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Hi there,
 
I'm new to this list, and I signed up because I have a question I've been unable to really answer to my satisfaction.  A few weeks ago I adopted a four month old pup from a shelter in Virginia in the middle of a very rural area.  She was surrendered to them with her two sisters, and her former owner made a big point of telling the pound that the pups' mother was "purebred English Collie."  On their website they further described the pups as "English (Farm) Collie mixes."  I asked them what on earth this meant, and they said they had no idea, but the man had been quite clear on this point, so they figured they'd better advertise as such.
 
I grew up with standard collies.  My brother and sister-in-law, who live right near me, have owned three border collies.  I've known several shelties.  I'm familiar with all the other varieties you usually hear about, Australian Shepherds, yada yada yada.  I had never heard of either an English Collie nor a Farm Collie.  I hunted on the internet and found nada, zip, nothing.
 
My mom was able to come up with a five page description of the various definitions of farm collie, and it appeared she got it from this newsgroup.  Suddenly I had something to go on!  I was encouraged by the description of a farm collie as a more laid back creature than a border collie. (We have found the border collies, bless their fuzzy little hearts, to be... well, NOT laid back.  At ALL.)  Still, I saw no mention of an English Collie there either.
 
So anyway, I showed up and adopted the dog and loaded her in my car and took her home and promptly set about the business of falling madly in love with her.  I named her Chaos.  We have no idea who the father is, though Brittany Spaniel comes to mind; she's white with lovely red-brown spots and silky fur.  But still, without really knowing, still, what Mom might have looked like, she's a bit of a mystery.
 
And that mystery deepened when I got to know her.  I did finally find reference to English Collies on the internet, and they listed it as an alternate name for Border Collie.  But laid back??  This dog, at a mere five months old now, will not get off her throne on the couch unless there is something of Real Compelling Interest.  She has plenty of energy, but she seems to feel no urge to exploit it unnecessarily.  She matches that John Holmes description to a T.  She thinks balls and frisbees are entertaining and funny and might, if the mood really moves her, bounce and pounce over to one after she has calmly watched it fly and land.  If there is border collie in this girl's personality, I sure can't see it.  Yet she does have a lot of the interesting quirks I associate with border collies... she is, for example, the only other dog besides my brother's dogs who I've ever seen regularly look *up*.  While I was driving her home she was fascinated with every overpass.  My old dog wouldn't have noticed an overpass if it bit her.  Chaos can clearly see her reflection; in fact the first time I heard her bark she was defending her turf against herself.  And she sometimes watches TV.  And she seems darn smart, and more than a little bit skittish.
 
Anyhow.  I digress.  My point is just that this guy went on about her mom being an English Collie, clearly proud of this fact and somewhat offended by her mongrel offspring, and also apparently called her a Farm Collie, which seems to contradict, maybe, or maybe not, the other term, and since she's a mix I'm having a real hard time figuring her out.  She fascinates me utterly, and I like to think her intriguing personality comes from the same roots that make border collies so complex and make standard collies so gracious and calm.  Having no real idea who Dad was, I can't tell what might be coming from there, either.
 
Frankly, she looks like a border collie crossed with a miniature Borzoi.  Really beautiful, and feminine and graceful and petite (25 pounds so far) with tiny white silent paws.
 
Can anyone guess for me what this guy, who sounded more like a real working rural farmer and not an aristocratic dog breeder, might have meant by his description?  Why he might have made such a clear point of it?  I can tell by this board that people with farm collies care a lot about the "breed," but I can also tell that you seem by and large to dismiss the term "purebred" as fairly meaningless in this case.  It has left me confused.
 
And my dog is so darn interesting I simply must know.
 
Thanks in advance for your help!
Jenn