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Extreme for extreme?

Guest PairDogx1.5

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Guest PairDogx1.5

Not long ago I read somewhere -- I wish I could remember where & who, I apologize -- a statement by someone who I took to be a knowledgeable Border Collie person dedicated to the the working dog. This person said that the extreme fixation on breeding for working ability and ONLY working ability might actually have a negative impact overall on the Border Collie.


I believe I understand why the line in the sand is drawn so strongly on the working factor, there's really no other acceptable viewpoint -- and I think this person understood that also. But what they seemed to be concerned about was that certain elements of structure might be ignored -- not conformation in an AKC sense, but they felt that there were important physical elements that go into making the Border Collie the extremely high-level, durable, swift, quick, athletic animal that it is, and that selecting ONLY for the fact that it gets your particular work done for you might not be the whole picture necessary for the continued betterment of the breed.


Now, it would seem to me that a dog wouldn't be able to do top-flight work if it didn't have the necessary physical elements, so the problem would take care of itself. But I don't know much, so I was interested in hearing the thought of you all that DO know alot.



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Tunnel vision in any breeding program will lead to the decline of the original purpose.


Good breeders need to consider the "whole" dog, structure, temperment as well as working ability. Some breeders include all the above when speaking of working ability, for all the willingness and talent in the world won't amount to a hill of beans if the dog doesn't have the body and mind to carry out the job.



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Guest PrairieFire

Working ability is working ability is working ability...


Like Pam said.


Many things go into the box labeled "working ability" - the problem comes in when humans "think" they understand why certain parts of "structure" affect a dog's ability to do the job - witness the "versatile" working enthusiasts preoocupation with "cow hocking" - if cowhocked dogs were eliminated from the working pool you'd lose a ton of already proven champions...proven by actually working and not by someone thinking that cowhocking affects thier working...


My first thought is that anyone who says breeding for working ability would restrict or breed for "bad structure" has a political axe to grind...



Bill Gary

Kensmuir, Working Stockdog Center

River Falls, WI



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Amen. Working ability is not one discrete thing. It's composed of many interrelated things, including structure and temperament--but not structure in the abstract and temperament in the abstract. Without the practical test of the work situation, ideas of "correct structure" become more and more theoretical, and less and less correlated with actual working ability. There is no way to validate them except by putting them to the working test.


I wonder if what this person was saying could just be a matter of semantics--perhaps he's using the term "working ability" to mean basic instinct, rather than as all the qualities that a dog must have to be a useful worker? If that's not it, I wonder how he would go about breeding for structure apart from working ability.

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