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Well when it comes to Border Collies, this seems to be a huge controversy.

A lot of Border Collie owners look down upon the AKC, and Border Collies breed for show only. 

The main reason being is that the Border Collie was originally breed for herding, a working dog. A sheep dog doesn't need to have pretty looks to be a good worker.

When you breed for looks you tend to loose the working/herding aspect of the Border Collie.

A lot of the AKC Champion dogs have these huge flowing coats. 

Can you imagine one of those dogs trying to round up some cattle or herd a flock of sheep through thickers and mud with that overly fluffy coat?!

Not to mention that most show dogs tend to not have the herding instinct. 

Yes, it is possible to breed out the herding instinct. 

Our girl Angel has such a strong herding instinct that I honestly couldn't see her parading around a conformation ring! She is a very obedient dog, just not a mindless one. I mean no disrespect or offense to anyone with a show dog! There is just so much more to the Border Collie then a pretty face.


The ABCA promotes the Border Collie as a working dog only. In fact, as of 2004 if any ABCA registered dog has received a conformation championship the ABCA registration will be revoked and you will not be able to register the puppies though ABCA. Hence why I never show my dogs even though some do come from AKC CH lines.


That being said there are some pretty nice events the AKC offers. Border Collies excel at Agility and Rally.  AKC even offers Herding courses and competitions. The AKC trials seem to be a little more lax compared to standard herding trials. 


So there it is. Simple as that One side wants to promote ONLY the working dog, the other side is more concerned with looks.


My opinion is this;


Why not have both? 

Not everyone is interested in a Border Collie with the almost neurotic obsession with herding, but they still want a high-energy and athletic breed. 

On the other side we don't want to breed out that same instinct that makes them awesome at their jobs.


Angel has a very intense herding instinct . We got her before our son was born. If she doesn't have a job she makes it a point to give herself one. She herds anything that moves in the home, which includes our son. She has been doing it since he has been mobile. Now because we are very well versed with Border Collies I have no problem raising them together. 

Now would she do well in another family with young kids that have never had a Border Collie? No..

The reason being is her herding instinct. She sees the kids running and playing, it is her "job" to keep them together, so she runs around them trying to keep them together. They run faster, she tries harder to keep them together. The following can happen, she barks or nips to keep the child inline. This frightens the child and he/she runs crying/screaming only increasing the intensity of the dog. Or she runs around the child trying to keep them inline causing the child to fall or get hurt. This intense instinct is one of the main reason SO many Border Collies end up as rescues. Not everyone is able to deal with this type of dog. 

Our has grown up with Angel and they understand each other. If he is hyper and running around we make sure Angel has her own job to do. 


Now does this mean that the average family shouldn't have a Border Collie? Not at all!

Border Collies make awesome family pets and companions. They are very athletic. They love to play and they thrive on attention. They are also the smartest breed out there. National Geographic had an awesome article called Animal Minds and features two Border Collies named Rico and Betsy.

We also have Border Collies that are a little more mellow in their herding instincts. Not to say that these dogs are inferior they just suit family life better. A little more toned down on the herding instincts. 


I feel that both sides of the Border Collie should be embraced! While I don't think the herding instinct should ever be lost in the breed, I also don't believe that there is anything wrong in raising a Border Collie with a toned down herding instinct to suit active family life. One thing I do disagree on though is breeding couch potatoes! While there are plenty of Border Collies that have a very good "off switch" the breed should NEVER EVER be an indolent, lazy breed!!


Since I know my lines and my dogs inside and out I have a pretty good idea on what to look for. Which pup seems to be more geared toward working and which seemed geared toward an active family. 


I always try and match the puppies with the prospective families according to lifestyle not looks. A puppy showing strong herding instincts is not going to thrive in a appartment setting. Likewise a toned down puppy is not going to do well herding if the intensity is not there.



Both ABCA and AKC have different things to offer and while I don't agree with everything both clubs do or believe in, I think that the ABCA and AKC have a lot to offer the Border Collie breed and that is why we have dogs register as ABCA, AKC or both!













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