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Old 01-06-2013, 12:25 AM
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Default On the topic of Border Collies...

I expect this conversation will be lively and I hope we can all keep it civil (isn't this the way all horrible arguments start?). One of my friends recently asked on facebook: Is the split in Border Collies so bad that we may one day have three separate breeds? What would we call them? Speed Demons, Herding Masters and Pretty Black and White dogs? I was looking at pictures of 'breed' BCs over the last few days, and I swear, they look nothing like the BCs I see at agility and herding. Their temperaments are much different too... is this really how new breeds get made?

I have seen similar comments/questions here. Why are there such distinct types in BCs? Here was my response:

Honestly? This is going to sound horrible, and maybe I'll get tons of hate mail for it... but why does it matter? I mean- the working people still breed working dogs, the show people breed show dogs, the agility people breed agility dogs, etc. Believe me, the horribly overdone teddy bear fluffy stumpies bother me as much as you, but they really don't affect my life much (other than beating my dogs at dog shows, which is whatever... I do it for fun anyways). I have said exactly what you've said... I've been there. I'm at the point in my life where I just gave up on the idea that every BC person would go back to the breed's roots and we'd all sing Cumbaya together... because it's not going to happen. I have decided that I will keep with my lines, and if anyone specifically asks my opinion on BCs I'm happy to tell them exactly how I feel- but I don't expect everyone else to agree with me.

I guess I just feel like people have to make up their own mind about the type of BC they're getting. I personally would not choose to get a dog from "sport" lines- they are not my type of dog and I don't do agility that much, but if someone else does... what do I care if they get a sport bred dog? Its not going to change my lines at all. If someone really wants to win big time in the show ring... I don't expect them to go out and buy a dog from the local working breeder (of course, some would argue that someone who wants to win in the show ring shouldn't get a BC, but I think we should just accept that the fluffies are here to stay).

Interestingly enough, the standard almost perfectly describes your average working dog. The problem is, people *do* ignore that standard, and breed for the fluffy stumpies- and I can tell you exactly why. The AKC group ring tends to put up more "generic" show dog- flashy, big round eyes, big side gait, etc., so the BCs who win in the group rings tend to be that type. Suddenly everyone wants that, because after awhile breed ring wins aren't satisfactory- more is better and our breeds change because of that. It's a problem with the system, and we can't have expected it to go any differently. When you judge breeding quality off of looks alone, of course you're going to end up with dogs who are bred for... well, looks alone. Temperaments change quickly because a sharp, intense temperament can be problematic in tightly packed rings where dogs are expected to stand still and not react to the highly stressful environment around them. The type of dog that is easiest to show is one who is fairly calm, easy going and generally low drive. Structure changes because they are no longer being excluded from a breeding program for faults that would be detrimental to a working dog (I.E. cat feet, very short hocks, barrel chests and overangulated rears).

So, yes, this breed does have variety, and I've learned to be fine with that- like I said, not every line is fit for every job, and in the world we live in today it is reasonable that not everyone is going to have a highly talented herding dog. The BC is now (generally) bred for one of three things: The show ring, sports (agility and flyball) or working. Of course there are always exceptions, people who tend to like a more well-rounded dog who would succeed at all three things- but tends not to go to the highest levels.

I am sure the other BC people on here will have some insight too, but I thought this would be an interesting thing to discuss. Is it wrong to diverge from the breed's intended purpose, knowing full well it will change the breed? Does it happen to every breed? Can it be avoided? Is it a normal thing for a breed to develop and change with modernization?
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by OwnedByBCs View Post
I am sure the other BC people on here will have some insight too, but I thought this would be an interesting thing to discuss. Is it wrong to diverge from the breed's intended purpose, knowing full well it will change the breed? Does it happen to every breed? Can it be avoided? Is it a normal thing for a breed to develop and change with modernization?
I wanted to clarify, and I can't seem to edit my post anymore- these questions apply to all breeds, not just BCs. I want anyone with insight to chime in! Feel free
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:07 AM
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I agree with you personally. I hate how much time and energy is spent with breeders/lovers of the breed BITCHING about other kinds of breeders (show vs.working, working v.s show, working vs. sport, everybody vs. pet etc...etc..) if it's done responsibly (health testing, homes for the pups, well cared for dogs) then MIND YOUR OWN BEESWAX AND FOCUS ON YOUR DOGS AND YOUR PROGRAM.

It's not like changes only affect breeders that are separated by "type" (working, show, sport, pet) you will find differences in between each group as well..so why all the butt hurt? At the end of the day it is what it is, breeders following their interpretation of the standard and more importantly, breeding dogs they think are awesome. Awesome will vary by the person.

It's not going to change. There is a market for different types within breeds so just..live with it. It's not "YOUR BREED" it's a breed you happen to breed in which you have a niche, it is YOUR DOGS, YOUR PROGRAM, YOUR MISSION STATEMENT, YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS.. focus on that. Breeds change, and they will continue to do so wether you like it or not, keep doing what you're doing, breed dogs according to what you think ________ should be. NOBODY IS FORCING YOU TO CHANGE YOUR PROGRAM.

Mostly, I just think it's a case of sour grapes in many of these situations. There is a market, there are homes, these breeders do well in their venues...so older breeders or purists and everyone else get to **** and moan about all these "new people" coming and ruining everything..regardless of how little it affects them.
I mean really.. especially when it comes to the working and show split. How much are these other breeders really around you really? You claim "those dogs aren't even border collies" blablabla.. and won't breed with their lines, won't go to the shows.. soooo.. how is it your problem? Stop being a masochist if it pisses you off that much and focus on your own dogs.

Follow your interpretation of the standard, most do have a lot of wiggle room and I think that's a good thing.
Buyers should be able to make the choice for themselves and breeders should be CLEAR about their mission statements and the kinds of dogs they produce.

My 2 cents.

tl;dr: I think breeders should focus on their niche and the dogs they are producing. Focus on what makes brigadoon border collies great and what kind of dog you are producing and why that's awesome. Surround yourself with likeminded people who have similar goals within their programs.
Be proud of your program and the dogs you produce and the dirt slinging won't be necessary.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:59 AM
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I am not in to border collies or really any of the herding/working breeds (obviously LOL), however, I sort of have a similar issue.

My dogs are bred to hunt. They bark-point. I have NO way to test their hunting ability here. None at all. So am I wrong in breeding? They aren't even notably "easy" to train, and therefore it's not like I can fill a niche there in terms of dog sports. My dogs are literally companions. They are unique companions IMO, but companions nevertheless. So should an entire breed just not exist over here since they are not hunted like they are in Finland? Not sure. I do know that they have the instinct (my guys bark-point constantly and tree birds/small game), but they have never actually hunted.

Sooooo... Yeah. I'm all about focusing on your own program, making sure you aren't producing more dogs than can be placed, taking responsibility for those that are placed, etc. Obviously, proper health testing and all of that is important to me, and in my own program I would want all breeding dogs to have their conformation championships and at least a CGC as well as a way to test temperament (with Bubbles it's trickier since she's co-owned), but really what else can I do? There ARE people in the States who hunt with them but they are in super rural areas and do squirrel hunting. I am not in such an area and have no interest in squirrels LOL.

That all being said, I suppose I'm lucky in that there is no split in my breed and probably never will be.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Fran101 View Post
I agree with you personally. I hate how much time and energy is spent with breeders/lovers of the breed BITCHING about other kinds of breeders (show vs.working, working v.s show, working vs. sport, everybody vs. pet etc...etc..) if it's done responsibly (health testing, homes for the pups, well cared for dogs) then MIND YOUR OWN BEESWAX AND FOCUS ON YOUR DOGS AND YOUR PROGRAM.

It's not like changes only affect breeders that are separated by "type" (working, show, sport, pet) you will find differences in between each group as well..so why all the butt hurt? At the end of the day it is what it is, breeders following their interpretation of the standard and more importantly, breeding dogs they think are awesome. Awesome will vary by the person.

It's not going to change. There is a market for different types within breeds so just..live with it. It's not "YOUR BREED" it's a breed you happen to breed in which you have a niche, it is YOUR DOGS, YOUR PROGRAM, YOUR MISSION STATEMENT, YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS.. focus on that. Breeds change, and they will continue to do so wether you like it or not, keep doing what you're doing, breed dogs according to what you think ________ should be. NOBODY IS FORCING YOU TO CHANGE YOUR PROGRAM.

Mostly, I just think it's a case of sour grapes in many of these situations. There is a market, there are homes, these breeders do well in their venues...so older breeders or purists and everyone else get to **** and moan about all these "new people" coming and ruining everything..regardless of how little it affects them.
I mean really.. especially when it comes to the working and show split. How much are these other breeders really around you really? You claim "those dogs aren't even border collies" blablabla.. and won't breed with their lines, won't go to the shows.. soooo.. how is it your problem? Stop being a masochist if it pisses you off that much and focus on your own dogs.

Follow your interpretation of the standard, most do have a lot of wiggle room and I think that's a good thing.
Buyers should be able to make the choice for themselves and breeders should be CLEAR about their mission statements and the kinds of dogs they produce.

My 2 cents.

tl;dr: I think breeders should focus on their niche and the dogs they are producing. Focus on what makes brigadoon border collies great and what kind of dog you are producing and why that's awesome. Surround yourself with likeminded people who have similar goals within their programs.
Be proud of your program and the dogs you produce and the dirt slinging won't be necessary.



Yeah, this.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:12 AM
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I think, at some point, dog breeds just don't need to serve the purpose they once did. I mean, at one point, Yorkies were used on ships to chase out the rats. How often is a Yorkie used for these purposes today? Probably not at all, LOL. Of course they're still terriers, they've still got that instinct in them (which I love). Jackson would go onto a ship full of mice and rats in a heart beat and enjoy every minute of it. Does the fact that he's not actually doing these jobs make him any less of a terrier? I don't really think so...

Now, without knowing a whole lot about the inside world of BC's, I would imagine that if a show BC was around sheep, *something* would trigger in its head. But there's just simply not a need for working dogs like there was 100 years ago. So of course it's going to get less and less. I think it's inevitable that it's going to happen. But at the same time, I still think it's important to preserve the breed for what it was originally bred for, but also be capable of being a family pet in today's world. Luckily, dogs are super adaptable, so I believe it's fully possible.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Finkie_Mom View Post
I am not in to border collies or really any of the herding/working breeds (obviously LOL), however, I sort of have a similar issue.

My dogs are bred to hunt. They bark-point. I have NO way to test their hunting ability here. None at all. So am I wrong in breeding? They aren't even notably "easy" to train, and therefore it's not like I can fill a niche there in terms of dog sports. My dogs are literally companions. They are unique companions IMO, but companions nevertheless. So should an entire breed just not exist over here since they are not hunted like they are in Finland? Not sure. I do know that they have the instinct (my guys bark-point constantly and tree birds/small game), but they have never actually hunted.

Sooooo... Yeah. I'm all about focusing on your own program, making sure you aren't producing more dogs than can be placed, taking responsibility for those that are placed, etc. Obviously, proper health testing and all of that is important to me, and in my own program I would want all breeding dogs to have their conformation championships and at least a CGC as well as a way to test temperament (with Bubbles it's trickier since she's co-owned), but really what else can I do? There ARE people in the States who hunt with them but they are in super rural areas and do squirrel hunting. I am not in such an area and have no interest in squirrels LOL.

That all being said, I suppose I'm lucky in that there is no split in my breed and probably never will be.
exactly. Should we limit the blood-lines and have even LESS responsible breeders even more by telling breeders who don't have access/want to pursue sheep or squirrels or whatever that they shouldn't be breeding?
Ridiculous.
I don't give a flying pancake about breeding for original purpose. Merlin will never see a sheep and I DO NOT CARE if his parents did.

I get a lot of "WAHHHH ARE YOU TELLING ME MY WORK DOING _____ WITH MY DOGS IS FOR NOTHING?? WAHHHH WHAT ABOUT ORIGINAL PURPOSE! WAHH"
.. keep doing what you want to do with your dogs. Breed towards what you want to breed. If that has to do with herding ability? Awesome. If not. oh well.. I don't care as long as dogs are proving themselves in some venue.
I don't care that you think working ability or original purpose is important.. good for you! I just don't think that's what makes you a responsible breeder and I don't think not doing those things makes someone irresponsible or somehow "wrong".

Original purposes and places in which to practice them are dwindling. Like it or not. and I certainly wouldn't fault a breeder in deciding to invest their money and time and energy and pursuing an activity with their dogs THEY find more important (show, sport, therapy work, whatever)

Don't think it's "bettering the breed" or serving their original purpose and it doesn't follow your strict guidelines on who YOU think DESERVES to be breeding and creating dogs you believe to be "TRUE ________s" ? Fine. believe that, don't breed to their dogs and write about your feelings in your dream journal or on the internet or yell it from the rooftops. that's fine. Nobody is going to stop you. That's your opinion and you have the right to voice it. Wether it's the "right" opinion well..opinions are like assholes lol
But understand that it's going to do nothing except waste your time and energy. The breed is going to change and breeders will breed towards whatever they want to, the only thing you can control is your dogs, your program and your ideals..
Breeders and hobbyists have bigger fish to fry BY FAR, that they might notice if they would stop bickering with each other and sticking their noses in what other breeders are doing that they don't personally agree with. And frankly, I can't help but think that all that time and energy and soapboxing and ranting...could be better spent on, I dunno, their own dogs and breeding program.

Totally my opinion, but as a potential home. I don't care about the grand scheme of "bettering the breed" and I don't care if a breeder cares either.. I want them to care about the dogs they are producing and why. Not what the peanut gallery and people on their various high horses think..breed drama is stupid. Period. I care about the puppy I'm getting and the dog he will become and that the breeder is responsible.

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Old 01-06-2013, 08:45 AM
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Should we limit the blood-lines and have even LESS responsible breeders even more by telling breeders who don't have access/want to pursue sheep or squirrels or whatever that they shouldn't be breeding?
This is the key part for me. If there were sufficient jobs and breeders to maintain genetic diversity in the breeds by only breeding top workers who performed their historical jobs then fine, I'm in. But there are very, very few breeds in which that is true.

I "live" in a breed for whom the lack of genetic diversity is the biggest problem. It's the reason for the cancer issues. Genetic heterogeneity is incredibly important in the body's fight to keep itself healthy, so when folks start talking about artificially eliminating large segments of their breeding population over something like not having access to a large farm and huge numbers of livestock (some herding breeds), a name (this K/Coolie debate), coat type (Belgian Shepherds in the U.S.), it makes me a big sick to my stomach. Establish a line, breed what you want, but splintering into infinite discrete shards is not healthy for the breeds.

Yes, having a finite end goal consistent with your breed's purpose is important. Health testing and making intelligent decisions based on the results is important. Proving out your dog's temperament and having an objective assessment of his/her structural and working (however you deine that work) strengths and weaknesses is important. I'm not arguing that everything should be bred. Or even most. Lord knows I'm picky on that score, at least in what I personally breed/buy. But this sense of "we are the only TRUE keepers of this breed" and that all others should be cut off from the gene pool does, IMO, fail to take into consideration the greater picture.

In the current construct of "purebred", especially for those breeds working within the popular registry systems, those segments of your population which have been rejected for political or aesthetic purposes may be your only option one day when you find yourself in a genetic corner and needing diversity. I would give just about anything to find a pool of FCRs somewhere in the world with a set of genes largely bred out of our current population who were healthy. And frankly I don't care if they've allowed yellows to breed or haven't retrieved a duck in six generations...we HAVE that...the burning desire to retrieve anything and everyone to their people would not be wiped out with careful intelligent outcrossing...and it would be more than worth it to get that diversity back in our breed.

...and that's my rant for the day.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:47 AM
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I'm in the very early stages of scouting out a BC breeder for my next performance dog and I'm feeling pretty torn about it. (See my posts in the breeding subforum.)

One one hand, I understand where all the working BC breeders/purists are coming from. Herding instinct is what created the breed that we know and love today and anything being done that encourages breeders not to focus on it can be considered to the detriment of the breed.

On the other hand, my BC will be used for sport and will likely never see a sheep in its life. Almost all the BCs I know personally are from sport kennels, and I'm pretty deeply entrenched in that world. The few BCs I know from farm/working lines are not the type of dog I would want - too headstrong and aloof.

I don't have much motivation to do anything other than choose a dog that I'm reasonably confident can do the job I want it to do while being the companion I want. Right now I'm finding that I don't have much motivation to go the working breeder route until I get to know a few more exceptional working dogs. If I had to choose a breeder right now I'd go sport 100% because that's what I know best. And working BC breeders would groan and gnash their teeth and I wouldn't much care.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:18 AM
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This is what my dad used to say: YOU worry about YOU, let THEM worry about THEM.

People are passionate about their breeds, I get it. And it's human nature to think, when you know the truth, that everyone else should do things the same way you do them.

But... the world is changing. OUR place in the world has changed, most of us aren't hunting/gathering anymore... but we still exist. Many of our working breeds' places in this world are changing. But - and I'm not being funny here - is it really exclusively the work that makes the breed, or is it the characteristics that make the breed suited to do the work? Because if it's the latter, then the specific work really doesn't matter.

And if someone feels that a breed has changed so much or gotten so far away from its roots that it isn't the same breed anymore... well, at the end of the day it's just a name. They are free to keep breeding the type of dog they prefer regardless of what someone else is breeding or calling their dogs.
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