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Hi everyone,

 

I'm in the process of waiting on my puppy (and of course am counting down the days). The breeder sends me weekly pics of the puppies because I still haven't chosen yet. There are two females I'm trying to choose between but would really like to make sure they're rough coated first. I know that's not a big deal but I just really love the look of the rough coats. So my question is this, how soon will it be obvious that they're rough coated? The mother is a rough coated tri and the father a smooth coated black and white (I believe).

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Smooth is dominant, so unless the sire also carries a recessive gene for rough coat, it's likely none of the pups will have full rough coats. If you choose the mostly white pup, I'd sure have the hearing checked first (I see color on one ear, but not the other).

 

If you want to guarantee yourself a rough-coated dog, then you should look at the offspring of only rough-coated breeding pairs. If a smooth parent is known to have a rough parent, then it might carry the recessive gene for rough, in which case you could get some rough pups when the smooth is bred to a rough, but no guarantees.

 

FWIW, folks say that you might be able to tell about coat by looking at the hair behind the ears. Longer hair there might give you some hope for a rough coat. If you wanted to try this, the best thing to do would be to compare the various pups to one another and choose the one with the most "hairiness" behind the ears (or even all over), but again, no guarantees.

 

ETA: I bred my smooth-coated bitch (daughter of two smooth-coated dogs) to a rough-coated (pretty much coat) dog. Of a litter of 8, there were three rough coats, though technically what I would call medium coats because all of them have longish coats, but nothing compared to a truly rough-coated dog. Given the fact that they were at best medium coated, I would guess that smooth dominance over rough is incomplete or that there are other factors/genes at play. But the main point is that the odds of the pups you like also being rough coats are somewhat low.

J.

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As a breeder, I don't choose the pup I am keeping or let buyers choose theirs before 6 weeks of age, and sometimes not until closer to 8. I like to match up pups and owners bases on personality as much as possible.

 

But to answer your question, sometimes you can tell as early as 2 weeks if the smoothies are slick coated, but if they are doubled coated you may not be able to pick those out until 6 weeks. Sometimes the medium coated pups (technically a type of rough coat) and the double coated smoothies look nearly identicle unitl they are older than 6 weeks.

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FWIW I think there is a correlation between white dogs and general ill-health. When I worked in hospital it seemed the vast majority of white dogs that came in seemed to be health nightmares.

 

This is outside of the health issues that are known to be linked to pigmentation. There were a bevy of diseases from allergies to crazy, rare, liver and lung maladies, cancers, etc. The whole shabang. It may have been coincidental at my hospital, but from my own experience there seemed to be an inordinate amount of illness in white dogs. Particularly in breeds where white dogs are fairly abnormal.

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Thank you everyone! I truly appreciate the feedback. We are going out to see them this Sunday where no matter the coat I will decide based on personality. Based on pictures alone, I am leaning towards the black and white female, but best personality will win out in the end. Another question though, is there a way to detect which one has the strongest herding instinct around the 8 week mark or is that something that just develops over time? I was lucky with my last male as he was able to show strong herding abilities at around 10 weeks or so. He was my first border collie so I don't know if I just lucked out with him or if they all generally show the typical border collie characteristics that young? Thanks again. :)

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Barefoot,

I tihnk think that may have been an anomaly at your hospital. In the recent past there have been a number of threads about mostly white border collies and quite a few pictures have been posted. No one has mentioned any particular health issues. My own white dog is my main work dog and the dog I use for setting sheep at trials. At 5, he's healthy as a horse. Then again, his litter was bred for working ability. I can imagine if people are breeding strictly for special colors that health issues could certainly be introduced. But at least in the case of working dogs, no one is breeding for white--it just shows up when two white-factored dogs are crossed (i.e., not technically *abnormal* though there is a prejudice against white dogs in the working community that has nothing to do with health issues or lack thereof), so there's no real reason for the white dogs to have health issues that their less white siblings don't have.

 

Lindsaloo,

Personally I wouldn't make any judgement about the working ability of a pup at 8 weeks, even if they did show instinct at that age. So much can change between puppyhood and maturity, and the ones that look promising early aren't always the ones who are the great workers over the long haul. The best you can do is choose a breeding of two excellent working dogs, which will increase your odds of (but not guarantee) getting a pup that is also an excellent working dog.

 

J.

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There have been some studies done that link pigment and health. I don't know if they took into account that breeders had line bred and ruthlessly culled in order to fix colors within a breed when linking pigmentation and immune function.

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The breeder I'm going through breeds working dogs. She could care less about patterns or coat colors. These puppies have absolutely no merle anywhere in their pedigrees. Honestly I'm not too concerned about the white pup's health as the parents just have a dominant white factor and have all been tested. Thank you Julie for helping me out with the herding question. I've been doing obscene amounts of research, but am so excited to get one of these adorable little girls that I just can't seem to ever learn enough. :D Now my husband and I just have to decide on a name. In that respect I'm a little glad we have a month to wait. I decided last minute to go ahead and attach a couple more photos of the two girls because everyone loves pics. Lol! :D

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Regarding the white puppy, my commment about hearing had nothing to do with whether the pup has merle or not or whether the parents are healthy. There is believed to be a correlation between deafness and dogs/pups with mostly white heads/ears. It was to do with pigmentation (or lack thereof) in the cells of the inner ear. So if you do choose the white pup, be aware that hearing could be an issue. A BAER test is fairly cheap (you just have to find someone to administer it) and then you can have peace of mind that the pup hears normally in both ears. If you're not planning to work the dog on stock, full hearing might not be an issue, but I chose to have my white pup's hearing tested at 7-8 weeks just to be sure (because even though he had color on both ears, that's not necessarily a guarantee of the needed pigmentation in the cells of the inner ear).

 

J,

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Ok, thank you. I will see if I can find someone to test the one we pick. Do vets do that? And is 7-8 weeks the earliest you can test and have a reliable result? This is another thing I never had to worry about with my last bc. But also, wouldn't it be obvious if the puppy was deaf (or hearing impaired) after spending some time with it? One of the personality tests that I do on pups is a hearing check. One way is to distract the pup then drop something behind it and see if it reacts, then another is to have someone else stomp or clap behind the puppy while you play with it to see if it turns around. Perhaps I should read up about deafness in border collies a little more. :unsure:

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If the pup has hearing in one ear (unilateral deafness), then it may respond normally to your tests. If in the group, it could respond simply because the other pups respond. You would need to Google BAER testing and see if anyone near you offers it (a vet). I wouldn't bother testing any pup that was classically marked (or at least wasn't extremely white, especially on the head). I'm not sure how early a pup can be tested: I did mine at 7-8 weeks, but it was the pup I kept out of a litter I bred, so even if he was deaf he wasn't going anywhere (that's him on the bottom left of my sig line photo--yoou can see he has a normally colored head, but one of his ears had a lot of white flashing, so I chose to test just for my own peace of mind).

 

If you search in the Health and Genetics section of this board you can probably find some good discussions on white ears and deafness. As I said there is believed to be some correlation, but white ears don't automatically equal deafness.... I just brought it up as something to be considered.

 

J.

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