Questions Searchers Ask About Scotch Collies

Reading over the analytics report for my website over the last 6 months I noticed that a lot of people come here looking for answers to specific questions. So I have decided to answer a few of these questions here. The following are actual questions people have asked search engines and been brought to this site for answers.

What is a Scottish Shepherd?

This question often results from someone researching Call of the Wild by Jack London, Buck was a Saint Bernard / Scotch Shepherd mix. A Scotch Shepherd is the same thing as a Scotch Collie, in olden days the names were used interchangeably.

What are English Shepherds called in England?

Today English Shepherds in England are called English Shepherds, back in the days when they were quite common in England and not so well known in America, they were just known as Shepherd’s Dogs or occasionally the English Shepherd’s Dog. For more info on this subject see the post The English Shepherd’s True Origins – England.

Are Farm Collies the same as English Shepherds?

The term farm collie is generally not used to define a breed of dog but a broad type of dog. The English Shepherd is a breed that falls within that type along with several other breeds, crosses thereof and a few mongrels as well. See the post Farm Collie Definition for more info on this subject.

Why does John Wayne have collies for dogs in his movies?

Well this is certainly an interesting question! I don’t know of a specific reason, not being a film historian, but I would suspect it is because his films were trying to be historically accurate. During the period of the 1800s, the time period in which most John Wayne movies are set, the Scotch Collie was a very common dog in rural areas. Take a look at a few photos from that time period and notice how often Collies appear around old ranches and farms.

Are Scotch Collies and Old Time Farm Shepherds the same thing?

This is a common question. The Scotch Collie is the original Collie shepherd’s dog landrace from Scotland , as such it covers a wide range of looks. Some of these dogs became known as “farm shepherds” in rural America during the 19th and early 20th century. Richard McDuffie found some of the last pure “farm shepherd” dogs and began registering them with the NKC as Old-Time Farm Shepherds. So while the OTFS is a type of Scotch Collie (even Mr. McDuffie saw it this way), not all Scotch Collies can rightly be called OTFS.

Where can I find OTFS puppies?

Good luck with that! The OTFS, as a breed had a very small genetic footprint to start with when McDuffie started registering them in the 1990s, today they have dwindled away to almost nothing. I personally bred a litter of registered OTFS last year and have another planned for next year, but as far as I know I am currently the only breeder of these dogs.

Where are Old Time Farm Shepherd breeders?

Good question, I wish I had an answer for you. I have talked to many people who had OTFS dogs they bought from McDuffie and Strunk and they all had glowing praise for their dogs but none of them bred their dogs. Today the OTFS breed is all but extinct. I organized an OTFS picnic in Tennessee last summer to try to get in touch with other owners or breeders, but the only people who showed up were people interested in buying puppies, no current owners. The OTFS Yahoo group is dead and has been for years, I worry that the breed itself may follow soon.

What’s the difference between Scotch Collie and modern?

Short answer: 150 years of breed evolution. The modern Collie and the Old-Time Scotch Collie came from the same source but almost as soon as people began breeding show Collies, others began complaining about their change in looks and loss of intelligence.  The difference today in looks and behavior is marked. Read more on this subject at Landrace vs. Purebred Scotch Collies.

Are Rough Collies descendants of wolves?

Yes, but then again so are all domestic dogs. Although it used to be said that the Collie was closer to the wolf than other breeds, modern genetic research has proven that Collies are no closer to wolves than most other breeds.

Can collies be hunting dogs?

That depends, most modern Collie dogs have no hunting instinct whatsoever. Some lines of Old-Time Scotch Collie have a lot of hunting instinct, some are even bred specifically for hunting! My Collie Rainier is a hunting and treeing machine.

How did we get the landrace Collie?

The landrace Collie evolved over a long time and a broad area of Great Britain. Long before the upper-class got their hands on the Collie and began breeding them for looks, it was a working dog of great intelligence kept by the rural poor. It is these smart, hard working, landrace Collies that this site is dedicated to preserving. More info at Improved Off The Face Of The Earth and The Collie Spectrum: Understanding the Scotch Landrace.

I hate my Collie.

I am sorry to hear this, but I am not terribly surprised. The modern Collie is the result of 150 years of bad breeding decisions, decisions often based on looks alone, it is prone to have temperament and health problems. You may be glad to know that not all Collies are like this, a small group of people are currently working at reviving the old fashioned type of Collie, see the results of their efforts at the Old-Time Scotch Collie breed database.

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  1. Regarding the last “question,” with all due respect I don’t think anyone hates their own dog, ever, even if it is a show collie! They might hate their collie’s health issues, or they might feel troubled when dealing with their collie’s temperament issues, but I have never heard anyone say they hate their collie! People don’t typically hate their own pets. It really just doesn’t happen!! 🙂

  2. I don’t make this stuff up, someone really did type that into Google and land on my site. I would not presume to second guess them, it may have been a couple of kids messing around or maybe someone really did hate their collie, we can only speculate. I have had dogs I hated, or, maybe hate is too strong a word, I have had dogs I didn’t really care for. I was really just using the question as a vehicle to help me make my point about the condition some purebred collies are in. There was no offense intended to purebred collies, their owners or anybody else.

  3. No offense taken, but a lot of the farm collie/farm shepherd/OTFS people are positively venemous in their collie hate! To listen to them, you’d think that each and every dog registered by the AKC was some sort of pointy-nosed, no-eyed, brainless freak that will be a useless burden until it dies at an early age.

  4. Jana: I agree with you to some extent. At the same time you’ll find far more AKC Collie folk who simply dismiss any collies that don’t fit within the breed club’s as less valuable of a dog on every level. I am constantly seeing our own dogs denigrated by those who speak as an authority of what a ‘real’ collie is. There is a lot of frustration dealing with such attitudes when you sit at the polar opposite. For example, I’ve seen a website that smugly proclaims the old Scotch collie is extinct. There is no evidence for such a statement, and in fact, mounds to prove otherwise. I don’t remember which one it was but I spent awhile on the site to figure out how that person came to such a conclusion but to nope.

    We are all passionate about our own ideas of the perfect dog no matter the breed. Those involved in creating a sea change must be extremely so. It’s such passion which drives the efforts needed. What I’m trying to say is that the folks involved in starting a revolution are always on the far end of the spectrum of being passionate about their topic. Often when you want to get your point across to the people in the back of the room, you do tend to get a little bit soap-boxy. Mainly because you feel like you have to justify yourself to those who it turns out aren’t listening. When I first began my journey in my research I often felt apologetic and gave far to much credit to those who are equally passionate on their ‘well bred’ dogs

    The AKC breed clubs promote a specific image of what they consider the ideal dog by allowing dogs with such extreme characteristics to be chosen for their show champions, and by promoting that image themselves. This is not just the Collie club, but all the AKC breed clubs. One would think that the BC’s are strictly black and white for example since every image promoted by the BC Club is such. Just do a Google Image search for BC’s and you’ll see what I mean. Yet don’t they have the most diversity of appearance than any other breed club?

    What your hearing is people ranting about the “pointy-nosed, no-eyed, brainless freak that will be a useless burden until it dies at an early age.” Dogs who might be AKC registered and don’t fall into that parameter are not included in the rant. The anger is focused on the fact that those dogs are not valued by the breed club.

    Yes Virginia, there really are people who hate their dogs. Unfortunately they are also people you don’t want as a friend…

  5. I think it is a shame that so much focus has been put on the collie head.I am of course referring to SHOW collies. What bothers me the most is the eyes. the standard states MEDIUM size almond shape..and some how that has been twisted around so that when a dog with a medium size almond shaped eye shows up in the ring..they are ignored and when the judge is questioned you get the response that the eye is too big. I breed collies for BOTH show and obedience/performance. I really get a bit rankled when I hear people say the collie is stupid..that the brains have been bred out through the end of the nose. This is simply NOT true. in nearly 50 years of raising collies I have NEVER had a stupid collie. what does really bother me though is taht temperament is no longer mentioned in the standard other then under general character. I have seen too may collies lately that have questionable temperaments..too soft, sound sensitive..this irks me more then anything else. To the person who says they hate their collie..I feel sorry for you but I feel sorrier for the dog!! have obviously not had good experience with your collie where as I on the other hand would have NO OTHER BREED!! Just try to keep in mind there are people who truly love this breed and will put soundness, health, and temperament ahead of HEADS!!

  6. love seeing the old pics and reading your info. I too had an old time collie , from a farm 61 years ago, my first collie named Sally. red rust collie, beautiful coat white collar and bent over tips above a little upright perky ear. sorry can’t find another one just the two smoothies I enjoy today. That same collie manner is there deep below those trusting and loving eyes . I just love collies and feel oh so sorry for the one who wrote ” they hate their collie’!!!!!!!! more so for the collie than the person………….

  7. I was just wondering if someone could write an article with some of the more practical considerations for people considering the breed, for beginners. I mean, the history is really interesting, and the breed standard rough draft includes a lot of it, but maybe an article which also includes things like shedding and exercise requirements and the like? Thanks.

  8. I’m so glad to find this site. My roommate has a gorgeous, wonderful dog named Wu and never knew what breed he was until I found this. She said he was a rescue from Arizona in an area called Strawberry Mountain and that there were many strays and pets fitting his general description and that they were known by the locals as “Strawberry Mountain dogs.”

  9. Interesting read. I have a English Shepherd and a Rough Collie from show lines. I see a big difference in their temperament. My ES is very stubborn, restless, destructive, over sensitive, very mouthy biting hard when paying and not very smart. My RC is confident, rests by my feet inside and active outdoors, never made a single mistake even as a puppy, extremely biddable, not destructive and very gentle when playing. My Rough Collie from AKC dog show lines is smart, fearless and proud unlike my skittish and thick-headed English Shepherd from a working farm… So much goes for English Shepherds being a so-called better breed than show Collies. My Rough Collie boy is the so perfect it’s amazing. My English Shepherd is a real pain in the butt, but I still love my dumb butt-head boy! lol They can’t all be geniuses, right?

  10. I once owned a “farm collie”, that I loved very much. Bib was gentle with all children she came in contact with, enjoyed playing with other dogs, and her best animal buddy was our cat. She only barked when she was uncomfortable with someone, or if she felt that the kids might be in trouble. She was extremely obedient, never caused a mess, always stayed with the kids when outside and knew to come get me if one of them was hurt(I got a terrible scare once when she came to get me and I found the boys playing in an old, rickety, abandoned house that they had been warned about staying away from). She seemed to be able to “think” about a situation and figured out what to do about it. She definitely had the herding instinct as she would gather up all the toys left out, along with her own toys, bring them to her favorite corner in the living room and then lay down in front of them “guarding” them until the boys got home from school when she would check her “herd” over and then go play with the kids. Yes, she did shed, but not significantly and I loved brushing her gorgeous coat so she was brushed at least once a week, but could go longer if necessary. Any dog coat should be brushed regularly; to lower the shedding amount and because many of them seem to enjoy it. She was super easy to train and obeyed commands willingly. So many great things about her and though it has been many, many years since she passed away, I still miss her terribly. I have had many other breeds over the years, including Rough coats(show collies) which are also wonderful dogs, but I’d give my eyeteeth to has another “farm collie”.

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