The life story of the Collie is the history of pastoral life, for from the first day that man herded flocks he had a dog to help him. There is a similarity in character and appearance between the sheep and cattle dogs of all countries, which points to their common origin, while the cunning and outward look of all indicate their descent from the wild dogs of nature.
The Collie or Sheep Dog in all countries is considered superior to other dogs in instinct and intelligence, and his countenance discloses sagacity, alert eagerness, and devotion to his master. There is a great difference between the Collie of the bench shows and the old working Collie of the Highlands.
The Collie of the bench shows is a fancier’s creation; a more graceful and beautiful animal does not exist. He was produced from the old working type, but remote crossing and careful selection continued for many years has so radically changed him that he is now almost a breed of his own.
The working qualities of the bench show Collie have been so sadly neglected that they are all but lost. Certainly they are not to be compared in this respect with the Collie of the hills, bred on purely utilitarian lines. In appearance, however, the bench show Collie is a much handsomer and more attractive type, for the working dog is on the nondescript order. The latter vary in size and color; some are smooth coated, some are rough; some have prick ears, others half-dropped or drop, while many have what is known as a watch eye. Some of the best workmen will weigh under forty pounds. Occasionally you will see among the shepherds large, handsome black, white, and tan specimens with fair coats, but more will be all black in color, smooth coated and small in size. The most popular among the Scottish shepherds is the small black-and-white type with medium coats.