Why are dog shows and champions important?
I just want a pet dog, not a show dog!
Above: Charm winning BOW at the 2019 US National over 60+ other Border Collies!
By this point I assume that you have read all About the Border Collie, you have thought about If A Border Collie is the breed for you. If you have decided it is, I am sure that you want a Border Collie with all the traits that you have read and research that the breed is supposed to have! Now the questions is, how do you make sure that your new dog is exactly what you want and has all the temperament traits and health that you so badly desire in your new dog?
Enter dog shows. Dog shows are a competition based on the Border Collie Breed Standard. Within this standard it states the dogs can not be shy nor aggressive, any dog showing these severe faults are not rewarded! Dogs who don't fit the standard are generally not rewarded and thus are not bred from (if the breeder is a good one!) as they lack the temperament and traits that make this breed what it is today. The breed you fell in love with! With this in mind every single dog in your dogs pedigree does not have to be a Champion (titled), there are exceptions, but I would look for a pedigree with at least 50% of them who are in 5 generations.
When you look at your future puppies pedigrees there should be dogs who's names are labeled in red or another colour, or have a 'CH' in the front of their name (i.e. CH Bellaclan This Is It) which means that they are a Champion (AKA titled). To be a champion means that the Breeder thought so much of that dog that they invested, time, money (a lot of it!), sweat, weekends, and often tears to show that dog off because they truly believed that dog really did have the traits that make it a quality Border Collie in comparison to others in the breed. To win a champion title the dog must be within breed standard and be judged by a dog judge who is an expert, most with 30+ years experience, and the dog must win over other Border Collies several times till they accumulate the needed amount of points and major wins to earn the coveted title of 'Champion', and even more points to be a 'GRAND CHAMPION', or even a TOP RANKED DOG in the country, this is a huge investment from the Breeder/Owner to earn this title. There are other titles to be won which are added to the end of the dogs names in various K-9 sports such as herding, agility, obedience, barn hunt etc.
These titles are what makes your dog worth the price the Breeder asks for the puppy, the registration papers are NOT what gives your dog value, the amount of titled dogs and their wins as shown on their pedigrees, as well as the health testing the breeder does, is what makes a puppy worth the cost and known as "well bred". Of course a dog can not be shown without registration papers. I know it is hard to put value on furry family members, but you also do not want to get scammed when bringing a new puppy home! Do not be fooled by ads that say "purebred with no papers" or "designer breed/doodles" these dogs are very poorly bred and have solely been bred for money with no thought into them ruining the breeds and lines whilst they breed mediocre dogs to sell to pay for their vacations. Read, Buyer Beware to tell if a breeder is good or not.
Most important of all, at dog shows, the dogs must be handled, groomed and touched by countless judges, owners and their friends, the public, and trainers... and all while exhibiting zero aggression or shyness! They must walk around a building at their owners side practically nose to nose with other dogs of all breeds without showing any aggression, and then enter into a show ring and ignore the crowd and other dogs and focus on it's handler in order to be rewarded by the judge. All of this is a test of that dogs temperament. If you want your future puppy to have a good temperament, then you need to purchase your puppy from a Breeder who prove the soundness of their dogs temperaments over generations at dog shows. As I have said before 50% of temperament is genetic, 15% is what the breeder does during the for 0 to 8-12 weeks of age, 30% is due to what happens in the first year of life (first 6 months mainly) and 5% is from experiences throughout their life after a year of age!
Good Breeders show to preserve the traits of the breed that we all have grown to love. Without good breeders there would not be breeds of dogs that all have their own set looks and defined traits. With this being said each Breeder values these ideal traits in the breed in a different order and you should find a Breeder who values them in the same order as you do. Avoid any Breeders who do not show their dogs to prove quality should prove to you why they are asking so much for the puppy when the parents are not proven to be of breed quality!
Avoid any breeders who do not show you copies of the parents health testing upon request. Avoid Breeders who are newer, unless they can supply you with the names and prefix of their mentors and you can contact them, these breeders are not established and experienced they don't always even know what their dogs will actually produce! New "Breeders" pop up all the time, it is easy enough to make a website or Facebook page and breed one litter and then advertise as a "good breeder". If you want a puppy with predictable traits go to a breeder who breeds 1-4 litters a year for at least 10 years as those are the Breeders who will have actual hands on experience rearing pups and will actually have known and watched the lines in their kennels develop. If they are a newer breeder but are being mentored by the established Breeder they got their foundation from then take the time to get to know them, what they are striving for, and ensure that they are not the ones evaluating their own litters alone.
I hope this page gives you an idea of why dog shows and titles are so important when choosing your new puppy.
Below is a picture of a 2009 Bellaclan litter: (L to R) Nova, Miles, Kobi, Vallen and Folly.
Nova - (Am CH/Can CH/Australian CH Bellaclan Casanovas Magic CGC NA NAJ RN RA JD HIT)
Miles - (Bellaclan Black N White Magic) in a pet home
Kobie - (Bellaclan Foreign Magic) in a pet home in Puerto Rico
Vallen - (Can CH Bellaclan Midnight Magic HIC - Dam of Charm (above))
Folly - (Bellaclan Magic Folly Redux of Molly Hill's) lives in PA and is LYCODOG for the Lycoming Warriors football team.