The poor old Scotch Collie was nearing extinction by the 1980s when a few ambitious individuals began searching for them, among these were J. Richard McDuffie and Erika DuBois. Their interest inspired others and with the advent of the internet in the 1990s people from around the country came together to discuss these dogs and work together.
Around this time people began using the term “farm collie” to refer to these dogs, perhaps started by an early leader of the movement such as Linda Rorem or Gina Bisco. By the late 90s there was a great deal of enthusiasm and activity online, in the intervening years however, interest seems to have tapered off. I have personally corresponded with several of the early farm collie proponents and if I can sum up and distill their thoughts on the subject it would be something like this:
“Since I got involved with farm collies in the 1990s I have come to recognize that the English Shepherd breed is as close to the old farm collie as we can possibly come today, furthermore I have determined that a farm collie is more a type of dog than a breed of dog and that looks are not as important to a farm collie as is its behavior.”
Much of the interest in farm collies therefore has been redirected towards the English Shepherd breed, leaving the old-time Scotch Collie in a similar situation to what they were in before the movement started. Yet it was the Scotch Collie that originally inspired the movement, it was the term used by both Richard McDuffie and Erika DuBois, it was also the term used by John Holmes in his oft quoted book The Farmer’s Dog. It was the picture of Dunrovins Ole Shep that excited people, not the description of his working ability, and yet looks have been all but abandoned as a criteria.
Articles related to the farm collie movement.
- J. Richard McDuffie and the Old Time Farm Shepherds
- Erika DuBois and her Scotch Collies
- Linda Rorem’s Article
- Current state of the farm collie movement