Bobbie The Collie: The Actual Lassie Come-Dwelling

Silverton Bobbie the Surprise Canine is the real-life Lassie Come-Home. Because the occasions of his outstanding journey occurred greater than 15 years earlier than the publication of Eric Knight’s iconic work, some speculate Bobbie’s homing trek impressed the fictional Lassie’s. Relating to the rumor that Knight’s Lassie was modeled after Bobbie, there appears to be no concrete proof Eric Knight was conscious of Silverton Bobbie. Nevertheless, it’s a compelling conjecture. Bobbie the American Collie did obtain fan mail from many nations together with England, Eric Knight’s birthplace, although he spent a lot of his life in America. Bobbie was fairly the discuss of the English-speaking world for a time, and consequently “Bobbie” grew to become a well-liked Collie title. (Within the Thirties, my grandma grew up with a Collie named Bobbie on the household farm.) It will be extra shocking if Eric Knight had one way or the other escaped data of Bobbie the Surprise Canine.


A book illustration of a painted sable (tan) and white Collie with a white muzzle. The accompanying caption says "My dog Bobby is a collie. He is the smartest dog I know. I think he understands all I tell him."
A collie named Bobby from a youngsters’s guide of canine tales, 1937


This story continues to be related as we speak, because it stands as a testomony to the devotion canines show for his or her people. Bobbie was decided to achieve his grasp regardless of the impediment. Like Lassie the come-home collie, he crossed bridges once they have been out there, swam rivers when there have been no bridges useful, and had many adventures alongside the way in which – each good and dangerous – with people and animals. Given the timeline of Bobbie’s journey, he will need to have crossed the Rocky Mountains within the throes of winter. That’s one thing Lassie herself by no means needed to face! Relying on his route trajectory, Bobbie additionally traversed extra territory than Lassie did, with estimates placing the entire distance between 2,500 to three,000 miles (4,000 to five,000 kilometers).

Bobbie can also be particular in that he’s a canine of the individuals, if you’ll. In his formative years, he was a working farm canine who transitioned to metropolis canine when his homeowners moved to run a restaurant. (Bobbie was initially bought together with the farm, however he didn’t contemplate himself bought and saved returning to his household within the metropolis till they purchased him again.) He has been variously claimed to be a Scotch sheepdog, an Australian shepherd combine, and a Scottish collie. In reality, Bobbie’s dam was a registered collie, and his sire had a registered collie dad or mum and an English shepherd dad or mum. Being three-quarters collie and one-quarter English shepherd, Bobbie was no blue-blooded tough collie. It could be that his combined heritage gave him benefits (proper all the way down to the un-collie-like hind dewclaws!) essential to survive on his journey.


A black and white photo of a sable and white Collie with hind dewclaws, standing on a bench. The caption says "Bobbie was not beatable, because of his reach, his powerful shoulders, and his rending fangs.
One of many unique images included within the reprint of Bobbie: A Nice Collie


This 1926 guide deserved a reprint for extra than simply the content material of the story itself. In supply, its type is harking back to the survival tales of Jack London or the works of Albert Payson Terhune through which he extolled his Sunnybank collies. Charles Dewey Alexander used what he knew of Bobbie’s formative years and journey experiences, then fictionalized the components throughout which Bobby had no human interplay and there have been no witnesses to his adventures. In that this guide is each a piece of nonfiction and fiction, it’s distinctive. Readers are inspired to learn the appendix after the conclusion of Chapter 11, through which the writer included excerpts of letters and far details about Bobbie’s actual life story.

Bobbie grew to become a world sensation after the conclusion of his journey, a lot in order that he even starred in his own silent film, The Call of the West. (Sadly, reel quantity two was broken and has not survived, however the Oregon Historical Society made public the primary half of the film.) At his dying, the nation grieved, and Rin Tin Tin laid a wreath of flowers on his grave. However that has actually not been the tip of his legacy. Bobbie was identified to have not less than 15 puppies with Mrs. Bobbie, and the notion that a few of his descendants are with us as we speak will not be far-fetched, since routine spay and neuter weren’t widespread within the Nineteen Twenties. Whereas alive, Bobbie was the darling of Silverton, Oregon, and the town still preserves a monument and mural to their very own Silverton Bobbie that encompasses half a metropolis block. Yearly, canine lovers from throughout cease to make the tour and take images, some with their very own beloved pups. After studying this guide, you might end up planning a street journey, too.


A mural painted on a wall depicts a sable and white Collie over a map, with a smaller painting of the same Collie with a man in a hat
A part of the Bobbie mural in Silverton, Oregon PC: Thomas Schantz on Flickr


That is Emily’s introduction written for the e-book reprint version of the beforehand out-of-print guide Bobbie: A Great Collie. Click this link or the image beneath if you need to buy the entire guide.

To request a paperback or hardback copy, depart a message within the feedback beneath or by means of our contact kind. 


A book cover with an old grayscale photo of a sable and white Collie with a facial blaze. The title reads "Bobbie, A Great Collie"
Reprint e-book version now out there on Amazon


If anybody has made a pilgrimage to the Bobbie “shrine” in Silverton, Oregon, tell us within the feedback!


Additional studying:

Wonder Dog, The Story of Silverton Bobbie

Silverton’s Bobbie: His Amazing Journey

Bobbie The Wonder Dog: A True Story (youngsters’s image guide)