Height is no recommendation in a collie, and the most handsome are of medium stature.1 The small and well-shaped head, with the lofty brain, is that of a thoughtful philosopher, and the ears lying back in the hair of the neck, are cocked on the slightest call to attention. Used to listen for his master's whistle in the hill blasts, the hearing is extraordinarily acute. His sturdy forelegs and his whole body are thickly clothed and heavily feathered against these blasts. Yet the hair on the head, though thick, is short : a very wise provision of Nature, for long locks would seal his eyes with icicles. Like a horse, a good collie is of no particular colour, but for myself I should prefer red or black and tan, and I believe they give the best assurance of blood.
1 I shall venture to differ from Mr. Shand here. I like my collie big. So many collies nowadays are rather weedy. I agree with what Mr. Shand says about the "lofty brain "—though the fanciers scarcely encourage it, their type of collie not being very noble. —Ed.
There is another sheep-dog for which I have a great fancy, though I never had the good fortune to own one. I mean what is called the old English sheep-dog. With his grim but honest face, his sturdy, shaggy body and his queer bob-tail, I admire and envy, as I see him trotting at the heels of some veteran of the Downs, who still wears the embroidered, old-fashioned smock frock.
Other big dogs may be passed over. I have said something already of the bulldog : like the mastiff, though often amiable, he is a formidable follower and may be dangerous on occasion. If either bulldog or mastiff goes on the rampage, neither man nor boy can control him. Coming to terriers, the bull-terrier, supposed to be originally a cross between the bulldog and the fox-terrier, is a more manageable animal, though inclined to be quarrelsome. His pluck, as a rule, is undeniable, and like all well-bred terriers, he is a lively companion. Plucky as he is, he is extraordinarily sensitive, and his spirit may be easily broken by rough treatment. He is intelligent enough to understand when he is fairly treated, and to resent harsh punishment for trivial faults. The best bull-terriers may be big or little ; they may weigh anything from ten to forty pounds. Perhaps the lighter fox-terrier is more in a boy's line, and in the last thirty years he is become amazingly popular. There cannot be the least possible objection to him in a house, for his smooth coat carries little mud. Lighter of make than his bull-brother, he is equally compact of bone and muscle. But there should be nothing coarse about his wiry figure, and the shapely head and stern are significant. 1 don't know that he is more curious than other terriers, but his light head and his springy action seem the very incarnation of inquisitiveness. He is always hunting the bottom of the hedgerows, and as for vermin, from fox or badger to weasel or water-rat, all are his natural game. That, however, is the speciality of the terrier race, and there is little to choose between them. I have said so much of that, apropos to my own Aberdeens, that there is little to be added. I have a predilection for the Aberdeens, though they have figured little at the shows, because I know their worth, and they are exceedingly handsome. I was looking at a couple last night—one snoring with his chin in the fireplace ; the other, with cocked ears, nodding over him, and waking up again—and I wished I could have evoked the shade of Landseer to paint them. I confess I have never cared much for the Skye : long and low, and enveloped in a woolly fleece, there is the air of sad endurance in his shaggy face, which reminds one of the mists of the watery Hebrides and the sound of the melancholy ocean. I like the Dandie Dinmont, though his somewhat misshapen head seems out of proportion to the body, but the brain is full of wisdom, and the strong jaws can close like a fox-trap. Bred on the Borders, he was the very dog to bury himself in the fox-earths, to run the hill-fox home to his lair in the rocks, and to worry the litters of cubs which would have grown into formidable enemies to the lambs. As for the Irish terrier, he is comparatively a new discovery, as we know him in England. Rough as a badger, hard as nails, good alike on the dry land and in the morass, he has all the fire of the Celt, with his powers of endurance. As befits a bog-trotting or bog-jumping dog, he is longer in the legs and shorter in the body than his Scottish cousin. The Yorkshire terriers—the Airedales and Bedlingtons—are not unlike the Irish in appearance and qualities, and much the same weight, though more civilised looking. But with any one of the terrier breeds you can hardly go wrong; they are all game and inquisitive, kindly and companionable.
Spaniels, like terriers, are of various sorts. Not to speak of the tiny King Charles, a pampered darling only good for a lapdog, and the brisk little cocker, of long and illustrious descent, they range up to the heavy Clumber. Like terriers, they make capital companions, though as they are silky in their coats, they are more ladylike in their ways. But they are far from effeminate, though nature never intended them to draw a badger or throttle a fox. They take kindly to petting on the hearthrug, but are never so happy as in the field. It makes the heart glad to see their keenness, shaking the roots of the hedge saplings, or tearing through the thicket of bramble, without the slightest regard to their glossy coats. In the field, perhaps the Clumber is the most useful, though he soon knocks up and must be worked by relays ; he is easily trained to hunt within half gunshot. He is not such a cheery dog to shoot over as the merry little beagle or the more excitable terrier, for he does not give tongue. But he has the great recommendation of being staunch and steady. The Clumber is a Frenchman. In the middle of the eighteenth century his ancestors were sent to a Duke of Newcastle at Clumber, as a present from the Grand Huntsman of King Louis XV. The Sussex, on the contrary, as the name implies, is pure English. With shorter legs and as long a body, he is lighter built than the Clumber. He gets more excited over his sport, and throws his tongue, though never vociferous. The colour is dull liver, or a bright golden glow. The Sussex has a shapely head, and his charms are his soft expression, and the beauty of his hazel eyes. I never cared greatly for spaniels myself, but no dogs seem to win more on the affections of their masters. A friend of mine, whether travelling at home or abroad, will never be parted from a favourite bitch who has reared him many litters of puppies.