Scotch Collie

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The Scotch Collie is a landrace breed of dog which originated from the highland regions of Scotland. The breed consisted of both the long-haired (now known as Rough) Collie and the short-haired (now known as Smooth) Collie. It is generally believed to have descended from a variety of ancient herding dogs, some dating back to the Roman occupation, which may have included Roman Cattle Dogs, Native Celtic Dogs and Viking Herding Spitzes.[1][2] Other ancestors include the Gordon and Irish Setters.[3]


In Scotland, this dog was referred to as "cooley", "coaly" and "colley" dogs. The name "Collie" is thought to come from the Scots word for "black" or "coal" (coll) and may have referred to a type of sheep (Coaley) which they were once used to herd.[3] However, "Collie" might also have come from the Gaelic càilean and cóilean for "dog" or "young pup", or from the Celtic word for "useful" which is "collie".[4] Due to its popularity, it was imported to other countries including the U.S., where it simply became known as the Scotch Collie.

In its native land, Scotch Collies were used for herding sheep and other farm animals, as well as guarding the homestead and hunting. In the 1800s and early 1900s, a large number of these dogs were imported to America to assist families in maintaining their farms.[5] As their numbers and popularity grew, the Scotch Collie began to be widely owned as pets and eventually shown at conformation events in both England (Birmingham 1860) and America (New York, around 1878).[6] In 1885, the Scotch Collie Club was formed[7] and the breed was accepted into the AKC (American Kennel Club). A year later, the Collie Club of America was formed.[8]

The name Scotch Collie was initially used by the AKC for this new breed. However, the "Scotch" was eventually dropped as the AKC chose to use the terms "Rough" and "Smooth" to refer to these collies. It is generally believed that this occurred in an attempt to differentiate the show dogs from the common, or working, Scotch Collies.[9]

Following the continued popularity of this breed and their increased appearance in conformation shows, the Rough and Smooth Collies began to change in form, developing the flat skull and long narrow head familiar in today's collies, along with the more pronounced mane, or bib, of the Rough Collie. [2] The changes occurred due to outcrossing with other dog breeds, possibly the Borzoi but more probably the Greyhound.[10] These physical changes further separated the original Scotch Collies from the collies which developed from it.

The Scotch Collie was at one time registerable by the United Kennel Club as well as the National Kennel Club (as the Old Time Farm Shepherd) but, at some point, lost recognition and began to be absorbed into other breeds, including the English Shepherd, which opened its registry to the breed.[2] Scotch Collies were not only instrumental in the development of the Rough and Smooth Collies, but also of the Australian Shepherd, and they may have materially contributed to the development of other breeds including, but not limited to, English Shepherds, Border Collies, and Shetland Sheepdogs.[11]

Although no longer recognized as a distinct breed by American breed clubs, the Scotch Collies continued to be popular with families and farmers as useful companions and helpers on the small farms/homesteads into the 1950s and 1960s. However, as the American farm began to decline, the Scotch Collie as a breed began to lose not only numbers but even their name, as the breed became referred to as 'Farm Collies', 'Farm Shepherds' and 'Old-fashioned Collies'.[12]

In the 1990s, renewed interest in the breed occurred, and remnants of the last known Scotch Collies in the U.S. were located in Tennessee and North Carolina (by Richard McDuffie), as well as in Canada (by Erika DuBois).[13] These dogs were referred to as Old-Time Farm Shepherds, as opposed to Scotch Collies, primarily to avoid confusion with the more popular and widely recognized collie breeds.[14]

In the 2000s, the Scotch Collie still remained small in numbers and a group was formed to further promote the breed (OTSCA), this time referring to it as 'Old Time Scotch Collie'.[15] The group maintains an open registry for Scotch Collies as well as any farm collie-type dog. As of May 2017, the pedigree database contained only 174 registered Old Time Scotch Collies.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Scotch Collie History - Old-Time Scotch Collie Association". Old-Time Scotch Collie Association. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Rough Collie Breed Information: History, Health, Pictures, and more". Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Collie Breed History". Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  4. ^ Mike Campbell. "Meaning, origin and history of the name Cailean". Behind the Name. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  5. ^ "A Brief History of the Farm Collie". 22 December 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Scotch Collies and Sheep Dogs - 1919". Old Time Farm Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Scottish Collie Club History". Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Collie Club of America homepage". Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  9. ^ Name *. "Old-Time Scotch Collie Club Suggested in an Article From 1892". Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  10. ^ "The Kennel Club". The Kennel Club. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  11. ^ "About | American Working Farmcollie Association". Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  12. ^ "History - Collie Fan". Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  13. ^ ""Old Scotch Collie" by Erika DuBois". 2011-05-16. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  14. ^ "Original letter sent from J. R. McDuffie to Linda Rorem in 1995". Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Pedigree Database Instructions - Old-Time Scotch Collie Association". Retrieved 15 July 2017.

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