Farm Dogs

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, October 23, 1914: << no entry>>

Jimmie Muffly, circa 1913
Jimmie Muffly, circa 1913

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:


What happened today? There MUST have been something worth writing about.

For example, I don’t think you’ve ever mentioned your family’s dog in the diary. Yet you obviously had one—and, based on the picture of your brother Jimmie with a dog, he looks like he was a fine one.

Did he ever get into trouble? Did you ever play with him? Did he herd cows? Was he allowed in the house? What did he eat?

. . . And I guess I have a very basic question: Was the dog a “he” or a “she.”

I’m not sure what type of dog the Muffly’s had, but here’s a short piece about how collies make wonderful farm dogs that appeared in the October, 1914 issue of Farm Journal:


We shall favor no particular breed of dogs, but we present here a portrait of a collie.

Collies are the ideal dogs for the farm. They are gentle and affectionate, make fine pets for the children and are possessed of a rare amount of intelligence.

A collie can be trained so that if he is told to watch something he will do it for hours at a time and if told to “get the cows” will do so. They are better cattle drivers than humans. While a cow may have at times very determined ideas about what she is going to do and what not, a collie can be just as persistently determined that she agree to his way of thinking.

But a badly trained collie, or one not trained at all, may prove to be a great nuisance to have about.

Source: Dog Breeds-Find the Best
Source: Dog Breeds-Find the Best

29 thoughts on “Farm Dogs

    1. I had similar thoughts. I really like the composition of this picture, but it seems like a more typical pose would have been for the boy sit on the chair and for the dog to stand beside him.

  1. I enjoyed that your post ended with a nod to collies. My grandfather had a border collie named Lee. I remember that dog being at his heels everywhere he went once he stepped out the mudroom at the back of the house. Thank you for the nice reminder of that snapshot.

  2. One of our dogs was a momma beagle named Peggy. Someone bought her. He put her in a carrier in the trunk of his car and drove 20 miles to his home. Several days later, Peggy was back at our farm, with very sore feet.

    Another dog, Timmie, got run over by the manure spreader. He was ok.

    Chips was a useless little house dog rat terrier-chihuahua mix. Scared of his shadow.

    1. Your descriptions reminds me of the rat terrier mix that we once had. She loved to bring cows in from the field, but because she was a terrier, she always herded them by smelling the ground and chasing the scent rather than looking ahead to see the cows five feet in front of her.

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