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Looking for 1st BC - Puppy

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Got approved for the board today, but have been reading and looking for several months. If anyone has suggestions for a breeder in VA, WV or Penn since we live near DC. Seems a lot of breeders and websites all over the place. As well as prices. Do not want to purchase from AKC breeders; but the BC puppy will be a family pet. If anyone has any ideas please respond. Mike.

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Finding a good breeder is a very hard thing to do these days, especially with Border Collies.

I would suggest going to local herding trails and watching the dogs there work. Talk to the people who did the best, and see where they got their dogs from. You can also go to agility events, as Border Collies are very popular agility dogs and I'm sure that if there's some there, they'll most likely place.

The ABCA probably also has a breeder referal program, however I'm not able to find the link on their website.



If you're looking for a family pet, I would strongly suggest going to a rescue. Border Collie rescues will very often times have purebreds

Blue Ridge Border Collie Rescue of VA/WV. They have some beautiful dogs available.



If you don't want a rescue, then be very wary of the breeders you look at.

A good breeder will ask just as many questions about you, as you do about them/their dogs. They won't sell their pups to the first person who shows up with cash in their hand. A good BC breeder works their dogs, whether it's with sheep or agility, or some other dog sport. They should be ABCA registered. You should find out what they feed their dogs, and all pet puppies should be sold on a spay/neuter contract. They should also provide a health gaurantee, provided that the puppy sees a vet as soon as it gets home(which you should do with -any- new dog/puppy).

Make sure they health test both the bitch and the sire, and have both parents on site.

A good breeder will not breed their dogs more than once, MAYBE twice, a year. My neighbor is a reputable breeder of Havanese, and doesn't breed more than once every two years.


Some red flags to look out for:

For one, I would never buy from a breeder who breeds more than one breed of dog. I have seen a BC breeder who also bred Great Pyrenees, but they were bred only once every few years, for the sole purpose of gaurding their stock, which is acceptable in my opinion.

These are the red flags to watch out for when looking at breeders: http://dogs.about.com/cs/generalcare/a/breeder_flags.htm


Keep in mind a good breeder is likely to want to keep in touch with you over the dogs lifetime, and would be more than happy to provide advice on your dog throughout it's lifetime. Also, if at any time you are unable to keep your dog, the breeder should take it back.

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I second the rescue suggestion. Since you're in DC, check out Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue (based in Chestertown, MD). Wonderful organization that very often has puppies and always have young dogs. I believe their website is at mabcr.org. We've rescued through them and it was a great experience.

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Mike, you've gotten some great advice so far. Check into the links on this site, go to trials (I can tell you about local ones if you're interested). Also use the "search" function to see past discussions on this topic. There have been a lot. I did a lot of reading of older discussions on this website before I got a puppy, and I'm very, very glad I did. It saved me from a HUGE mistake (local breeder whose non-working dogs are infamous for their rotten temperaments).


I tell people there are three "lines" of Border collies, and they're becoming different as night and day. There's the working-bred Border collie, the sports-bred Border collie, and the show-bred Border collie. (There's also the version that's not bred for any purpose other than raising money for the breeder, but I hope you'll avoid those!). They have very different temperaments. The show-bred ones are beautiful but dumb, and are genetically as distinct from the working-bred Border collie as if they were a different breed altogether. Read "The Dog Wars" by Donald McCaig, and you'll never want anything to do with any dog registered by the AKC. The sports-bred ones I've met (which may or may not be AKC or ABCA registered) have more of a tendency to be "hyper" in my experience. I'll never purchase a dog other than a working-bred dog (typically registered with ABCA only), as they're the ones (in my experience) that will possess impulse constrol. It does no good at all if a working dog can't control itself and runs in and busts up a group of sheep. They're the ones that are bred for biddability and temperament. My working-bred dog is mellow enough to sack out in my office every day. He's constantly amazing people by how well behaved he is. Of course that goes with training, and if you're planning on getting a Border collie, be prepared to sign it up for obedience classes. Lots of obedience classes - not because they're slow learners (they're not), but because they really want to learn, and are happiest being mentally challenged. (This is what we mean by "Border collies need a job" - they need to be kept mentally active).


If you're looking for a puppy as a pet, I'm going to echo all the advice you'll get here and say either go with a rescue, or, if you're determined on a puppy from a breeder, get one from a breeder who breeds for working ability. That's different as night and day from "working lines". Look for breeders who work their dogs themselves and only breeds dogs of proven working ability and you'll be supporting someone who breeds dogs for the right reason. Yes, many top working breeders do sell puppies to pet homes, though breeders may prefer to see "active" homes (dog sports if not stockwork). They may not be in the next town, or even in the next state, and you should give up any notion of "pick of the litter". Most quality Border collie litters will be spoken for before they're born, or very shortly afterwards. If you were to happen to find a breeder who has a litter available now with lots to pick from - that right there is a huge red flag. Run, don't walk, in the opposite direction.


That being said, any puppy is an unknown element. If you go with a rescue, you'll have a much better idea as to temperament, especially if it's an adolescent or an adult rather than a baby puppy. And you'll be giving a home to a deserving animal.


I'm in Maryland, and I can certainly tell you of some breeders to avoid. To be honest, I don't know of any breeders I would recommend who are within an hour or so of D. C. who breed for working ability *and* who wouldn't prefer to sell to working homes. The people around here I know who have gotten working-bred Border collie puppies in the last year have acquired them from as far away as Idaho or South Dakota, as well as Connecticut, North Carolina, Ontario... But I could be missing someone. (Again, asking around at a trial is a great start). So, if you're heart is set on picking out a puppy or adolescent/adult dog locally, I'd definitely go the rescue route.


ETA: I changed " I'll never own a dog other than a working-bred dog" to "I'll never purchase a dog other than a working-bred dog". I'm not averse to rescue, I just wouldn't want to support a breeder by purchasing a dog or pup that wasn't bred for the right reasons.

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I am also looking at Atlantic Region Central Border Collie Rescue (I am too looking for a BC, though this will be my second). Their website is http://www.arcbcr.org/available.html , they have no pups now but maybe you'll see one you like.


I have lived in a couple of places around the DC area and have tried multiple training facilities/dog parks/ hiking trails. Please PM me if you'd like to hear any of my preferences and opinions on some of the places here! Been to some good, some bad and some downright ugly...


Last suggestion: Lost Dog Rescue has two BC mix pups (parentage unknown) but they look at least half BC and are named Laverne and Shirley. They are 7 months old, I will hopefully be checking them out this weekend.


Good luck and stay patient - don't rush into anything (this has been my mantra for the past few months)

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