Finding a new working pup

Magik22

Member
I’m going to be looking for a new working collie pup to join the team soon and I was wondering how everyone goes about finding a pup that will hopefully do the job? Do you just find a local litter and take pot luck or do your research, watch the parents work etc..? I’ve always thought of it like a race horse, training is most important but start with the best you can find and it might help your chances. On the other hand I’ve heard people say the best dogs they’ve had have just been the last pup available from a litter down the road.

On the back of this, if anyone can recommend breeders of good dogs for hill ground that’d be great. Good stamina, ability to think a little for themselves and strong enough for pen work would be the ideal. And not that it matters that much but I always prefer a short haired dog.

cheers!
 

Al R

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Wales
I know of a fantastic litter for sale with a very good trainer, some of the best pups I’ve seen! Down in west Wales and only boys available.
 

sheepdogtrail

Member
Livestock Farmer
I would agree about picking the breeder first. Only you really know what you are looking for in a pup so try to find a breeder that has the same requirements that you do. Ideally, you get a pup from someone who is breeding collies that have the traits that you want in a dog. Talk to them about your options on selecting a pup.

That stated. Your new pup is not guaranteed to work for you. Most will. Some do not. For what ever reason. I would like to think a good breeder would take a non working dog back and re home it in a pet family if need be or work with it some to see what the issues are.

Good dogs are hard to find. Work dogs are even harder to get. But they are still out there. You just have to look. It might take a while.

Health is important. Unfortunately, the Border Collie has a good deal of potential health issues. Consider a full battery of genetic test to increase your odds on getting a dog that can last a while with you. If the parents of the pup have been tested and are all clear on the test. That is good enough for me.

I had a pup that was very powerful with lots of presence and really trustworthy. She wanted to work with me as a team member. She went deaf at the age of three. I kept that princess until she passed on at the age of 14. She could read my lips and pick up on body language. I could not use her in the pens as she could not hear animals approaching from the rear. Other than that she was one heck of gathering dog who could push and hold as well as any other good work dog. I had to put her on hand signals for close work, which she picked up in a couple of weeks.

Good luck to you and I hope you find the pup you are hoping for.
 

Electricfencer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Cotswolds
My first bit of advice would be avoid ‘breeders’. And anyone who has 8 hebs.
I just go a pup off next door, I didn’t want one particularly but I couldn’t say no when I happened to see when driving past, the dog was holding a bunch of cattle in the corner of a field while the bitch was pushing a bunch of ewes and lambs through!
 

Magik22

Member
training sheep and never do any proper work
Ah I know the ones. Some years ago I went and looked at a dog, as soon as the handful of ewes saw the dog they all ran in the pen and packed themselves in the race…be handy if all of mine did that!

I’m also a bit wary given the recent circumstances, puppies for sale everywhere and people trying to make a quick buck. The dog shelters are going to be very busy for the next year or two.

Finding the right fit for me is going to take some work! Thanks for the replies so far
 

Moors Lad

Member
Location
N Yorks
Oh 3 is it. Not only a dog-training expert but also some pretty spooky mind reading powers too. The strangest thing is that some litter-mates in all cases also proved useless bu**ers too, but I`ll sleep much better now that I know the real cause of the problem:banghead: . Very grateful for the encouraging advice by the way.
 

sheepdogtrail

Member
Livestock Farmer
My first bit of advice would be avoid ‘breeders’. And anyone who has 8 hebs.
Certainly we have more breeders to avoid than breeders to connect with. When I think of a breeder that I would work with I think of someone who produces maybe 1 litter of puppies every other year or so and has the proven work genetics in the sire and dam and uses those genetics in a similar environment as my own. I don't need a farm dog or a trial dog. I need a work dog. One that can work on its own when given a task to do while I am working on another task. I should not have to monitor a work dog. They will know what to do in my environment and how to do it professionally without causing undue stress on the stock.
 

Electricfencer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Cotswolds
Aye probably. Thanks for the kind words! I know a lad that is sh*t hot with dogs and he`s given up buying pups for the very same reason but I`ve no doubt you are 100% right - I have trained some good `uns in the past though.
Always good to hear from an expert.... :mad:
Iv trained 4 excellent dogs and have had 2 complete duds. I had two brothers one is an excellent dogs and would work for me to the end and the other I had to give away as a pet because all he wanted to do chase a ball all day (he has a good life now in the village).
New pup I've got now (12 weeks old) seems to think I'm great and spends most of his time rounding up the other older dogs and staring at lambs through the fence, seems promising and probably have him out in the pen next week with some cull ewes.
 
I had a blue Merle dog that would work for anyone and dad sold dozens of pups by him,most to repeat customers who said they were some of the best dogs they'd ever had. We kept a lovely dog pup out of the last litter he had and he was totally useless. Four years old before he even looked at a sheep and even then,no idea. My son bought a pup a month ago off one his mates for £100. Not sure how he's bred, doesn't look like a true collie but the little bugger is working really well at sixteen weeks old. Lot of luck involved
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
It’s definitely pot luck when choosing a pup. The best Bitch I have ever had the pleasure to work with (the one with a dislocated hip currently :(), is apparently the only one of her extremely well bred litter that has been any good at all. I bought her part trained, when it became clear she was never going to make a trial dog, but she has an intelligence I’ve never seen in a dog before. Given her litter’s history, and her poor confirmation, I’ve never dare breed from her.

I did have a litter from another bitch four years ago, as part of the purchase deal, and she had 9 pups. The bitch’s breeder had 2 of his choice, another went abroad for trialling (who won his first trial and sold well), I kept one, and the others went to agility or working farms. All did well, apart from the two the knowledgable breeder picked out. Mine is second only to the wise old girl mentioned above, and learning a lot from her.

I’d sooner pay the extra (a lot extra now) for something that’s properly on it’s way, rather than take the chance on a pup, however good the parents are, but then I’m not the most patient of folks.
A good dog will put a smile on your face every day, a poor one makes work harder.
 

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Five nature-recovery projects spanning 100,000ha launched

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Written by Michelle Martin from Agriland

Image-source-Savills-field-640x360.jpg
Five nature-recovery projects spanning nearly 100,000ha across the West Midlands, Cambridgeshire, the Peak District, Norfolk and Somerset have been announced by the government and Natural England today (Thursday, May 26).

This is the equivalent in size to all 219 current National Reserves.

The aim of the projects is to deliver nature recovery at a landscape scale, helping to tackle biodiversity loss, climate change and improve public health and well-being.

All five projects will make a significant contribution towards the national delivery of the international commitment to protect at least 30% of land and...
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