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Inbreeding and the Border Collie


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Welll, since there are plenty of people breeding those dogs who don't trial (just look at the ads on, say, Stockdogs4sale), I don't see how one can argue that those genes are being lost. People are breeding those dogs, and apparently people are buying and using the offspring (and probably breeding them too), so what's being lost?

 

I'm not sure what your arguments is about whether people can see past handling or not. You've already stated your belief that most people are incapable of recognizing a good dog if it's not winning trials. I wonder if you also put yourself in that category into which you've lumped a great number of people? Or are you one of the rare few who can see the diamond in the rough, even with poor handling and on the home farm?

 

J.

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"Geonni, I think I recall your posting some time ago a link to some of Elaine Ostrander's genome research showing border collies clustering more with hunting dogs (including spaniels) than with modern Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs, which I find extremely interesting, even though I really don't know what to make of it or know whether anything at all should be made of it at this stage."

 

I'm going to go track this down. I'll be surprised if either Kay Pine or Elaine Ostrander can know the truth about the Gordon setter or the spaniel tale.

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"Geonni, I think I recall your posting some time ago a link to some of Elaine Ostrander's genome research showing border collies clustering more with hunting dogs (including spaniels) than with modern Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs, which I find extremely interesting, even though I really don't know what to make of it or know whether anything at all should be made of it at this stage."

 

I'm going to go track this down. I'll be surprised if either Kay Pine or Elaine Ostrander can know the truth about the Gordon setter or the spaniel tale.

I sort of remember seeing that too, but I didn't post it - at least, if I did it was for some other reason than the "spaniel connection."

 

FWIW, both spaniels and setters in a few forms have been around the area where the Border Collie was developed, and dogs being dogs, I would be pretty surprised if there aren't some random spaniel/setter genes in there somewhere.

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Here's a few dogs. Some are Border Collies. Some are various working spaniel breeds. I know looks can be decieving, but... Jeeze!

If I saw the dog 3rd from the right listed as a Lab/Springer cross, I wouldn't bat an eye. And the one on the far right. How about an English Setter mix? But both dogs are Border Collies.

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Welll, since there are plenty of people breeding those dogs who don't trial (just look at the ads on, say, Stockdogs4sale), I don't see how one can argue that those genes are being lost.

 

The genes can be lost via genetic drift if the people producing those dogs are not talented breeders. I don't know if they are or not. All I am saying is that I hope the skilled breeders of trial dogs in North America don't pass over a farm dog just because it's a farm dog.

 

I wonder if you also put yourself in that category into which you've lumped a great number of people? Or are you one of the rare few who can see the diamond in the rough, even with poor handling and on the home farm?

 

I am in the process of learning how to spot a good dog, thanks to many kind people who have the patience to answer my endless stream of questions.

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I'm going to go track this down. I'll be surprised if either Kay Pine or Elaine Ostrander can know the truth about the Gordon setter or the spaniel tale.

 

I sort of remember seeing that too, but I didn't post it - at least, if I did it was for some other reason than the "spaniel connection."

 

Well, I must have worded my post badly -- I didn't mean to suggest that Ostrander was researching the "spaniel tale" or the "spaniel connection." She is not approaching the issue as a historian, but as a geneticist. The article -- which I mistakenly thought was posted by geonni (sorry, geonni, I guess I don't really remember who posted it, and maybe all that was posted was a news report about it) -- is The Canine Genome. See Fig. 2 and associated text headed "Breed origin and relationship."

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I can show you many examples of both good farm dogs and poorly bred trials dogs and vice versa. There are good and bad breeders in each world. There are people who have an eye for what a dog is doing vs. what the dog is trained to do and some people who cannot see the difference. Just like some people can see great art and know the difference between it and mediocre art.

 

We need the variety for the health and future of the breed.

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All I am saying is that I hope the skilled breeders of trial dogs in North America don't pass over a farm dog just because it's a farm dog.

A good dog is a good dog; whether or not it ever steps onto a trial field. Breeders are unlikely to breed to a dog that no one except the owner has seen work, unless the owner's opinion is a well-respected. Farm dogs are likely to be overlooked by breeders, simply because the dog is not likely to be seen at work by these breeders. If you know of a good farm dog you think should be bred, the best way for it to not be overlooked is for that farm dog's work to be seen by breeders.

 

The first sire we bred to was not selected by the dog's trial work but by the work we observed at home.

 

 

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Dear Doggers,

 

Ms. Liz writes:" I am in the process of learning how to spot a good dog . . ."

 

Me too. I'm better at it than I was twenty five years ago but can't really point to hard and fast rules. I wouldn't buy a dog that didn't like to shed or had a defective outrun. I wouldn't buy a browneyed blue eyed dog because I once had one go deaf. Rational? No. I wouldn't buy an extremely soft dog because imploring a dog is harder for me than correcting it. On the other hand, I would buy a dog that didn't like to walk into sheep faces because I've cured that problem. I'd prefer an intelligent dog but several of the best dogs I've had were blockheads.

 

Many are better at evaluating dogs than I am - anyone who has bought dozens of dogs for resale is likely to be a better evaluator and some - Stormy Winters and Bud Beaudreu to name two - are especially gifted.

 

When I look at a dog, I am indifferent to pedigree and trial record. I suppose I have a blurry composite of all my best dogs, the gooduns that got away and I'm trying to fit the new dog in that picture. At some point my heart speaks.

 

T'ain't easy. There's no EPA sticker.

 

Donald McCaig

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Well said, Donald. I think that a good dog is in the eye of the beholder, based on that beholder's wants, needs, likes, and dislikes. What I look for in a good dog is not necessarily the exact same Donald looks for or the farmer down the road looks for. But as Mark said, if no one ever sees the dog, who can say it's a good one? I think this is especially an issue in the eastern part of this country where the farms can be quite small and the work the dog needs to do is rather limited. This is one instance where trialing can help. If a dog can go from east to west (or vice versa) and handle itself well, even if it doesn't win or even land in the top 10, I would be willing to accept that it's a good dog. That's not the same thing as breeding only to trial winners.

 

I expect that the truly skilled breeders--the long time dog- and sheepmen/women--are perfectly capable of assessing a dog on a farm, and I'd be willing to bet that these folks do breed such dogs. Really in my experience, the folks who flock to the big name dogs are the folks who haven't yet learned what they want or like in a dog so they choose the easiest route, which is to buy from proven dogs (and since trialing is the easiest way to prove, that's how they make their choices).

 

But speaking for myself, I choose dogs based on what I know I like and who breeds those types of dogs. Trial record is pretty much secondary. And I haven't really gone wrong with this approach, at least from my own personal perspective.

 

J.

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