I've always felt that to understand the present, you must consider the past. And when I look at my collies, when I study their pedigrees, I can't help but be fascinated by how far back I can trace my dog's ancestry. But before I get into my own collie's pedigrees, I want to discuss the history of the American collie.
The first English collie was imported in 1879. The first American who began importing English collies, was Allen Apgar. When his imported collies began winning at dog shows, other breeders began importing collies as well. So the foundation stock of the American collie were collies imported to our country from England. W.E. Mason established his kennel, Southport Collies, in New Jersey. He was a breeder, but he was also responsible for importing more high quality collies to this country than any other breeder/exhibitor. He imported four famous collies to our country, Ch Anfield Model, Ch Squire of Tytton, Ch Parbold Picador and Ch Southport Sample, and these collies changed the breed.
Because lines of American collies were still being developed, the British imports were of higher quality than what was being bred, and so they were dominating the show ring. The high demand for these British collies led many English kennels to sell their top winning collies to American kennels. With the heavy influx of imported, high quality collies, the American collie "made rapid progress between 1900 to 1920." The American collie was originally a farm type specimen, and all the British imports helped to develop our collie into the beautiful dog we now see in most American kennels.
What I find interesting is that when I look at pictures and videos of the collies being shown in England and other European countries today, and compare them to the modern American collie, I prefer our collies. I think that the American collie now surpasses European collies in beauty, grace and elegance. I've seen breeders from England, Japan, and many other countries attend the Collie Club of America National dog show. They come to evaluate our collies, and they offer exorbitant sums of money to purchase our collies to add to their own breeding stock. The American collie has come a long way.