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Rough Collie vs. Bernese Mountain Dog

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

  
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Kolbe

Where can I run- today?
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 13, '12 7:57am PST 
These two could be worlds apart, but I don't know enough about the BMD to know that... these are two possible future contenders -- far future that is, as Kolbe and Guster are only 8 right now. In the future I plan to be a single dog household so that I can give more of my time and attention to a single dog. While I love my dogs to death, they are both project dogs in their own ways, and I want to try very hard to avoid that with the next dog.

I'd like to rescue a young adult but I'm not opposed to the idea of a puppy either -- by then my kids will be a bit older so I may be more willing to take something like that on by then. However I have no clue where to locate either of these dogs in my area (Buffalo NY), either by rescue or by ethical breeder.

So tell me what you know about the Bernese Mountain Dog -- would they make a good fit as a family dog? We have 2 acres of land with a large creek, a walkable neighborhood. There are a LOT of dogs in the neighborhood, so I want something dog social -- my current two are not and it has always been a source of stress. I also want to be able to have the dog travel with us -- we frequently visit my hometown of Baltimore, so my dogs are used to long car rides. I'd also like to do things like pet-friendly camping vacations, and local things like dog-walk fundraisers (again, these are things that rely on dog sociability...).

I grew up with Rough Collies and feel that I know them fairly well. I'm also thinking about a smooth collie but no idea on how available one would be to me. So if someone knows enough to compare the BMD to the collie, any similarities they might share and their contrasts, that would be helpful. Thanks!
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Bosley

Will Work For- Food
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 13, '12 7:16pm PST 
Bernese make great family dogs - they are loyal and love to be near their people. They are generally good with kids but young dogs are enthusiastic and don't know their own strength so you must take care when they around little kids. Bernese are very slow to mature mentally and they can retain puppy behaviors well into their 3rd year. Rough Collies seem to mature faster.
When you look at the history of both the Bernese and the Rough Collie, they were both bred to work closely with their people. The Collie was used mainly for herding while the Bernese was an all purpose farm dog who had duties ranging from guarding to pulling carts to driving cattle. This makes both breeds very inclined to be loyal and watchful over their family. Both breeds have a sensitivity that lends well to positive training. Harsh training can spell disaster for both these breeds. Both breeds have a kindness with children. Both breeders really need to be with their people but the Rough Collie seems to be more prone to SA than the Berner. Neither are good candidates for kennel or backyard dogs. I find the Berner more apt to be "on guard" than the Collie and they are very aware of everything in their environment and tend to notice the smallest changes. Some Berners can be "barkey" but typically they only bark when something is amiss in their world or they want to warn you of something. They do have a loud, intimidating bark and will warn you of any strangers (people or animals) around their property. Collies seem to have more tendency to bark just to bark. Both breeds tend to be good with people although both breeds can be aloof to strangers. I think Berners are a bit more discrimating about strangers, especially ones that come to your house. My dogs would not let someone they didn't know just walk in the house. A collie might. I must add that their can be a tendency towards shyness in the Berner. This is not the correct Berner temperament so one must be careful when selecting a breeder to make sure that the correct temperaments are being bred for. The Berner should be confident and alert and can be aloof, but should never be shy or aggressive.
Both breeds are good with other dogs if properly socialized.

I think the Berner coat is easier to take care of than the Rough Collie coat.
Rough Collies tend to be a lot healthier overall with a much longer average lifespan.

That's about all I can think of right now.
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Kolbe

Where can I run- today?
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 14, '12 8:10pm PST 
Very helpful Bosley, thank you for your input!
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Star BN RN- RA

IM too CUTE
 
 
Barked: Thu Nov 15, '12 12:58pm PST 
Bosley is the BMD expert and I agree with everything he said. I have friends who have collies and others who have BMDs so I have observed both and they do have similar points but are also very different.

Rough collies are great dogs for the right person, they tend to have more drive and much more "barkey" then BMD. Collies tend to have a high pitched bark while BMD's tend to have a more deep intimidating bark.

Rough collies are great with kids but you have to watch them when they are young with small kids as they are herding dog and have a tendency to try and "herd" small children and can nip if not taught to respect them. BMD's do not have the herding instinct therefore the "herding" of young kids is not a concern.

Collies tend to be happy dogs who will let anybody in the house, BMD's are more discriminating with strangers.

From what I have observed collies need a job or they will drive you insane with all the barking, while BMD's want a job but are not going to go crazy if you miss a day or two. BMD's and collies are both good in cars for long car rides although I would suggest that you walk/run with the collie before hand so that it is a little tired and sleeps most of the way; my friends collies drive me insane when were driving anywhere because unless they are tired out and sleeping, they are barking at every car that drives by (i dont know if this is common but it is very distracting). BMD's do not need to be tired before going in the car, they are usually fine.
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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Thu Nov 15, '12 2:59pm PST 
Here are the basics, for you Kolbe, as these have a similar functional root but as also quite different. I am going to use words here that are ONLY IN COMPARISON of the two breeds, not amongst dog breeds generally, so keep that in mind.

Collies are more trainable....remember, I said in COMPARISON! laugh out loud Berners are very trainable, but sort of lazy, can be a wee bit hard to motivate. Collies LIVE to train and do what you say. They are one of the most ready pupils, will do the same thing in the same spot with the same enthusiasm for the ten millionth time five years after they learned it. Very praise oriented, very motivated towards this.

Berners are more chill and are the more stable breed. Collies have more of a nervous energy...remember, I said in COMPARISON! laugh out loud Both of these are very responsible dogs, concerned about their homesteads and those within them. Collies tend to fret more about such issues than a Berner does. If you were to come home from a crappy day at work and just need a good cry, a Berner may wander over and put his head gently on your lap, whereas the a Collie is more "oh....my....GOSH she's CRYING, this is just AWFUL!" laugh out loud big laugh I find that charming. I have wanted a Collie forever, but I don't think it's fair to have one simply because I am a stormer. I may walk around the house saying "now where the hell did I put that stupid THING!," which my dogs find entertaining, as do they my rather impassioned debates, etc. It's just not a connect. I am not saying a Berner would be great for me either, but Collies do tend to fret.

Collies are more sparkling. I generally like THIS VIDEO to show life with a Collie. Neither breed is good if you don't vibe on a breed that is into you, but you grew up with Collies and love Pit Bulls....if that bugged you, you'd be a cat lady by low laugh out loud But if you love that PB vibe, you would definitely connect more, still, with the Collie.

Berners can have their problems, but Collies are more of a trap. Berners are appreciably the more stable breed and are more reliable. This matters less because you plan to rescue, but it still needs to be said. Collies do not cotton to their entire family leaving for the day. They are in parts ill suited to this more recent culture. SA some say, but actually more natural behavior....it's just not for them, and they can get neurotic and barky, for their job is to watch over you, and it can make them fretful when they cannot do that. Collies bark a LOT more than Berners generally.

With all that, one more special comment as you grew up with Collies and I know them well. Collie SPECIFIC, don't care what breed you are talking about, they have this uncanny perception, almost a sixth sense, to know what is going on in the underlayers. Perhaps you remember that. That wise soul, almost jarring, perception. That is in this breed's ownership.
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Bosley

Will Work For- Food
 
 
Barked: Thu Nov 15, '12 3:48pm PST 
"Berners are very trainable, but sort of lazy, can be a wee bit hard to motivate." Tiller, I laughed when I read this .... soooo true! You have to work hard to find the right motivators for these guys. They also tend to not like repetitious training, so you really need to keep things moving along in training. I guess because I deal with it every day, I have adapted my training style to suit.
One of my good friends has Collies and we train together in obedience. Her current competition dog is the type that is always saying "what do you want me to do", while my dog is saying "if I do this, what's in it for me?" laugh out loud
But, when you find a job for your Berner that they think is important, they have an awesome work ethic. Hitch my boy to a cart and his whole attitude changes - he needs little motivation to do draft work, it is just something he thinks he should be doing smile

Edited by author Thu Nov 15, '12 3:52pm PST

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Kolbe

Where can I run- today?
 
 
Barked: Thu Nov 15, '12 4:48pm PST 
I am seeing qualities I like in each. Our collies were pretty laid back, low drive, but they all definitely loved to bark. However, they definitely had a less "scary" bark -- my other dog Guster has a deep bark that sort of makes people who don't know him take a step back...and is deep enough to occasionally stir sleeping babies...so in that sense, if it's going to be bark I would go with the less scary.

Another factor is that my house is open to a lot of family and friends...lots of spare keys floating out there, people stop by to borrow tools and so on. I assume if a Berner were already familiar with these people that might be okay.

As far as SA goes, I never experienced this with our dogs but have read it is common... again ours were fairly laid back. I am unsure if this was just a trait of that particular breeder's dogs or what...I have no clue how responsibe or ethical she was as far as breeding went. They all had completely rock solid temoeraments with other animals and children though, which is what I remember most vividly about them above all else and ultimately why I am being drawn back to them now that I have a family if my own.

In some aspects it seems like the Berner could be the better fit, but then in other aspects the collie! I know I am not going to get it all, so it is good to get these good, general pictures so that I can decide what is most important. I like the fact that collies are so biddable in training, but I am also totally used to "what's in it for me" with Kolbe! Also the idea that brushing the Berner may be a little easier is attractive to me... I remember my collies would get mats behind their ears easily, but I also brush my dogs a lot more regularly than my mother did.

Tiller, I would not be opposed to going to a breeder, but have no clue where to look in my region. I guess I don't know where to look for them in rescue around here either though...! Obviously if I go rescue, a good temperamental match will be priority one, regardless of age or looks or anything.

And your point about collies having a certain...something...yes, definitely something I remember. My current dogs are both great buddies who I and the kids love, but my collies, something a bit deeper to them, not really sure how to properly describe that. My dogs were very special to me growing up, especially as an only child. It's why I want so badly a social dog that can go places with us and make lots of memories.
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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Thu Nov 15, '12 6:21pm PST 
Well, you are near me. If you want a Collie, I can find you one wink Just whenever the time appears, you can let me know. I adopted a STUNNER....rather large for a Collie via Southpaws Express, and shockingly beautiful, all white on the body with only sable on the head. She's a therapy dog now.

A Berner definitely would be less with the drama, and quite frankly for what you have been through, maybe right when you add everything up. But they aren't Collies. Collies, so you know, went through a terrible, terrible stage that almost ruined the breed entirely. The health was a mess, they were snappy, sappy. Just ghastly! Some breeders have done a good job at getting back to where they were, but others not so much. If you need breeder guidance, I can help you there too.

Bosley would know, but I wonder about the Berner's presence in rescue. I never see them. They must exist, but they to me are a novelty. More mill bred Berners can be very timid. More mill bad Collies can be far worse. Never ever, ever, ever consider getting a younger Collie from a shelter. I know that's horrible to say, but I am pro rescue, you know that wink If it's not an adult, you still don't know what he will grow into be. If you want to start with a younger Collie, you'd really need to go to a breeder. Which isn't the end of the world. The genetics testing they do in that breed is priceless.

Re the SA, you may find, if you think long on it, that your lifestyle was different back then. Home used to be more the hearth. Now there's all this coming and going, many times a day when the house is just empty. Often proves not to suit them, no matter how well bred they are.
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Bosley

Will Work For- Food
 
 
Barked: Thu Nov 15, '12 8:07pm PST 
As for Berners in rescue, there are many and it is only going to grow as Berners get more popular. When i got my first Berner, I rarely saw another Berner and no one knew what breed she was. Today, I see Berners everywhere and more and more people recognize the breed. That also means that there are more and more "breeders" popping up - lots of unregisted dogs and lots of irresponsible breeders. With that goes an increase in the need for rescue. The thing about the Bernese community is that they are very good at taking care of their own. There are lots of breed specific rescue groups in both Canada and the US. In the States, BARCInc pulls lots of dogs from mills and auctions. I think most of the regional clubs have rescue workers and there are private Berner owners who also do rescue. I know someone in Ohio who does lots of Berner rescue (aswell as all breed) - I can get you her info if you are interested. There are no shortage of Bernese in rescue but they usually do not stay in rescue for long as there are usually lots of applicants on file.
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Kolbe

Where can I run- today?
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 18, '12 8:14pm PST 
Thanks again for all of your input, I am saving what you've all written for my future reference.

If any other breeds of dog popped into your head besides these two while I was typing out my wants and desires (regardless of size, coat, etc), please let me know as I am not immovable on anything other than the temperament.
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