Without the shepherd’s dog the whole of the mountainous land in Scotland would not be worth sixpence. It would require more hands to manage a flock of sheep than the profits of the whole stock would be capable of maintaining.
Well may the shepherd, then, feel an interest in his dog.
It is, indeed, he that earns the family bread, of which he is content himself with the smallest morsel. Neither hunger nor fatigue will drive him from his master’s side; he will follow him through fire and water. Another thing very remarkable is the understanding these creatures have of the necessity of being particularly tender over lame or sickly sheep. They will drive these a great deal more gently than others, and sometimes a single one is committed to their care to take home. On these occasions they perform their duty like the most tender nurses.
Can it be wondered at, then, that the colley (collie) should be so much prized by the shepherd; that his death should be regarded as a great calamity to a family, of which he forms, to all intents and purposes, an integral part; or that his exploits of sagacity should be handed down from generation to generation?
Source: Godey’s Lady’s Book, August 1864
Image: Illustration by Arthur Wardle, for A history and description of the collie or sheep dog in his British varieties (1890)