Whim Shock
  Working Border Collies and Jacob Sheep  

Border Collie FAQs

Questions:

How do Border Collies do with children?

I don't have a herd of sheep or anything, as I live in town. As long as I keep the dog mentally and physically active, will I need to worry very much about her behavior?

Do you know any flyball events that go on in our area? 

We want a puppy now... why aren't puppies available all the time?

What is their energy level?

What are they like in the house?

What is a their trainability?

What do all those letters after the dog's name mean?

Are they registered?

Are Border Collies prone to Hip or Elbow Dysplasia, what do those numbers mean, and how are the hips and elbows evaluated?

My bitch is in heat now – can I use your male for stud?

What would be some good training books or dvds on herding and how do I find a trainer?

Can I have my puppy shipped?

Is Glaucoma an issue in the Border Collie?

How do border collies do around kids? Border Collies are similar to other breeds. As long as the dog and children are well socialized to each other and well supervised when together they all should get along well. BCs sometimes will herd children, but this is mostly a training issue. Children think it is fun to run from them and BCs may not have been socialized to not chase the kids. BCs have a tendency to nip at the heels of children or could become bike, car or rollerblade chasers. They should be supervised with children and should not be left unattended. Top

I don't have a herd of sheep or anything, as I live in town. As long as I keep the dog mentally and physically active, will I need to worry very much about her behavior? Border Collies are very energetic dogs that can make wonderful companions as long as their mental and physical needs are met. Most problems people have with BCs is getting them from high drive (herding) lines and not understanding what they are getting into. They do need an active life such as agility, fetch, jogging, hiking, obedience or flyball. It is always best to meet the dam to see if she is something you like. You may not always get to meet the sire - but most breeders can let you know what he is like. Top

Do you know any flyball events that go on in our area? I actually have no idea if there is any flyball in this area. We had a group going a couple of years ago, but never got as far as competitions. I know there are flyball events in the St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN. Top

We want a puppy now... why aren't puppies available all the time? Most breeders only breed a certain number of litters per year or for the life of the bitch. We only plan on breeding our females once and than we spay them. We would rather breed quality versus quantity. Our dogs are a part of our family and when we breed we are looking to replace our breeding female and add to our family. Our dogs also actively compete and most venues (agility, rally obedience and obedience) will not let a bitch in heat compete. Top

What is their energy level? Border Collies have been bred to work long hours and partner with their Shepherd. Taking that into consideration one must remember these dogs are smart and need to be kept busy. Taking a Border Collie on a leash walk won't be enough. They need active exercise such as frisbee, fetch, hiking, agility, or herding. Along with active exercise the breed needs mental exercise such as obedience, tracking, herding, or agility. When an owner meets their active and mental exercise requirements the Border Collie can make a wonderful addition to a family. Top

What are they like in the house? Border Collies can be great in the house as long as the household remembers to meet the mental and physical exercise requirements. The dog can be taught to settle and with plenty of toys can make a wonderful house companion. They do shed like like other breeds and people. But that just takes a brushing to bring down and a vacuum. Top

What is a their trainability? Border Collies are highly trainable. They can be found in many different areas of competition and life. They have been used as service dogs, search and rescue, herding, agility, rally obedience, and obedience to name a few. They pick up on concepts quickly and easily. They don't need harsh methods of training to get the concept. But on the other hand, their trainability can make them a challenge. They will find stuff to do and that could be dangerous or just plain bizarre. Some of our dogs love to shred paper for fun if they are bored:) Another one of ours loves water and knows where all faucets are in house:) But a dangerous game one of our rescues had was car chasing. So keep in mind the Border Collie is very biddable and fun to train, but can get bored easily and can find things to do that may be dangerous to them or others. Top

What do all those letters after the dog's name mean? There are multiple organizations where one can compete with their dog. Some of them are American Kennel Club (AKC), North American Dog Agility Council (NADAC), American Herding Breed Association (AHBA), and United Kennel Club (UKC). Some organizations will let All Americans compete, while others are restricted to pure bred dogs registered with them. We work towards herding, agility, rally obedience, and obedience titles in multiple organizations. Here is a link towards the titles in the organizations we compete in: Title Abbreviations. Top

Are they registered? Border Collies can be registered with multiple organizations. But a buyer must remember registration doesn't mean quality. One still has to take into consideration what the breeder does with their dogs. Always look for health checks (hips, eyes (yearly eye cerf at least and better would be the DNA CEA/CH test and yearly eye cerf), and elbows would be good. Plus dogs that are out competing in what the breeder wants to do, such as herding at least plus other sports would be good. The Border Collie can be registered with the American Border Collie Association (ABCA), Canadian Border Collie Association (CBCA), American Kennel Club (AKC), United Kennel Club (UKC), and the International Sheepdog Society (ISDS). Look for a breeder active in their breed. Top

Are Border Collies prone to Hip or Elbow Dysplasia, what do those numbers mean, and how are the hips and elbows evaluated? On health clearances: Out of 8026 Border Collie's hips being evaluated the percent of abnormal hips is 11.1 % (this is off the OFA website: www.offa.org/stats.html#breed) Now elbows: out of 1276 evaluations being evaluated the percent of abnormal elbows is 1.3 %. So what all this means is it can be a problem in the breed, therefore it should be something a responsible breeder looks at and breeds only from fair, good or excellent and breeds from normal elbows. There are 7 phenotypes listed for the hips ( a phenotype is a physical characteristic you can see), they are Excellent, Good, Fair, Borderline, and dysplastic: Mild, Moderate, & Severe. OFA will issue a number for Excellent, Good, Fair and Borderline classifications, but not the dysplastic ones of Mild, Moderate, and Severe. Okay so to check hips: one can do a preliminary hip evaluation. These are best done after one year of age. The hips are pretty accurate, but the elbows are not. The official OFA is done after the dog is 24 months old. If the dog is an intact bitch it is better done 4 weeks before or after her heat cycle since the hips can become loose during her heat. What happens is the dog is brought to a veterinarian that has done OFA x-rays before (experience is great here:) and the x-rays and OFA application (with fees) are sent to the Orthopedic Foundation Association. I always have my dogs sedated for the x-rays so the muscles are relaxed and the results is a more accurate reading. The OFA sends the x-rays out to three different Radiologists and each evaluates the x-rays and sends back their opinion to the OFA, that is how the hips are classified. What some breeders will say is their dogs have never shown signs of dysplasia, therefore they shouldn't have to prove their dogs hips are normal. The problem with this is Border Collies will work through anything (pain, cuts, abrasions, etc.) plus muscles will build around the hip sockets and keep the hips "normal", but the dog can still be dysplastic and if they are breeding from them they are adding to a small problem we don't want to see become a big problem. Top

My bitch is in heat now – can I use your male for stud? When breeding a litter and looking for a stud dog, a person should take multiple things in mind; Responsible breeders have requirements in order to use their males for stud service – these requirements can range from health checks and working ability to others. Most breeders also require a stud contract to be filled out. If you want to see our requirements please check out our breeding plans page. Most responsible breeders will be looking for a stud dog well in advance for their bitch – please remember to give them the same respect. It shows very little planning when someone contacts a person to use their stud dog when the bitch has started her heat a couple of days before. Most responsible breeders will want to know what happens to the puppies. AND The bitch’s owner is responsible for all costs incurred related to the breeding. So if the breeding requires Artificial Insemination – the costs include: Veterinarian cost for collection of the stud dog and insemination of the bitch, the collection kit, stud fee, and shipping costs related to the collection. Top

What would be some good training books or dvds on herding and how do I find a trainer? There are some many good books out there it is hard to narrow it down to a few:) But the two that I have found the most useful are: Herding Dogs Progressive Training by Virgil Holland and Lessons From a Stockdog by Bruce Fogt. These books have both been great help with my training. The DVD I find the most helpful for someone training on their own is: Starting your BC on Cattle, Sheep or Ducks by Rural Route Videos. As for looking for a trainer that can be a little more difficult. If you live outside the Midwest you can try your local Stockdog Association or the yahoo sheepdog list could help you. Top

Can I have my puppy shipped? I can ship a puppy when it reaches 8 weeks of age via Northwest Airlines at the Grand Forks International Airport. The cost is 300.00 for the flight, 25.00 for the health certificate and 50.00 for the crate and crate pad. Total cost is 375.00 in addition to the puppy price. The temperature has to be between 10 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit here and at the puppy's destination. The other option is to take the puppy as carry on instead, than the temperature isn't an issue. Top

Is Glaucoma an issue in the Border Collie? Some one asked my if I thought Glaucoma was a problem in our breed. So I did some research on the issue and asked a Veterinarian what research they could find out for me. Here is what I learned so far. There is two types of Glaucoma: primary and secondary. Primary Glaucoma happens without previous trauma or ocular disease and will affect both eyes. Secondary Glaucoma is a result of another eye diseases such as ocular inflammation, lens dislocation, or intraocular tumors or trauma. The research I have read so far states the Border Collie would probably be affected by Secondary Glaucoma. Testing for Glaucoma can be done after the dog is 3 years of age by a licensed Veterinarian Ophthalmologist and the results would only be good for that year. but it would not let us know if that dog genetically carries the disease or not. The test can be done at the yearly eye cerf. But again it doesn't seem to be predominate in the breed. Understanding Glaucoma, http://www.blinddogs.com/articles/glaucoma.htm, accessed 12/09/2009. Top