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So, as we all know, the AKC has a breed "standard" for what dogs are supposed to look like. My question is, why does the AKC BC standard look NOTHING LIKE an actual border collie?? I saw a breeder's family of dogs in person the other day, and the guys were all short and barrel chested, and the girls were tiny! More lap than working dog! Aside from their markings, they didn't even look like collies.

 

I get that the whole point of the AKC is to have this "ideal" appearance, but why make that standard so far removed from what border collies actually look like? Did they want a LESS graceful and athletic looking dog? More petite face and snout because they looked TOO intelligent before? The overall aesthetic seems to be toning down and cutesying them up until they're the kind of dog Scarlet O'Hara's daughter would bring along on an afternoon stroll.

 

I have so much more to say, but I thought I'd give others a chance to weigh in :-)

 

Kendra

 

EDIT: I should have put this in the politics thread. I'm the worst.

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This post makes me uncomfortable. You seem to have a really skewed perspective of what this board is about (hint: it doesn't have to do with bashing things just for the hell of it).

Barbie collies look different because of years of breeding for what people thought looked good instead of breeding for work. I can't comment on why people like the look of a conformation border collie. I personally don't think they look as nice as a lean long working dog either, but I would have nothing against the look of the conformation collie if it wasn't pretending to be a border collie. They still look nice, in their pretty sort of way. It's the same way I don't like the look of pugs or shih-tzus or cocker spaniels but I can understand people liking that look. It's just a matter of preference.

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There's a post called "Demise of the AKC" so, no, I wouldn't call my view on the board all that skewed. And while I did write this in a humerous, snarky way, my question is completely serious: Does anyone know the reason for the AKC breed standard to look so different from the traditional BC appearance?

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Many people don't want intelligent, athletic dogs that might need a fair amount of dog savvy to handle. What they do want is an undemanding dog that looks pretty or unusual, even bizarre, to attract attention and admiration. That's what the conformation world gives them.

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and many working dogs are not conventionally attractive to the general public. We see below the skin but society nowadays encourages the superficial.

 

Personally I can't think of any breed where I think the look of the show version is an improvement on the working type, but then I have an instinctive distaste because of what has been lost in the process.

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Thanks mum24dog. I was wondering if it was something like with a dachshund, where they look a certain way for a purpose, but I haven't seen any pre-AKC dachshunds so they may well have changed their appearance too. Or like with Mals, where the ones still bred to work look pretty much the same as the AKC Mals.

 

And of course I ask here; you guys are the collie experts! :D:D

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Kendra,

If you actually read the standard (unless it has been significantly changed recently), it's quite broad and allows all sorts of looks. So Smalahundur is correct: the people who dictate the actual look you see in the show ring are the judges. If a particular look is favored by one or more judges, then human nature being what it is, people will start creating dogs that look just like the dog who wins. And voila, you end up with the cookie cutter dogs we see in the show ring.

 

And the peer pressure goes both ways. I'm betting if you had a judge who put up dogs who were athletic working dogs without the tipped ears (created artificially, natch) and big coats, there would be an uproar and that judge would never be invited to judge anywhere again. (After all, the competitors invest quite a bit of time and money in their dogs, and unhappy competitors mean sparsely attended shows, which in turns means no income for the hosting organization--vicious circle and all that). When the breed was recognized by AKC, there was already a population of show dogs in Australia, and many folks imported those bloodlines so they'd have a head start and having the perfect show dog. So the look that was considered de rigeur in Australia essentially automatically became the accepted look here.

 

And that's it in a nutshell. I just find it cringeworthy that an organization that purports to be choosing the best breeding stock routinely creates (through the judging process) dogs who exhibit traits that either cannot be recreated through breeding alone (those fake tipped ears, for example) or that are actually detrimental to the breed as a whole (consider the English bulldog or German shepherd). But human nature is what it is, and unless competitors and judges alike push for something different, it will always be this way.

 

Recently a friend posted a picture on Facebook of a perfectly groomed little dog, Yorkie or Silky terrier, not sure which. The dog was sitting on a chair, and its long flowing coat hung over the chair. If that dog were standing on the ground, that coat would surely be dragging a good 4-6 inches. Someone commented about that, and my friend (a groomer) said that the dog would wear wraps in everyday life so that the extremely long hair wouldn't interfere with her doggie activities. And of course that begs the questions: Why create dogs that have traits that are completely impractical at best and perhaps life (or quality of life) threatening at worst? And yet this is what the show system creates and perpetuates. And this cause-effect and extremism is not just confined to dogs, but extends through all species where humans involve them in conformation showing.

 

J.

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Does anyone know the reason for the AKC breed standard to look so different from the traditional BC appearance?

Yes :). What Julie wrote. The standard is such actually that any border collie kidnapped during the national finals and thrown into the show ring should do very well indeed, if shows were judged according to the standard.

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Another example to add to Julie's . . . unless the standard for Cocker Spaniels has been recently rewritten (I doubt it), dog are not to have an "overabundance of coat." When was the last time you saw a show Cocker whose coat wasn't dragging in the floor? It's more about what's currently fashionable than what's actually written in the standard. I sincerely doubt the standard for the GSD calls for the crippling extreme of the show dogs' present prevailing form. :blink:

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The standard is not what creates that look, it's the breeders that create that look who have decided amongst themselves that that is what a border collie should look like. Most all working border collies would fit in that standard that is written even thought the breeders of them never reference it..

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Assuming 'mal' = malinois (I know nothing about malamutes) there is some distinction in looks between show and working types in that breed too. It's not as pronounced as in border collies but it is there. Maybe it will be more pronounced in the future. Show dachshunds are also shorter in the leg and generally more exaggerated than working dachshunds.

 

As someone who has shown a bit (toy breed) in the past and erm... lost interest to put it mildly.... what you describe is pretty common across breeds. More coat + softer features + more exaggeration. There is a lot of emphasis on 'breed type' across the board. A lot of breeds end up with that more soft/puppyish face compared to a working dog/generic dog.

 

If you actually read most breed standards they are not describing the exaggeration you see in the ring. The ring drives what wins and people breed towards what wins. If some trait is good then more of that trait is better. Even the toy breeds where you don't have a working type to compare to the show type generally still trends towards fashion and refinement of 'breed type'. What we have now is usually quite a bit changed from the past versions of the breed.

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The more popular the breed the quicker/greater the show exaggerations. And not just dogs. I have a 4H'er who wants to breed some Suffolk show ewes to my English Suffolk ram. I told them I'd never seen a sheep with a 'tuck up' before! What is done to show animals is just senseless. Once ruined it is near impossible to correct and few want/or are willing to fix the problems that breeding to s looks only standard produces.

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Why create dogs that have traits that are completely impractical at best and perhaps life (or quality of life) threatening at worst? And yet this is what the show system creates and perpetuates. And this cause-effect and extremism is not just confined to dogs, but extends through all species where humans involve them in conformation showing.

 

J.

Could not agree with this more.

 

Interestingly, however, I was at a dog show last weekend (I go to help and support my girlfriend, who breeds and shows basenjis) and noticed the border collies showing in a ring across the room. There were only a few of them, but I was very surprised that not a single one of them was short, heavy-bodied, full-coated, blunt muzzled, or tip-eared. They all looked like what I would call a border collie. Note I say "looked"....most likely none of them could work. But I found it interesting that they did not look like the show "border collies" that I have seen previously. Had I seen any of them outside that venue I would not have thought of them as Barbie collies.

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Had I seen any of them outside that venue I would not have thought of them as Barbie collies.

 

Often there is a nice athletic dog hidden under the prefect grooming, where each hair is in the right place to give the square look and shorten the legs optically. I could name a few working dogs in Europe that could easily win in the show ring. And the are judges and there are judges.

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Maja, I hope things are better in Europe, but here, few of the show bred dogs have any real athletic ability. The gait is exaggerated with straight shoulders so they keep their head up and overly/improper angulation in the rear giving them inefficient gait. This has been common and increasingly so since the AKC first took interest in the breed. Few have good working ability and those which do often lack a body with which to do serious stock work and most with decent ability are crossed (sire/dam) with working dogs and don't do well in the breed ring.

I watched some of the conformation showing at the first BCSA national (the AKC show) and chuckled at how naïve those who thought the breed could remain a working breed and show in conformation really were. They complained about the professional handlers winning-and yes the HANDLERS were winning, not necessarily the better moving dogs. I saw much better quality overall dogs being ignored because they might have a little more white or other 'fault' that has no bearing on working ability. And it has gotten worse over the years to the extent that few working bred dogs could compete with the show bred dogs today. First, a dog which is working would not have the coat extreme that it takes to 'win' in the ring. A dog which has the agile-ness and movement to work tirelessly all day long would look odd compared to the head up high stepping dogs in the ring.

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...a dog which is working would not have the coat extreme that it takes to 'win' in the ring. A dog which has the agile-ness and movement to work tirelessly all day long would look odd compared to the head up high stepping dogs in the ring.

 

Kinda sounds like they're turning them into over sized Shelties. :rolleyes:

 

Honestly, since there's nothing we can do to stop them showing and ruining them, I'm not so sure I'm unhappy that they're looking less and less like real border collies. The further their appearance gets from the real thing, the less likely they are to be confused as the same breed.

 

Now if we could just get them to change the name. Or, as I now do, we refer to ours as "working border collies", preferably lower case. ;)

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Honestly, since there's nothing we can do to stop them showing and ruining them, I'm not so sure I'm unhappy that they're looking less and less like real border collies. The further their appearance gets from the real thing, the less likely they are to be confused as the same breed.

I am of the same mind.

 

Actually, I think they are turning them into Aussies, and Aussies are trending towards Goldens. Regardless, both 'breeds' seem to be getting more coat, more bone, shorter legs, and heavier in ACK hands.

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The AKC ruins dogs. We all know that. But with Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Chihuahuas, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and several other breeds, there seems to be this trend to a hydrocephalic-looking skull, large, round eyes. thick limbs and a thick, plushy coat.

 

All these traits add up to a Teddy-bear type dog that people relate to as "cute" as in, like a human baby in a wooly jammy, or a stuffed animal. It's pathetic, and in pursuit of these juvenile features, the dogs seem to acquire high rates of cancer and joint disorders and low rates of intelligence, not to mention instinct deficits and a bad case of the "doofus personality."

 

You couldn't give me one on a plate with watercress 'round it. I say let 'em take the Barbie Collies to hell with them, and as far as I'm concerned they can keep the name Border Collie. The only reason we use that name is because the Kennel Club set absquatulated with the name collie, and bred their collies into the pencil-headed show dogs they have today. So then the stewards of the working collie, with a brain and a heart and a work ethic, tacked the word Border onto collie so they wouldn't be associated with the "fancy."

 

What stock-working folks had, and still have, is a collie, with a lower-case "c." The most talented and finely-tuned stockdog on the planet. I feel privileged to share a life with two of them, and wouldn't give house-room to anything else.

 

Rant over. Sorry... :ph34r:

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My grandfather actually had a Scotch Collie when I was a kid- which is basically what Lassie used to be. Pre-AKC Also pretty danged hard to find, now. Farm Collies are close, too, and also hard to lay hands on.

 

Great dogs, though.

 

Scotch Collie:

munsonsdiego.jpg

 

Farm Collie:

PruRightByLynne.jpg

 

I'd take either one of those dogs.

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^^^ I would take either one of those dogs. To my eyes they are the perfect "Lassie".

 

My grandpa's dog was fantastic and the tiny few I've met have been pretty amazing, too.

 

I also really like English Shepherds, though they're bigger than I'd want (we have a few running agility around our area).

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