Border Wars

Recently, several Bloggers have written about the so-called “Border Wars”: AKC vs. ABCA. Blogs of interest include Borderwars and Terrierman’s Daily Dose. Donald McCraig (author of the Border Collie themed novels, Nop’s Trials, Nope’s Hope and Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men) recently published a novel entitled The Dog Wars wherein he details the fight between AKC and ABCA involving Border Collie registration with AKC. The Dog Wars is what has prompted the posts on the above Blogs. I have not read the book and have no intention of buying it. I know the mindset of the author.

I frequently surf Border Collie breeder’s web sites and have noticed that several breeders are putting the statement on their web sites that you cannot register any puppy you buy from that breeder with AKC. I highly doubt many of them keep track of the puppy after it leaves their property. Once the money is in their pocket, the puppy is gone and they are on to the next litter. Many of these breeders produce multiple litters a year, for what purpose? To try to breed the next great trial dog. If Dog A doesn’t cut it, there’s Dog B, Dog C, Dog D, etc. sitting in the kennel waiting for the chance to work.

Then you get certain breeders who talk about of both sides of their mouth, saying on one page

Stockwork is priority one, but I also demand a type of dog that is enjoyable to own. Because of my sport background, I know what people that enjoy agility, flyball, frisbee etc are looking for. I also understand the needs of the active pet owner. My goal is to own and produce dogs that can fit into any or all of these.

and then on another

One thing I am looking into is if, through registration restrictions, I can ensure that any pup that is later AKC registered can only be done so if it’s spayed or neutered. Owners can do any of the AKC sports with an ILP # on a spayed or neutered dog. I do not agree with breeding Border Collies for any other purpose than the hope of producing a new generation of wonderful stockdogs. I understand and appreciate that they can FIT into many, many different homes, however I firmly believe that breeding should only take place when the goal is to produce more working stockdogs. I feel very comfortable selling the right puppies to agility/flyball/frisbee, and even the right companion home, but breeding Border Collies that only excell [sic] at dog sports, are show dogs, or are “well bred” family pets, is not something I want my name to be part of so I’m hoping there are ways thru registration restrictions that I can ensure this.

I also chose to sell my puppies to performance homes, although one is in a solid herding (and agility) home in Canada. Why? Because I know the puppy/dog would be cared for, kept in the house, fed a raw diet, etc. I do not want my puppies/dogs left out in a kennel until it’s time for them to be trained, fed crap food, etc. It happens, I’ve seen it and my puppies were not going there. If the people who have my puppies want to register them with AKC, then fine, I don’t care. None of them will be shown in confirmation and none of them will be bred, so why care? Why the restriction so I can fit in? It’s all a bunch of crap.

The problem with this “only breeding to produce stockdogs” is that how many “stockdog” homes are there out there? Damned few and soon to be fewer. How many puppies out of a litter are going to mature into quality stockdogs? Certainly not all of them. What happens to the ones that don’t make it? Shoot them? You don’t know if the dog is going to make it as a stockdog until it’s at least a year old, likely closer to two. So you sit on the dog until you know (well, you stuff it in a kennel until it’s ready to work) and then what if it doesn’t make it then? You sell it to a pet home? Probably not a good idea. I hate to think about where a lot of these failed dogs ended up.

Caveat: I am not a fan of AKC or conformation showing although I do show in AKC performance events. I believe breeding for the show ring is to the detriment of any animal; imagine if humans were bred to be future Super Models. I also do not support those people breeding specifically for agility or other sports dogs. I think breeding for anything other than all-round balance does a disservice to purebred animals as a whole.