Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Introducing Cleone, Blue Merle ABCA Border Collie

This blog post is a bit late, but now it will be more informative.  :)

In July, when we took a family vacation, we also picked up Cleone, my first registered Border collie.

I have been wanting for some time to begin breeding Border collies, and finally my hope is on the way to becoming a reality.  Our family vacation was the perfect opportunity to research a wider range of breeders, and find just the right puppy.
I was looking for three main qualifications in a dog, to fit my breeding goals:

1.  Temperament and herding ability.
I want to raise dogs that have the classic good temperament of the Border collie breed.  All my dogs must be friendly and gentle, or I will not keep or breed them.  A true Border collie also must have a strong desire to herd, otherwise it is not a true example of the breed.  Thus, I was looking for a dog from working lines that I could train to help me on our farm.

2.  Healthy, with good conformation.
I was determined to buy only a dog from parents free of hip dysplasia and Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA).  It must come from a clean, healthy environment, and have good general conformation.

3.  Beauty.
I know, a dog's looks aren't nearly as important as the other goals I listed above, but frankly, I don't want to have an ugly dog, be it ever so healthy and smart.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I suppose that working Border collies are beautiful to their owners, but I was specifically looking for a dog that not only had good temperament, herding ability, and health, but was pretty.  After all, she is a pet and four-legged friend, as well as a helper and breeding dog, so I want her to look nice.

I researched many breeders, and finally found one in Michigan that fit my qualifications.  But when I talked to my father about their dogs, he wasn't too keen about driving back to Florida with a young puppy in the van.  I acquiesced, and thought I had found another dog, from another great breeder, but some things changed, and I ended up coming back to the Michigan breeder, just to see if they had any puppies available.  I was looking for a traditional black and white puppy, not a blue merle, but as things worked out, she was the only female left in the litter.  Her sire was my favorite dog (as far as looks go) on their website, and as soon as I saw the picture of her, I knew she was the one for me.
As it turned out, my brother was picking up a truck while we were up there, so it would work perfectly for the puppy and me to keep him company on the long drive back to Florida.

And so, early in July of 2015, Cleone came to our little farm as a 12 week old puppy.

She has turned out to be everything I was hoping.  She settled in quickly, and I started taking her with me to do the chores, right from the first day we were back.  On the trip down I had taught her to come on command, and now I taught her "down" and "stay".

Just a day or two after we got back, a lady came to pick up two goats, a doeling and a buckling.  They were six months old, and extremely wild, so it was hard to move them over to her truck.  As I was trying to drag the buckling over, Cleone suddenly came in behind him and began nipping his heels.  The buckling suddenly decided that it would be better to run ahead of me than drag behind, and the battle was won.  Needless to say, I was thrilled with this early outworking of her inborn herding instinct.
Cleone also really enjoys playing with Kep.  He is eight now, and slowing down quite a bit, but he still has energy to play with her on cool mornings.

She has grown fast, and I have been training her to the best of my ability.  She will never be a world class herding dog, but the reason is that I am not a world-class trainer.  She is very sweet and even tempered, and humble and submissive.  Of course, children love her, and our other dogs.  There have been times when several very excited children were all trying to pet her at once, and she started to get a little scared, but never once has she threatened to nip anyone, or growled at a person.

She loves to "help" with whatever I am doing.  In this picture, we were measuring boards for our chicken hoop house.  A few minutes previously, I set down my measuring tape while marking a board.  A second later, when I turned around, it was gone.  Looking around, to my dismay, I saw Cleone carrying it around in great glee, out in the pouring rain.  So now I was faced with a choice:  chase my mischievous puppy down and get my tape back, and get soaked in the process, or  wait until the rain abated, and then go retrieve the tape.  She solved the problem for me.  I called her name, and to my delight, she trotted up on the porch and dropped the tape at my feet.
Now I am looking for a male pup who will be a worthy mate for her, and look forward to continuing her training, and watching her grow.  I am very thankful to the Lord for leading me to such a great dog, even when I was looking for a different one!

Thank you, Spur Bar Ranch, for such a great dog.