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Old 02-02-2008, 11:52 AM
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Default Bold or Timid breeds

I was having a discussion with a guy who had a Vizsla/Lab mix (interesting looking dog actually) who was very timid. He said it is a Vizsla breed trait. I have seen a few Vizslas before and some have been and some have been just as bold as Sal.

That got me to thinking. How much of Boldness or Timidness is by breed (I am a Nuture guy) I always thought Timidness is a sign of poor socialization or abuse more than breed.

If it is breed, why would anyone breed for Timid dogs? Or is it just a flaw that follows some breeds more than others like Hip problems?

What do you think?
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:16 PM
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I've met quite a few of both, though overall Viszlas do seem to tend more towards timid and nervous. Seems to be a group trait (gun dogs) almost. Properly socialized, they turn out pretty well most of the time, but I know more than a couple that were socialized to the nines and are still nervous dogs.
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:33 PM
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I don't know if timid is the right word, but in a lot of herding breeds, it is normal and desirable for a dog to be wary around strangers.

Shelties are notorious for being shy, but they really won't be if you socialize them. But you can never expect them to be outgoing and overly friendly like the papillons. Beau isn't afraid of anything and loves everyone, the shelties on the other hand don't love everyone. Shelties just really don't seem to trust many people other than their own lol. At least you have to earn it with them. They're very biddable dogs and very into 'their' people. Pretty protective from what I have known of mine. Anything out of the ordinary bothers them and they will let you know. They make good watchdogs because of the fact that they don't take to strangers and the fact that they bark a lot.

I assume these traits come from the fact that they are herding dogs. It seems a lot of herdng breeds need more socialization than others and aren't quite as 'people friendly' as other breeds.

Trey is insanely shy to the point that he will hide from strangers and won't look at strange people or dogs. I know for a fact that he was socialized from the moment he was born. I first met him when he was being socialized by his breeder at my father's office before we owned him. He's not got the preferred temperament, but shyness isn't uncommon in the breed.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:01 PM
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Laur, all the true working bred dogs actually are not more timid. I think it's just the breed as how they move/eye/herding instinct that make them look more timid - atleast in the border collie.

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but in a lot of herding breeds, it is normal and desirable for a dog to be wary around strangers
Actually (honestly, I have no against you! ), they are exactly opposite of this. Border Collies need to be friendly to strangers (being petted by many people at herding trials), walking through crowds perfectly fine, and fine with being handled by vets/strnagers if the dog were to get hurt while herding, or flying around the world.

That desirable trait, most all the herding people I know, would NOT want in their border collies. Or any herding breed.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amstaffer View Post
I always thought Timidness is a sign of poor socialization or abuse more than breed.
It is often a lack of socializatin, it also can be indicative of poor breeding. I don't believe that any breed is supposed to bred for timidness. Some are more aloof than others, but that's quite different.

IME, viszlas are a bit like weims, but with less bad breeding having hit them so far ~ as they become more popular I'm sure there will be more bad ones. They can be a bit on the flaky side, but shouldn't be timid.

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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
I don't know if timid is the right word, but in a lot of herding breeds, it is normal and desirable for a dog to be wary around strangers.
There's probably a pretty even split on that, and even within a breed, there's a split. They may be aloof with strangers, but they should not be timid around them. There also are herding breeds that are very outgoing with strangers (pemmies for one).

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Originally Posted by Lizmo View Post
Border Collies need to be friendly to strangers (being petted by many people at herding trials), walking through crowds perfectly fine, and fine with being handled by vets/strnagers if the dog were to get hurt while herding, or flying around the world.
Well, I disagree with that as well LOL. They don't need to be friendly with strangers. All dogs, regardless of breed should be tolerant of friendly strangers. They should be able to walk through a crowd, they should be able to be handled by vets. There is no need for dogs at trials to be petted, and many don't want to be - even more so at a trial than at home. At a trial they are focused on work.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:21 PM
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Well, what I'm trying to say is that if you start looking into herding breeds, one of the first things you see when reading up is that they must be socialized a lot as pups. From my experience many sporting dogs (like our lab) seem to readily take to people a lot quicker than some herders do. Sure, all my dogs put up with new people and new situations wonderfully- even Trey, they just don't tend to like it as much as say Beau would.

Timid is probably the wrong word, but there is a distinct difference to me between boldness a terrier has and the reservation a sheltie has.

For example, if Beau sees a new person, the first thing he wants to do is go up to them. Don't expect most shelties to run up and greet strangers, they're just not like that. They'd rather watch and wait and make a judgment themselves on the newcomer before deciding whether or not to befriend them. And when they do decide to befriend someone, they won't likely be overly fawning or anything like that. To some people more used ot an outgoing dog, that may come off as timid, when I think of it as more... reserved.

I'll say again, Trey is a very special case and isn't the typical sheltie at all. He has a lot of socialization issues, and it's not for lack of trying. He came from a breeder that had plenty of other dogs and dragged him around to shows and trials of several different kinds. He just doesn't like people he doesn't know. He'll be fine with them, but he'll stay right next to me the entire time. His temperament is not desirable, but from my experience it isn't uncommon in shelties and from what I've read of other similar breeds, it isn't uncommon either.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by corgipower View Post

There's probably a pretty even split on that, and even within a breed, there's a split. They may be aloof with strangers, but they should not be timid around them. There also are herding breeds that are very outgoing with strangers (pemmies for one).
Aloof with strangers is a good word. What I was trying to say that a breed like shelties who are more aloof with strangers could come off as timid to people that aren't familiar with the breed.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:28 PM
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I don't know of a single breed that is purposely bred for a skittish temperament. Badly bred dogs of any high strung working breed have a tendency to be timid or aggressive, and it's almost guaranteed if they're under socialized.

My working BC is one that people constantly think is fearful or mean. Mean because the fur on her back naturally stands up a bit so it looks like her hackles are raised. Fearful because she carries her low-set tail between her legs (not tucked in "OMG I'm terrified" mode, it just rests naturally much like a sighthound's tail would.) and has a submissive attitude towards people and other dogs. She's not the least bit fearful (though she, like many of her breed, is sensitive to sudden loud sounds like gunshots, she startles and bounces back very quickly) but because most people aren't used to seeing dogs that look and act like her, surely there must be something wrong with her.

I can vouch for the fact that when there are sheep around, the only person in my dog's world is me - because I'm the only one that can give her access to them. She certainly won't bite, but she doesn't often allow someone to touch her - she'll duck out of the way. It's not fear, it's a lack of interest. Normally she adores people but her first love is stockwork and that's what her mind is on during training class, and what her mind will be on at trials. LOL.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corgipower View Post
Well, I disagree with that as well LOL. They don't need to be friendly with strangers. All dogs, regardless of breed should be tolerant of friendly strangers. They should be able to walk through a crowd, they should be able to be handled by vets. There is no need for dogs at trials to be petted, and many don't want to be - even more so at a trial than at home. At a trial they are focused on work.
Yes, at a trial they are focused on working, but they are not around the stock or making eye contact with them at all times. Therefore they should not be focused on the sheep the whole time at a trial.

If I was looking to purchase a Border Collie puppy from superb lines (which I am in the process of doing so now) the parents must be friendly with all people and like being around people while off stock. I certainly would not judge a dog's friendlyness by the way it is around stock. On stock the dog should be completely and totally focused on handler and sheep.

The dog should enjoy attetion from all people, children, adults, and seniors. At home or at a trial. That would be a well-rounded Border Collie, IMO.
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Old 02-02-2008, 02:08 PM
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Yes, at a trial they are focused on working, but they are not around the stock or making eye contact with them at all times. Therefore they should not be focused on the sheep the whole time at a trial.
No, not focused on the sheep, but they should be focused on the handler, and not on what is going on around them.

As for friendly, yes, it's critical that a puppy's parents be friendly, but they don't need to be warm and fuzzy with a stranger, they need to accept a stranger ~ as in not coming out looking to take me to the ground nor running from me. They don't need to enjoy petting from a stranger ~ or even from the owner. Many dogs don't enjoy petting.
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