dogs of the farm collie movement

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.

Links to outside websites related to the farm collie movement

Farm Collie Primer

Farm Collie Primer Finding your own farm collie Farm Collie Movement Farm Collie History Farm Collie Definition


  1. Now, I know! In the 1960’s, our next door neighbor’s dog, Tippy, was a
    a Scotch/Farm Collie!!! YAY. We could never figure him out, he was a breed all of his own.
    Tippy spent most of his time at our house, but he was sort of the neighborhood dog on Bernard Street (Pittsburgh,Pa). He hung out with all of the kids loved him and the parents,too.
    Thank-you for the information about this great dog!
    Mrs. Marian-Smith Ash

  2. Is anyone in your advocacy group aware of a Beatrice Potter painting of her own dog, an old-type collie? Clearly it had a broader skull and “stop” with a long elegant muzzle. (not the convex profile and narrow skull imported from borzoi). This painting might pique interest among those who appreciate the pastoral/herding dog in general.

    This painting is on page 184 of a book “Beatrice Potter’s Art” by Anne Stevenson Hobbs, fully illustrated in colour throughout. Pub. by The Penguin Group, 1989.
    ISBN 0 7232 3598 8

    Perhaps by giving credits and a link to the publisher your group might be allowed to show this particular painting, which is a ‘from life’ sketch in watercolour, on your site.

  3. A farm collie followed me home from school when I was in the third grade. My dad said she was just a collie mix. Lady followed me all over town and saved me from being bitten by dogs when I rode my bicycle. We never pinned her up and virtually everyone in town knew her. She was very protective of our yard. She lived until my senior year in college. I have owned great collies and border collies since, but I just now realize she was a farm or scotch collie. I would love to have another one to be a house dog that I could also take out to my farm.

  4. I adore the farm collie, because it was my family’s dog that I grew up with. He had the short muzzle and the collie colors, the white collar and the red/orangey hair, but his head was rounder, no borzoi. He lived till age 15. I now have two rough collies, the ones that are larger in size the collie/borzoi mix, my female is larger than my boy and she has a longer nose, but my boy has less of the borzoi in him. I love the borzoi in them, but my female is alittle less obedient because of that. The boy having less of the borzoi is alot like my first “pure” farm collie.

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