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


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I can't help but wonder if the aussie forum has this type of debate :)

I have a friend who is an Aussie person and, in terms of the tone of this discussion, she always remarked that these boards were much more civil and polite than anything she sees on a number of forums that she frequents (dog and otherwise).

 

Now, the work versus sport versus conformation versus who-knows-what? Well, many Aussie folks are all about "versatility" so they would be all enthused about the "dog that can do it all".

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Serena, what is this supposed to mean?

What it means, I think, is just another example of seeing *something* and extrapolating wherever imagination leads...without any aspect of your ideas being fact-based or reality-based.

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I have a friend who is an Aussie person and, in terms of the tone of this discussion, she always remarked that these boards were much more civil and polite than anything she sees on a number of forums that she frequents (dog and otherwise).

This has been my experience too. The only other forum I've ever attended regularly that was this civil (and useful) is the Gypsy Horses Australia forum, here:

http://gha.forumup.com.au/index.php?mforum=gha&sid=832ffdfd36cc20f70524e10c5c2fb115

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Do you think you and Serena think the dog is small because you aren't used to seeing dogs of that size jumping 26in?

 

Looks nothing out of the ordinary sizewise to me.

 

Did you see my post about dogs being unused to the artificial surface at Crufts? Few UK handlers would expect their dog to turn as tightly as usual for fear of slipping and hurting themselves because most of the time they are competing on grass or equestrian surfaces. There's even a slight difference in grip on the outer darker green surface. It's not really fair to judge the quality of a dog from what you see at Crufts. I find it quite painful to watch. As I said earlier, I don't know this handler and dog but I've seen plenty at Crufts that I see regularly in normal competition and am well aware of the difference in performance, although it isn't as marked with those dogs that are regulars at Crufts. I don't think this one is.

 

But whilst I'm willing to give this dog the benefit of the doubt, no dog is "one in a million".

 

 

I actually didn't think the dog looked at all an unusual size. I was going off of Serena's post that he was very short, only around 17" I think she said. I have no way of knowing how tall he is so I took her word for it.

 

I do know about the surface at Crufts, also the World Team competition is on a bad surface from what I've heard. So I agree the dog is at a disadvantage in the video. All I meant to say was that as an example of a 'one in a million' and part of an argument for why we must absolutely breed for agility skills, it falls far short of the mark - whether that is due to an actual failing in the dog, the handler, or the venue, I don't know. I just didn't see 'Oh wow, you're right, that dog is amazing and it would be a shame not to breed him'.

 

I agree with you, I don't think you're going to see an agiity dog that is 'one in a million'. The skills needed are just not that specialized.

 

Now stockwork might be a differet story - you get dogs like Old Hemp or Wiston Cap who were a stand out in their time and shaped the entire breed. But there you're talking about a mix of a lot of different skills and genetics and it really could be 'one in a million' to get that one dog who not only gets them in the right proportion, but can pass them on as a unit to his offspring even when bred to a variety of bitches. And once you get that combination set, it would be SO easy to mess it up, and what are the chances you will get that one-in-a-million dog to put them all back together the right way again once you've lost it?

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But there you're talking about a mix of a lot of different skills and genetics and it really could be 'one in a million' to get that one dog who not only gets them in the right proportion, but can pass them on as a unit to his offspring even when bred to a variety of bitches.

(Emphasis mine.)

 

Serena-

 

This is so crucial. A working dog that is not only a brilliant performer - outshining all his peers - but a prepotent sire as well, that is really a one in a million. But as we have seen not only with Border Collies, but with Thoroughbred horses, even a "Triple Crown" winner can be a disappointment in the breeding shed.

 

Such a agility Border Collie would seem to be a pearl of great price. But unless he was equally talented on stock, all the people who flocked to him with their females would simply be diluting the working ability of the breed. Your one in a million agility stud would be in a position to do great harm to the breed as a whole.

 

If you indeed "honor the tradition of the Border Collie" you would do better to hope that such a dog is never born. No amount of "backcrossing" to working dogs would undo the harm brought about by such a sought-after sire.

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Apologies to the list. The server isn't accepting Pam's PM's.

 

Dear Pam,

If you can mae prints of Pip (and my) first trial, I'd be grateful and glad to pay your costs. Donald

Donald I'll have to dig them up but I might keep them for blackmail LOL!! I'll never forget meeting you at that trial. I think Mike knows how to turn the slides into prints.

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Besides, not just are the outstanding performers and sires/dams anything but priceless for a breed as a whole...it often boils down to who owns/trains them. So that they do have a chance to show their full potential. After all, you make the choice based on breeding not one but two animals.

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Hi, Mums24dog, almost all of my agility friends are in the UK. And thanks for showing some lovely outdoor venues and pointing out the difference of outdoor versus indoors and how each has different facets. But no, I am very aware of size differences visually and as an artist. Some of my UK'er friends have smaller border collies, yet they can still take the 26" but it does impact them as well because of the knocked pole issues. They do brilliantly but it takes longer than the tall B.Cs to get to the G6 and G7 levels when competing side-by-side with the tall B.Cs. There are very important clues on the leg proportions and height of this particular B.C. Just look how short Rolfe's dog's legs are if you compare the tunnel height and the weave poles if you freeze frame. This is definitely a very small B.C. I am used to seeing quite a few blazing short B.Cs in the UK. Yes, I am also aware of all the flooring issues too and that almost all the UK venues are outdoors as well. Believe me I correspond in the UK every day, practically, lol! They are absolutely wonderful folks!

 

And thank you so much Mums24dog for saying that the Dam for sure is an ISDS sheepherding lineage. I'm trying to discuss with some agility folks that it is not necessary to go to a top agility line and that a working bred line is just as good. Only once-in-a-blue-moon you can get a special dog with an equally once-in-a-blue-moon agility breeder who is educated enough, who still has very strong ties with the sheepherding community, who trains and teaches in the agility field. Apologies if I have to put you in the limelight, Diana, but you are one of the last hopes us agility folks have left. Even though you are a sheepherder from the working lines, at least you've got the professional knowledge of agility and the willingness to look at the issues we face.

 

I wrote this on a completely separate correspondences with a few folks...and am borrowing a few lines here and there of what I wrote to some folks.

To which I reply that's because top U.S. sheepherding experts are too busy working sheep, and don't have the time for intensive agility. If they do indeed do agility with their working dogs on the sideline, it's an extreme rarity and it's because they have a deep passion for it. But normally this take superhuman effort and really going beyond... Sheepherders have a full-time job to do in which food on the table is of critical priority. And the dogs are plain tuckered out, they are tired. They often work 14 hour shifts, I would guess... And so do their owners...They need to take care of real responsibilities, much of which involves intense manual/physical labor....All dogs, even herding dogs, have a shutdown point in which they do need a rest to regroup in order to learn new things. Luckily a working stock dog has enough intelligence to make that transfer.

 

Then for those agility folks who asked about which top champion dogs have immediate generation lines from working lines, I gave examples from this thread on the dogs that did have this direct working lineage. Again concrete proof of working dogs who do excel at agility helps me convince others that working lines can do just as well. Not all agility folks are like me. I can go to an Amelia linked thread and can tell right away that the dog portrayed would be an outstanding agility dog, but not everyone can be convinced...But we have to convince or else people will keep going to only sports-bred BCs and I'm trying to stop this as well.

 

Rootbeer, In the ideal dream world the best way is #1 These Boards, and hopefully this thread will awaken some minds that policing the agility lines is crucial #2 In ABCA they have a set criteria on this link here.

 

http://www.americanbordercollie.org/registration.html

 

And just like they have a ranking system:

http://www.americanbordercollie.org/ROM.htm

 

We need to do the same with agility...

 

Maybe an agility leader with decades of experience needs to step up to the plate, organize the agility folks who have B.Cs and start a specific program on how to police, perhaps set up a certification program.

 

Dogs meet ABCA registration requirements if they fall into one of the following four categories:

 

1. Are offspring of parents registered with the ABCA.

2. Are registered with or are offspring of dogs registered with the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS). This includes dogs with ISDS Register on Merit (ROM) numbers.

3. Are registered with the Canadian Border Collie Registry (CBCA), the American International Border Collie registry (AIBC), North American Sheep Dog Society (NASDS), or the Australian Working Border Collie Registry (AWBC) provided they meet these criteria:

There is a complete 3-generation pedigree

All ancestors in the pedigree must have an ABCA, ISDS, CBCA, AIBC, NASDS, or AWBC registration number. Dogs registered with AIBC or NASDS through their respective ROM programs are not necessarily eligible for ABCA registration.

4. Have completed the ABCA's ROM program.

 

I love the ABCA registration save for one factor: the #1 factor has allowed for horrible pet breeders to slip through the cracks so-to-speak. Eluane has ABCA on both sides of her parents, but the pet breeder took advantage and abused those papers... #1 actually has to be changed to saying that border collies can only hold ABCA if they have worked with livestock within 1 generation to stop pet breeders from making false claims.

 

So Rootbeer ideally you would have a 8 or 9 step application program when agility breeding might be o.k.

 

1. Agility breeders must have proven national rankings and top proven titles.

 

2. Must show records of agility community involvement. (teaching, leading, ring involvement, etc)

 

3. Must contact the ABCA Boards once a month outlining agility B.C. community goals, organizations, and policies and what issues to address.

 

4. Must have proven working lines within every other generation

 

5. Must visit sheepherding seminars bi-annually to get a sense of knowing the disciplines involved.

 

6. Must have active involvement with these Boards to help educate.

 

7. Must not breed more than one litter per year so that careful management of those who get their pups can be monitored.

 

8. A database of where those pups go to and what happens with those pups and agreements not to breed for those pups unless someone meets all of the listed requirements as of the above.

 

Diana, we are not disagreeing.

Serena wrote: I just have the eye of someone who does ballet. That's the only "expertise" I have.
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oops! Glitch! but forgot!!! another crucial element...the dog itself! Dog itself goes through another list of criteria as the breeder! to prove that it is indeed a one-in-a-million kind of a dog. I'll add to that tomorrow sometime. or day after tomorrow....

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I have a friend who is an Aussie person and, in terms of the tone of this discussion, she always remarked that these boards were much more civil and polite than anything she sees on a number of forums that she frequents (dog and otherwise).

 

Now, the work versus sport versus conformation versus who-knows-what? Well, many Aussie folks are all about "versatility" so they would be all enthused about the "dog that can do it all".

 

 

As now an owner of a working-bred Aussie, I've only heard second-hand rumbles about this stuff. But ... apparently the rift between show Aussies and the real, old-guard working lines (Slash V, Hangin' Tree, Las Racosa) can be fairly unpleasant. B)

 

As for "versatility" in Aussies ... I think that's code for, "Can't do any one thing well." Sure, a clever handler can get the most bobble-headed Aussie fluff-ball around a trial course, but only a few have the natural instinct to build upon that training. I freely confess that I'm as snobbish about my Aussie as I am about border collies: I want to know they come from proven working lines, whose parents and relatives demonstrate the natural-born skills to do the job.

 

Okay, that's me done, going off to start a thread about dog poop. :P

 

~ Gloria

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Serena, thank you for answering my question.

 

Indeed, there are many different mindsets within every aspect of the dog sport world. Yours and mine are about as different as can be, although we do share an appreciation for Agility, and especially for running Agility with Border Collies, in some measure. Our approach to the discipline, and our personal definitions of success are night and day polar opposites, as well as our perspectives on the breeding of Border Collies.

 

But I wanted to say that I do appreciate the fuller glimpse into where you are coming from, and I hope you enjoy running with Eluane for many years to come.

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Serena - All I can say is that with each succeeding post, it is reinforced in my mind that you are taking a boatload of assumptions, and drawing a boatload of conclusions that largely have no basis in fact.

 

ROM is not a "ranking" program - it is a way for an unregistered dog or a dog of unknown lineage, to achieve registration by meeting strict criteria that demonstrate that it has working ability. Other than that, there is nothing in ABCA registration other than that a dog's parents are ABCA (or CBCA or ISDS) registered that is required for registration. ABCA is simply that - a registry, not a proving ground of anything! ABCA supports the working-bred dog by being a registry for the working-bred dog and by supporting USBCHA Finals, and other support. You can register any backyard bred, agility bred, who-knows-what-bred (but with registered parents) Border Collie in ABCA.

 

Your list of criteria for an "agility breeding program" is so farfetched that I won't begin to address it. I think some of your intentions are admirable but woefully misguided by a lack of factual information, a lot of speculation, and a lack of reality.

 

Enjoy your dog and your chosen sport. I need to go and read Gloria's poop topic.

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As now an owner of a working-bred Aussie, I've only heard second-hand rumbles about this stuff. But ... apparently the rift between show Aussies and the real, old-guard working lines (Slash V, Hangin' Tree, Las Racosa) can be fairly unpleasant. B)

 

As for "versatility" in Aussies ... I think that's code for, "Can't do any one thing well." Sure, a clever handler can get the most bobble-headed Aussie fluff-ball around a trial course, but only a few have the natural instinct to build upon that training. I freely confess that I'm as snobbish about my Aussie as I am about border collies: I want to know they come from proven working lines, whose parents and relatives demonstrate the natural-born skills to do the job.

I totally agree. And I would add that there are people who breed "from working lines" but don't prove their dogs' working abilities - or at best, in the most rudimentary fashion. Haven't we discussed this approach often enough here as pretty useless in maintaining quality working abilities?

 

We've had a couple of farm-bred, working-bred, does-the-job Aussies - back in the days when we were clueless ourselves and the dogs had to make up for our total lack of knowledge and experience. That kind of dog can be hard to find.

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Some of my UK'er friends have smaller border collies, yet they can still take the 26" but it does impact them as well because of the knocked pole issues.

 

Beware of taking the views of a few as a general truth - some people make excuses. Knocking poles is very rarely caused by the height of the dog, especially if that dog is a BC. Height may have an impact on the dog's jumping style but I'd be looking at training and physical issues before I'd blame the height of the dog if pole knocking was an issue. The only very small BC I've come across that had trouble with the height was a show dog - enough said.

 

They do brilliantly but it takes longer than the tall B.Cs to get to the G6 and G7 levels when competing side-by-side with the tall B.Cs.

 

Again, not necessarily true. Look at the video of Tia that I posted - she's a small collie that falls into Large. Most of the dogs of the same breeding are on the small side and have shot up the grades to the top. Even a friend's stumpy legged, heavy coated show/sport bred dog has got to Grade 6 quickly with multiple wins at each grade on the way.

 

There are very important clues on the leg proportions and height of this particular B.C. Just look how short Rolfe's dog's legs are if you compare the tunnel height and the weave poles if you freeze frame. This is definitely a very small B.C.

 

It's irrelevant anyway. Small by your own expectations maybe, although it can be hard to judge the true height of a dog when you see it in the flesh, never mind in a video. Take my word for it, it isn't small by UK standards, and Diana doesn't think it's particularly small either. The dog runs close to the ground which makes it look shorter and its coat disguises its true proportions.

 

Only once-in-a-blue-moon you can get a special dog

 

Sorry to crop this bit but I just wanted to address this idea.

 

I repeat - there is no such thing. And with the increase in people taking part in Agility the likelihood of any dog surpassing the skills of the rest by a significant degree diminishes. You get dogs with potential paired with handlers with whom they are a perfect fit, that's all.

 

I can go to an Amelia linked thread and can tell right away that the dog portrayed would be an outstanding agility dog

 

Do you really believe that? I don't know anyone who would choose their next Agility dog from a picture. A photo and write up may indicate that a dog could be worth checking out but they'd want a test run if they are serious about success and even top handlers can make a mistake.

 

Diana, we are not disagreeing.

 

Yes you are, on a fundamental basis. Whatever regulations and restrictions you propose, you are still coming at the subject with a view to producing superior Agility dogs. The point that most people are making is that you don't need to have Agility skills in mind at all when breeding.

 

I love Agility and all it entails - it takes up a huge part of my life - but I'm realistic and have seen enough dogs from different origins do extremely well over the last 14 years to recognise that there is nothing special about breeding for Agility. Agility is very important to me but it's still a sideshow in the grand scheme of things - a hobby, not the centre of the universe. People having fun with their dogs - no more than that.

 

I think the fact that you're mainly restricted to distance learning is giving you distorted impressions of the Agility world. There isn't any substitute for seeing for yourself and I know you unfortunately can't get to many trials and train on your own. Top Agility handlers are just people and their dogs are just dogs. We may admire their skills but there is no need to treat them as particularly special.

 

Pam

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1. Agility breeders.........

You lost me with the first 2 words of #1.

Agility breeders breed for agility not livestock work.

Breeding for something other than livestock work is breeding for some other standard.

Breeding for some other standard is producing a different breed of dog.

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Just to clarify my own position, Serena, while there are so many unwanted dogs in the world I am against any dog being deliberately bred other than for specified work.

Since Agility or any other dog sport isn't work, they don't qualify as an excuse IMO.

 

I'm not hung up on preserving the working BC because I live in a part of the world where working/pet/show/sport versions of various breeds coexist and most people recognise the difference. If there is an ongoing need for working BCs they will still exist as a separate section of the breed. If someone wants to cross working lines with sport it doesn't generally have an impact on the working dog population. (I'm told it's different over there and who am I to argue?)

 

Humans have been tweaking breeds and creating new ones for thousands of years to suit their purposes. For those who consider that Agility and the like is important enough to do that I can't see the difference. I don't approve but I can see the historical precedent.

 

I don't much care what people call different types of dog - misnomers are rife in the dog world and Terrierman did a good piece on his blog a few days ago. Airedale "Terriers" and Tibetan "Terriers" are not terriers because they don't do the work of a terrier. By his argument a Dachshund can be a terrier. Similarly, a BC that can't work stock isn't a BC. I don't have any problem with understanding the distinction myself.

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I love Agility and all it entails - it takes up a huge part of my life - but I'm realistic and have seen enough dogs from different origins do extremely well over the last 14 years to recognise that there is nothing special about breeding for Agility. Agility is very important to me but it's still a sideshow in the grand scheme of things - a hobby, not the centre of the universe. People having fun with their dogs - no more than that.

 

 

Yes, this. And for the billionth time, NOT A REASON TO BREED BORDER COLLIES.

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