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Tuesday, June 7, 2011


There are quite a few message boards around ... and they are all the same.  There are moderators with superiority complexes ... as if moderating a message board that one in every 10 million people know about makes them someone.  It's quite silly, actually.  There are members on every one of the boards who absolutely cannot stand the term "Barbie Collie," but will always say how -- even though they find the term offensive because they have a Barbie, and while that Barbie is the greatest dog on the planet -- "next time" they are getting a dog from proven working lines.

Hmmm ... that's amazing.  If their dogs are so wonderful, aren't the breeders doing something right?  Why wouldn't they want one just like their wonderful other dog?    Speaks volumes, doesn't it?

But the first thing the moderators like to do is ... moderate.  They are some sort of deity and have the power to deny a person their first amendment right to free speech.  I like my blog.  If someone doesn't like what I have to say, they don't have to read it.  But I can say it.

So, when I mention that Barbies and Border Collies are two separate breeds, that, too, is SO offensive that it must not be discussed because people will get themselves in a tizzy.  But ... there's research that shows that -- genetically -- it's happening.

From Canine Behavioral Genetics:

"Unrooted phylogenetic network constructed by Bayesian analysis, based on 4200 SNPs spread evenly across the canine genome.  Blue = German Shepherd Dogs, purple = Portuguese Water Dogs, green = Australian Shepherds, pink = show Border Collies, red = working Border Collies.

To conduct proper studies of association between genes and behavior, we must first check for "stratification" (population substructure) within our breed samples.  This is a question of immediate concern in breeds that are "split," or contain subpopulations that are bred for very different purposes.  If we do not account for such structure before conducting association analyses, it is possible to obtain spurious associations between genotypes and behavior that reflect breed splits (such as show vs. working) rather than actual functional significance.

We included a small number of kennel club registered show Border Collies (primarily of Australasian breeding) in our Border Collie sample for genotyping, the remainder of which was made up of ISDS and ABCA (working registries) registered dogs.  Our phylogenetic, clustering, and principal components analyses all suggest a genetic split within the breed between working and show Border Collies that is probably as large as the genetic distances between some breeds.  We hope to collect samples from more geographical regions, and from different populations of Border Collies (working, show, and sport), to further explore these findings."

I would be interested in finding out if more samples were collected, and what they show.



  1. This is the first time I've heard the term "Barbie Collie" but I get what it means. Guess I'm just a backwoods hick! The same thing goes on in the horse world; always believed that Quarter horses are at their best when they can do a day's work, then give little kids a ride, go out on a trail and be dependable, and even win a match race- all in one day. But the show world has resulted in specializations within the breed, so that even the physical type differs greatly according to what discipline they are bred for. I think something gets lost along the way especially when you look back and see the great ones that founded the breed and compare then to the ones that are winning millions in the show world.

  2. I love the graphic. I have suspected this for a quite sometime, that it actually looks like this is really cool. In the sense that my suspicions were right. When can we start petitioning that they rename the show bred dogs with another breed name, like the Scottish Collie?
    Where did you find this graphic and where can I read the body of work it is published with. I'd love to share it.

  3. Hey Erin! Here's the source:

  4. Very interesting!! I was talking to someone about the mini Aussie and they have now been renamed the "North American Miniature Shepherd" and not Australian Shepherd. I wish they would rename them in the BC world too.

    I don't do the boards thing anymore...for the reasons you stated above...