As the owner of two border collie's, I found this article very interesting...
One hundred years ago, in the border country between Scotland and England, the border collie was the humble shepherd's best friend. The dog is still blazingly fast and super-smart. And those are the only facts many fanciers can agree on. The border collie is now at the centre of a David-and-Goliath struggle for rightful registration -- and job description. On one side is the Canadian Border Collie Association (CBCA), the only group allowed to register the dog as a purebred in Canada, with maybe 500 members and one stubborn criterion -- to judge border collies on their sheep-herding abilities. On the other is the 25,000-member Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), which represents almost all purebred breeds in Canada, but not the border collie. The CKC has now been asked by some of the breed's aficionados to bring it into the fold, which would, however, mean dogs being judged solely by CKC standards of looks, agility and obedience, and not sheepherding abilities -- something the CBCA says will ruin the breed.
The current tussle is due to the efforts of a group of border collie owners who want their pets to take part in agility and obedience competitions, which they currently organize privately. Miffed that such contests are anathema to the CBCA, and that they can't show their animals at CKC events, they demanded that the CKC poll its membership about taking in the border collie. If the CKC does so, it would be in a miscellaneous grouping, which is not full recognition. But that would mean border collies not only being allowed to take part in CKC sporting competitions, but also pretty, so-called "Barbie collies" being shown in so-called conformation classes, where dogs are judged only on their beauty and correctness of form. That will spell the end of the border collie as a working dog, says Amanda Milliken, an owner of champion herding border collies in Kingston, Ont. Nonsense, says Paula Elson, an obedience petitioner. Already the battle is "nasty, nasty," Elson says, citing a number of accusatory emails from someone called "The Shepherd." And when the polling ends on April 15, it's bound to get worse.
In Vancouver, UBC psychology professor, dog lover, and author Stanley Coren, while admitting that judging certain breeds on conformation alone had ruined them, gets irritated when he is presented with such an exclusive view. "Dogs exist for a whole bunch of reasons," he says. "We have working dogs, service dogs, pet dogs; we can create whatever the hell we want, and we do." It is important that border collies be registered with the CKC, he says. If they're not, "their visibility drops and fewer people get to know about them and that, to me, is a sin."
Article courtesy of Barbara Righton, Apr 9, 2007, McLeans Magazine. To read the full article, go to: http://www.macleans.ca/homepage/magazine/article.jsp?content=20070409_104108_104108