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From what I've read here, you're doing little to help your cause in promoting the working BC, especially for people such as myself who don't have sheep or run stock and just want a BC as a (horrors!) pet.


Not a very attentive reader, I'd say. And for the rest, I'll stick with a sigh.



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So, in my search someone steered me to someone who had <GASP!> a litter of AKC pups from show lines. I looked at them, was impressed by the work the breeder put into them as far as socialization and health testing. Also, they seemed very intelligent despite what you claim about dogs coming from showlines so I got one and he's perfect for me. He acts and looks VERY much like my first border collies, is very athletic, intelligent and nice looking to boot.


I understand where you are coming from in regards to show dogs, how a breed can indeed be ruined by the show ring. And I've read "Dog Wars", but from what I've seen so far with these BCs, at least with the lines my present BC came from, I don't see that. Many breeders of AKC BCs do seem intent on keeping the breed intelligent, capable and that word that many here seem to despise, VERSATILE!



No one here says that people who don't do herding are second class. In fact the person that started this thread hardly does anything as far as herding goes. the only thing we ask is that if you appreciate the breed that you respect the foundation of the breed - breeding for working ability made the breed, breeding for working ability will preserve it.



I'm sure I'll REALLY get slammed for mentioning this...you would claim he wouldn't be able to herd, but you don't know that.


On the flip side you can't say that he has it unless you take him to stock. Eyeing toys etc doesn't = herding ability. The eye is only one part of the total package. Maybe he has it maybe he doesn't but you just like you can't say that your dog would be good at something that you've never tried. I do SAR work and hear a lot of people say "my dog would be great at that - they use their nose all the time". Well, using the nose is only one part of the total package need for a SAR dog just like the eye is only one part of the total package for a herding dog. As a person with a little knowledge of what it takes to make a SAR dog I may look at their dog and see that he doesn't have the focus, or the drive or the temperament needed for the job - there may be certain pieces of the puzzle there, but others are missing.


If you are sure that your dog has talent, well, the proof is in the pudding. and this goes for any performance venue.


Many breeders of AKC BCs do seem intent on keeping the breed intelligent, capable and that word that many here seem to despise, VERSATILE!


The breed was versatile before the AKC/conformation entered the game - if it hadn't been the breed might not be recognized by the AKC today. But I would also like to point out the the organization itself is essentially flawed - across the board for all breeds. They promote a myriad of ideas that are bad for dogs in general, from their support of puppy mills to the idea of being so focused on an unrealistic physical look that they've helped create breeds that cannot survive without major human intervention (English bulldogs anyone?). Honestly even if I wasn't involved in Border Collies I'd still stay far, far away from the AKC.


From what I've read here, you're doing little to help your cause in promoting the working BC, especially for people such as myself who don't have sheep or run stock and just want a BC as a (horrors!) pet.


So how would you suggest we go about doing it? And yes, this is a serious, honest question.

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Being a member of FCI myself, I can understand how you feel. It is very hard to see through the many caustic remarks, slams and other putdowns what is really behind it, and that what's behind it is worthwhile. But these are very self-rewarding behaviors and few people and resist them at all times. I have seen many discussions on the show end where people would search for pictures of working dogs and try to out-do each other in finding the "ugliest" one and making noises of "gee! and what in the world is THAT!" or "that dog at best only SAW a border collie at a distance".


So from the point of view of an FCI person: I find it very upsetting that judges see faults in the structure of my border collie bitches, who are extremely agile, fast and fit. The most aggravating note I got once was "presented in a sporty condition" as though that was an utter insult in the show ring - an athletic dog (though of course there are many fit dogs camouflaged under the perfectly groomed coats -believe me)


Maralynn has answered very well.





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I've been lurking here off and on for some time, this has finally brought me out of the woodwork.




I'm not a BC 'expert' as many of you in your clique claim to be, however I have had a border collie since 1981,


I am not an expert, nor am I part of any clique. I am a very average person who owns and loves Border Collies. I think a lot of people here would say the same.


. . . but in all likelihood, he won't have the opportunity because I didn't get him to be a herding dog. Which by that statement, I'm sure a lot of you will say then what do I have a BC for? Somehow that makes me 'unworthy' of owning one apparently.


I don't do stockwork with my Border Collies, either. I'm into sports and performance, myself. I actually don't care whether anyone else considers me to be "worthy" of owning a Border Collie or not. They are my dog of choice, I love them to distraction, and I will always have a few, as long as I am physically and mentally able to properly care for them. Hopefully that will be for a very, very long time!!


There are a lot of people here who come from different backgrounds with their Border Collies. Yes, most of us do feel that they should be bred for work to keep the whole package of the best in the Border Collie intact, but many of us do not do stockwork ourselves and we enjoy our Border Collies as pets, companions, sport partners, and probably everything imaginable. I choreograph performances to music with my Border Collies and perform them to entertain audiences, and to earn titles. How's that for different?


No doubt I will be raked over the coals thoroughly for writing this, but so be it. I was enjoying looking at the pictures and comments on the Border collie structure group of all the types of BCs, and let's face it, no matter what you claim is THE Border Collie there will always be different types besides the coyote collies and that won't be changed.


I'm not going to rake you over the coals, but I would like to respond by saying that my response to many of the comments on the group were opposite of yours. The comments that bothered me the most were the ones about many of the dogs who, quite frankly, were perfectly normal Border Collies from a structural perspective, being high in the rear.


High in the rear? What, are we aspiring to make the Border Collie into the German Shepherd? What for? If the dog can function well, is flexible and strong, and proves to have longevity in movement and ability, why would anyone want to change the structure of the rear of the Border Collie?


After all, what is a physical breed standard? It is something that has been composed by humans who have some preference or another. That particular preference may not reflect what is in the best interest of the dogs. (I know that was expressed very simply, but remember - I am not an expert)


You may have seen my sarcastic comment above about pulling my Border Collie out of Agility because he is, according to the standards of some, "not correct" for the activity because he holds his tail high.


Patti, I would be very interested in your answer to this question. In what way does the manner in which a dog holds his tail have anything whatsoever to do with his ability to jump, climb, run, turn, etc. (I am citing Agility skills specifically because that is one thing that I do. I am not citing stockwork because that is not something that I have enough experience with to cite)?


I get that you enjoyed seeing the pictures of the dogs and that all of that structural talk floats your boat. Does it make sense to you that to others, the idea that angulation and tail carriage and neck length is not the #1 consideration in what makes a good Border Collie? And that such talk might actually be extremely upsetting?


I hope so. You say . . .


From what I've read here, you're doing little to help your cause in promoting the working BC, especially for people such as myself who don't have sheep or run stock and just want a BC as a (horrors!) pet.


So, let's talk about this. I invite you to answer the questions that I have asked you, and I'd be happy to dialogue back in return.


So, go ahead flame away and tear my post apart with all your 'rationale'


O-kaaaaaay . . . :blink: :blink: :blink:

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I'm by no means an expert at anything dog related, and don't claim to be. I'm just someone who stumbled into this arena after adopting a border collie and ending up with a breed I never intended to own.


I understand the POV and motivations of the board people who advocate breed for working ability, though I have no interest in breeding or working my dog.


Beyond the politics of working or not working, though, the larger fear about the AKC and other "body structure" groups is that they produce dogs whose bodies are genetically engineered to fail. Centuries of breeding for "structure standards" has produced bizarre, unhealthy dogs in many breeds. This isn't a political statement, and I have no dog in the fight, as it were, in any breed. But it is a danger to the health of dogs.


Learning more is never a bad thing, right? So here's a BBC documentary about breeding for "show standards," and what it's done to dogs over the last century or so:





I hope that in the interest of open-mindedness and diversity, you'll take the time to take in the information presented there.


(My apologies if this has already been mentioned - I read the last two pages of this thread, but skipped over the first several, for fear of being overwhelmed.)



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I've been lurking here off and on for some time, this has finally brought me out of the woodwork.


Hi Patti,


You say you've been here a while, if that's the case then I'm sure you know the philosophy here, right. I have to wonder about the wisdom of a reply but it's hot out.


What you do with your dog is no big deal to us, unless, you breed it. If it hasn't been proven on stock all the behavior traits are useless and NO conclusion as to ability can be *assumed*.


Have you ever wondered why in the UK there is only 1 Ch., Ma Biche of Whenway (though Bruce may have another 1 coming)? Have you looked at the historical pictures of the breed? Quite the variation? So why would you think breeding to a phenotype would be wise? Are you aware that a Red Tri is not allowed in the ring in OZ? And prick ears are also a no no....


I read quite a few of the comments on the debunked FB page. Seems they were the ones that were quite divided once working dogs posted. They loved the angles but Aled Owens Bob was too long :) So, since Bob worked well in his late years (12 or 13) they couldn't figure out why as he wasn't put together properly afatwc.


See, they're world is based on a piece of paper, it tells them what is supposed to be right. Me, I let the work tell me.


Would you be willing to share the Ped. of your dog? Is it Show bred or just ACK registered? Big difference.

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Maralynn, thank you for your post. I think it is very good food for thought.


Maja, forgive me if you have addressed this elsewhere...I may have even asked it of you elsewhere and just can't remember! :) It sounds like you value the working ability of your dog as well as her appearance. I don't think it's that unusual, from what I've seen on the boards or 'real' life, for working border collie folks to find certain qualities (for eg) of a dog's coat or ear set more like-able---hopefully IMO once a litter is whelped, not as [any significant] part of a breeding decision. I, too, find certain dogs more appealing to look at than others.


So...I am genuinely curious, as it seems you may have a foot in both the working and conformation worlds: If you find your dogs to be fit and athletic, and well-built for their work, and you like how they look, can you describe what is appealing about having another person, like a judge, deem your dog to be physically nice looking?




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Hey Barbara,

I'm not Maja (obviously), but she and I have discussed this. In Europe, especially, many countries allow just one governing body for a breed, and usually this is the FCI. If someone in Poland, where Maja lives, wants to breed their dog (and be able to register the offspring), the dog has to pass certain tests/qualifications, and those include a conformation standard.


We are lucky, I suppose, here in the US that we don't have that situation, because as can be seen by many of the photos posted to this forum, many of our working dogs would not meet the real* show ring standard and if our dogs had to pass an AKC structure/looks qualification in order to have pups registered, we'd be in a fix. (*Meaning what is put up as the ideal in the show ring vs. what is actually written in the standard.)


Here are some quotes from the "International Breeding Rules of the FCI," updated in 1979. There may be a more recent update (and I have added bold to some of the more salient/interesting points for those of you who don't want to slog through all of it):

The International Breeding Regulations of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) are binding on all member countries and contract partners. [emphasis added]


• These FCI breeding regulations apply directly to all FCI member countries as well as the contract partners. This means that breeding may only be carried out with pedigree dogs which have a sound temperament, are healthy in functional and hereditary terms and are registered with a studbook or register (appendix)recognised by the FCI. In addition, they have to fulfil the requirements specified by the relevant FCI member or contract partners.


• The only dogs which are considered to be healthy in hereditary terms are those transferring breed standard features, breed type and temperament typical of that breed without displaying any substantial hereditary defects which could impair the functional health of its descendants. The members and contract partners of the FCI are required in this regard to prevent any exaggeration of breed features in the standards which could result in impairment of the dogs' functional health.


Dogs with eliminating faults [emphasis added] such as e.g. unsound temperament, congenital deafness or blindness, hare-lip, cleft palate, substantial dental defects or jaw anomalies, PRA, epilepsy, cryptorchidism, monorchidism, albinism, improper coat colours [emphasis added] or diagnosed severe hip dysplasia may not be bred. [JKP: So coat color is considered to be the same sort of genetic fault as those faults that have actual health ramifications.]


• With regard to surfacing hereditary defects, e.g. HD or PRA, the FCI member countries and contract partners are obliged to record affected animals, combat these defects in a methodical manner continuously record their development and report to the FCI on this matter when requested.


The FCI, its member countries and contract partners are supported by the Scientific Commission in relation to evaluation, assistance and advice in combating hereditary defects. In case the Scientific Commission would issue a catalogue of measures, the same shall be binding on being adopted by the FCI General Committee.


• Competence and responsibility for breeding rests with the member countries and contract partners of the FCI and includes breeding guidance, breeding advice and monitoring breeding as well as the keeping of the studbook.


• The FCI member countries and contract partners are under the obligation to draw up their own breeding regulations based on the FCI Breeding Regulations, in which the breeding objectives are laid down. Such regulations must take appropriate and reasonable account of the specific working characteristics of the respective breeds.





15. Puppies from two pure-bred dogs of the same breed holding FCI recognised pedigrees without any objection or restriction on them from the national canine organisation are considered to be pedigree puppies and are therefore entitled to be issued FCI recognised pedigrees.


As a rule, puppies are to be sold and transferred to a private individual in whose name the export pedigree must be issued.


16. FCI recognised pedigrees are a certification of parentage rather than of quality of the dog registered




17. In the absence of other agreements, the new owner of a pregnant bitch automatically becomes the breeder of the expected litter.


18. Each dog bred in and registered with a FCI member country or contract partner is to be provided with permanent and falsification-proof iddentification; this identification is to appear on its pedigree.


In principle, a litter is registered with the stud book of the country where the owner of the bitch lives (résidence habituelle) and will bear his kennel name. In case the “résidence habituelle” can not be legally defined, the owner of the bitch has the right to have his/her litter born and registered in the country where he/she lives at the moment of the mating provided that the following requirements are met:


-the owner has to comply with the breeding requirements of the kennel club of the country where he/she lives at the moment of the mating.

-the owner has to provide a certificate issued by the appropriate local authorities of the place where he/she lives indicating that he is staying (with no interruption) in this country for a minimum period of 6 months.


Upon observance of these requirements, the national kennel club of the country where the owner lives at the moment of the mating has to register the litter born on its territory with its stud book, issue the pedigrees for the puppies with the owner’s kennel name and the address where he/she lives.


Exceptions are granted in cases where the breeder of dogs resides in a country which does not have an FCI recognised stud book. This breeder may register the litter in a country which keeps a stud book recognised by the FCI.


All litters are to be fully registered; this includes all puppies reared to the date of application for registration.


Pedigrees, which are in fact birth certificates, must be issued for correct parentage only.


Normally, a female is to be mated by only one male for the same litter. In cases of deviations, the kennel clubs are obliged, at the breeder's costs, to have the parentage proved by DNA testing. If a DNA test is performed, the identification (chip or tattoo) of the dog must be checked and certified by the veterinarian who collects the sample as is the case with any health protocol; the test result certificate from the laboratory

must include the dog’s identification.




19. The breeding regulations of the member countries and contract partners can go beyond those of the FCI in their requirements, but may not be (inconsistent) in conflict with the FCI International Breeding Regulations.


And I found this on a Golden Retriever website regarding Polish breeding regulations:

PKC (Polish Kennel Club) Purebred Dogs Breeding Regulations




IV. Brood Bitches




§ 10 One may breed a bitch if:




b ) She is at least 18 months old.



c) She has obtained after ending 15 months, in any class, from at least two judges, three “Excellent” or “Very good” qualifications and at least one of them was from an international or club dog show. [emphasis added]




V. Stud dogs




§ 13. One may use a dog as a stud dog if:




b ) He is at least 18 months old




c) He has obtained after ending 15 months, in any class, from at least two judges, three “Excellent” qualifications and at least one of them was from an international or club dog show [emphasis added]




VI. Breeder rights and duties




§ 16 2. Breeder must:




c) Limit one bitch litters to one in the calendar year




h) Tattoo the puppies before or at least on the day of the inspection of the litter. The number of each tattoo must be in the same as it is kept the (PKC) Club Division records, separately for every breed.




i) Allow the manager of the Club Division to inspect the litter and the kennel; (Each litter is controlled usually at the age of 6 weeks by the(PKC) Club Official – specialist and usually the show judge.)




§ 20




1. The Birth Certificate for an each accepted puppy is issued. The Birth Certificate is a valid only in Poland and allows for registration of the puppy or dog in one of the Club divisions, it allows recording this in the Polish Registry Book and it allows for issuing the pedigree for the dog.



So in other countries the breeding of registered dogs can be quite restrictive compared to here in the US. There is very strong pressure within those countries to conform with FCI regulations. Maja could keep ISDS registered dogs and operate outside the FCI's purview, but I think she would have a difficult time finding buyers for pups not registered through the FCI.


Maja can probably explain if there's also a working requirement (qualification) for dogs in the working/herding/hunting categories and point out if anything I quoted is incorrect or out of date.


I know in France, for example, that dogs being trialed must follow a certain progression through the class levels. For example, doing something like moving the dog from P/N (east) to open, like I did with Twist, would not be allowed there (they have different names for the classes and levels obviously). Again, much more restrictive than the situation here in the US.



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PattiG - Please consider reading the "Read This First". That will help explain a lot of the philosophy of these boards without the emotional tones that discussions often have when people are passionate about the dogs. And note that the primary issue is that dogs should prove themselves by working to a high standard before breeding them is even considered.


Do we look down on Christine because she does musical freestyle? No. It may not interest some of us but she provides an active and rich environment with loving care for her dogs, and she isn't going to breed a dog or patronize a breeder who doesn't adhere to good breeding standards and ethics. The same goes for those who enjoy agility or other performance sports, or just an active lifestyle with their pets and companions.


Should we look up only to people who do actively use their dogs on livestock? No. But we should recognize that they are using the dogs in the time-honored manner that is what developed the breed, that proving the dogs on livestock is the right way to select breeding animals, and that they just might know what they are talking about.


I work my dogs on a cow/calf herd of about thirty adults with their youngsters and a bull. When I read something that says that my dogs have to have thus-and-such-a-thick-forehead and eyes-spaced-so-far-apart because that way, when they are struck with "a glancing blow from a hoof" their brain and their eyes will be protected - well, I'd laugh out loud if I wasn't thoroughly appalled that someone could honestly believe that justification for an aspect of a "show standard".


My dogs' stock sense, ability to learn from experience, intelligence, reflexes, soundness, stamina, and flexible bodies are the best protection they have from injury, not an arbitrary description that someone has devised.


Breeding for the work is not breeding for a simple, easily replicated trait, like coat color - it involves breeding for intelligence, biddability, soundness, health, stamina, stock sense, intensity, and a range of traits that together make the working Border Collie the world's premier stockdog - and also a dog that excels at many other pursuits, including being a companion in the right hands and household.


Breeding for anything else does diminish the breed. You may be able to produce *very nice dogs* by breeding for something other than the work (whether it be appearance or performance or any other traits), but you won't be supporting the breeding of Border Collies.


Sorry to be writing so much but I'd like to liken breeding dogs to breeding chili peppers. Huh? If you start out with chili peppers and carefully and selectively breed them to keep them looking the same but not selecting them to taste like chili peppers, at some point you will have plants that produce fruit that look just like what you think a chili pepper should look like - but they will not taste like chili peppers. Well, some few might taste just fine, some might not have flavor at all, and a great deal of them will have some aspect or another of chili pepper taste but they won't taste like "real chili peppers" should taste.


The dogs that the kennel club world calls "Border Collies" are descended from Border Collies but when generations have passed where they have not been selected for those traits that define the Border Collie (and those traits are based on "the work"), you will no longer truly have a Border Collie but just a dog that looks like someone's idea of what a Border Collie should look like.


Here's hoping you can read all these responses with an open mind. Mara's was particularly good. I hope all of them can help you understand what we are saying and why we are passionate about it.


And no one is a second-class citizen because they don't, can't, or don't want to work stock with their dog.


Best wishes!

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OK I guess I will pipe up...I used to do frisbee with my dogs and my husband used to compete with our Border Collies (Shiro and Sophie) , then I did AKC herding....then I did ISDS herding....did anyone bash me because I did fribee or AKC??...no, in fact the ISDS folks were quite nice and next thing you know, I was hooked on ISDS. They were kind enough to sit with me under the Handler's Tent at a ISDS trial when I was still AKC herding, and explain the difference and were very warm to me. The rest is history. (I am talking ISDS is our USBCHA trials)



Interesting item to note...one AKC show/conformation person told me that my TESS would NOT be a good working dog as she is too square, has a choppy trot PLUS cow hocked. And she would fail in the breed ring.



I guess I FORGOT to tell Tess that. That same year, she placed 6th in the Nursery Finals, and went on to have a very successful Open career and her progency have done as well or better.



She still is cowhocked and her trot is very choppy BUT she sure can clear over a 4 foot gate at 13 years old. (before her accident)


She is cowhocked and my sternum is crooked from the surgery so I guess we are a fine pair.

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Hello PattiG!


I just wanted to state that I am in no way an expert on border collies...even in the slightest (I am still very new), but as someone who used to frequent the AKC world, I can tell you I completely disagree with their ideals--for all dogs, not just the working collie. Kennel club and pageantry ideals are just the leftovers from the eugenics push: the idea that you can breed the "perfect" specimen according to a written ideal. On paper, this is a grand idea. The problem with the AKC is that (and judges have OPENLY admitted this) the standards were often written by those who'd had NO experience with the breed itself. So they made a written standard for dogs they had never seen work, never seen in the real world beyond a simple passing glance. In the early 20th century this wasn't a big deal /yet/. Another huge problem was that they based it solely on the physical appearance. Again their idea looks great on paper but the show world is HIGHLY political and many dogs who get their CH. Or Gch. Were campaigned for.


There's also the problem of being fussed with things that would have NO effect on the working ability of the dog: ear sets, for example. If the competition is TRULY about breeding to a standard then why tape and glue ears? The end result was not genetic--it was synthesized.


I have a lot more to say, but as I'm at work on my break I've ran out of time.


I'm sorry you felt attacked.

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OK, some more thoughts.....a show/comformation person is going to breed for that.....no matter what we say. They have it in their minds that they are doing right by the breed. we know by past breeds that have been ruined by the AKC standards, that this is not true. Look at the terriers, the GSD, etc.....


BUT what really irks me, are the AKC or BYB folks that say "My dog can be an Open trial winner and place highly at the Finals but I have no time...or money"



well, damm I could win the Tour de France but I have no time or money.....so I am just as good as Lance.


All talk and no show.....

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My 2 cents: There are people on any board that like nothing better than to demean what others do regardless of what it is.


Border Collies bred for other than work will soon loose their abilities for what makes them so great at whatever they do.


Selection for WORKING LIVESTOCK is what has made the Border Collie excell at dog sports (that and some great trainers recognizing it!), not breeding for colour, ear shape or coat profuseness. Evaluating structure from pictures simply does not tell you what is INSIDE the dog, only testing it in the field will determine those traits necessary for breeding good Border Collies

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Hello everyone,


Good input, Pam. I have always told people who talk about breeding Border Collies for dog sports (obedience, agility, flyball, frisbee, etc.) that everything that makes a Border Collie the fine working dog that it is, would in turn make it a fine dog sports dog. Thus, there is no reason to breed Border Collies for dog sports. My input usually falls on deaf ears.




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So in other countries the breeding of registered dogs can be quite restrictive compared to here in the US. There is very strong pressure within those countries to conform with FCI regulations. Maja could keep ISDS registered dogs and operate outside the FCI's purview, but I think she would have a difficult time finding buyers for pups not registered through the FCI.


Maja can probably explain if there's also a working requirement (qualification) for dogs in the working/herding/hunting categories and point out if anything I quoted is incorrect or out of date.



So in an effort presumably to protect dogs, the breeding of dogs based on physical appearance ends up being the standard. (I wonder if the dogs in the BBC expose' were bred according to FCI regulations (I will check Google so as not to get too far afield from the thread). I'll also be interested to hear if Maja has anything to add. Interesting things to ponder and learn here, as usual.


Occurs to me that if there is that much more flexibility in the U.S., then it seems that much stranger to me to breed for arbitrary physical traits rather than function. Maybe it it is like many things we do related to animals...we do what we're used to or what we like, rather than necessarily taking their well-being into account.



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I'm sorry you felt attacked.

Perhaps I'm missing something but why ever should PattiG have felt "attacked" if she had never posted prior to this one post of hers, full of negative descriptors, sarcasm, and invitations to argue?


I don't see most people who post getting "attacked" (or flamed or whatever) unless they post something blatantly opposite the board philosophy, come on to defend practices that are clearly in contrast to those the board espouses, or appear to be arguing simply for the sake of disagreeing.


As a revision of something someone once asked of me, am I always this dense or am I making a particular effort of it? Or is it just the end of a very long weekend? :P


PS - Not criticising you, just not understanding why you said this. It's late and I'm getting sleepy...

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Dear Patty,

Welcome to the interactive lane of the Border Collie Boards. Just want to throw my 2 cents in. FWIW, I didn't go to the conformation evaluation page, because I've been there. I used to show rough/smooth Collies. "Everybody" here knows that, and I am not treated with disdain or unkindness because of it.


I'm 2 1/2 years into my first Border Collie, a rescue, and I don't currently have any plans to take her to sheep. I live in an apartment, in an urban area that's more urban than most. I pay someone a substantial amount of my income to exercise my dog because I have physical challenges and an anxiety disorder, and I am not treated with disdain or unkindness because of it.


Do people here have an agenda? You bet they do! And they can get way up on their hind paws about it. But if you listen to what they have to say, and don't wear your feelings on your sleeve, it will become apparent that not only are they right, but they care deeply about these dogs.


If a notice goes up on the Boards that a Border Collie is in trouble, they will be there with whatever they can muster. If a Border Collie is on the wrong side of the chain-link at the pound, they won't ask if he's AKC bred, back-yard bred, or if he has wool between his toes. They will get him out and get him what he needs. And he is as likely to go to a Frisbee, Agility, Obedience or just-a-pet home as he is to be held for a working home.


When it comes to breeding, the gloves come off. If your dog has not demonstrated a great deal of talent for working stock, he should not be bred. It is hard enough to produce top working stock by breeding the best to the best. Anything else is just making puppies. The shelters are full of them already. The Border Collie, as others have pointed out, came into existence because of a need for a top-notch working dog. Because of the complex network of skills, instinct, stamina and guts, that working dog has the brains, motivation and ability to be good at LOTS of things. But what he absolutely must do well to be breed-worthy is to work stock, and do it very well. And that takes a finely balanced set of many characteristics. (And none of them have anything to do with how he looks.)


Can a Border Collie that doesn't work stock be a great dog? Yes! But though it is worthy of love and the best care its owner can provide, it isn't a dog to be bred. That's all the crusty old-timers at the Boards are saying. Let the stock-working people do the breeding. They are the ones to produce Border Collies. Everyone else is just breeding dogs. Maybe nice, pretty, athletic, smart, loving dogs, but just dogs.


Nobody can tell me that my Sugarfoot isn't the best dog on the face of the earth. But she's spayed. And the next Border Collie I get will come from good, working lines. It may take some hunting, waiting and traveling - but it will be worth it to me, to the right pup, and to the Border Collie as a breed.


Stick around. You and your dog are welcome. Upload a picture of your dog. We all LOVE pictures. And no one will criticize him if his ears or tail "don't hang right." :)

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Perhaps I'm missing something but why ever should PattiG have felt "attacked" if she had never posted prior to this one post of hers, full of negative descriptors, sarcasm, and invitations to argue?


She also was reading here, and telling the FB group that they were being 'trolled' by BC Board Members. She even posted a link to the boards! Maybe ya'll will make some new friends :)


I want to know what a "coyote collie" is ... cuz I think I might have one.





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I'm pretty much a hobby herder and own sheep for the dogs (boarded on a friend's farm as I can't afford to own a place large enough to keep sheep). I trial USBCHA (only as high as pronovice so far) but have associations with AKC as I also own a Belgian Sheepdog and do agility with him and have owned other breeds in the past. I've also done quite a bit of agility and used to obedience as well. So I'm not going to go around bashing anyone for buying an AKC dog or for not working their dog on stock. I agree with what other posters have said, it's only when it comes to breeding that people here may get upset about what someone is doing with their dogs.


I have never done conformation and never will - I just don't believe in it. It's a fun past time for some I guess, but people are deluding themselves to think they're actually producing or preserving a useful dog by doing breed ring showing and using that as the basis for breeding decisions, especially for any breed with a true function. I can't think of any real working endeavor that uses conformation bred dogs for the job. Racing grey hounds don't come out of the AKC conformation ring. Neither do working Seeing Eye german shepherds or police dogs. Field labs have split from show labs. I have a friend who breeds racing siberians and they breed for the work, no conformation dogs there either. Also I know a lady who runs field cockers - those aren't conformation dogs either or bred from conformation dogs and would probably be laughed out of a breed ring. You see the same story repeated over and over again - the true hard core working dogs of any breed do not typically come from the conformation ring and most times you see a huge split between the two types, even though in theory the breed ring's whole stated purpose is to judge the dog based on the structure needed for its job. They have missed the mark so many times that I have no faith at all in it and find it surprising that there are still people who believe the propaganda.


Border collies were around long before they were in conformation. They did their jobs very well, generation after generation and got better and better at it as breeders selected for working traits. Then much later along came dog sports and they discovered the border collie, a dog who was seemingly ready made to tackle any endeavor successfully and often with superior ability to any other breed (for example in European agility, they have the ABC class, anything-but-border-collie because the need was felt to keep border collies out of a class to give the other breeds a chance). So if they BECAME one of the world's greatest working dog and sport dog breeds through breeding for the work and NOT for structure, then why now do people see the need to breed for structure to ensure the dog can do its job? It IS doing its job and very well.


Breeding for structure assumes we even know what the 'perfect' structure should be. I don't believe that we know that, or at least, most conformation judges don't know that. I know of a dog who got rave reviews from judges for beautiful movement - that same dog on sheep just didn't have the ground speed to get around sheep that were escaping if they got a head start. So what does that tell you about the opinons of those conformation judges who put the dog up because of good movement? Maybe they don't really know what makes for good working dog strucure? And why do we value the opinion of someone who doesn't do work with the breed (or maybe even doesn't own the breed) and make breeding decisions based on that, vs valuing the opinion of the people with the working dogs who see every day what their dog's physical abilities are, even if they don't know what it is about the dog's structure that gives it those abilities?


Even assuming we did know what perfect structure was for working, and could produce an absolutely perfect dog body that could work hard for 20 hours a day until it was 20 years old and never have an 'off' day in its life, what good does it do to have that dog if it can't actually do the work it's structure was meant for because the MENTAL abilities have been lost? No real sheep farmer in his right mind would want that dog.


Working traits include soundness, ability, temperament, and yes, structure, but the point is that breeders didn't say 'this dog has X angle on his rear so I'll breed him'. Instead, if there is any such angle that's 'bad' for working, the dogs who had it wouldn't be able to work as well, so they'd be weeded out. Working to the actual end result (working ability) will always be better than working to the intermediate result (structure or any one trait that may be important to working as part of the complete picture) becuase no one can ever possibly know EVERYTHING, every little bit and how they work together, or what traits a working dog really needs and the complicated way they all come together.


The dog in my profile picture is over 7 years old. I've worked her for several hours at a time on occasion and she's like the energizer bunny, never quits or even seems to get tired, isn't sore the next day, and she can cover the ground like nobody's business, give the sheep a head start and she'll still get around them even though she's taking the longer path. She can stop and turn in any direction almost instantaneously (although not always when I ask for it <g>) and can do both a full out run and a really stylish walk up over long distances and transition effortlessly between full run, stop, turn, or walking up. As far as what she's physically capable of, I can't fault her for anything. Yet I doubt the breed ring would care much for her. The tail is up in the air when she's not working, the color and markings are all wrong and her coat is wavy and not very thick, the head is narrow, and she's fairly straightly angled from what I've been told (I'm not a structure expert by any means). So she has I think at least decent structure for working based on what I actually see her do, but the breed ring would reject her. Her mom was still running Open at 9 or 10 years old, and her dad was a hill dog overseas before he got imported to the US, both dogs that were very sound and had great stamina and physical ability. So why should I take the opinion of some structure expert that my dog shouldn't be a good worker based on her breed-ring worthiness when I see evidence of her superior physical abilities every time I work her? It sure doesn't give me a lot of confidence in their prounouncements of what is good working structure.

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Hello PattiG,


Welcome to the Boards.


Ill admit I visited that FB page and read a number of those posts. For the most part, what I read I found extremely sad. Here were people posting pictures of their dog they claimed they loved so strangers could find fault with them. Why? Cant they love their dog for who they are? There is no such thing as a perfect dog no more than there is such a thing as a perfect person. Everyone, dogs and people alike, should be loved for who they are on the inside. No one should ever need anyones permission, especially from strangers, to love their dog. Is that how they also pick their boyfriends or husbands? Do they go around asking What do you think of him/her? before they allow themselves to feel love?


One of the posts I read came from someone who said something like Whats the big deal? No one uses Dachshunds anymore to root out whatever it was or Bulldogs to hang off the noses of bulls. Well guess what?? People actually do still use Border Collies for herding. Just because they dont need that specify trait themselves, doesnt mean the working Border Collie should be eradicated or lost. Wool is still a commodity as are lamb chops, leg of lamb and even mutton. A number of Border Collies are used for cowdogs. And we all know every part of a cow/steer is used. You might not think it affects your life but it does, from that nice juicy burger you sink your teeth into, to that nice leather purse or jacket you buy.


I hope you and your show ring friends continue to lurk here. Even if just one of you starts to understand why it is vital to breed for only herding instinct and herding instinct alone, it will be worth it.

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She also was reading here, and telling the FB group that they were being 'trolled' by BC Board Members. She even posted a link to the boards! Maybe ya'll will make some new friends :)

Oh, gotcha! I think, now it's early, after a short and interrupted night's sleep, and I'm still pretty dense. I think I'm always pretty dense.


I want to know what a "coyote collie" is ... cuz I think I might have one.





Me, too.



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So...I am genuinely curious, as it seems you may have a foot in both the working and conformation worlds: If you find your dogs to be fit and athletic, and well-built for their work, and you like how they look, can you describe what is appealing about having another person, like a judge, deem your dog to be physically nice looking?


Julie has answered the question very well :D .


A couple of things I’d like to add. Now, since a few months ago, there are a couple of people in Poland who are members of ISDS and FCI, claiming that ISDS is an organization of a different type (that is not kynological, as the KC claims to be), hence there is no obstacle to become a member. It’s good thinking. The problem however would remain how to ROM my dog into ISDS. So just me being a member of ISDS now appears not to be problematic as such. Then there is a question of breeding and the fact that all sporting events are organized by the FCI. There are lots of countries in Europe where dual registration is quite common for people who have working BCs.


British Kennel Club is not FCI, neither is AKC.


When I got my first BC, my breeding goal was to bring back the border collie within FCI to being the farm dog that it was and is.

Since then this plan only crystallized into exactly what temperament I expect from dogs bred by me. My first brood bitch was bred because she works on our farm and does a decent job of it, her daughter’s minimum requirements set by me was that she must pass the trial qualifying test (which she did two weeks ago, tada!!!!). And hopefully our kennel will improve in that direction with each generation.


What I tell people about herding is this: the thing that all people love about border collies is their biddability. And the type of biddability that is inside the border collie can be only tested on stock. A BC obedient outside the stock may not have that particular type of biddability which makes BCs what they are with and without the stock. So if people breed border collies without them working stock, this particular trait will be lost. One can see the perfectly nice BCs that on stock are blowing the owner off something terrible. Now, this biddability is very important for all owners of BCs. Because if you go on breeding these dogs without paying attention to this trait, you get the “treat/toy oriented dogs,” just like many other breeds. Already, so many of my non-herding acquaintances are amazed that my dog is so obedient without the use of treats or toys, so many bode ill for our relationship knowing I was using no treats to teach recall when Bonnie was a puppy. I am not against treats, I think they are a useful tool, I am just saying that the trait that makes a border collie among other things e.g. dedicated and obedient “because she loves me” can be preserved only through breeding working dogs, because only then you know the dog has it. It does not matter that this or that BC in the show line is still very biddable, the thing is if we don’t pay attention to this trait in breeding, it will be lost. So both breeders and buyers are responsible for supporting the perpetuation of this trait.


This is an important piece of information to people who otherwise don’t care about herding, but want a real border collie not knowing that only herding is the litmus paper for this beloved trait.


Sorry, I got on my soap box but I thought people might find this angle useful,


So to answer your question:


No, I don’t like a judge to look at my dog and evaluate her structure, simply because of the contrast between what I see during their work and what I hear in the ring. E.g.:

--- “poor coat, not in show condition” – because the coat is in the summer condition, because it is summer for Pet's sake, so the undercoat is allgone, and the dog has got gorgeous glossy sleek look.

---“too leggy” - because she can run like a bat out of hell.

---“lack of extended trot” – because I would have to kill myself to run fast enough for her to have to extend her trot.

The list is long, because with my first dog I kept going to shows thinking I will find a judge who thinks the same as I do. I found two, and Kelly has one Best Junior and one Best Bitch. It used to drive me nuts, because Bonnie’s mother is in my opinion absolutely beautiful, but now I just laugh at it, get my “very good” and go home. We only have two more shows to go to.


With males though the situation is much more serious, because “very good” is not good enough to get stud rights. There is a “working class” category for show where dogs with the qualifying herding test (the one that Bonnie just passed) can be shown. With judges it often goes either that they are more lenient in their evaluation, or sometimes they are, I think, prejudiced against the dog from the start. Foreign judges often are unaware that the show is what the stud rights are determined and/or that Poland has such high requirement for studs (Our more advanced neighbors, Czechs, for instance have much more reasonable system).


Another thing is the trailing in Poland is not like it is in ACK. Three are three classes in trialling and the level I think is pretty good considering the small number of dogs that trial in Poland (there are only about 30 dogs that can trial, but some of them are retired). Derek S. was very surprised at the quality of our dogs. So there is somewhere to go in the Polish trialling world, not like the sad arena trials I saw on videos AKC style.


Occurs to me that if there is that much more flexibility in the U.S., then it seems that much stranger to me to breed for arbitrary physical traits rather than function. Maybe it it is like many things we do related to animals...we do what we're used to or what we like, rather than necessarily taking their well-being into account.

Yes, I noticed that too and voiced my total amazement somewhere on this board. However, I do not think that most people in the show think these traits are arbitrary.



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About 25 years ago one of my first equine charges was a older stud that had won the AQHA World as a two year old in Halter. Stunning, very lovely minded horse. Perfect according to "standard". Too bad he could only slow jog and do a pleasure lope at best.

Form to function? Not!

Years ago there was a most successful German jumping horses. He won everything and certainly was not known for the beauty of his jumping style. His conformation certainly was less than perfect.

To this day I fail to see how these discussions keep going on. Except that in today's world more people own animals as pets (nothing wrong with that in itself) and have no real anchors in the original purposes. The way to look at things is not, and as a matter of fact, can not, be the same anymore.

Solutions? Outside of trying to do your very personal best and a clear and solid representation of our POV, I personally don't know any that will not trip over certain egos and misguided knowledge.

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