As our herd expands, we have been looking for a helper for Jones (Scouty only likes to herd the chickens) that will be ready to start training by next summer's births. Since our dogs already have such a great dynamic with each other we thought it best to start from scratch with a pup everyone can get used to rather than bringing in an adult.
After hours and hours of combing the internet, feed store bulletin boards, craigslist, emails, etc, Mike narrowed the search down to a few possibilities. He looked at Kelpies, McNabs, Border Collies, various crosses of those breeds and other mixes. The biggest requirement was desire and natural instinct to work stock.
Since we have small dairy goats like Nigerian dwarfs and mini-nubians, we decided the cowdog breeds may be a bit too aggressive. However, Jones prefers to work the perimeter while herding so a little more alpha personality could be a good compliment.
Border collies are experts at moving stock with just their stares (eye) and creeping stalks (plus Jones is the most awesome dog ever and he's a border collie) so we settled on that and looked hard for 3 things... A full litter that hadn't yet been picked over, working parents that we could see, and a pup with an active, fearless personality. We found lots and lots of leftover pups and adolescents and lots of pups who's parents "herd my kids" but very few real working litters on working ranches with parents on the premises.
Today, Mike made a 300 mile round trip to see a 7 puppy litter of border collies from working parents. There were 3 females and 4 males with only one of the females reserved. They were all good looking, active pups but one female stood out in size, vigor and personality. Definitely the pick of the litter and it wasn't the one that was already reserved. After an hour of watching the whole gang and the parents, he thought it was worth risking the small deposit to hold her. After filling out the paperwork, the breeder said that if he needed another dog that was the one he would have kept and he would guarantee her to be a quality herder.
We still have some people to talk to and some final decisions to make but this little gal is definitely the front runner. She will be ready to go by the 1st of October.