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I am Janet Beale, owner and founder of Astra Sheepdog Center.
Experienced Border collie Breeder and trainer for 30 years In the Border collie community.
I need no introduction with my Astra Sheepdogs, whom I have been bred for over 30 years, I competed successfully in sheepdog trials in South Africa in the late 80's early 90's and in the UK during the 90's, until full time farming and contract shepherding duties coupled with owners wanting to see puppies and trained sheepdogs curtailed my spare time.
Our border collies have been placed in homes throughout the world, they have achieved status as farm dogs, trials dogs, Agility dogs, Obedience and, Working trials Champions, Qualified Search and rescue dogs for people, drugs and explosives, Trained Service dogs for disabled, and Ordinary but very important Active family pets.
We (My mother and I) have bred poodles, both standards and toys, since the late 70’s, In Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe) our standard poodles and Labradors, were used to retrieve duck and pigeon, collecting shot birds for the likes of the Rhodesian President Dupont, here in the UK we have bred toy poodles for 13 years, all but two have been placed into pet only homes but the two sold into the show ring, have both have made cruft’s qualifiers on several occasions.
Our new venture is breeding the Border Colloodle (Poodle sires x Border collie females)
Whilst I have taken the very controversial decision to diversify into cross breed dogs, it is not without a lot of soul searching, investigation and understanding of the two selected breeds.
It is fact that the poodle crosses are the worlds most popular of all types of dogs as family pets, they are so popular, yet still rare to find in the USA and Australia, so I believe that the Border Colloodle, will happen in the UK with or without me.
I love both breeds and the crosses of these two breeds which I have met are stunning fun dogs which, if I lived in town, I would be proud to own as my companions.
Within the Border collie breed, my ASTRA lines, have led the way on health testing, recording and puppy rearing methods,
we will do no less with our Border Colloodles.
We will make sure we test both parents for the majority of the diseases carried by either or both parent to ensure we produce the healthiest puppies possible, they will be reared to the same high standards to prepare them for family life, even for jobs as working companions for search and rescue and service dog work.
I also believe and sincerely hope that this combination will never become a recognised breed, simple because humans have to work together since the development of a healthy breed even in livestock breeding, takes 100’s even 1000's of suitable healthy males and females and THEN 100’s of humans all working together towards an agreed standard in order to establish and then maintain sufficient type, genetic diversity and health;
It is because of this historical lack of club/society support, community and co-operation that the pure breeds of today are largely displaying regular health issues and horrific deformities.
I truly hope dog breeders attitudes will one day change so instead of fighting and criticizing each other, we can work together with respect, all breeders (especially the border collie breeders) working together to protect and constantly improve their breeds for 100’s of years to come.
I have tried and so far failed to promote this attitude, and now have little energy left, so must concentrate my efforts towards a more stress free life.
It is so sad, since I am not the only person who believes in a future of pedigree dog’s improvement through testing.
The only thing breeders and dog trainers can ever agree on is that the other person is doing it ALL WRONG.
But I cannot afford to continue to produce fully health tested registered border collies when faced with growing competition from loads of cheap untested even unregistered dogs. See here for the many other reasons I am doing this.
What the future will hold, nobody knows, but I for one, also being a normal human, who still naturally and instinctively wants to select on aesthetics and emotions, am excited to see what colours and coats and character, will come out of our first litter of DNA health tested, well reared, Border Colloodles.
I will enjoy watching them grow and develop making people happy, without my natural inclination to wonder how they would have worked sheep.
So here’s to the fluffy coloured future.