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I'm not sure that it is no one has seen littermates to the great dogs or that littermates to the great dogs were not good. I think it is we don't remember or talk about any other dogs (except our own) but the great ones.

 

There could be a litter of pups where all are good except for one great one and all anyone would talk about or remember was the great one.

 

Knowledge of the litter is useful is assessing one's selection process. If a breeder's selection process only produces one good working dog per litter is their process any good or does it need to be adjusted? Getting one good working pup in a litter is possible with no selection process, but is that really improving the breed?

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I don't think as many people would have a problem with this as you think.
Then why is it I continually read statements from pet/sport buyers who in one breath say they support breeding for work and in the next are personally insulted because they get turned away by a working breeder for a pup?
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Discussion is what I wanted, so this is great.

 

What I wanted pet/sport buyers to understand is that breeding for livestock work does not end after the selection of the sire and dam (based upon their work) it continues to the evaluation of a sufficient number of the litter on livestock and that this evaluation really isn't completed until the pups are between 1 and 2 years old (if being trained by a knowledgeable trainer).

 

When you say you support breeding for livestock work you must accept the entire package which may include being turned down for a pup by a working breeder. Don't take this as pet/sport homes are not good enough or an elitism of working owner vs. pet/sport owners; it's more likely the working owner wants to see how good their breeding program is.

 

 

Well, then you should be prepared for the outcome.

 

I understand Marks point from a strictly academic point, makes complete sense. BUT then we run into reality, which is that responsible pet and sports home want a good well bred dog and following the guidance that breeders on this forum give they want to find a working bred dog. Then as Mary states if they can not find a working breeder with pups they start to look elsewhere. Human nature being what it is I don't think it realistic to say that people who want a pet Border Collie should only be able to have a young adult, for many reasons people want a puppy.

 

I think we are back on one of those roundabout conversations, but in my opinion I think that if working breeders can not supply well bred dogs to pet/sport homes then the void will be filled by border collies that have been bred poorly in regard to working lines. People want Border Collies and if you want to stop situations like Swafford and the current sad post, then there has to be a supply of good dogs for non-working homes.

 

Regarding your question about being prepared to train a working dog. I think you run into a time/travel issue. In my situation I do not live in a sheep/ranch area (my local agriculture is strong on nurseries and turf, with a little dairy) and there are limited breeders/trainers so if I was to get a good working bred pup it would be from a distance and make the suggestion impossible.

 

FYI my first Border Collie was a stray from the local shelter and my current pair came from a local rescue.

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Knowledge of the litter is useful is assessing one's selection process. If a breeder's selection process only produces one good working dog per litter is their process any good or does it need to be adjusted? Getting one good working pup in a litter is possible with no selection process, but is that really improving the breed?

 

Knowledge is useful, but I doubt you could argue that there have been quite a few influential dogs in this breed that nobody can remember a bit about any littermates, nor was knowledge of the littermates used in breeding on further great dogs.

 

Now back to you Mark - if you had a chance to breed your btch to a great dog who epitomized what you wanted in proven working skill in itself and it's direct parentage, yet you knew next to nothing about the littermates of either generation, would you use that dog...or would you search out a perhaps slightly lesser dog who you had more breadth of pedigree knowledge? What means more (and yes, you often must choose, though it's usually not so black and white...so bear with me for the sake of conversation)

 

Basically I am asking then, would you use Wiston Cap, or ?? really good working dog who you knew more about the littermates? Oh he had a lot of littermates, but few were heard from later.

 

To further expand on the conversation - if we want more knowledge of a cross then repeat breedings are great? But are % numbers enough? If you've got 40 pups from a cross and half were really good, is it equal to 1 litter of 10 (numbers exaggerated for clarity) where 5 pups were really good? Do we reward the 50% of the conservative 1 litter breeder, or the 50% of a more excessive one?

 

I still think well homed pets are fine. It's what you do with the pups you want to breed that counts.

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I think we are back on one of those roundabout conversations, but in my opinion I think that if working breeders can not supply well bred dogs to pet/sport homes then the void will be filled by border collies that have been bred poorly in regard to working lines. People want Border Collies and if you want to stop situations like Swafford and the current sad post, then there has to be a supply of good dogs for non-working homes.

 

Yep.

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Then why is it I continually read statements from pet/sport buyers who in one breath say they support breeding for work and in the next are personally insulted because they get turned away by a working breeder for a pup?

I think you're talking at cross purposes here. ISTM that we working folk are constantly saying: "Please support the working breeder. Buy pups from real working lines." In one breath. And then turning these same people away in another? I believe that's the complaint and that the fault lies at the feet of the working breeder and not the potential nonworking buyer as you seem to imply here.

 

I get the argument that you think it makes the most sense for as many pups as possible from any working litter to be evaluated for working ability, but telling a potential buyer that you'd like to work out some way to be able to evaluate that pup they want is not the same as saying "No, I won't sell you a pup." (And this may be a fair statement from some breeders, but I think there are also plenty of good working breeders who would entertain the idea of selling to a non-working home.)

 

In other words, we can't have our cake and eat it too. If we want people to turn to us--working breeders--for their sports dogs and companions, then we have to be willing to sell those dogs to them. And some are going to want pups. It's like any service one provides: If you want people to avail themselves of your service, you have to be willing to offer them what they want (generally, a pup), or at least meet them halfway (I'll sell you a pup if you're willing to make an effort to let me evaluate it for stock work at some later date.)

 

What we can't do is rail against sport breeders, BYBs, and what-have-you and tell people who buy from such places that they are doing a bad thing if we are also unwilling or unable to offer them a viable alternative, that is, a working-bred pup.

 

I understand that pumping out pups to satisfy a non-working market isn't the best idea either, and I don't support that. But there must be a way to meet in the middle if we want people to turn to working breeders for puppies.

 

J.

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Your missing my point. My issue is not in how good the parents are (that is the easy part), it's in trying to ascertain if my choice of parents was a good cross. Did the traits of the sire "mix" well with those of the dam? Was breeding my bitch to Wiston Cap a good cross if none of the pups turned out to be good or if only one of the pups was good? A cross could look good on paper (best dog x best bitch) but if the pups are not good the cross did not improve the breed and therefore the breeding selection should be adjusted.

 

 

 

Without sufficient knowledge of the product of the cross how does one know if the selection process for the cross is appropriate or if the cross itself was good?

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The argument against the idea reminds me of the truth that great handlers and trainers often picked their stars by keeping the puppy that was left after the others were picked. And oddly, that pup...always seems to be the nicest once when comparisons are made.

 

 

 

Great handlers and Trainers- could it be that they could have made a star of any of that litters pups?

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Great handlers and Trainers- could it be that they could have made a star of any of that litters pups?

Presumably if it was a well-thought-out breeding and no true genetic flukes occurred then one could expect a top handler or trainer to make the most of whatever pup was left behind. The same couldn't be said for pups from any old litter, but honestly if we breed for our own replacements, then we're presumably making good breeding choices and while certainly the pups within any litter would fall on a bell curve of talent (in general), even those at the lower end of the curve could probably be trained to be useful stockdogs by a good trainer.

 

J.

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What we can't do is rail against sport breeders, BYBs, and what-have-you and tell people who buy from such places that they are doing a bad thing if we are also unwilling or unable to offer them a viable alternative, that is, a working-bred pup.

 

I understand that pumping out pups to satisfy a non-working market isn't the best idea either, and I don't support that. But there must be a way to meet in the middle if we want people to turn to working breeders for puppies.

I think it would be a really constructive discussion if we could have more back and forth on where that middle is and how more finding it might enable working bred pups to displace the byb and mill pups. My personal sense is that a great many people who want a border collie puppy but don't have livestock would be willing, nay enthusiastic, to commit to participate in an evaluation of a puppy's potential to satisfy the breeder. To me that willingness seems like a reasonable selection criterion for a breeder to use when deciding which non-working homes he would sell to. (If nothing else, sending your young dog to the trainer for a few weeks is absolutely the world's best boarding kennel!! And around here, the cost of a week at the trainer is the same or less than the cost of a plain old boarding kennel.)

 

I think that people who want a border collie puppy with the intention of training it up for agility might be a group that would not want to have it evaluated on stock in any extensive way. We've dabbled in agility, and I know at least some of the "real" agility people feel that their training methods are so different from stockwork training that they would not want to "confuse" their pups. Not sure if this is a majority viewpoint in that community but suspect it might be. If anyone who knows agility is reading this, am I wrong?? I hope I am.

 

There are two points to this thread, it seems. How many puppies per litter need to be evaluated? And, is there a reasonable way to evaluate puppies in non-working homes? Both very interesting!

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I know of folks who do both agility and "hobby herding" with their border collies. I don't know of anyone who does serious stockwork and agility, but that could just be because of where I live. More likely, though, I think folks are likely to focus on one activity or the other. That being said, many sport people are weird. I can say that because I do sports with my border collie. Many of the so-called "real agility people" have some of the most back-assward beliefs, IMO. They are usually the same ones that think that rescue dogs could never be top agility dogs and that only a sport breeder could produce a top agility dog. Again, that could just be because of where I live. There simply aren't many good working breeders in this area. So, most of the agility folks I interact with don't even give working breeders a second thought.

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A lot of sport people want puppies simply because there is foundation training that is usually or can be done with a puppy. My teammate is willing to take a rescue pup or a working bred pup and yep AKC pup. We have another teammate who only buys AKC border collies and is trying really hard to get the other teammate to buy one of these pups. I know my teammate feels pulled in 2 directions - since I am saying get working bred while the other one says get AKC.

 

At the same time, my teammate would probably be willing to try herding so the breeder could evaluate the dog. How often said person would be willing to go out is another question?

 

If I could find a working bred pup for my teammate I would be willing to try and get her to agree to giving herding a chance down the road. Herding is not my thing but then again, I don't have a dog that can herd. It is a sad statement when my poodle has more potential than any of my other dogs. I think if sport people on this forum would be willing to help convince sport competitors to go the working dog route and to give the breeder a chance to evaluate the dog down the road, I think it would go a long way to appease both sides.

 

Breeding working bred border collies to help fulfill a need in the sport world is not something I think is correct answer. I do think that working breeders need to find a way to let sport people know when they have pups available to sport homes though. I rarely know of any working bred litters because well I don't frequent the sites where they are posted or I don't know the right people. If I was looking for a working bred border collie I do think I would feel comfortable asking for advice from some of the folks on the board (offline).

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That being said, many sport people are weird. I can say that because I do sports with my border collie. Many of the so-called "real agility people" have some of the most back-assward beliefs, IMO. They are usually the same ones that think that rescue dogs could never be top agility dogs and that only a sport breeder could produce a top agility dog.

 

Yep. I agree. I know of a few agility people who are dead set against their border collies herding. They think it will instill bad habits, chasing, increase prey drive and work against what they're looking for in agility. I personally don't get it, myself. I'm not saying all agility people, by any means, but there are some out there.

 

And don't get me started on them thinking rescue dogs could never be top agility dogs (or flyball dogs, etc). Grrr. My dog could be a great agility dog. He's saddled with a crappy handler, is all. :rolleyes:

 

ETA: Oh, and back to the earlier question...I'm a rescue person, so I don't plan on buying a dog from a breeder. But, if I were, and I could find a working breeder who wanted to assess the pup for working ability down the line, I wouldn't have a problem with that at all. And Mark's question way back when, would I take a herding dropout? Probably, if the dog wasn't too old. I don't need to get a dog at 8 weeks old, but if I wanted to do sports with it, I'd like to get an earlier start, than say 2-3 years old.

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Without sufficient knowledge of the product of the cross how does one know if the selection process for the cross is appropriate or if the cross itself was good?

 

You don't.

 

Take a theoretical litter of 8 puppies.

 

I would think at least half the litter (4) would need to be evaluated on stock. Of that half of the litter they should ALL be at least good enough to do basic farm work. In addition, at least one should be good enough to consider breeding in order to consider the litter itself a success.

 

If you only get one pup out of 4 tested that could handle farm chores I would consider the litter a huge failure and not repeat the breeding.

 

I heard about a litter of pups in which 3 of 7 supposedly showed no interest in stock at 2 years of age. Two pups also have severe hip dysplasia. A pup from a different litter but same sire had such severe HD that it was euthanized. I would consider the litter a complete failure, and yet it was repeated. (Please don't IM me for details. Let's leave it as a discussion of a hypothetical litter.)

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Hypothetical question:

 

Say you breed two excellent working dogs and produce a litter of 8 (since that seems to be the magic number). Four dogs go to working homes and are also excellent workers, the other four go to sport homes. They're tested on stock and do well, but they don't turn into working dogs at any point in their lives, they all get speutered. The four sport dogs, let's say agility, excel in their sport.

 

A year or two down the road, ten different people have learned about the four sports dogs that are shining sports stars, each of them comes to you ready to pay $1000 for a puppy of this repeat cross. Each potential puppy owner passes approval with flying colors, and each plans to (and later does) speuter their dog. You have no need right now for another working dog, and there aren't any people knocking down your door for a working pup at this point in time either.

 

No puppies of this repeat cross will be going to stock working farms. Is this breeding ok or not, since each puppy already has a home?

 

Just curious, something I was thinking about on the drive home today...

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JaderBug, I would say your hypothetical question would mean you crossed the line and were breeding for sport as opposed to the working ability.

 

True, should've thought about that/realized that... but even if it's not something you normally do and if there's a home for every pup?

 

Not trying to justify anything, just a question...

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As a pet owner, would you be willing to drive your pup to a farm 5 days a week for 5-15 min of work on stock for 6-12 months starting at 8-10 months of age?

 

 

This was essentially my problem as much as I would have wanted to compete in Herding trials I couldnt find the opportunity to work Maddie enough although she tested well. (Dal was a tried and true wash out. Tested badly even as an older pup) Dals siblings are working dogs in NY at Golf courses. I couldnt find anyone locally with something to work with and lessons were far considering I had elementary age kids. Not to mention a budget strain.

 

Since I'm more on the Rescue side. I think both litters are Ok if the pet homes are on a spay and neuter contract. I've met dogs sold by sheepy hollow and culleymont for pets and they fufilled the need along with choosing for the working homes in need of the best and brightest.

 

Since I currently have a border collie who was the major side earner for the crack house before they were busted. I'm just on the side of responsible breeding.

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Hypothetical question:

 

Say you breed two excellent working dogs and produce a litter of 8 (since that seems to be the magic number). Four dogs go to working homes and are also excellent workers, the other four go to sport homes. They're tested on stock and do well, but they don't turn into working dogs at any point in their lives, they all get speutered. The four sport dogs, let's say agility, excel in their sport.

 

A year or two down the road, ten different people have learned about the four sports dogs that are shining sports stars, each of them comes to you ready to pay $1000 for a puppy of this repeat cross. Each potential puppy owner passes approval with flying colors, and each plans to (and later does) speuter their dog. You have no need right now for another working dog, and there aren't any people knocking down your door for a working pup at this point in time either.

 

No puppies of this repeat cross will be going to stock working farms. Is this breeding ok or not, since each puppy already has a home?

 

Just curious, something I was thinking about on the drive home today...

 

I would have no problem with a breeding like this. Both sire and dam have shown themselves to be good working dogs, and to produce good working dogs. There's every reason to think that the pups produced by this second breeding will have the qualities of a good border collie. It's known in advance that the pups in this litter will not be tested by stockwork, but also it's known that the pups in this litter will not reproduce. There are undoubtedly some working breeders who would not choose to breed in this situation, but I think many would, and I can't see where it would cause any harm to the individual dogs or to the breed.

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Then why is it I continually read statements from pet/sport buyers who in one breath say they support breeding for work and in the next are personally insulted because they get turned away by a working breeder for a pup?

 

1. Angry people are more vocal than complacent people.

 

2. It depends on how the breeder handles it. If they don't want to sell to anyone but working homes, obviously the point is nonexsistent. As others have stated, you can't tell someone they need to get a dog from a working breeder when no working breeders will sell to them and then get upset with them for going some where else. If they just say "No, I don't want to sell you a pup," and give no explanation then I can see someone getting upset. If the breeder says "I don't have a pup available for a non-working home now, but when I do I would be happy to let you know." or "I really feel the pups I have here are going to need to be in working homes so that I can ensure that they enter the working population and help keep the next generation of border collies the same dogs that we love." IMHO the majority of people will accept and understand. Could they be dissapointed? Sure. Are they going to be turned against getting a working dog? Probably not. It all comes down to communication, and making your expectations clear.

 

I think this discussion has some real potential for finding that middle ground and coming up with solutions.

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A lot of sport people want puppies simply because there is foundation training that is usually or can be done with a puppy.

 

AMEN Sista! I want a pup who has been socialized and well-prepared for the life it's going to lead. It just makes sense when you think about it. For me, that's sports, where the dog will have to tolerate crowds, noise, airports, elevators, etc... If I was a working farmer looking for my next stockhand, I doubt I'd care about that kind of stuff.

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AMEN Sista! I want a pup who has been socialized and well-prepared for the life it's going to lead. It just makes sense when you think about it. For me, that's sports, where the dog will have to tolerate crowds, noise, airports, elevators, etc... If I was a working farmer looking for my next stockhand, I doubt I'd care about that kind of stuff.

 

There's that, and the fact that it can take quite along time to get a dog well trained and able to compete, particularly if you have high level aspirations. If you start with an older dog and then spend a good long time doing foundation stuff, your dog could be middle aged by the time you are ready to compete.

 

(Disclaimer: This does not mean there are not great agility dogs who came from rescue, I'm not saying that at all.)

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