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jami74

Short and stocky.

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Our boy seems to be very short and stocky. I don't think he's overweight, I can feel his ribs and some of his spine knobbles (and he never runs out of energy!). I'm just a bit surprised as everyone else's collies seem to be lean and leggy. The mother was small and narrow with classic black and white colouring. I didn't see his sire but he was apparently a working blue merle (and 3 of his litter mates were blue merle as was his aunt who I saw). He's now seven and a half months and weighed 35lb a couple of weeks ago. He hasn't started cocking his leg yet.

I've never seen him stalk. He'll walk slowly after the cat but doesn't crouch low or creep up on things at all. It's not likely that he'll ever be used to work stock so it doesn't matter although I had hoped one day we might have a go as a hobby. He has seen sheep and horses in a field and completely ignored them. Is the stalking thing something that develops at some point, learnt from other dogs, or just usually in them?

Anyway, we adore him exactly the way he is, he is wonderfully intelligent and we have so much fun together, but I wondered if these things were normal. Might he grow upwards and look leaner and leggier over time or is short and stocky normal too? Might he suddenly start stalking things at some point or has that moment passed? And is it normal at this age to not be cocking his leg yet? He will be neutered at some point but we are not rushing into it.

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A line of BCs that I had were short and stocky, 40-45 pounds. The one I have now is the same height as those ones, but ten pounds lighter, and much lighter boned. 

That same line of BCs didn’t stalk things much at all, until they got introduced to stock. But also, some BCs are just looser eyed and don’t have that intense stare that the breed is known for. Him not being interested in seeing stock can just be that he hasn’t been introduced to him in a way to excite interest and get him to “turn on.”  I’ve seen it several times at stockdog clinics-you put the dog in the pen, and he shows no interest. Once the sheep get moving and get exciting, they will often “turn on” and then they’re good to go after that.

Be grateful, and don’t question why he’s not lifting his leg yet!!! :D 

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Because they've been bred for so long with working in mind rather than appearance, there are many variations in what they look like. I had one once that was very barrel chested, definitely much stockier than what most people expect a border collie to look like.

While the crouch is considered stereotypical for border collies, there are quite a few upright working dogs. They're not always loose eyed dogs (that refers to dogs who don't hone on on the livestock visually); they just don't crouch or crouch nearly as much as the stylish dogs will. It doesn't necessarily mean they're any less effective on livestock.

And, yeah, some dogs turn on to livestock later than others, and some really have to get in the middle of some action before they turn on.

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Thank-you both for your reassurances. All the border collies I see here in real life look very 'classic' and people have actually asked me if he's pure bred. He isn't registered with any authority/organisation so I wasn't really sure how to answer, other than to say that both his parents are border collies. 

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Shoshone was almost a perfect cube. She was just barely a little longer than tall, and very little tuck to her belly. Square-ish head, too. She did have classic bc markings, but almost brick-red with white, and ice blue eyes. She was a stunner visually. No way of knowing her genetics ~ she was, ahem, liberated from a dreadful situation and brought to rescue. Her nickname was Squirrely Girly. Incredibly intelligent, and incredibly quirky.

Ruth & Gibbs

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My pup is coming up to 7 months and also has never stalked anything. He will do that freeze, stare and then pounce up in the air on his toys but that looks a lot like when you see foxes hunting in snow on TV. He is leggy and tall but also small and skinny if that makes sense. He has been cocking his leg for several weeks now.

I guess it takes all kinds and each dog can develop at different rates. I wouldn't worry at the moment and just enjoy.

We have had a bit of a difficult weekend though. On Saturday at the trail park I let him off lead and he ran around as happy as could be and came back to me every time I called....UNTIL... another dog appeared with its owner and no matter what I did he would not come to me. the other owner eventually got hold of him and I put him back on the lead. I know its is all my fault and have to work harder on recall but so frustrating. Saturday evening he counter surfed and smashed a bowl of grated cheese and last night pulled a steak off the counter. A great deal of work to do for me. Oh the joys!!!!!!!

Brian

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Our 6 month old is all legs and skinny, Jami74 your dog looks a lot older in the face and body by comparison. Our Harry does stalk and can wait an age for a ball to be thrown.  Like you we are not rushing into neuturing him although the vet says best time is 6 months, he is not cocking his leg yet.

Brian, this is exactly what our dog has done when we have let him off lead around other dogs, he really loves meeting other dogs especially when they like him and would not come back to us when called. I know this is normal behaviour and will only get better with time. When there are no other dogs around he is quite happy to stay with me and will keep looking at me. We have lost a plate of bread and butter, partly my fault I know temptation is just too much for him. He is getting so big that I now cannot leave anything on the kitchen counter as he can reach everything now. Getting this through to my adult sons is another matter!!

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6 hours ago, Mandy1961 said:

...we are not rushing into neuturing him although the vet says best time is 6 months, he is not cocking his leg yet.

You might want to do some research to make your own decisions about an appropriate age for neutering, or even which type of neutering (i.e. castration vs. vascectomy) is better.

I've posted on the subject before on the Boards and there's plenty of information online with some newer studies to add to the mix.

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13 hours ago, brihop said:

We have had a bit of a difficult weekend though. On Saturday at the trail park I let him off lead and he ran around as happy as could be and came back to me every time I called....UNTIL... another dog appeared with its owner and no matter what I did he would not come to me. the other owner eventually got hold of him and I put him back on the lead. I know its is all my fault and have to work harder on recall but so frustrating. Saturday evening he counter surfed and smashed a bowl of grated cheese and last night pulled a steak off the counter. A great deal of work to do for me. Oh the joys!!!!!!!

We've had that embarrassing experience of another dog owner having to catch our puppy and return him to us. Our boy used to be all about other dogs, but now he's becoming more about us and has got very good at either having a quick sniff and moving on or if a playful dog, a quick play and then coming with us when it's time.

Is there any way you can not leave food on the counter? I can't think how to discourage a young dog from trying to pinch a steak if he thought no-one was looking, there can't be many rewards greater than a raw meat.

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