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Cumberland Sheepdog: Wikis


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The Cumberland Sheepdog is an extinct dog breed related to the Border Collie and other old working Collie types. It is claimed to be one of the ancestors of the Australian Shepherd [1] and in the early part of the 20th Century some Cumberland Sheepdogs were being referred to as Border Collies and may have been absorbed into the latter breed.


Cumberland Sheepdogs were described in Dogs In Britain, A Description of All Native Breeds and Most Foreign Breeds in Britain by Clifford LB Hubbard, 1948.

By 1948, not much was heard of the breed although it had been in the north of England for a very considerable time. From the Peak District to the Cheviots, particularly on the eastern side, the Cumberland Sheepdog was considered an excellent working breed. The late Lord Lonsdale was a great admirer of Cumberland Sheepdogs and owned many throughout his life. The breed had been in his family for more than a hundred years and he attempted to save it from extinction. In 1899, Lord Lonsdale was forced to outcross his remaining Cumberland Sheepdogs to the German Shepherd Dog. This rescued the breed for several decades, but several years before Hubbard wrote his book, Lord Lonsdale had disbanded his kennel and given his remaining Cumberlands to farmer friends around Lowther. Cumberland farmers had entered the breed in Sheepdog Trials for at least sixty-five years prior to its disappearance. According to Hubbard, many of the so-called Border Collies which had won awards were Cumberland Sheepdogs.


Hubbard described the breed as much like the Welsh Sheepdog and old working Collie types. It worked quietly, quickly and low-to-ground. The head was rather broad and flat, tapering to a medium-length muzzle. The ears fell over to the front or were semi-erect and rather small. The body was fairly long and extremely lithe, with light but muscular legs and a low-set tail carried at the trail. The coat was fairly heavy and quite dense. Cumberland Sheepdogs were black with white blaze, chest, feet and tip of tail. Height was about 20 inches and weight ranged from 40-50 pounds.




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