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


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Larae: You talk about how the AKC is a terrible organization, but haven't stated why you feel it is so bad.

 

Everyone, part of the problem is that we are only partially reading and not carefully reading everyone's replies and responses. I never said AKC was a terrible organization, though others have. I simply say that the AKC organization needs to fix what is very wrong. Everyone please remember there are a few posts who have taken my words completely!! out of context. Laurae, what I am against is 1) AKC's inability to shun all puppy mills and never to sponsor them 2)allowing conformation breeding and conformation showing of Border Collies.

 

PSsmitty: I have always said you need MACH and consistent 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place and national rankings too for an AKC or USDAA agility person to breed plus friends/peers who do real sheepherding, and a whole list of very tough requirements. To breed indiscriminately is wrong...I just think that in a few special circumstances, an agility person should be allowed to breed and I mentioned those circumstances specifically.

 

Smalahundur wrote: don´t know the last thing about agility (and intend to keep it that way ;)

Smalahundur this attitude again explains why there is no bridge. I always seek out the sheepherding threads and lurk. I may not understand but I try my hardest too, because that is to honor the Working Border Collie. People need to have understandings and to make efforts to understand each other's fields. I love reading about the SAR disciplines example on this thread. These are important disciplines and go with my original post of wanting to discuss other traditions that honor the Working Border Collie. AKC is a very powerful organization so there needs to be dedicated members who seek to improve and change the policies which are wrong.

 

Diana, thanks for clarifying the qualifications for MACH and THAT IS WHY I EMPHASIZED that I'm only talking about breeding issues for Border Collies with MACH titles and real placement ribbons, trophies, etc. Those titled and placed BCs can indeed be bred if the owner is very knowledgeable in their field, have tons of experience, and I named several other additional important criteria, but I don't want to sound like a broken record, because I've already covered several important additional criteria that must be met. Top USDAA handlers should also be allowed to breed too with the said intensity of other requirements including bringing in top stockdogs to "refresh" the lines...every few years.

 

Remember hobbyists and pet owners should not be breeding. That is my point! Has nothing to do with owning a pet B.C. or doing agility for fun. No relevance.

 

Maja wrote:To me the unique thing about the border collies is their relationship with humans, called biddability. This biddability is a feature that allows the dog to hear and listen to their boss in spite of their tremendous work drive based in a primeval instinc

 

Maja,I hedge on this because Service Dogs do engender that biddability...They listen, they follow specific instructions, absolute calmness, discernment is very important with Service Border Collies, and it involves a very deep human connection. As for agility too, the top agility trainers do have that same deep commitment to the dog and there are very specific techniques in which the Border Collie uses instant judgment, hold-back methods, verbals, but a champion agility border collie with all the good Border Collie temperament, health and biddability should be allowed to breed to maintain champion agility lines.

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Remember hobbyists and pet owners should not be breeding

 

 

Well that takes out just about all breeders, beit good or bad. But, that also gives a pretty good indication why some want agility to be considered "Work" along with other sport/hobby events. If your buddies or the people you want to buy from don't fit within the definitions that define the box lets just change the definitions and make the box bigger.

 

Agility is a hobby and a sport, right there is enough to say that breeding for it should not be done, as evidenced by your own statement. Unless of course you feel that agility is work, which personally I don't consider it to be work. Maybe others do, that is their perogative.

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Debbie, that is why I feel hobby and pet border collie owners should not be breeding. I keep saying this. And I'm not! making the box bigger. I'm making it very hard for any sports border collie AKC owner to breed. My criteria is very difficult to reach.

 

The stellar MACH handler has real and consistent placings (1st, 2nd, 3rd place) real ranks in the National competitions. Many of them also teach and instruct as well, like my friend. Finally, the way a MACH breeder gets to be a responsible breeder is by having CLOSE FRIENDS AND RELATIONS WITH PEOPLE ON THIS BOARD who do have the sheepherding experience, advice and expertise. These breeders do keep in contact with ABCA, they replenish their B.C. lines with working B.Cs, they work all the elements of obedience, focus, intelligence in the dog. All this takes time and real friendships and shared goals. And the breeders have to set aside a time when they can spend time with the pups and give up certain parts of their agility competitions as well to concentrate on breeding during the off-season of agility. As I keep emphasizing over and over, the whole purpose and dedication which Eileen Stein took to educate new owners as well as help breeders be better breeders too.As I have stressed over and over again these boards are very monumental to the welfare of our Border Collies.

 

I'd like to especially emphasize my words that the breeder who maintains friendships and seeks advice from sheepherding experts on this board and with ABCA...To me a sports agility person who has all the agility top accomplishments, the years of champion performance and experience, and who keeps in contact with the working sheepherding community out there, this makes an excellent agility breeder.

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... a champion agility border collie with all the good Border Collie temperament, health and biddability should be allowed to breed to maintain champion agility lines.

 

No, it shouldn't, in my opinion; there are countless BCs in rescues all over the country who are potential MACH dogs. Rescue a dog and save its life. Or take a BC from working lines who doesn't make the cut working stock. It's hugely immoral to pay $$$$$ to the breeders of 'sport' BCs even if every single dog in the pedigree is a MACH.

 

"Champion agility lines" -- good grief, it's a meaningless concept! My BC of completely unknown lineage, who was tossed into the intake pen of a county shelter when he was 6-7 months old, could be a MACH dog but for the fact that his owner won't spend the time or the money to trial him in AKC agility, so he will never amass the points and the title.

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Top USDAA handlers should also be allowed to breed too with the said intensity of other requirements including bringing in top stockdogs to "refresh" the lines...every few years.

 

But if they're true Border Collies worthy of breeding why would you need to "refresh" the lines? You'd only need to do this because you weren't breeding for the total package.

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No, it shouldn't, in my opinion; there are countless BCs in rescues all over the country who are potential MACH dogs. Rescue a dog and save its life. Or take a BC from working lines who doesn't make the cut working stock. It's hugely immoral to pay $$$$$ to the breeders of 'sport' BCs even if every single dog in the pedigree is a MACH.

 

"Champion agility lines" -- good grief, it's a meaningless concept! My BC of completely unknown lineage, who was tossed into the intake pen of a county shelter when he was 6-7 months old, could be a MACH dog but for the fact that his owner won't spend the time or the money to trial him in AKC agility, so he will never amass the points and the title.

 

^^This. My dog of unknown lineage (abandoned as a 4 m/o) would probably make an awesome agility sport dog. She loves going through the SAR agility field (which is a bit more complicated than a regular agility field), she loves climbing and negotiating obstacles, she loves going fast, she loves training. But she sure doesn't have the same natural stockdog talent right out of the box that my working bred dog has.

 

And quite frankly thousands of potential MACH dogs (Border Collies included) will be euthanized this year for lack homes/shelter space.

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Maybe I'm missing something here...but we have 4 pages of posts going round and round, and it seems to me the issue is that the OP has come on here to basically tell us (the general "us" who support this board's philosophy as explained very clearly in the "Read this First" sticky) that the stance of the boards as regards breeding border collies is alright EXCEPT...that it really isn't. I mean, Serena, you seem to be, on the one hand, saying you agree with the board's position, but then on the other hand, you come up with this business that a MACH title holder (if that's the correct terminology) should be considered a "responsible breeder" (as long, of course, as s/he has friends who work their dogs on stock). WTF?!?!?!

 

I am one of those hardcore working stockdog folks, and if I had a friend who was a "MACH handler" who started talking to me about breeding his or her dog(s) for agility, I would no more condone or support that person breeding than I would support anyone breeding a border collie for conformation, or flyball, or for strictly SAR work (which I do agree is work; it just isn't THE work), or just because "s/he's such a great pet" and we need more like him/her. Everyone who knows me knows that I am pretty extremely blunt about this subject--leave ALL breeding of anything you want to even remotely call a "border collie" to those who have a history of training many of these dogs to a very high level of stockworking ability. (And, NO, agility is NOT work.)

 

I guess I am just baffled as to why someone who has been a member of this board for any length of time would try to convince us that our position as regards breeding is wrong. I think they call that "tilting at windmills."

A

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People need to have understandings and to make efforts to understand each other's fields.

No they don´t.

The border collie is a working stockdog. That is what it has always been. It is the essence of the border collie. I don´t need to understand agility, SAR or even the conformation madness.

I just need to understand how to work stock with my dog, demanding enough. The rest is irrelevant.

 

And good breeder has to know and practice stockwork (he has to excel at it), how else is he going to select for it?

 

Of course if you like agility, doggy dance or whatever, more power to you and have fun, but don´t start breeding for it or demand my "effort to understand your field", I am not interested because those other fields have nothing to do with what makes a border collie a border collie.

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And quite frankly thousands of potential MACH dogs (Border Collies included) will be euthanized this year for lack homes/shelter space.

 

True. I'm not against people getting dogs from breeders, but this is a tragic reality.

 

And I would say that anyone who takes in a rescue and uses the sport of Agility as a component of giving that dog a better life has accomplished something far greater within the sport than earning a MACH, regardless of venue chosen or level achieved. And just to be clear, I am not saying that rescue dogs that don't get to do Agility are somehow deprived or anything because of course Agility is not for every dog or every person - simply that I feel that giving an excellent home to a rescue dog is something that goes beyond any title that any person might earn.

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Not in a position to reply to this topic - thanks to those who have done a wonderful and civil job of defending responsible breeding. And to the person who used the word, surreal, to describe some of the OP ideas. Spot on description.

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Yes, cjohanna

 

Yes, Maralynn

 

Yes, Anna

 

Yes, yes, yes!

 

Anyone who condones taking good, useful Border Collie stock dogs and using them to breed hi-tech toys for their hobby definitely has the wrong end of the stick, and sure as heck is waving that stick around in the wrong place!

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I think SAR work is not only most definitely work, but that it is just as important as, if not more important than stockwork.

 

I think of them more as apples and oranges. I wouldn't say that one is more important than the other as there is a very real need/place for both.

 

As far as breding for SAR goes, the majority of dogs in SAR work were not bred for it. You just need an athletic dog with great work ethic and drive. Working bred dogs of a variety of breeds can do the job.

 

Good SAR dogs have some specific traits, but not as intricate as the traits needed for a good stockdog. So when good stockdogs also make good SAR dogs there is absolutley no reason to consider breeding for anything else. My BC and the other one on my SAR team are both working bred dogs. And a working bred BC or a resuce that shows the right aptitude for the job are the only type of BCs that I'd consider for a SAR dog.

 

Interestingly enough, I read a SAR training manual writted by a working Lab breeder that specializes in SAR training. In this manual he wrote that if a person is considering getting a BC to train in SAR work they should go to USBCHA trials to find a good breeder.

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True. I'm not against people getting dogs from breeders, but this is a tragic reality.

 

And I would say that anyone who takes in a rescue and uses the sport of Agility as a component of giving that dog a better life has accomplished something far greater within the sport than earning a MACH, regardless of venue chosen or level achieved. And just to be clear, I am not saying that rescue dogs that don't get to do Agility are somehow deprived or anything because of course Agility is not for every dog or every person - simply that I feel that giving an excellent home to a rescue dog is something that goes beyond any title that any person might earn.

 

Well said, Kristine. (and Anna). But the best said of all is Kristi (IMHO). Surreal, indeed.

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terrecar said:

I think SAR work is not only most definitely work, but that it is just as important as, if not more important than stockwork. I just don't think it's necessary to breed Border Collies for that work.

 

Not to be picky, but the last part of my post is pretty important in keeping with the context of my comments. As I said in another post, our shelter was tapped fairly often by a local SAR group looking for dogs.

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"Champion agility lines" -- good grief, it's a meaningless concept! My BC of completely unknown lineage, who was tossed into the intake pen of a county shelter when he was 6-7 months old, could be a MACH dog but for the fact that his owner won't spend the time or the money to trial him in AKC agility, so he will never amass the points and the title.

 

I have been reading this whole thread and I just keep thinking this same thing. The OP seems to think border collies=agility in the same way border collies=herding. Agility is a made up sport for people to enjoy with their dogs. No ones livelihood depends on it, no ones actual work day is made easier or possible because of agility. An actual working dog makes a persons life easier or possible. They do a job that a person cannot do or makes their job more efficient. They were bred to work stock, not jump hurdles and weave through poles. Agility is just a game, made up, to entertain people. Agility does not equal border collies.

So to say that agility is some how a way to measure whether someone has the "right" to breed border collies is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. Just like someone else said, a bassett can do agility just as well. So does that mean bassetts should only be breed if they reach a certain level in agility? The argument sounds just as ridiculous when applied to BC's. The OP's argument is insane and I just don't understand how a person can say agility is a way to measure a BC's worthiness. I have more to say, but none of us are going to change the OP's mind. I love all the well articulated responses by the regulars on this board. I love reading how passionate everyone is about preserving this breed for what it is. A BC should not be bred because it can jump a hurdle really really fast. :angry:

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terrecar said:

I think SAR work is not only most definitely work, but that it is just as important as, if not more important than stockwork. I just don't think it's necessary to breed Border Collies for that work.

 

Not to be picky, but the last part of my post is pretty important in keeping with the context of my comments. As I said in another post, our shelter was tapped fairly often by a local SAR group looking for dogs.

 

Sorry - didn't intend to take it out of context. I was just giving my opinion as to if one job was more important than the other. And then went on in the post to add in my thoughts on the general idea of breeding for SAR work in general, not as a response to your comment on breeding.

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Sorry - didn't intend to take it out of context. I was just giving my opinion as to if one job was more important than the other. And then went on in the post to add in my thoughts on the general idea of breeding for SAR work in general, not as a response to your comment on breeding.

 

Oh I know you didn't. I was just being picky lol. In any case, you've made some spot-on comments. I agree with you.

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I compete in agility, have for almost ten years. I have a friend/teacher who not only has MACH border collies, but NAC MACH border collies (NAC = AKC National Agility Champion) and who has competed at the FCI Worlds for several years. I run my dogs in the Open class in ISDS-style sheep dog trials. Heck, I was even a competitive figure skater (I think that was mentioned on page 2 of this thread). Yet I haven't a clue what the OP is getting at, except for some oblique argument about letting some ultra-accomplished agility competitors breed their MACH border collies. Really, that's the only part of this bizarre thread to me that is salient. So long as the OP believes there are situations under which border collies should be bred based on their proficiency at a dog sport, then the rest of it is just noise (and really weird noise). A fundamental tenet of this board is that border collies should be bred only for working ability. There is no "yeah, but" around that.

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It's been said (I think subtly), but I'll repeat it more bluntly. Serena, you seem to think that champion agility dogs should be bred only by top agility competitors and only if those competitors are seeking guidance from experts in the stockdog world.

 

The HUGE, NO GINORMOUS, ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM is that even the most experienced and dedicated stockdog person can't look at an agility champion and tell anyone jacksh*t about the dog's abilities as a working dog. The only way to do that is to train the dog. So either your proposal means that all champion agility dogs must also be trained to a high level of stockwork so they can be evaluated for that before breeding or you live in some fantasy world where an experienced stockdog person can advise an agility person on suitable breeding strategies without actually have a single clue about the stock working ability of the dog(s) in question.

 

Surreal indeed.

 

J.

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I'm pretty new to the world of border collies, so everyone please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I've been reading through this topic and the thing I can't seem to wrap my head around is the OP's mentality of border collies NEEDING to be bred specifically for agility in order to excel at it.

 

Whether agility is work or not is a moot point. At the end of the day agility is not THE work that makes a border collie a border collie. Border collies were bred to be superior herding dogs. Herding is the work they were created to do, not agility. Someone else mentioned that if you change the breeding criteria you'll inevitably change the breed. Couldn't agree more! BCs that were bred for working ability, also tend to be great at agility as well. If it isn't broken, why fix it? Why not just buy your agility prospect puppies from a good reputable breeder that breeds his/her dogs for the right reasons?

 

As far as whether or not handlers with MACH titles on their dogs should have the RIGHT to breed said dogs, is again moot. They do. It's a free country (well, sorta), as long you meet the extremely minimal criteria that qualifies you as a law-abiding breeding operation, no law enforcement agency is going to come knocking down your door just because you don't work your dogs on stock. But coming onto a forum that's clearly stated it position and trying to dissuade the community from said position is crazy. It sounds like you have good intentions at heart, but I think you'd have better luck "building that bridge" if you were coming at it from the other side.

 

-Karynne

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Whether agility is work or not is a moot point. At the end of the day agility is not THE work that makes a border collie a border collie.

 

Very well said. In fact, I'd say you have put it better than anyone else.

 

Whether or not Agility is a form of work (for dog and/or handler) is very subjective. There are, indeed, people who make a living at it. No, they don't get paid to actually run Agility, but many have made a career of teaching, giving seminars, writing articles and books, creating training materials, and coaching teams. There are many more who supplement their income to some extent through teaching, seminars, writing articles and books, and coaching teams - not just in Agility, but related to many dog sports. That is, indeed as much a form of work as farming. It is a different kind of work - more along the lines of what a professional teacher would do - but work, all the same. And training is usually something dog and handler must work at, as well if either are going to become good at it - even if the training in question is preparation to play a game.

 

But none of that really has anything to do with the question of breeding Border Collies. Even in cases where Agility is a form of work for dog or handler or both, it is not the work that makes the Border Collie a Border Collie.

 

So, new to the breed or not, I'd say you've said it best.

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