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What the Border has NOT been bred for article


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I didn't have time to do more than skim the article, but there seemed to be a great deal of excellent information in it.

 

However, I must take exception to your reference to "Borders" - they are working sheepdogs, Border Collies, or collies, not "Borders".

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I read the entire article. It is interesting and thoughtfully written.

 

What Sue said about names. My dog is a Border Collie or a Collie. Maybe someday he will get to add working sheepdog to his names but not yet. In our world Borders are the edges of the property.

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Yeah, maybe y'all can give the OP a break, since there is not a cultural issue with the use of "border" where he/she lives.

 

So, about the article. I can't really say that I agree with all of it, but I have a limited experience with Border Collies compared to most here. There is some good stuff in there, particularly the advice at the end, but some of it seems very sterotypical of the breed, I guess? Some common sense stuff, and some stuff that could apply to any breed, too.

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Woah, how fussy! In Germany we all call Border Collie just "Borders". Just like you Americans call the White Swiss Shepherd a White German Shepherd. So let's stop messing around.

 

There are a couple of board members in/from Germany who somehow broke from the pack and call them "border collies". You may not know why calling them "borders" is a problem, but now at least you know it's a problem. ;)

 

Susan

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Politically correctness....I love it! :rolleyes:

 

Now, I am very grateful that I did not read that article years ago. I would probably own a bunch of neurotic, anti social and probably medicated dogs and feel good about it! After all, according to that article it is excusable for a Border Collie to be have difficulties coping with noise, strange people, strange dogs and change!

 

I guess that makes my newest foster the norm and my own dog freaks.....

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Now, I am very grateful that I did not read that article years ago. I would probably own a bunch of neurotic, anti social and probably medicated dogs and feel good about it! After all, according to that article it is excusable for a Border Collie to be have difficulties coping with noise, strange people, strange dogs and change!

 

I do like that they stressed socialization to avoid many of the problems discussed in the article. It wasn't perfect, but still a good attempt.

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But do we agree that the Border Collie is more prone to having those problems, because of it's breeding over generations?

 

ETA: I know I've always heard that they seem to be noise sensitive more than other breeds, but the other "problems" I've never really thought to be BC specific.

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But do we agree that the Border Collie is more prone to having those problems, because of it's breeding over generations?

 

I would agree with many of those statements based on my own experiences with the breed. One thing I don't think the article explained very well was that Border Collies need to have excellent dog manners to work with other Border Collies on a farm, but that they may not enjoy socializing with unfamiliar dogs. In the article it came off as saying that Border Collies have poor dog manners, period. Like I said, the article isn't perfect, but it was a good attempt.

 

There are certainly breeders in the UK and North America who are specifically breeding for dogs with temperaments better suited to modern society. Those who have been involved in the breed for 40 years tell me that they have seen a very noticeable shift in temperament in the last decade or so towards a more pet friendly dog. This isn't to say their goal is to breed pet Border Collies. I've heard theories about the shift in temperament ranging from an increase in women handlers, the desire to avoid a lawsuit over a "vicious" dog, all the way to the increasingly heavy influence of trials (which would favor a somewhat softer, more biddable, socially relaxed dog). (**These are not my own theories, just ones that I have heard.**)

 

Just think about the change in attitude towards dogs in our modern society. The way I was raised, if I was bit by a dog my parents would ask me what I did to the dog to cause it to bite me. Contrast that with many parents today who would want the dog labeled as vicious and never even consider that their child might have caused the incident.

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I really don't get the whole "offensive to abbreviate the name of the breed to Border or BC" thing. If there's an old thread somewhere that explains the background as to why its such an issue I would love a link.

 

If one was going to shorten the name, the correct abbreviation would be "collie" or "sheepdog" since that is what the dogs are usually called by farmers throughout the UK and Ireland.

 

The objection to "Borders" stems from the fact that it follows the dog fancy's annoying trend of infantilizing dogs and one of the ways they do it, is by shortening up the names. Thus, Border Collies -> Borders. Many people think it diminishes the dogs and their history to do that.

 

Same reason you won't find many serious trialling or working handlers talking about "herding". It's "work" or "stockwork" mostly. Most people would say they were going to "work dogs" or "train dogs" this weekend. They would not be "going herding"

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Woah, how fussy! In Germany we all call Border Collie just "Borders". Just like you Americans call the White Swiss Shepherd a White German Shepherd. So let's stop messing around.

 

Well, I for one call those white dogs Berger Blanc Suisse - but then I'm OCD. :lol:

 

I do think it might be better to identify the rationale for an objection to the usage of "Borders." For me it's simply that I feel the abbreviated forms of dog breeds somehow trivializes the breed's name. Calling a Shetland Sheepdog a Sheltie sort of "Barbie-izes" the breed. I have to admit that I do use initials sometimes for some breeds - GSD, PBGV. Petite Basset Griffon Venden is quite a mouthful.

 

ETA - Thanks Pearse, I think another distinction on the usage of herding is that humans don't herd, dogs do. So I don't go herding, I go work the dog. The dog herds. Is this right?

 

But I think the people here may have another reason for their reaction to the term "Borders," and a recap on that objection would be welcomed by me, and probably others.

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I really don't get the whole "offensive to abbreviate the name of the breed to Border or BC" thing. If there's an old thread somewhere that explains the background as to why its such an issue I would love a link.

 

A couple previous threads here here and here

 

The idea that dropping "collie" is dropping the functional relevance of the dog holds most resonance for me. Like dropping "terrier" from the border terrier.

 

Susan

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I have heard of Border Terriers also referred to as Borders. So which are you talking about when a person says Borders??

 

I have have also heard Bearded Collie people refer to their breed as BC's.

 

Kathy

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If I had to say, then I would tend to be on the no, I don't agree side.

And this maybe a poor attempt to add why.

 

Noise sensitivity: I read it to say that a BC (and yes, I am abbreviating it as I don't care to spell it a 100 times) can physically hear better because he is bred to to hear the shepherd. He may be more attuned to his handler due to the work but I don't think he physically hears better than other breeds. Then I would add that farms are not always quiet places. There is all kinds of noisy machinery and others that go along with working farms and ranches. Different from urban life, maybe. But the dogs are exposed to farm noises as they grow up. And the same should be true for urban noises.

 

Change: A farm may be the same and the animals may be the same, but I would argue that the daily challenges are different. That seasons change and the farm tasks accordingly. There are the individual challenges the stock brings. Independent thinking and brilliance to work through stuff is one of the treasured traits of the BC. And here I would like say that their ability to adjust to change and different tasks has made them so popular in different venues possibly.

 

Strangers: Yeah, I can see that many dogs that simply are not exposed to strangers may or may not be a bit hesitant. But I don't think that this is an inherited trait bred into the BC breed because of its roots in more or less isolated places.

So the advice to socialize a BC more because of its breed....not sure that good socialization is not a must for any dog really.

 

Strange dogs: Liz P expressed it perfectly about the manners.

 

 

I have stated in the past that my previous long term involvement in the breed was with true ranch dogs only. And I don't remember a single one with a lousy temperament. They may not have been the cuddly dogs because they were on the job and would come for a quick pet and then off they went or they may have chosen to not address a person. Those are still the traits I value in the line of dogs that I have been exposed to in my own little bubble.

 

To me, I have to wonder if the modern breeding for off the scale drive, is not what is making them more fragile and iffy rather then the breeding on the farms.

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@geonni banner: Berger Blanc Suisse - Wow, that's not even right, that's even perfect! :D

 

What I wondered about the article was, at least here in Germany, Border Collies are actually known as pretty stranger-friendly. And Bo defiantly is - I can count the people he didn't like during one year on one hand, unlike the people one whose lap he'd like to jump and give 'em some kisses, hahaha!

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Strangers: Yeah, I can see that many dogs that simply are not exposed to strangers may or may not be a bit hesitant. But I don't think that this is an inherited trait bred into the BC breed because of its roots in more or less isolated places.

So the advice to socialize a BC more because of its breed....not sure that good socialization is not a must for any dog really.

 

Many of the Border Collies I have owned have been "one man dogs." They really had no use for people other than their handler. I see this in a fair number of Border Collies; they are not afraid of people, they just don't care for them. They tend to mellow with age, allowing strangers to touch them without side stepping, but not always enjoying the attention. I would not be at all surprised if this trait was inadvertently bred for in sheepdogs since they are required to be so handler focused. I also wouldn't be surprised if this trait is misidentified as fear of strangers by many people.

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I do think it might be better to identify the rationale for an objection to the usage of "Borders." For me it's simply that I feel the abbreviated forms of dog breeds somehow trivializes the breed's name. Calling a Shetland Sheepdog a Sheltie sort of "Barbie-izes" the breed. I have to admit that I do use initials sometimes for some breeds - GSD, PBGV. Petite Basset Griffon Venden is quite a mouthful.

 

A lot of abbreviations are simply to make something easier to say/type. I will type BC (not around here because of the possible reaction) because I'm lazy or trying to be quick, I guess. As for Shetland Sheepdogs, they are so far removed from being sheepdogs nowadays, that I don't see Sheltie as trivializing the breed or "Barbie-izing" (now there is a term I find less than pleasant, right up there with "sporter"). I have found Shelties to be delightful companions and fun sports dogs. From everything I have heard, I can't imagine the vast majority would be much use at stock work.

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Many of the Border Collies I have owned have been "one man dogs." They really had no use for people other than their handler. I see this in a fair number of Border Collies; they are not afraid of people, they just don't care for them. They tend to mellow with age, allowing strangers to touch them without side stepping, but not always enjoying the attention. I would not be at all surprised if this trait was inadvertently bred for in sheepdogs since they are required to be so handler focused. I also wouldn't be surprised if this trait is misidentified as fear of strangers by many people.

 

 

This makes sense.

 

I have one of each...a social butterfly like the OP's dog and a "one (wo)man dog".

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...they are not afraid of people, they just don't care for them. They tend to mellow with age, allowing strangers to touch them without side stepping, but not always enjoying the attention.

Liz, I think this is a great description.

 

It's my opinion that border collies are much more visually attuned and sensitive to motion than other breeds, based on watching them around other dogs, e.g., the local Golden and Laborador retrievers and various terrierists. However, I'm not sure about sensitivity to sound. That seems to me to vary more just dog to dog.

 

I also think her recommendations for border collies -- to socialize them well, to use some discretion about amping them up, and to emulate the shepherd's calmness when handling them -- are good for all breeds. I didn't get that she was implying that border collies had bad dog manners, more that in urban and agility situations they will encounter other dogs who don't.

 

Apart from the familiar dogs with similar characteristics that live on the farm with them, working sheepdogs are unlikely to need to mix with other dogs. As pet owners we expect them to meet a lot of strange dogs, many with appalling dog manners, and often with our dog on lead so that it does not have the option of running away. Even if your collie does not react aggressively in these situations he could well be very stressed.

 

I find that to be very true for my dogs, and the "similar characteristics" probably explains why they like other border collies so very much better than other breeds. Or was it the secret handshake?! :P

 

ETA: Ha Paula! You posted while I was slowly writing. Got one of each here, too.

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Liz, one of the things I love about the boards is to see how others perceive things. :)

Which is why I always try to stress that my comments are strictly based on my own experiences and perceptions. Right, wrong or indifferent. <_<

One of the reasons why my Border Collies fit me so well is simply because they are so amiable with everyone. Put out livestock in front of them and forget humans! They could not care one bit about people other than the one in charge of stock. And although they know my personal way of commanding the best (good and bad unfortunately as I am the only one that has ever trained them - poor creatures! B):rolleyes: ), reality is, they will work for anyone. But if there is no livestock to be had, pretty much anyone with some time on their hands and preferably sucker written across their forehead will do. Sucker so that they can possibly be conned into a game of fetch that is! ;)

 

And I wonder if a lot of the real dedicated working dogs simply do know who is their person that will provide them with the work they desire and crave and will make them simply have little use for others? Like you said, making them essentially a more or less one man type of dog. But it being more a choice than an inbred sort of flaw that needs to be socialized out! As suggested in the article?

 

I am going to flatter myself a bit here and say that my dogs are very bonded to me. But I can also rest assured that if I have to be gone for a while....they will not go off food, fret or make themselves miserable in the meantime. And that is important to me. Now having said that, I sure love to see them greet me when I get home.... ;)

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