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Bridging division between Working Border Collie Tradition vs. “Working” Agility Dogs+Other Disciplines

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I wonder if this is simply because of all the dogs you have observed, the Border Collies retained the most working instincts as compared to the amount of working instincts retained by the other breeds of dogs you have observed. I wonder if you would also see something unique in working bred dogs of other breeds.

 

Now that would make sense to me given what I've seen. Perhaps the difference is more purpose of instinct. In my area, there are still a lot of dogs bred for their original purpose, and they definitely bring something different to the table. So much so that I can usually spot them in an instant.

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I wonder if this is simply because of all the dogs you have observed, the Border Collies retained the most working instincts as compared to the amount of working instincts retained by the other breeds of dogs you have observed. I wonder if you would also see something unique in working bred dogs of other breeds.

 

I believe that may well be the case.

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I wonder if this is simply because of all the dogs you have observed, the Border Collies retained the most working instincts as compared to the amount of working instincts retained by the other breeds of dogs you have observed. I wonder if you would also see something unique in working bred dogs of other breeds.

 

This would probably explain why you don't see all that many competitive hounds in agility (the odd outlier notwithstanding)

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this thread kinds of reminds me of that kids song!!

 

 

 

This is the tread that never ends

 

It goes on and on my friend

 

Someone started it not knowing what it was

 

And they just keep singing it cause it's the tread that never end!

 

It goes on and on my friend...

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You see Will Rolfe's dog is very uncommon for an agility Border Collie. What there is if people have patience and really look super carefully, watch the eyes, and body movements of the dog, and where it is landing when it takes those jumps and compare it with the other border collies,

 

I went back and looked at Will Rolfe's video (back on page 18 or 19 I think, I forgot to make a note of which page). It does show he won for that particular course, but I'm not seeing that he's uncommon for an agility border collie. There are a number of places where he actually showed less efficiency than I'm used to seeing in border collies.

 

Frame 0:23, the jump after the aframe, he isn't turning going over the bar, the head is straight as he's at the apex at the jump (even though his path is turning)so he lands away from the course path, adding an extra couple of feet (half the width of the jump) to his yardage.

 

Frame 0:26, jump after the broad jump, he takes the outer 50% of the bar, landing 2-3 feet wider than if he'd hugged the inside on the turn.

 

Frame 0:29, the handler cues the turn. At frame 0:30 look at the dog's head going over the jump, it's straight, not turning even though the cue was turned. He turns on landing, another wide turn.

 

Frame 0:32 is an example of a good turn, the dog hugs the inside standard and is turning in the air to land facing the direction for the most efficient course path. I put this on in here as an example/comparison to the earlier ones I mentioned that weren't as good.

 

Frame 0:34 this is basically a wrap over the jump back to the weaves, a place where you'd want to the dog collect, land short, and turn tight. Notice where he is taking off, in extension, from a distance back. He lands straight and has to turn on the ground. This adds another 5-6 feet to his yardage. Admittedly on this one (which was about the worst turn I saw on the course) the handler did not cue it very clealy as he's still facing forward with arm out when he sends the dog. His location behind the dog, deceleration, and a verbal send on however will cue most dogs that the next thing is a turn back, not keep going straight, so while the handler could have added a bit more help for the dog, the dog read even the cues that were given as continuing on straight ahead and did not pick up the turn until he was already in the air.

 

So I'm not saying this isn't a good dog (he did win at least that round after all) but I'm not seeing 'uncommon' genius that deserves to be bred because the dog has some unique physical ability. The spreading feet on the dogwalk actually costs him some time, whereas other dogs you might see keep in a canter stride and just shorten a stride in one spot to hit the contact - this dog throws in several almost creeping type strides at the very start of the down ramp. Possibly his handler cues this somehow, otherwise I'd have to say the dog is getting a bit creepy in anticipation of having to collect a bit to hit the yellow part. This is something you see in agility border collies sometimes that is a problem is they will start to 'eye' the end of a contact zone and slow down to a creep approaching it.

 

I think these days we are at a point of diminishing returns in agility dogs' physical abilities and probably aren't going to get much better than the good border collies we see today in agility (many of whom are very close to working lines and not many, if any, generations of sport lines. A faster dog can't make much use of the extra speed when they have to engage an obstacle every 15-23 feet, or turn after almost every obstacle (requiring deceleration/acceleration on each turn). Dogs today are already capable of pulling up into extreme collection and landing/taking off within bare inches of a jump if needed - that is largely a TRAINED skill which then must be HANDLED properly, and most border collies have a flexible enough body and are fit enough to accomplish it(it takes some strength to pull up like that out of full exntension and prepare to jump at the same time), no need to breed for any more on that ability. The game has come down to microseconds of handling strategy. Many border collies will hold back a bit, giving their handler time to get signals out, as they get frustrated to think it's straight (so they extend their stride) and then the handler is seeminly changing the plan and asking to turn and the dog is caught with his body all disorganized for the turn due to miscommunication. The top clas dogs out there are top class partly because of top class handlers who are consistent in handling and the dogs TRUST those cues and can confidently go full speed on the straight aways and collect/turn with full conviction and power knowing that their handler is clearly saying what's wanted and won't surprise the dog by changing the plan in mid-stride.

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For what it's worth, Kristine, I totally agree with what you're trying to get across about border collies just having "something different" about them. Something special, that's hard to put a finger on unless you have one. I'm surprised more border collie owners here don't agree, but to each his own. :)

 

(ETA: I'm not even qualified to judge, but I agree with what Diana said about the Crufts video. Now, if I wanted to point to what I consider an absolute cream of the crop agility border collie, check out Tori Self and Rev).

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this thread kinds of reminds me of that kids song!!

 

 

 

This is the tread that never ends

 

It goes on and on my friend

 

Hey, that was going to be my post on this thread. It was going through my mind all morning!

 

This was one of the best threads I have ever read but also one of the most frustrating. I gained a lot of insight into some of the regular posters and I think I understand a bit more of why they say things the way they say them. A few of the posts were extremely well written and all I can say is "yes, this is what I think, but worded much better than I ever could" I especially liked Donald McCaig's quote " " Border Collies always know where you are. If you're moving on one side of a mountain and they're moving on the other, they can find you quickly>' I read this and thought wow, Donald knows my Seth! I also liked his " "Go clockwise" when the dog is receiving "Go clockwise rather wide but quick because I'm losing confidence we'll finish the work before time runs out and finishing is vital to me and our happy life together."

 

I amazingly agree with Root Beer's thoughts about the uniqueness of the Border Collie in comparison with other breeds. I've never done agility in my life but I have owned and worked in other activities with various breeds. I think the Border Collie does have a special something. I believe it is there because of the dedicated breeding for "the work" its done for hundreds of years. But...I also agree with there being a spark of uniqueness in other breeds and people of different personalities being more drawn to what is in their breed of choice. A bit wishy washy on that thought I guess, but I can see it both ways.

 

To Serena. Learning disabilities aside, and with your numerous lengthy, colorful, poetic posts, It seems you have overcome a lot of that, I think your biggest problem here is your stubbornness in not giving in on the point the majority have said here over and over in many different ways. THE BORDER COLLIE SHOULD NOT BE BRED FOR ANYTHING BUT "THE WORK"! Even that once in a blue moon, once in a lifetime most miraculous agility Champion Border Collie should not be bred if it ITSELF can't work to a high level of proficiency, ON STOCK.

 

THE END.

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I think border collies are special (obviously--I have 10 of them). But I also think that what makes us individually think these dogs are special or have the extra something is at least in part formed by our own expectations. If I were a dog trainer working with a lab and the breed I prefer is a border collie, then even though I'm not consciously classing the dog as "not as good," subconsciously I'd bet that my paradigm is "not as good" (good, not in the sense of good at something, but in the sense of being good for me to work with or as a partner compared to my breed of choice).

 

So I understand what Kristine is saying, but I also think that part of the reason no other breed will do is because the border collie has become our individual paradigm and so the differences with other dogs are glaring. But if an individual started with some other breed and truly loved and connected with that breed, then they might actually feel the same way about their breed as many of us feel about border collies. And trying to argue with them that the border collie has a special something would be fruitless.

 

I've worked a few other breeds of dogs on stock. Even when I tried to be completely open-minded about them, I was well aware of that subconscious bias that almost seemed to say "Why bother?" And I never could really let that subconscious bias go, even though I was aware of it.

 

I don't know if I'm making sense here, and I think Mark may well have touched on the underlying reasons why we feel the way we do about our breed, but being humans, I think we also make our own reality, whether we intend to or not.

 

I know I've mentioned before that I grew up with a Belgian tervuren. She was an amazing dog. Smart as a whip. Loyal. Athletic. Beautiful. A quick learner and always up for action. She wasn't the only dog we had as I grew up--there were German shepherds, whippets, a great dane, a wire-haired fox terrier, an Irish terrier. But Shai Fox was special. And when I became an adult and decided to get a dog, my first choice was a tervuren. But 25 years later they had changed, and it was obvious even to me. I realize that I may have romanticized the dog from my childhood, but the modern version just seemed different to me. And so I looked elsewhere. Before I got the dog that made me consider border collies (they weren't even on my radar at that point, even though I was looking at herding breeds, thanks to my good memories of Shai), I met a bouvier in rescue. I can't even imagine what path my life might have taken if I had clicked with that dog and taken her home. And if I had, and had become a bouvier fan as a result, who's to say that within my own paradigm I wouldn't have thought the bouviers were all that?

 

But I did end up with border collies eventually, and I do think they're special, and I think a lot of that specialness is related to the fact of the working genetics. And I have to say that I haven't felt that same specialness from the conformation-bred border collies I've known.

 

But I still believe that there probably are other breeds that have a "special something," I just don't know those breeds, and even if I did, I might not really give them the chance to show me that because I'm already well invested in my own special breed.

 

J.

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OOOKKKK I'll get some pedigrees out there for ya'll however depressing it might be....most people thoughts on the fact that Agility super stars breed agility super stars do in fact seem to be correct but I don't know why anyone would expect any different. If I was a top agility competitor with no interest in stockwork..being immersed in there own little "agility culture"..

 

People who are looking for the next agility star like someone looking for there next winning open sheepdog are looking for results in the prospective parents in the sport they are looking to compete. OR dogs who are producing winning dogs...most people involved in the "kennel culture" aka dog sports are either ignorant to the "border wars" or don't care..

 

Anyway..here are the pedigrees from last years WORLD agility team...(fyi there are LOADS of other agility title abbreviations behind all the dogs and parents names but sheesh just putting the major ones up)

 

Ann Braue with SCREAM aka MACH4 ADCH Bluefire Causin Commotion - parents: MACH4 ADCH Mayhem x MACH ROM Credit

 

Channon Fosty ICON aka MACH Hob Nob Cult Classic - parents: HC/CH ROMX Scheme x CH/HC Harley ( I believe this is the hob nob bred dog who competed and won a USBCHA open class, as well as many pro novice classes/AHBA/etc.)

 

Daisy Peel and SOLAR aka National Agility Champion MACH Super Sun- parents: CH NAC(National Agility CH) MACH9 ADCH Super Star x Rival Natural Wonder OAJ RN

 

Terry Smorch and PRESTO aka MACH3 Hob Nob Tempo Night Flight - parents:MACH15 CH ADCH NATCH Topsheld Pizzazz UD HSAs x MACH4 ADCH FDCH Hob Nob Ketch the Wave (surf)(also 2005 owrld team member-sire is Scheme the sire to Icon above)

 

 

So..ya...all sport breeders. when looking at the actual pedigrees there appears to be working lineage only a generation or two back. It seems to be agility breeders use or even like to flaunt the fact that they have "working lines" even though they are obvioulsy not breeding there dogs because of there ability to work stock...

 

BUT I have to say...It is interesting just for arguement sake. Scheme, who is the sire of Icon and grandfather to Presto, some argue he is one of the best agility/performance sires to date. He has produced multiple agility super stars and double/triple performance champions..he is DIRECTLY from Red Oliver from actual stockdogs. Scheme is also the full blooded brother to Mary Sullivans(Kensmuir stickdogs) Beth who I know was a very fine stockdog.

 

Jan Demellos kennel flaunts the fact that her dogs are from "working lines" and although in the past bunch of years her purpose is obvious to breed agility or performance dogs and her breeding dogs is not being selected for the ability to work livestock...her original, the foundation stock was selected right off the farm....(ps i'm not condoning Jan's breeding practices AT ALL as she obviously is a sport kennel just using the example to show that the best performance dogs can easily COME FROM STRAIT working stockdogs)

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I looked up Scream's pedigree but did not have time to look up the rest. Both parents are AKC titled dogs although their web site says they maintain ABCA registration as well. The whole bottom half of the pedigree (mom's side) is ABCA registered. The top side has A- and N- numbers and I'm not sure what those are, but they aren't formatted like AKC numbers (possibly AIBC or the North American registry). So this dog is only one generation away from working lines. I think one generation is too close to judge how much can change due to breeding for agility. I suspect if you put this dog on stock you might see some deficiencies depending how the skills of the parents combined (I have no way of knowing for sure of course) but it would take several generations of breeding for only agility to dilute out the other good working traits enough to notice them in an agility context. One generation is also not enough to say the dog is good BECAUSE it was bred for agility. It's more likely it's good because the raw material from the working genes are contributing to that.

 

 

I keep my sheep at a friend's place, and the property owner is very much into agility which brings in a high traffic of agility handlers to see me work the sheep, so I've had opportunity to work a number of agility dogs on sheep. Couple of flyball line dogs - hopeless. Either no interest or they do really odd things, and not enough focus on the sheep to shape into anything. I've worked a handful of times with a dog from Jan DeMello (HobNob) breeding and he is a NICE dog, so obviously very close to working lines. I'd have to ask again who his exact parents were, but Scheme, Harley, etc is ringing some bells. He has natural distance and a way of moving which puts my sheep at ease, and with pretty much no training would naturally make a choice to kick out from escaping sheep and get around the whole group to bring them back instead of turning it into a chase scene, enough that I was able to trust him working my sheep (my work areas are a big unfenced field and a medium sized arena with bad fencing that is really too large for a beginner dog who might be tempted to chase). He has a fair amount of eye and we were able to get bits of a drive going (including a nice pace) after only a couple of times on sheep. Note: I did not do a lot of that with him because he seemed to have quite a bit of eye and I didn't want to encourage him to get too sticky right away, but I have no doubt this dog would take to driving very easily. I really want to work with this dog some more and see if I can trial him in USBCHA. I have not been this excited about any other of the agility dogs I've worked with. Of course he just turned a year and is starting full-tilt on his agility training and his owners trials most weekends, so I doubt I'll get my hands on him very much again until next spring when we get more daylight on weekdays.

 

 

My very talented dog that I wrote about several posts back - I think today her talent would not even be recognized. Her talent lie in the fact that even though my handling knowledge and training of various skills was sub-par, she ON HER OWN figured out how to 'read' me perfectly and anticipate what I really wanted vs what my body may have been saying by accident. She ON HER OWN decided she wanted to get around as fast as possible and if she could anticipate the path she would do what she needed to do with her body to get the most efficient (and therefore fastest) line with no help from me. Now these days, the collection, turning, etc skills are built right into the foundation work and jump training, and handling is so good that the handler is always telling the dog 'collect before this turn' or else they have drilled it over and over again so the dog has a high degree of confidence in what is wanted. A dog like my little genius girl would have disappeared in that mix. Her genius was in making up for lacks in the handler and reading between the lines to figure out the 'job' and get it done (she did not see agility as a game, she was deadly serious about it), but these days the top handlers are on the ball and the top class dogs don't need to be so good at deciphering the somewhat incoherent body language 'babbling' they might get from their handler. I already today see dogs who can turn so tight that if they went any tighter they'd be hitting the jump uprights when they wrap them. What is there to breed for when what we have out there already is brilliant and pushing the limits of what's even physically possible? And if all that brilliance is coming from working lines or only a generation or two removed from working lines, where is the value in breeding a separate agility line?

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Before I started training my pup on stock, I took him to agility classes (age 6-8 months) because I feel agility is a great way to build a relationship with your dog.

 

I admit, when I started agility classes with my pup (he was the only BC in the class) I came in with an air of arrogance thinking I had the best breed for this sport. The trainer, as well as my dog's actions in the arena, made me realize (humbled me actually) that every breed has their own qualities/quirks/issues when training agility. It turned out, my BC was NOT always the best at the different obstacles/lessons; the Golden Retriever won every time on the 'sit/stay' and the Aussie nailed the plank. My BC did better at the teeter of all things and he, like all other breeds in class, became obsessed with the tunnel.

 

I did not see an agility instinct in my BC - the first thing he did when entering the agility arena was begin to hunt for every morsel of food that was dropped in the prior class.

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Just because a dog has an ABCA pedigree doesn't mean any of those dogs were talented stockdogs, without knowing much about the dogs they may have been joe shmoes backyard farm dog. So without knowing more about the pedigree other than it's ABCA, we really wouldn't even know if the dogs on the papers those few generations back were being selected for there ability to work livestock...(talking about Screams pedigree not Scheme's)

 

I just see alot of agility breeders seemingly trying to do the right thing by breeding from "working lines"...but other than being from a working registry we really have know idea the quality of the actual dogs on the pedigree or if they are truly working stockdogs...

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And yes in Jan's defense I've seen quite a few Hob Nob dogs that seem to be quite nice...could get around a pro-novice course even open..they are usually quite relaxed, a bit looser eyed than I would prefer but there doesn't seem to be much tension and they are very biddable...

 

I certainly wouldn't go to her looking for my next stockdog prospect but for pumping out so many star performance dogs it's nice to see them still seem to have quite a bit of natural ability...

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I think the thing some folks over-look for whatever reason.. is that the reason the bc’s are so fabulous at sports and such is because of how they were developed. It is THAT breeding that supplies the best border collies. It is THAT breeding that all sports and BC enthusiasts should be supporting at any cost. Why mess with perfection?

(edit- the breeding being that of the of function of job.. just didn't want anyone thinking I was supporting breeding for anything bar job)

 

The only bridge in my opinion that needs any work.. is tearing down the one that folks been crossing to dabble about with on the other side. Its a dark side and that grass is poison.

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I just see alot of agility breeders seemingly trying to do the right thing by breeding from "working lines"...

 

If you cannot see what's wrong here you're still missing the point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

working bred Border Collie that wins at agility

x

working bred Border Collie that wins at agility

 

 

Is still breeding for agility

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Julie, I agree! Obviously the main reason I got hooked on my Border Collies is the actual work. My first encounter was in Canada on a cutting/farm operation. He was one of the hands. Not just a dog. Without him managing the cattle would have been a lot more difficult. We even used him to turn back. So he helped in the training as well.

All of my personal exposure since has been totally in the working realm. And not trailing either. I am 100% dedicated and addicted to the true working Border Collie!

However, I also would not expect my Germans to work like my Border Collies or the other way around. Herding vs. tending. And I don't have the lifestyle that I need a tending dog nor can I support one. Although my G-dog tends to babies of all kind. I have taken her herding too but it wasn't the same. Fun but different.

So yeah, lifestyles, personal beliefs, likes and dislikes as well as personal preference play into the choices. But as much as I adore my Border Collies for who and what they are - they still have to be a good individual. And reading some of the posts seems to at times not allow for that fact. At that point I feel almost as if my other dogs who are just as special, are being put down and insulted.

I will even go as far as saying that I have two dogs, my Thor (BC) and my G (GSD), that are as close to being interchangeable as two dogs could be.

I have played around with herding (Thor limited due to injury), lure coursing, agility, frisbee, ob, dock diving and protection work with both. Both are game and fun and eat it up with an absolute fascinating intensity. Both excell in their given fields of course. But as much as I hate to admit it (Thor was born on my bed and is my baby boy), the German actually broke the tie in most activities enjoyed by one event. Let's just say that my brave boy had to have some assistance with the dock diving!

Maybe I just am very lucky to have found dogs in different breeds that suit me. ;)

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I'm a bit late to this thread but I just want to say something others are saying but hopefully a little differently. Think of the working border collie as needing to be bred for all the right pieces to fit together properly. The checks and balances of that system of careful selection of traits makes the dog whole. It doesn't always work out perfectly, but the goal needs to be maximal effort at keeping all the pieces there and together just right or the breed starts to fall apart. For this breed, that can only be accomplished by selecting for stockworking ability. If one selects for only some of the pieces, like those traits important only in agility, the dog as a whole starts to become unstable in some way. The checks and balance system the breed was optimally developed on is gone.

 

I'm not talking about individuals here. Just because someone can find a dog or two to trot out as an example of why it's okay to breed other ways doesn't make it true overall. Look at breeds like the German Shepherd. The temperaments of those dogs started falling apart in extreme when pieces got left out or didn't fit together properly from being bred for other things. And as much as I hate to use this example, look at the pit bull breeds. Those dogs were supposed to be aggressive to other dogs for fighting but not to people. It's pretty easy for that checks and balance system to fall apart when selection isn't for all the pieces to fit together right.

 

I think any breed that has been stringently selected for brilliance at its work such as the working border collie, you're walking a fine line on the extremes. This fine line can only be maintained through the same type of selection process (stockwork) that has, over time, made the breed whole and stable.

 

I have no idea if it's possible to select specifically for an agility line of border collies. As Pearse said, you do get what you select for, but that may just be individual traits and not those unfortunate things that go along with them. If it can be done, it may take a while before you can get the pieces to fit together right for the whole dog to be stable. And maybe it's not possible to select for that particular set of extremes and have a set of checks and balances that will establish stability overall. I guess time will tell. I'm sure people here know enough dogs of various breeds that are just complete messes to understand how badly things can go wrong when pieces are missing or don't fit together right.

 

So the question in my mind is, do you want to stick with something tried and true - the working border collie bred as it was meant to be - or are you willing to chance something that may fall apart because the pieces aren't there or don't fit right?

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I have no idea if it's possible to select specifically for an agility line of border collies.

 

Good post!

 

I think it certainly is possible to create an agility line starting with working Border Collies. But what you will end up with is an "Agility Collie." It will no longer be a working Border Collie, and will be unlikely to function as one.

 

Just because one can do a thing, doesn't mean one should. Just look at the mess that is the AKC/UKC pediGREED dog.

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...

So yeah, lifestyles, personal beliefs, likes and dislikes as well as personal preference play into the choices. But as much as I adore my Border Collies for who and what they are - they still have to be a good individual. And reading some of the posts seems to at times not allow for that fact. At that point I feel almost as if my other dogs who are just as special, are being put down and insulted.

...

 

^^This^^

 

Whether it was intended or not, some previous posts by several different people really seemed to downplay the specialness of other breeds, and, thereby, the connection between the owner and the dog.

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So yeah, lifestyles, personal beliefs, likes and dislikes as well as personal preference play into the choices. But as much as I adore my Border Collies for who and what they are - they still have to be a good individual. And reading some of the posts seems to at times not allow for that fact. At that point I feel almost as if my other dogs who are just as special, are being put down and insulted.

 

^^This^^

 

Whether it was intended or not, some previous posts by several different people really seemed to downplay the specialness of other breeds, and, thereby, the connection between the owner and the dog.

 

I think people are choosing to find offense where none is intended. I have four dogs, and only two of them are border collies, plus a BC mix and a lab/something mix. Before that, I grew up with froo-froo dogs. To say that the border collies possess an "extra something" that the others don't, doesn't make the bond, love, admiration, or anything else any less for the non-BCs. To me, that's just silly. It doesn't make them "better", just different. *shrugs*

 

Sorry, I know this is veering more off topic! :ph34r:

 

ETA: Obviously, this is in MY experience. Others may feel differently, but again, that doesn't mean any offense intended towards other dogs or breeds.

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To say that the border collies possess an "extra something" that the others don't, doesn't make the bond, love, admiration, or anything else any less for the non-BCs. To me, that's just silly. It doesn't make them "better", just different. *shrugs*

Oh, well, I guess the way I see it is that people who are aficianodoes of other breeds might think *their* breed has an "extra something" that border collies don't have. Border collie lovers might not necessarily buy into that, but that's why border collies are our breed. But if I were a dyed-in-the-wool bouvier person I might well argue about the special something extra that *my* breed possesses. That's what I thought people were trying to say (me included). I think people are getting hung up on the implied value judgment that goes with statements about that extra special something that border collies have, when depending on your point of view, your history with dogs, and your own choices, there might be a non-border collie breed that you (the general you) think possesses that extra something that no other breed has....

 

J.

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My point is that whatever breed - it has to be a good individual. Simple. I don't want, need, like or would ever choose a bad individual only because it is a Border Collie.

And I also don't try to preach to the attributes of the "other" breed as if it was the only dog worth feeding. ;)

That is almost as if to say that all Irish are great dog handlers.

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I think people are choosing to find offense where none is intended. I have four dogs, and only two of them are border collies, plus a BC mix and a lab/something mix. Before that, I grew up with froo-froo dogs. To say that the border collies possess an "extra something" that the others don't, doesn't make the bond, love, admiration, or anything else any less for the non-BCs. To me, that's just silly. It doesn't make them "better", just different. *shrugs*

 

That was very well said, Paula.

 

None of my statements were intended to offend or slight dogs of other breeds, nor their bond with their handlers.

 

I consider both of my mixes to be "non-Border Collies" even though they are/were part Border Collies. They are/were absolutely equally loved and appreciated in this household. I would have Maddie back in an instant before any Border Collie in the world (save the ones I already have). But that doesn't change the fact that she wasn't a Border Collie. She didn't act like a Border Collie, she didn't participate in the training process in the way a Border Collie typically does, she didn't have the style of a Border Collie, she did not think like a Border Collie. She was fast, agile, brilliant, and the sweetest dog I've ever known. That didn't make her a Border Collie. And if I can say that about my own dog who has passed on, I don't see how anyone can take offense to it. She was a fantastic dog and we had something incredibly special that I will miss very deeply for the rest of my life. She was also very different from my Border Collies, and the Border Collies that I've worked with that belong to others.

 

I thoroughly enjoy running friend's dogs that aren't Border Collies. I appreciate working with dogs of other breeds in my classes. And of course owners with dogs of other breeds have strong bonds, excellent working partnerships, etc. with them. At the same time, there are distinct characteristic qualities that Border Collies bring into the sport context (training, running, performing etc.) that I have consistently observed that are simply not present as a total package in dogs of other breeds. How that is somehow a slight of anyone's relationship or bond with his or her dog is a mystery to me. It is an observation about the dogs, not their bonds with their handlers.

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That is almost as if to say that all Irish are great dog handlers.

 

What?!? You mean they AREN'T? :o

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