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Posts Tagged ‘Farm collie’

This is me on Ginger Ale with Bull the farm collie in the background:

me on ginger and bull

The photo was taken in my grandparents’ backyard.

 

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Over the years, I’ve made mention of the fact that English shepherds are a very common breed in West Virginia. Indeed, I knew what an English shepherd was long before I’d ever heard the words “border collie.”  English shepherds are pretty common in the Eastern and Midwestern US.

But only in the rural areas. In most towns around here, many people adopt “collie mixes” without ever knowing what they actually have.

They are derived from the farm dogs of the British Isles, with maybe a little bit of German, Swiss, or Native dog crossed in. They very strongly resemble the “shepherd’s dogs” that were commonly published in eighteenth and nineteenth century texts about dogs in the British Isles. He has the same broad head and curled tail, as well as the common black and white color. In America, they were used for livestock herding, but they were also used to guard properties and hunt game.

This dog came into area, probably because the gut pile from my deer isn’t 100 yards away in the woods behind the camera.

So Ol’ Shep was enjoying him a taste of raw green tripe, and no one had to spend a fortune on it.

Yes, these old dogs are pretty common, but I never thought I’d catch one on the trail camera!

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I am in the two-year-old range in this photo.  Bull is the collie lying close to the house, while Frito is the Norwegian elkhound, who was part black and part gray elkhound. Yes, my hair actually was that blond!

Sorry about the resolution of this film. I have been taking these photos of these older photos with my iPAD2, and the resolution just isn’t that great.

 

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Bull

This is me at about the age of three with Bull, my dad’s unregistered collie.

 

He had drop ears, and his sable actually changed colors as he aged. Where he was cream and brown here, it all turned light steely gray.

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From Country Life in America ( June 1902):

“Shep” is the thoroughbred collie that prevents the coyotes from howling too unpleasantly near the Box S Ranch in New Mexico. This keeps her much awake of nights— particularly when the smell of a fresh-slain steer edges the hunger of these prairie wolves in winter. But Shep is alert in the daytime, even when she seems to be dozing; and whether it is the melancholy howl of a coyote at sunset, the bass and falsetto outcry of a vagrant bull, or the squeak and grunt of a too-familiar pig, she is up and ready for action.

Now, the pigs are her special annoyance. Their greed and impudence combined urge them to the very kitchen door; and Shep has been instructed to resent their close approach with bark and bite. A nip at the heels sends them scampering, and back they go to the alfalfa field.

It happened that seven pups were born to Shep about the same time that a like number of porkers was littered by one of the sows. The pups in time opened their eyes and played about the barn, and the porkers, in their youthful ignorance of social distinctions, were inclined to frolic with the canine family. Shep did not rebuke this liberty. Not only did she allow her aristocratic progeny to mingle freely with the outcast swine, but she seemed to recognize that the sow was now a mother like herself, with a large family to provide for. Thenceforth this particular pig was singled out from the others as one permitted the freedom of the ranch. Bite and bark were reserved for the rest; but the sow with the little ones was never more molested in her wanderings about the place.

There was only one circumstance growing out of this new toleration which aroused the dog’s objections. This was when Shep suckled her puppies, and some of the young pigs, with dull indifference as to the source of their nourishment, would attempt to share the meal. On such occasions the collie’s expression was a comical one of blended dignity and resentment. She would snap protestingly at the impertinent pigs, without disturbing her own youngsters; and the porkers would take the hint.

It followed that six of the seven pups were weaned, and dispersed among friends at Fort Wingate. The remaining one retained at the ranch was christened Woolly—owing partly to the curliness of his coat and partly to goodhumored recognition of a term which self-contented Easterners who have never traveled with the setting sun in their own country sometimes apply to the great West. Woolly soon learned to join his mother in pursuit of the pigs, and, like her, learned also to spare the small porkers and their mother. Then Shep was sent away for a time to the sheep camp on the mountain; whereupon Woolly, having no canine companion, fell back on the young pigs for playmates. The first litter had reached the age when all young animals pass from the gambols and grace of youth to the commonplaceness of maturity; but another litter had been born, and these were Woolly’s delight. The pup was three times the size of his newfound friends, and perhaps his bulk alarmed them a little. At any rate, they were slow in responding to his demonstrations of affection. Frantic, almost, were the efforts he made to induce them to paw him and leap with him as his mother had done. He would frisk about them in high glee, and then lie flat on his stomach, with outstretchedforepaws and nose on the ground, and ears pricked expectantly. It was a plain invitation to play tag. But, alas! a pig is a pig, you know; and these diminutive emblems of stupidity and greed turned down their noses and showed themselves altogether unworthy of the condescension. And I have fancied that Woolly, by way of retaliation, barks and bites harder than before when the older pigs come around.

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For all of you English shepherd, farm collie, border collie, Lacey dog, McNab shepherd, and Australian [sic] shepherd fans out there:

Source.

And here’s a wonderful article on the old-collie-type landrace, which our so many Americans knew so well.

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