Choosing a Pup

The following was posted on the Sheepdog-L email list ( by Marilyn Terpstra on February 1, 2005.

I've been pretty fortunate. So far, every Border collie (old enough) I have owned has made it successfully to Open. Here is how I picked.

1. The one with the blue eye, since nobody wanted him.

2. The little Tri female that watched thoughtfully from the corner of the puppy pen, and then came to see me.

3. The one still in the kennel with his mom at 6 months and unnamed, competing with her for enough food.

4. The little tri female that was trying to force herself through the gating to get to me.

5. The half-grown little girl that was vicious, and returned to her breeder. I was to be her last chance.

And my future stars!!!

6. The only female in the litter

7. The one the breeder chose for me.

All came from good dogs. All were bred for herding only. For several, I had seen siblings, or half siblings work. I liked their parents. I think the quality of your success with each dog is totally dependant on your commitment to that dog as an individual. Each dog listed above came to me as its final home. I knew they were with me for life, and so decided to see the good in them rather than only the bad. I can't believe that I have been extraordinarily lucky in getting good dogs. I think I just set my mind to making them the best that they could be, since I knew I wanted to trial, and I knew they were staying.

A wise mentor told me long ago to work with the talent and style of dog I ended up with, and to keep looking at what they CAN do as well as what they CANNOT do.

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