The Old-Fashioned Collie

Published in the August 15, 1912 issue of Country Life in America.

Old Bob

Our efforts to interest the dog-loving public in the sad plight of the old-fashioned collie have resulted in a generous response from many readers who, like us, believe in the sterling qualities of the old breed and desire to see it saved from extinction. Up to this time, however, we have received but scanty support from those who are really in a position to take active steps--the breeders, fanciers, and bench-show officials. Some of these have professed not to be aware of the existence of the dog we have in mind. In spite of the letters and photographs that we have published, some of these fanciers persist in relegating the old-fashioned collie to the "mut" class. He is merely a degenerate, they say, and the very dog they have been trying to breed away from. If this is the case, so much the worse for their principles of breeding, for we have ample evidence to prove that the old-fashioned type if very much alive in the hearts and memories of old dog-lovers who stoutly maintain his superiority over the modern type in both intelligence and disposition.

However, in order to set forth the case fairly, we take this opportunity to print several letters from men of importance in the dog world, and will leave our readers to judge whether they are right or wrong.

To the Editors:

The only collies we recognize are the rough collies and the smooth. I do not understand what you mean by the old-fashioned collie, as there is no such distinct breed.

A. P. Vredenburgh.

Secretary of the American Kennel Club.

To the Editors:

I am not surprised at the diversity of opinions you have been receiving on the shepherd dog question. Personally I fear I cannot identify the dog you refer to.

Sheepdog field trials would incalculably help the idea you have in mind, and prove a boon to this side of the water--as against bench shows.

Anythink I can do in the way of cooperating with you to this end I shall be most happy to do. Country Life in America is to be commended for fostering interest in the utility sheepdog.

Frank T. Carlton.

Editor of International Dogs


The old-fashioned type of collie

To the Editors:

I am not clear as to what you mean by the Old-fashioned Collie. If it is that you wish to cultivate the sort that was shown twenty or even less years ago, with thick, coarse heads, light eyes, pendulous ears, and vacant expression, then I am quite sure you will never make any headway and I shall do all I can to show the absurdity of your scheme. On the other hand I shall at all times be willing and ready to continue the great amount of work I personally have done both in breeding and by writing to denounce and discourage the toothpick headed type, which are reminiscent more of the wolfhound than the collie. The sensible-headed dogs with semi-erect ears, small-dark eyes, and keen expression are plentiful to-day and the sound judge favors that type.

Frankly I am opposed to your plan and think it is absurd to make an effort to undo all that we have done (as we think) in the interests of the collie. Might just as well pine for the good old days of stage coaches in lieu of the modern steam trains.

Furthermore, there are scores of such muts as you depict shown, especially in districts where enlightenment on the class collie has not penetrated. The are cross-bred and certainly have not as much sense as many of the high-class quality specimens of the present day.

Don't misunderstand me. If you ask my aid to down the borzoi-headed collie, the tooth-pick headed type, then I am with you, as I abhor it, and it is entirely foreign to the true type of collie. I am sending you a picture of the sort of collie which I think is right. You will admit too that he is beautiful and if you will favor me with a call sometime I will show you that he has lots of brains.

W. E. Mason.

Editor of The Collie Folio

Mr. Mason also published in The Collie Folio for May, 1912, an article on this subject, setting forth his views and mildly ridiculing our efforts and the dog we are championing. It is worth reading, though naturally prejudiced. We publish a portrait of Mr. Mason's favorite collie herewith. No one could deny his beauty, but he is simply not the dog that we are talking about.


Jack is a good example of the old-fashioned collie. He is not always so sedate as this, however

Mr. Mason's collie, which he thinks is the right sort, and which he says possesses both beauty and brains

Ted is a modern collie so far as pedigree goes, but is a reversion to the old-fashioned type

To the Editors:

In reply to your letter of 14th instant re renewing the old-fashioned type of Scotch collie or shepherd dog.

I do not think an old-fashioned collie club could be established.

I do not think a standard of perfection could be drawn up in such a way as to create a new class for shows.

I do not think you could get enough interest in the old type to bring about good competition.

While those interested in the breeding and exhibiting of collies must look back with pride and wonder at the wonderful intelligence displayed by the old type of shepherd dog in his daily work on the farm, still, after all the money, science, and thought which has been expended to bring the collie to his wonderful perfection and beautiful form, why go back to the old thick-headed type of our school-boy days?

I claim that if we give the present day collie, high bred as he is, the same training, and bring him out when young, into field work, he will do as good work, if not better, than the old type, and it will make him a better show dog at the same time.

I have seen this illustrated time and time again with some of the best bench-show winners of to-day. Without the slightest training they will take to field work naturally, and the situation can be summed up in the following words, "lack of opportunity for the new type."

J. B. Cooper.

To the Editors:

I know that many collie lovers do not take kindly to the present show type, and I believe that you can handle the organization of a new club and the formation of a new standard very successfully through Country Life in America

The American Kennel Club would not recognize a new breed of Scotch collie, and it would be a delicate matter to bring before dog show clubs. The plan I would suggest is the formation of a club to preserve the original type of Scotch collie. This club should decide on the required standard and offer prizes at shows to be awarded according to this standard.

The lack of intelligence noted in show dogs of many breeds is due to inbreeding to a great extent, and also to the fact that so many show dogs are raised and kept under unnatural conditions and receive no education of any kind except to stand and show well in the judging ring.

The breadth of head and length of muzzle have no bearing on intelligence; neither can intelligence be gained alone through breeding. We must breed dogs of sound constitution and normal brain, and then educate them.

My collie Champion Wishaw Chance is probably one of the best show dogs of the day. He is also one of the most intelligent dogs I have ever known of any breed. He has a sound constitution and a normal brain, and has been well trained not only as a farm dog but as a house dog and companion.

Henry Jarrett, M. D.

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