Someone just posted something about her "miniature Border Collie" to a breed discussion board I read, with a link to a picture of what looks like a 15-pound Papillon mix. The dog is supposed to be seven months old.

I've seen "toy Aussies" at sports events and hoped it would never happen to Border Collies, but I guess it was just a matter of time.

Please tell me it was just a nightmare.

Melanie Lee Chang > Form ever follows function. Departments of Anthropology and Biology >
University of Pennsylvania > Louis Sullivan (Email Removed) >
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I'm seeing some awfully small BCs come through my friend's BC rescue in the last year. Most with a known background come from stock dog lines I'm told. She bought one last spring as well, that looks more like a small Eskie mix to me!

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Someone just posted something about her "miniature Border Collie" to a breed discussion board I read, with a link to ... Border Collies, but I guess it was just a matter of time. Please tell me it was just a nightmare.

Probably not.
There are an awful lot of flyball folks who'd love to get their hands on a miniature border collie. And even now, there are people trying to create just such a creature.
For those unfamiliar with the sport, flyball is a relay race run with teams of four dogs. The dogs go down over a series of four jumps, hit a spring loaded box that fires a tennis ball, catch the ball, then back over the four jumps.
The height of the jumps is set according to the height of the shortest dog on the team (the "height dog"). The jump height is the shortest dog's measurement at the top of the shoulder blade, minus 4 inches, down to a minimum of 8 inches, and up to a maximum of 16 inches. For more info, go to: http://flyballdogs.com /
Border collies dominate the field in flyball. No other breed is as consistantly fast and driven. A fast height dog is a tremendous asset to a team, as the lower jump height will allow your big dogs to fly over the hurdles almost without breaking stride. Unfortunately, many small breeds are less trainable than BCs, not as focused and obsessive, have less stamina.
People have been experimenting with various crosses, trying to come up with the ultimate height dog. The border jack (Border collie/JRT) is one example of these purpose-bred crosses. Unfortunately, as is the case with such first generation crosses, the pups are extremely variable in size, shape and temperament. Some do indeed turn out to be the ultimate height dog, with the JRT's size and the BC's speed and disposition. Others are too tall to serve as height dogs, but make good speed dogs. And then there are the disasters. Obsessive-compulsive blenders with teeth.
When I was looking for a third dog to add to our household I wanted something I could live with, first and foremost. When you acquire a dog as a pup, there is no guarantee that he or she will pan out as a flyball dog. I also wanted a small dog. Our flyball team is chronically short (heh) on height dogs. Also, my son wanted a dog that he could run. We have two BCs and he's not big enough to control either of them in a racing situation.
I looked long and hard to try to find what I wanted, which was basically a tiny BC. But it was not to be found. The mini aussies we looked at were dome-headed, pop-eyed monstrosities. I couldn't bring myself to risk a border-jack. I had concerns about the sheltie temperament being too soft to cope with a house full of kids and BCs. We wound up with a JRT. He fits in well with our gang, is coming along in his training and is fast as greased lightening. But he's thick as a brick. Things the BCs picked up on effortlessly have to be drilled into his thick terrier skull. He has the attention span of a gnat. He's lucky he's so damned cute.
I would never give Cooper up, but if I could have found a true mini BC, I'd have taken it in a heartbeat. Maybe if I washed my BC in hot water and ran her through the dryer..
Kathleen Hansen
Z-Control Skid Boots
Leg armor for gonzo dogs!
http://webpages.charter.net/dhfm/ZControl.html
I looked long and hard to try to find what I wanted, which was basically a tiny BC. But it was not to be found. The mini aussies we looked at were dome-headed, pop-eyed monstrosities.

(snip)
I would never give Cooper up, but if I could have found a true mini BC, I'd have taken it in a heartbeat.
You would support a breeding program selecting for tiny Border Collies? Given what you've seen in the Aussies, how do you feel about doing that to a breed you love?

Melanie Lee Chang > Form ever follows function. Departments of Anthropology and Biology >
University of Pennsylvania > Louis Sullivan (Email Removed) >
: I looked long and hard to try to find what I wanted, which was : basically a tiny BC. But it was not to be found. The mini aussies we : looked at were dome-headed, pop-eyed monstrosities. (snip) : I would never give Cooper up, but if I could have found a true mini BC, : I'd have taken it in a heartbeat. You would support a breeding program selecting for tiny Border Collies?

Yes, as long as the working ability, drive, temperament and physical health were maintained (not asking a lot, am I?). Like I said, I wanted a true miniature BC, conforming in every way to my standards for the breed, only smaller. I wasn't able to find that, and was unwilling to compromise. That's what finally forced me to look outside the herding breeds.
Given what you've seen in the Aussies, how do you feel about doing that to a breed you love?

Clearly the aussies that I saw had been bred for size and nothing more. I'd hate to see that happen to BCs. I hate to see BCs being bred solely for color, too.
But to select for small, speedy dogs while maintaining the other characteristics of the breed? I don't have a problem with that.

Kathleen Hansen
Z-Control Skid Boots
Leg armor for gonzo dogs!
http://webpages.charter.net/dhfm/ZControl.html
There's a lot of mini Aussie breeders in our area. I've only seen one with drive and decent temperament. {And I suspect that one might be out of CA, since I only see him at southern Oregon trials.} All the others are soft, sketchy, spooky, weird little dogs. In fact, I have one here boarding at the moment, and I think his breeder oughta be shot. But that's just cranky ol' me talkin'. ;-)
Debbie
I'd like to change that. Many are soft, sketchy, spooky, weird little dogs. Far too many.
Debbie
Yes, as long as the working ability, drive, temperament and physical health were maintained (not asking a lot, am I?).

Too much, I think. It would be difficult to impossible to retain true Border Collie essentials while selecting rigorously for size. Border Collies are so variable in appearance and size that it would take some hard-core selection on size only to standardize tininess.

Ick.
But to select for small, speedy dogs while maintaining the other characteristics of the breed? I don't have a problem with that.

Except that it can't be done. If someone ever produces a JRT-sized dog that can still go out and win Open trials, I'll eat my hat. But it will never happen, so I am safe from hat-eating.

Melanie Lee Chang > Form ever follows function. Departments of Anthropology and Biology >
University of Pennsylvania > Louis Sullivan (Email Removed) >
But he's thick as a brick. Things the BCs picked up on effortlessly have to be drilled into his thick terrier skull. He has the attention span of a gnat.

That doesn't sound like any of the JRTs I know, including the one that lives with me.
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