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Perhaps my case is unique. I certainly do not think that shoddy training or breeding is the norm, nor did I mean to imply that it was.

 

I am not advocating training certification, Eileen. I do not think that is the answer, either. But what I am saying is that if truly interested in educating the public about working border collies (whether or not one wants to increase the size of the community), one can not let the most visible, top people go out to the public and recruit new people using the USBCHA or ABCA names, then use training or breeding practices unbecoming of the working border collie community. What is unbecoming, decide for yourselves.

 

All I am suggesting is that rather than looking how to solve the problem by preventing the other side from advancing, the working border collie community should look at itself first. What exactly is the goal? Then look within to make sure that everything within its own control is being covered as it should be. If not, deal with it appropriately - do not turn a blind eye because everyone should be in charge of their own reputation and choices.

 

To me- a newcomer - that is what I would suggest.

 

Karrin

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I am not advocating training certification, Eileen. I do not think that is the answer, either. But what I am saying is that if truly interested in educating the public about working border collies (whether or not one wants to increase the size of the community), one can not let the most visible, top people go out to the public and recruit new people using the USBCHA or ABCA names, then use training or breeding practices unbecoming of the working border collie community. What is unbecoming, decide for yourselves.

 

How exactly are we supposed to "not let" someone use the USBCHA name while training in a way we don't like? Get together and forbid her from competing in HA-sanctioned trials? Punish her for telling potential trainees that she's won HA trials, or otherwise mentioning the USBCHA name? Tell her what training methods she can and cannot use? Expel her from membership? I'm sorry, I realize you think you're giving good advice here, but for me it doesn't compute at all. I guess all I can say is that this will never happen, because I don't think there's a single person in the USBCHA who wants to regulate people to this extent, because for better or worse that's not the kind of organization we are or want to be. HA members will, however, give you their candid opinion if you ask about the merits of another member's training methods, as you have seen here on the Boards.

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Dear Wouldbe Sheepdoggers,

 

Ms Karrin writes,

 

"Mr. McCaig, with all due respect, I think that on this you are wrong. It is very easy to be idealistic if you are someone like you, who is well-known, and knows who's who. For someone new and interested, it is not so simple.

 

You know who is good, because you are part of the small, word of mouth crowd. The general public is not, so we have very few signals to point us in the proper direction if we are willful enough to search. I think that usually, stockdog training is the first point of contact for the general public."

 

I have some sympathy. I can remember all too well how the Big Hats would fall silent when I approached their conversation. Just as you must, I earned the right to join that conversation. Not with words; with dogs.

 

I doubt that any highly skilled profession makes it easy to sign on with the best mentors. The best mentors don't advertise; they've got more students than they want already.

 

Last week, a talented handler was laughing about her first mentors - not those she or I would choose today. She survived. She got good. She whips me (and them) regularly.

 

Withal the good advice found here and on other sheepdog lists, despite the tremendous increase in trial numbers and capable handlers, there is no swift or easy way to become an accomplished sheepdog handler. Handling/Training/Trialing your sheepdog is beautifully difficult.

 

Be helpful and (if you can) be cheerful: work the sheep pens, help with entries, directing parking, setting up and tearing down. Train your dog. Work your dog. Learn your dog.

 

Donald McCaig

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I am sorry that you do not see the value in what I am suggesting. I thought that I saw a USBCHA or ABCA bylaw once that discussed member conduct, but as someone who is not a member of any of the discussed organizations, I do not know how they operate.

 

It seems as though my suggestions are far too simplistic. There are obviously many factors here of which I am unaware, and it is true that others are far more informed than I. It is also probably not at all appropriate for me to make any suggestions as someone who knows very little about the situation. I do wish all the best, and hope that the working community finds an answer to the issues discussed!

 

Karrin

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Karrin,

I understand where you're coming from, but I think it would be hard to regulate. I think we have to hope that people like you will recognize when things don't seem quite right and ask questions of others. That's not the ideal scenario, but it is probably the best we have at the moment.

 

I think if an interested person can attend trials and *meet people* they will have a much better chance of seeing how things *should be* and maybe have a basis on which to make a comparison when they do find a trainer.

 

There is some murkiness between "us" and "them"because there are good handlers and trainers who do train and judge in other venues. While I personally don't agree with doing that, I can't really justify denying those folks their livings. And I guess some part of me hopes that maybe by crossing over they will raise the standard (at least of training, if not trialing) among those folks.

 

As far as mentoring goes, I try to do my part with the people I come in direct contact with. I have a student coming now with a nicely bred young dog. Training a green handler to train a green dog is tricky, but it can be done. But more important, I'm also teaching this student about sheep care and maintenance. He got to see a lamb being born yesterday and has helped with with vaccinating and banding. (And he and another student came and helped with shearing, learning to flip sheep, skirt fleeces, and so on--all the other stuff that goes into this besides the dog work, though we used dogs for moving the sheep, etc.) This is not strictly dog training, but I'm a firm believer that if one truly wants to work dogs to a high standard, they also need to understand and care about livestock. So he's getting some of all of it. This particular person was going to someone else, and his experience was similar to yours. He was walking his dog behind the sheep on a line while the "trainer" lured them with a bucket of grain. :rolleyes:

 

He then went to an open sheepdog trial and saw the vast difference between where he was and what he was doing with that trainer and where he wanted to go (to do what he was seeing at that trial) and so he started asking questions and was directed to me.

 

This is one of the reasons I always recommend that folks go to trials and talk to people directly. It's the *best* way to find good mentors and get the best start. I wasn't even at the trial he attended, but a couple of folks who know me told him to contact me. Word of mouth will always be the best advertising we have, for better or worse.

 

Sorry this is a bit of a tangent, but I just wanted to point out that we really do rely on people doing the research and asking questions. I don't see how that can be changed.

 

I do like Brad's idea of a website with general information that would maybe come out on or near the top of an Internet search, and I will be happy to help make sure that such a website has accurate and good information.

 

J.

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HA members will, however, give you their candid opinion if you ask about the merits of another member's training methods, as you have seen here on the Boards.

 

Maybe on the web page give info on the difference between AKC and USBCHA training. Have an articles on how dogs are started (so "newbies" have a clue), info on where to go to get more info (this web site, training articles, etc). Have the DVD they are making at the finals up on the site so they can watch it.

 

Mail out "info" when new people register their dog with ABCA WHY they shouldn't register with AKC.

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I actually think that's one of the main problems we are having.

 

I DON'T think a lot of people that have registered their dogs AKC ... care about the registry. They want to do all the "fun" things AKC provides. So, I don't think AKC "wins" because they are that great a registry but because they give titles, have little "play" trials (that are SO much easier to do that USBCHA), agility, etc. ... THAT'S why they end up with ABCA dogs.

 

I've had people tell me ... well, I wanted to agility or whatever. I say register ILP (or whatever that's called) but don't give them the Border Collie breed.

 

Does anyone know what percentage of people who register AKC maintain their ABCA registration on the pups once the parents are AKC dogs? I'm just wondering if, to some extent, the AKC people take themselves out of the ABCA gene pool voluntarily, simply because they don't see any value in maintaining ABCA registration. Once they have two parents who are AKC, and if they're selling mainly to an AKC/sport market, what do they gain from dual-registering what they produce? It seems that would have the same effect as the dog being spayed/neutered and registered through ILP to do dog sports; its offspring are effectively removed from the ABCA gene pool. Is that anything that ABCA has a way of tracking? Is the issue that ABCA is losing dogs to AKC, or that AKC dogs are infiltrating the ABCA gene pool (and to what extent is each of those happening - and which one will cause the most harm?)

 

I have another breed besides border collies, and that breed has no registry options except AKC, so I'm familiar with AKC and the people who register AKC (I am not a breeder and only buy working-bred even for my non-border collie breed, I wouldn't touch a conformation bred dog with a 10ft pole). Those I personally know who breed the sport dogs have not kept ABCA registration. They want to breed their hot agility dog to the current hot agility stud dog who is winning in agility, or winning in flyball, or whatever the sport is. They aren't going to want to go breed to an ABCA stud who hasn't proven itself in their sport of choice. Also it's not just AKC that's the issue. There are breeders who are breeding border collies to almost puppy mill proportions to produce flyball dogs (not a sport recognized by AKC). There are also plenty of non-AKC agility organizations out there, and people breeding border collies for sport dogs even outside of AKC.

 

I'm hearing a lot of conflicting sub topics here. One side is saying encourage the sport buyers to buy from true working lines. But those sport buyers will need to register AKC if they're going to use the dog for AKC sports so you can't both encourage sports-oriented owners to buy working, but then sell pups with a 'no AKC' clause. One side is saying don't limit the gene pool, but if you sell working dogs to sport people who register with AKC and then pull the papers due to dual registration, you've lost a good working-bred dog from the ABCA gene pool.

 

I like the idea of the dog having to somehow prove itself on stock to get pink or blue or whatever color papers in ABCA. It sounds like it would be tricky to actually implement, but if it were implemented, would that remove the threat from dual registration? After all, if someone bought a dog, registered it AKC, but then still trialed in USBCHA and won Open points or did whatever else was determined to make the dog worthy of the colored papers, wouldn't that dog deserve to stay in the ABCA registry and continue to register its offspring in ABCA, despite the AKC registration? AKC registration is bad because it's a strong indication that any breedings of that dog are probably not being done for the right reasons and will put a lot of sub-par dogs into the registry. But if the dog proves it can work to a high standard, and is bred to another dog who can work to a high standard, then doesn't that demonstrate the dog is being bred for the right reasons regardless of how it's registered elsewhere? I do know people who register AKC or at least allow their pups to be registered AKC to increase marketability of the pups, but they breed for good working dogs and trial their dogs in Open.

 

Maybe make it so all dogs get whatever normal colored papers are, but if they register AKC, their pups get papers indicating possibly sub-par genetics, and those papers can be exchanged for the normal color if the owner cares enough to prove the dog is a good working dog. This way those owners of real working dogs who never mess with AKC to begin with don't have to do anything to keep the 'good colored' papers, and those who register AKC and never work their dog on stock can only produce pups who would carry the stigma of the 'wrong color' papers, but those who may register AKC but do have a good dog and care enough to prove it can upgrade to the 'good color' papers and keep a good dog in the gene pool. I guess I see it as we're pretty much stuck with AKC at this point, so we need to look at what is the real threat of AKC to the working gene pool (dogs of unknown working ability being bred), and how can you weed out those detrimental dogs without losing any of the good ones?

 

Diana

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Dear Wouldbe Sheepdoggers,

 

Julie wrote (in part): "there are good handlers and trainers who do train and judge in other venues. While I personally don't agree with doing that, I can't really justify denying those folks their livings. And I guess some part of me hopes that maybe by crossing over they will raise the standard (at least of training, if not trialing) among those folks."

 

I know the crossover trainers Julie mentioned and while, like her I wouldn't do it, I'd bet more than fifty percent of Virginia's novice sheepdog handlers started with those folks. Not many novices - even those who started with Border Collies - come from AKC (only) "Herding" instructors. Most AKC (only) "Herding" instructors have never run in an open trial and I suspect some have never seen one.

 

These crossover trainers are missionaries.

 

Donald McCaig

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Maybe on the web page give info on the difference between AKC and USBCHA training. Have an articles on how dogs are started (so "newbies" have a clue), info on where to go to get more info (this web site, training articles, etc). Have the DVD they are making at the finals up on the site so they can watch it.

 

Mail out "info" when new people register their dog with ABCA WHY they shouldn't register with AKC.

 

Amen to harnessing the potential power of an organization!

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I look back at roughly 20 years of life with Border Collies.

It was a journey. It took time. And I wonder, do we sometimes forget that there was a start for each one of us?

 

What natural tendencies a person has will most likely be shaped in the wonderful and sometimes frustrating process of learning that takes place from the first second something catches our eyes, to the day we quit.

 

From the very first time I set my eyes on a Border Collie named Vic in 1985, through getting my first own dog 6 years later, through my tuning my jobskills, first time working for myself, establishing my own business, loosing my first dog and the two after her, to going to another breed, to trying protection work, learning about ob, dog behavior in general, developing in my business as it changed and grew, though constantly learning new methods in my own training, trying shaping in all forms, taking lessons in different things....the one thing that never got left behind was my dogs and for me, what could best be called, weekend herding.

 

Along this way I have learned from many different folks and had to learn at times that no all where the ones I wanted to follow.

And at some point I made choices. The folks I met did shape me. And if I was able to/fortunate enough to learn - everyone else can and should be able to. So does it all boil down to education? And the fact that in a free part of the world it again all boils down to an individuals choices? And a lot of hoping, praying, crossing fingers (whichever everyone is prone to) that the Working Border Collie will always have a place of employment and that its stewards will be the ones protecting it no matter what is going on in the rest of the world?

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Some of my ancestors ate missionaries. (I am sorry but I had to say that.)

 

(Not the Sicilian side.)

 

someone told me that they would not read my blog now because I don't like the AKC.

 

boo hoo

 

Read Wise Guys and Sheeps on the blog.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

I looked up breeders on the AKC site for my state. there were three. two of the three listed the pedigrees of their dogs. From both registries. One did not list anything.

 

But I guess there are more breeders not listed?

Man, I am naive.

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Is the issue that ABCA is losing dogs to AKC, or that AKC dogs are infiltrating the ABCA gene pool (and to what extent is each of those happening - and which one will cause the most harm?)

 

I think the issue is the blurring of the lines between dogs that are bred in the traditional way, with the sole aim of producing good working dogs, and dogs that are bred for other purposes or multi-purposes. I think we are losing dogs to the AKC, but I wouldn't mind that so much if they stayed gone. (ABCA registrations are down over the last few years, but there's no way of tracking how much that's attributable to pups that were formerly registered with the ABCA now being registered with the AKC only. AKC border collie registrations are increasing each year, but only by small margins.) But for whatever reason lots of people on the sport side apparently want to keep their dual registration, perhaps so they can breed to ABCA dogs and claim "working lines," or perhaps so it can be used as a badge of something it's not really a badge of. It's the ascendancy of this multi-purpose amalgam, Jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-none "Border Collie" that concerns me. It's presented as a working dog, because the sports folks honestly if ignorantly think it is, and it can often be shown "herding" sheep or even winning ribbons, but it's not true to the breed we know.

 

So the issue isn't that ABCA is losing dogs to AKC, and it isn't exactly that AKC dogs are infiltrating the ABCA gene pool. It's that a different kind of dog is being produced, with no readily recognizable and meaningful indications that it IS a different kind of dog. And the workings of genetics are subtle enough, and the evaluation of working ability inexact enough, that I think it could be quite a while before it's generally seen and understood that our breed has suffered irreparable injury.

 

I'm hearing a lot of conflicting sub topics here. One side is saying encourage the sport buyers to buy from true working lines. But those sport buyers will need to register AKC if they're going to use the dog for AKC sports so you can't both encourage sports-oriented owners to buy working, but then sell pups with a 'no AKC' clause.

 

Sure you can. Do sports -- USDAA agility, APDT rally, flyball, etc. -- just don't do AKC sports. Educate people who buy from you about the non-AKC possibilities, and why they should choose them.

 

One side is saying don't limit the gene pool, but if you sell working dogs to sport people who register with AKC and then pull the papers due to dual registration, you've lost a good working-bred dog from the ABCA gene pool.

 

You've lost that dog when the dog goes down the sports road. You haven't necessarily lost those genes, if other dogs carrying them remain in the ABCA gene pool. It's possible to be very concerned about genetic diversity (so that, for example, you wouldn't want to limit breeding only to USBCHA-pointed Open dogs) and still not want to keep each and every dog in the gene pool regardless of whether they are ever trained and tested for work, and/or when you know they are going to be bred without regard to working ability. I think forbidding dual registration or forbidding AKC registration by puppy contract are tremendous educational tools. You explain why it's being done, you impress upon them how important you think it is, and you require them to make a choice. All good things.

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I think the issue is the blurring of the lines between dogs that are bred in the traditional way, with the sole aim of producing good working dogs, and dogs that are bred for other purposes or multi-purposes.

 

OK, I know I'm "beating a dead horse" :@)

 

BUT if papers are given out to dogs that have USBCHA points (I KNOW that's limiting working dogs) are a different color (or something is DIFFERENT) about it ... let's say we call "those papers" Working Border Collies ... they are still registered with ABCA - so they have 2 sets of papers (one they earned and one because they were registered).

 

I think what I'm trying to say is to have a registry within the registry ... So, ABCA doesn't loose the regular "folks" but at the same time they set themselves apart from AKC.

 

Does any of this make sense (I'm trying to "Brain storm" getting ideas out ... so hopefully someone will come up with a solution that won't cost "an arm and a leg" but still HELP what's going on).

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BUT if papers are given out to dogs that have USBCHA points (I KNOW that's limiting working dogs) are a different color (or something is DIFFERENT) about it ... let's say we call "those papers" Working Border Collies ... they are still registered with ABCA - so they have 2 sets of papers (one they earned and one because they were registered).

 

 

I don't mean to be a wet blanket, ok maybe I do.... I think this is going to lead to a bunch of lower requirement sanctioned trials that are set up exclusively to secure "working papers". If this was to be to be done get approval to limit sanctioning to open field ISDS trials including but not limited to minimum outrun and cross drive standards. I don't see that change getting any momentum so the next best, IMO, would be to base papers by linking it into the National Finals or even establish particular trials that meet the standard, I would also like to see a minimum score attained, not just dogs that quailfy. I guess my thought is, if papers are secured based on trial success then it should be done based on the highest of standards.

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Please don't leave out the farm and ranch dogs. I don't know how you would judge them, but they are very important to the breed and there are many great ones out there. They are where the working Border Collie came from.

Glenn

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I don't mean to be a wet blanket, ok maybe I do.... I think this is going to lead to a bunch of lower requirement sanctioned trials that are set up exclusively to secure "working papers". If this was to be to be done get approval to limit sanctioning to open field ISDS trials including but not limited to minimum outrun and cross drive standards. I don't see that change getting any momentum so the next best, IMO, would be to base papers by linking it into the National Finals or even establish particular trials that meet the standard, I would also like to see a minimum score attained, not just dogs that quailfy. I guess my thought is, if papers are secured based on trial success then it should be done based on the highest of standards.

 

 

I have no problems "upping the standard" to the top ... whatever ... number.

 

I know Nursery went through "a stage" where they were "staging" trials just to qualify so I KNOW it can/will be done but I think it would be better ... than agility dogs to agility dogs bragging they are ABCA registered.

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Please don't leave out the farm and ranch dogs. I don't know how you would judge them, but they are very important to the breed and there are many great ones out there. They are where the working Border Collie came from.

Glenn

 

 

I TOTALLY agree ... but if ABCA can't afford it ... maybe have something where if it's important enough to the rancher that they pay for "for everything" to get those papers.

 

It's not like they would be out of the "breeding pool" ... you could still use them and all their offspring could "move up" to Working Border Collie.

 

Like I said ... nothing "written in stone" just looking for something to make registered with ABCA mean something more than "dual registered" :@(

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Sure you can. Do sports -- USDAA agility, APDT rally, flyball, etc. -- just don't do AKC sports. Educate people who buy from you about the non-AKC possibilities, and why they should choose them.

 

I think, though, that the education would need to happen before you're faced with a puppy buyer looking to buy a particular pup from you. Most people have a lot invested in whatever venues they trial in, and if they go to a working breeder and get what amounts to a political talk, chances are they'll just go find another working breeder who doesn't care how they register the dog. It takes a lot to change people's mind sets, especially when they're set in their ways. I didn't really 'get it' about the difference between types of dogs until I bought my first working bred dog and got into the stockdog training and later into the sheep themselves and needing real chores to be done - that really opens your eyes to what's in your dog vs the other type of dog, plus just getting the 'cultural immesion' effect. One talking-to when faced with a potential breeder to buy a pup from probably isn't going to do much to change anyone's mind.

 

The other thing I wonder is, is it really any better to keep the dog out of AKC but have it go into flyball lines and get bred for flyball, or rally, or whatever? Flyball and flyball breeders are some of the most obnoxious things on the planet IMO, they just breed for pure flipping nut case dogs. So the dog stays out of AKC, but you're still looking at the same damage to the breed. At the very least, you never get any idea how the dog is on stock, and at the worst, your good working lines go on to add to the flyball nutballs. The sport lines I think are far more of a danger - the conformation lines have pretty much split for the most part already and you won't find many of them looking to keep working lines or put any credence in ABCA papers - an AKC instinct test is plenty for them to feel they can say they have 'working' dogs.

 

Diana

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Something everyone might want to keep in mind is that a registry is a very basic organization, regardless of whether it is ABC, ACK, ISDS etc....a book of official records (registration) is kept at the registry. In the case of dogs, a registry keeps track of pedigrees and breeders of those lines. It usually is not policed but relies upon the integrity of the people registering the animals. The registry takes the breeder's word for the sire and dam listed for the litter they are registering. In rare cases a registry will ban a dishonest person from registering any more animals with them. Then there are always all kinds of "other" registries that will be all to happy to supply "papers" for the average person to have for their new dog. ABC and ACK are no different. There are plenty of "breeders" in either (or any, for that matter) registry that are not honest, breed dogs solely to have puppies to sell without regard to their qualilty. Frankly, with the activities of some breeders the papers aren't worth the paper they are printed on. One of the biggest factors with ABC registration(or lack of it) for people who may have conflicting feelings, and a reason that having different colored papers probably wouldn't work, is that other than a record of the sire and dam the "registration" isn't neccessary to pursue any activities. Dogs don't have to be registered period to run in the trials..........or many other activities available to the average dog owner. It is easy to advise people who would like to pursue other activities to go to some of the other organizations available to compete with their dogs in those activities. The problem then becomes availability of those venues. Many are few and far between compared to the availability of ACK trials in all venues. Just some extra food for thought in a dfficult situation.

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Something everyone might want to keep in mind is that a registry is a very basic organization, regardless of whether it is ABC, ACK,

 

 

 

Ah, but that's why ACK "had it made" ... I said 15+ years ago it's NOT just a registry. It's a money making machine ... I don't know if they make more money on registering dogs or on all the titles, matches, and "whatnots" they do.

 

If it was JUST a registry ... why did they have to register the Border Collie --- it already had a registry. That should have told people (that wanted the BC registered with them) something ... they did it for the money. Couldn't have "that breed" that was winning everything in THEIR"events" NOT an ACK dog! It looked bad!

 

That's also why we brought up --- WHY are they a non-profit association????? They are anything BUT!

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There are as many registries as there are people who want to start them and keep "records". A registry's objective is to keep records. Registries don't "own" the breeds they register. They just keep the records. If you do a search for dog registries the numbers that come up are staggering. Anyone can come up with an organization/registry to suit their particular needs. Come up with whatever "rules" and "standards" they desire. A registry is not some omnipotent organization merely a record keeper.

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A registry's objective is to keep records. Registries don't "own" the breeds they register. They just keep the records.

 

There ARE registries that are nothing more than record-keepers -- sort of an Automatic Data Processing company for dogs -- but obviously neither the AKC nor the ABCA is that kind of registry. The AKC sets appearance standards for the breeds they register and advocates breeding for them, judges and rewards success in meeting those standards, holds many different kinds of events at which dogs can earn titles, records those titles, lobbies for the interests of its members, and is the recognized voice and arbiter for the breeds it registers. The ABCA encourages breeding for working ability, judges and rewards success in meeting the working standard (in conjunction with the USBCHA), brings unregistered dogs that meet its standards into the gene pool through its ROM program, expels dogs from the gene pool if they become conformation champions, supports research into the health problems of border collies, lobbies for the interests of its members, and acts in many other ways to protect and speak for the borderr collie breed.

 

But if you want an example of a registry that is much, much more than a record-keeper, without getting into the AKC/ABCA debate, just look at the JRTCA, the registry for the Jack Russell Terrier. That is a registry which owns its breed, shapes its breed, and defends its breed. It successfully dealt with AKC recognition by immediately expelling any JRT that was registered with AKC, and any person who registered a JRT with the AKC, and emerged stronger than ever, and with its breed stronger than ever. Okay, it had the good fortune that the breeders who went with the AKC then chose to change the name of their breed to Parson Russell Terrier, but to a great extent it made its luck. It is at the other end of the registry spectrum from registries that do nothing but keep records.

 

It is easy to advise people who would like to pursue other activities to go to some of the other organizations available to compete with their dogs in those activities. The problem then becomes availability of those venues. Many are few and far between compared to the availability of ACK trials in all venues.

 

Every local agility group licensed by the USDAA started with someone forming the group. That's true of the other activities' clubs and events as well. If you want more venues, do something about it. But my point was that there's no inherent contradiction in selling pups to someone who wants to do dog sports with a "no AKC registration" clause in the contract.

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