Several years ago I was camping on a friend's ranch north of Big Timber one summer when we drove past their sheep dog. That thing was one of the most stately looking animals I had ever seen. He just sat tall, silent, watching guard over the sheep.

What a majestic looking dog. You could tell he meant business.

Apparently tourists are running across sheep dogs here in the Rocky Mountain West and- much like the Yellowstone National Park tourists throwing bison calves in the back of rental cars- they think the dogs need rescued.

No joke. I spotted this story from Range Magazine (a GREAT publication by the way) on Facebook. "Ranchers: Don't Rescue Our Dogs" posted at

"Several working dogs have been “rescued” by well-meaning hikers or campers in Idaho, recently, who believe the dogs to be lost or abandoned."

It was "an oldie but goodie" that Range mag re-racked on social media. But it got me wondering, given the influx of post COVID refugees that have flocked to Montana, have our wool grower friends noticed this trend happening here in Big Sky Country?

The article is from back in 2020, and yes- that was a crazy year. With everything shut down in town, people were flocking to get out of town. Especially the people who didn't have to go to work like some of the rest of us in the Spring of 2020- there were lots of people exploring the backroads and backcountry of Montana.

I remember when one local rancher in NE Montana told me how all of these people from in town were tearing up all the farm and ranch roads further out of town while "exploring." They'd go out after it rained and just tear up those country roads that farmers and ranchers needed to haul cattle and grain.

Those roads needed repairing, and those ranch dogs didn't need rescuing.

Another example of the urban/rural divide that we witness not just in America, but right here in the Rocky Mountain West.

WOOF: These are the most popular dog breeds in America

Stacker highlights the 100 most popular dog breeds in America based on data released March 15, 2023 from the American Kennel Club.

Gallery Credit: Sabienna Bowman