Bobbie The Collie: The Real Lassie Come-Home

Silverton Bobbie the Surprise Doggy is the real-life Lassie Occur-Dwelling. As the situations of his impressive journey happened far more than 15 many years just before the publication of Eric Knight’s iconic perform, some speculate Bobbie’s homing trek influenced the fictional Lassie’s. With regards to the rumor that Knight’s Lassie was modeled right after Bobbie, there looks to be no concrete evidence Eric Knight was conscious of Silverton Bobbie. However, it is a compelling conjecture. Bobbie the American Collie did get lover mail from numerous countries which include England, Eric Knight’s birthplace, nevertheless he invested a lot of his life in The us. Bobbie was quite the converse of the English-speaking world for a time, and consequently “Bobbie” turned a well-known Collie title. (In the 1930s, my grandma grew up with a Collie named Bobbie on the loved ones farm.) It would be far more surprising if Eric Knight had somehow escaped awareness 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 children’s e-book of canine stories, 1937


This story is nonetheless pertinent now, considering that it stands as a testomony to the devotion puppies exhibit for their individuals. Bobbie was determined to access his master no make a difference the impediment. Like Lassie the appear-dwelling collie, he crossed bridges when they have been available, swam rivers when there were being no bridges handy, and experienced many adventures together the way – both of those superior and terrible – with humans and animals. Supplied the timeline of Bobbie’s journey, he will have to have crossed the Rocky Mountains in the throes of winter season. That’s anything Lassie herself under no circumstances experienced to deal with! Based on his route trajectory, Bobbie also traversed extra territory than Lassie did, with estimates placing the whole distance concerning 2,500 to 3,000 miles (4,000 to 5,000 kilometers).

Bobbie is also specific in that he is a pet of the folks, if you will. In his early lifetime, he was a operating farm puppy who transitioned to metropolis doggy when his proprietors moved to run a cafe. (Bobbie was initially bought alongside with the farm, but he did not think about himself marketed and kept returning to his loved ones in the town until eventually they bought him again.) He has been variously claimed to be a Scotch sheepdog, an Australian shepherd combine, and a Scottish collie. In truth, Bobbie’s dam was a registered collie, and his sire had a registered collie mum or dad and an English shepherd guardian. Getting 3-quarters collie and 1-quarter English shepherd, Bobbie was no blue-blooded tough collie. It may perhaps be that his blended heritage gave him positive aspects (proper down to the un-collie-like hind dewclaws!) required 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.
1 of the first photos included in the reprint of Bobbie: A Terrific Collie


This 1926 book deserved a reprint for far more than just the content material of the story by itself. In shipping and delivery, its type is reminiscent of the survival tales of Jack London or the will work of Albert Payson Terhune in which he extolled his Sunnybank collies. Charles Dewey Alexander employed what he realized of Bobbie’s early daily life and journey encounters, then fictionalized the pieces all through which Bobby had no human interaction and there were no witnesses to his adventures. In that this e book is the two a function of nonfiction and fiction, it is one of a kind. Readers are inspired to browse the appendix following the conclusion of Chapter 11, in which the creator integrated excerpts of letters and substantially info about Bobbie’s true lifestyle story.

Bobbie turned an global sensation after the summary of his journey, so considerably so that he even starred in his possess silent movie, The Phone of the West. (Regretably, reel amount two was weakened and has not survived, but the Oregon Historic Culture designed general public the very first half of the film.) At his loss of life, the nation grieved, and Rin Tin Tin laid a wreath of bouquets on his grave. But that has absolutely not been the end of his legacy. Bobbie was acknowledged to have at the very least 15 puppies with Mrs. Bobbie, and the idea that some of his descendants are with us currently is not much-fetched, since regime spay and neuter ended up not typical in the 1920s. Whilst alive, Bobbie was the darling of Silverton, Oregon, and the town even now preserves a monument and mural to their really have Silverton Bobbie that encompasses 50 % a city block. Every single calendar year, canine enthusiasts from all above halt to make the tour and just take shots, some with their personal beloved pups. Right after studying this ebook, you might find by yourself planning a road trip, 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
Element of the Bobbie mural in Silverton, Oregon Laptop: Thomas Schantz on Flickr


This is Emily’s introduction written for the e-e-book reprint version of the earlier out-of-print reserve Bobbie: A Fantastic Collie. Click this backlink or the picture beneath if you would like to obtain the entire e book.

To ask for a paperback or hardback duplicate, go away a message in the comments beneath or by way of our get in touch with form. 


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-e book version now obtainable on Amazon


If anybody has made a pilgrimage to the Bobbie “shrine” in Silverton, Oregon, allow us know in the comments!


Further studying:

Marvel Doggy, The Story of Silverton Bobbie

Silverton’s Bobbie: His Awesome Journey

Bobbie The Wonder Puppy: A Real Tale (children’s photograph e-book)