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I've noticed quite a few people here have merle BCs and I rarely ever see merles in working lines or show lines as a matter of fact. What breedings are your merle dogs?

 

Are they any significant working breeders with merles as their breeding stock right now in the US/Canada/Great Britain.

 

Btw you can PM me if you feel uncomfortable putting names.

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I've noticed quite a few people here have merle BCs and I rarely ever see merles in working lines or show lines as a matter of fact. What breedings are your merle dogs?

 

Are they any significant working breeders with merles as their breeding stock right now in the US/Canada/Great Britain.

 

Btw you can PM me if you feel uncomfortable putting names.

 

 

No

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I've noticed quite a few people here have merle BCs and I rarely ever see merles in working lines or show lines as a matter of fact. What breedings are your merle dogs?

 

Are they any significant working breeders with merles as their breeding stock right now in the US/Canada/Great Britain.

 

Btw you can PM me if you feel uncomfortable putting names.

 

 

Dick William's Mirk is really pretty merle and a very nice dog. I'm not sure if they have bred him yet to anyone.

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Are they any significant working breeders with merles as their breeding stock right now in the US/Canada/Great Britain.

Depends on what you mean by "signficant." There is at least one well-known breeder in the UK producing merles. Probably if you did a Google search you'd find the breeder. There's another contract (?) shepherd in the UK who has and uses a few merle dogs. There are a very few merles running in open here in the US. Mirk is one of them. Alice Urquhart's Dirk is another. And I believe Rose Anderson has a merle or two. At the highest levels of trialing, the number of merles is pretty tiny.

 

Many merles are sport or pet (BYB) bred because it's an attractive color and people will want them. So folks who are pumping out puppies in candy colors will certainly pump out the merles for that market. At USBCHA-type trials, you can find merles in the lower classes. These are mostly the dogs of folks who have crossed over from another venue, usually agility, and the dogs are usually sport or versatility bred.

 

One of the reasons there are so few working merles is simply that merle wasn't a color that was valued by the folks who were responsible for creating the working border collie that we know today. Merle is a dominant gene, so if it's not bred from, it's not reproduced. Merles most certainly would have cropped up in working-bred litters, but if those dogs weren't selected for the work and then later bred from, the numbers being produced in the working population in the UK would have dwindled over time (unlike red dogs, which also weren't favored, but being a recessive trait, red could remain hidden for several generations before reappearing).

 

I think finding a well-bred working merle would approach the search for a needle in a haystack. JMO.

 

J.

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My little merle is from rescue. We were lucky enough to be able to spay and neuter her parents so there will not be any repeat performances. She's been on sheep a few times, and let's just say it wasn't her strong suit. :rolleyes:

 

I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the merles are also rescues on this board.

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Dear Doggers,

 

Rose Anderson is the only top open handler I know who has bred for merles.

 

A merle would need to be notably better than a non-merle for me to consider buying it. Because of cultural prejudice, pups would be harder to put in the hands of those who might prove them and for me more important, against West Texas or Dakota vegetation at 800 yards merles or reds are harder to see.

 

There are many sheepdog mutipliers; sheepdog breeders are rare. Breeding for morphology is relatively simple - one can evaluate in puppyhood. Sheepdog breeding - like handling and like training- is a difficult, subtle art form. In the UK, these arts are often discrete - Dryden Joe/Wisp's breeder rarely trialed or trained (and Joe's dam never worked). In North America, if you don't win trials your pups probably won't get tested by top trainer/handlers.

 

I only know a few cases where open dogs were demonstrating excellence before four years of age. So, okay: four year old Spot breeds Sally and by good fortune, her pups are sold to top handlers. Until those pups hit the nursery circuit, only those living nearby will see them. Shep is six before Shep/Sally pups can be evaluated. And what of Shep/Suzy if Shep/Sally doesn't produce?

 

Some top dogs are poor breeders. Wisp's virtues showed up in the second and third generation and Templeton's Moss was a far better breeder than his trial winning son Roy.

 

I've heard Brits with a half century experience say that the important genes are contributed by the bitch. With four litters in 25 years, I am no breeder and cannot know if this is true.

 

I was struck reading Outrun Press's "Top handlers talk about starting a sheepdog" how often dogs which turned out brilliantly were the last pups in the litter - the pups the breeder couldn't sell.

 

I suspect that the difference between top 17 pups and pups off the dog that got knocked out in the qualifying round would be probably be due to training, handling, owner persistence and faith and - sorry - dumb luck.

 

 

 

Donald McCaig

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It is interesting to read this (about Reds) because I noticed that even at 40 yards my little red tri dog (Aussie) DISSAPPEARS at dusk. I really had no color bias within red/white vs black/white until getting him. Now, everything else being equal, I will only choose Black & White/Tri.

 

Cindy in FL

 

Dear Doggers,

 

A merle would need to be notably better than a non-merle for me to consider buying it. Because of cultural prejudice, pups would be harder to put in the hands of those who might prove them and for me more important, against West Texas or Dakota vegetation at 800 yards merles or reds are harder to see.

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I have been involved with horses and breeding for many, many years.

 

And that thought that the mare line contributes more is also in horses

 

Especially the track folks.

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Well a bit off topic maybe, but in the maternal line is more DNA transferred than in the paternal. The genetic material located outside the nucleus of the cell (e.g. mitochondrial DNA) is only contributed by the egg not the sperm.

Also the x chromosome contains more info than the y (think about the x chromosomal heretic diseases, female carriers, male sufferers). So two reasons why the female contributes more genetic information to the offspring than the male.

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Just curious, but why would a red and white dog fade any faster in the dusk than a black and white dog? I have, (as you can see from the the signature photo) a black and white, a red tri, and a white factored and if you want to see a dog at dusk, choose the white factored...Ladybug and Robin are about equal in their "disappearing factor" to my eye but I can always spot Brodie.

 

ETA -- I should have said "mostly white" not white factored... apologies...

 

Liz

 

 

It is interesting to read this (about Reds) because I noticed that even at 40 yards my little red tri dog (Aussie) DISSAPPEARS at dusk. I really had no color bias within red/white vs black/white until getting him. Now, everything else being equal, I will only choose Black & White/Tri.

 

Cindy in FL

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Not entirely sure, but I've owned 2 red dogs. Both faded away into the brush or grass, even in the sunlight. After seeing that I could understand the bias against red dogs. The contrast of crisp black and white can make life much easier when you are trying to work your dog late at night or on a gloomy day.

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Just curious, but why would a red and white dog fade any faster in the dusk than a black and white dog? I have, (as you can see from the the signature photo) a black and white, a red tri, and a white factored and if you want to see a dog at dusk, choose the white factored...Ladybug and Robin are about equal in their "disappearing factor" to my eye but I can always spot Brodie.

 

Liz

 

Liz, it looks from your sig pic that both Brody and Robin are white factored (which makes sense, as they are littermates). White factoring is not when a dog has a lot of white on its coat. If there is white running up the inside/underside of the belly and back legs, the dog is white factored (though I am sure there is a more scientific explanation). My Taz is white factored, though he is a traditionally marked black tri.

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This is a dog I used to own who is white factored but with very little white. She had a tiny white spot, just a few hairs over her pelvis, as well as a thin white line running up the front of both of her stifles to her abdomen. Had she ever been bred she could have potentially surprised someone with piebald puppies.

Luna1.jpg

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I have reds, B&W, white factored all the way up to being nearly totally white. The nearly totally white dog is by far the easiest to see *anywhere.* I could see him on the set out pens 600+ yards away at Edgeworth. My red tri managed to circle the field one time at Edgeworth and I never did see her. She blends in to fall fields where the grass has turned brown. I imagine if the terrain were light colored (rocky, heather, whatever) red would be more difficult to see. And a merle pattern, because it breaks up the entire outline of the dog, would be the hardest of all to see (think about various predator and prey animals that have evolved with camoflauging colors and patterns)....

 

J.

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Well a bit off topic maybe, but in the maternal line is more DNA transferred than in the paternal. The genetic material located outside the nucleus of the cell (e.g. mitochondrial DNA) is only contributed by the egg not the sperm.

Also the x chromosome contains more info than the y (think about the x chromosomal heretic diseases, female carriers, male sufferers). So two reasons why the female contributes more genetic information to the offspring than the male.

 

Another reason why the maternal contribution may be more significant in working ability (or other traits) is the genetic phenomenon known as 'imprinting'. As we know, both parents usually contribute one copy of each gene, but in some genes, one copy is turned off and is not expressed. Depending on the gene, the copy that is turned off could come from either the male or female parent. Don't quote me on this, but I think that recent research suggests that there may be 1000+ imprinted genes in humans.

 

Obviously, the talent for herding is not the result of one gene. It is a very complex behavior that has a polygenic basis (and, of course, one can not forget the contribution of training). If one or more of the genes that do contribute to the make-up of a great herding dog is imprinted, that would account for anecdotal reports of one parent (the mother?) having more influence on the herding ability of the pups.

 

Jovi

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Why did they fix Mirk Does anyone know? Initially 4 years ago Terri F./Cheryl were discussing with me about breeding him with Maddie. My neighbors have Mirk's sister she is a great little farm dog too. Just curious.

 

I held him at sheepy hollow for a while and helped Dick's Son ? take Picks of Mirk. I thought he was really Nice.

 

He also did great that year.

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Laurae, you've sent me on a hunt through all of Brodie and Robin's puppy pictures, looking for specks of white on Robin's rump as there's none to be found at the moment though he does indeed have quite a bit of white all the way up the inside of his hind legs..the white is edged in tan along the edge of the stifle which then blends into the red. Now that I'm looking at him, and using Ladybug as a comparison (though she wasn't all that happy about being turned upside down!), it's quite easy to see that he has inordinate amount of white on his back legs-- though Brodie of course, has far more white and two very visible stripes over his shoulders and haunches -- making him, by definition -- a piebald? -- is that right?

 

Robin also has a stripe coming up out of his front leg (see picture) that I assumed was part of a broken collar - but does that have anything to do with identifying the white factor?

 

A white factored, red tri --- next week we'll find out how much he really likes sheep. "Pa" has had a flush of business due to a recent hail storm, so it looks like Robin will start along with Brodie this fall, ...wish us luck...:rolleyes:

 

Robin - Four weeks (ish)

Robin4weeks.jpg

 

Robin - November 2009

Robinsidebest.jpg

 

Brodie - 3 Months old

( I love Ladybug's expression in this photo -- "Take this puppy -- please!!!!" He's harassing the cat -- out of the picture and she knows it's a no-no.)

Brodie3monthsold.jpg

Brodie - September 2010

P9180185.jpg

 

 

Liz, it looks from your sig pic that both Brody and Robin are white factored (which makes sense, as they are littermates). White factoring is not when a dog has a lot of white on its coat. If there is white running up the inside/underside of the belly and back legs, the dog is white factored (though I am sure there is a more scientific explanation). My Taz is white factored, though he is a traditionally marked black tri.
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I wonder if that's at the heart of it...

 

...

Not entirely sure, but I've owned 2 red dogs. Both faded away into the brush or grass, even in the sunlight. After seeing that I could understand the bias against red dogs. The contrast of crisp black and white can make life much easier when you are trying to work your dog late at night or on a gloomy day.
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