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I know who is popular to blame for the "state of the breeds". But why did the shepherd/farmer stop using some or a lot of the herding dogs? Why did they stop breeding? Who took over the working dogs jobs?

 

Not sure if this goes here or not?

 

:) Too icy of road to go to school so had a spare minute to post.

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who said the farmer/shepherd stopped using their dogs?

And if some did, I'd say it's cause the ACK got hold of the breed changed them up and there you go, different breed altogether. Then a farmer with a real need got a "fake" model and he was turned off to that breed.

Doesn't it resemble what we preach on here? Don't wreck the breed with ACK...end of story.

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Nothing to do with the big bad AKC (for the record I hate what they have done to a lot of breeds, and would never get a conformity bred dog).

 

But it is a fact that modern big business farming don´t need dogs anymore, sad but true.

Think about it, do you think farmers "forgot" about the existence of stockdogs? That they let some city slickers from the AKC trick them into using inferior dogs, and losing interest that way? Come on , they are not stupid.

 

Luckily I live in a country where sheepfarming is still done in a rather primitive way, small scale. Dogs are still useful.

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who said the farmer/shepherd stopped using their dogs?

And if some did, I'd say it's cause the ACK got hold of the breed changed them up and there you go, different breed altogether. Then a farmer with a real need got a "fake" model and he was turned off to that breed.

Doesn't it resemble what we preach on here? Don't wreck the breed with ACK...end of story.

 

You know, that makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.

 

Let's say the AKC registered Border Collies could no longer jump higher than 8 inches and I've always run Border Collies in Agility and I want another. So, I purchase an AKC registered Border Collie and low and behold - it can't jump over 8 inches. Instead of giving up on Border Collies, I would go back to the working breeder that I had always gotten my dogs from before and get another one that can function for the purpose for which I intend it.

 

Now, that's a ridiculous example. I know someone is going to point out that it's unrealistic. Yes, it is. I did that on purpose. It's just a parallel.

 

Going back to what you said, Kristen, say a farmer had always used Shetland Sheepdogs for their stockwork needs. The farmer gets the "fake" model, as you say, and the dog can't do the job. Why wouldn't the farmer, for whom the breed has been tried and true to meet his or her needs in the past, go get one from a breeder who could produce what he or she needed. It's not like the "real thing" would have vanished overnight if they were serving a useful purpose on stock to begin with. Wouldn't you do that - go to a working breeder instead of giving up on the breed altogether?

 

I am not saying this to stand up for AKC registration or anything. I simply don't understand why a breed changing through AKC registration would cause those who use the dogs for work to throw up their hands and say "no more" instead of going back to the working breeders and getting what they need. Thus, actually increasing demand for good working bred dogs for those who need them.

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Within 30 miles of our ranch there are approx 2,000 sheep, all but one of these operations uses dogs. The one that does not have dogs used to use dogs, but now that he is down to 400 ewes he doesn't have a dog.

 

The cattle numbers in this same area are much higher, and i would guess 1/2 use dogs in some way. Two of the large ranches( over 1,000 mama cows) i know use dogs.

 

Most all the long time dog using ranchers breed some of their own, but several also buy from well respected trial lines.

 

Re reading this looks to be an "AKC sucks" rant, not about who is still using dogs. I agree AKC sucks, but i would think we are all tired of beating that dead horse..... for this week.

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I think you have to look at the actual individual breeds to determine if they were still a practical useful stock dog when they were imported into the US or to countries other then their country or region of origin or if the purpose for their import had to do with show and Fancy.

 

Extinction of certain strains of dogs is not a new thing, as demands for the dogs change so do the dogs, some breeds are easily adaptable while others become impractical and eventually become extinct, or would if a new purpose (show/sport) is not created.

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I think changing farming practices also have some effect on loss of working breeds. As others have pointed out, many operations still do use dogs, but I imagine technology, urbanization, loss of family farms (or farms in general), confinement farming, and so on, could certainly lead to the loss of (or reduction in) need for working dogs of any breed. As Debbie points out, breeds that are more adaptable are more likely to continue to be used, while breeds that are more specialized might see a loss of use (of course that's a gross generalization--on Herd-L people often make comments about how their breed is more suited to a particular task than, say, a border collie, to which I've always countered that I don't go back to the house and pick out a different breed for the different jobs I need done; I do it all with the same dog, period). Concommitant with changing farming practices (Industrial Revolution) was the growth of the dog fancy, and as many breeds became bred more specifically as pets, they likely became more difficult to find the working counterpart (again a gross generalization). I imagine if one looked hard enough one could still find, for example, working Shelties or Beardies being used for their original purpose, but whether you'd find them in large numbers is doubtful, and whether you'd recognize them as what is currently regarded as the breed standard (for lack of a better term) is also doubtful.

 

J.

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My own observations in the US west is that many ranchers without dogs utilize ATVs and/or immigrant labor to move the flocks. It's not that those same jobs couldn't be done with a good border collie, but I would bet that many of these ranchers either don't realize that or they use what they know. I often see guys with a ACD that is more of a pet but maybe can help trail cattle or even push them in through a gate or something, but the majority of the work is done with the laborers or ATVs or both.

 

In *recent* times I kind of disagree with Smalahundur that dogs are being used less on US ranching operations. Of course it's really regionally specific. I also disagree that you don't need them/can't use them in modern ranching unless you have an Iceland-type situation - look at Lana for one! One thing too is that the pendulum may be swinging towards more small scale operations anyway (also very regionally specific) because of the slow food/local food movement. But also, because of environmental regulations. Cattle/sheep are regularly prescribed in preserved lands for grazing under the California Environmental Qulity Act stipulations for projects. In addition, this type of grazing is not done with the cattle production in mind, but to manage the land for different species and the health of the grassland, drainages, and wetlands, also to control weeds/non-natives. This often involves pulse grazing, moving stock to and from a site and not leaving them on all year, and moving them from field to field within a site at specific times - all stuff border collies excel at, by the way.

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Going back to what you said, Kristen, say a farmer had always used Shetland Sheepdogs for their stockwork needs. The farmer gets the "fake" model, as you say, and the dog can't do the job. Why wouldn't the farmer, for whom the breed has been tried and true to meet his or her needs in the past, go get one from a breeder who could produce what he or she needed. It's not like the "real thing" would have vanished overnight if they were serving a useful purpose on stock to begin with. Wouldn't you do that - go to a working breeder instead of giving up on the breed altogether?

 

Or get a border collie which, thanks to its breeding, is better than the dog the farmer had before. It's not just that other breeds deteriorated, it's also that the border collie steadily improved. It's become the stock dog of choice for many who formerly used other breeds.

 

And just because a lot of livestock operations who could benefit from dogs are not using dogs, doesn't mean that there are not a heck of a lot of them who ARE using dogs. Including outfits with thousands of head of stock.

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My dad's first "show horses" where farm horses. That could jump. So they got some time out and went to local shows.

Times have changed. Look at what almost happened to the Draft Horses.

I don't know numbers on how many dogs where used in the past on ranches on farms and how many are now still being used. But we all know society is changing. Much more focus on technology. Which is sad for me.

And yes, I know I keep going back to Germany, but many of the old German and other European herding breeds are gone or actually fighting for survival. There are no more jobs for them. Times are a changing. And I for one, don't like it.

 

So at times I wonder if that is more of the reason why AKC is having such an impact on the breeding. In the sense that more people actually enjoy the company of the Border Collie with easier access to other venues than actual USBCHA trials. It is much easier to train agility, ob, rally, disc, heelwork alone with minimum equipment (as in no need for sheep) than to go herding.

 

Although, I certainly have learned to appreciate running water in the last few days! <_<

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It is much easier to train agility, ob, rally, disc, heelwork alone with minimum equipment (as in no need for sheep) than to go herding.

 

 

 

But those would not be the working dog breeders. They may breed dogs that were bred to be working dogs, or are decendent of working dogs, but they would not be breeding and producing working dogs. I'm guessing that what made the difference between your fathers horses that he showed and the draft horses were that your fathers were bred for work first, where as the drafts you refer to were decendents of work horses that were bred for show/sport.

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The comment about people who have "herding breeds" but more as pets than as dogs that do any useful stockwork rings true to me, at least where I am located. I can think of a couple of folks with livestock and with either ACD, Aussie, or crosses, whose dogs are not used for stockwork but which go everywhere with their owners on the farm and in the truck. Do they do anything but bark? Not that I've seen. But I'll bet those same stockmen wouldn't have anything *but* a "herding breed" (and probably ACD and/or Aussie because those are "cattle dogs" - never mind that our Border Collies are the only dogs around here that I know of that actually do work cattle, or at least prove themselves *useful* on cattle).

 

Oh, yes, one retired gent not too far away with his ancient Border Collies, but I have no idea if they ever worked stock. Again, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he wouldn't have anything but his "herding breed" of choice for a dog.

 

Kind of like someone who wears cowboy boots and spurs, but never gets on a horse.

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I was sad to see the Border Collies on the show "Last American Cowboy" that was on TV recently. They don't help most of the time, and sometimes they just seem to get in the way and make the job harder by chasing the cows. There was one episode where the rancher had to make 10 trips to move his herd (he was alone on horseback). With a dog he might have made just a single trip. At least one of the dogs on the larger ranch (the really fluffy, heavier boned, shorter legged, blue and white) looked like AKC show lines.

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But I'll bet those same stockmen wouldn't have anything *but* a "herding breed" (and probably ACD and/or Aussie because those are "cattle dogs"

 

A few weeks back when I was down in far southern Missouri while sitting in front of the cook stove talking over a cup of hot tea we got to disscussion about how people get hung up on a idea. Basically those stockmen are hung up on the idea that the dogs are cattledogs.

 

We've been guilty of it, it get's in your way of moving on and forward. Sometimes it's hard to let go of the idea and recognize what is reality. Only each individual can face up and let go, you can't be forced, if someone tries to force a person to let go of their ideas most will dig in their heels and fight harder. They have to be ready to see the error in their beliefs, but in some cases they have build a life and reputation on those beliefs so by letting go means they have to admit they were wrong or even mislead others even though it was not intentional.

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Debbie, very true. I did not read the first post totally correct.

I guess I just looked at the overall state of so many breeds.

Just thought about why the "other" kind of working dogs (and it is not just BC's either which was again made clear to me by talking to an ACD person today) is becoming so much more popular.

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I know who is popular to blame for the "state of the breeds". But why did the shepherd/farmer stop using some or a lot of the herding dogs? Why did they stop breeding? Who took over the working dogs jobs?

 

Personally, I blame the diesel engine. :P

 

If we're talking about the last 75 years or so, I think the main thing that happened is "progress." The US changed from an agrarian rural society to an industrialized urban society. The number of family ranches and farms shrank dramatically after WWII and into the '60s, and mechanization plus smaller fenced pastures took jobs from both dogs and horses.

 

The big corporate farm and ranch owners who emerged since aren't as likely to see the need for dogs, and besides, (they might ask) where do they find people with the skills to train or "operate" them? So the jobs working dogs once held are, like as not, taken by a four-wheeler, a pickup with hay on the back, or even just a guy with a stick.

 

Which also means fewer farmers or ranchers breeding good dogs.

 

Likewise, in another thread, we touched on the bias some modern ranchers have towards working dogs, entrenched in the idea that BCs aren't tough enough, and stockdogs in general just get in the way and upset livestock. They lack their grandfathers' ken of a good dog's value.

 

So, horses and stockdogs alike went from working partners to (ofttimes) backyard pets and/or show animals. Draft horses, cow ponies and working stockdogs still have a place in the world, but like the hunting dogs and hounds of old, when their primary purpose is no longer vital to the human population, the whimsies of human leisure pursuits take over.

 

We are at a unique place in the Border Collie's history, in that we've arrived at the crossroads of its future - and we are aware of where we stand. We can't turn back the clock, but I believe there is still time to help the border collie regain some of the foothold he's lost.

 

Humbly submitted,

 

~ Gloria

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I was sad to see the Border Collies on the show "Last American Cowboy" that was on TV recently. They don't help most of the time, and sometimes they just seem to get in the way and make the job harder by chasing the cows. There was one episode where the rancher had to make 10 trips to move his herd (he was alone on horseback). With a dog he might have made just a single trip. At least one of the dogs on the larger ranch (the really fluffy, heavier boned, shorter legged, blue and white) looked like AKC show lines.

 

As I was reading this thread I was also thinking about the dogs I saw on that show, the rancher who worked on his own could have really used a dog. The other show I saw was one of the UK trials on RFD and they were using really cranky sheep who were not used to dogs as the farmer used an atv.

 

From my limited experience I want to say tradition and the time to learn, my uncle was a beef farmer in the Yorkshire, got a sheepdog to help with the cattle, Jip took one look at cattle and decided they were not for him, and he spent the rest of his life as a very bored but well loved farm dog ( great guard dog). My uncle just did not have the inclination to learn what it would take to train a collie to cattle. My cousin also uses atvs when a useful dog would be helpful. There just is no tradition in my family of working with sheapdogs, and this is a dog loving family. I suspect if your father used dogs then the next generation does as well.

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