The Collie and Old English Sheepdog



From paintings by Louis Agassiz Fuertes



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A Look at

There is little resemblance between the working “collie” of the Scottish

sheep-herder and the elaborately furred, slender faced, bench dog now so popular.

The broad-skulled, rather neglected looking “” of our boyhood,

with his friendly, democratic manners (or lack of them) would get

short shrift now at any show or gathering of the elite, while of all dogs

his handsome, richly frilled descendant, with all the ear-marks of aristocracy,

is the cause of more “Ohs” and “Ahs” than any other dog in the show.

Nevertheless, one might see an “ornery-looking,” half-moulted

type of the countryside handle a drove of 3,000 or more sheep in

Saskatchewan in a manner to bring one up standing.

And when, on returning at nightfall, he puts every ewe and lamb in

one corral and every ram in another, without error or violence, one

feels like asking him if he would shake hands with a mere spectator!

It is doubtful if any borzoi-headed champion could do that with a lifetime of training.

Intelligent and handsome dog.

Still, is a most intelligent and handsome dog, and the present

tendency is toward a greatly elongated and consequently narrowed head,

forming almost a straight or even slightly deflected line from nose to occiput.

The neck, throat, and chest bear a great frill of long hair, and the back of the

thighs also is very deeply and richly furred.

The hair of the body is long and straight, rather harsh, but with a deep and

woolly undercoat. The feet, from hock and wrist down, should be smooth.

In color, may be black and tan, “sable,” or rich orange brown, with

white frill, collar, and face “harlequin”; or white, with black spotting and

freckling at random; “blue,” or mouse color, and white, or even pure white everywhere.

Some few kennels specialize in white collies and advertise extensively;

they are very beautiful dogs, though probably requiring more care to

keep presentable than the more “practical” colors, as our mothers would call them.

should stand 20 to 24 inches and weigh from 40 to 60 pounds.

He requires considerable exercise, and while growing up needs

Old English Sheepdog

Rapidly gaining in popularity, the curious has become

thoroughly established in the United States; he has long been used as a

practical helper in the great sheep ranges of western Canada.

  bears no resemblance whatever to the familiar collie type of

sheep-dog, but looks rather like a great long-legged, round-headed, bounding terrier.

The Voice of a Sheepdog

It has a formidable voice, very different indeed from the rather

fox-like yap of , and while he is some 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder

and weighs 60 to 80 pounds one cannot quite get away from the impression

that he is, in fact, a huge terrier of some kind. The effect is heightened

greatly by the long woolly hair on his head and face, which virtually

hides the clever eyes, and makes a study of his actual head-form very difficult.

The hair on back and hips is very long; when combed out they look very curious indeed.

In color they are usually blue gray and white; any strong tendency toward

brown is not good. The white usually occupies most of the head and fore-quarters.

The Sheepdogs appearance

He is a dog of very striking appearance—one might almost say of

un-dog-like appearance. He is large, rather tall on the legs, tailless,

and covered from head to foot with a long, loose hair, which tosses

about freely when he runs or jumps, giving him the appearance

of a huge animated floor-mop. But if you part the hair on his face

you will find a pair of beautiful, intelligent, friendly eyes. He is active, good-natured, and makes a fine companion.

Dogs of this breed were not always bobtailed; originally they

were probably as well provided with tails as other dogs.

Many of them were used for herding, and consequently

exempt from taxation. It is said that the drovers amputated

the tails of their working sheep-dogs to distinguish them from those which were not exempted.

It is believed by some authorities that this mutilation, continued through

many generations, created in the breed a tendency to produce

tailless and short-tailed offspring. Whatever the cause, it is certain that today

many Old English sheep-dog puppies are born bobtailed. When they are

born with tails it is customary to dock them to within an inch or two of the root,

and the operation is performed not more than four days after birth.

The docking accentuates the characteristic rounded quarters and increases

the somewhat bearlike appearance of the animal.

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