The townsman who knows the shepherd's dog only as he is to be seen, out of his true element, threading his confined way through crowded streets where sheep are not, can have small appreciation of his wisdom and his sterling worth. To know him properly, one needs to see him at work in a country where sheep abound, to watch him adroitly rounding up his scattered charges on a wide-stretching moorland, gathering the wandering wethers into close order and driving them before him in unbroken company to the fold; handling the stubborn pack in a narrow lane, or holding them in a corner of a field, immobile under the spell of his vigilant eye. He is at his best as a worker, conscious of the responsibility reposed in him; a marvel of generalship, gentle, judicious, slow to anger, quick to action; the priceless helpmeet of his master—the most useful member of all the tribe of dogs.

Few dogs possess the fertile, resourceful brain of the Collie. He can be trained to perform the duties of other breeds. He makes an excellent sporting dog, and can be taught to do the work of the Pointer and the Setter, as well as that of the Water Spaniel and the Retriever. He is clever at hunting, having an excellent nose, is a good vermin-killer, and a most faithful watch, guard, and companion. Major Richardson, who for some years has been successful in training dogs to ambulance work on the field of battle, has carefully tested the abilities of various breeds in discovering wounded soldiers, and he gives to the Collie the decided preference.

It is, however, as an assistant to the flock-master the 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 standard, as the keepers of the show Collie breed to an acknowledged type of perfection. Nevertheless, from a bad worker of good descent many an efficient worker might be produced by proper mating, and those of us skilled in the breeding of Collies know the importance of a well-considered process of selection from unsullied strains.

It is a pity that the hard-working dog of the shepherd does not receive the attention in the way of feeding and grooming that is bestowed on the ornamental show dog. He is too often neglected in these particulars. Notwithstanding this neglect, however, the average life of the working dog is longer by a year or two than that of his more beautiful cousin. Pampering and artificial living are not to be encouraged; but, on the other hand, neglect has the same effect of shortening the span of life, and bad feeding and inattention to cleanliness provoke the skin diseases which are far too prevalent.

There is not a more graceful and physically beautiful dog to be seen than the show Collie of the present period. Produced from the old working type, he is now practically a distinct breed. His qualities in the field are not often tested, but he is a much more handsome and attractive animal, and his comeliness will always win for him many admiring friends. The improvements in his style and appearance have been alleged to be due to an admixture with Gordon Setter blood. In the early years of exhibitions he showed the shorter head, heavy ears, and much of the black and tan colouring which might seem to justify such a supposition; but there is no evidence that the cross was ever purposely sought. Gradually the colour was lightened to sable and a mingling of black, white, and tan came into favour. The shape of the head was also improved. These improvements in beauty of form and colour have been largely induced by the many Collie clubs now in existence not only in the United Kingdom and America, but also in South Africa and Germany, by whom the standards of points have been perfected. Type has been enhanced, the head with the small ornamental ears that now prevail is more classical; and scientific cultivation and careful selection of typical breeding stock have achieved what may be considered the superlative degree of quality, without appreciable loss of stamina, size, or substance.

Twenty years or so ago, when Collies were becoming fashionable, the rich sable coat with long white mane was in highest request. In 1888 Ch. Metchley Wonder captivated his admirers by these rich qualities. He was the first Collie for which a very high purchase price was paid, Mr. Sam Boddington having sold him to Mr. A. H. Megson, of Manchester, for P530. High prices then became frequent. Mr. Megson paid as much as P1,600 to Mr. Tom Stretch for Ormskirk Emerald. No Collie has had a longer or more brilliant career than Emerald, and although he was not esteemed as a successful sire, yet he was certainly the greatest favourite among our show dogs of recent years.

Mr. Megson has owned many other good specimens of the breed, both rough and smooth. In the same year that he bought Metchley Wonder, he gave P350 for a ten-months' puppy, Caractacus. Sable and white is his favourite combination of colour, a fancy which was shared some years ago by the American buyers, who would have nothing else. Black, tan, and white became more popular in England, and while there is now a good market for these in the United States the sable and white remains the favourite of the American buyers and breeders.

The best Collie of modern times was undoubtedly Ch. Squire of Tytton, which went to America for P1,250. A golden sable with quality, nice size, and profuse coat, he had an unbeaten record in this country. Another of our best and most typical rough Collies was Ch. Wishaw Leader. This beautiful dog, who had a most distinguished show career, was a well-made black, tan, and white, with an enormous coat and beautiful flowing white mane; one of the most active movers, displaying quality all through, and yet having plenty of substance. He had that desirable distinction of type which is so often lacking in our long-headed Collies. Ormskirk Emerald's head was of good length and well balanced, the skull sufficiently flat; his eye was almond-shaped and dark-brown in colour, his expression keen and wise, entirely free from the soft look which we see on many of the faces to-day. Historical examples of the show Collie have also been seen in Champions Christopher, Anfield Model, Sappho of Tytton, Parbold Piccolo, and Woodmanstern Tartan.

In recent years the smooth Collie has gained in popularity quite as certainly as his more amply attired relative. Originally he was a dog produced by mating the old-fashioned black and white with the Greyhound. But the Greyhound type, which was formerly very marked, can scarcely be discerned to-day. Still, it is not infrequent that a throw-back is discovered in a litter producing perhaps a slate-coloured, a pure, white, or a jet black individual, or that an otherwise perfect smooth Collie should betray the heavy ears or the eye of a Greyhound. At one time this breed of dog was much cultivated in Scotland, but nowadays the breeding of smooths is almost wholly confined to the English side of the Border.

The following is the accepted description of the Perfect Collie:—

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THE SKULL should be flat, moderately wide between the ears, and gradually tapering towards the eyes. There should only be a slight depression at stop. The width of skull necessarily depends upon combined length of skull and muzzle; and the whole must be considered in connection with the size of the dog. The cheek should not be full or prominent. THE MUZZLE should be of fair length, tapering to the nose, and must not show weakness or be snipy or lippy. Whatever the colour of the dog may be, the nose must be black. THE TEETH should be of good size, sound and level; very slight unevenness is permissible. THE JAWS—Clean cut and powerful. THE EYES are a very important feature, and give expression to the dog; they should be of medium size, set somewhat obliquely, of almond shape, and of a brown colour except in the case of merles, when the eyes are frequently (one or both) blue and white or china; expression full of intelligence, with a quick alert look when listening. THE EARS should be small and moderately wide at the base, and placed not too close together but on the top of the skull and not on the side of the head. When in repose they should be usually carried thrown back, but when on the alert brought forward and carried semi-erect, with tips slightly drooping in attitude of listening. THE NECK should be muscular, powerful and of fair length, and somewhat arched. THE BODY should be strong, with well sprung ribs, chest deep, fairly broad behind the shoulders, which should be sloped, loins very powerful. The dog should be straight in front. THE FORE-LEGS should be straight and muscular, neither in nor out at elbows, with a fair amount of bone; the forearm somewhat fleshy, the pasterns showing flexibility without weakness. THE HIND-LEGS should be muscular at the thighs, clean and sinewy below the hocks, with well bent stifles. THE FEET should be oval in shape, soles well padded, and the toes arched and close together. The hind feet less arched, the hocks well let down and powerful. THE BRUSH should be moderately long carried low when the dog is quiet, with a slight upward “swirl” at the end, and may be gaily carried when the dog is excited, but not over the back. THE COAT should be very dense, the outer coat harsh to the touch, the inner or under coat soft, furry, and very close, so close as almost to hide the skin. The mane and frill should be very abundant, the mask or face smooth, as also the ears at the tips, but they should carry more hair towards the base; the fore-legs well feathered, the hind-legs above the hocks profusely so; but below the hocks fairly smooth, although all heavily coated Collies are liable to grow a slight feathering. Hair on the brush very profuse. COLOUR in the Collie is immaterial. IN GENERAL CHARACTER he is a lithe active dog, his deep chest showing lung power, his neck strength, his sloping shoulders and well bent hocks indicating speed, and his expression high intelligence. He should be a fair length on the leg, giving him more of a racy than a cloddy appearance. In a few words, a Collie should show endurance, activity, and intelligence, with free and true action. In height dogs should be 22 ins. to 24 ins. at the shoulders, bitches 20 ins. to 22 ins. The weight for dogs is 45 to 65 lbs., bitches 40 to 55 lbs. THE SMOOTH COLLIE only differs from the rough in its coat, which should be hard, dense and quite smooth. THE MAIN FAULTS to be avoided are a domed skull, high peaked occipital bone, heavy, pendulous or pricked ears, weak jaws, snipy muzzle, full staring or light eyes, crooked legs, large, flat or hare feet, curly or soft coat, cow hocks, and brush twisted or carried right over the back, under or overshot mouth.