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Welcome to Shady Grove Farm Collies
Farm Collie Breeder in Poplar Grove, IL
The Perfect Family Farm Dog

We breed high-quality farm collies. Our stud is Argyle of Shady Grove, a purebred AKC Rough Collie. Our dam is Caledonia of Shady Grove, a purebred English Shepherd(a breed of collie, primarily used on farms). Our goal in breeding farm collies is to breed the perfect farm dog for your family. Our dogs are friendly, athletic, and we think they will make amazing family-farm dogs.

What is a Farm Collie? There is no one definition of a farm collie. The best known breed of collie is the AKC Collie, which comes in both the rough and smooth variety. But there are many collie breeds including the English Shepherd, Australian Shepherd and the Old Time Scotch Collie. The English Shepherd is one breed that is sometimes referred to as an "Old Fashioned Farm Collie." Many Farm Collie breeders are interested in breeding a collie which might have been representative of the "old fashioned collie" that were common across the farms of America generations ago when there was more genetic variety among the collies. Most traditional farm collies were bred for function and probably rarely bred on strict type standards.

The Rough Collie is a gorgeous animal which we have always loved. We love the iconic vision of “Lassie” patrolling the farm with devoted loyalty. We think our stud dog is a terrific example of a farm dog.

The English Shepherd will melt you with her soft brown, thoughtful eyes. She has so much intelligence that you can see what she is thinking with a quick glance. When you call for her, she races across the farm like a cheetah. You can’t help smile when she displays her athleticism. She loves nothing more than to have her belly rubbed by her family. She lives to cuddle.

How did we get started with Farm Collies? After doing a quite a bit of research into Farm Collies on the internet, we decided that the type that most interested us from a personality and appearance standpoint were the one that blended the genetic of the English Shepherd with those of the the AKC Collie. However, we could not find any breeders that had any pups available for us. We decided that it would be best to get a high quality English Shepherd and a Rough Collie. If we were sold on both dogs and they turned out to be worthy of breeding, we could then consider offering our own pups to others that might have similar interests to us.

Why did we decide to cross two breeds? Our family has been breeding animals for many generations. Usually we have focused on purebred breeding. But we have always recognized the tremendous health advantage that comes from hybrid vigor. Hybrid vigor can produce healthier animals, especially for breeds that seem to have health concerns.

What traits were we interested in combining in the Collie and the English Shepherd? We love our Rough Collie for his laid back, easy going nature. He is super loyal and loves watching over our farm and always lets us know if something is wrong or an animal gets out or is not where it is supposed to be. The English Shepherd has superior intelligence and athleticism. She has an incredible intuition and seems to understand exactly what we want her to do.

What is the history of the farm collie? The history of the collie is not always clear. I don't pretend to be an expert in the field. But, I will break down what I know into a short summary. In the 1800's and centuries preceding there were many types of herding dogs found across Europe. Often these dogs were bred for very specific purposes in different locations. The ancestors to all collie breeds were found in the Scottish Highlands. It is believed that they decend from dogs brought by the Romans in the 5th century. Some Scottish breeders were very serious in their selection of dogs, but function was always the most important factor. The dog had to be good at herding above all else. Around 1866, Queen Victoria took a liking to some of these Scottish herding dogs and brought them home with her from a trip to Balmoral. The queen's dogs more closely resembled today's Border Collie, but popularity of all collies really increased from that point. The collie became a fashionable dog and was now bred as a show dog. Show dogs are bred for a certain appearance and type standards. The breed appearance was certainly altered around this time. Some claim the breed was improved as these show dogs were selectively bred for generations. There will always be a debate, others will claim that the functionality of the dog changed as the appearance changed. Many believe that the English Shepherd is a breed whose type, personality, and behavior more closely resemble the early Scottish herding collies.

What is a Borzoi head? The Borzoi is a Russian sight hound. It has a long slender face and smaller eyes. Early Scottish herding dogs did not have the long slender face found in today's Collie show dogs. It is believed that this head shape came from crosses to the Borzoi. Again, this is a matter of breeder preference, but as much as we love our stud, Argyle, we prefer the head shape, eyes, and intelligence that we find in our English Shepherd, Caledonia. They should cross to produce a nicely shaped head and eye.Breeders of AKC Collies sometimes refer to the "convex" or "roman nose" as a Borzoi nose. A "concave" or "dished face" can be referred to as a "farm collie type."

What do the dogs do on our farm? We grew up on a dairy farm and had collies to move the cattle and protect us from the bull. Unfortately, like much of America, our cows are now gone. Ours is now a working horse farm. We usually have about 12-20 horses in training, two dogs, about 6 cats, and three kids. We invite you to check out our website at Shady Grove Haflingers. Our dogs sure wish we had cattle, as horses herd pretty poorly. Both of dogs have a strong herding instinct. Both like to heel and like to herd. They are young dogs. We will be taking them to friends farms next spring so they can practice their herding skills.

What is our location? We are located an hour west of Chicago, Illinois, 1 hour from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1 hour from Madison, Wisconsin, 5 hours from Detroit, Michigan, 5 hours from Minneapolis, Minnesota, 5 hours from St. Louis, Missouri, 4 hours from Indianapolis, Indiana, 2 hours from Dubuque, Iowa, 5 hours from Toledo, Ohio, and 6 hours from Lexington, Kentucky.

Where can you learn more about farm collies? Check out or the American Working Farm Collie Association

If you want to learn a lot about the history of the collie breeds, I recomend this site: The Old-Time Farm Shepherd.

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