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Herding in breeding
Lifedream: I just wanted to ask how many breeders are interested or even using "herding dogs" in their breeding? I know in US they officially compete in herding, but over here it is not yet possible. I am a member of our Finnish Collie Associations new working group which is aiming to change all of that. We are aiming for official herdingtest, which is made by a official herding judge of Finnish Herding Association and it purely messures dogs willingness and capacity to work with the animals (mainly sheeps). Former this kind of test have been availabe, but only unofficial. How many breeders regonaize this test and messure their breeding with it? My dream is that one sunny day collies would be seen also in official competitions in herding, not just in aglity or obedience ect. Now, I would be really interested to hear about herding in other countries and your opinon of it. As a small-scale smooth collie breeder, I would love to know your own opinion about herited herding instict. Should it be saved? Is there any reason for it? And how does it pass on? I have followed many border collies as they do their job with the sheeps and I must admit that it is amazing. I wonder if there is any other breeders, who would like to increase the value of herdingcabacity in our breeding. I would hope that more and more breeders would regonaize that collies indeed can, and should, do the work they were intended to do as herding dogs! What I am also interested is, is it possible to have important new blood somewhere in to my own breeding WITH cabacity of working "lines" in herding? How do you feel about your dogs passing down their workingcabacity in this matter? I am training my dogs also for obedience and agility, but herding is to me, above all. I hope I wrote clearly, my english is not at its best... -Hanna-
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Alertness: Very interesting thoughts Hanna . I believe there are hardly any Collie breeders today (maybe apart from a very few select American breeders) who select for herding instinct/ability when choosing their breeding stock. Very few Collies get to try out their herding abilities either at trials or at their daily work, so most breeders wouldn't see the point of selecting for herding instinct. If someone wants a good herding dog, they choose a Border Collie, not a Collie. That's the status quo. On the other hand, even if the Collie usually isn't used for practical herding these days, the herding instinct or ability of the breed may still be worth preserving or developing: Included in the herding ability "package" are certain traits we might want in the breed; like the ability to cooperate closely with the handler (attentiveness, sensitivity) and a certain amount of hunting/chasing drive (herding is modified hunting). All these make it easier for the handler to train the Collie for other activities like obedience, agility or field work. A good herder is usually synonymous with a good working dog (as testified by the Border Collie). So maybe you're unto something Hanna . Good luck with making herding trials official also for Collies in Finland Berit
myrnash: I agree with you, Berit. The characteristics that make a collie a good herding dog are also very useful for other kinds of work - the interest in working, the ability to take direction, but also to act in accordance with the situation, the ability to stand up to pressure and stress and keep on working, and so on. We don't have any real herding work here in Israel, or herding tests; I some years ago did have sheep and used collies to work with them, not border collies, and although the dogs I had did not come from lines that were known for herding, they loved it and had plenty of natural instinct. My blue dog, Spirit, who was born in the US (my bitch was sent over to be bred to an American dog, and she whelped there), passed a herding instinct test (with flying colors!)when he was four months old, before he came back here. He has subsequently produced puppies that are super working dogs in other things. The bitch I brought over recently from the US for breeding has a herding title, and the fact that she was a working herding dog was one of the characteristics that convinced me to buy her, as she is intended to produce service dogs. Her first litter is now three months old, and they have super temperaments. So I think it is very worthwhile to hold on to the herding instincts and to breed for them, and if possible, wherever possible to have the possibility of herding tests.
Duna: I agree with Berit and Myrna. Lifedream wrote: I am a member of our Finnish Collie Associations new working group which is aiming to change all of that. We are aiming for official herdingtest, which is made by a official herding judge of Finnish Herding Association and it purely messures dogs willingness and capacity to work with the animals (mainly sheeps). Former this kind of test have been availabe, but only unofficial. How many breeders regonaize this test and messure their breeding with it? It's very interesting! Now in Russia we also have only unofficial herding test. Border collies and Briards breeders ("Nafany" kennel, Moscow) have started herding with their own dogs, and now it's availble for others, even from different regions. This "sheep's place" is in about 100km far from Moscow, and more then 800 km far from us. We was really inetested with it, because first of all it's some kind of natural measure of dog's working ability and also it's just something interesting to know about (especialy with our dogs, who lives in the city). We have tested seven of smooth collies this May. There were Natalain Talisman, Tarielle, Triumph (co-litters, at that moment in age of 5.5 months), Natalain Heilory Hope (Duna, 5 years) and her son Natalain Prime Minister (Vovan, 15 months at that moment), Natalain Normandia (Dolly, 3,5 years) and her daughter Grazel Abissail (Margo, almost 7 months). My Duna doesn't show a lot of her herding instinct, but sheeps' owner said, that it could be an impact of her age and previous experience and she needs more time then younger dogs to show it. But Vovan has surprised us a lot. It looked like he was turned on his best near sheeps. He was trying to drive them all together in tight herd, but in the same time he was pretty soft this sheeps. It looked like he was carried on negotiations with them, especially with ram, to persuade them go in right direction together. There is few photos from Vovan's test made by Polina Rudenko (Collie Dolli): May be Polina will put some other photos and will say more about this test.
Glenmorangie: Hello ! Thank you very much, Hanna, for having put this topic Lifedream wrote: I would love to know your own opinion about herited herding instict. Should it be saved? Is there any reason for it? And how does it pass on? As Collies (rough and smooth) are classified in Sheep and Cattle Dogs Group (Group 1) by the FCI and in the Pastoral Group by other official organizations (UK KC, AKC, CKC......), there is no reason not to test them and not to work with them. If we do nothing for keeping the Collies in a working capability then they should be classified in the Pets Group (FCI Group 9). This is a matter of breed clubs and breeders willing. At a show in February I met a young man who owns about 400 goats, he works with 4 short hair Border Collies but he also wished to experiment the Collie. Not the Rough Collie because of its too many physical negative points (mainly its overcoat) according to such a work. But he would like a Smooth. Isn't it a good enough reason for keeping the Collie's working capability ? In France, Herding tests are official, organised either by Breed Clubs (like the French Collie Club) or by regional Canine Societies, under the high management of a special commission (CUN-T) which works within the French Kennel Club (the Société Centrale Canine). Almost all along the year, not only these tests are happening but also herding competitions from level 1 to 3 (the highest and the hardest), the French Herding Cup and the French Herding Championship. There are International competitions too. These competitions are open to all shepherd breeds although the Border Collie and the Kelpie also have their owns. Not simple to explain in details Here, one point of the herding test rules is the restriction of age : from 6 months to 18 months. Not before, no longer after. If your dog/bitch is 18 months and 1 day old, he/she is TOOOOOO OLD for passing the test.... Please don't ask why. By old past experience, I know that if a shepherd dog is born with the herding instinct, he will always keep it his life long and will take any opportunity to express it even on humans "herd". This makes me remember an old Rough Collie born in 1975 (my uncle's and aunt's one) called Lock-Ness. He was quite a citizen, has never seen a sheep or a cattle but once we were in a family meeting and we were walking in forest ways, the humans "herd" extended along the way and Lock-Ness untiringly tried to keep us altogether by going around us all the time. At a moment, one of my cousins asked me "But why does Lock-Ness turn around us like that ?" and I replied "Lock-Ness is a Collie, a shepherd dog and he tries to do his job with us like if we were sheeps. He wants us to be altogether and that is why he turns around us." Then I proposed a little experience, letting Lock-Ness win and then one of us tried to go away; so we saw Lock-Ness immediately running after the "lost sheep" and made all his efforts to bring "his sheep" (the human) into the "herd". Lock-Ness won !!! He was 5 or 6 years old at this day...... He also excelled in guarding and was very impressing when he protected "his" people. Personally, I am very interested in this test. In 1991, I have had the opportunity to test 4 Rough littermates from my kennel. They were 13 months old at the day of the test, living in Paris region or in a big city in Brittany they never saw a sheep. They did so well that they got their Working Booklet That has been the unique experience (until 2007) but I was definitely convinced that the Collie IS a shepherd dog and it belonged to the club and the breeders to work in that direction. What they did not do....... For reasons, I left the collie world in 1997 and I came back in 2006 with Smooths. One of the first things I did was trying a herding test in 2007 with my young bitch Florence del Passo del Turchino. She did so well that she was titled "Best Herding Test". She whelped in 2008 and I tested this year one male and one female from this litter. Both got their test. For me, now, the biggest difficulty is to find someone expert enough who accepts to train them.... At least the male. myrnash wrote: The characteristics that make a collie a good herding dog are also very useful for other kinds of work - the interest in working, the ability to take direction, but also to act in accordance with the situation, the ability to stand up to pressure and stress and keep on working, and so on. I am quite agree !! My puppies' grand-mother, Ch. Dandinas Graceful Gift, gave birth to 9 pups in 2004 and 2 of them are officially Guide Dogs for Blind people. At last, even if the Smooth Collie is still rare in this country, most of those who attempt the test get it. Some Rough breeders or owners are also successful in this experience. Alertness wrote: Very few Collies get to try out their herding abilities either at trials or at their daily work, so most breeders wouldn't see the point of selecting for herding instinct. If someone wants a good herding dog, they choose a Border Collie, not a Collie. That's the status quo. In late70's, early 80's one French man trained a Rough Collie bitch in herding and led her three times to the French Herding Champion title. He also continued with a male who also became French Herding Champion. It is true that at this time, the Border Collie was almost unknown in France. Today, things have changed and even at the French Herding Championship, the first four or five dogs are Borders, then one or two Pyrenean sheepdogs and one or two Beaucerons among many other Borders. It is almost a miracle that these few French breeds reach this level of competition !!! Anyway, I wish to all those of you who want official tests to be successful in your initiatives for having it. It is really great to see the mention "Herding Test" written on the Pedigree of our Collies Best regards, Françoise
Glenmorangie: Oh ! And thank you very much Duna for your testimonial and pictures Here are links of pictures about my Smoothies Herding Test : - Florence : http://www.glenmorangie-collies.com/expos/ene07/ene07cant.htm - Dagda : http://www.glenmorangie-collies.com/expos/cant/perigueux09.htm - Damona : http://www.glenmorangie-collies.com/expos/ene09/ene09cant.htm Best regards, Françoise
Lifedream: Thankyou all for your replys! It has been nice to read all and truthly it means a lot to me. So, I am not totally nuts with this idea, or alone :) All my dogs have now been at the field with sheeps and out of 8 smooths 6 worked rather well and 1 is extremly promising, at least according to our trainer :) It is my young Ramses, whos granddad - by the way - is Bilbo Van Shakas Royal Kraal, grand-grand-dad of Francoises smooths ;) Small world it is :) Bilbo is my own and my oldest dog. At the age of 8 he still had the energy to run and herd, so I am most broud of him :) I am going to have a new litter in the house at the end of tis month and herding will have to take a pause. But when fall comes, then we are back to the fields!:)
Duna: Glenmorangie Thank You!
Nelson: Hi all, very nice topic for me:))) I love herding very much, some of my group are officially tested for Instinct herding test here, some pass it, some not:)) On my website you can find some videos from herding training, some pictures too - www.grenay.cz But I would like to ask how do you think that smooth collies should herd? Here was till last year only herding in type like Border collie. From last year is here traditional style - FCI - HWT - Herding working test and International herding trials. This is for other breed then border collie and kelpie, because for example briard herds other way then border collie. Is more and more interested breeders in this and I know some who breed on tested dogs with passing the Instinct herding test and one who use her dogs for herding on her farm. But most of us haven't conditions for more training and is not so much fields, where you can train if you have other breed. In fact I know now only 3 trainers here in Czech, who are able to help you with training of your dog. But only one from them use for herding other breed then only border collies - german shepherd - some years ago.
Dianne: I have several books on smooth collies - some of them very old and almost all say that the smooth collie was a drover's dog and was used for driving cattle to market or to the fields and back rather than for herding sheep. In France we can sometimes choose to do our herding test with cattle rather than sheep and I don't know of anyone who has taken up this possibility - it seems a great pity. Astrellita Blue Macho drove cows every day in the mountains of the Canton of Vaud in Switzerland and occasionally went to shows and became a Swiss and International champion. I would be really interested if anyone else has had experience with droving cattle with smooth collies. It would be interesting to know if they have instincts for working cattle as well as for working sheep. As I said in a post on another subject, one reason why the smooth is more active than the rough may be that it needed a greater physical presence to drive cattle than to herd sheep. Dianne
Glenmorangie: Hello Dianne and all, Personally, I never officially tried my Smoothies on cattles or else than sheeps. But each time they have the opportunity to see cattles, they don't necessarilly ask my permission to go there If they are attached in leash, they bark and the cattles immediately come to the fence. If they are free, they immediately run into the field and they herd. That can also be horses. They are completely crazy about horses. I don't know why, but it seems my Smoothies are particularly attracted by them. That makes me yell like a damned because 1) I can't know if horses are familiar with dogs or not, 2) I can't know how the horses' owner will react if he/she saw the scene, 3) horses run much more faster than the dogs and thus they can throw dogs in the air with their feet and can kill dogs..... Florence particularly loves horses. She runs like if she had the devil at her asses and finds very funny to taunt them. She is a bit "kamikaze" But it is much harder to herd horses. One night, I read a website dedicated to the Catahoula Leopard Cattle Dog (a Louisiana breed whose roots come up to a couple of Harlequin Beaucerons immigrated from France to USA in 18th century). The farmer shows that only one Catahoula is needed to herd and to control cattles but, on another hand, two Catahoulas are needed to control only one horse. And Catahoulas are much stronger dogs than Smooth Collies !!!! Once again, if a Collie is born with the herding instinct he will use it with everything moving (even wild animals ). Best regards, Françoise
Dianne: I have looked up a lovely article I once found on the web about herding sheep and cattle in Canada. The first of a series of articles which mostly concern rough collies is called "Working Smooth Collies in Canada in the 1920's". http://www.herdingontheweb.com/s-collie.htm Here is the reference for your great pleasure. Congratulations Françoise, for having dogs with such great herding instinct. Unfortunately for mine, we have a herd of semi-wild sheep which roam around us in the forest outside my house. They are not used to dogs and flee at the first sight of one. As the ram is with the sheep in permanence, there are lambs all year round. I have had to train my dogs not to chase the sheep from a very early age because the lambs risk breaking a leg in the very wild forest here. So although two of my smooths have taken their herding test, they have been ajournée - adjourned which means that they have some herding instinct, but were not energetic enough - they were patently looking to me to see if I would forbid them - it's very difficult to overcome early training. They could have had a second try at the test. These tests are very hard on the sheep involved in the trial. The same few sheep are harassed all day by a large number of dogs who harass them quite severely - they are in a small pen with no escape and are terrified. At the last CANT, one ewe died from a heart attack and it seems this is a not uncommon occurrence. Must be a better way to do things!! Dianne
Dianne: http://members.cox.net/gsdherd/requirements.htm This is a link to using German shepherds as herding dogs, but I think a lot of what is said here also applies to the smooth collie. On a different track, cows can give a hefty kick as can a horse. A cow will kick out with one leg, a horse with one or two. I was once riding a very tetchy mare who lifted an attacking farm dog right over the road with her two hind legs. Heelers such as corgis rely on their small size not to get kicked - bigger shepherd dogs have to rely on ducking to avoid a kick and here speed and agility is essential - a quick dash in to nip the heels and duck to avoid the kick!! Horses also charge with their heads down and wild eyes rolling, teeth bared - an awesome sight which has most dogs running for it. quite often cattle will attack if a dog is present. Recently it was reported in the English newspaper that a woman and her dog were attacked and injured by a herd of cows while crossing a field. It needs a brave dog to herd cattle. Dianne
Dianne: More useful information about herding http://www.collieclubofamerica.org/herding.html Dianne
Spiritwind: Dianne wrote: I have several books on smooth collies - some of them very old and almost all say that the smooth collie was a drover's dog and was used for driving cattle to market or to the fields and back rather than for herding sheep. In France we can sometimes choose to do our herding test with cattle rather than sheep and I don't know of anyone who has taken up this possibility - it seems a great pity. Some of the herding tests in the US they use both Cattle and Sheep... for both roughs and smooths. Dianne wrote: As I said in a post on another subject, one reason why the smooth is more active than the rough may be that it needed a greater physical presence to drive cattle than to herd sheep. This could only possibly make sense places where roughs and smooths are to separate breeds, and there for not allowed to be interbred. There is no difference I see, from owning both roughs and smooths, as far as temperament and activity in my dogs. However based on what I have read about European roughs and seen talked about on here from you all, its not hard to believe European roughs lack the ability to do much more than be pets these days..... its just annoying to me to hear people talk about that, since I don't have European roughs, and my roughs act no different from my smooths! Not ALL roughs are like that....
Glenmorangie: Dianne wrote: These tests are very hard on the sheep involved in the trial. The same few sheep are harassed all day by a large number of dogs who harass them quite severely - they are in a small pen with no escape and are terrified. At the last CANT, one ewe died from a heart attack and it seems this is a not uncommon occurrence. It is true that our Herding tests are made in not very large area, but I don't see how our young shepherd dogs (whatever the breed) could do otherwise to be tested and quoted efficiently by the judges. We can not ask a (very) young dog to be tested the physical efforts than we can ask a "warriored" dog. That said, I don't think that the problem sets in the width of the test area. The problem is elsewhere. The conditions of weather, the season, the type of ground, the experience sheeps have or have not with dogs, and especially the choice of the breed of sheeps itself are of most importance. The dramatic event you are refering to happened with sheeps of the breed Charolaise, highly reputed as difficult, nervous, psychologically and physically fragile. In fact, at our latest CANT, there has not been 1 sheep dieing but 2 : 1 in the morning (quite suddenly), the second in the afternoon when myself and my young bitch were in full test. Judge Vadakarn told me that the sheeps used for this CANT were not familiar to work with dogs. Naturally, many other solid breeds of sheeps exist. I talk with Mrs Marcy (character judge), she breeds Malinois and Tervuerens and she also owns sheeps but the breed is Suffolk (white with black legs and face). Mrs Marcy insists on the fact that her sheeps are quite resistant and she has no problem with them nor with her dogs. After the shock I got from this event, I researched info about this breed of sheep. Charolaise sheeps are normally a butcher breed (not a milk breed). But, as I said above, this breed is fragile (I don't know why). In addition, it seems that some lines or families are more fragile than others. Always going further in my researches, I learnt that the French Herding Championship 2008 happened at the end of June, when heat was terrific. The breed of sheeps was Charolaise and 2 of them died too (even a dog have had a heat sickness). Nobody reported this drama except the RACP (the French Pyreneans Dogs Club) which entered two Pyreneans Shepherd dogs at that competition. Shortly after our Nationale Club Show 2009, I wrote to our Colley Club President about another subject. As he is also the President of the French Herding Commission, I told him about this problem in order to sensitize him and other concerned persons and administrations not to continue to use this breed of sheep. Unfortunately, a Charolaise herd still was used for the French Herding Championship 2009 happened in early May in Vosges region (the weather conditions were much cooler than in 2008). But, as you can guess, this kind of event is definited long time in advance so it is impossible to make any change so shortly before the competition. As far as I know today, no problem was declared..... In my note to our President, I highlighted some points like : - not to use a fragile sheep breed (Charolaise for instance), - to make sure that the sheeps are familiar with dogs, - to make sure that the weather, ground and living conditions are in correspondence with the natural needs of sheeps (I saw the pictures you did at Avignon CANT...... terrific conditions for them), - to make sure to get at least two groups of sheeps in order not to harass them all day long, - etc.... I don't know if I will be listened to. Time will tell....... Sheeps are animals first and must be respected as living beings as long as they live. Respect is a Right for all animals, including sheeps, cattles and so on. Best regards, Françoise
Dianne: Hi Françoise - thanks for all the research you did - I know how shocked you were by the events at our Nationale d'Elevage. I was shocked when my Black did his test at Avignon because the same sheep were used all day - they were so terrified that they were injuring themselves when they tried to escape the dogs - they were getting their legs stuck through the barriers. Black was in the very last group to try for his TAN - it had been a long hot day in the south of France.This was the fault of the shepherd not the judge. He had another group of sheep present, but he couldn't be bothered to exchange them for the exhausted group. I thought the shepherd would be sensitive to his sheep's needs, but - - - -. On the other hand, I remember another shepherd insisting that no dogs approached his sheep during the lunch break - he said the sheep deserved to be left in peace. Dianne
Alertness: Sounds terrible Dianne that the shepherd wouldn't exhange the exhausted group of sheep for a fresh herd. That's unheard of in Norway; if there is a instinct test or sheep trial here the sheep is always exchanged for fresh ones so as not to stress the sheep unnecessarily. Berit
Dianne: Hi Berit - and so it should be, but how can we change it? Two sheep dead in one day - sheep hurting themselves out of fear. Dianne
Nelson: Herding with cows was our first training with Nelson in 2005. Here you can find lovely pictures from Ivan Ruzicka - http://www.collie-smooth.com/ak051117/index.html - there were 3 smooth collies and all were very active with cows and goals. About horrible event of dead sheeps - here I've met sheeps, who were used to dogs and they changed them so often, as was neccessary (it depends on weather, how active dogs were, how much dogs were there etc.) For the 3 years I've never heard about dying of any sheep during these tests. But I don't know which breed of sheeps were used for that.
Dianne: Hello Nelson - thanks for the really beautiful photos with proof that modern smooths really can control cattle and goats. Thanks to Ivana who always takes such beautiful photos. Dianne
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