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Welfare issues - Breeding / neutering / spaying

We encourage the neutering and spaying of ALL pet Border Collies and any working dogs that are not to be used in a careful and controlled breeding program.

There are far too many of this breed around for the number of homes available and there needs to be a very good reason to produce more.

Public demand for pets is not enough of a reason - there are plenty of unwanted dogs in rescue centres all over the UK, looking for good pet homes.

There is a general belief that once neutered or spayed, a working dog will go off. True or false this is generally accepted - but - we would encourage the neutering or spaying of all non workers on farms - whatever age if the dog or bitch is capable of procreation.

What is the point of breeding more sheepdogs from parents that are proven not to work sheep?

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This cartoon copyright to Londons Times Cartoons  by Rick London and reproduced here with kind permission.

This action would cut down on the number of unwanted litters that are bred surplus to requirements and would increase the viability of the breed in general by eliminating weak and poor bloodlines.

In the case of accidental conceptions that are spotted in time, veterinary intervention can prevent an unwanted litter. If an unwanted litter from non workers cannot be prevented, the owners should consider passing the pups on to a responsible animal welfare organisation who will ensure that they are all neutered or spayed before being found suitable homes.

There are also some health advantages to neutering or spaying. It is well known that neutered dogs are less prone to prostrate problems, including cancers. The same applies to a spayed bitch, with the organ removed cancer cannot occur. Ovarian cancer kills a lot of bitches. The incidence of various cancers appears to be on the increase in Border Collies. Part of this increase may be due to poor breeding and poor husbandry.

Breeding and selling dogs from working bloodlines to the general public presents a risk to the pups and to the people who purchase. Many urban family homes cannot provide the exercise and stimulation that a growing Border Collie puppy needs.

Additionally, the environment that they will be taken into often over stimulates the inherent instincts and focuses the dogs working drive in a direction that its breeding does not allow for. This can only lead to problems.

A lot of dogs sold on in this way end up in rescue centres and behavioural problems in this category of unwanted Border Collie is the highest. Juvenile / Adolescent farm bred Border Collies from urban and suburban family homes are the most referred dogs for re-homing in Border Collie Rescue.

For the sake of the working dogs of the future - only breed from good working lines, tested free of hereditary eye (and other) diseases - preferably from dogs registered with the ISDS.

Only breed when you have homes for all the pups - guaranteed - and checked to your satisfaction. Look for good working homes that understand the breed. Bear in mind that a working Border Collie makes a difficult pet. Non working dogs can adapt - they usually lack the drive that causes the problems.

Young puppies that haven't had a chance to try out their working skills may be being condemned to a miserable and foreshortened life if sold as pets.

Breeding can not be a random activity if we wish to hand down a good working dogs to our descendants.

The future of this proud and intelligent breed of dog lies in breeders hands.


You may think it strange that this subject is on the same page as breeding but these days the two go hand in hand. This is a simple fact of modern life. Too many Border Collies are being bred in relation to the number of available homes wanting them.

The problem does not end there as many of the homes that would like a Border Collie are totally unsuitable for the breed.

The result of these problems is simply this - for every Border Collie born - somewhere one has to be destroyed.

Think about that when you yearn for a puppy - its human desire for ownership of these dogs and human greed for the money that comes from breeding and selling that account for many problems the breed suffers.

Sometimes a dog needs to be destroyed. There are a variety of reasons why but there should always be a good reason and the method used should be humane and quick.

These days it is very seldom necessary to destroy a farm dog because it is a non worker. Many animal welfare organisations exist to help with these.

If a dog is a sheep worrier but has a good temperament it could also be re-homed into an environment where it could not carry out this activity and can continue to lead a happy life.

If the dog is dangerous - to humans, particularly children, or other dogs - it will always be a liability wherever it lives and in these cases euthanasia is the responsible option.

If the dog is sick and suffering, beyond redemption and in pain or with significant loss to the quality of its life, euthanasia is also the responsible option.

In these instances do the job right by the dog and talk to a Vet who will enable the dog to die peacefully and without trauma.

Most Vets, these days, will not destroy a healthy dog without good reason - at least they have got it right.

The responsible thing is to breed less - then mankind will not have to kill so many.


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