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April 4, 2018
Publication Date May 20, 2009

To investigate about the origins of the collie is an hard task. The different breeds, which now make up the lineage, have likely a recent common origin, but their roots, between reality and fantasy, between the press and literature, history and myth, make their way to the dawn of time.

The hypothesis now commonly accepted is that this breed, as we know it today, is the result of a selection that took place through the centuries following the evolution of human civilization, because this dog has linked his fate to the man in a indissoluble way and it has adapted its evolution to its needs.

The story we are going to tell is not about one breed, but a series of breeds of an absolutely extraordinary variety, born and evolved, and in some cases disappeared, but all committed to build that "collie family tree” that has monopolized the last two centuries most of the arts and sciences related to the dog. It is not pure fantasy. There is a scientific basis for this.

In 2004, it was published a study by Dr. Katrina L. Mealey of the University of Washington and by the group of dr. Mark W. Neff of the University of California, concerning the presence of the mutated gene mdr1-1Δ (for the sensitivity of the collie to ivermectin) in some breeds that have a reasonable possibility of being related to the collie. These researchers based their study on a scheme of a family tree designed by Linda Rorem since 1997. The scheme, that we show here adapted to our purpose, shows the relationship between the different breeds of collie and their ancestors. This is of course a simplification, as other races have contributed, although in a less determinant way to the evolution of the dog which later became the collie, but it can be deduced that the different breeds in existence today, beyond their remotest origins, have as main ancestor, the old working collie in Great Britain and Ireland in the first half of the nineteenth century and evolved in these regions by the early Middle Ages until the dawn of dog shows (c. 1860).


The conclusions, that the work of the American researchers reached, are as follows:

  • a mutation, which lies in the genetic of the collie, causes a sensibility to certain drugs, the most notable one is the Ivermectin;

  • this mutation is not very old, but it is born from 40 to 120 generations (160-480 years) ago in the evolutionary line of the collie;

  • all the breeds that have this mutation are descendants of a dog who lived in Britain and Ireland before the genetic isolation of breeds that originated by the institution of the Stud Books (c. 1873);

  • from this common ancestor descended at least nine distinct breeds, and this is proven by the presence of the mutated gene mdr1-1Δ;

  • the breeds that don’t have the mutated gene (marked by a green check in the diagram) must have genetically detached in the era preceding the appearance of the mutation, or they were in a genetic niche within the genetic drift has selected "by chance" some individuals free of the mutated gene.

Between nine breeds in which it is found the gene mdr1-1Δ, there are two of the greyhounds created in the end of the last century in the United States, the Longhaired Whippet and Silken Windhound, whose relationship with the collie seemed unexpected. In fact, the second of the two bredds was achieved only in the last thirty years, from the first, and this have among its ancestors the Whippet and Borzoi, both exempt from mutation, but also the Shetland Sheepdog, where it is instead present.

The origins of those dogs that have contributed to the creation of collies are very old.

In his book "A General History of Quadrupeds" (1790) Thomas Bewick describes a dog that looks like an ancestor of the collie, quite similar to another dog described a few years later by the Rev. W. Bingley in the book "Memoirs of British Quadrupeds" ( 1808). In both books the collie never mentioned (or colley as it was initially called since 1840) but their description leaves no doubt: it is the dog that guarded for centuries the sheep on the Scottish Highlands, and that for this scope  has developed a unique character and mental development, as well as physical, that has distinguished from most other herding breeds.

The history of the collie is therefore the history of the lands of Scotland and of the peoples who inhabited this area and, first among them , there were those that the Greeks called Celts and Romans, Gauls, and that, starting from the 6th century BC, began to conquer Europe.

Between the 3rd and 1st century B.C. the Celts, going back to Europe from the Iberian peninsula, invaded the British Islands, taking possession of Brittany, Wales, Cornwall, Ireland and Scotland.

The history of this people is full of heroic and magical tales, myths and fantasies, of adventure and love, that the later medieval legends attributed to King Arthur and Merlin, the Knights of the Round Table.

They met in their expansion the populations of Indo-European origin arrived in Europe, perhaps as early as the fourth millennium B.C. and whose relationship with the sheep dogs began about 1,000 years early, at the time of the "Neolithic Revolution." This was a period very revolutionary, because it was passed from an economy based on hunting to agriculture and farming, with radical changes in human life, from food to way of living, from the relationship with the environment to that with other men, and it also determined an evolution in the role of the dog, so around 5000 B.C. can be dated the birth of the sheepdog in Europe.

The Celts were basically a nation of warriors, but their economy was based on agriculture and pastoralism, for which the dogs were of great utility. And probably they were called "collies" the dogs used for driving cattle, with a word which in the Celtic language means "useful", or more likely the name of this dog could come from black-faced sheep, calls "Colleys" from the Anglo-Saxon word "coal," which means "black." Black was also the original color of the breed.

The importance that the Celts gave to the dog is evidenced by their myths and their culture. The ancient and legendary hound of the Celts (probably the ancestor of the current Irish Wolfhound) was used in hunting to the large ungulates and to defend their flocks from wolves. When, in 1600, the wolf went extinct on the British mainland, the dogs used for its hunting ceased to be indispensable and risked the extinction, but fortunately for centuries the dogs of the Celts, crossing with dogs already present on the occupied territories, had taken, on the path of evolution, the road that would turn by defenders to conductors of the flock.

In 55 B.C. the Romans with Cesar began to expand into Europe. They advanced bringing with them the livestock and dogs that Marco Terenzio Varrone has described as large animals, white, black and brown, selected especially for the defense of the flock: these dogs resembled likely to today's Bernese Mountain Dogs. In 43 A.D. the Romans came with the Emperor Claudius in Britain, going up to the borders of Scotland.

The Romans contributed to improve the breeding of livestock, by introducing kind of sheep more selected, which gave an impulse to the wool industry, so vital for the economy. And it is logic to think that in the years of the Roman occupation, the dogs arrived following the invaders were profoundly transformed by mixing with the local dogs of the Celts that in turn had already been influenced by those of pre-existing populations.

In those lands, the Romans remained until 410 A.D. when finally withdrew to the continent where they were threatened by the Huns and Visigoths, leaving the field open to immigration, rather than invasion, of the Anglo-Saxons. These were a set of various Germanic tribes coming from Jutland (the Angles and Jutes) and the north-western Germany (Saxons). The economy of these people was prosperous, thanks to their trade, and their lords were wealthy and rich of livestock and land, and they were able to learn from the local people that technical superiority in agriculture that they had thanks to the Romans. The economy begins to emerge based on the medieval castle as the nucleus of aggregation, including all the constituents of the economy, by the Lords to slaves from the lands to the livestock and dogs.

In 793 the Vikings began to attack the shores of Britain, first in the form of pirates, then in a more and more continuous way. The link between the Viking warriors and their dogs is demonstrated by the frequency with which these are found in the tombs, buried with their owners. The Vikings dogs were the spitz evolved over a period of nearly 5000 years from the arctic wolf to domestic dogs. The Vikings brought with them some hunting dogs and dogs herd similar to Icelandic Sheepdog. From these dogs it is supposed that other races have evolved including the Shetland Sheepdogs. The Viking occupation lasted until 1066, when Britain was invaded by the Normans.

Each invasion brought new types of livestock and dogs, and these dogs crossed with the local dogs, giving rise to new varieties. The wool industry was necessary to the economy, for that reason they were bred, raised and trained dogs that could be useful as conductors and keepers of flocks. The features required were a thick and waterproof coat in order to protect them from the harsh weather conditions, high intelligence, a strong temperament and remarkable endurance.

Starting from the year 1000 the growth in the economic, technical and cultural field had begun in Europe. During those years, the destruction of large tracts of forests had made available the vast pastures, which were subsequently split, causing the fragmentation of property and farms in smaller and smaller units.

The shepherds selected their "useful" dogs depending on the skills required, ie, the different types of livestock and the different climatic and environmental conditions.

Although it has developed from common ancestors, also the two varieties, long-haired and short-haired, began to separate as a result of the work done and the places where they held it. The rough collie, the long-haired variety, worked with the flocks of sheep, while the smooth collie, short haired, was probably used as a cattledog to drive cattle. While the former continued to work in the highlands of Scotland, the latter came down to the valley where the climate was more humid, but less stiff.

The pastoral life in Britain suffered for centuries profound changes. These socio-economic changes have certainly changed the type of work made by the dogs, because it was no longer necessary to drive the sheep over long distances to the markets. And these changes in agricultural practices led to the disappearance of many more breeds or varieties that do not meet the new requirements: Smithfields, Beards and Shags, Dorset Sheepdogs (or Old Downlands), Galway Collies (including the famous Trefoil that was a copy), Highland Collies, Manx sheepdogs, Rutherford North Country Collies, Welsh Hillman, Grey Collies and Welsh are all varieties of Collie disappeared gradually because they were not able to adapt to these changes.

The new geographical discoveries promoted, during the 17th and 18th century, the spread of the collie in the world. The sheepdogs and shepherds are descendants of British collie that accompanied the early pioneers in America and Australia along with their livestock.

On 6 September 1620, the galleon Mayflower sailed from Plymouth in England directly in the new world, carrying 115 Pilgrim Fathers. They were accompanied by livestock and that dogs that then were emerged. The descendants of these collies gradually scattered all over the American continent, especially during the "gold rush" of 1840, when the great demand for wool and meat moved large flocks of sheep from west to California and New Mexico.

In 1788 the Captain James Cook landed at Port Jackson (now Sydney) in Australia with his cargo of convicts, guards, food, livestock and dogs (presumably the working collie then used in the UK) starting the colonization that in the next century would be extended to the whole continent. The colonist needed a strong dog, with great strength, able to control and move large herds of livestock through huge pastures. This necessity caused the selection of different breeds depending on livestock which they were used and the areas in which they operated.

The industrial revolution brought about great changes in British society during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) and the socio-economic changes also changed the role of many breeds of dogs, so much that since then to have a dog became fashion than a necessity.

Until that time the dogs had been selected considering their physical characteristics and their ability to work, but by that time the purposes of the selection changed radically. The final blow was given from  the first dog show.

So we arrive to the nineteenth century with the spread of a new variety of working collie, well adapted to the new opportunities that the sheep farming expressed. But what marked a revolution, maybe not positive, in the role of the dog, was in 1860 the start of dog shows, because they directly influenced the purpose of selection, which from then the aim was direct to the form rather than to the function.

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, therefore, lived in Great Britain, Ireland and Scotland a type of collie, by which it was selected the current Collie for the expositions, and that has continued to exist as a farm dog or family dog, at least until 1950. This type of collie had Scottish characteristics widely varying, but it was distinguished by a coat not too long, big eyes, the pronounced stop, and the wider skull, along with great intelligence and versatility were the indispensable companion to the shepherd, as it was shown and described in 1790 by Thomas Bewick in the book A General History of Quadrupeds:

“This useful animal, ever faithful to his charge, reigns at the head of the flock; where he is better heard, and juore attended to, than even the voice of the shepherd. Safety, order, and discipline, are the fruits of his vigilance and activity. In those large tracts of land which, in many parts of our island, are solely appropriated to the feeding of Sheep and other cattle, this sagacious animal is of the utmost importance. Immense flocks may be seen continually ranging over these extensive wilds, as far as the eye can reach, seemingly without control : their only guide is the shepherd, attended by his Dog, the constant companion of his toils : it receives his commands, and is always prompt to execute them ; it is the watchful guardian of the flock, prevents them from straggling, keeps them together, and conducts them from one part of their pasture to another : it will not suffer any strangers to mix with them, but carefully keeps off every intruder. In driving a number of Sheep to any distant part, a well trained Dog never fails to confine them to the road ; he watches every avenue that leads from it, where he takes his stand, threatening every delinquent, and pursues the stragglers, if any should escape, and forces them into order, without doing them the least injury. If the herdsman be at any time absent from the flock, he depends upon his Dog to keep them together ; and as soon as he gives the well-known signal, this faithful creature conducts them to his master, though at a considerable distance."

Without ever naming it, this article describes very precisely the spirit and the work of the collie, as well as the shepherds of the time required it!

Publication Date August 2, 2015

Even the cinofilia, as well as other subjects related to art, science and literature, benefited from that historical period called "Victorian age", which coincided with the years of the reign of the great Queen Victoria, from 1837 to 1901. The rise and the spread of love for nature and animals encouraged the culture of the dog and all activities linked to it. So it began, in the second half of the 19th century, the first timid attempts to organize and regulate the dog world by encouraging the transformation of its role, remained for centuries confined within an agricultural society adapting it to the emerging industrial society. Without that period, and without demonstrations that flourished at that time, the dog probably would not have enjoyed the popularity it enjoys this day.

In those years were born the first exhibitions of beauty, that so much had to have in propagating the new function of the most faithful friend of man when, later, that of "worker" began to fail.

These exhibitions, shyly appeared already in the 40s in the form of improvised and convivial meetings of enthusiasts, generally took place at markets and public places, and usually at fairs in other animals utilities, attracting gradually more and more interest, because in them you could compare amicably and discuss the qualities of their heroes, spreading the excitement and pleasure of participation.

“Bench Show" were called initially, because the dogs were displayed on benches or platforms as somehow now is still using do for small breeds.

The flip of side that had to earn over time more and more value was that as the show ring conquered more space in the renovated British company, increased farmers in the inclination to select only the physical aspect, neglecting the need to preserve the instinct for working. The dog show began to diversify and stand out from the working dog and so the selection for the expositions began to deteriorate the very nature of many working breeds, the problem has become very serious over time and that some Kennel Club still seek to put a stop with appropriate regulations. So it was in those years that there was a turning point in the history of the breeds, the time when the sheepdog ceased to be the companion of man's work to become an instrument of his vanity.

Regarding our breed, the Collie, we quote what it was written in those years on the newspaper The English Kennel Gazette It 'amazing how these lines, more than 150 years old are still relevant today:

"Fanciers, locust-like, appear to have settled on the collie, and have recently determined that a collie shall have an enormous head, an enormous coat, and enormous limbs, and that by these three 'points' shall it stand or fall in the judging-ring; so they have commenced to graft on to the breed the jaw of an alligator, the coat of an Angora goat, and the clumsy bone of a St. Bernard. A 'cobby' dog with short neck, straight thick shoulders, hollow back, and small straight tail, but graced with a very long snout and a very heavy jacket, is already common at our shows, and increases and multiplies. In the advertising columns of the doggy papers can be read the exultation of the 'collie-fancier' at his pet's 'immense bone,' 'enormous coat,' and so on. I therefore think it high time that the public be reminded of what a collie was formerly, and what the Collie Club's recognized standard says that he ought to be even now. First of all, the collie is intended for use, for definite work, and, as soon as we find ourselves breeding dogs that cannot gallop, jump, 'rough it,' aye! and think, too, we may be certain that, whatever we may have got hold of, it is not a sheep-dog; and with the disappearance of his workmanlike attributes vanish also his social virtues and his beauty. But let us consider a few of his points — those which are in more immediate danger of being misunderstood —in detail. The under-coat, without doubt, should be very thick and furry, and the outer coat also should be well developed. But an excessive length and weight of it can only be a hindrance to the dog's movements. The skull should be flat and rather broad, because brain room is required, a greyhound skull being manifestly a foolish one. The collie's muzzle should be fine and tapering, because, though the dog may be required occasionally to 'nip' a sheep to make it move, a severe wound would be calamitous ; a greyhound-jaw is designed for killing. As to general shape, the collie should be a lightly built dog, of medium size, wonderfully active, wiry in his movements, free and sweeping in his form, that he may be able to go at racing pace over rough ground, and jump any obstacles in his path. He must have long, oblique shoulders, deep, narrow chest, loin somewhat arched, a fair length of leg, with a fair amount of oval-shaped bone, and perfect balance everywhere. As he should show no relationship to the greyhound in skull or jaw, so, also, should he be free from trace of setter in ear and tail. The former should be small and semi-erect, but a prickear is preferable to one carried on the cheek ; the latter should be carried low, but should be long and have the 'upward swirl' at the end."

What follows will be probably, for most readers, a boring sequence of dates and names, although reduced to a minimum, limiting it only to the data record, however, it covers a period of fifteen years from the first dog show officially recognized as such, to the birth of the Kennel Club and its rules. The impatient reader can safely avoid reading it, because it has interest only to those who cultivate a passion for meticulous historical investigations. The persons listed below, in fact, built the cinofilia and selected the breed as we see it today, and those dogs, which were only names largely unknown, are those from which all of our champions of today were born.

Newcastle, June 28 and 29 1859

It was the first real dog show of which remained historically news. It took place in the Town Hall in Newcastle as part of a larger exhibition of farm animals. The organizers were John Shorthose, beer merchant and breeder of setters, Rochester and William Pape, arms manufacturer, who accomplished an idea of Richard Brailsford. Sixty entries, number somewhat encouraging for an event in its first edition. Only two breeds present: 23 pointer, judged by Joseph Jobling of Morpeth, Thomas Robson of Newcastle and John Henry Walsh of London (the well-known Stonehenge, publisher of the newspaper THE FIELD and one of the largest dog lovers of all time) and 37 setter, judged by Francis Foulger, gamekeepers of the Duke of Northumberland, from Richard Brailsford, warden of the Earl of Derby, and even by JH Walsh. Strange to say, but all exhibitors were men, and all the dogs were male. Two guns beautifully crafted, the value of 15 and 20 pounds, was offered by Mr. Pape as awards for the winners. The winners were between setters, Dandy J. Jobling, and between pointer an unidentified "white dog and liver" of R. Brailsford. It passed unnoticed that some judge was also exhibitor or seen even among the winners, but then there are looked after too and still no one complained, reflecting the fact that the exhibits had begun auspiciously; the faults arrived later.

The great success of this first event led to the promotion of new events in other cities in the country.

Birmingham, November 1859

The same Richard Brailsford and John Henry Walsh, with Frederick Burdett, were the organizers of the first exhibition held in Birmingham. For the occasion it was created the Birmingham Dog Show Society. 80 dogs entered divided into 14 classes, but only hunting dogs. The only dog winner whose name is unknown was Brougham, a setter of Frederick Burdett.

Birmingham, 3 and 4 December 1860

But 1860 was the year that fans of the herding dog would be remembered as the beginning of the expositions, because in that year, finally, they were also open to the breeds not only hunting. The exhibition was held in the Midland Counties Repository of Birmingham with 267 entries, 5 of which were Sheepdogs, three of which are shown only as "Scottish" and two called "English Shepherds". The winner was a "pure Scotch bitch" owned by Wakefield W. Hurley, who was recognized as the first sheepdog awarded in a beauty exposition.

Leeds, 16, 17 and 18 July 1861: North of England Exhibition of Sporting and Other Dogs

In the Royal Agricultural Hall, the Jury was composed of Lord Neville, Sir W. Cooke, Captain Harrison, Captain Spencer, W. Lort, E. Smith, J. Parrington, G.F. Solly and G. Leacroft. In the class "Sheep Dogs" were rewarded Canty of C. Walker, and Bob of T. Ellis.

Birmingham, 2, 3 and 4 December 1861: Second Exhibition of Sporting and Other Dogs

It was held in Tennant Street with the following Judges: C. Wickstead, R. Harper, S. Mallabey, J. Walker, W. Lort, J. Calver, P. Hackett, J. Tailby, Major Irvine, Major Ainslie, Captain Lowndes. In the class of the Sheepdogs turned first Jehu of J. Siviter, and the second one was Bob of T. King.

Manchester, 1861: First Exhibition of Sporting and Other Dogs

Few information about this show, which was held in Belle Vue Zoological Gardens. It only knows that the first three places respectively posted themselves dogs owned by J. Martin, J. Siviter and Sadler.

London, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 June 1862: North of England Second Exhibition of Sporting and Other Dogs

The great success of this event, which registered 803 dogs registered, was probably due to the fact that from May to November of that year was held the International Exhibition, which attracted 28,000 exhibitors from 36 countries, with more than six million visitors. From the gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society, the London suburb of Islington, there was news of possible winners among the sheepdogs.

Birmingham, 1, 2, 3 and 4 December 1862: Third Exhibition of Sporting and Other Dogs

It took place in the Old Wharf, with 638 dogs for Judges J.B.O Bayly, G. Beers, J. Calvert, J. Ferryman, W. Lort Jr., J. Maiden, Mallabey S., T. Marshall, C. Randell, Mr. . J. Tailby and Captain Lowndes. Awarded Shep of R. Scrimminger and Gent of J. Siviter.

London, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 March 1863

A record number of entries for the Ashburnham Hall, in London's Chelsea: 1,214 well. Judges: H. Brown, J. Willis, F. Maitland, J. Walker, J. Tailby, J. Worthington, F. Lowe, J. Lang, E. Poulet, R. Collins, H. Goater, R. Marshall, Lord Garvach, Captain Maitland and Captain Brickman. For the first time it was scheduled a class for "Scotch Colleys". Among them turned first Sheppie of J. Crawshaw, second was Barney of EW Williams.

London, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30 May 1863: First Great International Dog Show

A catalog full of 1,678 dogs for this show held at the Agricultural Hall in Islington. The judges were Captain P. Williams, Captain JA Thompson, Major J. Fletcher, Colonel C.P. Leslie, and Messrs JS Crawley, J.G. Grimwood, G. Moore, R. Ker, Randell C., J. Wentworth, R . Marshall, the Earl of Suffolk, Lord Suffield, Lord Bury. Expected the class "Scotch Sheep Dogs", but no prize was awarded to females. Among males instead winners were Yarron owned by E. Greaves, followed by Laddie belonging to W. Morley.

Birmingham, 30 November and 1, 2 and 3 December 1863: Fourth Annual Exhibition

570 registered for the Judges Paul Hackett, J Lang, W. Lort Jr., S. Mallaby, R. Pearson, J. Tailby, J. Walker, Captain White and Major Irving. In the class "Sheep Dogs" Yarrow of E. Greaves first and second Rover of T. Wootton.

London, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 April 1864: Second Exhibition of Sporting and Other dogs

It was held in the Ashburnham Hall with 933 entries. Judges: Ousley Colonel, Colonel Scott, Captain Willis, Captain Elliott, and J. Laing, J. Walker, W. Bruce, C.H. Fitz William, WF Maitland, W. Smith, W. Inchcliffe, G. Seaton, E. Pontet , E. Goater, GB Pike, W. Lort, BB Williams, J. Woodhams and Lord Garvach. The English and Scots Sheepdogs were judged together in one class "Sheepdogs". First Driver W. Grummit, second Rover of J. Palethorpe and third Rover of T. Ryley.

London, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31 May 1864: Second International Dog Show

About 1,047 dogs performed in the Agricultural Hall. Among the winners of the Prince of Wales who won two first prizes and one second prize with three dogs (noblesse oblige!). In the class "Sheep Dogs" won Rover of J. Palethorpe, followed by Rocket of JN Beasley.

Birmingham, 28, 29 and 30 November and 1 December 1864: National Exhibition of Sporting and Other Dogs

701 subscribers with the following Jury: C. Tongue, W. Long, S. Mallabey, J. Sykes, J. Walker, J. Tailby, J. Monsey, Captain Willis and Major Irving. In Class "Sheep Dogs" first  was Yarrow of E. Greaves, second Bob of T. Woolston.

Manchester, December 22, 1864: Fourth Dog Show

In the Zoological Gardens paraded 1,063 dogs. In the class "Sheep Dogs" in the order Rover of J. Palethorpe and Rover of Horsefall.

London, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 June 1865: Third Great International Dog Show

Saw 1,063 subscribers in the trial of Messrs T. Pearce, W. Brailsford, J. Walker, W. Walker, C. Tongue, T. Walton, H. Hanley, T. Wcotton, J. Tailby, J. Monsey, and Captain Greville. First Rover of J. Palethorpe, second Bob of T. Duffty.

Birmingham, 4, 5, 6 and 7 December 1865: Sixth Annual Great Exhibition of Sporting and Other Dogs

It was held at the Curzon Hall, with as many as 781 dogs. For the first time even puppies were admitted to the courts. The class "Sheep Dogs" was judged by J. Sykes, W. Lort, from Captain Willis and by Major Irving, who classified as first place Help of T. Ashton and second Rover of W. Lamin.

Manchester, 28, 29 and 30 December 1865: Fifth Dog Show

It was held in in the Great Music Hall and the judges called to examine the class "Sheep Dogs" were Messrs W. Lort, J. Walker, and J. Sykes. Rover's first of JW Palethorpe, followed by a dog whose name remained unknown owned by J. Handley and Laddie G. Darwell.

Birmingham, 3, 4, 5 and 6 December 1866: Seventh Dog Show

831 entries. Lort W. and J. Walker also judged the class "Sheep Dogs". The first two were Toby of W. Lamin and Gent of J. Siviter.

Manchester, 21, 22 and 24 December 1866: Sixth Dog Show

Only 390 in Great Music Hall. Judges of the class "Sheep Dogs" were M. and J. Hedley Monsey. Winners were Laddie of W. Gammon followed by Shep of Ms. Handley and Laddie of G. Darwell.

Birmingham, 2, 3, 4 and 5 December 1967: Eighth Annual Great Exhibition of Sporting and Other Dogs

In Curzon Exhibition Hall the entries were 691. Judges: J. Lang, V. Long, S. Mallabey, John Percival, Mathias Smith, J. Walker and J. Walker. In the class "Sheep Dogs" Rock of J. Inman was first and second Toby of H. Henson.

Manchester, 19, 20 and 21 December 1867: Seventh Dog Show

514 dogs to Great Music Hall. Judges of the class "Sheep Dogs" were J. Rowe and Monsey. The first three places three dogs with the same name: Rover. The first belongs to J.W. Palethorpe, the second to J. Percival and the third  to W. Horsepool.

Birmingham, 30 November and 1, 2 and 3 December 1868: Ninth Dog Show

It registered 806 entries available to Judges C. Collins and M. Smith. Winners were Toby of H. Henson, followed by Laddie of Mrs. A. A. B.Hamilton.

Manchester, 24, 26 and 28 December 1868: Eighth Dog Show

424 dogs in Great Music Hall. Judges of the class "Sheep Dogs": J. E. Owen and Monsey. Reward to Rover of S. Smith followed by Toby of H. Henson and Jerry of S. Smith.

London, 1, 2 and 3 June 1869: First Exhibition

Messrs Walker and Sykes judged the class "Sheep Dogs" exhibition at the National Dog Club. Reward to Rover of Smith, Trusty of Lord Ker and a dog that did not remain the name of Mr. White.

Birmingham, 29 and 30 November and 1 and 2 December 1869: Tenth Dog Show

757 dogs at Curzon Hall for Judges Lord Garvach and Edgar Hanbury. The winners were Laddie of L. Bourne and Bob of J. Holmes Jr.

Manchester, 17, 18, 19 and December 20, 1869: Ninth Dog Show

The Great Music Hall was not awarded a prize, as second was Laddie of J. Sanderson and third Shep of J. Robinson.

London, 21, 22, 23 and 24 June 1870: First Grand Exhibition of Sporting and Other Dogs

It was held for the first time at the Crystal Palace, built in 1851 to host the World Expo, with 895 dogs present. The class "Sheep Dogs" included separate awards for Rough and Smooth Collie. These latter, however, were not assigned due to lack of deserving dogs. The prizes for the Rough Collie went to Rob of J. Ashcroft and Hamish of P. Gordon.

Birmingham, 28, 29 and November 30 and December 1, 1870: Eleventh Dog Show

It registered 864 entries, of which fourteen sheepdogs judged by E. Hanbury and the Rev. T. O'Grady. The first place was reached by Laddie of L. Bourne, the second Cockie of W. White, and third Rover of J. Smith. Despite not winning it is put on display, with a second prize, one of the best sheep dogs never exposed, Cockie, a two years fawn collie owned by Mr. W. White Sherwood Rise, Nottingham. Cockie was, by all those who were able to admire it the best collie of his time and certainly one of the greatest players of all time.

Manchester, 30 and December 31, 1870: Tenth Dog Show

It was held in the Zoological Gardens. Judges, for the class "Sheep Dogs", J. and J. Barrow Monsey. First Sampson of J. Inman, second Tousie of T. Worthington and third Rover of E. H. Wood.

Glasgow, 20, 21 and 22 February 1871: First Scottish National Exhibition of Sporting and Other Dogs

383 dogs in Burnbank Drill Hall. Judges Messrs W. Lort, J. Walker, J. Douglas, S. Handley, T. Ritchie, J. Millar. Watch of Mr. Thomas turned first, second Keeper of D. Black and third Tweed of W. McKie.

Edinburgh, 16, 17 and 18 May 1871: First Scottish Metropolitan Exhibition of Sporting and Fancy Dogs

It was held in the Royal Gymnasium in the presence of 789 dogs. The jury was composed of W. Sharpe, G. Blanshard, J. Steedman, R. Raimes, J. Gibson, J. Aitken, J. Brown, A. Dawson, W. Ritchie, D. Paterson, R. Carr, J.A.S.E. Fair, W.H. Liddell, A. Graham. In the class "Sheep Dogs" was ranked in the first place Laddie of J. Summer, second Laddie of J.A. Mather and the third John of Mr. Dickson.

London, 2, 3, 5 and 6 June 1871: Second Grand National Exhibition of Sporting and Other Dogs

At Crystal Palace 828 dogs for the Judges the Rev. T. Pearce, J. Walker, W. Lort, Handley, Pool and Monsey. The class "Sheep Dogs" saw Alf classified as the first,  of H. Lacy, Laddie of Mrs. A.B. Hamilton and Samson of J. Inman.

Birmingham, 27, 28, 29 and 30 November 1871: Twelfth Dog Show

In Curzon Exhibition Hall 909 dogs were present. They were asked to judge the class "Sheep Dogs" Messrs E. Laverack and W. Lort. Four awards, in the order of Old Mec belonging to H. Lacy, Old Cockie of W. White, Malcom of C.W. Wilson and Bob of J. Holmes Jr.

Manchester, 28, 29 and December 30, 1871: Eleventh Dog Show

It was held in the Zoological Gardens, with the class "Sheep Dogs" judged by J. Monsey, E. Owen and Rowe. First turned Mec of J. Henshall, while Mr. M.H. Lacy placed two of his dogs, named Toss and Alf, the second and third place.

Dublin, 18, 19 and 20 January 1872: Grand National Dog Show

The Exhibition Palace 365 dogs judged by W. Lort and S. Handley. In the class "Sheep Dogs" at the top Alp of H. Lacy and second Toss of Mr. Lacy.

Glasgow, 27, 28 and 29 February 1872: Second Annual Scottish Annual Exhibition of Sporting and Fancy Dogs

It was held at Burnbank Drill Hall. Judges S.E. Shirley, W. Lort, J. Barrows, Scott J. and G. Dart called to examine 719 dogs. In the class "Sheepdogs" first was Mac of Henshall, second Wilson of C.W. Malcom, third Samson of Shackleton and fourth Laddie of J. Mather.

Edinburgh, 7, 8 and 9 May 1872: Second Annual Scottish Metropolitan Exhibition of Sporting and Fancy Dogs

In the Hall of the Royal Gymnasium 631 dogs paraded in front of the judges SE Shirley, W. Lort, S. Handley, Somner F. and J. Nisbet. Winner of the class "Sheep Dogs" was Mec H. Lacy, second Malcolm of R.B. Lee, third Bob of J. Ashcroft and fourth Swaup of Mr. Elliott.

London, 4, 5, 6 and 7 June, 1872: Third Grand National Exhibition of Sporting and Other Dogs

It was held at the Crystal Palace and well recorded 1044 registrations. Judged the class "Sheep Dogs" S. Handley and J. Barrow. At the first place Mac of H. Lacy, the second Myrtle of Chalke and third Alf of Lewis.

Nottingham, 2, 3, 4 and 5 October 1872: Grand National Dog Show

It was the expositions of 843 dogs in the Great Market Place. Judged Messrs Headley, Fisher and Rev. G. Hodgson for a class "Sheep Dogs" divided between Rough and Smooth. Among the Rough Bob of John Holmes was the first, second Cockie of W. White and third Ben of W.A. Walker, while among the Smooth Nett of W.R. Daybell was the first and the second Jim of J. Harrison.

Birmingham, 2, 3, 4 and 5 December 1872: Thirteenth Dog Show

At Curzon Exhibition Hall judged the class "Sheep Dogs" Judge E. Hanbury. The first male was Cockey Boy of White, the second Jack of Bailey. Among females, not awarded the first prize, while the second went to Wolf of Shaw.

Manchester, 26 and 27 December 1872: Twelfth Annual Dog Show

The year ended with a demonstration held in the Zoological Gardens attended by 518 dogs. Judges of the classes "Not Sporting" J. Monsey, R. Fulton and C.T. Fisher. The top three of the class "Sheep Dogs" were Wallace of Lord, Glen of Fildes and Bobo of Bradley.

Glasgow, 26, 27 and 28 March 1873: Third Dog Show

600 dogs in Burnbank Drill Hall at the disposal of the Judges W. Lort, S. Handley, J. Douglas, J. Millar and J. Duncan. In the class "Sheep Dogs" was first Shamrock of S.E. Shirley, second Lofty of W. Wallace, third Yarrow of V. Gibson-Craig and fourth Rover of T. Watson. Special prizes were also awarded to Tweed of S. Anderson and Rock of J. Johnstone.

The year 1873 was an important year for the cinofilia, because it saw the birth of the Kennel Club. It was founded on April 4 by Sewallis Evelyn Shirley (1844-1904) that, together with twelve gentlemen who wanted to establish some rules to regulate the dog shows and working trials that had gained, over fifteen years, huge popularity among the public. In 1874 the infant Kennel Club issued so the first "CODE OF RULES FOR THE GUIDANCE OF DOG SHOWS". From that moment all the dog shows and working trials were held by the same rules, bearing in mind, and this became a constant in the history of the Kennel Club, the welfare and health of dogs together with the correctness of each competition.

Below the ten simple rules to guarantee these objectives.

CODE OF RULES For the Guidance of Dog Shows adopted by the Kennel Club, 1874.

1) Every person who wishes to exhibit at any show held under the Kennel Club Rules, must at the time of entry clearly identify by name  and age (if known) the dog he intends to exhibit, and the name of the  sire and dam (if known) must be given, unless the dog has been entered with his name and pedigree in the Kennel Club Calendar, in which case it will be sufficient to mention him by his name only.

2) If the name of a dog which has won a prize has been changed, it is necessary in entering the said dog to give his old as well as his new name every time he is exhibited, until the change has been duly registered in the annual number of the Kennel Calendar; and if his name be changed again, all his names must be repeated for a like period.

3) If a dog shall be entered without being clearly identified as before directed, by Rules 1 and 2, he shall forfeit any prize that may have been awarded him, and if the omission be detected in time, he shall not be allowed to compete, and shall forfeit all entrance fees and subscriptions.

4) The Committee or authorities of any show may reserve to themselves the right of refusing any entries that they may think fit to exclude; and no person who has been proved to the satisfaction of the committee of the Kennel Club to have misconducted himself in any way in connection with dogs, dog shows, or dog trials, will be allowed to compete at any show that is held under the Kennel Club Rules.

5) The committee or authorities of every show where the entry of dogs amounts to 200, shall take care that a duly appointed veterinary inspector be in daily attendance.

6) No dog shall be qualified to compete or entitled to receive a prize, if awarded, who is suffering from mange, or any other form of contagious disease.

7) No person, except the duly qualified and appointed veterinary inspector, shall decide whether a dog is or is not suffering from mange. The veterinary inspector shall give his opinion to the secretary or committee of the show in writing, and shall do so before the close of the show.

8) A dog that has been exhibited, or has won a prize in a class exclusively for puppies under twelve months old, is not thereby excluded from being exhibited in a class where previous prize winners are not allowed to compete.

9) In estimating the number of prizes a dog has won, with reference to whether it should compete in a champion class or not, the number of  prizes won shall be calculated up to the morning of the Show, and not merely up to the date of entry for the same.

10) An objection to a dog must be made to the committee or secretary of the show at any time within seven days from the first day  of the show; it must be in writing, and the objector must at the same time lodge a sum of £1 in the hands of the committee or secretary, which deposit, shall, if the objection is proved to be frivolous, be forfeited.

With these rules the expositions could continue to spread, attracting the interest of a growing number of fans. In the following years many people approached the dog world and there were many dogs put on showcase and boosting success of different breeds.

A few years later, in 1876, was founded on the other side of the ocean, the Westminster Kennel Club, which even anticipated the birth of the American Kennel Club and the 8th of May the following year it held its first exhibition, The First Annual New York Bench Show of Dogs, giving its relentless momentum considerably to the dog world in the United States.

Since then there was a continuous stream of dogs from Europe to America, and many great champions left Europe for the United States. As for our breed the best English champions sailed to the New World, filling the pockets of English breeders of many dollars. The consequences are visible even today.

In 1891 Charles Cruft organized at the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington, the first of a series of events of cinofilia that had to do of the event that since then bears his name, the most important canine event in the world; since 1987, it takes place over four days of racing well regulated and since 1991 it has been moved to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham in order to receive the large number of exhibitors.

From the first exhibitions supervised by a few fans, which we have mentioned, the expositions are events organized and conducted with great professionalism, and even with the limitations that accounted for the working dog, have greatly contributed to the diffusion and propaganda of the breed dog.

The fifteen years of which we have briefly traced the history were fundamental for the future of our dogs. It was a great job by the first Kennel Club: a few simple rules that would give law and order in the events and open doors to fans that were a lot. These were the years of the "Renaissance" of the dog that had passed through a critical period during the social changes that had occurred and that, if mismanaged, could have led to its exclusion from the society of man.

Publication Date September 29, 2015

The history of the collie as dog show, begins in the second half of the 19th century with the first exhibitions. In the First Grand National Exhibition, held in 1863 at the Cremorne Gardens of Chelsea, in London, there was a class called "Scotch Collie" and also in London in the same year, the First Grand International Dog Show in Islington, still a class reserved for "Scotch Sheep-Dogs", a name which was eventually changed to "Collies" in 1895 in Birmingham. Generally, however, the dogs were judged without regard to the breed, or taking it into account in a concise manner, so the collie did not have many opportunities to show off. But in the exposition in London in 1870, at the Crystal Palace, the dogs were again divided into breeds and also smooth were judged separately from rough collie, thus beginning an independent life that has to be made official until many years later.

The first champion that we know was a female named Waite, born in 1867 by Tip out of Waite, breeder Wat Hotson and owner W. A. Walker, who was the first collie to win a prize. What few know, however, is that this female was a smooth collie as seen by consulting the KENNEL CLUB CALENDAR AND STUD BOOK, year 1874, Vol. II, where this bitch is given to n. 4540. A point of great interest is that Waite was the mother of Scott (Trefoil x Waite), great-grandfather of Ch. Christopher, by which it is an ancestor of all Collie today.

So every line of rough collie began with a smooth.

Three dogs were able to show off in these early years of the history of the Collie, the fathers of the breed: Old Cockie, Old Mec and Trefoil.

Old Cockie was born in 1868 and belonged to Mr. W. White who never wanted to say how he had it, so its pedigree remained a mystery. In the KENNEL CLUB STUD BOOK for the year 1874 we find the number in 2847 under the name "Cockie". It was the first collie fawn present in a show. Among its achievements, a second prize in 1870 and in 1871 and a first prize in 1872 and in 1873, the exposition of Birmingham; a second prize in 1872 and first in 1873, in the exposition of Nottingham.

Charles H. Wheeler (Edgbaston), in his book ON THE HISTORY OF THE COLLIE, describes it as: “Old Cockie was a medium-sized dog, as compared with some of the  giants of the present day, very compactly built, and sound in legs and feet.  His head was consistent in length, and certainly true collie in type, ears  semi-erect, coat on body not extra-long but very dense, being well supplied  with a wet-resisting undercoat, and the habit of his coat was such that  it formed a distinct mane on the neck and a cape on the shoulders. In  colour he was rich sable, with white markings, and it is an absolute fact  that, - at the present time, every collie of the sable colour dates back to Old Cockie as the introducer of the colour.”

Its career was exceptional, as well as its influence on the breed. At the end of its career this great champion was first sold to W.H. Johnson and then to James Bissell who bought it for £ 10 and lovingly cared of it until he died in August 1882.

Two years later the birth of Old Cockie, Old Mec was born in 1870, which belonged to Harry Lacy. These two dogs met often in the show, with alternating victories, but Old Cockie was superior. Old Mec had a black coat and tan more abundant, but its expression left a lot to be desired. In 1871 Old Mec won the exhibition in Birmingham before Old Cockie and other fifteen collie. Five years later, in the same exposition, Judge Rev. T. Pearce, there were 62 registered collie, 39 males and 23 females. On that occasion Trefoil was presented for the first time.

Trefoil was born March 19th, 1873 by Twig ex Bess, and was bred by Sewallis E. Shirley, the President of the Kennel Club. Its color was "black and tan with white on chest", it was well-proportioned, a good character, a good head and a mantle with spectacular length but sparse, whose strengths and weaknesses transmitted equally to its offspring. It racked up a string of outstanding victories, but left its mark primarily as procreative. All our current collie descend from it.

Meanwhile, in 1875, was born Maude, a female sable and white owned by James Bissell, who had many of the qualities of its father. It was in fact the daughter of Old Cockie and niece of Old Mec, its head, though a bit short, was in kind.

Trefoil was mated to Maude, and on January 4th, 1879 was born the fawn Charlemagne. For six years this Collie was never surpassed in any exhibition, presented when it was eleven years in the exposition of the Collie Club in 1890 in London, won the Best in Show. Like its father, this dog had a long coat, but the head was missing class. It still managed to become champion, but its offspring were not very successful and Charlemagne is remembered today mainly because, mated to Ch. Madge I, a tricolor born in September 10th, 1879, sired on October 10th, 1884, the tricolor Sefton, a collie that it would not even be worth mentioning if it had not had the great merit to give birth, mated to Minnie, Ch. Metchley Wonder, a sable born March 2nd, 1886. Its mother Minnie was a nephew of the white The Lily, born June 20th, 1881, that had inherited the white factor and allowed it to introduce this color in America.

So the white color was not born in America, but arrived, along with the collie, from England.

It’s also interesting to underline that The Lily was Grandma of Minnie, in turn grandmother of Ch. Christopher, through which, therefore, The Lily is an ancestor of all the Collie of today.

So any current line of colored collie began with a white, even in Europe.

Bred by Charles H. Wheeler (Edgbaston) and later sold to Mr. A. H. Megson (Birmingham), who paid 530 pounds, Metchley Wonder amply repaid its new owner, because between 1887 and 1892 won for 5 times the exposition of the Kennel Club. This dog was the best collie of its time, as both show dog as procreative. Rawdon Lee describes it in 1890, publisher of THE FIELD: “This is a handsome sable and white dog, of medium size, probably 55 lb. or so in weight, and with generally little fault to be found with him, excepting one would like to have seen a broader skull that would have given an appearance of greater intelligence in the face than Wonder presents at present; still, his exceedingly perfect legs and feet, excellent body, strong and muscular hind quarters, in combination with other fine attributes, stamp him as one of the best of his variety hitherto introduced to the public, and he promises to even excel such notabilities as Cockie and Charlemagne in transmitting his good qualities to his family.”

Metchley Wonder was mated to Peggie II, a half-sister of Sefton born August 17th, 1881, described as a female sable and white with an excellent head, good expression and temperament. From this mating was born April 16th, 1887, Ch. Christopher, the fawn collie with the coolest head ever seen. Bought by Tom Stretch (Ormskirk) for £ 60, was then sold in the US to Mitchell Harrison (Chestnut Hill) for 1,000 pounds. Unfortunately the rest of the body was not measured up to the head and this Collie, that had been a winning dog in Europe, showing off mainly as a procreative, in the new world was a failure, and this taught American breeders that even females are important in a mating, not only males. Even so, however, thanks to Christopher the collies owe their great improvement, and he certainly did, for the breed, more than any dog of his days.

By Ch. Christopher we have three main bloodlines, going through Stracathro Ralph, Edgbaston Marvel and Ormskirk Chriss, lines we will follow one by one and that will lead us at the dawn of the twentieth century.

Line from Stracathro Ralph

Ch. Stracathro Ralph, was born September 1st, 1888. Son of Christopher and Stracathro Fancy, it was owned by Morton Campbell, and won, less than 14 months the first prize at Birmingham and less than 18 months the prize in Liverpool. It was a medium sized dog, black and white sand, quite uniform in its characteristics. It had a great cloak of good quality, just the ears left a lot to be desired.

By Ralph Stracathro ex Apple Blossom the Camp. Heather Ralph date of birth April 19th , 1891, a male white sable.

This dog, mated with Aughton Bessie, a daughter of Edgbaston Marvel, gave birth on September 3rd, 1894 the great, sable Champion Ormskirk Emerald. Bred by Mr. W.O. Barnes, was later acquired by Tom Stretch. This dog produced an incredible number of puppies, all of the highest quality. Henry E. Packwood (Billesley) who was President of the English Collie Club, judged Emerald the biggest Collie ever existed. Mr. Megson paid Tom Stretch £ 1,300, plus two others collie, for the sole Emerald.

April 1st, 1896 was born, by Ormskirk Emerald and Ormskirk Memoir, Ormskirk Galopin, whose mother was also a descendant of Christopher. This dog belonged to Tom Stretch, and won many awards in the shows attended. It was a beautiful color white and sable, with a powerful structure but well balanced, solid legs and feet and a mantle sufficiently long and of excellent quality. Its head was long, well-balanced, but rather high, and ears even though a bit big.

The following year, July 5th, 1897, was born Heacham Galopin, a fawn very carbonate, owned by Mr. G. Cracknell. This collie was very nice, it had a coat of the correct length, its eyes were just a little clear, but the head and ears were correct. It was a very smart dog and possessed the true character of the collie.

Heacham Galopin was mated with a female, Last Rose, that boasted of a descent from Christopher and Metchley Wonder, and December 6th, 1898 was born Ch. Wishaw Clinker. Owned by the Scottish Robert Tait (Wishaw), so it was described by Charles Wheeler: ”In color sable and white. A very grand Collie with many excellent qualities, very symmetrical in conformation, and sound in limbs. He carried a profusion of coat of good quality, and if the head was a little strong, it was brimful of character, since the shape was right, the eyes nicely placed and the ears correctly carried”.

March 30th, 1901, by from Wisham Clinker ex Old Hall Duchess was born Ch. Balgreggie Baronet, bred by Mr. T. Lochart and then sold to Mr Wilkie and Forrester. It was sable and white colored, and it had a very good structure, hair and general appearance, and a head particularly classic from which stand out two small ears.

Ch. Squire of Tytton was born April 13th, 1904 by Balgreggie Baronet and by Helle of Boston, daughter of Parbold Small about which we will discuss shortly. Bred by Mr. W. T. Horry was owned by William E. Mason (Southport). It had a beautiful coat color and white sable and great qualities: a very typical head, a beautiful expression, ears properly brought, well-proportioned body and solid legs. Perhaps its only fault was in the movement of the back. After having received great success during English shows, it was exported in America enriching the kennels Greystone held by Samuel Untermyer.

Line from Edgbaston Marvel

Ch. Edgbaston Marvel, was born September 1st, 1888 by Christopher out of Sweet Marie. Due of its heavy ears it was not a show dog and Tom Stretch, its first owner, sold it to Mr. W. G. Weager for a few pounds. But Charles Wheeler realized its skills as a procreative and paid to Mr. Weager £ 30 for that dog. After some time he sold it as usual to Mr. Megson for £ 500. Charles Wheeler was right, this stud fawn, which had been displayed only once, had a decisive influence on the breed.

By Edgbaston Marvel ex Tabley Rose, a daughter of Metchley Wonder, was born February 19th, 1892, Ch. Southport Perfection. It was a collie sable and white with a magnificent  coat, good structure, with a head very correct and good ears. Only its eyes didn’t have  the required switching. Bred by Hugo Ainscough (Parbold), at seven months it was sold for £ 450 to William Mason who, at the age of three years, sold it to Mr. Megson for £ 1,000.

By Southport Perfection ex Wellesbourne Christabelle, daughter of Christopher, was born April 11th, 1894 Wellesbourne Councillor. It was a great sable dog with long coat, with perfect eyes and mouth, but it  did not have a good show career.

April 16th, 1895, from Wellesbourne Councillor out of Wellesbourne  Beauty was born, Wellesbourne Conqueror. Bred by William H. Charles (Wellesbourne), it was purchased by Mr. R. Higson and it won many awards. A well-built dog, with a long head clean, beautiful eyes and suitable ears. The body was well covered with hair, but the lack of collar made it look pretty feminine.

However the value of Wellesbourne Conqueror, as a procreative, was shown mating it with Parbold Pinafore, a bitch without honor or glory and even without noble ancestors, because from this mating was born Ch. Parbold Piccolo, date of birth April 3rd, 1899. Owned by Hugo Ainscough, Piccolo was a sable and white collie, unquestionably male in general appearance, and of abundance hair, a shapely body, excellent bone structure, very small ears, however, brought to perfection. If you have to find a fault, it had the nose too deep in height. Its skills as a breeder was unquestionable and it produced six champions in England before emigrating to the New World. For it the American breeder and judge J. L. Behling (Bon Ami) paid in 1904, the highest price ever paid for a dog: 5,000 dollars. But when, after a long journey, the dog arrived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at noon of day in October, it was seen only for a few hours, because, before midnight of the same day, it disappeared and was never seen again. Perhaps also it, like Lassie, wanted to go back and maybe even now it swims along the shores of its native England!

But Piccolo had been mated in England with Bellfield Beauty, a daughter of Wisham Clinker and June 24th, 1902 was born Ch. Anfield Model. This Collie, bred by Mr. H. Galt, was then sold to William Mason. It was colored sable and white, of medium size, with a decent coat; very small ears, but placed too high on the head; also the tail was carried too gaily; but its head was very nice, with beautiful eyes and good expression.

But probably the son of Piccolo that most gave to the breed, despite ever earning a title, was Parbold Pierrot (1902). Its mother was Irthlingsboro Day Dream.

Mated with Parbold Pleasance, by Pierrot was born September 25th, 1904, Ch. Parbold Paganini, considered the best collie existing at that time. Bred by Hugo Ainscough, it was then bought by Tom Stretch. It was a big dog white and sable colored, with very valuable head, ears and expression.

Line from Ormskirk Chriss

Ormskirk Chriss was born April 4th, 1890 and had been bred by Mr. H. Heaton. Son of Christopher and Bleachfield Wonder, a daughter of Metchley Wonder born April 14th, 1888 was subsequently purchased by Tom Stretch. It was a white sable collie with an excellent physical structure, a beautiful head but without stop, good ears and a discreet coat that was not its strength.

June 2nd, 1891 was born Ch. Rufford Ormonde, by Ormskirk Chriss out of Princess Margaret. Bred by Tom Stretch, it was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Holme and Holliday. It was also a sable and white, and had a very nice appearance with body and limbs well-built and a beautifully designed  head with suitable ears.

By Rufford Ormonde ex Old Hall Vera was born August 8th, 1893, Finsbury Pilot. Bred by Mr. J. Agnew and bought by Hugo Ainscough, was a sable and white collie and winner of many awards. It had its most striking quality in the mantle and in the very abundant collar. Its weaknesses were instead a head too slight and insufficient stature that made it look very masculine.

Pilot, mated to a female named Miss Purden, grandson of Edgbaston Marvel, gave birth November 27th, 1895, to Ch. Rightaway, a tricolor owned by Robert Tait. It was an impressive collie , with beautiful ears, a magnificent structure and a beautiful coat and collar. Only fault was the head a little bit small.

By Rightaway there are two of its puppies that we can rightly consider the fathers of the breed, both of them gave a significant contribution perpetuating the quality of their ancestors: Barwell Masterpiece and Woodmansterne Tartan. Their mothers were respectively Caermarthen Lass, a nephew of Edgbaston Marvel, and Woodmansterne Lassie.

Ch. Barwell Masterpiece was born February 7th, 1897 in the farm of Robert Tait and was sold to Mr. J. Powers for £ 200. It was a good tricolor with large white spots, but the shape of the head had something strange that marred the expression . Unfortunately many of its puppies inherited this defect.

Woodmansterne Tartan was born instead February 14th, 1898, black and tan and white, owned by the Rev. Hans F. Hamilton (Woodmansterne). A beautiful dog,  with an impressive looking, but a too long head and a muzzle too square, with rather large and dropping ears.

So most of these great champions of the past came to enrich the Americans kennels breeders willing to pay more and more to make a successful champion. Prices paid became so high that Milo Denlinger in the book THE COMPLETE COLLIE, thought that English expositions had become the smokescreen of farmers overseas. Sold a winning collie, poked out one even more beautiful and so on.

In those days the names of the dogs were often changed and anyone who bought one often attributed the name of its kennel. So many British collie saw their name changed or, at best, modified, when they arrived in America.

But, these collie contributed to the improvement and diffusion of the breed in America. They are the same ancestor of our collie.

So any current lineage of Americans collie began with an English collie , exactly as it is for the European collie.

In the last years of the nineteenth century the communications had a remarkable development. Europe was covered by a dense network of railways that facilitated the movement of goods and raw materials. England also could enjoy this progress strongly required by Queen Victoria.

Now it was not forced to buy a dog in your country, you could move, visiting exhibitions, even the most distant and deal directly with the big farmers. Also the transmission of the information took advantage and the news on the farmers, the dogs of the moment and on shows, began traveling aimlessly around the country reaching missing points.

This contributed to the spread of a dog world class, based on the need to select. The progress made most accessible great stallions, so that in later years the puppies of these great champions of the past were reproduced by multiplying the blood lines making difficult to follow its development.

The twentieth century saw the success and spread of our breed, and saw great breeders lay the foundations of what is the current production. But they will talk about it in the next part.

Publication Date August 29, 2016

It is not easy to go back to the individuals that have marked the path of the smooth coated variety of the collie, because for a long time smooth and rough constituted one only breed (as it is even today in North America) to whose evolution individuals of both varieties have contributed.

As stated previously, in the first shows dogs were judged without taking into account either the breeds or varieties, so the length of the coat was initially irrelevant for those collies that had to be shown. Anyway on the occasion of the exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1870 there was the class of "Sheep Dogs" in which the smooth collies were judged separately from the rough ones. The same thing happened in Nottingham in 1872, but almost a century had to go by before the separation of the two varieties became official.

In 1867 a female called Waite (from Tip and Waite) was born; her breeder was Wat Hotson. She made history as the first collie to win a prize, to the great joy of her proud owner W. A. Walker. In fact, she won the first prize in both the exhibitions of Crystal Palace and of Hull. Waite was a smooth collie, ancestor of all today’s collies (smooth and rough) as she was the mother of  Scott (Trefoil x Waite), owned by Mr. Walker and great-great-grandfather of the champion Christopher.

One of the first individuals to leave a mark on the smooth collie’s selection was a tricolour called Guelt, born in 1873 by Captain ex Nora, in a mixed rough and smooth litter. He had been bred by D. Craig and sold to W. W. Thomson (Mitcham), one of the founders of the Kennel Club and of the Collie Club. Guelt won many shows during those years: in Maidstone in 1876, in Chesterfield and  London in 1877 and again in London and Birmingham in 1878.

Later two females attracted attention: a dark-eyed blue merle called Fan, born in 1874, and owned by H. Mapplebeck, and later a tricolour called Yarrow, owned by the same W. W. Thomson. The presence of females is predominant among those individuals that have contributed to improve the smooth collie, which is the opposite of what happened to the rough, so we should talk about dams of the breed rather than about sires.

One of the first successful breeders was Alexander Hastie (Herdwick), Judge and big fan of the smooth coated variety. He produced many individuals of quality: Herdwick Baron, Herdwick Herdsman, Herdwick King and Herdwick Eva. Mr. Hastie’s collies were particularly appreciated  for their typical character and their aptitude for work. The qualities of Herdwick Eva, greatly impressed during the exhibition of the Collie Club in London in 1890: she was sable coloured, and had a powerful physique, the distinctive collie expression and a very good character. However, her ears were a bit small, although well-carried, and her coat was too abundant and soft for a smooth collie.

Even Theodore Marples, director of Our Dogs, considered by all to be an authority on dogs, was one of the first admirers of the smooth collie. Some of his most famous individuals were Mountaineer, Milkmaid and the champion Melody, who was the first smooth collie to get the title of champion even though she did not have an official pedigree.

Another female who definitely had a great influence on the breed was the champion Heatherfield Dot, daughter of one of the Metchley Wonder’s brothers. She was a blue merle with a magnificent head and a very typical expression; what a pity she was a bit small. Henry E. Packwood (Billesley) tried to buy her for a long time, and when after many attempts he succeeded, he called her Billesley Blue Eyes. Later she was sold to Charles Wheeler, successively to F. Hurst and finally arrived at the A. H. Megson’s kennel, thanks to which she finally got to participate in the championship.

In those same years, the champion Heatherfield Tip, a sable and white male, attracted attention.  He was born on the 20th of August, 1892 by Jack Shepard ex Ancrum Peeress and had been bred by W. P. Phillips. Later he was bought by the usual A. H. Megson who had him mated with Heatherfield Dot. From this mating, two great individuals were born on the 13rd of September, 1893: a female called Busy Bee and a male called Ballochmyle Max, who had a good influence on the breed. Tip was subsequently mated with Heatherfield Gyp and produced another great individual, the blue merle champion Gold Nugget, born in J. Brown’s kennel on the 4th of March, 1894.

Two very important smooth collies for the selection of the breed were born on the 16th of October, 1895: the champion Veto and the tricolour champion Village Girl. Bred by John Bell, they were son and daughter of Herdwick Smoker ex Busy Bee, both smooth.

The following year, exactly on the 12th of April 1896, the champion Whitley Lass, a beautiful blue merle, was born by the champion Gold Nugget ex Richmond Countess. She was bred by Mr Burne and then sold to J. Hough.

In those years, at the end of the century, a charming lady of the English aristocracy, Lady Alexander (Ballochmyle), a staunch supporter of the smooth coated variety of collie, began to attend the ring of the dog shows. Lady Alexander, wife of Sir Claud Alexander, breeder and judge of Skye Terriers, acquired many of the best individuals of the moment. Besides Veto, the champion Irthlingborough Village Lass, Mountain Boy, Ballochmyle Mars, Sedgemere Peach, Ballochmyle Starlight and others, all of the highest level, arrived at her kennel.

Mrs Brigham also deserves a prominent place in the history of the smooth collie. Mrs Brigham, a peasants’ daughter, had been brought up to have a love for animals. Her favourite dogs were bobtails, but she also exerted her decisive influence on the breeding of the smooth collie. She bought her first collie from A. H. Megson. The dog was called Speculation, and even though he did not have great qualities, he helped her to gain experience. Then she secured a good female Yorkshire Girl, and finally one of Veto’s sons, the champion Rockcliffe Veto, a blue merle male born on the 26th of February 1897, who had an extraordinary career. From their mating Mrs. Brigham began producing good quality individuals such as Yorkshire Briar, who won a special prize at Crystal Palace when he was just one year old.

On the 7th of May, 1897 by Herdwick Herdsman ex Whitfield Daisy the champion Irthlingboro Village Boy was born. He was a characteristic type of tricolour bred by Mr. Robson and was subsequently sold to A. Dunmore (Irthlingboro), in whose kennel on the 21st of September, 1898 was born the champion Irthlingboro Village Lass, a charming tricolour female, daughter of Irthlingboro Village Boy ex Village Girl.

Shortly after, on the 28th of June1897,  by Veto ex Whitley Lass, Bakewell Beauty was born. Bred by J. Hough, and then sold to L. Smalley, she had inherited many of the good qualities of Heatherfield Tip, who was her maternal and paternal  great-grandfather.

In 1900 the tricolour champion Babette of Moreton began to attract attention. She was born on the 17th of February, 1900 and was bred by A. Dunmore and then sold to H. H. Jones. After his death Babette of Moreton was moved to Lady Alexander’s kennel. She was undoubtedly the best bitch of the century, had great qualities and almost no defects. At the Collie Club show in 1902 she won the Challenge Trophy as the best collie of each variety.

Another fascinating specimen, who also belonged to Lady Alexander, was the champion Doon Heiress, a tricolour female born on the 17th of January, 1902, by Ryton Topper ex Doon May Queen.

In May of 1901, Canute Fascination was born by Ashford Clinker ex Ashford Countess. She was a female bred by I. Smalley and was later sold to Frank Wildgoose (Canute). He was a great specialist in smooth collies. Among his other dogs that had a positive influence on the breed we must remember the champion Barden Venture, a black-and-tan collie who was not only a winner, but a very good sire as well. Among his sons and daughters, all big winners, we should mention the champion Ormskirk Venice, who was born on the 20th of March, 1903 ex Ormskirk Bluebelle, and Scorton Lady Love, who was born on the 22nd of June, 1901 ex Ladysmith.

Another good individual at the beginning of this century was the champion Canute Perfection, born on the 5th of July, 1902 by Count of Moreton (rough) ex Marston Amy (smooth) in T. Farish’s kennel. The success of the union between a smooth and a rough was confirmed by the birth, on the 8th of June, 1903, of the champion Eleanor de Montfort, owned by H. Mumford Smith, produced by a repetition of that mating.

In the early years of the twentieth century, even Tom Stretch (Ormskirk) let himself be tempted by smooth collie breeding and succeeded in producing some collies of great value such as the champion Ormskirk Venice, a blue merle female born on the 20th of March, 1903 by the champion  Barden Venture ex Ormskirk Bluebelle; she was a very nice individual, who also won the Guinea Trophy for the best rough or smooth collie during the exhibition of the Collie Club in 1906.

The show of the Collie Club in 1906 marked the revenge of the smooth on its charming long-haired cousin, because on that occasion the finalists were two smooth collies: the champion Ormskirk Venice, cited above, and the champion Eastwood Eminent, who had become champion at only ten months old. He was a tricolour born on the 11th of May, 1905 by Sunnybrae Perfection ex Quality of Dunkirk, bred by R. G. Howson (Eastwood) who produced other successful smooth collies: the champion Eastwood Extra, Eastwood Exact, Stanley Wonder, etc.

However, during those years the greatest breeder in the selection of all the smooth collies was George Watson (Stanley), who bred more champions than anyone else. His best known individuals were the champion Stanley Countess, a tricolour female born on the 18th of June, 1910 by the champion Julien de Montfort ex Woodbine Fascination; the champion Stanley Merle, a blue merle male born on the 4th of April 1913 by King Of The Blues (rough) ex Stanley Countess (smooth); and his sister Stanley Ella.

When William Stansfield (Laund) fell in love with the smooth collie he was already a famous breeder all over the world. He bought one of the most beautiful smooth collies ever seen from Mr Whitley, the champion Laund Lynne, born on the 6th of September, 1917 by Hetman ex Primley Primula. She was a female blue merle practically perfect and a champion whose career was second to none: she won as many as seventeen CC and even ninety-five Best in Show.

At the outbreak of the First World War, the Kennel Club prohibited the breeding of dogs. The ban lasted three years, and if the Smooth Collie overcame the ruins of war without damage, the merit must be given to a few obstinate and enthusiastic breeders, who nonetheless remained loyal to the breed.

Little by little everything started again in the manner in which the new political geography allowed. New breeders began to work in favour of the collie, and also the smooth collie found his followers, who brought him up to the present day with love and passion.

Publication Date January 10, 2017

The first blue merle stud dog which became famous was a stallion with china-like eyes, born in 1873. His name was Scot, he was grey and white with rich tan markings. At n. 6495 of the KENNEL CLUB STUD BOOK of the year 1876 you can read about him and that he belonged to Mr. F. B. Brackenbury, coming from Downham, Norfolk, but we do not know the breeder’s name. Then the colour is described as follows: "Grey, tan and white, china eyes". This dog is called "Scott" in many subsequent texts about the collie, but here we prefer to use the official name of the Kennel Club.

At those times you could find this variety of colour (merle or "mirled", or more precisely "marbled", as it was also subsequently called) more often in the smooth than in the rough collies, among which the sable ones had already become hugely popular. However the work of a few enthusiastic breeders began bearing fruit little by little and in 1880, at an exhibition in Dundee, judge Hugh Dalziel gave the victory to a blue merle collie. Later judge Vero Shaw did the same during an exhibition in Fakenham, Kent, where the palm of victory went to the above-mentioned Scot.

We cannot talk about the collie’s merle colour without mentioning Sir William Arkwright (Scarsdale), who was given the merit of having thoroughly studied and dictated the rules for the breeding of this fascinating variety of collie. With this study and through a scrupulous selection, he managed to get a perfect merle colour, perhaps never again achieved in the history of the breed.

The description that Arkwright furnishes of Scot is concise and fascinating: "A light silvery blue, beautifully clouded with black, white collar, frill, blaze, paws and tags; face and forelegs bordered by bright red, with one china eye".

Enchanted by this collie and after having tried in vain to buy him, William Arkwright made him cover one of his females called Russet, probably black-and-tan, and white.

This mating is the base of all today’s blue merle collies and from it a female was born, Blue Stocking, which in her turn mated to a male called Redbreast, produced a blue female called Blue Rose.

Of course at that time the blue stud dogs were rare, so it was absolutely necessary to resort to inbreeding, so Blue Rose was mated to her grandfather Scot and in April of 1882 two puppies were born, Blue Sky and Blue Thistle, respectively male and female. The male was the best blue of his time, whilst his sister, mated to Donald, a tricolour which was born on the 9th of December, 1878 by Carlyle ex Flirt (a daughter of Old Cockie) was the mother of the famous Blue Ruin, the first female blue merle to win an exhibition beating even collies of other colours. In 1888, in fact, she won the Collie Club's Challenge Trophy, the most important trophy at that time. Another important daughter of Blue Stocking was Blue Belle, mother of Blue Bear, another winner of 1888.

William Arkwright was the pioneer of the blue breeding. According to his theories the best blues are obtained by mating the blue merle with a special tricolour called "black and tan", which is completely lacking in white, now unfortunately disappeared. Arkwright was absolutely against mating the sable and the merle because it would have given, as he said, a merle colour contaminated by a rust colour and would have produced sable and blue-eyed puppies. He was also against mating two merles, but he admitted that the white ones (double merle), born from this coupling, mated to a tricolour, could give merle puppies of exceptional beauty. According to Arkwright, the union of two merle dogs, however, had to be absolutely avoided if there were already three or more merles among the grandparents of the future puppies.

Unfortunately, in the spring of 1890 William Arkwright sold all his collies. He had suffered a serious hunting accident in 1876, moreover he did not have any children and preferred to devote himself to his hunting dogs of which he was a recognized expert. His most important individual, Blue Ruin, was bought for 99 guineas from Panmure Gordon, the first president of the Scottish Kennel Club, who actually acted on behalf of the financier and American breeder John Pierpont Morgan (Cragston). So, in that same year, Blue Ruin left England. It was she who took this colour to the New World. All the American blue collies derive from her. However, she was a loss for English breeding, also because her mother, Blue Thistle, had died after giving birth to her second litter.

After the Arkwright’s withdrawal, another breeder made an effort to continue the work that had been done up to that time. His name was John Andrew Doyle, one of the oldest members of the Kennel Club. Although he was not really a collie expert, he was an esteemed and respected judge, particularly keen on the smooth. He did not often frequent the exposition ring, but he fought until the blue merle could be judged as a separate class.

Even John Powers (Barwell) dealt with the blue merle, despite being already famous for collies of other colours. One of the winners of those years was his Barwell Lass, a dog with a beautiful grey colour, well marked with black.

Thus, the blue merle collie, which had experienced a period of scarce interest from the public after William Arkwright’s retirement, saw a revival of approval from enthusiasts, thanks to other capable breeders.

One of these was Fred Barlow (Yardley). His most important dogs were Yardley Blue Jumbo, born on the 2nd of July, 1906 by Master Merledale ex Yardley Crystal; Yardley Blue Spider born on the 21st of May, 1906 by Master Merledale ex Stoneleigh Lady; Yardley Freda, born on the 15th of October, 1906 by Annandale Knockout ex Annandale Blossom.

C. White also bred the blue variety successfully. In addition to being a big lover of the collie and a pioneer of the blue colour, he was a true gentleman, held in the highest regard by his friends on both sides of the ocean. He had purchased from A. C. Thompson the bitch Blue Fancy with whom he had laid the foundation of his kennel. His most famous blue collies were Blue Princess Alice, born on the 21st of June, 1903 by Royal Amethyst ex Bonny Girl, and Blue Princess Alexandra, born on the 26th of April, 1907 by Blue John ex Bonny Girl, both grandchildren of Ormskirk Emerald.

Even Henry E. Packwood (Billesley) who had been president of the English Collie Club wanted to undertake the breeding of blue merle. His flagship bitch was Billesley Bluey.

In 1907 The English Rough Blue Merle Collie Club was born, which in 1924 converged into the British Collie Club, and whose purpose was the promotion of the breeding and the improvement of the blue merle collie’s variety. F. Barlow was elected president, T. Leckie treasurer and H. G. Hill secretary. The most well-known men of that time constituted the Council: T. Horry, H. J. Jacques, W. E. Mason, S. E. Packwood, A. C. Thompson, C. H. Wheeler, C. White and R. J. Warner. The Club held its first exhibition in January of 1910, at the time as the one in Birmingham. Their winners were, among the females, Billesley Blue Blossom belonging to H.E. Packwood and, among the males, Typewriter, belonging to WL Tippett, who also had the satisfaction of winning another prestigious trophy, the Billesley Bowl, with his Blue Plasmon (Edgbaston Plasmon x Hartshill Stella). It was a big undertaking, because even collies of other colours competed.

William E. Mason, who had had so much success with the sable collies, also became interested in the blue merle in the early twentieth century. One of his most famous blue was Southport Blue Sky, born on the 21st of May, 1906 by Master Merledale ex Stoneleigh Lady. Sold in the US in 1908, he went to enrich William Ellery (Valverde)’s kennels in San Francisco.

In the early years of that century another great member of the old guard, Hugo Ainscough (Parbold) began to dedicate himself to the blue merle. He bought a beautiful female, Parbold Blue Luna, Southport Blue Star and Porchester Grania’s daughter, by Ms Hume-Robertson (Porchester). This female was part of an extraordinary litter born on the 8th of June, 1910 which included Porchester Blue Comet, Porchester Blue Vesta and the champion Porchester Blue Sol as well. The latter had a great influence on the breed.

The winds of war were beginning to sweep Europe, and the roar of cannons thundered closer and closer. Certainly it was not a good time for breeding. We have only to mention a couple of dogs before the clamour of the exhibitions is covered by the rhythmic cadence of the boots of the marching armies.

It was a pity, because at the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the merle variety had reached the peak of its popularity. HG Hill had produced some of the best blue females ever seen: Azure Belle (Master Merldale x Rona) sold at a price never paid before for a female and Southport Grey Charmer (Master Merldale x Edgbaston Ena, in her turn Squire of Tytton’s daughter).

The number of blue merle collie that in early 1909 crossed the ocean bound for America was higher than any other colours, which gives an idea of the spread in popularity of this variety. However this exodus turned out to be positive, because soon thereafter the World War would have canceled or drastically reduced many of the most important European livestocks. Some of them succeeded in getting through the damages of war unharmed, others were swept away, but at the end of the conflict new breeders took the place of those who had disappeared, and slowly the collie and its wonderful colours came back to life.