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Evaluating a shelter dog for sports potential?

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I tried to copy that link and couldn't get it to post, CSW. I'm smitten with Torque, he looks like a great dog!

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Frogs & Dogs, I was wondering if you've looked at the Adoptable Sport and Working Dogs page? There's an awesome young female, Molly, who has been posted for a while. Looks like a super nice dog, from ABCA registered parents. Looks nice on stock, but also likes toys, frisbee, tugging and water. There are lots of pics and video on her thread. I thought she was located in WI, but recent comments say she is in southern CA now. Check her out, she looks like a gem!

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Yes, PSmitty, I'm open to shelter dogs as well as those in rescue. I'm also 100% open to mixes. It will still be over a month before I start a search in earnest, but here are a couple of dogs I've got eyes on:

 

http://www.bordercolliesinneed.org/border_collie_rescue_and_adoptions/cate.html

She sounds pretty awesome.

 

https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/35377662

I'm not convinced about physical structure - chest looks quite narrow.

 

https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/35452479

Interesting story.

 

I've been watching the Adoptable Sport and Working Dogs page on FB, but haven't seen Molly. If she's still available, can you post a link please?

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https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/35377662

I'm not convinced about physical structure - chest looks quite narrow.

 

May I ask what your concern about a narrow chest is?

 

ACK people used to tell me my first border collie's chest was too narrow. Too narrow for what? He became a working sheepdog and could work for hours. His supposedly narrow chest was perfectly capable of holding lungs that held up to hours of work. His rear angulation was also supposedly too straight for him to be able to do the work he did.

 

Many border collies have chests that conformation folks consider too narrow or angulation insufficient to be suited for the work they do. I see them performing quite well on trial fields all the time. :P

 

Given the sighthound influence my lurcher's chest is even narrower. She's got speed from both sides and endurance from the border collie or whatever other herding breed side and her narrow chest wouldn't keep her from excelling in whatever sport she was put to. (Her temperament would, but that's a different issue. LOL)

 

Besides, the dog in question is only a year old. He's probably not done filling out. But if I were looking at at him as a sport potential I wouldn't be concerned about a narrow chest. Evaluate the dog, not the appearance of the dog.

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ACK people used to tell me my first border collie's chest was too narrow.

Many border collies have chests that conformation folks consider too narrow or angulation insufficient to be suited for the work they do.

 

Oh believe me, I'm not one of THOSE people. In my 7 years of dog ownership, I never gave a single cent to AKC, and have no plans to do so in the future. I think the conformation ring is slowly ruining breed after breed, and as a biologist, I worry about the long-term effects of inbreeding.

 

That said, a narrow chest seems like a bad thing for a sports dog. Think of a dog leaping for a frisbee and then landing. Distributing weight across a larger area is going to help prevent injury. In agility, the A-frame is notoriously hard on dogs with weak front ends. Lastly, I've read that a narrow chest can increase risk of bloat. Happy for others to chime in here with more specifics...

 

Here's a pic of Kit on a contact. Note the chest width.

IMG_3799_zps2nnma435.jpg

 

And another.

Canon3377.jpg

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Bloat risk increases with the depth of the chest, not the width IIRC. Also, the chest doesn't fully fill out until closer to 2 y/o. My young dog turned 2 the end of March and his cheat is finally filling out a bit.

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I was at a disc dog competition over the weekend and the only truly wide chested dogs were the bulkier bully types. Several BC/BC mixes, whippets, etc that I wouldn't exactly call wide in the chest.

 

My own still looks narrow to medium chested. And he has nice stamina

post-4525-0-77051000-1467894105_thumb.jpg

post-4525-0-11699600-1467894133_thumb.jpg

post-4525-0-79255700-1467894184_thumb.jpg

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Yes, PSmitty, I'm open to shelter dogs as well as those in rescue. I'm also 100% open to mixes. It will still be over a month before I start a search in earnest, but here are a couple of dogs I've got eyes on:

 

http://www.bordercolliesinneed.org/border_collie_rescue_and_adoptions/cate.html

She sounds pretty awesome.

 

https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/35377662

I'm not convinced about physical structure - chest looks quite narrow.

 

https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/35452479

Interesting story.

 

I've been watching the Adoptable Sport and Working Dogs page on FB, but haven't seen Molly. If she's still available, can you post a link please?

 

OMG, I am smitten with Cate! :wub: :wub: Go get her NOW! lol

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I was at a disc dog competition over the weekend and the only truly wide chested dogs were the bulkier bully types. Several BC/BC mixes, whippets, etc that I wouldn't exactly call wide in the chest.

 

 

Oh yes, a very wide chest is probably just as bad (if not worse) than a very narrow one. I ordered Helen King's book "What's your angle" last night. I'm eagerly waiting its arrival so I can learn more.

 

Thanks, PSmitty. I saw Maggie on one of the many FB pages I've recently liked. She sounds cool. Doesn't Cate look amazing? She'll probably be gone by the time I'm ready, but *swoon*!

 

TxMom, Maissi sounds awesome! I love it when rescues take the time to type out everything they know. You just get a much better picture of what you're getting into.

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TxMom, Maissi sounds awesome! I love it when rescues take the time to type out everything they know. You just get a much better picture of what you're getting into.

 

And you have more time (within reason), depending on the shelter. The clock is ticking at many shelters, so the staff want to move them rather than euthanize. Our county shelter has many bully breed mixes. So, when I saw a Border Collie mix on the shelter web site a few months ago and went to see her, she already had an application on her. The next one I saw on the web site was reclaimed. I just missed an Aussie mix, even though I started dropping by from time to time. Right now there is a stray that was picked up in Baltimore County, MD that looks like a Border Collie or mix. Not sure when his stray hold is up, or if he will be reclaimed.

 

https://www.facebook.com/1743662442520048/photos/pb.1743662442520048.-2207520000.1467980647./1815698381983120/?type=3&theater

 

ETA: This is not to suggest a Border Collie mix wouldn't languish in a shelter and eventually be euthanized. Timing is everything.

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Maissi's looks a lot like my Wink and Mara's Kolt. I wonder if she's really a mix. If I were in the market for another dog . . . :wub:

She's almost a dead ringer for Kolt's mom...

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She does remind me of Wink and Kolt! I haven't met her in person, but she's being fostered not far from me. I don't know if she's actually a mix or if they just say that because they don't know for sure. They do adopt out of state if anyone wants a sports dog... B) Actually, this particular foster tends to get the high-energy dogs with sports potential and he takes them with him to the activities he does with his own dog, so although he can't guarantee anything he gets a pretty good idea of potential.

 

Frogs & Dogs, I know you'd have to work out transport and you might have better luck finding something closer, but if you're interested you could definitely start talking to ABCR about either Maissi or whoever this foster gets next. Might be a good way of getting at least a semi-known quantity.

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In public shelters, "desirable" types (eg not bully and hound mixes; purebreds) tend to be snatched up really quickly before they hit the adoption area by rescues--and in this area, by the prison based training programs. In this area, at least some of these "desirable" dogs are taken out of this geographic location (by whom, I don't know--these dogs disappear from the shelter web site and never reappear at the local rescues). To get one of these really "desirable" dogs, it really helps to be a shelter volunteer or associated with a rescue.

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I think a lot of rescues and definitely shelters ID dogs of unknown parentage as mixes even if they're probably PB. If they can't be certain it covers their butts if anyone would ever claim misrepresentation down the line, and is probably reasonable anyway if they can't be 100% certain.

 

Bodhi was listed as a border collie mix by the rescue, just because his parentage was unknown, even though the rescue was pretty sure he was a PB. I'm also pretty darned certain he's a PB as well.

 

Of course the shelter listed him as an Aussie mix, which after having lived with him for 9 years I can definitely say he's not. But then they also IDed him as female, which he very definitely is not. Wasn't even neutered at the time. Well meaning folks, I'm sure, but clearly not the brightest bulbs in the box. :rolleyes: (Sorry for the tangent.)

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Massi is beautiful and I think she could be all BC, too. ABCR told me they thought Slider was all BC, but couldn't make any guarantees. For what it's worth, I'm convinced he's nothing but BC. I guess that doesn't matter, since you're open to mixes. And like Txmom said, they do adopt out of state, just sayin'...

But Cate... seriously!

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In public shelters, "desirable" types (eg not bully and hound mixes; purebreds) tend to be snatched up really quickly before they hit the adoption area by rescues--and in this area

Depends on where you are. Kit was in a public shelter. Even got returned there after a failed adoption. She was STILL there a week after I first met her (it took me that long to get up the nerve to say "yes"). Around here (southern CA), there seem to be plenty of large dogs including herding mixes languishing in shelters for weeks/months at a time. And if I need to go North to Oregon (land of border collies), I have a whole network of agility people there who would be delighted to help.

 

To get one of these really "desirable" dogs, it really helps to be a shelter volunteer or associated with a rescue.

I'm looking for a needle in a haystack. The chances that I'm going to find it in the shelter/rescue I choose to volunteer at are slim to none. I'd rather expand my search geographically to increase my chances. Besides, I DID fill out an application to foster at the local shelter. Any breed, any size, I don't care. It's been 8 weeks and I've fostered exactly zero dogs. So...

 

Frogs & Dogs, I know you'd have to work out transport and you might have better luck finding something closer, but if you're interested you could definitely start talking to ABCR about either Maissi or whoever this foster gets next. Might be a good way of getting at least a semi-known quantity.

I'm trying to hold off on contacting anyone until mid-August when I'll be ready. I don't want anyone to hold a dog that could otherwise start a life in a forever home. It's definitely hard, though! Thanks for posting - if you want to keep me in the loop as this foster gets dogs in the coming months, I'd appreciate that.

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I'm trying to hold off on contacting anyone until mid-August when I'll be ready. I don't want anyone to hold a dog that could otherwise start a life in a forever home.

 

Mid-August is only about 5 weeks away. Shelters are often quicker, but with most rescues, an adoption takes a little time. They'll have to review your application (unless you're already pre-approved with them), and most will want to have a conversation with you, check your references and do a home visit, not necessarily in that order. All this could easily take a couple weeks to accomplish, and many rescues will be willing to hold a dog for 2-3 weeks if they feel they have the right match. It'll depend a lot on the individual foster home and what their intake waiting list is like.

 

Your decision, of course, but just sayin' . . .

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I'll definitely keep an eye out for any other sporting dogs coming through and let you know what I see. But like GentleLake said, the process does take some time. If you're interested, you might contact them and just be up front about your timeline. If nothing else, you could get pre-approved in case the next one along is right for you. But honestly, they're looking for a specific type of home for a dog like Maissi and while those aren't completely uncommon they're also not a dime a dozen. It might take them a little while to find the home she needs, and a month and a half isn't that long. Also, they don't do first-come-first-served; they'll send her to the home that seems best for her -- so the only reason she would wait for you over another adopter would be if they felt you were the best home for her. And in the meantime, she's in a terrific foster home and definitely not languishing. Not to pressure you or anything -- I admire your restraint in waiting to contact anyone. I had the hardest time waiting when I knew I was almost ready. :)

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The reason I'm holding off is that I have at least one trip coming up in the near future. I absolutely hate being dogless, but it turns out that one small advantage is the ability to travel more easily. I'm definitely away thru Aug 12, and found out yesterday that I *might* be out of the country for a month after that. So trying not to get my hopes up about any dogs currently available, because they could be gone. In part, I'm testing the waters now to see how often a dog that I'm truly interested in becomes available. This might dictate how picky I can be when the time comes.

 

But honestly, they're looking for a specific type of home for a dog like Maissi and while those aren't completely uncommon they're also not a dime a dozen.

Yes, I've got this on my side. In fact, this should apply to dogs in shelters, too, because any dog I'd be interested in will be too much for the average owner. And this *should* be immediately obvious to any shelter worker and potential adopter (unless they're just totally oblivious).

 

Here's something else I have on my side: Last time I adopted a dog, I was a first-time owner and totally unproven. I would have had reservations about adopting a dog to me! This time, I have references out the wazoo. You want to talk to my agility instructor? Which one? How about the owner of the dog I currently run? Former landlord? Vet? Or even the shelter worker who adopted Kit to me? No problem - I'm in touch with all of those people and they're all on my side. Each and every one will attest that Kit was a dream dog and that I was as devoted to her as she was to me. I expect that this will be worth a lot.

 

ETA: They're getting harder and harder to resist. https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/35598806

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OK, I agree that a month long trip right after adopting wouldn't be ideal.

 

But if you've identified rescues that are getting the type of dog you're interested in, I'd still start the application process so the initial approval is out of the way. Just LTK your time frame and you just might find a foster home contacting you about a dog they get in who seems like a fit because you've already made a point of getting on their radar.

 

Shelters are more unpredictable, often less selective and depending on how full they are may be wanting to move dogs out as quickly as possible.

 

Best wishes in your search when you're ready.

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