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Why did herding breeds other than border collie go out of fashion?

(27 Posts)
HomeOfMyOwn Wed 08-Aug-18 18:13:55

Daft question but I assume collie type breeds like the rough collie, old English sheepdog, Shetland sheepdog, etc were at one time common choices as working herding dogs? So why now are they fairly rare (and even more so as working dogs) and border collies common place?

OP’s posts: |
thegirlsallgrowedupnow Wed 08-Aug-18 18:59:13

I don’t know if it is a daft question or not, but our last dog was a Lancashire Heeler, also bred to herd cattle. There are fewer and fewer around, ours was ace at rounding up children out on walks and we used to challenge him by splitting up. Unfortunately he had lens luxation and was totally blind by age 11. Still walked happily at our heels over all sorts of terrain until 14.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Wed 08-Aug-18 19:49:44

Possibly easier availability of breeds from outside the region, combined with border collies turning out to be better than some of the other breeds at doing the job.

I imagine quad bikes have also reduced the total need for herding dogs - but I'm not renowned for my knowledge of farming despite having worked on a farm in my youth!

Greyhorses Wed 08-Aug-18 19:51:00

Probably because they are too sharp for today’s type of dog owners who want a dog that needs minimal brushing/walking/training wink
Pretty much all of the herding and pastoral dogs require quite a bit of effort and they are out of fashion now in favour of smaller less effort types.

I think border collies are still popular as they are cheap and readily available. My friend just picked up a farm pup for £250 hmm If someone wants a cheap dog then collie puppies are about the cheapest other than lurchers etc.

boatyardblues Wed 08-Aug-18 19:52:56

Aren’t most herding breeds very energetic, so not great at domesticity & being bored, relatively sedentary household pets? I think that has a lot to do with it.

boatyardblues Wed 08-Aug-18 19:53:40

Greyhorses beat me to it. sad

boatyardblues Wed 08-Aug-18 19:54:12

That was supposed to be grin, not sadface.

TheGoldenWolfFleece Wed 08-Aug-18 19:54:31

I love rough collies (since i saw the 1950s lassie film) but you can't really find the old style dogs any more. They're much smaller and more fluffy now than back in the good old days. Having walked around crufts you'd be hard pressed to find a dog capable of doing a day's work.

They've started crossing them with poodles now. I saw some called cadoodles the other day.

HomeOfMyOwn Wed 08-Aug-18 20:52:55

grey £250 for a border collie pup!!! shockshock That's nothing for a puppy! I had heard of lurcher pups being sold for those kind of prices but no other puppy (except rescues who aren't really selling but finding good homes for a donation). No wonder they are so common place.

They are apparently worth a few thousand once they are a properly trained sheep dog - with the months and months of training that takes.

Avacado Thats probably right. Ability to get other breeds from elsewhere, where there may have been dogs even better at the job, would make the traditional area dog breed lose popularity. So borders were likely the best at the job. Then yes it probably has been further compounded by quadbikes - kind of like cars and horses.

Golden I'm young to have seen lassie but even I dreamt of owning a "lassie dog" as a DC. I suppose if people didn't want them as workers breeding out the working drive and stamina/ making them better pets rather than workers, was how people managed to continue the breed. It's very sad though, to have lost what they once were.

OP’s posts: |
HomeOfMyOwn Wed 08-Aug-18 21:00:27

Also seriously crossing collies with poodles! I don't think I will ever understand this need to cross everything with poodles. Poodles are fantastic dogs in their own right they don't need crossing to make a good dog - but they are incredibly intelligent and fairly high energy dogs and that always seems to be forgotten in these crossings. The resulting pups of a collie cross poodle would surely be one loopy, high energy, frighteningly intelligent dog that would need a lot of physical and mental "work" to keep it sane.

OP’s posts: |
fivedogstofeed Thu 09-Aug-18 08:13:01

£250 for a collie pup?! Where I live they are given away free and dumped every day sad

HomeOfMyOwn Thu 09-Aug-18 09:16:53

shock sad

OP’s posts: |
AvocadosBeforeMortgages Thu 09-Aug-18 09:55:00

@fivedogs are these Welsh farmers by any chance? If so you might like to tell them about the £35 neutering they can get for their collies regardless of income. They do it for people in certain other circumstances too (income / postcode based) though this seems the most likely category from what you've said!

fivedogstofeed Thu 09-Aug-18 10:11:00

N. Ireland avocado sad
Dogs Trust and local rescues are working hard with free neutering but the stream of unwanted litters is endless.

tabulahrasa Thu 09-Aug-18 10:14:05

“Daft question but I assume collie type breeds like the rough collie, old English sheepdog, Shetland sheepdog, etc were at one time common choices as working herding dogs?”

I don’t know that they were tbh - shelties were originally spitz type dogs, the difference between what became rough and border collies was mostly size and temperament because they were used for slightly different jobs...

So you had a variety of slightly different herding types rather than breeds and it’s only after breeding dogs and creating dog breeds becomes fashionable that they all split properly.

You get a lot of working sheepdogs that aren’t actually collies, they’re collie type and are mostly collie, but farmers will happily stick another breed in the mix if the dog has traits they want. So I kind of assume that’s how it used to work then as well.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Thu 09-Aug-18 10:52:01

Ah I gather N Ireland is a lot worse than GB for stray dogs etc. Still not as bad as the Republic, which sounds like it's about 40 years behind GB from what I've heard.

I guess N Ireland & the Republic just didn't get the responsible ownership campaigns that GB did and so it will get better eventually, but it's going to take time - it's essentially a cultural shift.

Greyhorses Thu 09-Aug-18 12:32:59

I’ve just put border collie in google search and the first litter that comes up is £185.

I have a friend who has a border collie because she couldn’t afford a golden retriever which is what she originally wanted hmm

fivedogstofeed Thu 09-Aug-18 13:04:50

Google collie pups where I live and the first page will be FTGH, after that maybe £20/£30 sad

Even worse, you'll get the FTGH one year old that they kept to work sheep but decided wasn't good enough The second typical case this year is in my yard right now

HomeOfMyOwn Thu 09-Aug-18 13:22:48

I have a friend who has a border collie because she couldn’t afford a golden retriever which is what she originally wanted

Mind boggling! They are completely different breed types with completely different attributes.

5dogs it's just so sad. There must be serious over breeding for them to have such little value.

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fivedogstofeed Thu 09-Aug-18 14:23:19

Overbreeding home, yes - collies are the most common breed in pounds here. Rescues can't even find homes for collie x ( often with lab/springer/retriever), and even for cute puppies.
Of course we are a huge centre for puppy farming and all the fashionable breeds are readily available as well.

bunnygeek Thu 09-Aug-18 15:08:44

Border Collies and BC crosses are easily in the top 10, if not top 5, breeds found in rescue in the UK sad mainly because they're cheap to buy as puppies but are not that low maintenance and can be so high energy.

I made this Pinterest board full of Collies I've found in rescues.

Vallahalagonebutnotforgotten Thu 09-Aug-18 16:15:33

oh bunnygeek sad I should not have looked at bunnygeek pininterest page - I must be able to squeeze in another one

A working sheep dog is a collie but just without the KC pedigree.

I have 4 rescue working sheep dogs that are border collies but have no kc registration

I have 2 rescue Border Collies that just have papers from Kennel Club and ISDS.

I also think collies are misunderstood the number of people that say I must be out walking all day with them. Collies do not need masses of exercise - well mine get about 90 mins off lead everyday BUT they do need a lot of mental stimulation.

My labrador is the one hassling me for exercise but the collies want attention and things to do. This may be training, it may be scent work, it is sometimes sheep work, it may be agility, obedience, search and rescue but they need to be busy.

I work with dogs as a profession and am lucky that my guys can come to work with me. Well actually they think I go to work with them smile

I think collies has stuck the course as working dogs because one they are just amazing (!) but they are very people orientated dogs. They want to be with people and do have a very special bond with their owner. This makes them easy to have around in a working environment, they will sit on the quad bike, they will hike up the fields, they are adaptable on what they will do, work sheep, work cows, they will sit at your feet while you do accounts etc.

They are highly intelligent and also empathetic as well as instinctive. They can work for 12 hours one day and then happily spend the next day watching the sheep in the paddock. They have limited health issues and are pretty low maintenance a quick brush etc and they are fit for anything.

They are stunning dogs and I am privileged to be able to live with them grin

lljkk Thu 09-Aug-18 16:16:46

Aren't Corgis a herding breed? Seem popular.

crrrzy Thu 09-Aug-18 16:21:15

My mum was torn between a gorgeous border collie and a Labrador. I reminded her of her brothers beautiful (we all really loved that dog) border collie's endless energy and drive...

She got the lab.

TillyTadpole Sat 11-Aug-18 23:50:47

I had a border collie throughout my childhood. Lassie was the best dog ever! She was the runt of the litter and the farmer gave her to me when she was 8 weeks old.

She ran the mountains with me all day every day during the summer months. She was so easy to train and knew lots of tricks. She absolutely knew what we were saying.

By the time I went to secondary school Lassie would accompany me to the bus stop and wait there until I came home on the bus. My mum went looking for her once and brought her home. Within minutes she was back at the bus stop....waiting.

She was reported to the dog warden as a "stray". We had to go and collect her from the dog pound. Mother wasn't happy that we had to pay to free her. From that day on the dog warden used to look out for her and made sure her water bowl was full as she waited at the bus stop. Lassie was, without doubt, my best friend. We had so many adventures together. I didn't need human friends - just as well really, as we lived in a bungalow far from the madding crowd. I still miss her almost 40 years on and have never been able to bring myself to get another border collie since. S/he just wouldn't have measured up.

RIP Lassie. Never forgotten xxxxx

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