Why Breed Border Colloodles?

Leading the way to produce high quality healthy happy dogs for pet owners.

   I never hide what I do, so it is now time to make an important change in my life and tell you all about it.  

Above photo Courtesy of Mountain Rose Bordoodles
Due to my increasing age and disability, higher expenses, competition (see links and info below) from unregistered CHEAP, badly bred, non-health tested, border collie puppies:           

After much research throughout the world and more than a decade of gathering information through my border collie websites, from several thousand people applying for an "Astra" border collie puppy.  

The most repeated request was for the following type of puppy:-

  •  Rough coated (the more hair the better), 
  • merle or unusual colours, 
  • we just want a family pet, a healthy dog, 
  • not worried about registration as we do not want to breed, 
  • perhaps also as a running or walking partner, 
  • only a very small proportion of those inquiries were actually for any type of herding partner or competitive performance sports dogs.

 It is a FACT that the majority of the population just want healthy well reared pets of various different looks, type and character, only a tiny minority are interested in pure breeds or registration certificates, so I am going to offer them yet another choice and do it to a high standard to the best of my knowledge and ability.    

Our selected parents are health tested for the specific diseases for their breed and a few others to boot common to all dog breeds.  

You will get this information only on successful submission of our application form.  

Creation of the Border Collie

  Border Collies did not spring into being on the sixth day of creation. 

Shepherds took some of this and some of that, made a mutt selected from that mongrel the dogs which helped him in his work herding sheep, then inbred the Heinz 57 some more, bred it to something else, then linebred those dogs selected for certain traits just a bit more and voila

 - the Border Collie was born, but actually not until the ISDS was formed and started to register these shepherds dogs around the early 1900's.  

The Border collie as a recognised breed is still very young and is defined functionally as a real working dog, unfortunately though this happens only with the ISDS and the ABCA. 

It should not be selected visually (as with the vast majority of KC breeds).  It was because of this non-visual selection, that the NON show type Border collie is so diverse in looks, colour, type of coat, ears carriage, 

The primary selection for working characteristics until 30/40 years ago, did not produce dogs of any actual conformity in looks and this was the main reason the Show Clubs kept the Border Collie out of the AKC and the UK Kennel Club for such a long time, as they considered their diversity of form, coat, and colouring, irregular markings as proof that they were mutts 

Then they realized that there were a lot of them and they were cleaning up in the new sports of dog agility and age old obedience competition and it was finally decided that they might be purebred dog's after all.

Then One Man and His DOG arrived on the TV screens and the popularity of the Border collie world wide took off. ................................. 

How we RAISE our puppies.

Socialization is an essential part of breeding puppies and the results of its correct use should never be underestimated. 

The first 8 weeks are the most important in the puppies life. 

Border Collies as pets?

  In my opinion, all well-bred border collies should also be highly suitable to become a member of an active family home, they usually have no problem integrating, provided the dog gets suitable brain stimulation and guidance. 

However, my desire to breed the border collie has always been first and foremost to IMPROVE the shepherds dog, but due to modern farming methods there are increasingly less and less working homes available. 

If you check out the classified ads, it is shocking to find that the border collie is one of the cheapest puppy breeds you can buy, and you will note the many litters being advertised for far less than it costs to responsibly rear any puppy.  

In my opinion this makes the Border collie a target of people, who want a dog, but cannot actually afford a breed or type of dog which is perhaps more suited to their requirements, perhaps too the Border collie is a cheap and easy alternative to getting a dog from rescue, as the Rescue centers have become so fastidious in checking the possible fosters lifestyle that many no longer "qualify" to own a dog in the eyes of these "rescues".  

There is the other end of the border collie and ordinary pet markets, people who will pay a premium for a certain coat type and colour, unfortunately, this is usually irrespective of registration or health records, mostly because very few breeders actually carry out HEALTH TESTING of the parents.

I certainly do not want to breed these wonderful dogs simply because the market demands certain traits (colour and coat) which are of NO value what-so-ever to the working sheepdog, it is for this simple reason that I take little enjoyment sending my carefully researched well-bred potential sheepdog pups into "pet only" homes.

It is a fact that there is an increasing trend, even with the shepherds own highly trained working sheepdogs becoming family members when not working. 

So effectively every single border collie breeder, whether they like it or not, is now also breeding pets (unless you are the very rare breeder who places every single puppy into a kennel environment and it does NOTHING but work sheep), even then; it is to the pet market that we trainers look to, for finding homes for our "failed" sheepdogs who do not want to or have no skills to become sheepdogs. 

But unfortunately the vast majority of people are looking for a border collie as a pet first and foremost, this is what the market wants. 

Breeding Dogs as a livelyhood?

Trial by media, struggles of conscience, passion, ethics, morals, drastic change, hopeful success.

I think anyone is entitled to charge as much as they want for any goods or service they wish to offer for sale.  After-all those goods and services are only as valuable as the market demands.   
Responsible breeders can be Professional and make a living without detriment to the welfare of their dogs.  

The public has been indoctrinated to believe that spaying and neutering, is the correct procedure and unfortunately they also believe that this can also cover a lack of training and a poor owner/dog relationship.  

Despite this, it is now well proven, that neutering and spaying is detrimental to the long term health of the dog, and the vast majority of my puppies are sold into homes where they are neutered or spayed making it difficult, actually almost impossible, to recall/restore any lost bloodlines. 

Unfortunately, more and more registered dogs are also being sold into pet homes, so this trend is happening with other working breeders too, and it additionally decreases the genetic diversity of the entire registered border collie population not just my own individual lines.  

It won't be long before there are not enough registered dogs of any breed to safely continue to breed healthy pedigree dogs, unless breeders WORK together and stop being so jealous and critical. 

I have made my living from breeding and training ISDS registered sheepdogs for almost 30 years, and I have been constantly accused of breeding excessively, only for colour and money, 

yet this could not have been further from the truth, 

I have a kennel full of powerful, stylish sheepdogs mainly black and white and tricolours, every single one with the potential to make a top quality sheepdog with the right training.     

Despite accusations, I have lived frugally, putting every spare penny back into my dogs, in care, health testing, new bloodlines yet have little to show for my passion and dedication. 

So nothing new?  

Am I a hypocrite?  

Quite possibly yes, but then my critics and trolls, may well be hypocrites themselves, so unless they are perfect AND don't breed, they have no right to judge me.  

I have asked myself, why should I continue to fight for things I believe in, knowing that no matter what I do, I will still receive disrespect and troll attacks for doing my best and offering help and advice to improve the border collie and their owners lives? 

I believe that here in the UK, virtually nobody has yet dared to try seriously breeding Border Colloodles. 

Is it because the UK is the Border collie birthplace and stronghold? 

Or is it because of nasty individuals trolling to cause problems because of ignorant small minded attitudes surrounded by jealousy and for their own enjoyment? 

or that a small number of people from a tiny very small community 

of "registered pure breed dog breeders" believe that no other type of dog should exist, and will not see the damage to health, that closed of virtually closed stud books and aesthetics are doing to noble breeds?  

or is it because the majority of pet owners are actually against the breeding of cross breeds? 

All of the above? 

If it was the general public then the other “oodle” crosses would certainly not be so popular and the cross bred dog is more popular than any other breed on it's own.   

In my opinion this venture has not really been attempted anywhere in the world by more than a handful of breeders, because of the nasty social media attacks by small minded people from a tiny minority group who believe registered pure bred dogs are the only ones breeders should be allowed to produce. 

These people have nothing better to do in life than attack the few who have tried to do something they disagree with. 

The market forces for any cross bred cannot be changed by a tiny group of people, it will take off or fail, without any influence by the trolls, the facts speak for themselves, if this type of person actually had any real influence on the market, then Kennel Club would be registering the vast majority of PET dogs and they would be purebreds, 

but this is not the case, it is estimated that less than 20% of the pups born every year are registered in the UK. 

(For facts and figures proving this statement see next pages)    

Unfortunately, after 30 years of making my living from my border collies, my skills and expertise are still based around dog breeding, a job which I love, 

I do not want to change my way of life nor should I be forced to do so, by people who do not agree with my profession.  

But, by staying passionate and pedantically concentrating, with all my eggs in one basket, on breeding the Border collie for working ability, overall improvement and health, for a much smaller segment of the market, 

it appears to me that a potential new pet market is ultimately losing out, 

so is my chance at a continued livelihood, so I will not allow the comments of a few ignorant small minded individuals to take those opportunities away from me or my potential owners.  

It is a FACT that the majority of the population want healthy well reared pets of various different looks, type and character, I am going to offer them yet another choice and do it to a high standard to the best of my knowledge and ability.  

  • Our selected parents are health tested for the specific diseases for their breed and a few others to boot common to all dog breeds.  

You will get this information only on successful submission of our application form. 

My reasons based on facts

Puppy Trade

  Here are some interesting facts and figures from the RSPCA which helped me decide to take this new route.  

Some additional estimated facts of my own, based on ISDS and KC figures and other factual polls taken from insurance companies and rescue organisations:-
Say for ease of the maths, the estimated national demand for puppies is 1 million each year? 

The Border collie is known to be one of the top ten most popular breeds, yet does not appear on the Kennel Clubs top 20, so again for ease of maths, say the demand for the Border collie is just 50 000 per year, of that surprising figure the Kennel Club registers approx. 2500 and the ISDS registers just 6000 

so this is not even 20% of the entire number of border collie puppies born/sold every year.
you only have to put in a Pets4homes search for border collies and find the vast majority are NOT registered nor are they Health tested.

To me these RSPCA and other estimated figures were a huge shock. 

I dread to think what the ACTUAL figures are!

LAW NOT sufficient or enforced

What was more of a shock were the next figures:-

   From one report, it is estimated that ONLY around 70,000 puppies (900 breeders) out of an estimated ONE MILLION puppies born each year from the estimated 200 000 UK breeders (average 1 million puppies @ five puppies born to each bitch per year),  

This makes less than 12% of the market, are born to licensed British breeder’s  yet licensed commercial breeders, like myself, are getting all the flack for the unwanted dogs in rescue and puppy farming. 

But still the RSPCA received over 3,500 calls on suspected puppy farms in 2015, a 122% increase on five years ago so there are LOADS of bad breeders out there who are not licensed and are operating with bad welfare conditions with total disregard to the health of puppies and the lives of their owners.

  Some of the breeders reported are actually breeders of "one litter in a lifetime", or more likely "mistake litters" through ignorance and negligence.    

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION of a puppy farm?
A puppy farmer is defined as a "usually?" high volume breeder 

who breeds puppies with LITTLE OR NO REGARD 

for the health and welfare of the puppies or their parents.  

A puppy farmer's MAIN intent is profit.  

They ignore guidelines about the 

  • maximum frequency of litters, ie, breed a bitch on consecutive seasons so that the bitch gives birth before 12 months after the birth of her last litter. (This is not allowed for Licensed Dog Breeders)
  • Maximum number of litters produced in a lifetime (Six litters per bitch Maximum in a lifetime for  Licensed Dog Breeders)
  • puppies are separated from their mothers too early (8 weeks is generally recommended and is the law covering Licensed Dog Breeders), 
  • provide inadequate socialisation of puppies (we raise our puppies in the home using modern rearing techniques based on AVIDOG and PUPPY CULTURE programs)
  • sell puppies through third parties i.e. away from the environment in which they are raised,  (WE NEVER knowingly will do this as we have a very stringent Application Process and will not usually sell more than one puppy at a time to a household.)
  • keep puppies in poor husbandry conditions (we rear our puppies in the home and purpose built runs where they can see and hear the world. See our Youtube Channel with 100's of video showing the lifestyle of our puppies.)
  • and fail to follow breed specific health schemes (we have led the way in border collie health testing and will do the same with the Collooldes)
  • or to apply basic, routine health measures such as immunization and worming (we vaccinate and worm everything and are one of the first to start a titre testing program  Titre test pups  at 7.5 weeks to assess their immunity to Parvo, Distemper and Infectious Hepatitis, this Titre level will offer a guide as to when the puppies will require their first vaccinations and will hopefully allow you to take your puppy out and about, with reduced risk, much sooner than normal.) 

When ALL or ANY of the above points are neglected the result can be severe with puppies which are more likely to suffer from common, preventable, infectious diseases, painful or chronic inherited conditions, behavioral issues and shorter life spans.
It actually does not matter if you only breed just ONE litter, if you do not know what you are doing the puppies and their mothers are more at risk of any of the above happening.

Dog Breeding is a JOB just like any other

and should only be carried out by those with Guidance, TRAINING and EXPERIENCE in genetics and experience of animal welfare management practices  which can only be obtained through actually being on the JOB and the more you breed the more you know and the more chance you have of reducing or even hopefully preventing problems.  

To protect YOU the public, we are inspected every six months by one of the most fastidious and stringent local Councils in the UK
We believe that in the UK, every BITCH, her puppies and their new owners, should also have this same high level of protection.
Therefore we lobby constantly for ONE LAW which covers ALL dog breeders.

Impact of Registration Society

Healthy Border collies registered with the ISDS and Kennel Club, are owners happy with progress?

    Ultimately, the ISDS breeders represent a tiny minute proportion of the estimated UK border collie breeders (approx. 12%).   

Unfortunately for the whole International Border collie breed, despite the ISDS having huge imaginative possibilities open to them and the potential to influence the improvement in health and working ability of our dogs and the use of the border collie within many dog sport disciplines and service industries,  they ignore this potential for growth and maintenance of genetic diversity concentrating only on a minority of border collie owners and breeders worldwide by promoting sheepdog ownership and handling to only the few ELITE owners who either own land or have access to land or are employed on the land.  

The management and directors of the ISDS have preferred to maintain the status quo, being happy to hold membership and registration figures stable for 20 years. 

Despite a rising tide of unhealthy registered dogs afflicted with Epilepsy, hip Dysplasia and other still unrecorded diseases, the ISDS currently does not hold a proper searchable database to record health issues let alone wins at trials or working traits, so we as forward looking breeders, actually have no idea what real health problems our breed has or access to modern tools to help us select perfect mates for our dogs.
For many years the ASTRA Border Collie has undergone stringent health testing and we will do NO LESS with our Border Colloodles  

  • Our selected parents are health tested for the specific diseases for their breed and a few others to boot common to all dog breeds.  

You will get this information only on successful submission of our application form. 

Gathering Info for ISDS growth

Breeding for health, temperament and ability to do job (for herding, family pet, service dog etc.)

   For many years (10 plus) but specifically since early 2014, I have been campaigning for drastic change within the ISDS to bring in, for members, a fully searchable health and traits database which can be used to monitor, prevent and research genetic disease problems. 

I started and manage these two facebook groups, ISDS Bordercollie - Health Forum  

and the B C Working sheepdogs for the future - Institute of Canine Biology  

It is quite possible that I have not been diplomatic nor sensitive in my passion, having ruffled a few important feathers, making folks uncomfortable, because I have been threatened in writing by the ISDS with court action for the simple and helpful fact of notifying elite trials owners and the ISDS directorship of potential health problems, by naming  well known, well used stud dogs whose litter mates had just been tested as DNA carriers of diseases, as new DNA tests became available and I tested my own dogs and when I found a few carriers, I tried to warn folks to test their own dogs.  

Thankfully in the beginning of 2017 a new chairman of the ISDS was elected, Tom Huddleston, who appears to be taking some action and making things happen a whole lot faster to hopefully bring the ISDS up to modern day breeding practices in an effort to protect not only the reason (herding ability) why the breed exists today but the genetic diversity to maintain and even improve health.

To achieve this I believe the society needs to widen the scope of membership and offer facilities to encourage participation of the other 78% of unregistered Border collie owners most of whom are unfortunate enough not to have access to land and sheep but yet still offer the breed many opportunities to thrive and work even if just as a lowly pet.

There is much more than trials and herding work for the modern day border collie and unless the ISDS breeders and management STOP hiding behind the motto “if it works it must be healthy” the society may struggle to maintain the health and diversity of the registered border collie as we know it for future generations.  

Sheepdog Trials are the front shop window but the trials ownership and  trials breeders are in the minority (around 1%) so Trials should not be the sole reason to base breed selection, ideas, rules and growth of the society on.
The 99% rest of membership gets little thought when decisions are made.
I will still run my Facebook health groups as I personally have learned so much whilst gathering new topics to discuss, and I will still support and encourage ISDS to advance and grow but will try to maintain a quiet back seat. 

Because right now, unfortunately, I have had enough, I cannot emotionally or financially continue to knock my head against a huge brick wall, a wall built by a few individuals, blinkered by one thing only, sheepdog trials, it is time for me to look after my human self interest for my retirement before it is too late.

Benefits from Change?

Dogs bred specifically as Family Pets not as working animals.

    It is fact that the poodle crosses are the most popular of all types of dogs as family pets, so I believe that the Border Colloodle, in the UK, will eventually happen with or without me. 

I love both breeds on their own and have many years of experience in breeding them as pure breds.  

The dogs I have met from this mixed- breed or cross breed are stunning fun dogs which, if I lived in town, I would be proud to own as my companions.    

My decision will hopefully allow me to keep less dogs, to breed fewer puppies as my intention is to breed just a few ISDS registered Border collie litters a year for the sole reason of keeping  several from each litter to train on as sheepdogs.   My breeding decisions will NOT be affected in any way by the influence from the warped misconceptions of the layperson and general public or market forces.

I plan to find more time and energy to train sheepdogs and hopefully go trialing again, above all hopefully I may actually have less expenses, less work, for the same income.

Just as with any type (breed or mixed breed) of dog, provided both breeders and owners are responsible, and work together so any older dogs have a re-homing and re-training scheme available, the only real downside I can see is - if the ISDS or anyone is afraid of poodle genetics getting into the registered border collie - there are some very good Breed Type DNA tests available to ensure that any dog Registered on Merit is actually as close to a pure border collie as is possible to get. 

In fact, I believe that this type of test should already be used as part of the ROM scheme. 

EVERYTHING (except society/club registration), I already do for my border collies will be done for my Border collie x Poodles dogs and for their owners but I will now also be able to offer my prospective owners a greater choice of colour and coat, coupled with the very similar attributes of the loyal, clever and active border collie, without any detriment to the future of the pure bred registered border collie breed.

 For many years the ASTRA Border Collie has undergone stringent health testing and selection for temperament and working ability and we will do NO LESS with our Border Colloodles  

  • Our selected parents are health tested for the specific diseases for their breed and a few others to boot common to all dog breeds.  

You will get this information only on successful submission of our application form.