do think it's incredibly important to find a test outlet of some kind even if it's "just" a herding trial (I'm not saying instinct test, I'm talking further along) but we've talked quite a bit about the changing faces of breeds in modern times - for example, testing the gameness of dogs who were bred to fight - and I have no fancy that herding dogs are somehow exempt from that.
Would I prefer a breeder who has a farm and works the dogs on the sheep every day? Absolutely.
Would I turn up my nose at a breeder who lives in the middle of the city but has multiple dogs (of her own and dogs owned by other people) with herding titles and agility titles? Nope.

I would pass up a breeder who didn't have any dogs in her lines at ALL doing at least herding trials - there is a breeder who is technically on my short list because although she doesn't do herding herself (she does agility, flyball, and confo), several of her puppies go on to do so. Since the ability to trial sheep is there in her dogs, she is on my list. I would prefer the breeder to be proving the ability herself rather than having the puppy buyer proving it but, as Aleron said, I can understand from the perspective of how much time and money she is already putting into her dogs... it's not like she's sitting on her duff doing nothing but churning out dogs and the puppy buyers are the ones doing all the legwork to title pups.

Cliffs Notes, of course it would be ideal if Linds and Sara were working the dogs on a flippin' ranch, but in the world we live in now, I feel like there are other solutions out there as well.
I have to agree with this.

In the BC world, scouting for a working breeder isn't too difficult. However, it's hard to find a working breeder that will work with you on selling a dog to a sport or active companion home. At least when dealing with the ranchers. I can name 5 or 6 breeders off the top of my head that refused me because I was not a farm home. These are people who are highly respected members of the CBCA and highly regarded at trials. These breeders tend to send pups to one another (and other ranchers) instead of outward to sport/pet homes. It's a very inward process.

Finn's breeder, who many here know is also well-regarded in the herding world, trials heavily year-round and has a small flock of sheep at her country home for practice. She does not have a full ranch, just a small barn and flock of sheep for her dogs. Despite this, she is considered a working breeder because her dogs herd and don't do sports. Theoretically though, she trials all year and has only a "practice field" at home. How then, is she not considered a sport breeder? Many working BC breeders have the same setups as her as opposed to an actual ranch. Like her, they want to preserve the instincts and abilities that the breed they love has been bred for. It's a bit amusing really, because while yes, they're doing what they were bred for, it's still a sport, with few exceptions.

That said, I do agree with Lizmo that a herding instinct test is a bit of a joke TBH. Finn got his HCT in his second visit to our trainer at seven months. It's only figuring out if your dog has that Light Bulb, not the ins and outs of their herding style and how good or bad they are at the various aspects.

It's entirely up to you guys, of course, if you want to train your dogs in herding or not - it's not a sport for everyone, no sport is - but I think at least trialing them to a degree in herding would be a good move, both for proving your dogs and for showing yourselves as being invested in your breed's history (which we all know you are, I mean more to the public face.)
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