Jump to content
BC Boards

BC breeders in CA, USA

Recommended Posts

Hi All,


I was looking to add a puppy to my family sometime early next year. After an year of reading tonnes of material and browsing documentaries, I have gravitated towards Border Collies.


I was trying to find a puppy in California. I live in south CA (San Diego). I found there are a bunch of breeders north of Los Angeles. Quite a bit of drive, but manageable.


Here is the list.



After talking to few looks like most of the breeders here do guarantee the health of the puppy. Some would guarantee the drive and performance as well. Usually they register both with ABCA and AKC. All of them have herding pics of Sire and Dam on their websites.


Before making a deposit, I will personally inspect the farm (Sometime this september).


I read through the forum's instructions to look for red flags. Except registering with AKC (which seems a very common practice), I could find none. Would you guys please help me understand what to look for when I visit the farms in person.


Also, one of the breeder happens to tell me that there might be (Health, behavior, heat toleration) issues with red BCs.

Like one here.



From your experiences is there any truth to this assertion? Seems very vague to me.


Lastly, if any of you knows a reputable breeder, who I should also check out, please let me know.


Thank you for reading.






Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 70
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic



First off, have you read the "Read this first"? If you haven't, you will find that the philosophy of this board and almost everyone on it is to avoid anything to do with the AKC, dual-registration, and the breeding of Border Collies for anything but working ability (which includes intelligence, biddability, health, soundness, athleticism, and the entire suite of characteristics that define the working dog) even if you are seeking a dog for an active pet, performance sports, and not for stock work.


The list you referred to are AKC breeders. Even those in that list who may dual-register are not really producing pups with working ability in mind but are catering to the show, performance, and pet market, not the serious working dog market. I don't have time to go into why that is important but I am sure others will chime in with eloquent reasons. If you review recent (and not so recent) topics about this, you should clearly understand why this is important.


Health issues with red dogs? Not that I am aware of. There are concerns about issues with merles, perhaps (not saying there are) and certainly with double-merles (hearing, vision, other issues). In general, the working-bred Border Collie is one of the healthiest breeds, not bred for appearance (and therefore often for extremes), needing to be sound in mind and body, and with a pretty varied gene pool (which is a healthy thing overall).


Others here will be able to steer you in the direction of good breeders in SoCal. However, generally good and responsible breeders don't produce a lot of pups, want to place most in working homes, and sell pups generally by word of mouth. It's not easy to find a responsible breeder and get a pup such a person but it is worth it.


Best wishes!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another welcome to the Boards.


You're not going to find any support for the breeders on that list here. There are a number of reasons.


As Sue said, you really should read the introductory material for the Boards. It'll inform you what our philosophy about border collies and breeding is.


These Boards are sponsored by the United States Border Collie Club (USBCC), the original border collie club in the US. It has always staunchly upheld the need to preserve the breed as it was developed and intended to be, a working stock dog.


The Border Collie Society of America (BCSA) was founded many years later when a very few people wanted to show border collies in AKC conformation shows. When the USBCC and the vast majority of border collie owners and breeders politely declined to hand over the stud books (recognition of a breed by the ACK is supposed to be requested and endorsed by the breed club, who then turns over the stud books and subsequent registration of the breed to the ACK [misspelling intentional]), the handful of people interested in ACK recognition formed their own "parent" breed club as an end run around the, again vast, majority of border collie owners. For a full rendition of what followed, read Donald McCaig's Dog Wars. (As an aside, there has not been enough interest in breeding conformation border collies for the ACK to close the stud books, an unprecedented move by the ACK attesting to the lack of interest among most border collie owners in this folly.)


Border collies cannot be bred for anything other than working ability first and foremost and remain border collies. The breed we know and love is what it is because of the careful selection over hundreds of years for working traits that are genetically quite fragile, and if you start breeding for appearance you pretty quickly end up with a dog that kinda sorta looks like a border collie but isn't.


We call the ACK dogs Barbie collies because they're about as close to a real border collie as Barbie dolls are to a real human woman.


Pictures of dogs herding do not guarantee actual ability to herd. Anyone with a digital camera can spend some time with a dog -- almost any kind of dog really -- and some sheep and come up with some pictures that look like they're working. Some conformation bred dogs do retain some instinct, but the ACK herding instinct titles and trials are a joke that my late pointer/retriever mix could have passed.


Registering with ACK is not "common practice", and as red flags go it's the most flaming scarlet flag possible.


Another red flag is lots of candy colored dogs; merles (the more merle colors the worse), blues, lilacs, sables, Australian red (which is what the picture you posted is, aka tan or yellow), etc. etc. These can all show up occasionally in working bred dogs, as all except merle are recessive, but they're really going to be very few and far between in well bred dogs.


I can't speak to issues with the Oz red dogs. They're pretty much limited to the show lines and working folks pretty quickly eliminate dogs with the kinds of "issues" you mention, which would detract from the usefulness of a working dog. It's only conformation folks who would deliberately perpetuate unhealthy dogs for the sake of an unusual color.


Please do make use of the archives here for tons of excellent entries about why it's so important to maintain the integrity of the working border collie.


Good luck in your search.


ETA: You might find this short thread interesting, especially the study linked to in post #11: http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.php?showtopic=35951&hl=%2Bfan+%2Bchart&do=findComment&comment=454601

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Firstly, welcome to the boards! Secondly, thank you posting here. What everyone said is true, and not meant to be an attack in anyway. The vast majority of people don't have a clue about proper border collies. I did a presentation in college about the horrors of the AKC (ACK). Please stay away. Nothing wrong with a puppy but think about rescue a bit as well. We actually almost went with puppy before taking in our latest rescue.


Thirdly if you haven't read the thread a bit lower about how much attention BC's need. That thread should be a sticky here.


And lastly if you do get a pup or an older rescue the boards require lots of pictures :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites



I guess my first question would be: what are your plans for with this pup?


If you're looking for a pet, I HIGHLY recommend one of the California BC rescues. They are amazing!


If you're wanting a working dog, I recommend Suzy at Hoof & Paw Farms or Anna Guthrie. You can find a few smaller breeders sprinkled here and there, but I can't think of them offhand.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should also add, that regardless of what you want to do with your dog, even if you'll never consider herding, it's still very important to consider a working bred dog (unless, of course, you go the rescue route, which I also highly recommend).


Even if your dogs will be "just" a companion, or if it will do sports such as agility or flyball, the breeding is still important because it's what maintains the breed as it is.


There are plenty of ABCA sporter collies, border collies bred from dogs who were working dogs a few generations back but who are now being bred because they've excelled in their particular sport.


On the surface that sounds fine. Working parents in the lines, lots of drive, etc. But the problem is, again, that the very things that define the breed are linked to their innate ability to work livestock.


You'll find lots of comments and even threads here on the Boards about the differences between working and sports bred dogs. In addition to many sporter collies being high strung, like the Barbie collies they're losing their ability on livestock, even if they're registered with the "right" registry.


True working bred dogs, though, can excel in anything. They retain the brains, biddability and temperament -- the whole package -- that brought everyone wanting to do all these other things with their dogs to border collies in the first place. There really no reason on earth to look anywhere else for the best border collies on the planet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello All,


I appreciate the time all of you taken to detail your thoughts. Very comprehensive, very enlightening. Firstly, as most of you might have already interpreted from my post, the puppy will not be working in a farm(I can take her to herding lessons once a week though). This by no means imply that her need for mental and physical stimulation will be neglected. It is very imperative to me that the puppy has a fulfilling life.


Secondly, I have been following this forum for quite a while partly to research the breed. I know how you all feel about the puppies thrown to shelter. I share the agony and helplessness. I have grown playing with strays and have been since last six years very activity help shelters. I have done everything from mopping the floor to nourishing an abandoned disabled dog to health, to raise funds. However, since this will be my first dog in USA, I would want to have a puppy where I am more certain of his health, temperament and drive. Second dog will definitely be a rescue. If he is a positive experience, other dogs will be a rescue henceforth.


Now I see the reason why to keep my distance from AKC. One would imagine why would ABCA award membership to, as you guys like to call them, conformation dogs. Should not they be awarded after careful evaluation of puppy for its ability to work as well as some designated agility, temperament and intelligence test.


The lack of online presence of the "good" breeders disturb me. There might be tonnes of "dedicated" people gravitate towards the breed who end up buying from those breeders who harm the breed. At the end, it will be AKC advertised breed which will prevail just because they are better connected to people.


Special Thanks to Liz P for pointing me to some of the responsible breeders. I would PM them to see if there are any litters planned.


Thank you All.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would have to advise you to avoid all the breeders on that list (AKC). Why don't you try contacting people like Jennifer, Candy or Suzy? Even if they don't have planned pups, they will likely know of some litters in the state.


So, apparently advertising is okay as long as someone sneaks it into a thread indirectly?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Huh? Liz wasn't advertizing her puppies or anyone else's. She simply named several breeders whom many of us believe to be the type of breeder one should get a pup/dog from. If you can't tell the difference between such a recommendation and someone coming on this forum just to try to sell a littler of puppies (e.g., advertize them), then perhaps you could go try to pick a fight elsewhere?



So, apparently advertising is okay as long as someone sneaks it into a thread indirectly?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everyone has done a fantastic job of pointing you in the right direction, so I'm only going to speak to the side question you asked about red dogs. My red dog is much less heat sensitive than my tri, but he does have food intolerance issues, which I don't think are related to color. And he is a very sharp dog, always ready to grip, which is probably more because he was bred to work cattle in an area where cattle are known to be hard, not because of his color, though I have heard people say red BCs are like red headed humans, meaning quick tempered.


Good luck in your search!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gideon's girl, from the picture the OP linked to, I don't think he's talking about what we traditionally think of as red. I think it's the Australian red that's genetically the same as a golden retriever, also known as yellow or sometimes tan.


From the picture, your pup appears to be the red that's also known as liver or chocolate -- brown nose leather, right?

Link to comment
Share on other sites



I am not the expert. I'm a newbie like you with my first BC pup. I read the archives here until I understood the benefits of buying from working lines. Eventually I found a recommendation for the two sites I pasted below. Maybe you can find a site like this in your area? One of these sites had puppies back when I was looking. Without knowing anything about the breeder from her two sentence classified ad at one of these links, I jumped. There was NO breeder web site. The phone interview told me what I needed to know, which is the opposite of what we expect in this web society that we live in. I wanted to know all about the breeder before making contact, but I couldn't in this case. I ended up with an amazing pup from working lines and I'm so glad I took this risk.


My home is not a herding home - we hope to go on family adventures and train a happy new family member. My pup has been in my home for 4 weeks and I'm in love. He is well balanced, sweet, wants to please (most of the time), wants to be with me (most of the time), full of energy, a trouble maker (like any pup), learns at lighting speed, and he is very cute. He is great! I am learning some things specific to border collies and most of that has been positive so far. The key is to wear them out in ways that you approve of (walks, training, and adventures) or he will engage you forcefully and find his own non-approved ways to entertain himself.


I too was daunted by the fact that most good breeders are not on the web. My pup came from a herding home who only bred a single liter because the breeder wanted a pup of her own. I'm not sure what advice to give you to help you find a great pup like that. A one-time breeder like this will not have a web site. The only tip I can pass on is that I've learned that the herding community is a community and maybe you can try to ask for tips (upcoming puppies) directly from the few herding-related names you can find. I was too intimated to go this route, but with hindsight maybe I should have.


I can't tell you what the experience would be like buying from a non-herding breeder. I can only tell you that my home is a non-herding family home, and in my experience I'm glad that I held out for a breeder who focused on the qualities that make a dog a good herder and who cares about doing what is best for the breed. My experience so far has been great!




Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is an 8 week old bitch pup for sale on the OSDS website, just posted on 8/7. Impeccable working lines from a breeding by very well-known trialers without websites. Although the pup is in Oregon, there is LOTS of traffic along I-5 right now, with SoCal handlers heading for two major trials in Washington - Lacamas this coming weekend and Vashon Island the next. It is very common amongst the trialing community to arrange transport in this type of situation, generally just for the price of a tank or two of gasoline. Small pups are the easiest, since they don't take up much room, they can't escape from you, and they're are stinkin' cute!


You may also want to keep an eye on the Northern California Working Sheepdog Association's website at http://norcalsheepdog.org. Also, check the Upcoming Trials section of the US Border Collie Handlers' Association at http://usbcha.org to keep abreast of trials that you may be able to attend, see and meet the dogs and handlers, and make connections that way.


Good luck in your search - a well-bred pup from working lines is worth the wait and hassle.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello All,




I tried contacting the names you gave me. Seems that none of them will have a litter at the time, I would be looking for.



Even if I want to, I do not know where to seek such people. If any of members here know, how to find a good breeder, it will be of a great help. I did read on this forum to go to sheepdog trails and talk to people. Perhaps I should try that out. But they are so few and so far away, that it might not be always possible. Other thing I can try out is going to the farms who give out herding lessons, maybe I will find someone there.


Anyone, living around Socal know people who should know some responsible breeders.


In the worst case, probably I will have to settle for AKC+ABCA registered puppy.


Once again, I appreciate you all trying to help me through.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't 'settle'. You only encourage the ACK breeders by buying their overpriced, Barbie Collies. Keep looking. There are three good sheepdog trials in CA coming up. Plan a little road trip and go meet some folks. Call Francis about the female pup in Bend, OR - if only just to visit with him and talk about what working breeders think about when they decide to breed.


10/24-28 - Pt Pleasant in Elk Grove

11/1-2 - Porterville Fall Driving Trial, Porterville

12/27-29 - Snowbirds on the Border, Campo




Good luck,



Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is hard when you want a pup to wait for a good breeding, but in the end, I think you will be glad you did - instead of 'settling'. There are many people on these boards who have waited 3 months, 6 months, a year or more to get the pup they want. I believe my wait was about 8 months.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I waited 2 years to get my first border collie. The anticipated first breeding didn't take place and was postponed for the following year. It was well worth the wait; Mirk was everything I'd hoped he would be.


I waited for some of my other dogs, too, though I couldn't tell you any more how long.


Our instant gratification society isn't conducive to finding a great dog. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I had decided on a shelter dog with Lyka it took me 3 months of waiting before a puppy I liked showed up. I was tempted to just settle for a different breed and the anticipation was torture, but it was so much more gratifying when I finally found her. I got lucky with Lily and only had to wait a week, but I don't expect that to happen again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...