“Astra Sheepdogs - dedicated to the welfare and improvement of the Border Collie breed, by endeavouring to ensure the optimal health, with help from our Owners, of the Astra sheepdog bloodlines.”
HOW TO SELECT YOUR BORDER COLLIE PUPPY !
Temperament = Absolutely essential
Socialisation of the litter of pups - Absolutely essential in a puppy. If it is not there at 8 weeks you will have to work 100 times harder and the older the pup (from 8 weeks old) the longer and more effort it takes to rectify..
Character = indicates tenacity and trainability for dog performance sports this is an essential pre-requisit as you will be working very closely with you dog and characters must be compatible for success and easy life.
Working Ability = for herding and performance dog sports such as Agility, Obedience and Heel Work to Music.
Pedigree = this gives the knowledgable person a good idication of possible potential for working ability and health traits.
Gender = male v female
Colour = colour does not make a dog.
Coat length = Smooth v Medium v Rough the coat does not make a dog.
Price = Quality is worth every penny spent
We suggest that this is the order that you approach the purchase of your Border Collie puppy if it is for performance dog sports.
If you only require a active family pet then you the first FOUR points and the Pedigree will be the most important expecially if you are a new border collie owner with little or no experience.
Pedigree (Full five generation) and Registration with the ISDS. (International Sheepdog Society)
This feature is VERY important when purchasing a Border Collie for Work or Sports such as Herding, Sheepdog Trials, Dog Agility, Flyball, Obedience etc. because it gives a pretty good indication as to what type of dog you are likely to have when he is grown up.
,However if you are just looking for an active companion/pet then obviously the Pedigree is really of no real concern other than knowing that the breeder may have understood at least some important concepts of breeding.
It is almost certain that if there is NO pedigree/ registration available, then there CANNOT be ANY knowledge of any problems, both genetic and temprament, within the bloodlines of your puppy and it will certainly NOT be a clean slate, just devoid of history.
Each bitch must show us her natural herding instinct, character, temperament, trainability before she is mated. read more
Each Stud dog must prove himself at work before he is used, read more.
Only the very best stay with us for Trials and Full Farm duties. Unfortunately we do not have enough work nor time to keep all our breeding bitches for any length of time, in fact; we believe it would be CRUEL to do so. Therefore, these dogs may well be available, at any time, to the right homes as partly trained or fully trained sheepdogs.
Please register your interest with us if you wish to be considered to provide a forever home to one of our bitches. read more
Breeding a Performance Sports Dog
We have specialized in producing ISDS registered border collie puppies
with strong sheep herding instincts and have placed a great deal
of emphasis on wonderful temperaments and biddable.
As a border collie breeder we have achieved recognition for
breeding border collie "sheepdogs" with power, agility, stamina and biddability.
The "Astra" lines of Border Collies have excelled in
Trials at National level.
Dog Agility at Crufts and Olympia
Service dogs for the Disabled
with of our dog Dogs have now qualified for World competition in all of the above performance sports.
Other disciplines Astra Dogs enjoy are
Search and Rescue
anything you can think of - - just teach our dogs well and then give our dogs the job and you will be amazed at their accomplishments.
Breeding for Healthy Border Collies
Astra Sheepdogs have always been dedicated to the welfare and improvement of the border collie; by education and leadership and in the last 25 years has done more than the International Sheepdog Society (I.S.D.S.) “rules for registration” require, endeavouring to ensure the optimal health of the Astra bloodlines.
1991 - 2005 Astra Sheepdogs ran a voluntary programme of eye testing, every litter born, for CEA; until Optigen released the gene test for CEA in 2005.
From 2005 Astra Sheepdogs have DNA tested all of its dogs for CEA, pre-empting the ISDS making this a rule in 2013.
Since 2000 - the Astra Sheepdog stud dogs and our current bitches have been Hip scored. The ISDS has not yet included this into registration requirements.
Astra Sheepdogs are confident in the Hip health of its dogs and offers a guarantee on hips.
From 2001 - Astra Sheepdogs microchipped every puppy pre-empting the ISDS making this a rule in 2013.
2012 - Astra Sheepdogs started a Goniodysgenesis (Primary Glaucoma) of all Stud dogs (bitches will be done as finance allows). The ISDS has not yet included this into registration requirements.
2012 - Astra Sheepdogs started a TNS testing program starting with all Stud dogs and will use the criteria of "ONE parent must be DNA Normal" for every litter from 2014. The ISDS has not yet included this into registration requirements.
Astra Sheepdogs maintain extensive records with the help of our owners who are encouraged to report factually on their dogs’ wellbeing, temperament, success and progress throughout the life of the dog.
There are NO border collies anywhere in the world which are completely FREE from any form of hereditable disease (you will find a list of diseases which have been recorded in our own bloodlines see here for a list of known and relatively unknown problems which occur in all Border Collies, all the above problems together with the Health Issues listed below, some have DNA tests available but others require co-operation between Breeders/Owners and Vets to correctly diagnose a condition and then submit tissue samles to research centres who are currently searching for the DNA links -- research takes many years and sometimes millions of Pounds and there is no guarantee that they will find what they are looking for.
I shall continue to research into health issues of all descriptions and to record dogs afflicted with overshot jaws, crypt and monorchidism, fertility problems, bad mothering ability, sound sensitive, aggressiveness, nervousness, hyperactivity without the "off switch" and endeavour to decrease and finally to try to make extinct as many diseases as is humanly possible to acheive,
As an Astra Sheepdog owner you are required to notify us FIRST : -
Informing us by EMAIL or SKYPE message or if urgent by telephone - leave message.
Extreemly important information - To give us the FIRST opportunity to give help and advice if something goes wrong with your Astra dog.
BEFORE: - Breeding from your dog because - I am very sure that you would not want to breed; without knowing ALL the health information available from the breeder of your dog, and choice of mate, right up to the date of a mating.
BEFORE: - Re-homing or selling your dog – giving us the opportunity to help you or purchase your dog from you.
As an Astra Sheepdog Owner, you are also required to advise us by EMAIL or snail mail of ANY non routine veterinary procedures including but not restricted to: - (if urgent help required please contact us using SKYPE message or by telephone - leave message.
Please note: We really want, and need, your help in providing us with all the information of your dogs health results together, if available, all “proof of testing” in hard copy or scanned document.
Once we have confirmed to you, in writing, that we have received these notifications; you are most welcome to add this information onto the relative Border Collie Health Database's.
Without your help we cannot possibly hope to know, what is going on with your dogs and therefore, cannot then make the best decisions in future matings.
therefore, we value your help as we are only as good as our owners.
DNA testing INCLUDING:- CEA, TNS, CL MDRI, B12 deficiency, and any other dna test you may carry out on your dog.
OCD = shoulder dysplasia
Epilepsy or ANY form of fitting regardless of diagnoses - with full veterinary documentation and details of the procedure reached to provide a definitive diagnosis.
BCCS = Border Collie Collapse Syndrome - with full veterinary documentation and details of the procedure reached to provide a definitive diagnosis.
Colabomin deficiency and B vitamin12 and folate malabsorption - DNA test now available
Addison’s disease - with full veterinary documentation and details of the procedure reached to provide a definitive diagnosis.
Diabetes - with full veterinary documentation and details of the procedure reached to provide a definitive diagnosis.
Progressive eye diseases – including but not limited to regardless of age: PRA, Glaucoma, reduced tear formation, cataracts certified by a specialist examinations.
Hearing Loss – including but not limited injury and regardless of age partial or full and certified by a specialist with full veterinary documentation and details of the procedure reached to provide a definitive diagnosis.
Heart Defects – including but not limited to age related conditions with full veterinary documentation and details of the procedure reached to provide a definitive diagnosis.
Cereal food allergy - with full veterinary documentation and details of the procedure reached to provide a definitive diagnosis.
We must be informed, in writing, of anything your Veterinary Surgeon considers COULD be of a hereditary, genetic or congenital cause - with full veterinary documentation and details of the procedures reached to provide a definitive diagnosis. Once we have confirmed to you, in writing, that we have received notification; you may place this information onto the relative Health Database or on Anadune.com
As you will come to realise – we require full evidence from your vet or testing body, in order to record these details correctly into our records and only then will be able to decide if any compensation under our personal guarantees or the Sale of Goods Act, may be appropriate – each and every case is different and your input will be much appreciated and will be treated as an individual accordingly.
Please, we NEED your help, to continue the improvement of our breeding program and so we can offer a specialistand caring advice service to our owners and other Border collie enthusiasts. Please, be our eyes and ears; become our spokesperson – pass the following message to all around you =
Breeding for Temperament in the Border Collie
Historically, the Border Collie temperament was not specifically selected for; in fact it is possible that the best dogs had/still have sensitive and "One Man Dog" characters simply because they never meet many persons on the farm and rarely even leave the farms.
It is also generally accepted by farmers that the Border Collie is a great, even if sneaky watch dog, wary of strangers. Shepherds and Farmers have no need for their dogs to be otherwise.
In my view, it was and may still be an advantage to the farmer; to retain this slightly timid almost shy quality in the working Border Collie as this can help prevent theft of your best dog.
It is not easy for a stranger to lure a suspicious dog into a car or near enough to place a lead onto it.
Because of this many Border Collies, especially those bred on farms, are still produced with a similar temperament.
However, we a Astra Sheepdog centre are being very selective and selecting for Temperaments which are easily adaptable to the busy homes and environments of the Performance Sports dog owners. We are already are consistently producing ISDS registered border collie puppies with wonderful temperaments and biddability which adapt into most lifesyles.
As the female provides more than 70% influence on the puppies temperament we believe that a female must have a very sweet nature.
All females used for breeding have undergone extensive handling and testing to ensure that their basic temperament is excellent.
We also use positvie, modern, Science based rearing techniques to ensure that our puppies have the best possible start to their lives and are ready to takle all that your lifestyle will throw at them.
Breeding for Colour in the Border Collies
Breeding for colour alone must not be done.
At Astra Sheepdog Centre, we have consitently achieved all the above goals WITHOUT loosing the working ability that the ISDS registered working sheepdog is renowned for.
But achieving this is complicated and makes a our task much more difficult, as many factors must be taken into account before a mating is decided upon.
the Herding instict which is made up of 100's of traits and characters
Temperament and Character of the dog
The recorded and unknown, non testable, health issues within the sire and dam's bloodlines.
DNA and other health results of the sire and dam.
and much much more.
Do you still want our job ?
Since 2000 we have been re-introducing the rarer, very stunning colours back into the standard classic Black/White
and Tricolour Border Collie lines, these colours include:-
Red and whites also called chocolate or brown,
Lilac, a dilute form of red and white, chocolate or brown
Slate, a dilute form of Black
Red or Brown Merles, also called chocolate merles,
the dilute (slate/lilac) version
of each merle,
All of the above colours often come with Tan cheeks, eyebrows and legs (tricolour)
Breeding for Conformation in the Border Collie
We aim for our dogs to "A dog which is capable of doing a full day’s herding work on the hills and grass covered mountains of the world"
We believe that the breeding for conformation goes hand in hand with all of the above but especially so with the working ability.
A dog which is bred to work must also be capable of working all day, in any condition to which it has already been acclimatized.
We look for all of the following:-
neither too tall or small
neither too heavy or light
i.e. a balanced dog with
excellent easy flowing movement
extreme agility i.e. can jump/climb/turn etc with ease.
good average sized head for good brain space
good feet preferably shaped like a cats'.
easy care coat
We believe that if the breeder starts to get too critical about a conformation STANDARD such as the ones the Kennel Club place on breeds which include:-
structure, angulation, colour pattern, ear shape or tail carriage.
The breeder will CHANGE the dogs shape (conformation) along with many other important aspects, HERDING ABILITY and temperament , and you end up with something you did not expect and most probable do not want.
For example: the structural and temperament differences between the modern Kennel Club show/breed border collie and the working ISDS border collie.