In 1900 the Scotch Collie or Scotch Shepherd was the most popular dog in America, they were sought after by farmers for their herding ability and they were sought after by city dwellers because they were intelligent and loyal pets, in fact the qualities that made the Scotch Collie a great farm dog were largely the exact same properties that made it a great family dog, their intelligence and desire to please. This is the dog you read about in such books as Lassie and Lad: A Dog, and at first it is easy to dismiss the amazing behavior recorded in these works as mere fiction, but after reading some of the amazing true stories of Scotch Collies recorded on this site you will no-doubt realize that these dogs really are that smart.
Later in the 20th century two things conspired to devastate the Scotch Collie populations. The first thing was the popularity of purebred show-dogs, the farm collies did not meet the breed standards developed for show dogs while the registered dogs were bred for looks alone with no thought to their intelligence or working ability. The second and final blow to the old time Scotch Collie was the death of small scale family farming in the 1930s, the great depression, the tractor, the dust bowl and World War II all created a shift toward larger farms and cities and away from the small family farm, this in turn left little place for the working Scotch Shepherds and he was slowly replaced by more fashionable dogs as his usefulness around the farm waned. By the 1980s these dogs had all but completely disappeared, still, some people remembered them and began looking for them. Among those looking for an old time farm collie around this time was J. Richard McDuffie, who had the advantage of being a writer for Full Cry magazine, his article about old-time treeing Farm Shepherds drew hundreds of responses from people who, like him, remembered these dogs and wanted one again. From this response he eventually found an old woman in Tennessee who had continued to keep and breed her husband’s line of old time farm collies. Mr. McDuffie bought these dogs and began breeding them. There are other stories from around the same time, of dogs that were seemingly the last of their breed being discovered and bred, today there are a handful of these great dogs around the United States.
This website has four goals.
- Record what the Scotch Collie of 100 years ago was like by publishing articles from that period.
- Promote and increase the breed, this breed is endangered and needs to be increased, furthermore it is little know and deserves to be recognized for its abilities.
- Encourage other advocates of this breed to band together, success can only be achieved with a concerted group effort.
- Promote dialog within the community.
Explore the pages of this website to learn more about the Scotch Collie, what makes them great to have around, their history and efforts to restore them.