Wednesday, August 9, 2023

The Impact of Alstead Collies

 I’m not familiar with the history of other dog breeds, I’m sure each breed has a fascinating story to tell of its development and history over hundreds of years.  My main focus has always been on the history of the collie in general, and the American collie in particular.  Fortunately for me, the history of the collie has been such a huge topic of interest to collie owners and breeders that there have been countless books written on the subject.  The rough and smooth collies, two coat varieties of the same breed, have their roots planted firmly in Scottish soil. The breed began in Scotland, caught the interest of Queen Victoria in the 1860’s, and was quickly imported into her Royal dog kennel. They first debuted at the British dog show in 1861.

American J.P Morgan first brought collies to America in 1888, to begin his Cragston Kennel on the banks of the Hudson River.  Because of his beautiful dogs, interest in the collie breed began to spread.  Morgan and other famous collie breeders began importing the British collies in earnest during this time period.  It is through their efforts and contributions, in creating their own kennel lines, that the collie breed developed so quickly in our country.  The collie became one of the most popular dog breeds of the time, and by the 1900’s there were already 700 collies registered.  From 1900 through 1910 there were a recorded 78 collies earning their championship, but sadly only 4 of these were smooth collies!

The American Kennel Club, or AKC, was formed on September 17, 1884.  The Collie Club of America was formed just two years later in 1886, making it one of the oldest specialty clubs in America.  The CCA collie breed standard was adopted from the English and Scottish standards, and the standard is how collies are judged and evaluated today.  Just six years later, in 1902, Clara Lunt formed her Alstead collie kennel in New Jersey.  Through her imports of British collies, and the creation of her own kennel line, she helped form the American collie.

Mrs. Lunt and a few of her Alstead collies

During the 1900’s there were only 25 dog shows a year throughout the entire country! People had to travel by wagon, train or boat, so getting to those dog shows could be challenging, but Mrs. Lunt still managed to finish her first collie champion in 1906.  She was one of the few successful female dog breeders in the male dominated sport.  She bred close to 40 champions between 1906 and 1947, when her last collie champion earned the title.  Mrs. Lunt served as president of the Collie Club of America for four years, and she also served as a collie judge for over forty years.

Alstead kennels also played a prominent role in developing the pedigrees of other influential collie breeders of that time.  Mrs. Lunt was know to be generous with her breeding stock, allowing other collie breeders to use her beautiful collies in their breeding programs, which benefited the entire breed.  Thanks in large part to Alstead collies, by 1925 the American collie had surpassed the quality of its British counterparts.  Lauded for their high quality, we have the collies imported by Mrs. Lunt as the foundation of her kennel, to thank for our present day collies.

CH Alstead Parbold President

Eng. CH Alstead Laund Luminous 

CH Alstead Spotland Sterling

Eng. CH Alstead Seedley Sterling

CH Alstead Seedley Queen

Eng. CH Alstead Eden Emerald

All of these collies helped in the creation of the Alstead line, but the most influential of them is CH Alstead Eden Emerald.  Some famous early collie kennels, such as Tokalon, Arken, Arrowhill and Tazewell, all used Emerald in their breeding programs.  He was such a great producer, that all present day American collies trace back to Emerald.  Without Mrs. Lunt’s carefully chosen imports and selective breeding program the American collie may not have developed into the beautiful and treasured collie we see today.


  1. They are such beautiful dogs. I remember seeing my first rough Collie in person. I was in elementary school and selling girl scout cookies and there was a man in our neighborhood with one. I always loved going to his house just to see his gorgeous dog.

  2. Hello and thank you for stopping by to say Hi. Collies are such beautiful dogs.
    My grandmother had a lovely Collie, named Lady.
    It was 1951, I was 2. I decided Lady and her puppies needed a hair cut and then I cut my bangs.
    And I told my Grandma that Lady and the pups stayed very still. Obviously I was the poster child for putting everything SHARP way up high.
    Hugs cecilia

  3. Collies are beautiful, brave, and devoted dogs—they will always be my favorite breed.

  4. What a fabulous post. Collies are beautiful and very smart.

    I love it that you're a rule breaker. So am I.

    Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday. ♥