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Do you suppose that's the first thing they think of, a genetic defect, when a pro golfer, say a Tiger Woods or a Phil Michleson, slices or hooks a drive, pushes or pulls a birdie putt? I mean these guys are pros, and in some cases conisidered phenoms, they have their swings down pat, correct? So when they make a mishit it's got to be a some sort of genetic defect??? No, more than likely it's one of two things, mental glitch (enter high $$$$ swing coaches and/or gurus), or it's a physical problem, back, knee, wrist, elbow....

 

Where on earth did you read that a genetic defect was the first thing they thought of?

 

How and/or why these aglility folks would make the leap to a genetic predisposition is beyond me.

 

Maybe because everything else was ruled out and it happened in several related dogs?

 

If this condition manifested itself across the board, in all Border Collies, I notice some type of depth perception problem in one or more of my dogs or other handlers dogs (stockdogs) then I might buy it...but it only shows up in agility dogs???

 

Maybe because agility dogs are the only ones repeatedly jumping jumps? Would you expect a jumping problem with Thoroughbreds to manifest itself in T'breds who only raced and not jumped? Or maybe because the lines it's carried in (if it is indeed genetic) are only sport lines?

 

Wouldn't common sense dicate that it's more likely to be some kind physical ailment, soreness etc... or in my mind, something mental, a anticipatory issue, in conjunction with the Border Collies (espcially these sport collies) tendencey to be a little amped.

 

Of course, which is why all those things have been ruled out and were looked at first. I know 9 pages is a lot to read, but all this has already been pointed out.

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In the case of ETS, I suspect that the rate of speed has simply surpassed the ability of the eye to adjust to varied lighting conditions and dynamically focus. As I've gotten older, it just takes longer for my eye to change its focus from a piece of paper on my desk to the computer screen. And I'm sitting still. The problem would be magnified, if I were traveling at speed.

 

Rather than this being a genetic defect, it may be an example of the consequences of breeding for extremes. The dog gets faster, but the eye can't cope.

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That's a very interesting thought Blackdawgs. Wouldn't we see the problem across all fast dogs then, regardless of breeding?

 

No, because there will be natural variation in the ability to dynamically focus. These dogs are at one of the sides of the bell curve. But, as dogs get faster, the problem would show in a larger proportion of dogs

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That's a very interesting thought Blackdawgs. Wouldn't we see the problem across all fast dogs then, regardless of breeding?

 

I wouldn't think so. I have very poor vision, but thanks to corrective lenses, I'm able to see like other normal vision people (both fast and slow people). Dogs, as far as I'm aware, don't have the luxury of corrective lenses.

 

After viewing that video you posted, I thought, "Yeah, I know a few dogs that jump like that." (I didn't see a stutter step in the video of the sheltie that was posted earlier) The dogs that I know of that jump like that don't necessarily knock bars, and also, aren't necessarily very fast. One of the dogs that I know that jumps like that is a working-bred border collie. I trained with her for about the past two years until recently, and her dog has always jumped similar to the dog in the video. I was at a trial this weekend and I was watching her dog run. This time, though, every time the dog got to a triple jump, she stopped and didn't want to jump over the triple. I talked to her later and asked her about it. She said that her dog wasn't injured (had been checked) and she suspected that it was her vision that was the problem. Another bc (a rescue) that I know of that jumps like that was recently retired because her owner suspected that her vision was starting to deteriorate and that was why she was having jumping problems. I also know of a couple of shelties (I think both are rescues) that jump like this and neither is super fast and both of them tend to have more problems with doubles and triples, which would, again, lead me to believe that it's probably a vision issue.

 

Perhaps the "problem" seems to appear more with agility dogs because agility dogs are asked to jump over agility jumps on a regular basis and, thus, highlighting a vision issue that might otherwise go unnoticed. (E.g., I could probably do a lot of things just fine without my contacts, but I probably couldn't navigate around an obstacle course at speed very gracefully without them.)

 

Anyway, a vision issue would seem much more likely and plausible than some defective jumping gene.

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This is probably a dumb set of questions; however, that's not stopped me before. :P In reading through all of this--especially the comments about people with agility dogs being offended if told their dog isn't a Border Collie, I've come to wonder what the investment in the dog being a Border Collie really is.

 

If what matters is a great agility dog, why does a human competitor care what the breed is?

 

Is it only because the AKC (for instance) requires "purely bred" dogs to compete that the classification of the dog matters at all?

 

Why wouldn't a human competitor rather hear that they had something other than a Border Collie than that they had a poorly bred or bad example of a Border Collie? Particularly if they'd paid a lot of money, done a lot of research into breeders, selected a breeder that tested for things that mattered to them and did everything possible to ensure the likelihood of a great, beloved partner in the sport they love.

 

I've been thinking about this because of flyball. I think a lot of the breeding done in flyball (and that I often heard strongly disparaged by people doing agility) is really geared to the standard of flyball--which has meant that border collies were crossed with a variety of other dogs--mostly small, driven dogs. It didn't really matter what the dog was and certainly didn't matter that it wasn't "purebred." That doesn't seem to be the case in general in agility and I'm curious about why.

 

I care that my dogs are Border Collies not because of the label "Border Collie" specifically but because of what "Border Collie" means relative to livestock work.

 

If, for instance, I say that I'm involved in working sheep with my border collie, then that gives specific information about what I can expect to see from the dog (for instance, a desire to gather, a particular kind of outrun, controlling stock with presence and eye, etc.). If I say I'm involved in working sheep with a GSD, then I expect something completely different.

 

Not being an agility competitor, I may be completely off base, but it seems to me that Shelties and Border Collies differ in how they approach agility (e.g. movement, style, temperament etc.), but those differences in breed type don't seem to particularly matter for the likelihood of being successful at a given agility course (in the way that a GSD will be at a strong disadvantage if run on a USBCHA type sheep herding trial, for example, since those courses are not designed to highlight the strengths of a tending dog).

 

The category that seems to me, from the outside, to distinguish dogs most in agility is size rather than breed and indeed agility is divided into size classes (unlike conformation which is divided into breed classes).

 

So, if I say I do agility with my Border Collie, does that convey specifically different information about what I can expect from the dog in terms of doing the tasks of agility successfully than if I say I do agility with my Sheltie? (or my Border Jack?)

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If what matters is a great agility dog (and I totally get how this is important), why does a human competitor care what the breed is?

 

I don't think that the breed being a border collie is really what they care about. It is the fact that the border collies tend to excel at the sport (with shelties, aussies, GRs, and papillons being close behind). Many folks doing agility are just looking for dogs that do well at the sport and border collies tend to be that. In the USDAA trials that I attend where there are no breed requirements, border collies still far outnumber any of the other breeds and non-breeds there.

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If what matters is a great agility dog (and I totally get how this is important), why does a human competitor care what the breed is?

 

 

I think most people don't care. I actually don't care. Had Mark said that to me in person while looking at my dog I would have found it funny and laughed at him but not been particularly offended.

 

I commented on Mark B's assertion that a sport bred Border Collie is a "designer dog" because of the negative connotation that term implies and how theres folks who would be offended if you called their dog that. Use the search function on this site and look up "designer dog" and you will see how much contempt most people have for them and the breeders who create them.

 

Why wouldn't a human competitor rather hear that they had something other than a Border Collie than that they had a poorly bred or bad example of a Border Collie? Particularly if they'd paid a lot of money, done a lot of research into breeders, selected a breeder that tested for things that mattered to them and did everything possible to ensure the likelihood of a great, beloved partner in the sport they love.

 

Precisely because they did those things.

 

It didn't really matter what the dog was and certainly didn't matter that it wasn't "purebred." That doesn't seem to be the case in general in agility and I'm curious about why.

 

My suspicion is because agility people come more from the "dog fancy" world where the idea of crossbreeding is deemed very irresponsible.

 

So, if I say I do agility with my Border Collie, does that convey specifically different information about what I can expect from the dog in terms of doing the tasks of agility successfully than if I say I do agility with my Sheltie? (or my Border Jack?)

 

Does it mean anything in that a person would be more impressed in your abilities as an agility handler than if you had a Sheltie or BorderJack? I don't think so. In fact many people think its cheating to do agility with a Border Collie. B)

 

If you mean do you expect a Border Collie will learn and train like a Sheltie or other breed well yes, they are different in how they learn and how you need to handle them (but I don't think thats what you mean).

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If you mean do you expect a Border Collie will learn and train like a Sheltie or other breed well yes, they are different in how they learn and how you need to handle them (but I don't think thats what you mean).

 

Right, that's not really what I meant.

 

I mean something more tied to the end result of running the course successfully. I would not expect a GSD to successfully complete a National Sheepdog Finals course because of characteristics tied to what the dog is breed to do relative to stock.

 

This does not seem to be true for agility.

 

I'm trying to understand why the breed of the dog matters for doing the task (obviously it matters for issues of learning, training, approach, etc.)

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Perhaps the "problem" seems to appear more with agility dogs because agility dogs are asked to jump over agility jumps on a regular basis and, thus, highlighting a vision issue that might otherwise go unnoticed. (E.g., I could probably do a lot of things just fine without my contacts, but I probably couldn't navigate around an obstacle course at speed very gracefully without them.)

 

Anyway, a vision issue would seem much more likely and plausible than some defective jumping gene.

 

I believe the thought is that it is a hereditary vision issue.

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Why wouldn't a human competitor rather hear that they had something other than a Border Collie than that they had a poorly bred or bad example of a Border Collie?

 

Hmm. I'll need to ask my friends with sports bred dogs what they'd rather be told and get back to you. Probably they would prefer not to be told either comment. I personally accept that these Boards view my sports bred dog as badly bred and many say he is not a real Border Collie for that reason. My friends would be likely to respond to such a statement about their dogs with surprise along with a sense of insult and I think some humor at the idea.

 

And telling them their dogs aren't true Border Collies isn't likely to make them want a working bred dog because they are thrilled with their sports bred dogs. They'd be much more likely to say "well, then I better stay with the sports breeders for my Border Collies."

 

As an aside, I still call Quinn a Border Collie to anyone who asks, as well as in my mind. And yes, there is a different picture for agility folks if you say you do the sport with a Border Collie than if you do it with a Lhasa or Standard Poodle. Border Collies tend to be more alike as agility dogs than most breeds IMHO. I see a lot of variability in Shelties and Paps, for example those those are also very popular breeds for the sport. Not that all Border Collies are fast, keen and focused. Some are way too much dog for their handlers. But they do tend to excel in the sport more consistently than any other breed I have seen in my neck of the woods.

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If what matters is a great agility dog, why does a human competitor care what the breed is?

 

Most of us don't. However if working breeders approached sport BC breeders and said hey we want you to change the name of the dog you're breeding, then they would be laughed out of the room. Not because they're hung up on a name, but because they're not the ones who think there's a problem.

 

If by some miracle, the ABCA copyrighted the term "Border Collie" tomorrow and only proven working-bred dogs could be called that, I doubt most sport breeders would have a problem with another name designation, as long as their end product remained the same. (although not being a breeder, I'm making some assumptions here)

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I'm trying to understand why the breed of the dog matters for doing the task (obviously it matters for issues of learning, training, approach, etc.)

 

Because they don't have the same belief system as these boards and would be annoyed/amused/puzzled by someone who told them their dog wasn't a Border Collie.

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This is probably a dumb set of questions (and it is not meant to be disrespectful of anyone's dog or any activities anyone does with their dog); however, in reading through all of this--especially the comments about people with agility dogs being offended if told their dog isn't a Border Collie, I've come to wonder what the investment in the dog being a Border Collie really is.

 

I don't think they are dumb questions at all.

 

If what matters is a great agility dog, why does a human competitor care what the breed is?

 

I can't answer for anyone else, but the fact that I care about what breed my dogs are has nothing to do with Agility. I has to do with knowing them for who and what they really are.

 

For instance, Maddie is a mutt. She is a Border Collie/Lab mix. I don't care that she is known as such because we do Agility, or because it has any impact on her Agility. It's because that's what she is. If someone came along and said that Border Collie/Lab mixes are only bred to retrieve sheep poo and she was not bred to retrieve sheep poo, so she is something else, I would not just glibly agree. One of her parents was a Border Collie. One was a Lab. That is part of who she is. (That is completely hypothetical, BTW. I am NOT equating Border Collies being bred for stockwork with some crazy person thinking that there is any breed of dog bred to retrieve sheep poo. It's just an example to draw a parallel. It's not perfect. There are holes in it I'm sure. It is simply to make a comparison that nobody has any kind of investment in).

 

You know, there are people who think she's a purebred Border Collie and I can't convince them otherwise. I don't get upset with them - in a way it's a compliment. But that's not who or what she is. She's a mutt. If someone seriously tried to convince me that she's not, it would matter.

 

Does that make sense?

 

It's the same with my Border Collies. They are Border Collies. If someone were to come along and try to tell me that they really aren't, it would matter. From my perspective, that's as much nonsense as if someone tried to convince me that Maddie is not a mutt.

 

It has nothing to do with Agility. Agility is hardly the only thing that matters.

 

Is it only because the AKC (for instance) requires "purely bred" dogs to compete that the classification of the dog matters at all?

 

Not in my case. Maddie, my Mutt, participates in CPE Agility, which welcomes all breeds, including mixed. Dean, although he is a Border Collie, participates in CPE and NADAC, which also welcomes all breeds. Even AKC allows mixed breeds to compete in Agility events now, as long as the club hosting the event elects to allow them, and the show is not being held on the grounds with a Conformation show.

 

Why wouldn't a human competitor rather hear that they had something other than a Border Collie than that they had a poorly bred or bad example of a Border Collie?

 

Well, for one thing, they don't consider their Border Collies to be poorly bred, or bad examples of a Border Collie.

 

Also, it would not make any sense to them to consider their dogs to be something else.

 

I realize that you consider the dogs to be poorly bred or bad examples, or something else (at least in some cases), but the owners do not. To them doing so would make as much sense as it would for me to call Maddie a purebred.

 

Particularly if they'd paid a lot of money, done a lot of research into breeders, selected a breeder that tested for things that mattered to them and did everything possible to ensure the likelihood of a great, beloved partner in the sport they love.

 

Then that person is certainly going to consider the dog to be well bred.

 

I've been thinking about this because of flyball. I think a lot of the breeding done in flyball (and that I often heard strongly disparaged by people doing agility) is really geared to the standard of flyball--which has meant that border collies were crossed with a variety of other dogs--mostly small, driven dogs. It didn't really matter what the dog was and certainly didn't matter that it wasn't "purebred."

 

It doesn't matter to them that the dog is purebred because the dog is not purebred. A Borderjack is a mix. The Flyball people know that. What reason would they have to say otherwise?

 

That doesn't seem to be the case in general in agility and I'm curious about why.

 

Some people run Borderjacks in Agility. It doesn't matter to them that the dog is not purebred. A lot of people run mixes in Agility. Agility isn't the reason why they identify their dogs as mixes.

 

I care that my dogs are Border Collies not because of the label "Border Collie" specifically but because of what "Border Collie" means relative to livestock work.

 

Outside of the stockdog world, people generally consider a dog to be the same breed as his or her parents. Outside of the stockdog world, for instance, two Golden Retrievers never produce Lab puppies. If both parents are Goldens, then the puppies are Goldens. Even if those puppies grew up to work stock like a Border Collie (I know - not realistic), they would still be considered to be Golden Retrievers because that is what their parents are. Even a Golden Retriever that does not meet the AKC breed standard, lets say one of the puppies is born jet black, the owners of the dog are still going to consider the dog to be a Golden Retriever.

 

I've had this debate on here before and it got ugly, but if you really are trying to understand the mindset of those outside of stockwork, it is important to know that to those who are outside of stockwork, the notion that two Border Collies can give birth to something that is not a Border Collie is simply nonsense.

 

None of my Border Collies will ever work stock for a living, nor even as a regular hobby. That's not why I identify them as Border Collies. I do so because that is what they are. To say otherwise would make as much sense to me as it would to say that Dean is a cat.

 

If, for instance, I say that I'm involved in working sheep with my border collie, then that gives specific information about what I can expect to see from the dog (for instance, a desire to gather, a particular kind of outrun, controlling stock with presence and eye, etc.). If I say I'm involved in working sheep with a GSD, then I expect something completely different.

 

For those of us outside of stockwork, we also expect to see specific things from our Border Collies. There are specific things about the way that they look (sorry if that offends anyone), the way that they act, the way that interact with us in our lives. I can tell you as someone who lives with three Border Collies and two mutts - the Border Collies are different. They are not "just dogs" because they don't work sheep. They relate to me in a completely different way. They are not all exactly the same as one another, but they are certainly all Border Collies.

 

You could argue, that every trait that a Border Collie displays in everyday life can be found, with just as much frequency, in any other breed of dog. They all have prey drive, etc. But I've observed differences. If I were to say that they are not Border Collies, I would be a liar.

 

Not being an agility competitor, I may be completely off base, but it seems to me that Shelties and Border Collies differ in how they approach agility (e.g. movement, style, temperament etc.), but those differences in breed type don't seem to particularly matter for the likelihood of being successful at a given agility course (in the way that a GSD will be at a strong disadvantage if run on a USBCHA type sheep herding trial, for example, since those courses are not designed to highlight the strengths of a tending dog).

 

I would say that success depends a lot more on the individual dog than on breed.

 

I can't speak for others, but I do Agility with Border Collies (and one mix) because I love Border Collies. I love living with them, training with them, working with them, and competing with them.

 

I know that some people do choose a certain breed of dog for the purpose of doing well in a given sport, but I am certainly not one of them, so I can't speak for them.

 

You Wrote (Sorry, it won't let me post any more quotes!!!): The category that seems to me, from the outside, to distinguish dogs most in agility is size rather than breed and indeed agility is divided into size classes (unlike conformation which is divided into breed classes).

 

Yes, as far as jump height, Agility is divided up by dog's height at the withers.

 

You Wrote: So, if I say I do agility with my Border Collie, does that convey specifically different information about what I can expect from the dog in terms of doing the tasks of agility successfully than if I say I do agility with my Sheltie? (or my Border Jack?)

 

Yes and no.

 

There are typical characteristics that one does expect of a dog based on breed. Border Collies, typically, are known to be fast, efficient, drivey, and eager to train.

 

In real life, though, there is a lot of variation within breed. Some Border Collies, for instance, bark their heads off throughout a course. Some work very quietly. Some are fast, but more on the wild side. Some are slower, but more consistent. Some will work and work and work nonstop and others shut down if pushed too far. Some Border Collies do phenomenal distance work and some are velcro dogs.

 

I can't speak for Shelties or Borderjacks. Personally I would not choose to live with either. Shelties can be fantastic Agility dogs but to me they lack that "humanesque" quality that I love in the Border Collie. And I'm not a terrier fan, so a Borderjack would probably drive me nuts if he or she favored terrier at all in his or her personality.

 

I hope that what I've written gives you some insight. Others will have a different perspective, but that is one.

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Most of us don't. However if working breeders approached sport BC breeders and said hey we want you to change the name of the dog you're breeding, then they would be laughed out of the room. Not because they're hung up on a name, but because they're not the ones who think there's a problem.

 

If by some miracle, the ABCA copyrighted the term "Border Collie" tomorrow and only proven working-bred dogs could be called that, I doubt most sport breeders would have a problem with another name designation, as long as their end product remained the same. (although not being a breeder, I'm making some assumptions here)

 

I agree with this.

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Hmm. I'll need to ask my friends with sorts bred dogs what they'd rather be told and get back to you. Probably they would prefer not to be told either comment. I personally accept that these Boards view my sports bred dog as badly bred and many say he is not a real Border Collie for that reason. My friends would be likely to respond to such a statement about their dogs with surprise along with a sense of insult and I think some humor at the idea.

 

And telling them their dogs aren't true Border Collies isn't likely to make them want a working bred dog because they are thrilled with their sports bred dogs. They'd be much more likely to say "well, then I better stay with the sports breeders for my Border Collies."

 

As an aside, I still call Quinn a Border Collie to anyone who asks, as well as in my mind. And yes, there is a different picture for agility folks if you say you do the sport with a Border Collie than if you do it with a Lhasa or Standard Poodle. Border Collies tend to be more alike as agility dogs than most breeds IMHO. I see a lot of variability in Shelties and Paps, for example those those are also very popular breeds for the sport. Not that all Border Collies are fast, keen and focused. Some are way too much dog for their handlers. But they do tend to excel in the sport more consistently than any other breed I have seen in my neck of the woods.

 

Thanks, Liz. (I generally agree it's better not to be told anything about one's dog--but of course, I've heard many agility friends scoff at the breeding on flyball dogs because they were purposeful crosses, so I guess those that dish it out have to be able to take it as well. My mutt was once ushered out of an area where agility was being run because he wasn't a purebred dog.)

 

And for the record, I live with three poorly bred Border Collies. We still feed them dinner, though. Well, most of the time.... and always after the working-bred ones ;)

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I mean something more tied to the end result of running the course successfully. I would not expect a GSD to successfully complete a National Sheepdog Finals course because of characteristics tied to what the dog is breed to do relative to stock.

 

This does not seem to be true for agility.

 

Again, yes and no.

 

Did you know that there is a contingency of people in the Agility world who would like to see classes created for "Anything But a Border Collie"? And this is serious, not just a good natured quip.

 

If Border Collies, for some reason or another, are not particularly suited for Agility (generally speaking), then there wouldn't be people who feel that way. I never hear anyone say they want classes for "Anything But a Sheltie" or "Anything But a GSD".

 

Often when people who run another breed get a Border Collie, snide comments are made about going to the "Dark Side". And if I got a Lab, there are people who would be very pleased that I had left the "Dark Side" behind.

 

Being on the Border Collie side of that, I largely ignore it. I have as much of a right to be there as anyone. And I know full well that training and running with a Border Collie is not easy peasy. What those people don't realize is that for every Border Collie they see qualify, a bunch NQ'ed!! And that some of the Border Collies might make it look easy, but more work than they can imagine may have gone into that.

 

Buuuuut . . . I have to admit that when Maddie placed ahead of a Border Collie one time in a competition, I was particularly proud of her. I guess I got a glimpse of what bothers some of those people so much.

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I couldn't stop myself from watching the "stutter step" dog video.

 

Anybody run hurdles in track? I did, way back in high school. In short, ideally, you run as fast as you can while still maintainging the same number of strides between equally spaced hurdles so you maximize your efficiency as you approach & clear the hurdle. You can't run AS FAST as you really can because you would sacrifice the most efficient approach to the jump. It's a blend of speed and form, and you can work on perfecting the blend because the spacing between jumps is always predictable.

 

Imagine now if the hurdles were irregularly spaced (as I imagine they are in agility due to different obstacle layouts or angles of approach?) and you had to run AS FAST AS YOU CAN. Bet you'd see two legged runners taking those same stutter steps approaching the jump to try to get to their fall-back most efficient jumping mode as they anticipate the jump. And, if the runner ( or dog) came to particularly dislike or fear taking a jump down, bet you'd see it more.

 

What do I know? FWIW.

 

Lori Cunningham

Milton, PA

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A few random thoughts:

 

I trained and competed with horses over jumps in several areas (hunter, jumper, three day eventing) for decades. I don’t recall anything like ETS in horses. Poor style, or lack of ability or courage, of course, but not anything that showed up after an otherwise good start. The rider normally tries to control the striding distance so the horse jumps from the proper spot but horses are sometimes free jumped on a lunge line with no rider where they would have to pick their own distances. Has anyone ever heard of a horse developing something like this?

 

They already have and are developing genetic tests in dogs for things like the red gene and various structural features such as coat length and ear set. There will be genetic tests for the things people want them for if they can be developed, i.e., high heritability and not complex inheritance patterns. IOW there will be gene tests for lots of things that many others may not find important.

 

Once again, supposing ETS is a genetic problem, and the cost for the test reasonable, it *could* be treated just the same as any other preference in a working litter bred for the right reasons, instead of specifically bred for the preference. For example, one might like red dogs. Even without selection such as testing the parents for the red gene or selection by breeding red parents, red pups are born into working litters. One might take that pup because red is preferred, but this has not changed the standard for the breeding. This is selecting from the pups available, not selection for red pups by breeding reds dogs or testing the parents for the red gene. Therefore, one could find a working bred litter and test the pup you like for ETS before you buy it. No, this is not as efficient as testing the parents and selecting against this gene, but it will not change the gene pool. If you want to support working breeders, you can.

 

I’ve said this before but there’s pretty good evidence that in order to keep all the pieces balanced and working together correctly in a breed developed and selected for a high level of work performance, one must continue to stringently select for that purpose. Breeds can fall apart when only part of the traits are selected for and not balanced by those not selected for. The German Shepherd dog is a good example of this kind of failure, both mentally and physically.

 

So we’re back to the same philosophy – you can do the activity (I don't consider conformation an activity) you want with the dog you have. Or even pick what you want from those available pups on the ground. Just choose from pups bred for working ability from work-tested parents. You can still support the breed as it was meant to be and do what you want without harming the gene pool if it’s important enough to you.

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I commented on Mark B's assertion that a sport bred Border Collie is a "designer dog" because of the negative connotation that term implies and how theres folks who would be offended if you called their dog that. Use the search function on this site and look up "designer dog" and you will see how much contempt most people have for them and the breeders who create them.

 

But that isn't really the way it went. Your initial comments were:

 

I'm sorry Mark but saying that a Border Collie isn't a Border Collie because you don't approve of its breeding is the kind of thing that turns off people who might other wise spend time here and learn more. Its insulting.

 

My point, which seems to have whoooosh-ed on by, is when you call someones dog "not a Border Collie" . . . theres not a huge surprise that they don't spend a lot of time listening to your other views.

 

The focus on "designer dog" came later. I think you did feel, and that lots of people seem to feel, that it's an insult to point out that dogs bred for something other than stock work are either not a border collie or well on their way to being not a border collie. And I too have never understood that. I like all kinds of dogs. Most dogs are great. I would almost certainly like the dogs being bred for other things. I assume their people like them too. They're fine dogs -- just not border collies. Why is it so terrible to say that?

 

 

 

My suspicion is because agility people come more from the "dog fancy" world where the idea of crossbreeding is deemed very irresponsible.

 

I think it's because they come from the dog fancy too. But I don't think it's disapproval of crossbreeding, because it shows itself where crossbreeding is not an issue at all. It's hard to put a finger on, but I think it has more to do with breeds being everything in the fancy. The sport of purebred dogs. The AKC world being set up by breed. The odd thing here is that I think the agility people are more hung up on the breed name than the working people are. Working people feel strongly about the concept that the dogs not bred for work are not the same breed as our dogs, but not that strongly about what the name should be. We changed the name once (collie --> border collie) when this happened, and I think the main objection to doing it again is the practical difficulties, although certainly it's more logical for the name to stay with the breed that's still being bred to the same standard. I've never heard a working person claim to be insulted and offended when someone told them their dog isn't a border collie because it didn't look like a border collie. But it seems folks in the agility world are very insulted and offended when someone tells them their dog isn't a border collie because it wasn't bred to the working standard.

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I realize that you consider the dogs to be poorly bred or bad examples, or something else (at least in some cases), but the owners do not. To them doing so would make as much sense as it would for me to call Maddie a purebred.

 

Thanks for your thoughtful response, Kristen.

 

I don't really consider individual dogs in terms of their breeding. If I'm being careful, I would talk of breeding *practices* that I would consider "poor" or "bad examples" or "producing something else." I would find the practice of breeding against ETS a poor practice. The outcome of that practice, e.g. a specific dog, is a different matter for me.

 

And I agree that many, probably most people don't think all that much about this kind of thing and assume that whatever the parents are is what the pups are or whatever you think your dog is is what you will maintain it is. That's certainly where I entered this conversation myself 7 years ago.

 

Of course, people often believe things that are not correct for all kinds of reasons. It's what they do in the face of new information that might challenge their belief that makes the discussion start to get kind of interesting (IMHO). I never thought twice about breeding border collies (or dogs particularly) until I was faced with new information. The more I read and studied and observed, the more my views shifted. And they continue to.

 

In the general context of this discussion, I just got interested in why the breed matters to people involved in agility. Most everyone has responded that it doesn't really. That's an interesting outcome and has changed my own understanding.

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The odd thing here is that I think the agility people are more hung up on the breed name than the working people are.

 

I don't think that's so odd. We are the ones being told that our dogs aren't really Border Collies. Of course the ones who aren't being told that aren't going to get hung up on it.

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I think people would just think you're crazy or didn't know what you were talking about if you approached them and said their dog is not a BC. My Wick is a smallish, sleek-coated girl and many people thought she was a BorderJack at first. Didn't offend me, I just told them what she was and if they didn't believe me, well then that was their problem. ;-)

 

If you approached a big hat and told him or her that their dog was poorly-bred, would they be offended or think you a fool?

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Because they don't have the same belief system as these boards and would be annoyed/amused/puzzled by someone who told them their dog wasn't a Border Collie.

 

Sure, I get this. My questions have been more about why or whether the breed matters in the outcome of agility than about how people would respond to being told their dog isn't a border collie when they believe it is.

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My questions have been more about why or whether the breed matters in the outcome of agility than about how people would respond to being told their dog isn't a border collie when they believe it is.

 

Yes, breed matters though it is not the only thing that matters in an agilty dog, who is only half of the team. There is a reason certain breeds dominate the sport and why people are often so tickled to see unusual breeds in the ring, especially if they do really well, yet do not rush out to get an agility Bassett. :)

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