Smithfield (dog)

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Smithfield Collie
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Smithfield, Smithfield Collie or Smithfield Sheepdog is a type of herding dog. It is a large, strong dog of the collie type. The Smithfield can be black, grey or red with a white collar, or wholly white [1] and they always possess floppy-ears and shaggy hair on the body, face and legs. Two varieties exist, with one having a natural bobtail and the second with a longer tail.[2] It was used for droving cattle in the south-east of England, especially the Smithfield Market in London,[3] and although this breed of dog is believed to be extinct and was never recognised by any of the major kennel clubs before its extinction, dogs of similar type are shown under the same name in Tasmania, Australia.


The Smithfield was first introduced to Australia during colonial times.[4] It was a handy dog used to work the meat markets in Smithfield, London. It is a dog standing from 18 to 21 inches (46 to 53 cm)[5] and has a shaggy appearance. Very little has been documented about this breed, and although it is not a recognised pure breed in the Australian National Kennel Council, it is shown at the Campbell Town Show in Tasmania. Many older farmers still own the breed as well as some breeders who want to keep the original lines going and maintain effort in a future of the breed.[4][5]


The Smithfield dog is different in appearance than the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog. They are sometimes referred to as 'the British Smithfield'. The coat of the Smithfield grows long, course and shaggy in nature. As this dog was originally found in England, and was a street dog, this is consistent with staying warm. [6]


The British Smithfield displays characteristics which are friendly, patient, and good with children. However, they are a working breed and require exercise to satisfy this and ensure a relaxed demeanor at home. Chasing a ball, learning tricks, catching a frisbee will all satisfy a Smithfield which is not being actively used as a herding dog. At home, and as long as they receive an outing and some exercise each day, they will enjoy being with the family and will be happy to lounge around and alert the family to visitors with a friendly bark.

Exhibition at the Campbell Town Show, Tasmania[edit]

Each year Smithfields are exhibited at the Campbell Town Show, held in Campbell Town, Tasmania.[7]

The Dogs are shown under five categories:

  • Pure Smithfield Dog
  • Pure Smithfield Bitch
  • Partbred Smithfield Dog
  • Partbred Smithfield Bitch
  • Pure or Partbred Smithfield Puppy

with the Smithfield Champion Award being chosen from winners of each class.[7]

Whilst it is accepted that they are not a registered breed as such, there is sufficient interest and acceptance in Tasmania of the breed for this event to be held. The show is held in early June, usually with over forty entries, and the dogs are presented in natural condition. Purity is decided by the dog's owner, solely on the basis of the dog's appearance and regardless of known or suspected ancestry; all dogs are required to be genuine working dogs.[7]


  1. ^ "Dog Diaries: The Smithfield, Breed of the Month"[unreliable source?] Archived March 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "The Smithfield Sheepdog Site, An Overview of the Smithfield"[unreliable source?] Archived March 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Iris Combe & Pat Hutchinson, The ancestral relationships of contemporary British herding breeds, 2004. Archived June 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b John Chandler, The "Smithfield" Dog[unreliable source?]
  5. ^ a b Hartnagle-Taylor, Jeanne Joy; Taylor, Ty (2010). Stockdog Savvy. Alpine Publications. ISBN 978-1-57779-106-5.
  6. ^ "Australian working dog rescue". Facebook. Retrieved 5/12/2017. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  7. ^ a b c

See also[edit]