Aussies or BCs?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by kesoaps, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Which do you prefer, and why?

    I've been in contact with a shelter up in Canada that has a started BC (on sheep) available. I've also got someone down here with a very nice working line of aussie pups, and she's willing to trade for sheep.

    I've heard that the BCs are more intense workers, that they'll likely get the job done better than the aussies. Flip side is that they're often so intent on getting the job done that they forget how to be a family companion. I have to admit that a friends BC spends so much time herding everything that moves (including my truck when it comes down the driveway) that she's rather difficult to have a relationship with.

    Have any of you owned both breeds? What words of wisdom can you impart?
     
  2. kirsten

    kirsten Well-Known Member

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    I owned an aussie and I currently own a BC. My BC is only 4 months and 1 week but I prefer the aussie. I prefer their type of intelliegnce, the ability to focus on you in their puppyhood, their desire to please without being hyper, their edge to them (ferocity/guts) when dealing with stock. They don't forget you. It really feels like you have a partner.

    Granted, I didn't pick the best BC pup. She turned out to be shy and insecure and can't even go outside to go potty or anything without us yet. She is a thinker but can't buckle down to focus on even obedience commands very well yet. They say BCs are so smart that they develop more slowly becuase they are thinking harder but I don't know. BCs seem to ruin faster than any other dog breed on the planet. One false move and you could have a useless dog on your hands. I know a lot of people with now useless BCs. Aussies can take correction better and IMO tend to be gutsier dogs.

    Make sure the aussie has working parents.

    kirsten
     

  3. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have an Aussie and a BC. The Aussie is, by far, a better dog. We got the BC first, he is from good working lines and has been easy to train BUT his obsessiveness drives us crazy. We love him but he loves herding goats and chickens, and playing Frisbee or stick… we can’t even pet him without him slinking off to find something for us to throw. He was to be my 14yr old daughter’s dog. She feels like Charlie Brown, smacking her head saying, why can’t I have a normal dog!

    The Aussie is everything we could ever want, a sweetly spoiled baby in the house and a seriously hard worker in the feild :)
     
  4. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

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    We use Border Collies on our sheep ranch. They are all wonderful pets and good workers. They are such lovable pets that I use them in my pet therapy at hospitals too but when asked to work, they are right with you on the job!

    I have been to many herding clinics and trials where there have been both BCs and Aussies and I observed the BCs are always much better workers IMHO. BCs also seem easier to train. Whichever breed you decide on, do make sure they come from a strong working line.
     
  5. SilverVista

    SilverVista Well-Known Member

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    I'd have to weigh in on the BC side. Have had both, and the Aussies were/are serious drama queens while the BCs needed more careful training but were more dependable. I've found the Aussies to be more readily influenced by other dogs in the menagerie (currently dealing with undesirable behavior I'm sure was learned from/with the blue heeler), while the BCs pretty much marched to their own tune. If I could get to the point where I'm not caring for so many family "pet" dogs, I'd have a BC again in a heartbeat. Of course, right now all I have to do is slam the back door and the entire flock heads up to see if I'm bringin' the bucket! Not much real work for a dog.
     
  6. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I know what you mean about obsessiveness. My adopted BC is absolutely nuts about the truck. Inside he paces, pants and whines non-stop for as long as the ride lasts. He has paced through the original seat and 3 homemade seat covers. That side is down to steel and foam. I have to push him out of the way to open the door and he will climb all over me to get in. Once in he crouches and snaps at me when I get in. If I so much as start walking towards the truck he races ahead to crouch next to it even if it is 1/2 mile away.

    Outside the truck he's a different animal. He will nearly spin around in mid-air if I whistle him back regardless of what he's doing; even chasing a deer. If he can hear me he will come 100% of the time and at a dead run.

    The one and only time I put him on a herd of sheep he did well and stopped chasing the instant I called. I was shocked.

    After 5 years and at age 6 he's finally acting like he sometimes likes to be petted. A hard worker yes. A pet not really.

    180 degrees from my springer spaniel.
     
  7. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Have you checked out English Shepherds?

    Kathleen
     
  8. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The amazing thing about BC’s is that they are so extremely focused that they become an expert in their field of interest but tune out everything else. Our BC can’t hang out in the house, he paces or obsessively looks for a toy. He has his own way of going through life. My daughter has often said that having a BC is probably like having a furry, autistic little brother, you can see and admire the genius but you just can’t ‘get in’. I saw a bumper sticker that sums it up pretty well,

    “If it’s not a Border Collie, it’s just a dog.” :)

    Christy
     
  9. CountryGoalie

    CountryGoalie Well-Known Member

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    Here is a chart that talks a little bit about the differences between Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and English Shepherds ("farm collies"):

    http://www.nesr.info/whatbreed/index.html

    Also, here is an excellent website on the English Shepherds as a breed:
    http://www.englishshepherd.org/

    Another one is farmcollie.com - best of luck in your herding pursuits! :hobbyhors
     
  10. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That's an interesting observation about not being able to "get in". How true. When mine comes in he hides or bugs me until I let him back out to sit by the truck.
     
  11. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That's funny:baby04:


    Our BC is obsessed with our chickens and has a special place where he’ll sit and watch them for hours and hours. I often need the dogs to help me get a chicken and they have totally different ways of doing it.

    The BC is all about style, the eye, the crouch, the show of skill. He is so into it, far more into it then I am. I have no style but that’s okay with him, he has enough style for both of us, and quite honestly he would be put out if anyone had more herding style than him. So, while he goes through his elaborate maneuvers trying to determine my next move, the chicken’s next move and how he can most artistically bring us together I try my best to play along and enjoy it, because with this dog, herding is a process.

    Now if the BC is busy I might get lucky and have the Aussie to help me. He tramps around the chicken a few times then puts a hold on it with his mouth I walk right up to it and pick it up. So easy! With this dog herding is a job that just needs to get done.

    Most often the dogs work together and we get a fine example of stylistic technique and getting the job done. The Aussie seems to allow a certain amount of theatrics then he finishes the job.

    BTW the BC is 4 and the Aussie will be one next week. Both dogs have great farm manners and neither are hyper.
     
  12. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Take a look at the chart that CountryGoalie posted, about the differences between the three breeds, and take note of the temperament differences. In my experience (and I'm familiar with all three breeds -- the two dogs I have now are both mostly ES) the chart is right on as far as temperament.

    You might have to look a little harder to find an ES, but IMO in many situations they are by far the best breed (not all -- if you are going to be USING the dog hard from can-see to can't-see, you may want a more hyper dog).

    Kathleen
     
  13. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hmm. We have a small flock now: 4 southdowns and we will probably be getting a couple of Katahdin ewes. We just want something to help bring them in for shots, etc. and be a family/companion dog. We are going to see the (year old) BC's again on Sunday but it sounds like they may just be too hyper for our purpose.
     
  14. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies. Before seeing the rescue BC online, I'd really leaned more towards the aussies, mostly because all the working BCs I've seen are so intense. I'd take an ES in a heartbeat, but have been looking for several months and unable to find one in the area (emailed one breeder, but never heard back.) So that leaves me with the aussie/BC choice.

    I spent today with an aussie pup. The breeder is wanting sheep, and has three pups left from her litter. She brought the three of them over to visit while she checked out my flock. I was a bit drawn to the male; he was the bashful one, she said, although sometimes they can change, but he wasn't her first pick. Probably shouldn't have been mine, either, but for some reason I liked him. Brought him out to see the sheep, and he perked right up, watching them and barking a bit. The breeder was a bit surprised.

    She then brought out the two girls that were left. One wasn't appealing to me at all, the other was nice looking, outgoing, spotted the sheep right away and ran over to the fence to get a closer look. And while she wasn't really pulling at me (I don't know why, she was better looking than the male; maybe because of his blue eyes?), she would run back and forth from the sheep to me, completely ignoring her breeder and the breeder's dh. She certainly had chosen me, even if I had been leaning towards her brother.

    I think I may get her. My SIL is coming for a visit this weekend (hasn't been here since dh moved from CA nearly 30 yrs ago), so bringing a puppy home over the weekend isn't going to work. But she did spend the day with us and settled right in. Never whimpered for her missing littermates, didn't stick like glue to the bottom of my shoes but just got comfortable. Spent the day keeping an eye on where we were in the house, but relaxed.
     
  15. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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  16. prairiecomforts

    prairiecomforts Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much for mentioning Corgis!!!!! I was thinking the same thing!!! We have Pemebroke Welch Corgis and I just love them. They are excellent with the sheep and goats and make wonderful family pets!! We are going to have new pups around the first part of Dec. if anyone would be interested!! (I so ship anywhere.)
     
  17. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

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    Wow, is this Luna and Joey you are talking about??? If so, I'm the owner of the sire! I have to tell you, I've seen aussie pups choose their owners more times than not. We have a pup out of this litter, and just like you said, he made himself at home instantly. DH is a lab guy, this is his first aussie pup and he's amazed at how fast he's learning our routine here!

    To those who asked, this litter IS out of very strong working lines. My life changed and prevented me from trialing him (the sire), except for his started cattle title. This is a very strong cattle dog! The mom had a rough start as a pup but I got to try her out her first time on sheep and she has a ton of natural gather and instinct, plus a very sweet temperement. Both parent of the sire are WTCH (working trial champions)

    Biggest difference between the 2 breeds for me is: I want a dog who is intense about work, and also is happy to be a couch potato and companion when there is no work to be done. If you can deal with a breed that is loose-eyed and works up close, then you'll be happy with an aussie. If not, a BC or even a kelpie might be a better choice.

    Here's the pup we kept, his new name is Adama
    [​IMG]

    Please feel free to email or pm me with questions about this litter or aussies, I would be happy to help!
    Karen
     
  18. Janis Sauncy

    Janis Sauncy Well-Known Member

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    I have two BC/Aussie 50/50 crosses (male and female, unrelated). Even they have totally different personalities. Panda, my male and the older of the two, is the smartest dog in the world (no exaggeration!). If you even say the word "goat," his head is up and he's ready to go. Lately I've been having trouble with the Muscovies thinking my front porch is there for their benefit. I tell Panda, "get the ducks off the porch." and he's out the door, nipping at them (never biting or hurting them) until they're all off the porch. All I have to say is, "OK, Panda, that's enough" and he stops. I hear all sorts of "hyper" talk about these two breeds, but Panda is quite happy stretched out on the couch, unless you accidentally say, "ball" or "stick." In fact, we hide all balls because we do get tired of that game. We were hiding them inside this little top-opening cupboard thing on the halltree but he sniffed them out there and figured out how to lift the lid with his nose and get the balls.

    Scout, the female and now about 1 1/2 years old, is a different matter. We love her to death and I'm sure in her own way she's smart but one word that we apply to her quite frequently is "goofy." As for herding instinct, I think it's there but she tends to watch Panda and follow his lead. We have, on occasion, deliberately taken her, by herself, to "get the goats in," and she is more focused when she's by herself and not wanting to play the game with Panda.

    Love them both but can't really say why one seems to have more smarts than the other with the same breeding. Obviously, different genetic background but come from registered parents on both sides.

    Bottom line, I guess, is both of these dogs, although useful (Panda, anyway) are members of the family and, just like other members of the family, different but lovable in their own ways.
     
  19. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    LOL, Karen, what a coincidence! Yes, it's Luna and Joey. Luna is who I spent the day with.
     
  20. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    From Kabri's website, here's a pic of the pup:

    [​IMG]