The Newfoundland is another imposing figure, of dignified and gentlemanly bearing. Enormously strong, he seldom presumes on his strength, and yields to none in sagacity and fidelity. He is hardy, as might be presumed from his birthplace, the breeding region of those dense, cold fogs which are constantly bringing ships to grief on bleak and inhospitable shores. He is almost as much at home in the water as on the land, and many times his rescue of drowning men should have earned him the medals of the Humane Society. On chain there can be no better watch, but in ordinary circumstances it is cruel and needless to chain him, for he is exceptionally docile and obedient. Of course there is the objection, as a house dog, that his coat carries a deal of mud, and when he shakes himself after a thorough soaking, he sprinkles the furniture far and near. For he is clothed very suitably for the Newfoundland climate : the hair on his head is thick and short, but it curls or feathers all over the body in a heavy pile like an Axminster carpet. The soft, hazel eyes are full of intelligence, though rather small for the massive head. All the better perhaps for a swimmer, who delights in breasting the breakers. The deep, broad chest and the powerful loins seem built to support a human being in the water. Naturally, the Newfoundland, too, is celebrated in legend and literature, and many marvellous tales are told of his philanthropy and pluck. He is a favourite shipmate of Canadian skippers, and they spin many a yarn of how, when a hand had tumbled overboard, the cabin dog was in the water before the life-buoy. "Christopher North," who was a poet and a wonderful prose writer, glorifies his noble Bronte in the fanciful "Noctes Ambrosianae." But as " Christopher" was the Professor Wilson of the Edinburgh University, so Bronte really and actually existed ; nor did his master—who lost him by poison—exaggerate his heroic qualities. Wilson was a great lover of the Newfoundland, and as Bronte was the favourite of his middle age, Fro was the friend of his boyhood. " Christopher in his Sporting Jacket" is worth reading as an autobiography of the writer's early exploits under difficulties in fishing and shooting, and you will hear how Fro had it out with a carter's mastiff in Homeric combat, and how at peril of his own life he saved a boy from drowning. I feel sure that Fro was as real a personage as Bronte, for though after many years his master seems to write of him with tears in the eyes and a swelling in the throat, yet he does not blink his faults. Fro, as little quarrelsome as any of his kind, had been egged on to that battle with the mastiff; but, like Christopher, who pleads guilty to the inexcusable cruelty of cat-hunting, at times he was betrayed into indiscretions. By the way, Lord Byron's Boatswain is another historical character.
It is not every one who can afford to buy a well-bred St. Bernard. Fifty pounds is a long price to pay, and prize-winners have fetched ten times that money. But he is a magnificent dog to possess, though perhaps his sagacity has been overrated, for he is the hero of many legends. It was to the monks of the hospice on the high St. Bernard pass, rather than to the dogs, that so many wayfarers, perishing in the snowdrifts, were indebted for their rescue. No doubt the dogs' noses came in usefully when the good monks were blinded by the blizzard, and the traveller, shrouded in the snow, had been settling for his last sleep. As the deerhound, if banished from the forests of the north, will surely survive in England, much more will that be the case with the St. Bernard, whatever may befall him in the Alps. He is not only become fashionable, but the cream of the fashion, and it is a fashion likely to last. Nearly forty years ago, what with rough winters, avalanches, and other accidents, the race in Switzerland must have been nearly extinct. When I slept at the Hospice I saw, to my regret, that there was only one bitch there with a weakly puppy. To be sure, there were other puppies at milk in the Martigny Valley, but puppies they were, and there was the risk of distemper. It was a relief, in returning from Italy by the Simplon Pass, to find, at the branch establishment below the crest, a stalwart male and female sunning themselves on the steps. Perhaps the monks at the St. Bernard had said nothing of them, because their coats were smoother than they ought to have been, and not altogether correct in colour. Be that as it may, the breed seems to have got up again there, and I believe the race was replenished from England. For Englishmen took to importing them, and notably Albert Smith, the comic entertainer, who was filling the Egyptian Hall with the story of his ascent of Mont Blanc. His pluck was better than his wind, but his guides managed to haul him up somehow, and he made the most of the mountain marvels he saw, including those St. Bernard members of the Humane Society. Now there is no fear of the dog dying out, for it pays to breed him, and he draws at shows like hunters or shire horses. As the deer-hound or wolfhound adorned the baronial hall, the St. Bernard is a noble appendage to any mansion. Not unlike the Newfoundland in shape, look, and coat, he is even more massive and imposing. He may stand over three feet at the shoulder, and the girth of the foreleg, above the elbow, will be more than a foot. Think what strength that implies in an admirably proportioned body !
No dog is more sociable or companionable than the collie. Some thirty years ago he became fashionable in the south : breeders who make money by him have studied his points, and he has multiplied in a beauty approaching perfection. It may be a question whether he will retain his hereditary qualities when successive generations have had no practice in shepherding. But it is certain that he will never lose his intelligence. His face is full of expression, and there is Scottish shrewdness in the somewhat small eyes, which look as if they had contracted with blinking in the teeth of Highland blizzards. I always think a collie seems out of place in the south, as if he missed his serious occupations and was bored by being a gentleman at leisure. There is a wistful pathos in those eyes of his, when I see him chained in the portico of a club, waiting for his master. Highlander or Borderer, he is out of place on the pavements of Pall Mall, and his ancestors knew nothing of chain or collar. For though popularly supposed to come from the far north, it is only comparatively lately that sheep-walks were introduced in the Highlands, and unquestionably the race originated in the green glens of the Borders. When at home with the shepherds, they said he could do everything but speak, and he could certainly understand spoken language. There are so many well-authenticated stories of his sagacity that we can only believe and wonder. One of the most remarkable is told by the Ettrick Shepherd. One misty evening, in what had once been the forest of Ettrick, 500 of his sheep were missing. Turning to his dog for sympathy, and not dreaming of anything more, he ejaculated despondingly, " Sirrah, my man, they're a' awa' !" The next moment Sirrah had vanished in the mist. The next morning the 500 had been gathered in, and Sirrah was mounting guard over them. " How he had got them all collected in the dark," says Hogg, " is beyond my comprehension. If all the shepherds in the forest had been there, they could not have effected it with greater propriety." There is another suggestive story where the master of a favourite played off a practical joke on a friend who doubted the dog's gifts. The friend went for a walk, and the dog was ordered to " shepherd him." Shepherded he was to such good purpose, by the great collie jumping up before him and barking in his face, that he was summarily herded back to the house.