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FARMCOLLIE  August 1998

FARMCOLLIE August 1998

Subject:

Re: Breed origins...

From:

Jill Rose <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Farm Collie Breed Conservancy and Restoration <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 28 Aug 1998 03:50:15 EDT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (135 lines)

In a message dated 98-08-25 01:32:36 EDT, you write:

<< Hi,
 This is always an interesting subject, fun to speculate about.  No way of
 knowing a great deal for certain, though!  (And that comment applies to my
own
 views and theories, too, of course.)  >>

Yes, agreed.  It certainly does help to share ideas though, especially when
you receive new or alternative thoughts to consider.  ;-)

<< I'm aware that one author who has written about breed origins has stated a
 connection between the "Old Welsh Bobtail" and Iberia, however, I did not see
 particular evidence provided other than the statement in itself.  I have not
 heard of a connection between the Koolie and the Basques; all sources
 (although there seem to be very few) that I have seen have indicated a
 basically British working collie/ shepherd origin for the Koolie, similar to
 the other Australian breeds; in the case of the Koolie I think it possible
 that some German dogs may have contributed, without providing the major
source
 however.>>

I have heard via conversations with Australian Coolie owners, (and also in
some of the older Aussie books), that the Old Welsh Bob Tail was developed in
Wales by the Welsh.  Jeanne Joy Hartnagle, in her book "All About Aussies",
states that Iris Combe, historian and author, believed that these Old Welsh
Bob Tails are also descended from the Basque dogs, the Pyrenean Shepherds.  It
was the Welsh who took these dogs with them to Australia, where they became a
well known working sheepdog.  Interestingly enough, the German Coolie is said
to have been developed on a very small scale in New South Wales during this
same time period.  In a conversation with Aussie Breeder/Judge Ann DeChant,
Iris Combes stated that she felt that the Old Welsh Bob Tail and the German
Coolie were probably one and the same breed.  So this is the explanation for
the ties to the Basque's Pyrenean Shepherds.  Especially considering the close
resemblance between the three breeds.  In all fairness, I have also heard
about the possibility of the Smithfield collie contributing to the German
Coolie...  Hard to know for sure, since so far all my personal research has
been limited to U.S. resources.  Fortunately, I have made several Australian
friends who are helping to research on their end...  It will be interesting to
see what the Australian views are with regard to the origins of these
breeds...

Just as the old farm collie/shepherd types breeds were certainly added into
the genome contributing to the Aussie's heritage, I am sure that various
collie type dogs arriving from the U.K. into Australia also had a role in
shaping those breeds down under.

<< Natural bobs also occur in a very wide variety of breeds.  Although it has
seemed to me, however, that most Aussies are docked (as are most Pyr Sheps,
most Corgis, etc.), so I do not know that Aussies are particularly more
"bobtailed" than was the original old farm collie...  ...Natural bobs of
course continue to occur in the English Shepherd.  Breeds are much more
restricted in color and form than they formerly were.>>

I'm not familiar about the incidence of naturally bobtailed pups in other
breeds, but in the Aussie, they are still quite common, despite the fact that
we specifically avoid breeding for them.  In fact, there are specific lines
within the breed that are well known for producing entire litters of naturally
bob tailed puppies.  The last thing we want is to encourage any spinal
problems, so any breeding specifically for naturally bobtailed puppies is
discouraged in general.  And for the most part, most of our naturally bob
tailed puppies would be docked anyway in the desire for a shorter, more
aesthetically pleasing tailset.

<< Aussies and German Koolies are indeed very similar, basically, however, I
 believe, because they share a background largely in the old farm collie, with
 perhaps some respective Basque and German influences (in the Western U.S. and
 in Australia respectively), but any Basque and/or German dogs would have very
 shortly been well-blended into the very numerous and very similar dogs of
 British old working collie origin.>>

This is very possible, and begs for more historical documentation of what was
going on down under...

<<   I have seen no evidence of this as of yet; rather, it is stated in the
major
 book on Basque immigration that the Basques went to Australia primarily as
 sugar cane cutters and -- surprisingly to Americans in view of the
association
 the Basques came to have with sheep in the Western U.S. -- had little to do
 with the Australian sheep industry.>>

I have read this too...  But I have also read of their immigration to
Australia in the company of sheep.  This is another topic being researched
from an Australian perspective...

<< the historical sources that I have seen to date continue to
 indicate a primarily "farm collie" origin for the Aussie.  Note I say
 primarily, not exclusively, however.  I do think it's very possible that some
 Basque dogs contributed to the Aussie, but again, I haven't yet seen evidence
 that they were a primary source, and any such dogs would have been soon
 blended with the British collies types -- none of which were modern,
strictly-
 bred breeds as we think of breeds today, anyway.>>

This may very well be true...  The only "evidence" that I'm aware of is the
direct statements and written letters from some of the breed's earliest
breeders (this being on the West Coast, specifically in Oregon and Northern
California) who state acquiring their dogs directly from the Basques
themselves.  But the statement regarding "primarily a farm collie origin" may
also be very true...  Especially in light of the way the breed registry works.
The breed club didn't even start to maintain a registry until the 70s, and the
hardship clause remains open to this day.  In other words, if it looks like an
Aussie, but there is no record of the dog's background, it could still be
registered under the hardship clause.  Other stockdog registries also took in
and registered dogs, based on looks alone.  It would have been very easy for
many of the ES and older farm shepherd types to have entered the registry this
way, and been added to the Aussie genome.  Especially when you consider that
many of the founders of the breed were not from the West Coast, but from the
Mid West, including one of the most well known lines for the naturally
occuring bob tail.  ;-)

<<  She indicated that the "Koolie" term for sheepdog is of long use in
Germany,
 and proposes that dogs of German origin contributed to the British collies
 more than is realized (logical enough considering the extent of settlement in
 Northern England and Southern Scotland by the Angles in the long-ago days).
I
 didn't have time to read the material in detail, so am looking forward to
 seeing it when it comes out.
  Linda R.
 Pacifica, CA  >>

I have also read the same thing about the use of the term "Coolie".  My guess
is that many dogs of that type found near or among German settlement sites
would be referred to as Coolies despite their origin.

Hhmmmmmm...  lots of food for thought...  I would greatly appreciate any
references any of you could provide me with regard to these thoughts...  I am
currently working on my own book, and feel an incredible sense of
responsibility to research any and all possible theories.  Any help greatly
appreciated.

Jill Rose   :-)

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