English Shepherds & Farm Collies

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!

Levi, 6 months
Levi, 6 months
Levi in the snow
Levi in the snow
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7 thoughts on “English Shepherds & Farm Collies

    • Levi is doing very well though it has taken him a long time to develop. I understand that is typical of the breed, as they are slow to mature. Do you farm with yours?

      • I wouldn’t say I farm, but we do have a small herd of various cattle with some bulls, and I have a small flock of chickens. I bought him mainly to guard the chickens and ducks, but he doesn’t quite get it. A lot of that is my fault. Although he babysat a little orphan calf when he was only about 5 months old, the instinct to guard chickens doesn’t seem to be there yet. He honestly doesn’t know what to do with them. I’m working with him a bit more on this, and he kinda gets it, but time will tell as to whether he will ever really understand. He’s actually a very mature dog for his age, only a little over a year, very mellow, and a thinker for the most part.

  1. So sorry to hear about the loss of your farm collie. We recently lost our American Eskimo who was my best friend. Three weeks ago, we got our first English shepherd, who is 9 minths old.

  2. So sorry about your loss… I had a collie mix for 17 years. He was a good dog, very calm, biddable, gentle, a great watchdog & protector. I currently have a rough collie who’s 18 months old, he’s a smart, fun loving sweetheart! I’m thinking of getting an English Shepherd in the future, they sound like good dogs too?

    • Yes, e really love both our English Shepherds (we just adopted Levi’s full sister) DO soem research on bloodlines before you buy, some ES’s are bred for farm work, others as companions. Some can be a bit on the “hyper” side if they don’t enough work to do, but they are gorgeous, very biddable best friends!

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