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US West Coast trials, breeders, and contacts

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I live in the SF Bay Area, and I'm not looking to get my Border Collie for a couple more years (I'm a college student!) but I really want to start making contacts and forming a network. Partially to hear about upcoming litters, but also just because I want to invest in a BC network. I'd love recommendations of any herding classes or instructors in the bay area, or any breeders, trials I should attend, or honestly, anyone I should talk to. The breeder I love only breeds every 5 years or so and her next litter is looking like late 2018, and that is likely too soon for me, so I'm just trying to make contacts for pups and in general, talk to people, and expand my BC knowledge!

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If you go to the USBCHA website, you can get a listing of sanctioned trials with contact information. You'll have to scroll and pick out which trials aRe located close enough to you.


Sorry to not be more helpful but I'm having to answer on my phone.

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Check out the Northern California Working Sheepdog Association (NCWSA) at http://norcalsheepdog.org. There are three trials and one clinic coming up this month! This weekend and next are two trials hosted by Tom and LisAnn Spencer at their wonderful farm near Elk Grove - directions can be found on the entry forms on the website. For a longer expedition but well worth the drive, Geri Byrne is hosting the famous Dry Lake (Little Horse Mountain) trial during the four days over Memorial Day weekend. I'll be there, as will scads of working border collie folk from all over the West.


You'll find lots of friendly people and dogs at these events. No admission is charged. Bring a chair, nourishment, binoculars, shade and appropriate clothing for the weather. Most handlers are more than willing to talk about their dogs (often at great length!) but don't approach them just before or just after their run.


I'm happy to answer any other questions you may have - hope to see you around!


Take care,



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What Amy and Sue said. Visit the Norcal sheepdog site for event schedules and locations, and also keep an eye on the USBCHA trial page:

Summer is usually fairly quiet, trial-wise, but there are a number of trials each spring March - May and again in the fall. Just have to watch the trial schedules. :)

~ Gloria

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  • 2 weeks later...

There are several trials that are worth going to that are close by. In March, there are three trials that often are held on successive weekends, the Sonoma Wine Country Sheepdog Trial in Santa Rosa, the Zamora Hills trial near Sacramento, and the McCormack Ranch trial in Rio Vista. They're all different but each is outstanding in its own way. In the fall, I really like the Hopland trial held at the University of California research station in Hopland, near Ukiah. If you come to any of these, or the ones that Amy suggested, you'll find lots of friendly people to chat with about the dogs.


Also, you might enjoy auditing a clinic. You can find clinics posted on the Norcal site. Another way to make contacts and really learn a lot is to volunteer to scribe for the judge at a trial. Volunteers are always appreciated.


You're very smart to get out there and get involved early. It's the best way to know if a well-bred litter or puppy is available. If you are really interested in doing some trialing, you might also want to consider an older, trained dog.

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