I’ve had a “farm collie” or an English Shepherd by my side for over ten years now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. What is an English Shepherd, or a farm collie, for that matter? Well, there’s a bit of controversy (typical I think of just about every ” breed” organization). But essentially, the farm collies were part of every day life here in America back in the day. As small farms began to die out, the farmer’s dog, unregistered, of course, also began to die out. Becasue small pokects of the original breeders dogs remained, and because passionate supporters of these dogs came to the rescue, we are still able to find wonderful, working eamples of this landrace breed. Here’s a fantastic website on them: http://www.oldtimefarmshepherd.org/ as well as http://www.scotchcollie.org/ . For those of you intersted in the English Shepherd, here’s the breed info: http://www.englishshepherd.org/workingdogs.htm
Border collies became more popular as “farm dogs” becasue they are superb at controlling large number sof livestock – what they do, they do extremely well. The farm collies’ job was three-fold – herd, hunt, guard. And, though a good farm collie was (is) always on farm duty, they are also melllow enough to kick back and hang out with the kids, or just chill in the house. They come in lots of colors, but most take after the old fashioned ” scotch collie” before the introduction of borzoi blood into the breed. English Shepherds are a rare, registerable breed, and many think their blood runs deep in the old farm collie lines. All I know is that they are good dogs – good friends, good workers, good looking and first rate helpers in every sense.
We lost our working farm collie to cancer (he was raised his entire life on a working organic farm, how does that happen?) in 2010. “Jake”, half rough collie and half English SHepherd, helped with everything from chasing hawks away from the hens to herding pigs to hunting vermin in the hay barn. Though he never really “retired” in his last few years he was an amazing therapy dog, working 40 hour weeks with me as the resident Alzheimer’s wing dog. He knew who needed a hug, and who wanted to play, and who just wanted company.
Our new pup, “Levi” is a purebred English Shepherd. He’s only 9 months so far, and as such is still a baby. He’s starting to show some very good guarding instincts, and is attempting to herd, though it’s more “bouncing up and down” at this point! He’s definitely showing some amazing hunting skills. He’s a gorgeous tri color, and is very sweet natured and, yes, goofy at this point. We are looking forward to watching him learn!