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Working bred border collies only, except...

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My apologies for the length of this post. These thoughts have been swirling for a while and I'm trying to process them. While my thoughts are specific to my situation, I am more interested in people's thoughts generally.

I would like to start by saying that I believe and adhere to the principles of this board in regard to working border collies. While I don't have a farm or work my dogs, I think that of course the breed will change for worse if dogs are not bred for working ability. My two dogs thus far have been unwanted dogs that we adopted. And I preach working dogs only and rescue (my preference so far because my needs are basic) to whomever will listen.

My current situation has got me thinking though. What to do in situations where there are not many working border collies but you really want one? We decided in the Fall that this was the summer to add a pup. Our current border collie is 12 and our youngest child is 6. I had contacted several rescues south of the border (we live in Vancouver, Canada) and it seemed like it would be a done deal. Then came the pandemic. Initially I thought I could just be patient and wait a while but it looks like the border could be closed for a very long time.

So I started searching for working bred dogs in British Columbia. There is only one listed with the Canadian border collie association and they do not place dogs in urban settings. So I moved along to Alberta (the next province over). There were several breeders listed and some of them also don't place dogs in pet homes. Many weren't planning litters any time soon or already had full waitlists. Plus now we're talking several days drive away (we drove 12 hours to Idaho to pick up Orbit but that was before we had 3 kids). In general, our shelters here need to fly in dogs because everyone has their dogs fixed and people are pretty responsible about dog ownership. So border collies around here tend to be rescues or rural bred but not working border collie. I also see a good number of candy coloured border collies or poofy Barbie collies around here because those breeders have available dogs.  

So my question is this: What should people do if they want a puppy and they live somewhere that does not have any border collies that end up in rescue ( when I contacted THE border collie rescue in British Columbia, I was told that there was almost no chance that a puppy or even a young dog without major issues would become available) and they don't plan on breeding their pup?

The options seem to be drive for days or have a pup shipped out (which isn't ideal because I prefer to meet the people and parents to get a sense of what's what) in order to get a pup whose parents are working. This option is quite expensive and many of these pups are already selling for $1000-1500 and working people often have a long wait list. Or get a puppy from farm bred parents but the parents don't work. So they are still very much border collies genetically but they wouldn't necessarily be good working dogs because the people breeding them are not doing so for a working purpose. Or get dog from someone that had 2 nice looking, friendly family dogs (supporting breeding for no other reason that producing puppies). Or get a Barbie collie (urgh).

Thoughts?

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If you truly support the principles of working border collie people, as outlined on these forum boards, then I am surprised you would even consider getting a puppy from someone who is breeding " for no other purpose than producing puppies " or getting a Barbie collie. The fact that it is difficult for you right now to get a working-bred puppy is really no excuse at all for buying a non-working bred puppy, and pardon me for saying so, but you asked for our opinions and mine is that to do that would be selfish and hypocritical and would in effect be saying "yeah, I definitely believe in this principle but I am going to do what is wrong just because I don't want to wait to do the right thing." I am not trying to be harsh, but that's how I see it.

It would not be the end of the world if you didn't get a puppy this year. Next year would be a good year too. The border won't stay closed forever. Good things are worth waiting for.

It also wouldn't be a bad thing to adopt a young adult from a rescue instead of a puppy. My best border collies so far came to me at the age of 2, and  at age 6. Maybe you could give up the idea of a puppy and instead get a young adult, or go ahead and get a pup shipped from a working breeder. Either that or be patient and wait.

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Flying a puppy isn’t bad. I didn’t meet Valek parents till after I got him. I followed the breeder on Facebook. It was the same breeder as Cressa although not related. I got to see how his half sibling turn out. I got to watch through video how his parent worked and played. Talk to some of the owners also to see what type of personality the parents threw. Talked to the breeder. I believed I also talked to some of his grandparents owners also. When it came time to picking puppy I already knew I wanted a boy. I watched multiple videos and talked to the breeder who help me select Val. 
The more time you allow the more research you can put in to make sure your puppy will be suited for you.
 

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55 minutes ago, SS Cressa said:

The more time you allow the more research you can put in to make sure your puppy will be suited for you.

This.

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9 hours ago, D'Elle said:

If you truly support the principles of working border collie people, as outlined on these forum boards, then I am surprised you would even consider getting a puppy from someone who is breeding " for no other purpose than producing puppies " or getting a Barbie collie. 

Thank you for the response. I wasn't sure I was being clear when I wrote it: the specifics of my situation but more broadly speaking. What I meant was that there are people that live in places (like British Columbia) that don't have a lot of rescue dogs available, puppy or otherwise. And the only available options (as in choices) are the ones I listed. I in no way I meant that they were options for me personally but those are the "options" (good or bad) that are available to Joe public. What I was trying to get at is that I am a person that really gets what this board is saying about preserving the breed but the average person just wants a puppy. And the current situation made me think about the options that face people and the fact that it is rather difficult or can be perceived as being difficult to get a working bred dog is the reason that many people end up making the wrong choices.

Is there a solution beyond, those that know better will do better and the hell with the rest of them? I'm not sure there is a solution, because the working border collie world is small (especially in certain parts of the world) and according to the breeders that I chatted with, the appetite from the general public is getting larger. So there simply are not enough well bred dogs. Rescue is such a great option for many but not everyone is willing to go through that. So it just seems to me that the situation will get worse and worse, which is a such a shame. 

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One option is to contact all responsible working dog breeders in your area, and ask them to let you know if a pup they bred is ever returned to them.  One of the reasons this happens is that the dog did not perform well for the buyer on the work they wanted the dog to do.  Examples would be weak herding drive, works sheep but not cows, is too hard or soft for the stock being worked.  You won't get a puppy this way, but you will be giving a home to a dog from a responsible breeder that just didn't make it as a stock dog.

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Great advice, Michael.  Cast this net beyond British Columbia as well. Good luck in your search, puppytoes - as others have said, finding the right dog will be worth the wait.

Amy

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On 7/12/2020 at 6:37 AM, Michael Parkey said:

One option is to contact all responsible working dog breeders in your area, and ask them to let you know if a pup they bred is ever returned to them.  One of the reasons this happens is that the dog did not perform well for the buyer on the work they wanted the dog to do.  Examples would be weak herding drive, works sheep but not cows, is too hard or soft for the stock being worked.  You won't get a puppy this way, but you will be giving a home to a dog from a responsible breeder that just didn't make it as a stock dog.

My Gibbs is a re-home. He's got great working dogs in his immediate ancestry, and somehow he's sort of 'meh' about the working stuff. I got him when he was 2 and a half or so and he's been a wonderful pet/companion for me.  Michael's idea is a great one.

Ruth & Gibbs

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It is a good way to look for a dog. I'd posted an ad looking for just this type of dog on a couple of FB pages (and maybe here?) and got a number of replies. I was surprised at how much money some people were asking for a failed sheepdog :rolleyes: but several were quite reasonable, mostly concerned with finding the dog that wasn't useful for them a good home. I ended up adopting a lovely girl from a rescue but will definitely consider this option again when the time comes. (Note: I was looking for a very specific temperament for a therapy dog, but several of the dogs I was notified about would have made great pets or sports prospects.)

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I too would approach breeders and ask them if they have any working washouts. We always need good homes for the ones that aren’t cut out for stock work! 

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This question really speaks to me because I'm in a similar situation. When we got our first dog two years ago, we did it "right" and got a rescue. After a long search, and failing to find any suitable dogs in shelters, we adopted a dog from an excellent breed-specific rescue. They did a great job and answered all of our questions, but we ended up with a dog with much more sever behavioral issues than we anticipated, including fear-aggression. After tons of training, she's made huge progress, and entirely stopped resource guarding and reactively barking at people. But she still has body handling issues and occasionally snaps at me for trying to take her leash or collar off. She'll tolerate my husband's hands near her head, but not anyone else's. The rescue was surprised to hear of her intense fear of people's hands, since she apparently did not show this with her foster parent. (Somehow, she is excellent with dogs, even though the rescue said she wouldn't be.)

 

I want another dog, and I really don't want a second dog with behavioral issues -- what to do? I know most rescue dogs are not as difficult as mine, but still, almost all of the Border Collies, Border Collie mixes, Aussie mixes, and Kelpie mixes in rescue near us seem to be adults with behavioral issues. No surprise -- rescues come from bad breeders and usually not the best owners. And it's still a roll of the dice whether more issues pop up post-adoption, as happened with my dog. On top of all that, rescue is very competitive around here. My dog's foster parent rejected literally dozens of applications for my dog before approving ours. We are a sort of sports home, so rescuing a mystery mutt isn't appealing.

 

So breeders are looking more and more tempting -- specifically a breeder with a history of producing dogs with good temperaments and who values socialization. I really like the idea in this thread of trying to buy a dog that washed out of herding. Do you all think a dog used to farm life would struggle in to a suburban environment? I.e. strange dogs walking by, screaming kids on bikes, the commotion of an agility event, house parties, etc.? How old are dogs typically when they are rehomed due to a lack of herding ability? I'd prefer to socialize a dog myself if possible, since after seeing the effects of poor socialization so starkly, I don't really trust anyone else to do it. But if I could spend a lot of time with the dog before buying it might be okay.

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