Questions and MY Answers to them.
Here are a few common questions people ask me about BC's. Most of the answers are just my opinion from years of breeding/training and handling. I have trained not only many Border Collies but just about every other breed and mix breed out there too. If you have questions please let me know and I will do my best to answer you.
Benefits of Male v/s Female
Fact or fiction?
#1. Females make better pets than males because females are better with kids and a family.
#2. We know we want a female because a male will mark (or hike his leg) in the house.
#3 Females are more loving than males.
#4 Males want to fight more than females.
#1 There is no evidence that supports the statement that females make better pets than males. As a matter of fact if you are speaking of altered dogs most trainers, handlers, groomers, and breeders will tell you that males can make a much better family pet than females. Males who are neutered at a young age and never have the chance to develop the intact male tendencies usually are much easier to live with than even a spayed female Border Collie. Males who are neutered young are typically more easy going, not dominant, great with the family and do not display the male dominance act of hiking and marking areas. Males who are neutered young are happy to just be a loving pack member and do not have the desire to be the alpha in your home. I know in my home my males are extremely loving with the kids and tend to want to see what the kids are up to more than my girls do. Also look at the competition dogs out today. Most of the top dogs are males. People seem to think that only the males have raging hormones. This is not true. The females hormones are raging before, during and after her heat cycles so depending on her cycle that can be a lot.
#2:Yes a dominant adult male will hike his leg outside, but that does NOT mean he should EVER hike his leg in your home. Actually I have owned dominant females who will hike their legs too although not in my home! It is simply a sign of dominance. But if you get your male fixed at a young age he is less likely to hike his leg to mark territory.
#3. That is just a matter of opinion. Some males are loving just like some females are loving. Now for most people who own many dogs both spayed and neutered dogs and intact dogs will tell you that males are just as loving and sweet as the females. As a matter of fact it seems the females can act a bit flaky when they are coming in heat, in heat and coming out of heat and they can turn from being very loving to a bit of a loner with people. Their hormones can get the best of them and they may act a little off of their normal temperament.
#4 Males who are intact do tend to want to show their dominance more than neutered males, but intact females do too. As a matter of fact some of my worst dog fights were between intact females who both thought they were the alpha female here. People tend to here more stories about males fighting for some reason but in actuality males and female will both fight but when the girls fight you will know it!
Why are there so many different prices for Border Collies? (I know this is going to make a few people unhappy but here is my opinion and if they get mad then so be it. )
You may have noticed there are many different prices for Border Collies. Prices vary for many reasons. In the last few years only breeders who do all the correct health exams for BC's could fetch a higher price for Border Collies and now that is not the way it always is. Breeders who do hip, DNA and eye tests usually charge more for pups because they have more invested in the parents. Breeders who do OFA or Penn hip and CERF or DNA testing charge more and are able to guarantee more. After all how can a breeder guarantee a pups health if they don't even know if the parents would pass hip and eye exams? Some breeders will charge more if they do more with the pups. If a breeder has a lot of time, training, and handling in a pup they will charge more. In that case you are more likely to get a pup that is well mannered, socialized, comfortable being in the home or whatever that breeder has done and do save you from purchasing a "wild" pup who has not been handled. *Just because a person socializes pups does not mean they did testing so check! Then there are: There are breeders who when asked if they do hip and eye tests will say they have never had problems so they don't need to test. (huh?) Others may say that their veterinarian says the dogs are healthy. But without the proper tests who really knows. Some of these will even offer hip and eye guarantee and don't hip and eye test the parents, so they give vague guarantees as a selling tactic. Some breeders also sell females for a higher price than males. The only reason for this is that they are assuming you will be breeding your female and you will eventually make your money back. I price males and females the same because the extra bits on a male or female are not priced any higher when they are born.. Silly right! There are also people who love pedigrees and they are not concerned with anything else. They are not worried about temperament, health or anything else just who has the best pedigree with the most champion dogs on it. The problem is all Border Collies come from the same dogs and if you just keep breeding the same dogs over and over you will end up with all the same things good or bad. Now don't get me wrong a champion pedigree is great as long as you know what you are doing when breeding, and you breed for more than a pedigree with a bunch of champions and nothing else. People will sometimes say the dog goes back to (insert famous name). Well most of the famous dogs were bred a LOT so they produced a lot of pups so there are very few "rare" lines. ALL Border Collies go back to one particular dog named OLD HEMP. So I guess we could all say my dog goes back to the original Border Collie.. cause they all do.
COLOR SELLERS: This is so annoying to any breeder who knows anything at all about genetics! There is no such thing as a rare color just people who sell for more money to people who think they are getting a "rare" dog. Please go to my color page to learn more! Color sellers only worry about producing this color, or that color, and charging an arm and a leg for it. Just because a person has colors does not mean they know anything at all about genetics and if they do not know about color genetics and breeding genetics so they can be producing problems. So if you are seeking a specific color for breeding purposes make sure you do your research and find a good breeder who knows what he/she is talking about. Just because they have had BC's for 30 years does not mean anything. You will see breeders who have colorful litters of pups and each color is a different price. Different prices are placed on pups who are in the same litter for one simple reason in my opinion. They can! Puppy buyers will pay higher prices because they think the color is "rare". Why price one color in a litter higher? Litter prices should be the same no matter what the color or sex of the pup. Border Collie breeders who sell on color or sex alone are not selling higher quality by raising the price. All the pups in that litter typically are of the same quality unless there is a problem with a pup.
Merle: Is a merle a rare color? No a merle is not rare and it is not even a color. Merle is a pattern! You can get the merle pattern in any color. If you are breed a merle to any color you will get merles. All a breeder needs to do is own a merle and they will get merle pups. (yes there can be a fluke and you don't get a merle but in theory you should get merles in a litter if there are more than 2 pups)I would never get a puppy from a litter where both parents are merles. A merle to merle breeding can cause puppies to have horrible defects. This type of cross will produce problems and only BAD breeders will do this. PERIOD There is no excuse for breeding merle to merle.
Health tests? What for?
A vet must be a canine optimaligist if he is checking for eye disease, a regular veterinarian can't test for CEA or PRA. Most breeder have started DNA'ing dogs for CEA which is much better than an eye exam for CEA. Also a regular vet is not a hip specialist therefore hip x-rays need to be evaluated by the OFA or the dog should be Pennhip. The ABCA also recognized Cornell Vet. Institute evaluations for hip x-rays.
If a breeder says that they do hip and eye certifications check and see if they really do. Please remember a regular vet can't tell you if a dog has good hips or eyes no matter how long he/she has been a vet!
Should I get two puppies so they will not be lonely?
When you are a first time puppy buyer I would consider this double trouble. I would suggest a person start with one and wait at least 6 months before getting another. When you have two pups you can not only have twice the training, twice the messes to clean up, twice the vet bills and more. You can also have a problem where the two pups will become so bonded to each other that they will ignore humans or flip out if you attempt to separate them for grooming, vaccinating etc. Or there are those who tend to fight a lot if you get two of the same sex and age. The dogs can also learn bad behaviors from each other. So not only are you trying to fix one dogs bad behavior but two. So my suggestion is that if you don't think you will have the time and energy to keep a BC from getting bored or lonely research another breed that will not require so much time and energy.
Are all Border Collies hyper?
This is such a common question. Every person is going to think something different or answer this question in a different way but here is my answer. A well bred BC should not be hyper if living in the right environment. A BC needs to be well trained and socialized just like any other breed. But Border Collies tend to get bored easily and a lot of pet owners do not keep them mentally and physically stimulated and the dog will then become hyper. A hyper dog to me is an uncontrollable dog. Now you can have a very high drive do and if that energy is channeled into something good that dog can be a joy to live with. There are people who are going to breed poor quality dogs and the genetics will play a part in the dogs overall character, but most of the problems dealing with a BC who is labeled hyper are learned. A BC who digs in the trash when bored is not a hyper dog, he is an untrained dog. A BC who runs in circles in the backyard is bored and he has a learned self rewarding behavior. That does not necessary mean he is hyper. That may be the only thing that bored dog knows to do to let out pent up energy.
Is a BC a good breed to get if I already have another dog?
Typically a BC will adapt into any family. BC's pups will just need to be trained not to herd the other dog because this is a real annoyance to most dogs and can cause problems. But if you are concerned that BC's don't get along with other dogs that is not usually a problem people will have to worry with when bringing in a BC pup into a family. You will need to make sure your current dog gets along with other dogs first no matter what breed you are considering.
Can I own a BC and a cat?
There are a lot of people who own BC's and cats and everything is fine. I have a cat and let me tell you she has most of my dogs thinking she is a mini tiger not just a house cat. I think the key is to never let your puppy herd your cat. It may seem cute when a puppy is stalking your cat, but when he is full grown your cat probably will not appreciate the cute factor.
What is the big deal about letting my BC herd my kids? It isn't hurting anybody.
The big deal is your little cute ball of fur will one day be a bigger dog with bigger teeth. You never know how strong that herding instinct is going to be and you do not want your dog to nip at your child or any child for that matter as part of his herding. I personally have 4 children and I NEVER allow my dogs to herd my kids. I nip that in the bud when my dogs are pups. My dogs are not allowed to attempt to herd my kids, cats or any other inappropriate things. This has NOT hindered the dogs desire to work stock.
Do I need to own sheep?
There are many people who own BC's and do not own sheep. The thing you must remember is no matter if you have sheep or not your dog will need to be both mentally and physically stimulated. So if you don't have sheep or for some reason the dog can't work your sheep you will need something else for your dog to do to let out pent up energy. So find something you and your dog can do together. EX: obedience, flyball, agility, Frisbee, dock diving, sar, swimming, soccer etc .
Are health test important?
YES! Yes health tests are important. It is so frustrating for we breeders who do genetic testing to see those breeders; who do no testing and still claim to guarantee the pups. How can you guarantee pups if the parents are not tested? I would never purchase a pup who is not out of tested parents. You will find you have to pay more in the beginning for a pup out of health tested parents but it is better than paying twice as much in the long run.
If a breeder is banned from the ABCA why do people have dogs out of those lines that they breed? It depends on when the people got those dogs. For example I have a bitch who at the time I purchased her both of her parents were owned by a breeder in good standing with the ABCA. A few years after I purchased my bitch her father was sold to a breeder who was later banned from the ABCA. I had no way of controlling the sale of her father to a banned breeder. Unfortunately with the ABCA they do NOT list who owns both parents at the time of purchase on pedigree's other than the original pedigree, any offspring bred later will reflect only owner status. If you are curious you can always call the ABCA and ask who owned a particular dog at a breeding time.