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Diana A

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Posts posted by Diana A

  1. I'm not sure I follow all this, but do dogs have to be registered or "purebred" to compete in USDAA and NADAC trials? If not, I'm not sure that non-breeding papers are of any use.


    I've often wondered how difficult it is to go after someone who breeds a dog sold with a non-breeding contract. Seems to me that by the time you win your case, if you win your case, there will be pups on the ground. The way the legal system works, those pups might have pups on the ground. So then what happens to those pups (and their pups)? Are they yours? Do they remain with their "breeder"? Not trying to be facetious here, just wondering how effective a non-breeding contract is going to be to actually stop people from breeding.


    Regardless of how the dog's papers read, it's all too easy to fake them. I've known of breeders who blue-slipped non-registered puppies. It's simple, all you have to do is report to the AKC that your registered bitch whelped 7 pups, when she only whelped 5. (Or get a friend who has a new litter on the ground.) Then you have two extra blue slips to tack on the non-registered pups that you think are so swell that you want to keep them, show them and then breed them. I know of two occasions when this actually happened. Then they used the bogus-registered pup in their breeding program, and sold his pups. And all those puppies had pedigrees that signified nothing. And the AKC had the money for the registrations of those puppies.


    I knew of a multi-breed puppy mill that had a German Shepherd Dog stud die, and since they didn't have another GSD male, they just put their 3 GSD bitches to a Siberian Husky. They didn't report the death of their GSD stud to the AKC. The pet shops they sold to didn't know any difference, and the puppy buyers were holding AKC papers on mixed breed dogs.


    If one is truly interested in keeping working bred Border Collies from being inappropriately reproduced, one would do better not to sell un-neutered/ spayed dogs to non-working homes. But then I expect a lot of agility folk would be unhappy about early neutering of their dogs. It's a reasonable concern for them, and I wouldn't like it either, even though I would have no intention of breeding my dog, I wouldn't want her fixed until she was mature.


    So then what? Who to sell the pups to and with what papers, if any?


    I was talking strictly of keeping the dogs out of ABCA. And I didn't mean a contract (which as you noted may need legal action to enforce). I meant register pups with ABCA with papers that say no offspring of this dog can be registered ABCA. Nonbreeeding papers from ABCA do nothing to keep a dog from being AKC registered and bred there. It doesn't prevent people from breeding the dogs or running them in agility. And no, NADAC, USDAA, etc do not require purebred or registered dogs. What it would do is prevent offspring from staying in the ABCA gene pool. It's what I stated before, two sides - keeping the 'bad' dogs from pumping offspring into the ABCA gene pool (which nonbreeding papers might help) vs controlling what the whole world does and not allowing anyone to breed for the wrong reasons or register dogs anywhere if they do breed - which is beyond what ABCA or individual working breeders can control. You're always going to get some people who are dishonest and try to trick the system (faking which litter a pup came from for example) but at least it would make it difficult enough that most people wouldn't bother.

  2. Julie's right about what I was saying, but I'll try to answer your question directly. Yes, in a sense it is certainly worse to buy a conformation bred dog. But in terms of ultimate harm to the working border collie, I think we probably have more to fear from blurring the lines than we do from conformation dogs. It's easier to hold the line the more distinct the line is. It's easier to help people understand the difference between x and y the clearer the lines of demarcation are between x and y. If all the AKC dogs were conformation bred dogs, IMO it would be much easier to safeguard the working breed, despite the fact that the two breeds confusingly bear the same name. If I could, I would make the membrane between working-bred dogs and AKC dogs impermeable. I can't do that, but I will at least use my best efforts to reduce its permeability, because I think otherwise the osmosis created by the attractions and dominance of the AKC will ultimately lead to the bleeding out of our breed's essence.


    Is it really a registry question though, or a question of inappropriate breeding? And is it an issue of keeping 'those' dogs out of ABCA or of keeping 'our' dogs out of AKC?


    Let's say you convince the buyer not to do AKC, and you sell them a puppy. They do USDAA and NADAC agility and kick butt at the highest levels of nationals competition. Someone with another kick-butt agility dog, not registered AKC, says "hey, can I breed to your dog, they'd make awesome agility puppies" and they have buyers lining up on wait lists to get one of those pups. So now you have a bunch of ABCA registered dogs bred for agility - blurring the lines, without any help from AKC. I think it would almost make the problem of blurring the lines WORSE if working breeders were successful in turning sport people away from AKC and they defected in droves to other non-AKC sport organizations and just registered ABCA, but continued to breed for the wrong reasons. You still turn the breed into something else, but now you can't even differentiate them on the basis of registry.


    It would make more sense if ABCA had a way to do non-breeding papers and those got issued to anyone buying a dog for a sport home. Then regardless of where it ends up, you wouldn't get offspring with potentially diminished ability coming back into ABCA. That would keep 'those' dogs out of ABCA, even if it doesn't do much to keep the working dogs out of AKC. Your other option is just don't sell to sport homes, period. These days you can have plenty of problems even without the AKC influence - look at flyball, dock diving, treiball, disc dog, freestyle etc (none of them AKC sports) or NADAC, DOCNA, UKI, CPE, UKC, and USDAA agility.



    I also think a lot of damage can be done even if you could get total separation of ABCA and AKC dogs at this point. AKC sport breeders are breeding nice sport dogs even without going into working lines. Sure a few generations back that's what they started with, but I know of a lot of these dogs being bred that are no longer ABCA registered and haven't been for a few generations and are AKC bred to AKC and getting more refined for what the sport buyer wants in a dog. They may be turning to crap for stockwork purposes, but for sport homes they seem to be producing exactly what people want and proving themselves in competition. They aren't losing their ability to be sport dogs just because they've separated from ABCA lines. So the prestige of AKC having top performing sport border collies is still there, and now those breeders can proudly claim that it's an all-AKC product and that AKC produces the better dog. Over time, this becomes the 'real' border collie to the general public and the damage is done even without pulling more working bred dogs into the AKC gene pool.


    I'm not saying just give up and sell to AKC homes or register AKC. Just that the real problem does not get addressed by the simple act of refusing to sell to AKC homes - the problem is so much bigger it seems a little like throwing a pebble in the ocean during high tide - it produces very little noticeable effect.

  3. I know of a few dogs in agility and obedience who are unilaterally deaf. It does not seem to be a hindrance to them. It's a big problem in working the sheep once you get up to long distances, because the dog relies so heavily on auditory signals that get hard to hear at that distance. But for what you intend to do with the dog, a uni would not be an issue I think. So the suggestion about the breeder doing some type of startle test is a good one - you'll know at least you aren't dealing with a completely deaf dog and it's something very easy for the breeder to do.

  4. The article that was linked says you can do BAER as early as 6 weeks, so before the age the pup would go home. Would it be possibe to request the breeder do the test before you make you final selection? Or, if it's close enough, ask if you could take the pup for the test before they're ready to go home? I have had situations before where I didn't have first pick and my pick had to wait on another person making their choice at 6 or 7 weeks of age - hopefully the breeder will be willing to work with you on this and withhold assigning other pups to people until the test is done so you still get your pick. Also, if they're only 3 weeks now, it may turn out that this one isn't the personality you want anyway. It's so hard to tell when they're so young and are basically in 'eat and sleep' mode. The last pup I got (the white faced one) I actually had originally picked out the traditionally marked tri as my favorite, but I told the breeder to tell me who had the personality I wanted and that looks didn't matter and I wasn't going to get too locked onto a particular pup. It turned out that the white faced one was the right one for me.

  5. My current oldest dog is an AHBA herding trial champion. I did pronovice with him for a bit - we got around the course a couple of times, that was about it. There is a world of difference between the two. But I do find the AHBA courses fun, especially the ranch and large flock courses, where you might be working 25-30 sheep and taking them over bridges and from one field to another, doing various tasks meant to mimic chore work. I find it a nice place to start the young dogs too, where I can be close and get them used to things like having a spotter out there and my own trial nerves, and even familiar sheep act very differently in a trial, which can unsettle a young dog. To the person who asked the original question, I think the answer is that people here are pretty tolerant of what you DO with your dogs, but not so tolerant of anyone who might BREED their dog based on those other activities.

  6. The latest post was: "Herding Instinct is now finished. Out of 21 entries, we had 12 pass! Congrats all!!"


    For those of you who have never seen a "herding instinct test" ... this is all that is required.




    So only half of them had this much interest? Sad, sad, sad. But they know how to build the better dog, right?


    This seems so unfair to the dog to send her in with a novice handler who wouldn't even let go of the rope and kept pulling her into the sheep while the onlookers are saying "get 'im get 'im" <shaking head>. And I agree, I was thinking the same thing when I saw the post that only about half of the AKC dogs passed the instinct test. Very sad. The instinct test tells you nothing about working ability I know, but it really says something that most of the dogs weren't even interested.

  7. I'm pretty much a hobby herder and own sheep for the dogs (boarded on a friend's farm as I can't afford to own a place large enough to keep sheep). I trial USBCHA (only as high as pronovice so far) but have associations with AKC as I also own a Belgian Sheepdog and do agility with him and have owned other breeds in the past. I've also done quite a bit of agility and used to obedience as well. So I'm not going to go around bashing anyone for buying an AKC dog or for not working their dog on stock. I agree with what other posters have said, it's only when it comes to breeding that people here may get upset about what someone is doing with their dogs.


    I have never done conformation and never will - I just don't believe in it. It's a fun past time for some I guess, but people are deluding themselves to think they're actually producing or preserving a useful dog by doing breed ring showing and using that as the basis for breeding decisions, especially for any breed with a true function. I can't think of any real working endeavor that uses conformation bred dogs for the job. Racing grey hounds don't come out of the AKC conformation ring. Neither do working Seeing Eye german shepherds or police dogs. Field labs have split from show labs. I have a friend who breeds racing siberians and they breed for the work, no conformation dogs there either. Also I know a lady who runs field cockers - those aren't conformation dogs either or bred from conformation dogs and would probably be laughed out of a breed ring. You see the same story repeated over and over again - the true hard core working dogs of any breed do not typically come from the conformation ring and most times you see a huge split between the two types, even though in theory the breed ring's whole stated purpose is to judge the dog based on the structure needed for its job. They have missed the mark so many times that I have no faith at all in it and find it surprising that there are still people who believe the propaganda.


    Border collies were around long before they were in conformation. They did their jobs very well, generation after generation and got better and better at it as breeders selected for working traits. Then much later along came dog sports and they discovered the border collie, a dog who was seemingly ready made to tackle any endeavor successfully and often with superior ability to any other breed (for example in European agility, they have the ABC class, anything-but-border-collie because the need was felt to keep border collies out of a class to give the other breeds a chance). So if they BECAME one of the world's greatest working dog and sport dog breeds through breeding for the work and NOT for structure, then why now do people see the need to breed for structure to ensure the dog can do its job? It IS doing its job and very well.


    Breeding for structure assumes we even know what the 'perfect' structure should be. I don't believe that we know that, or at least, most conformation judges don't know that. I know of a dog who got rave reviews from judges for beautiful movement - that same dog on sheep just didn't have the ground speed to get around sheep that were escaping if they got a head start. So what does that tell you about the opinons of those conformation judges who put the dog up because of good movement? Maybe they don't really know what makes for good working dog strucure? And why do we value the opinion of someone who doesn't do work with the breed (or maybe even doesn't own the breed) and make breeding decisions based on that, vs valuing the opinion of the people with the working dogs who see every day what their dog's physical abilities are, even if they don't know what it is about the dog's structure that gives it those abilities?


    Even assuming we did know what perfect structure was for working, and could produce an absolutely perfect dog body that could work hard for 20 hours a day until it was 20 years old and never have an 'off' day in its life, what good does it do to have that dog if it can't actually do the work it's structure was meant for because the MENTAL abilities have been lost? No real sheep farmer in his right mind would want that dog.


    Working traits include soundness, ability, temperament, and yes, structure, but the point is that breeders didn't say 'this dog has X angle on his rear so I'll breed him'. Instead, if there is any such angle that's 'bad' for working, the dogs who had it wouldn't be able to work as well, so they'd be weeded out. Working to the actual end result (working ability) will always be better than working to the intermediate result (structure or any one trait that may be important to working as part of the complete picture) becuase no one can ever possibly know EVERYTHING, every little bit and how they work together, or what traits a working dog really needs and the complicated way they all come together.


    The dog in my profile picture is over 7 years old. I've worked her for several hours at a time on occasion and she's like the energizer bunny, never quits or even seems to get tired, isn't sore the next day, and she can cover the ground like nobody's business, give the sheep a head start and she'll still get around them even though she's taking the longer path. She can stop and turn in any direction almost instantaneously (although not always when I ask for it <g>) and can do both a full out run and a really stylish walk up over long distances and transition effortlessly between full run, stop, turn, or walking up. As far as what she's physically capable of, I can't fault her for anything. Yet I doubt the breed ring would care much for her. The tail is up in the air when she's not working, the color and markings are all wrong and her coat is wavy and not very thick, the head is narrow, and she's fairly straightly angled from what I've been told (I'm not a structure expert by any means). So she has I think at least decent structure for working based on what I actually see her do, but the breed ring would reject her. Her mom was still running Open at 9 or 10 years old, and her dad was a hill dog overseas before he got imported to the US, both dogs that were very sound and had great stamina and physical ability. So why should I take the opinion of some structure expert that my dog shouldn't be a good worker based on her breed-ring worthiness when I see evidence of her superior physical abilities every time I work her? It sure doesn't give me a lot of confidence in their prounouncements of what is good working structure.

  8. I wouldn't judge your experience with obedience training by a PetSmart class. I know there are some good PetSmart trainers out there (mainly when they've hired people who already had a background in it) but a lot of them also have no experience and from what I've heard learn off a video or something. Plus I've seen the places they hold those classes, closely confined areas and not good footing, it just does not seem to look like a good experience for the dogs. Look up dog training clubs in your area, they often will have knoweledgeable trainers (competing and training with their own dogs).


    I also wouldn't judge his interest in herding from spectating. One of my dogs shows no interest from the other side of the fence, but is incredibly intense when we actually get in there with them. Also, for many dogs, if they've haven't seen stock before, it's such an intense experience for them that they don't know how to deal with it so will just pretend not to see them at first. You can really only judge his aptitude for herding by taking him to a good trainer a few times and letting him get a feel for it. I agree with Sue R, if he doesn't really have much aptitude and you probably won't get too serious about it, it isn't really fair to the sheep to do it just for fun (meaning the dog never really gets anywhere much beyond the yeehaw! stage with it and it turns into a weekly outing to chase sheep). There are plenty of people I know who got into it very seriously (to the point of buying sheep and even going to nursery finals) initially just as 'something to do' with their dog. You just never know how bitten by the bug you'll get and depending on your dog's breeding, he may have a talent for it which you'll get great enjoyment out of developing.


    For agility I'd give it more than one class - it takes some time to learn the equipment, and it's the next step, delevoping the handling skills and learning the course analysis and actually running sequences, where it gets very interesting in my opinion. You won't necessarily get a feel for that out of a 6 or 8 week beginner class, and actually many of the better classes will want to put a good foundation on the dog and you may not even see that much equipment in the first class or two. You should also go to some agility trials and watch, you can see how much the dogs and people enjoy it and what the atmosphere would be like if you decide to get into competition.


    I personally have never cared for flyball but that's just me. I don't know of anyone who does it just for fun in a class - it's all about the competititions and you'd be on a team which can get into a lot of politics from what I've seen. Mainly for me I don't get enough handler involvement - the dogs love it, but it has more to do with racing out to a ball than it does with me and the handler's primary role is letting go at the right time. Go ahead and try it, and go to some competitions.


    Something to do with your dog will have as much to do with what personally appeals to you and also the environment and the people involved as it does with what your dog might enjoy. Most dogs will enjoy any of the various sport activities if taught correcty.

  9. P.S. FWIW my understanding is that EIC and BCC are likely *not* interchangeable syndromes. The EIC found in Labradors is evidently a musculo-skeletal issue, whereas the hunch anyway with BCC is that it involves something more anxiety-pathway related. Sorry if this butchers it altogether, maybe someone can correct me/clarify this.



    I was reading quite a bit on line a while back about the lab EIC syndrome. They had found the gene and determined the cause was actually neurological. The gene they found codes for a protein needed in the formation of the vesicles that are created to transport neurotransmittes acros the space between neurons (passing the nerve signal along). If that gene is defective, and a high demand is put in the dog's neurological pathway (lots of stimulus and activity = lots of neurons firing) the vesicle formation can't keep up with the demand and the neural signals simply aren't all getting through. I found mention that the condition did seem to get worse when the body was hot but didn't find an explanation for the mechanism of why that would be the case. They know so far that the border collie condition is not the same gene, but it's always possible it could be the same process breaking down just in a different place or due to a different protein important to that process. My first border collie had this problem.



  10. I think this is a very important distinction.


    There are a number of dogs that may never win a trial, but they have still demonstrated their ability to do quality work on varying courses and stock, under different conditions.


    The sports mantra of "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing" does not apply to sheepdog trials - or, if that's a handler's point of view, I think they don't have their priorities right. A win is great - a good run or a dog demonstrating good work is most important.


    Good point there. The trials do often influence breeding and dog purchase decision (and the purchase decisions in turn can influence who is getting bred as well) regardless of who actually won or not. I bought my last two based on what I saw at trials. In one case it was a bitch whose work I liked and I found afterwards she had just been bred. I think she did win that day but that wasn't why I got a pup out of her; I just liked how she worked. In the other case, I really liked how a dog worked and when I inquired where he was from I was told his breeding had just been repeated for a third time, so I ended up getting a pup from that breeding. I don't think that dog I saw won, or at least, I never bothered to even check; again, I just liked how he worked. Now I've trialed that pup only once (she is only 19 months right now, first trial was at 17 months) and she didn't win, but I still got a number of people asking me where she was from because apparently they saw some qualities in her they liked (imperfect 'baby dog' work and all). So trialing is more than a mere competition - it's a great showcase of the dogs and the first place I'd go if I was looking for what line to buy a dog from, to just watch and see what I liked. I don't base it on who wins - there are sometimes dogs who place very high but I just don't care for them, and then others will make a mistake somewhere or not be handled well, but you can still see it's a good dog. This is why it's important that certain elements are always kept in the trialing and difficulty is at a good level, so you really get a chance to see who the good dogs are.

  11. I would put stockdog trials in the same category as lumberjack competitions, firefighter competitions, sled dog races, etc. All are based upon skills that were/are used in a job but were crafted to test the skills of the competitors on the same playing field.


    I think of sports as something where there is no career analogy where the skill set is not used for any job. For example, hitting a golf ball into a small hole in a green is not used in any job (except for golf pros).


    Totally agree. It IS a competition, but one with a bigger purpose beyond mere sport. There are outside influences shaping what the sport is and constraining how much you can change certain things without losing the point. This is unlike other true sports where it's all pretty arbitrary, and in the end its only true value is in terms of entertainment and recreation.

  12. Years ago one might of heard.....


    "The Cuyahoga is so poluted it's on fire; that's reality. Get over it; move on."

    "The Peregrine Falcon and Bald Eagle are going extinct (because of DDT); that's reality. Get over it; move on."


    We're fortunate that people chose not to accept "reality".


    Very true. Although I don't think that 'accept the reality' necessarily has to mean 'give up and move on and do nothing'. It may just mean accept reality so you tackle the problem from a different direction. I guess I've accepted the reality of sport bred dogs (note I said 'dogs' not necessarily border collies) to the point where I can't realistically see any way that it will ever be prevented or stopped. The real question for me is that given the fact that dog sports are here to stay and that there will always be individuals trying to capitalize on that by breeding specifically for that market, what can the working border collie world do to preserve this unique dog in spite of that reality?

  13. Welcome to the boards :-)


    To answer your question - breeding for stockwork for so many generations is what made the border collie what it is today. Then along came dog sports, and it was discovered that these border collies far surpassed other breeds in drive, focus, work ethic, and athletic ability, to the point where they dominated many of the dog sports pretty quickly. So I would take that as evidence that yes, a working bred dog should have the traits needed to be a good sport dog, as a by product of it's being bred for work.


    On the flip side, breeding for sports values many of those same factors (drive, focus, etc), but the stock sense and talent is absent, not part of the breeding equation. I believe it is the stockwork that keeps all those other traits in balance - you need drive but you need self control and the ability to think clearly even in very high excitement situations, you need a strong desire to work but you still need biddability and the desire to yield to the handler, you need focus, but not obsessive focus to where the dog becomes neurotic. You need lots of stamina to work, but also a dog who can settle when there's no work to be done. A GOOD border collie is a balance of a lot of pretty extreme traits, and I think it's the hard selective pressure of the work they were bred to do that has kept all those things in balance. As an example, take a look at show ring bred border collies. They have very different drive and work ethic, and it's interesting that you do not see that many of the 'show' type in dog sports these days.


    Now I won't say that if you go to a sport breeder you won't find a nice dog for whatever is your sport of choice. You probably will. Not necessarily a better dog than you would have got from working lines, but I imagine they would be good at whatever sport they were bred for. But I believe as time goes on you're going to see the sport bred dogs branch off and become a different type of dog - that balance created by the stockwork will be missing, certain things emphasized, others diminished. Why mess with perfection? This whole sport thing has only been going on for a pretty short time in the grand scheme of things, so the changes may not be that evident yet. If you want to contribute to preserving this marvelous and unique breed of dog for what it was meant to be, then it's better to support the working breeders, and you will still get a nice dog too.

  14. Would a puppy buyer be willing to pay for this test prior to purchasing a pup from a working breeder or would they expect the working breeder to test for this?


    If a working breeder starts testing for everything (like some non-working buyers want) is that breeder breeding for the working market (or working ability) or for these other markets (this would be especially true for a test specific for jumping)?


    Are you not now getting into that slippery slope of breeding for something other than work when you start adding in choices that will impact the marketability of your pups to these other markets?


    The slippery slope

    If I test for ETS I can inform sports buyers on the possible future of my pups in agility.

    If the sire I am looking at is affected by ETS I know I will loose that market for my pups. I wonder if I should select a different sire?



    I think that is up to each breeder's integrity and how each breeders weighs breeding choices. Breeding choices and testing choices may not be the same thing (do you breed based on test results, or do you breed based on work and then just add on the testing to make some of the buyers happy). I think most buyers would expect the breeder to pay to test the parents, but then on the flip side, agility people are used to paying more for a dog so those costs could probably be passed on.


    If the breeding is done with the intent to market agility pups then it probably is already in trouble as there probably are other compromises already being made.


    If you really like a particular breeding from a WORK perspective, but know the cross might produce some percentage of ETS-affected dogs, then you are no worse off (from an agility marketing perspective) than not doing the test at all; buyers will shy away from an unknown potential of a problem just about as much as a known problem. If you are really dedicated to breeding for work but know the cross that you think will produce terrific working dogs may produce affected pups, then you'll just resign yourself to the fact that you may need to work a little harder to place any leftover pups that don't go to working homes. They can just as easily go to a pet home, flyball home, or obedience home, or maybe you keep them and get a bit of training on them and sell them as older dogs. I think that is the choice most breeders here would make, to just do what is right for the work. The better the cross is from a working perspective probably the higher chance they'll all go to working homes anyway.


    I'm not advocating such a test as being necessarily useful or feasible to develop - just saying if such a thing came about and they actually got a good test out of it, it may not necessarily be all bad and work only in one direction to encourage more breeding for agility. It could actually in a round about way be beneficial to working dogs. Once it becomes commonly accepted in the agility community that this ETS syndrome is out there, that it can't be identified without putting the dog through advanced agility training, and that it sneaks up on a young prospect and shatters people's hopes for a promising young dog, such a thing is going to cause more people to avoid the working lines because they have no assurance one way or another about any jumping issues in those dogs. So bringing ETS to the attention of the agility buying community can have a bad effect on working bred dogs and cause an increase in breeding of dogs for agility as the market for 'proven' dogs will increase. Having the test could put things on more even footing to where there is at least a way to prove that a non-agility dog doesn't have the problem, for those breeders who choose to do so. Those who don't sell much to agility homes probably won't bother. Those who do rely on the agility homes to allow them to breed more often may want to consider the test.


    It is also that same old arguement (and I don't know that there is an easy answer) - that many would prefer if all border collie buyers came to working breeders for their dogs and they were never bred for any other purpose (my ideal world), but then on the other hand, those other buyers want all these tests and if you do all these tests are you falling down that slippery slope of breeding for other things than work by trying to satisfy the needs of non-working buyers? Yet if you refuse to do those tests to satisfy those other buyers, then they still want a dog and they'll find one elsewhere, which creates more of a market for sport-bred dogs from breeders who will play that markeing game and test for everything while breeding away from working ability. I guess that is a question each breeder has to struggle with. I certainly can see both sides of it, and if there was a test for something only related to agility, I'm sure that there would SOME breeders who might change SOME of their breeding choices as a result - trying to decide between Sire A and Sire B (both good dogs) and finally choose Sire B because Sire A is an ETS carrier or affected. Maybe no harm done if both dogs are otherwise equally good. But what if Sire A is the outstanding work dog and Sire B somewhat more mediocre? Maybe some will still choose Sire B because he is 'good enough'. Maybe others will go look for Sire C who may or may not be as good as Sire A. I can certainly see the potential for harm from those types of decisions. I guess the question is weighing that against the harm caused by other ways of doing it (not doing the test, not selling to non-working homes and maybe breeding less as a result, etc). Like I said, I don't know the answer, I think it is just alot more complicated than saying a test geared towards agility dogs is automatically going to encourage an increase in the breeding of agility dogs.

  15. Here are a few questions for you to answer for yourself. I do not expect or want your answers posted here but I would like to consider them.


    Do you want the working instincts preserved in Border Collies as a breed (or care if they are preserved)?


    Can these instincts be preserved by breeding for other pursuits other than working livestock?


    Do you want the genetic diversity (i.e. coefficient of inbreeding) preserved within the gene pool of those dogs with the working instincts?


    How will the increasing percentage of Border Collies bred for other pursuits, within the total population of the breed, impact the ability to preserve the genetic diversity of those dogs with the working instincts?


    As more Border Collies are bred for other pursuits will the ever increasing numbers of those pups impact the ability of working breeders to find homes for all their pups thereby impacting their willingness to breed (or at the extreme leave them with unwanted pups)?


    I totally agree with you. I have seen it first hand. Agility is really big in my area and people deciding to breed their agility dogs to each other is running rampant here. Also there are some big name sports breeders who sell agility bred dogs for premium prices and I have seen several in my area flock to those people for puppies, then later decide to breed them. And I have seen quite a few of those dogs on sheep. Some of them aren't even interested. Most of those who are interested don't have much ability to do anything with them. There are a few that are okay, but not outstanding. There are some agility breeders who keep going back to working dogs for their breeding stock, but their breeding decisions aren't based on how well the dog works stock so even though those dogs in the first generation could actually be trained to be decent stockdogs, it will only end up going downhill eventually. It is actually hurting border collies to have these few who DO work well because it just makes everyone think breeding for agility is okay and you really can have both things.


    However, the original intent of the thread I guess was debating the usefulness of a genetic test for a syndrome that is not very well defined. I don't agree with breeding border collies for agility, but that doesn't mean that I can't have an opinion on the technical merits of trying to develop genetic screening for something that is so likely to be misdiagnosed. I think saying that we shouldn't bother with the test because it has technical issues is going to make more sense to some people than to say we shouldn't bother with the test becuase we don't agree with what it would be used for (breeding agility dogs) when the person we're talking to doesn't share our views in that regard. Whether or not the activity that the test will be used for (breeding agility dogs) is something we think should even be done is a separate issue from discussing the technical merits of the test itself.


    Don't forget that many breeds other than border collies show this syndrome (I think I read somewhere earlier in these posts that it is actually most common in shelties?). And if the test did have merit, and people came to working breeders for their agility dogs (which we're saying they should do rather than breeding them themselves) then they would want that test since the parents would never have had to demonstrate their ability to be good jumpers so there would be no other way to know they were avoiding this problem. So maybe if this test was any good and actually got developed, having it would make it easier for people to buy from working breeders since they wouldn't be worried that the working lines might have ETS hidden in them and no way to tell since the dogs are not required to jump. The few people I do know who get agility dogs from working lines still want all the tests (hip check, eye test, etc) and the lack of these tests actually steers them away from working breeders and to the sports breeders who will run every test known to man. I do know a couple people who started off looking at working lines, got frustrated with the lack of testing, and convinced they would get a puppy with health problems without those tests, so ended up buying from sports breeders who could provide health clearances up the wazoo. So if this is a real syndrome that can be tested for genetically, having this test goes both ways - it allows people to breed agility dogs, yes, but it also might provide more assurance against bad jumping from working lines and help sway some people to buy working bred instead of from sport breeders.


    And bottom line is people will continue to breed agility dogs whether or not there are tests available that make it easier to do it successfully. I let people know my views on this every chance I get, but the thing is that most of them see all these very successful agility-bred dogs around and their answer to your first question about preserving working instinct would be that they don't really care one way or another, and they would rather buy a puppy from parents proven to be good agility dogs than risk an unknown by buying a puppy from working stockdog parents. A bunch of words and talking at them won't change that. The only thing that would change their view point would be if they got involved in real workings dogs and came to value those qualities, and that is highly unlikely that many would get involved to that point when they already put so much focus and time on another activity.

  16. Hi Diana,


    If you are interested in more information, Linda Mecklenburg posted a response to the exact thoughts that you are expressing, on the Clean Run yahoo list.


    I can't copy her post here because that is against the rules of that forum, but if are interested in what she has to say on this, check out Post #46461 on that list.


    Based on your comments, I think you would find that particular post informative. It does contain information that is not included in the magazine article.


    I guess my issue isn't so much with the work Linda has done with particular dogs to say THOSE dogs have an issue. My concern is once they start a genetic screening process to identify the gene, they ask for A LOT of samples from people, and you're going to get loads of people 'self-diagnosing' their dog as ETS who proabably are not going to be nearly as thorough about determing the real issue. That seems to me it would clutter the information to the point of being practically useless.

  17. No. The main objection is to making a statement that ETS is a genetic condition and advising people to stop breeding based on that when there is no evidence from any real study indicating that this is even a real condition and not a behavioral anomaly in some high performance Agility dogs.


    Again, if it were just up to me, I'd tell Agility people that breeding Border Collies for any Agility trait would produce defective dogs that will be no good for agility. But, that would be wrong of me because I have no empirical evidence that it is true.


    There is NO empirical evidence that removing dogs with "ETS" (quotes are deliberate) will prevent future dogs from developing ETS.


    Study it all you want. Set up the ETS Foundation to fund it. Don't tell people to spay and neuter their affected dogs until actual studies are done showing it's a heritable condition.



    If the agility community follows the principle of 'breed for the work' (and I'm using agility as the 'work' in this case) then these affected dogs are probably weeded out anyway. Not necesarily purposefully eliminated, and not necessarily with any judgement of it being genetic or not. But if you have a good working agility bitch you want to breed, who are you going to breed to? The good working national/world team champion who has proven again and again he can 'do the job', or the dog at the local trials who 'might' be good, but gee, we really can't know for sure because he has that horrible jumping problem? Is it all that different in working border collies - if you have one dog out there trialing successfully or demonstrating outstanding work on the farm, and another who always runs up the middle and chases the sheep, which dog would you breed to? You may say the sheep chaser should be really good based on pedigree or whatever and blame his trainer, but since he never has actually proven himself through his work, how many would take that chance when there are so many other good breeding prospects out there? If they can't do the work, they can't do the work - does it really matter in the end if it's a mental thing, a physical thing, or even a training thing? If a trainer trains 10 dogs and one has some problem that is based on training and the others don't, that might still point to something in the dog not quite right (less talent, less biddable, less physically capable of doing as requested easily, not as smart, etc).


    From my persective, far too few people actually systematically train jumping, and jumping problems are very hard to fix. Taking off early is a typical manifestation of a dog who is very excited and doesn't want to slow down or shorten stride so as to adjust striding for a closer more apropriate take off. So the fact that there are dogs who take off early and who may appear to be 'unfixable' does not in itself convince me it's a genetic thing (unless you count over-excitement as the genetic issue), any more than the large number of dogs I see how won't hit contacts or hold a startline at a trial convince me lack of a startline stay is a genetic issue (the owners of many of these dogs would say they have tried EVERYTHING and these problems are unfixable). I'm not saying it doesn't exist, just that I think it's hard to prove it exists in any given case. So I was really surprised to hear of a genetic study. I think unless someone is spending a lot of money to put all these affected dogs through a rigourous professional jump re-training program to determine if it really is unfixable by training, there is no good way to diagnose the problem and therefore any genetic test results would be unreliable. That being said, if I was out to buy an agility dog, I would be unlikely to take a puppy from parents with a bad jumping problem. I have seen families of dogs with similar jumping issues, also families of dogs who were very fluid jumpers. I have no idea if they're good or bad due to eye sight, or some special 'jumping' gene, or if it's just a different personality or different structure. I really wouldn't care. If a line tend to produce something I don't like I steer clear, even if I don't fully understand the exact mechanism behind the bad effect.

  18. I really like this^^ a "harder" temperament doesn't really mean a harder dog to work with - BCs have been bred to work with and please you. They're just going to keep you on your toes a little more and most likely be a much more versatile dog as they mature.


    That is very true - it's more than a matter of hard vs soft. I try to look for biddability in the parents when I look at choosing a breeding to get a puppy from. I've learend that matters a lot more than hard vs soft temperament.


    My OTCH dog, Simon, was hard as nails. I swear sometimes that dog had no pain nerves whatsoever and no emotional sensitivity at all. He used to slide into the wall picking up his dumbbell and that never stopped him from just doing it again the next time and he had very little regard for his body. I never could get him to do something or not do something by way of him wanting to avoid a physical correction. But if I showed him what I wanted, he'd turn himself inside out to do it for me. If he hadn't been so biddable he would have been impossible to work with because he pretty much did what he wanted and don't anyone get in his way! Lucky for me the thing he wanted most in life was to do what I wanted. He was an awesome dog and placed at several obedience tournaments and earned his OTCH in a highly competetive part of the country against some top dogs. And he was absolutely the easiest puppy I've ever raised - I honestly can't remember him ever doing anything wrong.


    Now another dog I had was much more independent minded and extremely soft - opposite of Simon. I found that much harder to work with because she wanted to do her own thing a lot of the time, but if I pressured her too much to do what I wanted, she'd quit, or sulk, or get freaked out and run and hide (and I'm talking about something like a stern 'no' with a meaningful look in the eye - not even anything physical). She was an awesome agility dog because she really wanted to do it (had a lot of natural talent too) so I could control things by just not letting her play the game until she did what I wanted, but she wasn't as good of an obedience dog because she mainly wanted to do things for herself, not for me. The softness just got in the way of me being able to train effectively. I worked her on sheep as well and finally gave it up - she did okay just doing stuff she liked, like fetching sheep, but the second you started pushing her outside her comfort zone, forget it, she'd get all worried and not even try.


    My ideal dog, given a choice, would be medium to hard temperament, but extremely biddable.


    This puppy sounds like a really tough one to me. I have had many that were much easier than what you're describing. I wouldn't give up on getting a puppy, just ask a lot of questions about what the parents are like, and older siblings or half-siblings, so you get an idea of what you're in for.

  19. I am just pitching this out there as fodder to chew on. The American Quarter Horse has gone through similar issues. This is what has come from it as a result. Just a thought.....




    That is interesting - a certification as 'foundation stock' of the 'true type' on top of the regular registration. Obviously ABCA wouldn't base it entirely on pedigree or markings like the quarter horse appears to do, but some type of work standard. I also think they have an interesting idea in sponsoring activities that are only open to horses with this certification. Maybe ABCA in conjuncion with USBCHA could sponsor some type of additional competition of a very high level (international style, etc) open only to dogs wtih this certification, which would give more of an incentive for people to get their dogs certified.

  20. I don't know too many people that rely on a pedigree alone for their breeding practice. It's the work and has been and is why the breed is what it is.


    I'm not a breeder, so can't speak to that - but do breeders of quality dogs honestly just look at those dogs and never at what's behind them? I would think that would be important. It's not always just about what the parents have, you can have a lot of 'hidden' stuff come up from previous generations, both good and bad, that needs to be balanced out in the breeding decision.

  21. One generation peds would in essence force the split. It would stop those within ACK from using the ABCA papers for advertising "working" bred pups, they'd not have any. It would stop the influx from ABCA to ACK as well. Since pups are registered from the breeder I am not sure how much revenue would be lost. Sport buyers would have to go elsewhere (which they already do for the most part) but it would cause a clear and distinct split. It would only effect ACK, not USDAA sports as they are not paper driven.


    Does this mean, though, that no one buying an ABCA registered dog would have access to its pedigree information? What about the perfectly legitimate farmer/trialer, etc who may want to breed and needs the pedigree information to make good breeding choices? If it doesn't come with papers, there would need to be some way of requesting it later for those who need it for legitimate reasons. But if people start going to ABCA requesting pedigrees after the fact, who in ABCA is going to determine who to refuse pedigrees to? They really wouldn't have any way of verifying what the person wants it for.

  22. Though most, if not all of the general population know that border collies=work sheep. If a new registry were to open up and all the real working dogs were going there to be registered and it was refusing all the AKC and sport breds he will wonder why his potential new pup, that's suppose to be able to work sheep [because hey! it's a black and white, it should be able], can't be registered. People do want the authentic thing, be it for greedyness or material value.


    I think they think that in the same way as owners of shelties or collies think they work sheep - as sort of a historic novelty, but not something to be concerned about these days. And most people will just take whatever papers the breeder gives them, if they bought the dog as a pet or an agility dog they won't be looking to get into a working registry so they'll never be told their dog doesn't cut it for that. They'll go get an instinct test certificate or an AKC herding title and think they have a working dog.


    There will be agility dogs regardless - and they will be getting bred, whether they have AKC numbers only or ABCA/AKC or even only ABCA, I think there is very little at this point any registry or individual person can do about that. The demand is there and someone will fill it and people will buy what meets their needs. If there are 5000 agility/flyball,disc dogs this year and 20,000 agility/flyball/disc dog/'new sport of the month' dogs in a couple of years, does it really matter how they're registered? They're still making the image the public sees and still taking up puppy sales that could have gone to working homes and still flooding the market with dogs who can't work but who's owners probably think they can if they can go out and chase a few sheep around in a small pen. And as long as there is open registration, there's nothing to stop someone from buying a couple ABCA dogs and breeding them, then dual registering the puppies (who would then be deregistered) but then go back and breed the parents again, and keep pumping working dog blood into AKC. Or just register the parents, keep all the puppies AKC, and still infuse new ABCA blood every so often by simply buying a new dog and registering with AKC. There is also nothing to stop people from bringing in an ISDS registered dog and registering it AKC. A ban on dual registration doesn't keep working dogs out of AKC or keep them from being bred for other than stock work. And what is left in ABCA after all the AKC dogs are kicked out (which is probably 5% or less of total registered ABCA dogs) still isn't guaranteed to work well or to have been bred for work or to not have been bred for sports (flyball, disc dog, USDAA agility, UKI agility, etc do not require AKC registration so can be bred for within ABCA). I'm not saying I'm opposed to the idea of a ban, just realistically I'm not sure I see it changing things all that much as far as the actual dogs are concerned. I don't even think it will force most people to pick a side - they'll just figure out ways around the system to still get what they want and breed how they want to get the dogs they want.

  23. From a previous post:

    "Make ability of dogs/parents on stock the single most important requirement for registration, to prevent this from happening again, and let the conformation, sport and "versatility" dogs evolve as they like."


    I like this idea - if we could ever come up with a way to implement it. I know it has come up before, with all the issues of how do you test for it, and is that too much like a title, and what about the dogs working the farm who don't trial and couldn't afford to travel to a test (or not enough manpower and money to send someone to the farm dogs). Otherwise it would be a great idea - a registry that actually means a dog can work - get one from that registry and you know exactly what you have. None of the current registries can say that - it's all one big mishmash, even if some are weighted more one way than the other.



    We would still have a lot of dogs running aroung that everyone thought of as border collies that were really, as you say, goldens in a tuxedo. Splitting registries, either a new working registry or banning dual registration, won't change the fact that border collies are immensely popular and people are going to continue to breed them for sports and that's what the general public is going to see. I really don't know what you do about that. John Q Public isn't going to ask how the dog is registered and then when told it's an AKC dog think "Oh, it's one of those fake border collies". They're all the same to him.



    One thing I thought with regard to the name change. The border collie might be better off to keep the same name on both sides even if the split develops. Think back to when the 'lassie' collie was once a border collie. What if we had continued to call them all 'collie's? Then when AKC took over 'their' version of the collie, they would eventually have looked at the working version and just said, "well those are just more collies, and pretty ugly ones at that, what do we want with them" and left them alone. Anyone could have ILP'd and neutered a working version collie into AKC for sports if they wanted, but they never would have been in the miscellaneous class and eventually forced to become an AKC breed, and they eventually became so different in every aspect that no one on earth would confuse the two. Keeping the same name may be a bit of a protection, since you can't take over what you already think you have.

  24. Dear Doggers,


    With 4 Border Collies in the house we are not too fastidious. I am familiar with modest "Baps" as dogs leap to the couch and the "hiss" as sleeping dogs pass gas.


    But my new five year old bitch has more gas than the Hindenburg. It isn't mere methane; she flavors hers with essence of poultry litter and eau de Bombay sewer.


    It is winter. Our screens are in the attic and our doors closed against blowing snow. We are entirely at her mercy.


    Like our other dogs, she eats Exclusive lamb and rice and sometimes a few scraps from last night's human dinner.


    I won't start smoking again or prepare a raw diet but other suggestions are welcome. Its hard to eat in a gas mask.


    Donald McCaig


    Try a different food - I have heard many times before someone has a bunch of dogs and just one or two will react badly to a particular food but be fine on something similar - either different flavor from the same manufacturer or same flavor/protein type from another manufacturer. If it's a grain issue, there are plenty of foods out there with no grain. I have one dog who used to get real gassy on anything with chicken but does well on fish based food.

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