Collies, McNabs and Old Shep
After the Civil War, sheep raising continued to expand west. The type of sheep raised in the United States underwent development through importations of European breeds. Prosperous Americans imported British livestock and Collies. Soon, the breed was dominated by wealthy American patrons who imported Scotch Collies from England. They were first exhibited at Westminster in 1878 and the first sheep dog trial was held in Philadelphia Pennsylvania in 1880. As one author wrote, “Any benefit which might have resulted was lost because of the confusing interlude with the Show Collie family.” Sheep Dog trials were not reintroduced until the 1920s.
In 1894, Lulu McNab wrote, The Collie in Mendocino published in the May issue of the Overland Monthly Magazine. “The Scotch collie is practically unknown to the majority of Americans, although some Eastern farmers associated the name with the family dog that makes a safe playmate for the children and brings in the cows at milking time, while the fancier, in turn, recalls the pride of the show bench, and one of his most devoted pets. What is, then, the real Scotch Collie and what is his mission? Briefly worded, he is the ideal shepherd. Among Scottish flocks he is the pride of Scottish owners, and is valued, both in the Old World and the New, as one of the best aids money can procure.”
See The Collie:
and also, The McNab:
By the turn of the century, the American Collie was in a state of continued development. The breed continued to do well in England and many of England’s finest show dogs were imported to the United States. The Collie Club of America held its first show in 1894, which was the same year the Border Collie was birthed on the Scottish/English border.
However, this also marked the beginning of the decline of old-fashioned farm collies, sometimes better known as farm shepherds AKA Old Shep. The intelligent, broad-headed, short-nosed dogs with a kind eye were quickly fading away.
Herding Dogs in the Westward Sheep Movement:
Copyright © 2009 by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor and Ty Taylor.
All Rights Reserved.