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The rough collie's long coat has made the breed successful on northern Midwest farms as an able herder and guardian of the farm during the winter. The dog needs to be gradually acclimated to the cold and a suitable insulated outdoor shelter must be provided for the dog along with ample quality food and a source of unfrozen water. The rough collie also relishes playing in the snow with children during the winter months. They guard the farm while the owner is away and are naturally protective of small children.

Found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rough_Collie#Temperament

I'm baffled by this. I can't believe what I'm reading. I must be misinterpreting this somehow. Are they actually saying that the "Lassie" dog stayed on its own for extended amounts of time on a farm by itself and guarded it against anyone trying to break in or come near?

First of all, if this is true, I'm very touched that a dog of any breed would do this.

Secondly, I immediately start fearing for the dog. What if the human intruders have guns or other weapons? I could never be a burglar or "bad guy" myself, for the simple fact that I could simply not kill or hurt a dog or other animal. However, it is possible that I would naturally defend myself if it came attacking me, our of fear of dying myself, or getting seriously wounded.

And that would make me extremely depressed. Just the though that a trusty dog would risk its life and get killed trying to defend its family's farm while they are away (where?!) just breaks my heart. And something tells me that this exact scenario was played out at least one and probably many times.

Or am I misinterpreting the text? Do they simply mean that the dog barked in an attempt to get humans alerted or something?

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    it is almost always people on a farm they need to be there to take care of the animals,so i do not belive that dogs was left alone for any lenght of time.so it is more like the dog guarded the farm when peole was inside sleeping or whatever people do inside the house. – trond hansen Jun 21 '20 at 4:51
  • Yes, many dog breeds will naturally "guard" their spaces against strangers. This doesn't mean that the people living on the farm took off for months at a time; that's silly. Farms need constant work, but those living there will need to sleep, go into town, etc, and a dog is a good defense system against intruders who might come by (human and animal). – Allison C Jun 22 '20 at 14:28
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Guarding a farm or property is one of the fundamental tasks certain dogs were historically bred to execute. Guarding a farm or a herd of sheep from wild predators or human thieves was existential for the farmer or shepherd.

The dogs job never was actually attacking the intruder - be it a human or wolf, for example - but to bark and either scare the intruder away or make the farmer aware of the intruder to come and help the dog. If the dog were left all alone on farm, it couldn't do an effective job of guarding it.

The Wikipedia article writes about "northern Midwest farms". It's not clear what type of farm is meant, but this article What do farmers do in winter? lists some activities common to various types of farmers. Especially animal farmers would have to be out with their herds during winter to make sure their water supplies or machinery don't freeze and to collect newborn animals and bring them into a warm pen. That doesn't mean that the farm is abandoned for any lengthy amount of time.

If you change the emphasis on the Wikipedia article, you might notice that the last sentence doesn't necessarily refer to the first.

The rough collie's long coat has made the breed successful on northern Midwest farms as an able herder and guardian of the farm during the winter. The dog needs to be gradually acclimated to the cold and a suitable insulated outdoor shelter must be provided for the dog along with ample quality food and a source of unfrozen water. The rough collie also relishes playing in the snow with children during the winter months. They guard the farm while the owner is away and are naturally protective of small children.

The first sentence is about the dogs ability to thrive in colder climates, but the last sentence is about its protective personality.

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