Old-Fashioned Collies

The old-fashioned Collie (aka Farm Collie, Farm Shepherd, Shepherd's Dog or just "Old Shep") is a breed that was nearly ubiquitous a hundred years ago, but today has all but disappeared.  Many households had a Shep who was known for his intelligence, biddability (willingness to follow direction), loyalty, and gentleness with children and baby animals.  They were a child's faithful companion and protector.  They were the farmer's helper, bringing in the cows from the field.  They were a housewife's assistant, keeping the chickens off the porch.  They could herd.  Some could hunt.  Most would guard their master's property from tramps and predatory animals.  And they learned most of that by observation and instinct, not from obedience class.

This is the predecessor to the modern Collie, which has had a lot of the old instincts bred out.  Today's Collie is still a friendly, loyal, trainable dog...but he may or may not be able to herd, and he often bears a massive, impractical coat, an overly long, narrow, flat-topped muzzle, and too-small eyes (I found the below photo on Google's "labeled for reuse" images).

Thankfully, there are devoted people out there working to preserve old-fashioned Collies.

The old-fashioned Collie is a landrace breed, meaning that it isn't held to a strict standard - there's a lot of variation in physical appearance (as you can see from the photos on this page).  Back when these dogs were popular working dogs, the emphasis was more on their working ability and their temperament than on their physical appearance.  It was when they became popular as pets and show dogs in the early 1900s that they began to be bred for looks, leading eventually to the modern Collie.

If you're interested in learning more about these amazing dogs, check out this site: http://www.oldtimefarmshepherd.org/

There are two main registries for the old-fashioned Collie; they are breeding toward a similar dog through different means: 

And keep an eye on my blog - someday, I hope to breed my own old-fashioned Collies!


  1. Lovely read, I really enjoyed it.
    Keep up the good work!

  2. I didn't realize how many of those Collie postcards you'd collected (assuming those are all yours and not just from Google). I like the "feeding the lost child" one--is that from the story you told me about the collie feeding the lost kid its own supper? Also, you didn't mention Thane! =)

    1. Yes, this is part of my collection of old Collie pictures; they are not from Google. And yes, this is from that story. Check out the oldtimefarmshepherd.org site for lots more stories! Thane will get a post soon, and I may someday add his photo to this page. :) Thanks for the comment!!