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Picking out a working breeding, for sport purposes


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This is awhile off yet, but early research is always the best I find. Anytime from summer 2012 onwards I will be actively looking for a new pup for agility and flyball. I already know to get a working bred dog, heck I wouldn't get anything else. I love my Jude and he's working bred and is proving to be an awesome flyball/agility partner. I know the qualities I'll be looking for in a pup, well the parents anyway, are the qualities you find in good working lines.

 

I got lucky with Jude, minimal research into breeders (I chose by location) but I ended up with a working bred dog. And a great sports dog. But I really have no clue what to be looking for in a breeding, in order to get that new sports pup, what qualities to look for in the parents. I know how to find a responsible breeder and one that breeds for working purpose, all the qualities that I've read they should have. But how do I go about it for the sports sense.

 

I will also be looking at rescue pups and young dogs when the time comes.

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Well, good wishes to you in finding the pup you will be happy with, but if I were looking for a performance or pet dog, I'd look at rescue first and foremost. As for advice, I can't give you any because I have no experience in this sort of selection, but do wish you the best!

 

Oh, and I'd probably try to avoid lines where shyness or noise sensitivity are obviously present.

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Well, good wishes to you in finding the pup you will be happy with, but if I were looking for a performance or pet dog, I'd look at rescue first and foremost.

Why?

I always thought it was propagated here to look for working bred dogs, also when people are looking for a topsport dog.

Mind you , I don´t have any opinion in this (only interested in working stock myself), but I am honestly interested in your arguments for a rescue dog preference over working bred for people looking for agility dogs.

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Why?

I always thought it was propagated here to look for working bred dogs, also when people are looking for a topsport dog.

Mind you , I don´t have any opinion in this (only interested in working stock myself), but I am honestly interested in your arguments for a rescue dog preference over working bred for people looking for agility dogs.

 

I think personally that the best case scenario is to find what you are looking for (for pet or performance) in rescue. If you know what you are looking for (athletic, ball-crazy but not overly hyper, people pleaser), you can find a great canine sports dog in rescue. Another good scenario is to be in touch with working breeders and get an older pup or yearling that maybe is ok working-wise but won't be a world beater. The bonus with that is that it's likely a well-trained pup when you get it and likely to be athletic.

 

That being said, if you are going to spend money with a breeder and really want a pup, your money is best and most ethically spent with a working breeder who cares about the breed (and requires that you spay/neuter the pup).

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Why?

I always thought it was propagated here to look for working bred dogs, also when people are looking for a topsport dog.

Mind you , I don´t have any opinion in this (only interested in working stock myself), but I am honestly interested in your arguments for a rescue dog preference over working bred for people looking for agility dogs.

 

1) Because in the USA there is always a wide assortment of Border Collies in rescue looking for a home. Many of them are excellent sport prospects. Adopting a rescue is wonderful thing to do from a humanitarian point.

 

2) Because when you take an adult you already know their temperament, structure, drive level, etc. Puppies are always a gamble in every regard. Small parents might produce giant pups, and many sport people want smaller dogs. The shy, quiet pup might end up being the adult with attitude while their formerly bold sibling turns out to be soft and introverted. Rescue is the perfect source for finding an adult that has already been evaluated for those qualities. Of course, a dog bred and raised for work that just doesn't cut it is also a great choice for a sports. Many working breeders place dogs in sport homes that don't pan out.

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I think what Chantal has said is very sensible, and I admire her determination to go about this in a responsible manner. She, herself, did not rule out rescue which I applaud along with looking at working breeders.

 

Now, I don't have a clue what "sport sense" would be - but I would imagine it would involve a dog that has focus, drive, intensity, biddability, intelligence, along with a host of traits that make for a quality work dog.

 

But, since I have no experience in this, I hope that those who actively do dog sports, have researched breeders, have trained rescue dogs, and so on, will offer some advice.

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I would look for working breeders who already have some dogs out there doing sports, that way you can see how their dogs turned out and talk to the owners about their experiences with the breeder. There are a wide variety of variables when it comes to raising pups, from vaccination practices to socialization and beyond, and since working dogs are typically raised for the purposes of being a stockdog, that might not mesh with how you might want the pup raised for sports.

 

Whenever I go to an agility trial or flyball tourney and see a dog I like, I ask where it's from, then I will go research that breeder as best I can, hopefully talking to other owners and the breeder him/herself, and if close-by going out to see the dogs. A great place to meet a lot of nice dogs (and owners) is at any national event, if you can make it.

 

I also ask people who have herding connections to let me know if they hear of any litters that I may like. Sometimes it's just who you know. So if you can, get out to some herding trials as well to meet some dogs and chat people up. Maybe even try out some local herding trainers, if you have that option.

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There are a wide variety of variables when it comes to raising pups, from vaccination practices to socialization and beyond, and since working dogs are typically raised for the purposes of being a stockdog, that might not mesh with how you might want the pup raised for sports. [emphasis mine]

I understand what you're saying here, and yes, there certainly is a wide range of practices in raising working bred pups. However, it kind of sounds like the thinking here is that all working breeders leave their pups with the dam to be raised in the barn, just left to their own devices, and never have any interaction or socialization or all the little things that "sports" breeders would do to ensure a well balanced pup. This is absolutely not the case. There are plenty of working bred pups who are whelped in the house, and raised to have all sorts of exposure to noises, and experiences, and people, and children, and messing with their feet and ears, and so on.

 

I'm not sure why it would be important to find "working breeders who already have dogs out there doing sports," since if the dog is truly well bred for its working ability, it should be well suited for any activity,

A

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Wasn't my thinking at all, I've seen it done very well by some working dog breeders, and I've seen it done not so well, and everything in between. Same thing from sports breeders.

 

Yes a well-bred dog should be able to do it all, but there is valuable insight to be gained by talking to people who do what you do with the dog from the breeder you're thinking of buying from. Maybe the dogs from this line are stubborn, or have ETS, or are sound sensitive. Maybe they're not the best working bred dogs.

 

Just like anyone else would want to see the offspring working in the environment your pup will ultimately end up. Just because it's not a working environment, doesn't mean we don't want to see related dogs in a sports environment.

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Yeah, I guess that is the best bet, to get out there and just talk to people. I live in Newfoundland right now and we are very small, dog sports wise and BC wise as well. To my knowledge I don't think I can even do herding here in the province. I'll be moving to Ontario for the school year to do a course, which will greatly open up opportunities. I plan to do as many agility/flyball clinics as possible and try my boy out on sheep/take some lessons if he shows interest, so I'll really try to get contacts there. Ideally, the plan in my head right now is summer 2012 find a dog in Ontario/surrounding provinces, and bring him back with me when I move back to Newfoundland ( or have him flown in if the pups aren't the right age/haven't been born yet) that way I can visit more breeders and get to meet the parents, versus blindly getting a dog flown in. No matter what anyone says about a line or the breeder, I always feel better checking things out for myself.

 

I would love to look at rescue, but with my location it's much easier for a breeder to fly a dog in versus a rescue to try and get approved. I'm also not the *ideal* home for a dog, as I'm only 22 and still living in small student housing, and I may be trying out new locations in the next 5-10 years, seeing where I want to spend my life. Sure, any dog will have a great life with me as my life revolves around dog stuff, flyball/agility/clinics, but I don't have the stable situation that most rescues understandably look for.

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I'm not sure why it would be important to find "working breeders who already have dogs out there doing sports," since if the dog is truly well bred for its working ability, it should be well suited for any activity,

A

 

 

Just like anyone else would want to see the offspring working in the environment your pup will ultimately end up. Just because it's not a working environment, doesn't mean we don't want to see related dogs in a sports environment.

 

Thats the thing really. At the end of the day, when I find a line with the qualities I want in a dog, it would be nice to know how relatives of that dog did in the sports world.

 

So much to research and process, haha, glad I'm starting now!

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Something that just did occur to me is that you avoid a breeder who touts "working-bred pups" but is really in the business of producing pups for pet/sport homes - and there are those breeders. Their pups aren't really bred for futures in serious stockwork, whether on the farm/ranch or trial field or both. There are people that make a sideline (or mainline) business of producing pups precisely to fill the demand for pet and performance sports all the while saying that they are producing working-bred pups, and I would avoid that sort of breeder.

 

Just another personal point of view thought...

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Something that just did occur to me is that you avoid a breeder who touts "working-bred pups" but is really in the business of producing pups for pet/sport homes - and there are those breeders. Their pups aren't really bred for futures in serious stockwork, whether on the farm/ranch or trial field or both. There are people that make a sideline (or mainline) business of producing pups precisely to fill the demand for pet and performance sports all the while saying that they are producing working-bred pups, and I would avoid that sort of breeder.

 

Just another personal point of view thought...

 

I am very excited about the Ontario year coming up, as in my search I've found lots of nice looking dogs down that way. I have seen some webpages that you were talking about, breeders that say working dogs, but there website points more to sport, and the only mention of herding is "dog a takes the sheep out in the morning and brings them in." What would the minimum level of trial one should consider to be a working breeder? I'm also heard that some breeders sell "herding washouts" for lack of a better title. But say these dogs would be good pet/sport homes. What makes them a washout? Because if people say a well bred working dog should be great in anything they do (guideline), if they are a washout wouldn't they lack the qualities that the sports people are looking for as well. Or it's more of an individual dog basis.

 

My big question is comparison. Assuming I'm looking for a pup that could do well for himself at a high level of agility, training/rearing aside (and the unpredictability of evaluating a young pup, but let's say were just looking at breeding here), a dog that posses the athleticism, the speed, be biddable and bold, which drive to match, what level does this compare with herding trials. (soundness, health and good temperament are a given to want) If I was looking at sports breeders, when I found lines with those qualities I'd look for what they passed on in their offsprings and how they are doing in the competitive world, and what people had to say about those animals training/personality wise. So if I'm looking at herding trials, what levels really compare. I'm assuming certain levels the dog has to do more distance work, be more bold in their thinking, yet readily follow instructions right?

 

I really need to get myself some herding lessons and learn about it all!

 

Edit to add... Just read this http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.php?showtopic=18369&st=0 topic and I have learned a lot. So I kinda self-answered my question above. Do working breeders sell to sports people? I plan to go watch some trials when I get to ontario, bit indimidated though to talk to people since I know the bare-minimum *read: next to nothing* about herding.

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1) Because in the USA there is always a wide assortment of Border Collies in rescue looking for a home. Many of them are excellent sport prospects. Adopting a rescue is wonderful thing to do from a humanitarian point.

 

2) Because when you take an adult you already know their temperament, structure, drive level, etc. Puppies are always a gamble in every regard. Small parents might produce giant pups, and many sport people want smaller dogs. The shy, quiet pup might end up being the adult with attitude while their formerly bold sibling turns out to be soft and introverted. Rescue is the perfect source for finding an adult that has already been evaluated for those qualities. Of course, a dog bred and raised for work that just doesn't cut it is also a great choice for a sports. Many working breeders place dogs in sport homes that don't pan out.

 

I totally agree with this.

Our agility club has a couple of dogs from top trialling lines that didn't work out with sheep, and one that was sport bred that didn't live up to expectations at all. Those dogs are far from unique. There are no guarantees with a pup wherever it comes from.

 

Maybe I'm weird but I'd rather have sports success with a dog of unknown background rather than one where any success we may have is attributed to its breeding.

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i'll chime in again to say i run a rescue in agility. i went looking specifically for an agility prospect in rescue. the rescues i worked with evaluate the dogs and rate them for different activities: active companion, sports competitor and working prospect. i chose a yearling that was shown to have both sporting and herding abilities. part of the beauty of adopting an "adult" is you can begin training immediatly and it's a short hop to competing. it has worked out wonderfully. she is a wonderful house pest, runs like a dream and if i could afford it, she migh make it to a decent pro/novice in herding. i do have a list someone gave me on how to assess a rescue for agility potential. if you want it i can post or forward it to you.

 

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I would love to look at rescue, but with my location it's much easier for a breeder to fly a dog in versus a rescue to try and get approved. I'm also not the *ideal* home for a dog, as I'm only 22 and still living in small student housing, and I may be trying out new locations in the next 5-10 years, seeing where I want to spend my life. Sure, any dog will have a great life with me as my life revolves around dog stuff, flyball/agility/clinics, but I don't have the stable situation that most rescues understandably look for.

 

 

I wouldn't rule rescue out because of this. I was in a similar situation when I got my youngest dog through rescue. One thing I had going for me (that you also have) is that I was already very much into the breed. There is a track record there that they can see and evaluate - you're not just a college student who wants a BC, you're a BC owner that is active in dog activities looking for a second dog.

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To answer the question about dogs that are "washouts" in terms of stockwork - a dog can have everything you want physically and mentally *but* if it doesn't have stock sense, has no interest in stock, or some other issue that means it just won't make it on stock - well, there you go, a great dog but for something other than stockwork.

 

And some breeders who find a youngster is just not working out *on stock* the way they'd like, might very well like to see that dog go to a good pet or performance home (neutered, of course). They are not going to want to see one of their breeding/training going into the stockdog world and not being a very good representative of their breeding/training program. Confusing? I'm having trouble articulating what I'm trying to say.

 

As for having the courage to talk to people at trials, find a trial you can attend and contact the person in charge of the trial, and volunteer! There is nothing like being an active volunteer to make connections, meet people, and be given the opportunity to begin to talk about what you are looking for.

 

Very best wishes!

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To answer the question about dogs that are "washouts" in terms of stockwork - a dog can have everything you want physically and mentally *but* if it doesn't have stock sense, has no interest in stock, or some other issue that means it just won't make it on stock - well, there you go, a great dog but for something other than stockwork.

 

And to be honest that "something" might just be as a pet.

 

Whilst a lot of failed sheepdogs would be more than up for a brilliant career as a sports dog, there are others who would be best suited to a quiet life. A friend has 2 and you couldn't find 2 dogs that are more different and in fact the one from the best trialling lines is actually the one with less motivation.

 

However, as you and others said earlier, these dogs will be older and their potential should be a lot easier to assess than a pup.

 

And if I were the OP with her anticipated lifestyle, I wouldn't want a pup at this point. I have a 20 year old daughter at uni and her current agility dog is 5 years old. She is going to want another soon but the next one she will have to keep rather than leave it here and I will do all I can to put her off because of the restrictions it will place on other aspects of her life. She has been competing at high level for the last 10 years so it would be a big thing to have a break but maybe better for her in the long run. Her decision though.

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And if I were the OP with her anticipated lifestyle, I wouldn't want a pup at this point. I have a 20 year old daughter at uni and her current agility dog is 5 years old. She is going to want another soon but the next one she will have to keep rather than leave it here and I will do all I can to put her off because of the restrictions it will place on other aspects of her life. She has been competing at high level for the last 10 years so it would be a big thing to have a break but maybe better for her in the long run. Her decision though.

 

I've look closely at my life and if I wanted/ ready for another dog. Be it pup, youngster or adult, and I've found the answer to be yes, coming up in summer 2012 time. I already live on my own with my dog, as I got him 2 years into college, perfectly well know the cost/time/caring associated with a dog, as he is my own. I know the "sacrifices" that have to be made, --skip a party because I just bought a 100$ training video and I have class fees to pay :P, planning my social life around club volunteer hours, travel? how about a weekend road trip? but only if we're camping at dog friendly locations.. and the big one: move to ontario to do school because house rental laws in accordance to pets (nevermind the fact that I would of chose ontario anyway)--to me they aren't sacrifices, lol. I did the partying/travelling/college experience thing for a few years and found I just wanted to get back into the dog world. With my career in forestry, it's very much a lifestyle thing for me, dogs/animals/outdoors. It'll never be a choice career location versus dogs or anything like that, my dogs are my family and decisions are made based on their well being. That, and Newfoundland is booming with forestry jobs that if I ever got "stuck" my parents own 26 acres in the heart of it all complete with a seperate cabin style apartment and would love nothing more than for me to spend more time at home :lol:

 

Thanks for all the advice guys, I will start to get into contact with some rescues next year. Any recommendations on some that allow out of province adopters? Let's say I'd be taking the dog back with me from Ontario (and surrounding areas) to Newfoundland, and a home-check wasn't possible, how do rescues look at that? Do they allow more personal assessements?

(I know each rescue must have different policies, but on a general sense) I've never dealt with a breed specific rescue before, only shelter/self rescues type of deal on past dogs.

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And some breeders who find a youngster is just not working out *on stock* the way they'd like, might very well like to see that dog go to a good pet or performance home (neutered, of course). They are not going to want to see one of their breeding/training going into the stockdog world and not being a very good representative of their breeding/training program. Confusing? I'm having trouble articulating what I'm trying to say.

 

As for having the courage to talk to people at trials, find a trial you can attend and contact the person in charge of the trial, and volunteer! There is nothing like being an active volunteer to make connections, meet people, and be given the opportunity to begin to talk about what you are looking for.

 

Very best wishes!

 

That makes a lot of sense, the representation of their breeding program aspect.

 

What a great idea! I never thought of volunteering at a trial even though now it seems like such an obvious idea, lol! I will certainly do that!

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With my career in forestry, it's very much a lifestyle thing for me, dogs/animals/outdoors. It'll never be a choice career location versus dogs or anything like that, my dogs are my family and decisions are made based on their well being. That, and Newfoundland is booming with forestry jobs that if I ever got "stuck" my parents own 26 acres in the heart of it all complete with a seperate cabin style apartment and would love nothing more than for me to spend more time at home :lol:

 

Sounds ideal. I'd go for it then.

My concern was that so many young (and considerably older) people don't think through the implications, especially if they have a job that would mean leaving the dog behind for long hours. Just the sort of things mothers worry about.

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Chantal, where are you going to school? There will be 2 weeks of trials in October east of Toronto.

 

And yes working people will sell to sports homes, come to trials and see dogs/dog temperments you like. See how the handlers work with their dogs; you may love a particular dog and see that the handler is super loud....or super soft, most of us will tell you temperment wise about our dogs.

 

A lot of us buy dogs from out of province/state so i'm sure that isn't a problem. You can talk to the rescues in Ontario and see what their policy is about out of province adopters. Also there are a couple of herding breeders in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec that also do agility that you can meet at some of the trials.

 

Let us know when you get here and we will show you around.

 

Cynthia (near Peterborough)

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Sounds ideal. I'd go for it then.

My concern was that so many young (and considerably older) people don't think through the implications, especially if they have a job that would mean leaving the dog behind for long hours. Just the sort of things mothers worry about.

 

I completely understand you. I dog walk/exercise on the side for money to spend on my own dog expenses, and I see a lot of people when I ask the dog's current exercise schedule, some say "My dog get's out quite a bit we try to go for a walk at least 2 or 3 times a week" and I'm just thinking, thank-god you called me, your poor animal. And these are all young energetic, 'they should be running free for hours on end per day', type of dogs. Young person wise, there this young couple that I walk for that have a 1.5 years old lab/rottie mix, that is the hardest over-the-top dog I've had to handle just because they didn't realise the type of commitment it takes for a dog when their "mommy's" aren't there to pick up the animal caring slack. They clearly love the dog, and he's well cared for he's just seriously lacking in physical stimulation (and mental actually, the dog could use a lot of training). And it could of been avoided if they actually thought through the commitment. So you were very right in making that comment!

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