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Scotch Collie making a comeback


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Been a long, long time since I've posted here. We lost our lovely Finn shortly before Christmas (for those who may remember, we got Finn from a Border Collie rescue in Tennessee, but we feel he was actually an English Shepherd). He had chronic kidney failure and we couldn't pull him out of a crisis despite round the clock IV fluids, so we had to make that horrible decision everyone here understands far too well.

 

Since I have always loved farm collies, I started searching for another rescue from Border Collie and English Shepherd sites, but wasn't having much luck - we have moved to Michigan and none of the rescues close by had any dogs that were cat friendly.

 

But I did run across something interesting. There is an organization that is working hard to bring back the Old Time Scotch Collie and low and behold there was a breeder 2 hours away with a litter on the ground. The organization has started a registry for any proven farm dog with the scotch collie look trying to keep this old breed from disappearing.

 

We went to the farm to check out the litter and see the dam and sire (small 10 acre farm with sheep and ducks) and decided to get a male pup. We've named him Tweed (partially in honor of another handsome Tweed that I understand has passed on - partially for the river in Scotland and partially because his coat, well, looks like tweed). The dam was a beautiful clear sable girl with a nice moderate coat and that wonderful collie face - longish nose, but with a stop at the forehead like nature intended and a sweet disposition. The sire was a tri with a fuller coat, but still not that ridiculous overblown coat show collies are known for and his energy and attitude were outstanding.

 

Anyway - I thought of this board and the interest people here have in preserving working farm dogs and figured a few of you would find it interesting that there may be hope for that old, wonderful breed after all.

 

Here's the link to the registry site if anyone would like to learn more:

http://www.scotchcollie.org/

 

And, of course, a picture or two of our new boy:

 

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post-7989-0-00933900-1455213318_thumb.jpg

post-7989-0-14028300-1455213330_thumb.jpg

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Nice looking dogs, had a peek at the web site you linked. What I can´t find there is any vids showing these dogs at work. What style and what level.

I am a bit wary of these kind of initiatives, restoring an old breed to former glory. Not an easy thing to do, small population, and I imagine not a lot of outstanding working dogs in that population. But I do hope that it is successful.

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Seems to be a US thing. First the English Shepherd, now the Scotch Collie. I live 60 miles from the Scottish border and had to look up what they were supposed to be, the same as I had to do the first time I ever met an English Shepherd, and I spend my life surrounded by dogs, mostly BCs.

 

And as for the Australian Shepherd......'

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From what I understand, the Scotch collie was the "general purpose" farm dog who could do some herding and vermin control and act as a watch dog.

So I would imagine the herding style would be very loose.

And I agree that this is a large undertaking that may be not be successful but I do know they are keeping an open registry and allowing out crossing to increase the gene pool, so time will tell.

I do know our little guy is smart and fearless.

We picked him up this Monday at 8 weeks old and he's already got a 90% "sit", "down" and "roll over".

Now if we could just get the house training part....

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"Seems to be a US thing."

 

Yeah. We Americans must think they're better if they're from somewhere else. :rolleyes:

 

The thing that bothers me about the registry is that their criteria seems to be based on appearance alone. Though they mention protecting and preserving the Scotch collie as a working breed with herding ability, apparently $20 and a few photos showing a dog looks like a Scotch collie'll get you a registration, no proof of working ability required. (And I wonder if they won't be looking for ACK recognition when they get a large enough stud book.)

 

That's too bad.

 

Hope your pup's all you hope he'll be.

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Sorry, I forgot that sometimes people don't pick up on sarcastic humor. Of course I realize that it's too early to expect him to be 100% house trained. It was a joke.

 

The registry is just a data base. They want as many dogs in the data base as they can get at this point so they can see what's out there. And the AKC has already gotten their hands on this breed....it's called the Rough Collie. This association is trying to get the rough collie back to its working roots....the Scotch collie landrace breed.

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I don't understand why anyone would want to resurrect a defunct breed or in this case, type. There's a reason why they don't exist any more - they've been supplanted by a related breed that can do the job better. Farmers bred away from the type and we now have the BC.

 

The association seems to be looking for dogs that superficially resemble what they imagine the Scotch Collie to have been but who knows what their breeding is after 100 years of BC domination?

 

What is it the association is trying to produce that will be of use that doesn't already exist?

 

If outcrossing is to be permitted can it ever be said that the Scotch Collie has been recreated?

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Herding isn't the only job on a farm and maybe some small hobby farmers don't have the need for a strong herder like a Border Collie and prefer a more general purpose farm dog that doesn't require as high an activity level.

 

But there are also people like me. I grew up with collies and hate what the AKC closed registries have done to the breed. I'm excited to think that just maybe I will have a beautiful (yes....I love the way they look) collie who will be a gentle, healthy, loving companion dog. I don't want a high energy herding breed. I would be a horrible owner for a Border Collie now, though I have had and enjoyed them in the past, but my energy level isn't what it used to be.

Maybe having a choice of breed is a good enough reason to try and pull the rough collie back to its roots.

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Herding isn't the only job on a farm and maybe some small hobby farmers don't have the need for a strong herder like a Border Collie and prefer a more general purpose farm dog that doesn't require as high an activity level.

 

<snip>

 

Maybe having a choice of breed is a good enough reason to try and pull the rough collie back to its roots.

 

 

But there are other types of herding breeds that haven't been bred to such a narrow specialization of herding type as border collies have been. Breeds like the aforementioned English Shepherd herd in a fashion (not meant disparagingly, just that it's not the kind of precision herding that border collies do), guard and hunt. They have their purpose as a working dog; it's just a different niche. But if they're not bred for those qualities in mind but rather for their appearance (which I'm seeing from some quarters), will they continue to be a true working breed or just another generic dog that looks like a herding breed?

 

That's just one example. There are others.

 

My question is, are the Scotch collie folks really trying to "pull the rough collie back to its roots"? From what I see on the OTSCA page, it doesn't look to me like they're doing anything more than recreating the appearance of the working breed/type.

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From the site:

 

Breed Standard/Purpose

 

The Old-Time Scotch Collie has always been a landrace breed, having never been made to conform to a rigid standard, rather being predominantly selected based on the needs of the farmer, this “standard” does not seek to change that but rather to define the breed and distinguish it from other breeds that have descended from the Scotch Collie. Towards maintaining the Old-Time Scotch Collie as a landrace breed this standard is intended as a broad set of descriptions with plenty of room for individual breeders preferences and different dog types that all fall within the spectrum of looks that make up the Old-Time Scotch Collie landrace.

 

Overall Appearance

 

The Old-Time Scotch Collie is a well-balanced, athletic, alert and intelligent dog. The overall emphasis is on moderation with no part exaggerated or out of proportion like the long nose or superabundant coat of the modern Rough Collie. The original Scotch Collie was a rugged working dog, able to cope with various situations and environments easily, sound in body and mind, likewise our modern dogs should show this same heartiness and versatility whether they are used as hard-working farm dogs or as faithful companions.

 

Temperament

 

The Old-Time Scotch Collie should be steady, bold, sensible, quick to learn and responsive. Content to lie about when not needed but ready to spring into action at a minutes notice, reserved with strangers, yet never snappy, vicious or shy. Biddability, sagacity, intelligence and reciprocity are the hallmark of the breed. While hyper-activity, shyness, cowardice, inane stock chasing, excessive barking, lack of watchfulness or low intelligence are serious faults.

 

Size and Substance

 

Females measure 20 to 23 inches and weigh between 40 and 60 pounds. Males should measure 22 to 25 inches and weigh between 45 and 70 pounds. In proportion slightly longer than tall, lean and fit, neither bulky and heavy-bodied nor and frail and spindly.

 

Head

 

Moderate length, neither too long like modern Rough Collies, nor too short like some lines of English Shepherd, with a moderate and well defined stop. A moderately flat, wide skull with a stop is an essential feature distinguishing the Old-Time Scotch Collie from the modern Rough Collie. Pick-headed types, overly narrow or overly wide heads and too-long heads are faults. Muzzle should not be overly long nor too short, teeth have a scissors bite, jaw is neither undershot nor overshot. Lips tight and well-fitted.

 

Ears

 

Medium size, pointed at the tip, erect or partly erect when alert, lying close to the head when relaxed. Never should ears be overly long or droopy showing any inclination towards hound or spaniel ears.

 

Eyes

 

Variable from round to almond with a slight oblique set, never should eyes be overly small. Eyes should express shrewd intelligence, and willingness to please. Brown in color, except in the case of merles when one or both eyes may be blue or streaked with blue.

 

Body

 

Slightly long compared with height, back firm with a slight rise over loins; ribs well sprung, chest deep, fairly broad behind shoulders. Abdomen moderately tucked up.

 

Tail

 

Moderately long with sweep toward end. Natural bobtails are acceptable up to eight inches long. Gay tails are acceptable.

 

Gait

 

Viewed from the front at a fast trot, legs are straight, front feet stay close together. Viewed from the side, the reasonable long, reaching stride is smooth and even, keeping the back line firm and level. Hind-legs powerful with plenty of drive. A reasonably long stride is desirable and should be light and appear effortless.

 

Coat

 

Dense double coat, outer coat straight and harsh to the touch, under coat soft and furry. Over 2″ in length, most abundant on tail, breeches, mane and frill, smooth on face, front of forelegs and below the hocks. Overly thin coat, lack of undercoat and excessively heavy or long coat are faults.

 

Color

 

All colors and markings are acceptable. The most common colors are: Sable, either clear or shaded, ranging from light gold tones to deep mahogany red, with or without white markings. Black with white and/or tan markings; blue merle with white and/or tan markings. Other colors may include: predominantly white; chocolate/red; red merle; slate blue/gray; slate blue/gray merle; gray. White markings consist of all or some of the following: White face blaze, collar, chest, feet, tail tip.

 

Defining Characteristics

 

The Scotch Collies of 100 years ago, like those found today, were a highly versatile dog capable of adapting and thriving in a multitude of situations. Not every OTSC may have the ability to demonstrate the characteristics below but we would like to think that they all have the ability given the proper circumstances.

 

Biddable – meekly ready to accept and follow instructions; docile and obedientIntelligence – dogs of outstanding, and sometimes surprising intelligence.Herding – the ability and desire to move livestockHunting – the desire to pursue and/or kill wild game or farm-yard verminGuardian – the natural inclination to bark at and chase off strange animals or people, also protecting livestock from predators.

 

 

So, yes. It does give appearance standards, but geez....could it be much looser? And there are 2 separate areas that address temperament and working standards.

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will they continue to be a true working breed or just another generic dog that looks like a herding breed?

I think "another generic dog that looks like a herding dog" IS the breed standard. The ultimate generic collie dog. Maybe my memory is faulty, but I don't remember Lassie doing a lot of herding. She was more concerned about keeping Timmy out of trouble.....lol.
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Yeah. I read that too.

 

But all I could find for registration requirements was 20 bucks and 3 photos.

 

So, if it looks like a Scotch collie, then it's a Scotch collie, regardless of what it can do? Isn't that awfully like the ACK's rationalization for their breed standards?

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I think "another generic dog that looks like a herding dog" IS the breed standard.

 

My point exactly.

 

Without the inclusion of the working ability, it's just a dog, not a herding dog.

 

I've got this dog at home who looks like a border collie and in most ways acts like a border collie. But he has no interest in sheep. I tell people all the time that he's not a real border collie, because the (original) standard for a border collie is the (stock) work.

 

I'm done now . . . ;)

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Working dog and herding dog don't have to be the same thing. Working farm dog could be the cur that hides under the front porch and barks at intruders.

 

 

I do know of someone (on Facebook...so not personally) who applied for registration and they're waiting on approval....they were told they needed to send a video of working ability.

Anyone with a farm collie can add their dog to the database, though. They are 2 separate things.

 

Is it a scam? I dunno. I know they don't register whole litters like the AKC and will only register individual dogs. There are no "shows" or "contests" or ribbons. I think there's a picnic in July, but unless someone is awarded a quart of potato salad for the prettiest dog, I'm going with a legit effort to produce quality dogs.

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Working dog and herding dog don't have to be the same thing. Working farm dog could be the cur that hides under the front porch and barks at intruders.

 

By that definition a Chihuahua or Shih Tzu could be considered a working farm dog. Srsly?

 

I do know of someone (on Facebook...so not personally) who applied for registration and they're waiting on approval....they were told they needed to send a video of working ability.

 

If they require at least a video of the dog working stock and if they do it consistently, then I'd reassess my concerns.

 

But as I mentioned previously, I was going on what I saw (or didn't see) on the website you posted.

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Dear Doggers,

 

I have seen an English Shepherd who was a useful farm dog. With its (dog) inexperienced farmer, although I saw no outrun, the ES was able - walking with the farmer - to gather and bring 150 dairy cows in from 40 acres at a time of day they didn't normally come in. Pretty good work. Later that day the owner's toddler got into a loafing shed with 50 or sixty cows. The ES came too and with no outward sign or bother, the cows gave the kid safe space. A Border Collie could have done the first task, not the second.

 

I believe the English Shepherd might be a reasonable choice for a smallholder with a few animals and predator protection needs. More info at http://cynography.blogspot.com/

 

At least once before in my experience, enthusiasts tried to recreate the farm collie they knew from their childhood. Far as I know that project didn't come to anything.

 

It's hard to guess (from photographs) which of the numerous (dozens) of regional collies made up the dogs Queen Victoria crossed with the Borzoi to produce the show collie. Most regional collies went extinct when the railroad and more homogeniety in British farming concentrated the shepherd's dog into the Border Collie. There are remainder populations of Bearded Collies, McNabs (US), Smithfield Collies (Tasmania) and the Kelpie which like the McNab immigrated from Scotland. There is(or recently was) a landrace population of the German farm dogs included in the original German Shepherd. (Sorry forgot the name). I was told worked much like the English Shepherd described above.

 

Of Collie remainders I suspect Ireland's Wicklow Collie is pretty close to what these enthusiasts are looking for but I believe Wicklows are much rarer than they were.

 

Donald McCaig

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Dear Mr. McCaig:

 

I'm pleased to say a USBCHA (dog and people) trainer is helping a group of dedicated English Shepherd owners here in NC put some nice, albeit slow, outruns on our dogs. This group, as do most here, believe in preserving the working ability of the breed.

 

As an aside, my husband's family friend Jim Bob McEwen tried to get me to switch breeds and train me up almost 40 years ago. Alas, the road not taken...

 

Diane

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From the site:

 

Breed Standard/Purpose

 

The Old-Time Scotch Collie has always been a landrace breed, having never been made to conform to a rigid standard, rather being predominantly selected based on the needs of the farmer, this “standard” does not seek to change that but rather to define the breed and distinguish it from other breeds that have descended from the Scotch Collie. Towards maintaining the Old-Time Scotch Collie as a landrace breed this standard is intended as a broad set of descriptions with plenty of room for individual breeders preferences and different dog types that all fall within the spectrum of looks that make up the Old-Time Scotch Collie landrace.

 

Overall Appearance

 

The Old-Time Scotch Collie is a well-balanced, athletic, alert and intelligent dog. The overall emphasis is on moderation with no part exaggerated or out of proportion like the long nose or superabundant coat of the modern Rough Collie. The original Scotch Collie was a rugged working dog, able to cope with various situations and environments easily, sound in body and mind, likewise our modern dogs should show this same heartiness and versatility whether they are used as hard-working farm dogs or as faithful companions.

 

Temperament

 

The Old-Time Scotch Collie should be steady, bold, sensible, quick to learn and responsive. Content to lie about when not needed but ready to spring into action at a minutes notice, reserved with strangers, yet never snappy, vicious or shy. Biddability, sagacity, intelligence and reciprocity are the hallmark of the breed. While hyper-activity, shyness, cowardice, inane stock chasing, excessive barking, lack of watchfulness or low intelligence are serious faults.

 

Size and Substance

 

Females measure 20 to 23 inches and weigh between 40 and 60 pounds. Males should measure 22 to 25 inches and weigh between 45 and 70 pounds. In proportion slightly longer than tall, lean and fit, neither bulky and heavy-bodied nor and frail and spindly.

 

Head

 

Moderate length, neither too long like modern Rough Collies, nor too short like some lines of English Shepherd, with a moderate and well defined stop. A moderately flat, wide skull with a stop is an essential feature distinguishing the Old-Time Scotch Collie from the modern Rough Collie. Pick-headed types, overly narrow or overly wide heads and too-long heads are faults. Muzzle should not be overly long nor too short, teeth have a scissors bite, jaw is neither undershot nor overshot. Lips tight and well-fitted.

 

Ears

 

Medium size, pointed at the tip, erect or partly erect when alert, lying close to the head when relaxed. Never should ears be overly long or droopy showing any inclination towards hound or spaniel ears.

 

Eyes

 

Variable from round to almond with a slight oblique set, never should eyes be overly small. Eyes should express shrewd intelligence, and willingness to please. Brown in color, except in the case of merles when one or both eyes may be blue or streaked with blue.

 

Body

 

Slightly long compared with height, back firm with a slight rise over loins; ribs well sprung, chest deep, fairly broad behind shoulders. Abdomen moderately tucked up.

 

Tail

 

Moderately long with sweep toward end. Natural bobtails are acceptable up to eight inches long. Gay tails are acceptable.

 

Gait

 

Viewed from the front at a fast trot, legs are straight, front feet stay close together. Viewed from the side, the reasonable long, reaching stride is smooth and even, keeping the back line firm and level. Hind-legs powerful with plenty of drive. A reasonably long stride is desirable and should be light and appear effortless.

 

Coat

 

Dense double coat, outer coat straight and harsh to the touch, under coat soft and furry. Over 2″ in length, most abundant on tail, breeches, mane and frill, smooth on face, front of forelegs and below the hocks. Overly thin coat, lack of undercoat and excessively heavy or long coat are faults.

 

Color

 

All colors and markings are acceptable. The most common colors are: Sable, either clear or shaded, ranging from light gold tones to deep mahogany red, with or without white markings. Black with white and/or tan markings; blue merle with white and/or tan markings. Other colors may include: predominantly white; chocolate/red; red merle; slate blue/gray; slate blue/gray merle; gray. White markings consist of all or some of the following: White face blaze, collar, chest, feet, tail tip.

 

Defining Characteristics

 

The Scotch Collies of 100 years ago, like those found today, were a highly versatile dog capable of adapting and thriving in a multitude of situations. Not every OTSC may have the ability to demonstrate the characteristics below but we would like to think that they all have the ability given the proper circumstances.

 

Biddable – meekly ready to accept and follow instructions; docile and obedientIntelligence – dogs of outstanding, and sometimes surprising intelligence.Herding – the ability and desire to move livestockHunting – the desire to pursue and/or kill wild game or farm-yard verminGuardian – the natural inclination to bark at and chase off strange animals or people, also protecting livestock from predators.

 

 

So, yes. It does give appearance standards, but geez....could it be much looser? And there are 2 separate areas that address temperament and working standards.

I don't think you get the point. The real border collie has no breed standard beyond what it should be bred to do, and for good reason. All that nonsense has no bearing on whether a dog is a bc or not.
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