Breeding Rough to smooth mating -necessity or not?

Rough to smooth mating -necessity or not?

Dianne: I am proposing a new topic - not as one of my firmly held beliefs, but as something I toy with as an idea and I would like to share this subject to hear your ideas. This topic is the result of a lot of reading I have done on this forum and my reactions to various statements of ideas and beliefs I have seen here. So here goes. Given that all herding dogs in the British Isles probably had a common ancestor, these dogs were developed in different ways with different talents and various coats to deal with the climatic and working conditions of the dogs in question. A shepherd dog working on mountains might need some protective coat to protect him from gorse, heather and any other brambles or thorny bushes found there. The coat could not be too heavy because it would be weighed down by ice and snow. A drover's dog, working more in fields and on the roads, would not need this protective coat, but would none-the-less, need a warm undercoat against the cold. Here is the scene set for the rough shepherd's dog and the smooth drover's dog. The famous engraving by Bewick in his 1790 book, "A General History of Quadrupeds", of a smooth docked dog called a cur dog or collie doesn't need any introduction to you.So we can say that the smooth collie as a type of dog existed long before show dogs were developed and roughs were mixed with smooths to give the smooths pedigrees. (As they were introduced to showing slightly earlier, the roughs already benefited from a few generations of pedigree) So, if we are face with two already established and morphologically similar breeds (who, because of showing, share an almost identical standard and can be considered as two branches of a similar type of dog), why hanker after breeding rough to smooth again? As we distance ourselves from rough to smooth mating, perhaps the original smooth is re-emerging - do we want to lose this dog again? PS -There have been no wolves in England since the 12th century and none in Scotland since they were hunted to extinction in the late 1700s, so the collie has had no need of a vocation as a "wolf dog" for quite some time, hence, some people say, his gentler nature.

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myrnash: With all the discussion of the different types and so on, I thought this article would be interesting - I found it excellent. http://www.thedogplace.org/Articles/Breeder/0901-Preferred-Type_Gammill.htm

Alertness: I don't have this directly from any reliable source, but it is said (?) that rough breeders in England discontinued trying to use roughs (with smooth parents) in rough breeding as they were not happy with the coat of the offspring even several generations later: The big, very abundant/excessive coat they had worked so hard to develop through lots of generations were ruined by introducing these very moderately coated roughs into the breeding programme. I don't know if this is true as American breeders don't seem to have any trouble keeping the big coat on their roughs despite rough/smooth matings or rough/rough from smooth parent matings. Berit

myrnash: I agree with you, Berit, that the American dogs don't seem to suffer coatwise from having smooths in their background. In my opinion, the coat texture of the American roughs is much better and more correct than these huge, profuse, soft coat we see in the English lines...

Dianne: Spiritwind wrote I think its pretty obvious at one point roughs from smooth parents were used for breeding in Europe, since up until, when was it? the early 90's (correct me if I'm wrong) you could still breed rough x smooth. Even when the two varieties were more similar than they are today, in Europe... Roughs were bred with smooths to produce smooth litters until 1993. On the contrary, smooths were not used to breed with roughs to produce rough puppies. Rough puppies from smooth litters would be sold as pets. What I quoted here refers to some time in the far past. I will enquire in England to see if anyone remembers rough smooths being "bred on" in living memory, but I very much doubt it. I have found something very interesting in "Smooth Collie Pedigrees - a selection 1900 to 2004" produced by the Smooth Collie Club of Great Britain: Quote: While I appreciate that a single ancestor appearing in the distant past would have virtually no influence on descendants decades later, I find it interesting to realise that Rough collies born in Smooth litters bred on and played a part in shaping both breeds in a way that, due to current legislation, they cannot do today.Brenda Kennedy with special thanks to Dareen Bridge. Berit - it would be interesting to see some photos of roughs from smooth litters in America - I have the impression that the smooths have more coat on them than we would find on many smooths here and probably the rough smooths have more coat on them too. One example would be the Jack Mack's dog that was from an American litter and was exported to Italy. As roughs and smooths are mixed more than they are here, presumably, there is more consistency in the coats. But again, I would like some statistics. I feel that once again, in the states, it is the smooth breeders that enjoy cross breeding and the rough breeders not so. Any information on this would be welcome. Dianne

Dianne: Hi again Berit - in another forum, you said If you look at the American smooths and roughs that are being interbred generation upon generation you see that there are no "inbetweens"; the result will never be a collie that is neither smooth nor rough, it will not be like a border collie with semi-long coat. Yes, the smooths may get a little thicker and more "open" coat, but it will never be long. And the roughs from such breedings do tend to get a less abundant coat (not as excessive), but they will never be short-haired. These roughs from smooth litters may actually look a lot like the early rough historic collie with a more moderate and functional coat (but still long). Personally I find the roughs from smooth litters very fascinating; they're like a living history book . They show us what roughs really are supposed to look like if breeders hadn't worked hard to breed for the massive, excessive coat of today's modern collies. Berit This is a very valuable observation for this discussion. It seems to me that as smooths were bred to roughs at the beginning of the 20th century and again after the second world war, rough smooths contain some very ancient genetic material - a living history book as you say. All the more reason to use them for breeding with smooths.(let alone for bringing modern roughs back to some semblance of their traditional look) Dianne

Dianne: Hi Myrna - I thought I had thanked you for your interesting link and said how sadly true the article is, but I seem to have lost the post - so - - - thanks Dianne

Spiritwind: Dianne wrote: Roughs were bred with smooths to produce smooth litters until 1993. On the contrary, smooths were not used to breed with roughs to produce rough puppies. Rough puppies from smooth litters would be sold as pets. I guess this would be a downfall to the European Collie then, as I don't think a good Collie should be judge on coat alone! Dianne wrote: I feel that once again, in the states, it is the smooth breeders that enjoy cross breeding and the rough breeders not so. Any information on this would be welcome. This is incorrect!! First I don't consider myself a smooth Collie breeder... and I don't consider myself a Rough Collie breeder. I consider myself a Collie Breeder. In the US we sure have breeders who only breed Roughs.... we have breeders who only breed Smooths... and we have breeders who do both. The pedigrees are still mixed with each other. A smooth breeder sells a smooth puppy to someone who breeds both varieties... or vise versa. Sure breeders have preferences as to whether they like roughs or smooths more, but they are still thought of as ONE breed by everyone! I know its hard for me to understand some things that go on in Europe in regards to breeding Collies, because we don't have the restrictions that you do... as far as breeding rough x smooth.. or blue to sable... But I don't think you can fully understand what breeders here think, as far as breeding, when we look at our dogs as COLLIES (not rough collies, not smooth collies, but Collies!).... and look at them and their virtues and qualities before even looking at whether they are rough or smooth... or tri or sable.. or sable merles. I think the majority of Collie breeders in the US breed both varieties. MOST (but not all) of the big name breeders in the US breed both rough and smooth variety. When Roughs and Smooths are thought of as two varieties of the SAME breed it really changes how you think. I know so many people think breeding roughs x smooth will give you roughs with less coat.... I have yet to EVER see this in the breedings I have done. I must also add that IF American Rough Collies EVER had the amount of coat most European bred Rough Collies have, I would not own them. I think the coat of the majority of the European roughs in completely nonfunctional. Having a coat that big serves no purpose. I have never seen an American Collie with a coat as big as so many of the European Roughs...even when their pedigrees are mostly roughs. Just the same, I know many roughs down from mostly smooth collies, who have great coats, with correct amount and texture. my smooth bitch that is due in Sept was bred to a rough male down from mostly roughs... I don't expect the roughs in the litter to have any less coat because their mother is a smooth. This is just stupid, because a rough cannot carry a smooth gene!...

Dianne: Hi Spirit wind - at the moment, roughs from smooth matings do not have heavy coats. Their genes must go back to earlier collies before heavy coats were developed in Europe. On my site, section "Puppies in their new homes", Arion is an extreme example having very little coat and practically no ruff around the neck.Dianne

Jencolcollies: Spiritwind said: In the US we sure have breeders who only breed Roughs.... we have breeders who only breed Smooths... and we have breeders who do both. The pedigrees are still mixed with each other. A smooth breeder sells a smooth puppy to someone who breeds both varieties... or vise versa. Sure breeders have preferences as to whether they like roughs or smooths more, but they are still thought of as ONE breed by everyone! This is an interesting comment you make. I think it points out a marked difference in the way of thinking between Collie Breeders in Europe and the USA. The difference being in Europe that the Collie Smooth is seen as a breed in its own right as opposed to in the USA where they consider them a different variety of the same breed. My thoughts are that the Smooth Collie has its own breed standard with subtle but still differences from the Rough Collie standard and therefore should be considered as a breed in its own right. This said I have done intervariety matings in the past and think that as a breed it is a good thing that this is still allowed for the sake of genetic diversity within the Smooth Collie (I am aware that not all countries allow intervariety matings thankfully Australia still does). JMO Jenny

Spiritwind: Jencolcollies wrote: My thoughts are that the Smooth Collie has its own breed standard with subtle but still differences from the Rough Collie standard and therefore should be considered as a breed in its own right. However in the US and Canada the Rough and Smooth share the same breed standard. There is no difference, other than coat, between the rough and smooth breed standard in North America.

Glenmorangie: Spiritwind wrote: But I don't think you can fully understand what breeders here think, as far as breeding, when we look at our dogs as COLLIES (not rough collies, not smooth collies, but Collies!).... and look at them and their virtues and qualities before even looking at whether they are rough or smooth... or tri or sable.. or sable merles. Well.... Would I be the unique person in Europe who (maybe) can understand the American's mind in their Collie breeding matter ? I am quite "jealous" of your freedom in breeding Collie I am personally deeply frustrated to have to manage my breeding program in such restricted conditions because I feel, I "know" that if I had this freedom I would be able to bring "my stone" in the Collie's improvement, whatever Rough or Smooth. I gave up the rough because it is long time that this "variety" does no longer fit to my idea of what a Collie must be. It is bred for more 20 years so far from the Standard That said, after 16 years of separation, I think the two bloodlines are turning around within themselves and are led to a big enough amount of inbreeding. This long time separation could be a real chance for European Collie breeders (at least those who are convinced that Rough and Smooth are two varieties of the same breed) to reintroduce Rough x Smooth matings in order to bring back a new genetic diversity. Spiritwind wrote: When Roughs and Smooths are thought of as two varieties of the SAME breed it really changes how you think. How obvious it is (at least for me) Freedom leads to Light, increasing restrictions lead to Darkness. In MIND. Spiritwind wrote: I think the coat of the majority of the European roughs in completely nonfunctional. Having a coat that big serves no purpose. Not only this HUGE coat serves no purposes but it is quite OUT OF STANDARD Still the today Rough Standard precises that the coat must fit to the body and does not mask the body's outlines. So the Standard remains quite functional in its sayings. But huge coat is not the only thing which "handicaps" the today Rough Collie. The "elephantish" bone is another marking element in the non functional serve. Why having made the bone so big and heavy I will never get any logical response for sure. Our thirty years old Rough Collies had finer bone and still they were quite able to stand up, to trot for hours, to run the same, had great reflexes and reactions both in their brain and their body. Having developped such a big bone, the dogs must also develop muscles, tendons and ligaments in the same proportion. Add to this the fact they have been shortened and enlarged in all parts, you have what you see for more two decades. WHYYYYY Dianne wrote: at the moment, roughs from smooth matings do not have heavy coats. Their genes must go back to earlier collies before heavy coats were developed in Europe. On my site, section "Puppies in their new homes", Arion is an extreme example having very little coat and practically no ruff around the neck. This is normal. The length's coat is not led by only one gene. Of course that gene is dominant (or homozygous recessive) over all the other genes but lots of genetical elements can interact with this gene. Why Roughs bred from Smooths for very long time still have a correct amount of coat ? Because the "Long Coat" gene is present in Smooths for generations resulting in a more or less slight decrease of the "Short Coat Power". In this case, even Pure for Smooth Smooths have a fair amount of coat and especially undercoat. Why Arion has not the correct amount of long coat ? Because he is from a long time Smooth breeding and consequently the "Short Coat" gene is more dominant over the "Long Coat Power". I hope my explaination is clear enough to be understood, my English is not perfect.... You can see examples of Roughs from Smooths bred in some kennels in Europe here : http://www.glenmorangie-collies.com/genpoil.html Jencolcollies wrote: My thoughts are that the Smooth Collie has its own breed standard with subtle but still differences from the Rough Collie standard and therefore should be considered as a breed in its own right. As far as I remember (from 1975), there was a unique British (thus FCI...) Standard for both Rough and Smooth Collies. Thus it was the same for the two varieties, the Smooth Collie was only described in its difference of length coat in few lines. Unfortunately, in the early 80's in England, some True Typed Rough Collie breeders began to develop what they call "the modern rough collie" in the type that everyone knows today. How did they do so and what dogs were used to produce their "new collie" is quite a mystery for me I dare not advance any theory but....... if you compare the today rough collie's type with the type of certain other breeds which normally have nothing to do with the Collie, *maybe* you will find some similarities However, it remains two mysteries for me : the too small eyes and the so large, heavy and badly set ears. Where do they come from Best regards, Françoise

Glenmorangie: Spiritwind When will you stop to post your writings just short time before me ? Best regards, Françoise

Dianne: Hello Jenny - thanks for your interesting answer. I agree with everything you say, (the smooth collie is a breed in its own right) and am interested that you can still do rough to smooth matings in Australia. As a matter of interest, how large is your population of smooths over there? Are there a growing number of breeders as in Europe? If your population is small, interbreeding would be necessary. Dianne

Dianne: Hello Françoise - thanks for your link - I will study it tomorrow with a less tired brain!! Plus your ideas about coat. Are these ideas conjecture or scientific ?- à suivre - - - - -? Please look at my introduction to this topic where I think I prove collies smooth and collies rough were originally separate breeds. The standards may have been the same after the introduction of showing, but before this, the smooth was not the same dog as the rough. Do please look at my engraving of collies by Sydenham Edwards dated 1800 and the comment about the collies at that time. I can quote you book after book about collies where the smooth was considered a separate breed from the rough in its early manifestation.Don't forget that "collie " covers the Border, the Smooth, the Rough and the Shetland, but not the Bobtail.

Dianne: If you were free to mate rough to smooth, where would you find the roughs to mate with? In which country or from which breeder? Dianne

Spiritwind: Glenmorangie wrote: I am quite "jealous" of your freedom in breeding Collie I am personally deeply frustrated to have to manage my breeding program in such restricted conditions because I feel, I "know" that if I had this freedom I would be able to bring "my stone" in the Collie's improvement, whatever Rough or Smooth. Like I said in another post, I really do not know how I could manage to breed Collies and live in Europe. I like the ability to breed what I feel is correct, not want some "laws" say is correct. If I want to breed rough x smooth... or sable x blue merle, because its the PERFECT match for the two dogs. I really do not understand the reasoning for them to be against sable merles. Its really not that difficult to tell a sable merle from a regular sable... either as an adult and as puppies, its easy to tell. PLUS now that they have DNA tests, to test the color of your dog, even if some breeder really wasn't smart enough to be able to tell the difference, there is a test for it! I think breeding a dog to the one that is perfect for it, as far as health, structure, temperament and head quality..... that just happens to be a sable x blue breeding. I think those are far more important things to consider than color.... Glenmorangie wrote: Not only this HUGE coat serves no purposes but it is quite OUT OF STANDARD Still the today Rough Standard precises that the coat must fit to the body and does not mask the body's outlines. So the Standard remains quite functional in its sayings. But huge coat is not the only thing which "handicaps" the today Rough Collie. The "elephantish" bone is another marking element in the non functional serve. Why having made the bone so big and heavy I will never get any logical response for sure. Our thirty years old Rough Collies had finer bone and still they were quite able to stand up, to trot for hours, to run the same, had great reflexes and reactions both in their brain and their body. RIGHT the coat is supposed to be "fitted" and not hide the body outline, which MOST of the European Roughs coats do! I really do not understand why the rough breeders do not understand this??? Or choose to ignore it? I go to a Rough Collie Forum as well, based in Europe and MUCH MUCH prefer this one. You can check out the Rough Forum if you want too: http://collie.heavenforum.com/ Its really kind of scary the way so many of the people on their think. The funny thing is.. I've never noticed or thought of the European dogs as having to much bone, so I'm going to have to go back and look at pictures of some! I will say when a dog has TONS of coat, the coat on the legs is usually also very thick and makes them look like they have more bone than they really do. I'll also have to try to get some pics of my 4 month old rough puppy girl, and see what you all think of her. What I have noticed with the European Roughs... besides coat, is they appear to be very short backed, no neck, short curly tails, to much stop, not enough muzzle, they seem to lack undersjaw, funny eye placement and shape and low wide set ears. However, I do not like fine boned dogs. I don't want a dog to have so much bone they look clunky, but I can't stand fined bone, stick legs either. What really gets me though, is why breeders of European Collies can look at pictures of top winning Collies in the late 1800's or early 1900's and think their dogs resemble them more, than the American Roughs. GGlenmorangie wrote: Freedom leads to Light, increasing restrictions lead to Darkness. In MIND. Totally agree!!! GGlenmorangie wrote: You can see examples of Roughs from Smooths bred in some kennels in Europe here : http://www.glenmorangie-collies.com/genpoil.html I went to this website. I have to say, I really like the roughs on this site... well actually all the dogs look very nice, but the roughs are VERY familiar looking because they look more American than European! Dianne wrote: Please look at my introduction to this topic where I think I prove collies smooth and collies rough were originally separate breeds. The standards may have been the same after the introduction of showing, but before this, the smooth was not the same dog as the rough. Maybe I didn't read what you posted, correctly, but I haven't yet seen where you have proven they were originally two separate breeds? How far back do you have to go to prove this? More than the late 1800's, because by then they were pretty well established. Every Collie book I have read states that the very early history of the "Collie" is pretty much unknown. The fact of the matter is, even if they were two separate breeds, they have been interbred for over 150 yrs, (until they split them up as two breeds in Europe in the mid 90's), in the US and also it seems in Australia. The breed standards have been the same for YEARS and YEARS in most countries, until they split them up in Europe, and it seems then t he standards changed. Thankfully there are still a few places left that consider them the same breed... and also allow interbreeding. From one of my Collie History sites: "A point of interest here is that the mother of Ch Christopher's great grandsire, Scott, was a Smooth Collie by the name of "Ch Waite". She was the very first Smooth Collie champion, and thru Ch. Christopher, is an ancestor of all Collies today. Thus there exist no Rough Collie lines in which Smooth Collies do not appear. " CH Christopher was born in 1887 (The Collie Club of America was formed in 1886 by the way.. so they were already established in the US at that point as well) so CH Christopher's great grandsire was out of a smooth bitch, so that would be his great great grandmother. If she was in fact a smooth... then at the very least one of her parents were smooths.. and so on and so on.

myrnash: I competely agree with what Spiritwind says about the European roughs. It is possible to find some good roughs in Europe, of a good and correct type, but you really have to search hard to find them...As a long time breeder that has seen both the American and European lines from the late 1960's on, and as a judge that has judged them in many places, the European tendency to these short necked, curly tailed fluff balls is the farthest I have seen anywhere from the intention of the standard and from what collies were in the beginning of the breed. I find it very sad. But I am enocuraged to see that there are breeders that see that it is necessary to improve, and that are making efforts to do so.

Dianne: Hi in answer to Spirit wind - my introduction to the subject is the first post here. All my reading in books in my own possession, some of them dating from the 19th century, and some other reading I have done on the web, lead me to believe that the smooth and the rough were two different races before interbreeding for show purposes.There is a parallel topic about rough smooths, so some information appears in the other topic. When I say the two breeds were separate, I am certainly talking about a period before the late 18oos. If you could take the time to look at the engraving I posted on page one of this topic and look at the three web sites underneath, you will see other engravings of the collie before his alliance with the rough. I quoted from an American book on a parallel topic which says Here is an example of an extract on smooth collie history from an American work Excerpt from Working Dogs The Breeds and Standards as recognised by The American Kennel Club 1935. Printed by G. Howard Wyatt, Inc New York Rough and Smooth collies have been identical in form, aside from the coat , for almost three quarters of a century, but there are many reasons for believing that in early days, they were two separate breeds. Few types of dog have been more developed and improvedin appearancethan the Collies, and it is difficult to say just how breeders undertook this task. But it is a matter of record that by 1885, when the first speciality show was held for the breed in England, roughs and smooths often were found in the same litter. Here is an engraving by the artist Sydenham Edwards dating from around 1800. More information can be found about this here http://www.gis.net/~shepdog/BC_Museum/Permanent/SydenhamEdwards/Edwards.html I could go on and on, quoting Bewick and other sources, but this requires more time than I have to devote to the subject here are the three references again http://www.gis.net/~shepdog/BC_Museum/Permanent/SydenhamEdwards/Edwards.html For Bewick: http://www.gis.net/~shepdog/BC_Museum/Permanent/Bewick/Bewick.html For Caius: http://www.gis.net/~shepdog/BC_Museum/Permanent/Caius/Caius.html Hope I have cleared up any problems over my "proofs" Dianne

Alertness: Than you Dianne for a thorough research . I recall reading something similar, that the smooth and the rough variety might have been separate "breeds" (or rather varieties produced for slightly different working functions) in the very early days before they became "breeds" and pedigrees were written down. If this ought to have any impact on how we practize our breeding regarding smooth/rough today I don't know. There is the fact of a very narrow gene pool on the smooth's part to take into consideration. Berit

Spiritwind: I'm assuming that was written in 1935 then, since it says for almost 3/4 of a century. As I said before roughs and smooths have been in the same litters for close to 150yrs now. The very early history of the collie is not really known, people can only guess, because as Alertness said, the early breeders did not keep record of pedigrees. They bred their dogs for their ability not their looks... regardless of breed, they needed to be good working dogs. The fact is, even if they were separate breeds originally, they haven't been separate breeds for well more than 100 yrs, the pedigrees are all mixed together. I'm not really sure what the picture of 4 dogs in supposed to illustrate, other than just showing pictures of some working dogs. None of them look like smooths to me, even early smooths. The one without a tail, is not a smooth, its a Cur Dog. Here is something you might find interesting. I'm not saying its totally accurate, no one really knows.. but its the possible collie family tree.. I have to leave for work so, but when I have time, I'll try to read those pages more... read some of them... still not really seeing how any of them really prove roughs and smooths were once separate breeds.