Previous Index Next


farmer, the butcher, and the drover that the Collie takes his most appropriate place in every-day life. The shepherd on his daily rounds, travelling over miles of moorland, could not well accomplish his task without his Collie's skilful aid. One such dog, knowing what is expected of him, can do work which would otherwise require the combined efforts of a score of men.

Little is known with certainty of the origin of the Collie, but his cunning and his outward appearance would seem to indicate a relationship with the wild dog. Buffon was of opinion that he was the true dog of nature, the stock and model of the whole canine species. He considered the Sheepdog superior in instinct and intelligence to all other breeds, and that, with a character in which education has comparatively little share, he is the only animal born perfectly trained for the service of man.

One of the most perfect working Collies in Scotland to-day is the old-fashioned black and white type, which is the most popular among the shepherds of Scotland. At the shows this type of dog is invariably at the top of the class. He is considered the most tractable, and is certainly the most agile. Second to this type in favour is the smooth-coated variety, a very hard, useful dog, well adapted for hill work and usually very fleet of foot. He is not so sweet in temper as the black and white, and is slow to make friends. In the Ettrick and Yarrow district the smooth is a popular sheepdog. The shepherds maintain that he climbs the hills more swiftly than the rough, and in the heavy snowstorms his clean, unfeathered legs do not collect and carry the snow. He has a fuller coat than the show specimens usually carry, but he has the same type of head, eye, and ears, only not so well developed.

Then there is the Scottish bearded, or Highland Collie, less popular still with the flock-master, a hardy-looking dog in outward style, but soft in temperament, and many of them make better cattle than sheep dogs. This dog and the Old

English Sheepdog are much alike in appearance, but that the bearded is a more racy animal, with a head resembling that of the Dandie Dinmont rather than the square head of the Bobtail. The strong-limbed bearded Collie is capable of getting through a good day's work, but is not so steady nor so wise as the old-fashioned black and white, or even the smooth coated variety. He is a favourite with the butcher and drover who have sometimes a herd of troublesome cattle to handle, and he is well suited to rough and rocky ground, active in movement, and as sure-footed as the wild goat. He can endure cold and wet without discomfort, and can live on the Highland hills when others less sturdy would succumb. In the standard adopted for judging the breed, many points are given for good legs and feet, bone, body, and coat, while head and ears are not of great importance. Movement, size, and general appearance have much weight. The colour is varied in this breed. Cream-coloured specimens are not uncommon, and snow white with orange or black markings may often be seen, but the popular colour is grizzly grey. Unfortunately the coats of many are far too soft and the undercoat is frequently absent.

Working trials to test the skill of the sheepdog have become frequent fixtures among shepherds and farmers within recent years, and these competitions have done much towards the improvement of the working qualities of the Collie. In general the excelling competitors at working trials are the rough-coated black and white Collies. The smooth-coated variety and the Beardie are less frequent winners. The handsome and distinguished gentlemen of the Ch. Wishaw Leader type are seldom seen on the trial field, although formerly such a dog as Ch. Ormskirk Charlie might be successfully entered with others equally well bred from the kennels of that good trainer and fancier, Mr. Piggin, of Long Eaton. A good working Collie, however, is not always robed in elegance. What is desirable is that the shepherd and farmer should fix a standard of points, and breed as near as possible to that



Previous Index Next