Do you really think Rough Collies that are bred to meet the current AKC standard are fit to be working on farms? I don’t breed dogs so that part I can’t explain to you, but I do go herding and have a lot of herding ties and one thing I’ve learned over the last two years is that all these conformation line dogs are NOT top performers in the field of herding. Working line dogs generally look much different from conformation line dogs. Working Collies, in particular, have less coat. These AKC conformation line Collies (while GORGEOUS) have too much coat.
My friend is not breeding “designer dogs,” nor is she breeding with just “looks” in mind (all of her hard work would be for nothing if she didn’t take into consideration their health and temperament). She is breeding to recreate something that was LOST to the FASHION. Breeders have changed the way MANY dog breeds have looked, and NOT always for the betterment of the breed. What they may think “looks” better actually hinders their performance (those big beautiful coats that they have intentionally bred for over years of selective breeding is a good example of that).
If you think that because she is using Australian Shepherds to recreate the traditional style Collie, that it’s just another “designer dog,” then you are mistaken. Before DNA testing, breeders were using Borzois in their lines to create that longer muzzle. Every breed out there was mixed with something to become what it is today. My favorite breed, the Australian Cattle Dog, started out as an experimental breeding of Dingo-Blue Merle Collie crosses. They added in some Dalmatian to get the red and blue speckles, but lost some working ability so they added in some black and tan Kelpies to get back that working ability.
A dog’s physical structure effects their performance and ability to work. Breeding big, heavy coats does not help Rough Collies work (or Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, etc.). While they look nice to people who are interested in showing, full coated Collies with CEA and PRA affected eyes are nonfunctional in the eyes of someone who works their dogs. My friend is striving to get back a more functional Collie that was lost over years of selective breeding.
Breed standards can and have changed over years. If you look at pictures of show dogs that used to be acceptable decades ago, you’ll see that some of them don’t conform to today’s standards. The standard once called for a wide backskull, pronounced stop, and almond shaped eyes in collies. It now encourages a long, flat, pointed head, beady eyes, and a dense coat. Not because these features make the dog more functional, but because they make the dog look more desirable.
(smooth collie from 1915)
(collie from 1915)
They have always had almond eyes, a very small if not zero stop— rough collies have basically never looked like australian shepherds and never will because they are not australian shepherds. People try to make dogs look like other breeds because it conforms to what they think is the norm— but that’s why dogs are amazing. We can have many different looks depending on what we prefer. I think some dogs are plain ugly, but some people love them. Just because they look certain ways doesn’t mean they’re completely unable to complete what they were bred to do.
But seriously, the only reason why they look heavily coated to this day compared to the previous dogs, is because they have better tools to groom them. There are many tricks that show groomers use to make their coats have more volume and etc—more coat doesn’t make them completely unable to work.
I still disagree. Even in that last picture, before and after being groomed, that dog still has a lot of coat. My friend who is breeding these farm collies has a few collies from conformation lines and even she has said they have more coat than her other collies.
And like I said before, at a herding trail, everyone knows if your dog is from conformation lines because it’s obvious. No one out there who’s interested in making it to nationals wants a conformation line dog with all that coat. I’ve heard it more than once from handlers who are competitive with BC’s and Aussies.
I think there are two different ballparks here; serious conformation people have opinions that differ greatly from serious working people. They’re not striving for the same thing. After talking to people at the herding trials, it was obvious there were multiple sides. Some of them don’t like conformation dogs AT ALL and see them as less functional workers. But I’ve also met conformation people who think conformation dogs are the only dogs worth living on earth, and anything else is unworthy.
Also if working ability and the classic collie temperament/personality have been lost or diluted through generations of show trait selection, breeding in Aussies could help bring that back. After all, Australian Shepherds ARE collies, as are English Shepherds, Border Collies, and more, including AKC Rough and Smooth Collies. It’s a type, not just one breed. They’re all related.
What if, instead of a tidy symbolic zig-zag, Harry Potter’s scar was a branching, jagged network characteristic of actual scars from actual lightning? Tendrils like a fine keloid mesh cris-crossing his face and
What if the previous generation of wizards’ visceral reaction to seeing his scar was because that image triggered memories of seeing the same stochastic pattern seared into the charred flesh of their dead friends?