Chapter 11 - Showing and Breeding
Many people who become Collie owners decide that it might be fun to try their hand at showing or breeding. The world of purebred dogs, Collies in particular, is fascinating. It is important to know that the glory of ribbons, rosettes and awards requires commitment, study, involvement, and copious hours of hard work.
While the art of breeding is a creative endeavor, each breeder strives to produce Collies that represent their own interpretation of the Collie Standard. To better understand and visualize the correct Collie, go to the AKC Collie Standard (insert link or hyperlink). There are also several excellent books available.(click to Resources section). Joining both the Collie Club of America and a local Collie club http://www.colliesonline.com/collie_clubs.php are ways to meet with other serious fanciers to share ideas about your common interests and goals.
The Foundation of Breeding
A solid foundation of successful breeding is not the end product of any one thing but rather the integration of several. Knowledge, the willingness to learn and be mentored, an eye for a dog, patience, and a plan are all necessary components that formulate a breeding program. Knowledge of genetics and heredity are critical elements in the breeder’s toolbox. A breeder employs this knowledge to make prudent breeding decisions to keep their breeding program on track. They built consecutive generations of superior individuals upon that foundation.
An extremely important component of breeding is not only using Collies that conform to the Collie Standard but also using Collies that have been tested for and are free from genetic conditions. All breeds fall prey to genetic maladies. Collies are fortunate to have a Health Foundation that has worked tirelessly to keep them strong and healthy. For more information about the Collie Health Foundation go to https://www.colliehealth.org/
Getting Started in Conformation
The excitement of the exhibition arena is a world of its own. It requires additional study beyond that of breeding. One must gain an understanding of the mechanics of dog shows, how a dog becomes a Champion, and why, as well as knowledge of grooming and handling. This insures the dogs being exhibited are presented and campaigned in a competitive manner. https://images.akc.org/pdf/events/conformation/GESHW1.pdf
Interest in conformation requires more than just reading. Finding a good mentor, visiting other breeders’ kennels, attending many dog shows, and talking to a variety of breeders are all key to increasing your hands-on knowledge. http://www.collieclubofamerica.org/cca_breed_mentors.html