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Looking for breeder in PNW

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I appologize in advance, this may get a bit long.


I am starting to look at breeders now for my next dog. I currently have two dogs, a BC mix and a working line German Shepherd. Both are awesome dogs, but my BC mix is something special. He is pretty much exactly what I wanted in a partner and a pet. He takes to everything that I put in front of him, but unfortunately he has some health issues including severe hip dysplasia as well as a heart defect that limit what he can do, and also limit his lifespan. His temperament and energy level definitely are more towards a Border Collie so that is what I am looking at for my next dog.


My dogs come pretty much everywhere with either me or my fiance. We both have jobs where we are able to bring our dogs. I work as a trainer so my next dog will be a demo dog. I plan on doing competition obedience for sure, along with agility or disc dog. Really whatever the dog enjoys doing. I would love to do herding but currently I haven't found any places that offer that.


What I am looking for in a dog temperament wise is a dog that is stable. Since my dogs come so many places I want to find a dog that has a steady temperament and isn't reactive or fearful. I know a lot of that is socialization, but there is obviously a genetic component to it. I am fine with high energy and drive but I don't want a dog that doesn't have an off switch. At the end of the day I enjoy a dog that can settle down and snuggle.


I am also looking for a breeder that tests hips, elbows, and eyes at a minimum. After what has happened with my current dog I am a bit gun shy in that area so it is important that I set myself up the best I can to get a dog that has sound joints.


I have poked around a bit for breeders with friends who have them, but wanted to see if you guys had any breeders you recommend!


I am in Washington state but am willing to travel to Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Northern California, and Northern Nevada.


Thanks for any help!

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What with your requirements for temperament it sure sounds like you'd be better off getting an adult rescue. No matter how much socialization or "good genetics" there is never any guarantee as to the personality of a dog that you buy as a puppy. It's a scary idea to buy a pup from a breeder with expectations and goals for how it's going to turn out, because they rarely work out like you'd hoped. An adult rescue you'll be able to see their temperament instead of guessing and choose one that actually is what you want.

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Before you proceed, you should read "Read this first" (at the top of the "General" page) which will explain a lot about what the philosophy of this board is and what is considered responsible breeding.


That said, there are lots of excellent breeders in the PNW but as others have mentioned, if you are going to have very definite temperament requirements, you might want to consider a responsible Border Collie rescue. Dogs are fostered and evaluated, and so (unless you go with a pup) you are more likely to know just what you are getting as you look at adopting a young adult or adult dog.


The best way I know of to meet working Border Collie breeders is to go to sheepdog trials (you can find a list at the website for the United States Border Collie Association) and meet people, meet dogs, volunteer, and make connections that can help you find a responsible breeder and get you on the list for a pup. It's not always easy as the best breeders often have waiting lists for litters that haven't even been bred yet. However, while many good breeders may only place pups in working homes (stock working homes), there are other good ones who have no problem placing some pups in active pet homes, but it might take an effort to find someone who will.


One other alternative is that some working dog breeders will occasionally be looking to place a nice youngster that just doesn't seem to be cut out for stock work in spite of being bred for it. You wouldn't be getting a pup but you might be able to get a nice young dog and know its temperament and even be able to have its hips/elbows tested yourself before purchase. Just a thought.


Many breeders of working dogs do not do a lot of testing. Some do, some don't. And remember that a person can breed a pair that both have excellent hips/elbows and still produce a pup (or pups) that do not. You do increase your chances for health when you know what you start with in regards to the parents, just like you do for temperament, stock working ability, etc.


Most of the people I know in the PNW breed only occasionally and their pups are generally spoken for, so I am not in a position to make a recommendation. Good luck in your search!

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Thank you for your suggestions! I will try and get to a trial near me. I did read all the pinned posts I could find. Unfortunately rescue is not a route that I can go as they will not adopt a dog into a house with an intact dog. My goals are just that, goals. If for some reason the dog that I get is not fit for any of the above it won't be a big deal, we will find something they are interested in and are capable of doing. I know that having health tested parents isn't foolproof, but it does give me at least a baseline. I am not looking for a puppy or dog right this second, this will be a ways out. Thanks for your help!

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In addition to what Sue said, I'd like to add that not all rescues refuse to adopt into homes with intact dogs. Some are willing to evaluate each application on a case by case basis. For instance, the rescue I volunteer with will adopt into homes with intact dogs as long as we feel they're being handled responsibly. Because any dog someone gets from us will be neutered (or on a spay/neuter contract if a puppy) there's no danger of the dog being bred.


And some rescues will adopt outside of their own areas. The one I volunteer with will sometimes, though prefers not to. Others are more willing to, though people may have to travel to meet the dog or make and pay for whatever transportation's needed.


The point I'm making is that you may want to cast your rescue net wider than you have so far. You may be surprised.


Good luck.

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I hear of very few people testing for elbow dysplasia in Border Collies. So that might be a bit harder to find. Hip and eye checks are not uncommon though.


Red Top and Orchard Run are two breeders who I'd look into on the west coast. Do look for trials though. Lots of good litters come from people who aren't breeders but rather just have an occasional litter when they want a pup out of a dog who they like. Trials are the best way to find out about those.


Also, if you're open to looking into rescue, there is an "Adoptable Sporting and Working dog" Facebook group. They often have dogs who private individuals have pulled from shelters and are fostering. Since many of them are performance dog people, they often don't have hard and fast rules on dogs that you already own being altered so long as you are responsible with them.

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Patrick Shannahan (Red Top Kennels) in Idaho is well-known and well-respected in the working Border Collie world. He is particular about selling his occasional pups but he will sell to good sport/competition homes. Not sure if he has any litters upcoming but it would be worth getting to know him.


Also, there are lots of sheepdog trials in the PNW. Look on the USBCHA website at http://www.usbcha.com/sheep/upcoming_trials.html for more info. It's the best way to see some great dogs and meet people who may be able to point you in the right direction.


Good luck in your search.



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Here are some links that will help you find events you might want to go to. People in the PNW are quite friendly at sheep dog trials, and you shouldn't have any trouble striking up conversations. If you are open to an older dog as well as a puppy, that would give you more options.


Washington Stockdog Handlers:




Oregon Sheep Dog Society:




British Columbia Stock Dog Association:



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