Looking for a dog, it turns, out can take over your entire mind. Well, my entire mind anyway. I do tend to let that happen. A lot. For instance, I have already picked out several sheep breeds to raise (some of which do not exist in North America, conveniently), although I do not own any property.
Anyway, back to dogs. I was set on getting a collie. I dragged the family to town last week to meet a real, live, beautiful eight-year-old collie male — not to consider acquiring, but just to meet an actual specimen of the breed. He did not disappoint. He is a really stunning and friendly and well-behaved dog.
But then I found something out. I found out that there are folks out there who are carefully breeding puppies but are not breeding for dog shows. Specifically, there are people breeding old-time collie-type dogs. They don’t care about the AKC registration, some are openly hostile to showing dogs and breeding dogs for shows, and they are breeding really smart, really healthy, really non-neurotic dogs. Some of them certify their dogs as young adults based on their working strengths.
A lot of them breed English Shepherds — not an AKC-recognized breed, but recognized by some other kennel clubs. They’re sort of like a natural-looking collie. Their muzzles are shorter and broader, and their eyes are bigger, and their coats are not so huge, and they are a little smaller overall. They will probably be a little more challenging to train because they like to think independently.
I’ve wanted a working dog, but not an obsessive working dog. Someday I may get a flock of something wooly or something feathery or both and may need a helping paw. But I also may never get any such flock, so I need a dog that doesn’t need to work constantly or have a big-time effort made to replace all the missing work (border collies, I’m giving your eye right back to you.)
So. I’ve added a visit to a farm with English Shepherds to the travel agenda for this weekend when we’re on the way down to PA. And we shall see what we shall see. Hopefully we shall see the dog who will come home with us, eventually.