Friends of the Old Farm Collie, Bulletin #1 page 2
3. It has been noted by some that the English Shepherd is very similar to the Old Farm Collie, and some consider the English Shepherd in fact to be the same dog. There is much to be said for this view. Personally, however, I do not consider them to be identical. Rather, the English Shepherd, like the Australian Shepherd, Border Collie and Rough Collie descend directly from the Old Farm Collie. Within these breeds individuals can be found which indeed are indentical to descriptions and photos of the Old Farm Collie. Of these breeds, the English Shepherd is closest to the old farm collie. But along with the similarities, in each of these breeds there are differences as well. The major differences, both in individual dogs and in the focus of organized breed clubs, appear to be as follows:
a. Rough/Smooth Collie: the most obvious difference is the exaggerated length and narrowness of head, tiny eyes, excessively heavy coat. (There is evidence that the lengthening and narrowing of the head was achieved through cross-breeding to the Borzoi at the turn of the century, when the change in type began to be very noticeable.) Incidences of eye disorders are high in the breed. In many cases the working drive is low, although some Rough/Smooth Collies do have good working ability. While in some individuals such "old fashioned" traits as broader, shorter head, shorter coat, etc. do occur, such characteristics are considered to be "faults."
b. Border Collie: physical type varies considerably in the Border Collie, but many individuals are the exact type of the old-fashioned collie. However, this breed has been bred to have a stron-eyed, crouching working style and an intense manner of working, unlike the more upright, relaxed manner of the old-fashioned farm collie. Many Border Collies show this intensity constantly and in all situations, making it a challenge to keep the dog occupied. Some more relaxed individuals undoubtedly occur.
c. Australian Shepherd: many of these dogs are indentical in type to the Old Farm Collie. The breed club, however, requires docking of the tail and the range of colors is restricted. Some Aussies have a "sharp" nature, and some (more and more) are being developed as show dogs and consequently are becoming exaggeratedly heavy in build and losing their working drive. There remain, however, many individuals in this breed that essentially are of the Old Farm Collie type.
Back to "About Friends of the Old Farm Collie."
Back to website table of contents.