Comment to 'I Remember When...'
  • I whole heartedly agree with that statement.

    Ideally the superior individuals in a breed are what should be used to further the breed. When I look at training someone's dog or handling my own everything is looked at the individual first. I had a Collie who exemplified all the traits of her breed but from long ago. She would have no problem aggressively defending me, her two tiny Chihuahua charges, her chickens. She was fearless but she also understood herding her humans wasn't necessary, herding naughty humans who didn't listen to the rules were another matter. So if you came to our home & let your kids run wild, you would find old Tucker herding your children away from barbed wire fences, horses, snakes, etc... Her breed gave her the instinct to herd but how she processed & dealt with it was all about the individual. I hear all the time how yappy Collies are, as if this is a breed trait. Some individuals are more vocal than others however training & handling shape the individual just the same as nature does.

    My Giant Schnauzer possesses livestock guardian traits. This surprised me a great deal. Our Pyranees could go out with our horse herd but other dogs would most likely be driven out or killed by the mares. Yet my Giant would go out & make the mares get up if they lay too long.  She posses this natural time clock for what's 'normal' & when it's time to rouse them up. She could read our herd of cattle & know what cows she could go into the pasture with & which she dare not approach. I expected this of my Great Pyranees but not my Giant Schnauzer.  We no longer live on the farm ((sigh)) but it was the best place to see what came natural to a dog.
    I think when bred properly the breed instincts are there but the individual & how they process & act on these instincts are what makes dogs so fascinating.