It is the inborn right of every boy to have a dog. If your boy wants one, get him a collie puppy and let them grow up together.

The Case for the Modern Collie

Written by R. A. Sturdevant. Photographs by Belle Johnson, C.J. Ross, L.E. Hurst, Arthur G. Eldredge, and others. Published in the December 15, 1911 issue of Country Life in America.


Almost time to go for the cows.

It is coming to be the fashion for the pessimistic to deplore the passing of the old-fashioned collie and to bemoan the waning intelligence and usefulness of the present-day show type. "Treacherous," "sharp-nosed," "automobile-chasing," are some of the epithets applied to him by his detractors. But does he deserve them?

The old-fashioned collie of the Scotch herdsman deserves all the encomiums that have been heaped upon him. The townsman who has seen him only out of his true element, in crowded streets, can have but little appreciation of his real intelligence and sterling worth. To know him properly one needs to see him at work in a country where sheep abound, to watch him rounding up his scattered charges, gathering them together in close order, and driving them in unbroken company to the fold; or holding them in the corner of a field, motionless 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 and quick to act; the helpmate of his master; sharing his ambitions, perils sorrows, joys--the most useful member of all the tribe of dogs.

While it is true that the present-day collie is different from the old-fashioned type, that does not necessarily imply that he is a degenerate and inferior in every way. Evolved from the old working type, he is now practically a distinct breed. His qualities in the field are not often tested, but there are instances in abundance where the modern collie, when trained to the work as were his forebears, has shown the same native aptitude and intelligence.

The majority of people in this country, however, have no use for a working collie. They want a dog that is handsome as well as intelligent, and there can be no question of the collie's superlative claims to beauty. He is undoubtedly one of the handsomest, as well as most aristocratic appearing of all our dogs.

As to the charge that he is apt to be treacherous, I have never yet found a collie owner and lover who did not positively deny him the possession of any such trait. He is, however, a "one-man dog," and not generally inclined to be friends with Tom, Dick, and Harry. He is peculiarly shy in disposition and slow to make friends with strangers, but once his confidence is gained he is very affectionate. He is thoroughly devoted to his master and happiest when he can be with him.


Three champion collies owned by Samuel Untermeyer: Greystone Prelate, on the left, is considered the greatest collie ever bred in America; Greystone Glorifier, in the centre, son of Ch. Squire of Tytton (The third picture), won thirty-three points and specials before he was a year old, at such shows as New York, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Chicago.

The characteristics that most strongly denote the breed of any dog are the head and expression, and these features in the collie are most pronounced. The skull should be flat, moderately wide between the ears, and gradually tapering to the eyes. The proper width of skull depends upon the combined length of skull and muzzle, and should also be considered in conjunction with the size of the dog. It should incline to lightness and cleanness of outline of cheeks and jaws and the muzzle should be of fair length and tapering to the nose, which should be black.

The formation of the head and the oblique position of the eye give an expression which is not easy to describe. It has been designated as a mixture of "kindliness and craft" which seems about as nearly correct as possible. The eye should be of medium size and the color best suiting the expression of a collie's eye is a deep hazel; in any case it should never be too light in comparison with the color of the coat, nor show a yellow ring. The ears can hardly be too small, if carried properly, but the trouble is if they are very small they are apt to be thrown quite erect or prick-eared. They should be carried about three-quarters erect.

The neck should be muscular and sufficiently long to give the dog a proud upstanding appearance and show off the frill, which should be very full; the body should be rather long with loin slightly arched; the fore legs straight and muscular; the hind legs very sinewy with hocks and stifles well bent; feet oval, well padded soles, and toes arched and close together; moderately long tail, carried low when the dog is quiet, but having a gay upward twist or "swirl" when excited--not carried over the back however.

The coat is a very important point. Except on the head and legs it should be abundant, the outer coat harsh to the touch, the inner soft and furry and very close--so close that it is difficult on parting the hair to see the skin. The mane and frill should be very abundant, the face smooth, forelegs slightly feathered, hind-legs below the hocks smooth, hair on the tail very profuse and on the hips long and bushy.

In size male collies should measure 22 to 24 inches in height at the should and should weigh from 45 to 60 pounds; females 20 to 22 inches in height, and 40 to 50 pounds in weight. In color the collie should be either black, tan and white, or sable and white.


Ch. Imna Special, who was first at Madison Square Garden last year. The collie is a "one-man" dog, shy with strangers, but devoted to his master and happiest when with him.

It is sometimes claimed that as the collie gains in show points it loses in intelligence, but any one who is familiar with him knows that lack of intelligence is not one of his failings. The following story is told of Champion Sefton Nero and Rufford Osmonde. After J.P. Morgan purchased them (at a cost of $7500) they were at his place on the Hudson. The kennelman, his wife and baby and his wife's sister were out boating accompanied by these two dogs, when in some way the boat was upset in 40 feet of water. The man swam ashore with the baby and each dog took one of the women in charge. By the time the man had reached the shore and placed the little one in safety, one dog had landed his burden safely and gone to help the other, who was having some trouble to manage her alone. Together, however, they soon had her on shore and then at the request of the keeper the two dogs went after and brought in the overturned boat. Certainly the old-time collie could not have done any better.

The trouble with the show collie is that he has less opportunity to show his intelligence and bravery, but that does not rob him of his ability.


"The training of a collie should begin when he is about three months old, and should be conducted by only one person."

The training of a collie should begin when he is about three months old, and should be conducted by only one person. The first thing is to teach him to lead. He will soon learn not to try to get away and to respond the command "here" if you pull on the lead strap when it is given. A half hour lesson a day is long enough, but be sure he learns this firs lesson thoroughly so that he will come directly to you upon hearing the word, before you proceed to the next step.

Then teach him the word 'go' by using it when sending him through an enclosure, repeating it until he acts promptly; the word "halt" by pulling on the lead and stopping him when you pronounce it.

A dog can be easily taught to speak, which means that he is to begin barking, by holding up something to eat and using the word; and it is very convenient to have a dog which is to be used for sheep understand this.

"Out" is easily taught when the dog is in the house by opening the door and pronouncing the word at the same time.

Afte this preliminary training it is well to take him out with an old sheep dog a few times, watching to see that he does not run to the animals' heads. Then take him out without the other dog, but until he has become accustomed to the work do not put him with animals which are not used to being driven by dogs, as otherwise they may turn on him, and this is likely to injure his driving qualities--for a time at least if not permanently.

Never strike a collie with a whip; when punishment is needed a scolding is usually sufficient. To prevent his becoming an automobile chaser, start when he is a puppy and never allow him to form the habit, making him understand that any infringement of the rule will be followed by punishment in the form of scolding and chaining up. He will soon learn that this particular form of sport is forbidden.

There is no question of the high rank in popularity enjoyed by the collie, but even so a well-bred puppy, eligible to registration, can be had for from $20 to $40. A good mature dog may be purchased for $50. These prices, of course, do not apply to dogs that are assured prize winners, but for all practical purposes they are just as good. Good show specimens command fancy figures; two or three thousand dollars is often paid for show collies and five thousand has been paid several times. The record price for a dog of any breed (at that time), $7,500, was paid for the great collie champion, Ormskirk Emerald. While one is about it, however, a little extra money expended on the initial cost of a dog brings abundant returns in satisfaction later on.

No home--at least, no country home--is complete without a dog, and especially is this true when there are children in the home. It is the inborn right of every boy to have a dog..--if your boy wants one get him a collie puppy. Let them grow up together and see your boy develop kindly, protecting qualities you never knew he possessed, and that perhaps would always remain dormant but for this impetus.

A puppy of any breed is irresistible to most people--dog lovers or otherwise--but there is no doubt that the collie puppy takes first rank in genuine adorableness, and the best part of it is that he retains his lovable qualities to the end.


"Cragston Bob winning a sheep-penning contest. The collie is at his best as a worker, conscious of the responsibility reposed in him."

There is a branch of the collie family native to the Islands of Okney and Shetland, called the Shetland collie. It is a miniature reproduction of the typical Scotch collie and like the sturdy Shetland pony, it has not been made small by artificial selection. It is no larger than a Pomeranian and is perfectly hardy, wonderfully sagacious, and very beautiful. The body is long and set low on short stout legs. The tail is a substantial brush, gracefully carried, and the coat is long and inclined to be silky, with a pronounced neck frill. The usual weight is from six to ten pounds, the male being smaller than the female. The handsomest specimens are all white, or white with sable markings, but many are black and tan or all black. The head is short and the face not so aquiline as that of the large collie. The eyes are well proportioned to the size of the head and are singularly soft and bright, reminding one of the eye of a woodcock. They Shetlanders use them with sheep, and they are excellent workers, intelligent and active, and very hardy. They are not at all quarrelsome but can defend themselves if necessary; nor are they too dainty in the matte of food, as dogs of the smaller types are liable to be.

Fanciers on the lookout for something new in the dog world ought to take up this attractive and genuine breed before it becomes extinct. Most of the local specimens have been picked up by tourists or shipped away to be sold, but there are still a few to be found, and some local effort is being made to breed them.

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