Jump to content
BC Boards

Sport Breeding


Recommended Posts

Laura S hates when I break in on her threads with this stuff so I'm starting a new one. :rolleyes:

 

Almost exactly a year ago I made the decision to spay my slightly over two year old female. I had had three different Open handlers I respected say she was worth keeping intact and continuing her training, in spite of slight deficiencies in her attitude. However, I did it after bawling my eyes out over a program put out by some homeless pet awareness group. The world didn't need me to breed Jen and produce so-so working dogs, most of whom would go to pet homes anyway, no doubt - and take homes from rescue and shelter dogs.

 

It hurt a lot, though - I'd look at Jen afterward and think how special she was, and regret that she'd never pass that on.

 

Then I got to know a few other dogs in the area - as it turns out, Jen's not that special! I mean, she is to us (she's fast becoming my husband's fav dog to work and will most likely be the first dog he trains to Open himself). However, I can reach out with closed eyes and pick a pup from any one of many litters that will be bred in the near future and get a pup with Jen's best qualities. I've been talking to someone seriously who is breeding to a sire that is a lot like Jen with some of the "oomph" she lacks and not as much eye.

 

I do have a working farm and still haven't found a reason to breed. Why do sport folks mess with breeding when it hasn't anything to do with ANY breed-specific standard (I even almost respect the conformation folks more in this respect) and therefore hasn't anything to do with that time-honored goal of "bettering the breed"? The successful lines are out there, from high-quality and responsible breeders - no working folks I know are stingy about reserving their lines to working homes.

 

Just a quick reaction to the overall notion of breeding for sports.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 57
  • Created
  • Last Reply

I think that in BCs it isn't necessary and is in fact detrimental to the breed as a whole. Alas due to conformation breeding of other working breeds, those that breed for sport (in breeds like the sheltie for instance)are in fact preserving specific useful things in working dogs in general like soundness proven by physical work, temperament, intelligence, and biddability. There are not enough breeders of field working dogs out there to perpetuate breeds in some breeds. I mean, NOBODY breeds shelties for herding anymore.

 

Having said all this I do believe that people from the sport culture see it as a valid way of preserving and perpetuating what they have in their dogs. For Sport! (since they have no other measuring stick)

 

We know that where BCs are concerned, this mentality is a 180 from what is correct. I do believe that in BCs it is a product of ignorance whether willful or not. I mean, labs, shelties, Dobies, GSDs, goldens, etc. bred for sport are better at sports than conformation dogs in general and this is what they go by.

 

You are right though, this could just as easily be done with mutts.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's partly a want to preserve what they have in their sport dogs but also a big part of it is so that someone can say that their dog is out of X's dog or littermate to Y's dog or half-brother to Z's dog. It's sad that most of the people breeding these sport dogs either have no clue or don't care that they are hurting the breed. There are a lot of agility dogs out there that are from working dogs, nice working dogs. More of them though are out of an agility dog and maybe a working dog but I think it's happening less and less as sports, agility in particular, keeps growing and people breed their ADCh and MACh dogs. But just like with working dogs - just because your dog's sire is abc dog and the dam is xyz dog it doesn't mean you're going to get a the perfect agility dog. For example, I have a dog that's a half-brother to Julie Daniel's Spring, who's probably one of the best agility dogs ever in the US, and Spring he ain't! (and he's from 2 imported working dogs so he wasn't from a sport breeding)

Link to post
Share on other sites
I mean, NOBODY breeds shelties for herding anymore.
Actually, I know one person who does - but her dog, a lovely little creature from very nice lines, wouldn't pass muster in the breed ring - too big, head not right.

 

However, she bought a "standard" bitch with a suitable amount of what she was looking for in a working dog and the pups are apparently fairly nice.

 

You're absolutely right, though - I totally admire those in breeds that are almost exclusively "bench" dogs now, that go the extra mile to make sure their breeding dogs can do something besides be born pretty.

 

My comments are aimed at our breed which is defined by a functional standard already. Any redirection of this functional standard (breeding to the ability to to x-y-z in an agility setting) is a redirection of the breed's type.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by 3crazybcs:

... a big part of it is so that someone can say that their dog is out of X's dog or littermate to Y's dog or half-brother to Z's dog.

That's my take on it too. For most agility people, their exposure to border collies is through the sport of agility. So you get put on a waiting list for the next litter out of ADCH MACH Flingflong STDs HRD1 CGC because her brother is fast, her sister is fast, etc.

 

For example, this past weekend, the dog who won the GP in 22" comes from a certain kennel that produces agility dogs. That dog's mother was there also, and she wins lots. That dog's uncle was there, and he's very famous, has won weave pole challenges, GOG medals, etc. The dogs are fast, eager, and friendly, as well as attractive.

 

So if I am Jane Average agility competitor, and I am tired of never placing, never getting a Super Q, always going clean but not making the finals, this kennel is looking pretty good to me. After all, look at the progeny!

 

Believe me, I have had this argument with many people, that you can find this same drive and biddability in pretty much any work-bred dog. The thing is, they have never been to an ISDS-style trial, they've never seen a dog working on a farm. So they go with what they know, because they don't know what they don't know. Ya know?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, my sheltie was bred for conformation as was his half brother. There are quite a few finished champions out of their dam but neither of these boys are competitive in the breed ring. My dog's brother Jag, has been on the world team for agility like 4 times or something and has won the gold for fastest mini- making him the fastest mini in the world for that year. I don't generally say that too loud because I haven't done squat with my dog and when people who do know see us run, they pretty much say that I have the better dog but that the dog is severely handicapped by me. How do you think that makes me feel? Like I should sell my dog to a better handler. Which is a really crappy feeling because my dog would much rather run agility all day than hang out with me and learn dumb tricks or heaven forbid, watch the BCs herd sheep. He thinks it's not fun unless the sheep scatter.

 

Edit: Yes Becca you are 100% right there, I wonder if these people really have a clue when they breed BCs for sport. I guess that was sort of my point because they have so many other breeds that are preserved that way, which might be an influence. So maybe they see it as normal and valid. Maybe sone of these sport people don't know that there is a working standard.

 

I'd love to ask what's her name from Contact Point why she does it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Annette-

 

Jag - pretty cool! He blows every other dog in his class away every time (and I'm in the NE so I see him a lot). I don't broadcast who my dog's related to either because, well I'm not Julie Daniels!

 

Contact Point and Hob Nob...and the list goes on...

 

Kristi-

 

You're right, they don't know what they don't know. A friend came to an Open level herding trial this past weekend with a 500+ yard outrun and she was blown away! I can only hope that if she ever decides she wants a border collie (she probably won't since she's got an awesome young kelpie) she'll remember what she saw. Yet another friend just got a puppy from all Australian conformation lines and he's about as much a border collie as a golden retriever is. She's got no clue at all and even though I've tried hard to clue her in she just doesn't care. She recently left him with me for a week while she was on vacation and said that my dogs would "teach him to be a border collie". Yeah right.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing that people don't realize is that asking a Border Collie to do agility is like asking a rocket scientist to do long division. Almost ANY Border Collie, even a shittily-bred one, given the right handler, is going to be at least a good agility dog, and I really believe that most of them can be flat-out great. People who are stupid (or selfish, or ignorant, or whatever) enough to go out and buy a $1000 candy-colored Sport Collie are getting nothing for all that money but a brand name. Then again, I guess maybe that's what they're really after.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark and I competed in agility before herding with Duncan and Starr. Both of these guys are from different working lines from working farms. Both of them were very competitive in agility. **sigh** those blue ribbons in open are much harder to come by than the agility ribbons we won! I didn't realize how prevalent sport breeding was until I took my pup to a flyball event for socialization. Everyone kept asking if she was from so and so's cross. I'd say no. She's from working lines from Tom and Florence Wilson. Then I'd get these blank looks. And you're definitely right Melanie, I had never seen so many odd colored border collies in one place before. It's definitely a different world.

Renee

Link to post
Share on other sites

So what you're saying is that although the litter I breed might have nice colors and be excellent for sports, no one will want them because I am a "no name" in the sport world? (All said tongue firmly in cheek!) :rolleyes:

 

J.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not necessarily. I've talked with a number of "big name" competitors recently and a good number of them know where to get good dogs. If you watched the Great Outdoor Games, the dog that took 2nd (and looks a lot like Wick) was bred by Kent. I was talking to a "name" this weekend and she told me she gets her dogs from local cattle lines. Someone mentioned Julie Daniels, her young dog is from Karen Lacy.

 

A lot of the people you see buying these custom sport dogs are wannabe's... they want a relative of a big name dog... they want an "in" with the big name.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by airbear:

For most agility people, their exposure to border collies is through the sport of agility....For example, this past weekend, the dog who won the GP in 22" comes from a certain kennel that produces agility dogs. That dog's mother was there also, and she wins lots. That dog's uncle was there, and he's very famous, has won weave pole challenges, GOG medals, etc. The dogs are fast, eager, and friendly, as well as attractive.

 

So if I am Jane Average agility competitor, and I am tired of never placing, never getting a Super Q, always going clean but not making the finals, this kennel is looking pretty good to me. After all, look at the progeny!

 

Believe me, I have had this argument with many people, that you can find this same drive and biddability in pretty much any work-bred dog. The thing is, they have never been to an ISDS-style trial, they've never seen a dog working on a farm. So they go with what they know, because they don't know what they don't know. Ya know?

I couldn't have said this better. Agility is the fastest growing dog sport in America - it's very much on the front page, whereas herding is somewhere back in the "archives". The average wannabe agility Border Collie owner/competitor, is going to get a dog from someone that has agility Border Collies - they may not even know about ISDS trials or anything else to do with herding. I didn't when I got my first one. I don't think "the enlightened" bashing agility handlers and certain color dogs on a public forum is that helpful. How about educating the wannabe's in a helpful way?
Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually I was at a trial this spring that was attended by several agility/sports folks and they were quite interested in the dogs and possible puppies. Maybe these were folks who were confident in their own abilities as trainers and so didn't feel the need to get a "name" dog with which to compete.

 

Anyway, I don't think anyone is bashing here. Unfortunately like with many things (and especially sports involving animals), people want quick fixes and don't want to do the research and take the time necessary to get where they need to be.

 

I just wish colors weren't such a draw. An agility competitor could get two working bred pups for the price of one sport bred pup. Now that's a deal!

 

J.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Annette, I take the time to talk to people one on one who inquire about my dogs (all working bred - even though one is a merle). I also tell them that some of the fastest, brightest and best agility dogs I've seen came from working lines and rescues. I tell them that Border Collies are definitely not right for everyone, and not a "quick fix" into agility fame. People just need to be made aware. Those who are concerned about "status" will not pay attention to my opinion. Those who want "the real thing" will start doing their homework.

I do not bash the "sport breeders" (some of them are personal friends who just have different views than I do). I do stress that Border Collies were bred for one purpose (herding), and that they should be looking for a real purpose- bred dog, not just a "fad" show dog. To be honest, one of my biggest concerns is the quest for speed, drive and "over the top attitude" that the sport breeders seem to want to produce. I feel like many of them are going to breed these "over the top" adrenyline ridden dogs to each other, and that they will be producing a whole line of crazed maniacs who end up so "high" that they are untrainable and uncontrollable. One of my boys verges on that- he has some "sport lines" in his pedigree - and he no longer does agility - it was too much for his brain to deal with. I tell newbies to "be careful what they wish for", and look for someone breeding for true Border Collie attributes, not just speed and crazed drive levels. One thing I will say in the sport breeder's defense is that most of them are very concerned with health, hip/eye clearances and often spay/neuter contracts on the pups they sell. Most of them are very particular about who they will sell to. This is usually very comforting to the sport enthusiast, who is a little leary of the farmer who says "yeah, they run and see just fine" instead of testing the parents. In this scenario, we're not dealing with someone who looks at a pup as their next working animal; but a cherished pet, best friend or even a child replacement. They will often go to extraordinary lengths to keep their dogs healthy and comfortable. And yes, sometimes a "designer name brand" will buy them a "foot in the door" with a certain trainer, recognition and friendship. If that's actually all they are after, then there's not much any of us can do.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by laurie etc:

I don't think "the enlightened" bashing agility handlers and certain color dogs on a public forum is that helpful. How about educating the wannabe's in a helpful way?

Thank you, Laurie, for this post. One of the reasons that these 'sport collies' are so popular is because there is a perception that 'working dog' breeders won't sell to sport homes. I say 'perception' because I've never run into this myself, but I have talked to people who are looking for their first border collie and there seems to be a certain intimidation around approaching the herding folks.

 

The other thing to remember is that these blues, reds, and lemons are more than fancy colours, they are someone's beloved pet and team mate. Sure, they're not my cup of tea, but hey, not everyone likes the looks of my, um, borderline collie, whom I think is beautiful (despite the slick coat, bobbed tail, weird ears, and mismatched eyes).

 

For my money, a rescue dog of about a year or two is the way to go, since you can ascertain height, build, drive (to a certain extent) and temperment, as well as their fit into your existing pack. Oh, and you don't have to wait for the growth plates to close, or for their puppy brains to settle. PNWBCR has a TON of alumni who hold the highest titles in the sport (ADCH, NATCH, NACH, etc.) and have won or been finalists in the major National championships. But that's another argument for another day.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest herbertholmes

Laurie - I totally agree with you about sport homes for dogs being very good. The only agility we do here is leaping over cactus and around juniper bushes but I can only pray that any puppies I breed go to trialling or sport homes and not to local ranches as working dogs or to local pet homes. You have no idea how little people care for their dogs out here in West Texas. They get tied on the ground(if they get tied at all) where they become engulfed in ticks and fleas and associated parasites and diseases - and the owners dont even know or care. Many, many dogs get run over by their owners or friends in their own yards and I can't count the dogs I see travelling loose in the back of pick ups. The dogs that are worked are left kennelled or tied until it's work time, then worked hard and put up wet (and not fitted for their work)and are expected to cover unbelievable miles with an owner horseback in the heat. They are just another piece of machinery or equipment for most ranch owners.(and less maintained I might add) It's a very tough life for a dog.

 

If and when we breed we try to get the puppies into triallers hands. I don't have any sport connections here, but I would not hesitate to sell a puppy as a sporting prospect. All of the sporting dogs (not just BC's) I know are totally catered to, their health is of the utmost importance to their owners, and they get a ton of time spent with them, and lots of exercise. What more could a dog ask?

 

I haven't had as much exposure to the sporting end of things as you folks have that live nearer to other human beings than we do and I am sure that they are all not perfect either but it is surely a better life than here for the average dog......

 

Alison

Link to post
Share on other sites

>

 

I guess one person's "bash" is another person's "educate." There's certainly nothing wrong with agility handlers per se. With rare exceptions, they do give their dogs a good life. There IS something wrong with breeding border collies for dogsports like agility and for colors, without regard to their livestock working ability. A person who does this is a bad border collie breeder, and people who buy from bad breeders are not acting in the best interests of the breed. If this is not said or written, how are newbies going to find it out?

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was in Ohio, I took in a Blue Merle BC from people who picked her up on the side of the interstate while travelling through TX. I placed her in a nice agility home. I have a someone coming over with a merle on Saturday from a local all breed rescue that I do free grooms for.

 

Eileen has a point. You never know how people are going to take things. We should probably come up with fairly standardized educational type statements for those of us who are not always so tactful. Maybe that's wierd but it might help.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh I don't think I am bashing, just sad that color is something to be selected for by some breeders. Rescue is a great way to get an agility dog! I want to say hi to Alison too as I used to train my dog Charlie at her place YEARS ago. Hi Alison!

 

I wish that the "enlightened" agility folks, and I used to do USDAA agility with Charlie and he was pretty goodm would realize that a "good" dog isn't based on color. Is it ok to like certain colors? Sure it is, just don't breed with that in mind as the first and foremost thing. It is a complex set of genetics that is heritable and makes these dogs what they are, choosing something like color, relatively simple genetics, as a selection point, will dilute that complex multi-gene "drive" "biddability" and other intelligence things in just a couple of generations.

Caroline

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...