Luisa, Get Help!

Working Border Collie snobs like to reiterate that sheep work is serious business, but the truth is that the business of sheep is in serious condition with an unfavorable prognosis.  A side effect of being overly melodramatic about the threat posed by “sporter collies” and “barbie collies” is being entirely humorless about what is a devilishly fun, charismatic, and exuberant breed.  Apparently we’re not supposed to have any fun with Border Collies because that’s an insult to their long heritage as a very serious working breed.


Luisa at the Lassie, Get Help! blog has some seriously bipolar attitudes when it comes to dogs which serve as a case-in-point of the priggish attitude.  The self-styled “Border Collie Expert and Pit Bull Apologist” treats the two breeds with irreconcilable double standards.

To her, Border Collies should be preserved solely for their historical purpose with no adaptations to modern life but Pitbulls should be recast as living dress-up dolls for dog mommies with no retention of their legacy as baiting and blood sport dogs.  Border Collies are forbidden to evolve and yet Pitbulls are wonderful because they have supposedly evolved so much.

A dog for no one save the indoctrinated whose good reputation is a liability vs. a dog for everyone if they’d only get over that whole bad rap thing whose reputation needs to be rehabilitated.

Her hatred for evolved Border Collies and love for Barbie-Pitties is on full display in her attack on “Bandana” collies:

hate dogs in clothes. No, I love dogs in clothes!

I hate dogs in clothes. Working border collies look best naked. [A plain collar is OK.] It’s safer, for one thing. A real stockdog in a bandana? Totally cringe-worthy. It isn’t just incompatible, it’s inappropriate — as awful as Roseanne singing the national anthem. It makes you want to switch the channel as fast as you can. Yeesh.
The “bandana collie” is actually a much-disparaged cultural marker in the world of working stockdogs. The bandana collie should not be mistaken for the Barbie collie, though the two categories frequently overlap. Barbie collies are fluffy, conformation-bred, AKC-registered “border collies” that don’t work stock because they can’t. Bandana collies, on the other hand, are a subset of pet. They often have clever names like Prufrock or Bernoulli and they live in Santa Monica with their clever owners and never see sheep and always wear that damn bandana.
Or Scout. Very popular name for border collies west of the 405.
Bandana collies go to dog parks.
I hate dog parks, and I hate dogs in clothes.
A full blooded stockdog wearing a bandana, fresh from the pool at a Frisbee tournament.

A full blooded stockdog wearing a bandana, fresh from the pool at a Frisbee tournament. Oh the horror!

Well, dog forbid if someone lives in a city and wants to exercise their dog off-leash;  not everyone owns ample acreage in the country for a hobby farm with some plaything sheep for decoration and amusement.

And dog forbid someone is not so enamored with historical re-enactment and Victorian romance that they don’t brand their Border Collie with one of the “approved names from 1890 Scotland:” Meg, Nell, Ben, Fly, Glen, Moss, Roy, Jess, Spot, Cap, or–you know–Lassie!

And gosh, you’re an asshole if you want to cool off your hot Border Collie with a wet bandana because dog parks, sporting fields, and nature trails don’t come with filled stock tanks for heat stroke relief.

Still, she goes on to tell us how wonderful playing Barbie with a pibble is though:

No, I love dogs in clothes! The wonderful American Pit Bull Terrier was born to rock bandanas, Doggles, leatha, reindeer antlers, Mardi Gras beads and tea-party bonnets. Pride Parade? Pit bulls are so there. Nothing, but nothing looks as cool as a pit bull in a bandana.

Pit bulls seem to like playing dress-up, and they are also the rare breed that seems to enjoy being hugged. I suspect those two characteristics are related.

So take your pup to lots of dress-up parties [don’t forget the delicious treats] and buy your pit bull a personalized football jersey or his very own little sweatsuit, but don’t come near my border collies with that bandana. Don’t even think of it. Some things are just wrong.
Third generation Astraean offspring (son of Bella who was out of Dublin x Celeste), working a several hundred head of cattle ranch, rocking a bandana.

Third generation Astraean offspring (son of Bella who was out of Dublin x Celeste), working a several hundred head of cattle ranch, rocking a bandana.

Where’s the unblinkered fetish for the Pitbulls of yore? Why is it a virtue to take the Pitbull out of the fighting ring, but a crime to take a Border Collie off of a pasture?  Should even one person use a Pitbull for what they were really bred for, they are a monster.  But if anyone should breed a Border Collie like it’s 2013 and not 1320, they too are a monster?  Why is the only needed validation for the modern pibble being “a subset of pet” but any Border Collie bred to that standard a travesty?

It doesn’t help her case that she’s a complete hypocrite on the issue of dolled up stockdogs either.  Here’s an image of her ultra serious working stockdog wearing frufru barrettes fresh from the professional groomer and a terrier-mix sporting the exclusive “you only get to wear one if your breed has no raison d’être and you’ve rejected every historical purpose and that’s a good thing” bandana.

Luisa, get help.

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.