The Border Collie Lady
Please text Gale for updated pricing. This is a magazine article from Voyage Houston Magazine that can not be altered in any way.
Gale, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I had my first Border Collie in college in 1980, I have been hooked ever since. Back in those days very few people had heard of Border Collies. My first border collie was Joby. She went to College classes with me at Sam Houston State University. Back then times were different and I could take Joby off leash and she would sit outside my classroom by the door and wait on me. Lots of people knew her and would come visit. She would sit in the bleachers during baseball and football games. She became a big hit with everyone when she jumped off the bleachers onto the playing field during a baseball game, caught the ball and brought it back to the catcher. She got a standing ovation. That’s when I knew there was something very special about the breed. Of course, now border Collie’s are known for being the smartest breed in the world. In 1980, I was miss Huntsville and my Border Collie Joby rode on floats and graded people. I was later in the mist Texas Universe Pageant. She gave me so much confidence because she was always by my side. I felt so loved and protected.
In 1980, the prisons were over occupied. They let some prisoners reside in Huntsville. I lived in a residence near the woods. There was a prisoner living next door to me. To make a long story short he cut off my lights but not my telephone and broke into my residence. My Border Collie Joby attacked him and protected me. She gave me time to call my boyfriend to come to my rescue. I was young and naïve I didn’t think to call the police. She took a bad baiting to save me. She would have given her life for me. I can see these dogs were very special. Most of the things I had heard about border collie or not true. By my experience, they could understand as much as a three-year-old. I would line up tennis balls of different colors and she would pick out the color tennis ball I would tell her to. Amazing!
I would hear terrible stories about how ranchers would shoot them if they didn’t herd. I decided to make these dogs my mission. I wanted to educate people on the breed and the beautiful gift of these loyal and loving creatures from God. I have been dedicated to the breed ever since. As the years have passed this breed has become very popular. They exceed in flyball, agility and rescue dogs. A lot of my Border Collies are trained for people that have disabilities like hearing and vision problems. But most of all as great family members and companions. I am so proud that my Border Collie’s are such a big part of helping others. They not only help people with disabilities, but help children with anxiety and give them confidence. They give them companionship and let them know they are loved.
One of the things I am most proud of is teaching people in other parts of the world how important these beautiful animals are. I am very passionate about teaching people about the breed.
Years ago I had a lady by the name of Linda contact me about adopting a puppy. Linda was in the United States working, making money to send to the Philippines to build a convent with a school in orphanage. I had a puppy that looked like her first Border Collie “Christie” but with reverse markings. She adopted the puppy and named him “Adam”. She told me they were going to live in the Philippines to teach the people and children about the beauty and the dogs over there. Of course, they were a big hit because Adam could play basketball so the kids took up with him right away. For the border collie’s safety, they built a fence around the convent. Then the tsunami of 2004 destroyed a lot of the convent. Adam and Christie were washed away. By god’s grace they were found days later in the top at a palm tree. The convent was restored and Adam and Christie still live there teaching the people of the Philippines about the beauty of God’s wonderful creatures.
Nun Linda keeps in touch with me until this day calling me from the Philippines to tell me the progress after work.
I love the breed so much that I decided to keep the bloodline pure and true to the Border Collie. I started breeding 37 years ago. I have the same bloodline until this day. This bloodline has been featured on the “Meaty Bone” box dog treats sold in stores as well as limited addition artwork. A lot of the Border Collies you see on TV are from this bloodline. I have my bloodline in most states in the U.S. as well as Africa, the Philippines and Costa Rica. I have been so blessed to have the privilege and honor to work with this beautiful breed and share my love of them with others.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
People not being educated on the Border Collie. People thinking that border collies are not a good pet for children and don’t get along with other animals. Also, ranchers thinking that the Border Collie needs to be put down if it doesn’t herd. Border Collies are great with children and other animals. They are great family members and excel in sports as well as helping others.
Years ago, my two children both won ducks from the chamber of commerce Easter festival. I made it very clear to my Border Collies that these ducks were to be part of our family. The next thing I knew my Border Collies were piled up sleeping with the ducks. They taught the ducks to play ball. I would throw the ball to my Border Collie’s and they would catch it. I would roll the ball to “Quackie” and “Waddles” and they would peck it back. When we would go on bicycle rides, my Border Collies would run behind our bicycles while the ducks flew behind us. The ducks started watching T.V. along with my Border Collies. I had heard that ducks imprinted. Wow. I had to have cloths made for the ducks with diapers so they could stay in the house. They made the Friendswood newspaper. The ducks walked on leash just like my dogs. We were invited to ride on floats as well as educate people about animals during the Easter festivals.
So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Border Collie Lady story. Tell us more about the business.
Border Collies were developed by sheepherders in England and Scotland over 200 years ago. After researching bloodlines, it is believed that my bloodline came from the fox. I only breed to bloodlines that are great and proven. I produce only the best Border Collies. I want to be sure and preserve the Border Collie the way sheepherders intended it. They are so smart that they excel in sports as well as helping people with disabilities. When people would come and purchase puppies from me, they could not believe how smart they were. They are so highly bred. They sing happy birthday, open and shut doors, as well as turn on and off the lights in the house. I did not teach them this. They observe me doing stuff and copy me. I have to watch everything I do. They pick up on things so fast. People ask me all the time how did you train your Border Collies to do that. I always say I didn’t. They are very observant. My bloodline is in the “Key Dogs To The Border Collie Family” book. I think keeping the bloodline true and pure has been a great part of my success. After they are born they are kept in the living room next to the television set. They are raised around all kinds of noises and stimulation. They are handled and played with on a daily basis. They are very people acclimated. It’s so funny a lot of my Border Collie’s love to watch TV.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I think I have been blessed to have this bloodline. I’ve been so lucky that my Border Collies have sold their selves. I have been in business for over 37 years. I have constant referrals. I sell them in most parts of the U.S. and abroad. This bloodline has been fortunate to have been featured on the “Meaty Bone” box dog treats sold in stores as well as limited addition artwork. We have also toured hospitals and convalescent homes to bring up people’s spirits. Border Collies are so beautiful in spirit and soul. A lot of the Border Collies you see on TV are from this bloodline. They just want to make you happy. These dogs are my passion. I love and believe in them dearly. I think anything that you truly love and believe in, you will definitely be successful.
If you pick the puppy up they start at $950.00.
Address: 2905 Autumn Cove Court
Friendswood, TX. 77546
EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS, ΦΒΚ
But if a fox bears the seed of a dog, that which is born is not a dog, but a blending of something from both species.
—Galen, De Semine 2.1 (2nd cen. A.D.)
(This article is part of the support material for the alternative theory of evolution offered on this website.)
[dog-fox hybrid] Enlarge image
A supposed dox on display at the Grosvenor Museum (Chester, UK). The caption for this picture on the museum’s website reads, “This tatty looking specimen is possibly the only known dog-fox hybrid in the world. It is said that a male fox mated with a female dog on a canal boat near Beeston. It sat for many years on the staircase at Eaton Hall, before it was auctioned and donated to the Museum.” Access the Grovenor Museum's page about this hybrid.
[Dog-fox hybrid] One of the many dog-fox hybrids reported in the older literature (Walsh 1859, p. 165)
[Red Fox] Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) Image: Minette Layne
Although throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere extensive natural contact does occur between fox and dog, nearly all reports of dog-fox hybrids refer to crosses in captivity involving a male fox and a bitch (one seemingly reliable French report does describe two such hybrids shot by hunters). The short name for a dog-fox hybrid is a “dox.”
There is controversy over whether dog-fox hybrids are actually possible, and this cross is not very well documented. In particular, there seem to be no genetically verified dog-fox hybrids on record. Moreover, since dogs are so variable, naysayers can always claim that any putative hybrid falls within the range of variation of ordinary dogs.
The chromosome count of a red fox is 2n=34 (plus 3-5 micro-chromosomes) and that of a dog, 2n=78. So the difference in counts is large, with dogs having more than twice as many. This fact is often cited as somehow making such hybrids "impossible." But well-documented hybrids have been produced in many other crosses where the parents exhibit large differences in chromosome counts (for example, see the various equine crosses with large differences in parental chromosome counts documented here). In general, differences in the chromosome counts of the parents participating in a cross adversely affect the fertility of the hybrids, not their viability.
Chester. And, in fact, one fairly well-documented dox (see image at right above) is a stuffed animal in the collection of the Grosvenor Museum, (Chester, UK). It is as yet unclear, however, whether this specimen has been genetically verified as a genuine dog-fox hybrid. So the evidence in this case is perhaps not quite so good as in the next, which involves hybrids produced in captivity at a reputable institution.
Hannover. Wilhelm Niemeyer, Director of the Hannover Zoological Gardens, gives what appears to be an authentic account of the birth a litter of dog-fox hybrids (since it took place under strictly controlled conditions). In the 19th century, when Niemeyer reported this cross, it was normal practice at zoos to produce hybrids intentionally. For this reason, keepers at the Hannover Zoo arranged a mating between a dog and a captive fox. Niemeyer (1868, p. 69) says that “the fox, which was otherwise very tame, became fierce when the bitch, which was in heat,was placed in his cage, and to calm him somewhat, the dog was chained in a corner. Gradually, the fox seemed to get used to its new companion and approached her ever more closely until after three hours, mating began. The bitch was thereafter kept strictly away from other dogs, and produced a litter of four young, one of which was dead at birth. The others died during the next few days. They were similar in color to the dark gray of the mother. [Translated by E. M. McCarthy. Original German.]
[dog-fox hybrid] Dog/maned wolf hybrids
Beyond the fact that this case occurred in captivity and was reported by the head official of an important zoo, Niemeyer’s account seems authentic because the hybrids described were inviable. In many types of crosses, a relatively small percentage of the hybrid offspring are sufficiently viable to reach adulthood. And yet, this elevated level of inviability seen in hybrid crosses should not obscure that fact that even in crosses where nearly all the hybrids die young, a certain fraction do survive.
Horncastle. Another seemingly credible account, entitled Fox and Dog Hybrids near Horncastle, is given by the Rev. J. Conway Walter in the April, 1899 issue of The Naturalist: A Monthly Journal of Natural History for North England (p. 104), which reads as follows: “I exhibited, when the Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union met in Holbeck and Tetford, in August 1897,[Reverend James Conway Walter] James Conway Walter
a case containing two stuffed specimens of a cross between a fox and dog, bred by Mr. Stafford Walker, of Horncastle, the sire being a male Fox (Vulpes vulpes) and the mother a half-bred bitch between Shepherd Dog and Whippet; of a litter of six only one survived. The mother was bought by the French savant, M. M. Suchetet [in that day, one of the world’s foremost authorities on hybrids], with a view to further experiments. Since then, several similar hybrids have been produced in this neighbourhood. In one case, at Ashby Puerorum, a farm bailiff, named Cross, tied his Shepherd bitch near a fox-earth; and the one pup reared is now in the possession of Mr. Frank Dynioke, of Scrivelsby Park. In another case, a gamekeeper near Louth tied a bitch in a wood, in the rutting season, to give warning of trespassers, and subsequently the bitch had pups, evidently a cross with Fox. One of these is now in the possession of Mr. Waltham, dealer in china, High Street, Horncastle. Another is in the possession of Mr. E. Walter, farmer, of Hatton, a cousin of Mr. Stafford Walter, who bred the original hybrids, which I exhibited in 1897.
[fox-dog hybrid] Domestic Dog (Spitz)
Hellabrunn Zoo. Heinrich Heck (1932), the director of the Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich, Germany, describes a dog-fox hybrid produced from a cross between a female spitz and a male fox as reddish in color, but not so red as a fox (Darwin, 1868, vol 1, p. 31, states that “the Spitz-dog in Germany is said to receive the fox more readily than do other breeds.”). It had the gracile build of a fox, a similar gait, and the same restlessness. The long, fine hair of the shaggy coat showed the mother’s influence.
Worcester. Another article about a dog-fox hybrid was written by British zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock (1900):[Reginald Innes Pocock] Reginald Innes Pocock
Hybrid Dog and Fox.—In the new Museum at Worcester, standing upon a shelf in the recess set apart for local mammals, there is a stuffed animal, labelled Wolf, which I suspect is a hybrid between a Dog and a Fox. Pasted up alongside is an old, and I think, dateless newspaper cutting, containing a sensational account of the behaviour of the 'monster’ during the time just preceding its destruction. The paragraph was too long to copy in full during the time at my disposal, but to the best of my recollection the pith of it is as follows: The animal entered a cottage in a village in Worcestershire, and quietly laid down under a table. Roused from its rest by the crying of a child, it was making for the sound with the purpose of devouring its originator, when a Cat, with less discretion than is usually displayed by this feline, flew at the intruder, but in the tussle that ensued was torn limb from limb and afterwards devoured piecemeal on the spot. The subsequent proceedings I forget, but the 'Wolf’ apparently continued to hang about the cottage, till some passing labourers, apprised of its doings and probable intentions, attacked and killed it. The alleged ferocity and unmistakable, albeit superficial, Wolf-like aspect of the animal, coupled may be with the circumstance that it was not recognized as the property of any of the farmers or Dog-owners of the neighbourhood, seem to have been the considerations which led the good people into whose hands the beast fell to settle offhand that it must be a 'Wolf escaped from a menagerie’ … Judging from the size of the teeth, the creature was adult. It is rather larger than a Fox, and has a bushy tail and erect ears. The legs and the head, so far as could be seen, except for a blackish patch in front of the ear, are a rich fawn-colour; the back is black, mottled with dark grey, the tail being much the same shade on the back, and without a white. Apart from its slightly superior size, it differs strikingly from a Fox in having the ears and feet fawn instead of blackish, and in the absence of white from the lips and throat. Of wild Dogs, it is perhaps the Black-backed Jackal that it most calls to mind, although much stouter in build and smaller in the ears than that elegant species. It also resembles a small cock-eared colley, and might pass muster as such amongst a crowd of mongrels. A suspiciously 'foxy’ look about the beast, however, inclines me to the belief that it is the progeny of a Fox, and probably some country Sheep-dog.
From the various foregoing accounts, it seems clear that foxes can interbreed with dogs and that a percentage of the resulting hybrids reach maturity. However, there is the additional question of whether those mature hybrids are ever fertile.
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[pig-dog hybrids] News notice about a dog-fox hybrid shot near Mount Pleasant, Michigan (Source: The Clare, Michigan, Sentinel (June 24, 1927, p. 1)
Accounts of fertile dog-fox hybridsRelated article:
[wolf-dog hybrids] Wolf-dog hybrids
John Henry Walsh F.R.C.S. (1810-1888) was an English surgeon and sports writer who wrote under the pseudonym "Stonehenge." In his book, The Dog in Health and Disease (Walsh 1859, p. 165), he comments that “it will be perhaps interesting to allude to the best authenticated specimen [of dog-fox hybrid] within my knowledge, which is now the property of Mr. Hewer of Reading. [This animal is pictured near the top of this webpage.] She is a daughter of the first cross which was described by Mr. Tomlin in ‘Bell’s Life’ in the year 1855, and is by an ordinary terrier dog.” He then goes on to quote Tomlin at length:For additional information about this animal see The Veterinarian, Vol. 28, January 1855, pp. 13-14.
In 1853 various accounts appeared in ‘Bell’s Life in London’ of the fox and dog cross, the fact being established by a gentleman of Kent, who then possessed a vulpo-canine bitch which had produce by a dog (vide ‘Bell’s Life,’ Dec. 1853 and Feb. 1854). This bitch (half fox, half dog), now in my possession, had produce in the month of February last by a terrier dog. The produce are two dog-whelps and three bitches, some of which were (to ease the dam) suckled by a cur bitch. Two of the litter prove in nature shy as a fox; three of them dog-like in appearance, colour, and perfectly quiet, and follow well at heel. Still, they have the real fox muzzle and ‘fox action,’ about which (to those who have well studied it in the hunting-field) there exists but little mistake. Many there are who doubt the existence of any such animal as that between fox and dog. I am, however, in perfect condition to prove (by the living articles themselves) that the fox is merely a separate species of the genus dog, and intercopulates with the bitch, producing not a hybrid or mule animal, but one which will propagate its species.
[deer-cow hybrid] Deer-cow hybrids?
Heck (1932) also says that a male dog-fox hybrid produced offspring with a female grey wolf (Canis lupus). Prichard (1836, p. 141) says, “Pallas (N. Nord. Beyträge) gives from Pennant two instances of generation between the dog and wolf and one between the dog and the fox, in which last the offspring, a female, afterwards produced young by a dog.”
Herbert (1837, pp. 339-340), too, gives an eye-witness account of a fertile hybrid. He states that “I have lately had under my observation a dog, whose father was a fox in an innyard at Ripon, and it has singularly the manners as well as the voice of a fox, but it is the parent of many families of puppies.”
Eiffe (1892) provides yet another account, entitled Fox Hybrid:
In the summer of 1886, I saw on a farm in Collow in Lauenburg a female fox hybrid from a shepherd dog and a wild fox. It had the size, shape and hair of a fox, but it differed from a red fox in that its coloration was more like that of a wolf, as shepherd dogs are generally colored. At the time, the hybrid had young by a domestic dog, which were black. It follows from this, then, that fox hybrids are fertile. In the neighborhood many shepherd dogs have a fox-like character, so that people can probably be believed who say the farmers there take their shepherd bitches to the woods when they are in heat to allow them to mate with foxes and thereby obtain more watchful and lively dogs. [Translated by E. M. McCarthy. Original German.]