Cyclopedia of farm animals: Farm Dogs

The dog belongs to the order Carnivores, the family Canidae, and the genus Canis. The origin of the domestic dog is not known. It is supposed that it is the result of many crosses with many different types, under various conditions, as the owner wandered from place to place. It is probable that the jackal and the wolf have been important elements in the evolution of the domestic dog.

The dog has long occupied a prominent place on the farm, especially as a watch-dog and a sheep-dog. Much of the police duty on the stock-farm is entrusted to the dog. He looks out for the vermin and small game that would become troublesome ; he is an indispensable aid in hunting; and as a companion he is a privileged member of the household.

The adaptability of certain breeds of dogs for farm purposes is generally known. The care and intelligence displayed by a well-trained dog in handling stock is well-nigh- remarkable. The two recognized breeds for herding and driving purposes are the Collie and the Old English Bobtail Sheepdog. Individuals of many other breeds are trained for this work with some success, and a great variety of dogs, good, bad and indifferent, are found on the farm.

The Collie Dog.
By Herbert W. Mumford.

cyclopediaThe Collie is one of the most useful breeds of farm dogs. His origin is not known. Probably, however, he has been developed from the Old English Sheep-dog by crossing with the Scotch Greyhound. The rough-coated Scotch Collie is the best known and most highly prized variety in this country. The smooth-coated type is well known in Great Britain and is preferred by some persons.

Dog shows and public sheep-driving trials have had a tendency to popularize the Collie. They have had a wholesome effect in setting standards and bringing about greater uniformity in type among so-called high-class Collies. There was a noticeable lack of uniformity among them previous to the establishment of these exhibitions. It should not be inferred that all Collies are invariably good and that one is sure to get a good dog if only he buys a pedigreed Collie. It means simply that there is a well-defined ideal type which progressive breeders are striving to produce. As in other breeds of domesticated animals, fashion in blood lines, in coloring, and in markings, has to be reckoned with in determining the value of a Collie.


In general, the Collie is light and graceful, showing a combination of agility, speed and suppleness, with a power of endurance that few other breeds possess. High intelligence, good appearance and devotion characterize this breed. The following is a description of a rough-coated Collie as revised by the Collie Club in 1898 :

The skull should be flat, moderately wide between the ears, and gradually tapering to the eyes.

There should be only a slight depression at “stop.”‘ The width of the skull necessarily depends on the combined length of skull and muzzle, and the whole must be considered in connection with the size of the dog. The cheek should not be full or prominent. The muzzle should be of fair length, tapering to nose, and must not show weakness, or be snipy or lippy. Whatever the color of the dog may be, the nose must be black. The teeth should be of good size, sound, and level; very slight uneveness is permissible. The jaws should be clean-cut and powerful. The eyes are a very important feature, and give expression to the dog. They should be of medium size, set somewhat obliquely, of almond shape, and of brown color except in the case of marles, when the eyes are frequently (one or both) blue and white or china ; the expression should be full of intelligence, with a quick, alert look when listening. The ears should be small and moderately wide at base, and placed not too close together on top of skull, nor too much to side of the head. When in repose they should be usually carried back, but when on the alert, brought forward and carried semi-erect, with tip slightly drooping in an attitude of listening. The neck should be muscular, powerful, and of fair length, and somewhat arched. The body should be rather long, with well-sprung ribs, chest deep, fairly broad behind the shoulders, which should be sloping ; loins should be slightly arched and powerful. The dog should be straight in front. The fore-legs should be straight and muscular, neither in nor out at elbows, with a fair amount of bone ; the fore-arm should be somewhat fleshy, the pasterns showing flexibility without weakness. The hind-legs should be muscular at the thighs, clean and sinewy below the hocks, with well-bent stifles. The/eei should be oval in shape, the soles well padded, and the toes well arched and close together. The hind-feet should be less arched, with hocks well let down and powerful. The brush should be moderately long, carried low when the dog is quiet, with a slight upward “swirl” at the end, and may be gaily carried when the dog is excited, but not over the back. The coat should be very dense, the outer coat harsh to the touch, the inner coat soft, furry, and very close, so close as almost to hide the skin. The mane and frill should be very abundant, the mask or face smooth, as also the ears at the tips, but they should carry more hair toward the base ; the fore-legs should be well feathered, the hind-legs above the hocks profusely so, but below the hocks fairly smooth, although all heavily coated Collies are likely to grow a slight feathering. The hair on the brush should be very profuse. The color is immaterial. In general character the Collie should be a lithe, active dog, his deep chest showing lung power; his neck, strength; his sloping shoulders and well- bent hocks indicating speed; and his expression, high intelligence. He should be a fair length on the leg, giving him more of a racy than a cloddy appearance. In a few words, a Collie should show endurance, activity, and intelligence, with free and true action. In size, the dogs should be twenty-two inches to twenty-four inches at the shoulders; the bitches, twenty inches to twenty-two inches. In weight, the dogs should register forty-five to sixty- five pounds; the bitches, forty to fifty-five pounds. The smooth Collie differs from the rough only in its coat, which should be hard, dense, and smooth. Faults.—The following are considered faults : Domed skull, high-peaked occipital bone, heavy, pendulous, or prick ears, weak jaws, snipy muzzle, full staring or light eyes, crooked legs, flat or hare feet, curly or soft coat, cow hocks, brush twisted or carried right over the back, and an under- or an over-shot mouth.

In the matter of color there is much variation. There are the so-called sables, the sable and whites, the black and whites, the whites and the tricolors, black, tan and white. The most desirable white markings on either the tricolors or the sable and whites are a white stripe in the face, a full white collar, white breast, white feet and white tip to the tail. There are but relatively few Collies that possess these perfect markings and some of them that do are deficient in more important points. Color should be the last consideration in buying a Collie dog.


From his native home in Scotland, the Collie has gone out into all parts of the civilized world ; and wherever he has arrived he has made innumerable friends. His rare beauty and intelligence, together with the enterprise of Collie breeders, won and has held for him a leading place among those who have a fondness for dogs.

The Collie has become such a prime favorite that his popularity in the city, as well as in the country, is second to no other breed. Dog fanciers nearly everywhere have taken up the breeding of Collies as a fad. The breeding of Collies in Great Britain is attended with greater success than in this country, whether the measure of success be the number of high-class individuals produced or the net profit secured in the enterprise.

Famous Collie dogs.

A few of the famous Collie dogs in this country are: Wishaw Clinker, Winnetka Christopher, Wellesbourne Conqueror, Ormskirk Olympian, Par- bold Paragon and Ellwyn Perfection. Most of these dogs are rich in blood of one or more of the following dogs that have been looked on as pillars in the Collie studbook : Stracathro Ralph, Christopher, Metchley Wonder, Edgbaston Marvel and Great Alne Douglas. One of the most celebrated Collies of history is Southport Perfection. This dog sold at one time for $6,000. Christopher, a scarcely less celebrated dog, sold for $5,000. Metchley Wonder and Edgbaston Marvel each sold for $2,500.

Care and feeding.

Every dog, whether on the farm or elsewhere, should have an individual kennel which he may look on as his home, and where in case of sickness he may be isolated and given proper care. The location of the kennel should be carefully chosen. Abundant sunlight and good drainage are prime requisites in preserving the health of a dog. If it is desired to have a yard in which the dog can be confined, this should be dry and well drained, and preferably have a concrete floor, as dirt yards about kennels soon become foul and thus invite disease. A southern exposure is best. In hot weather, ample provision for shade should be made, but it is not desirable to have the yard entirely or even largely shaded, as the sun should have access, as far as practicable, at some time during the day, to every part of the enclosure.

Straw makes very satisfactory bedding for the kennel, the sleeping bench of which it is best to have raised about ten inches from the floor. Kennels should be cleaned frequently and thoroughly, and the bedding changed every week. When the kennels are being cleaned, they should be carefully disinfected. An occasional liming or whitewashing is excellent.

As a rule, mature dogs are fed too often. Twice daily is ample, — a light breakfast and a hearty evening meal. There is a great difference in the food requirements of different dogs, some being light eaters while others consume large quantities. This difference is due largely to their temperament and degree of activity. The judgment of the one who feeds the dog must be depended on properly to regulate the quantity of food required. The general appearance of the dog’s coat and his behavior when fed are fairly good guides. Meat should not comprise any large part of the ration of the dog. Most authorities on the feeding of dogs agree that they should not be fed warm food. All cooked foods should be allowed to cool before being fed. Dogs should be encouraged in every way to eat dry biscuits. Cooked vegetables should be fed at least twice a week, although care should be taken not to feed too much soft food. Regularity in feeding dogs produces the same beneficial effects that it does in the feeding of other kinds of domestic animals. As a rule, the feeding of the dog is given very little thought. Feasts and fasts are the order, and such treatment is likely to cause serious digestive disturbances.


If one insists on buying a high-class Collie, that possesses to a great degree all of the fancy points of the breed, including color and markings, he must be prepared to pay a high price, as has been shown in the preceding paragraph. Such Collies are rare, and the experienced breeder feels well satisfied if he is able to secure a high-class one from each litter. Pedigreed Collies of indifferent breeding and individuality may be purchased at very low prices, but Collies of choice breeding and individuality are worth from twenty dollars up. Well-bred puppies that are not desirable, from the fancier’s point of view, because of some lack in individuality, are disposed of by the breeders at ten to twenty dollars. The breeding of Collies good enough to win at leading shows is an extremely difficult business. The breeding of Collies that are much more handsome and more useful than the average dog, is relatively easy.


While originally developed as a sheep-dog to aid the shepherd in guarding, herding and driving sheep, and still holding a foremost place for this purpose, the Collie has become a universal favorite as a companion for children and grown-ups and as a watch-dog.

There are those who think that the smooth- coated Collie is a better worker than the rough- coated type. Again, there are those who are prejudiced in favor of the tricolor, or black and white and tan, as a worker. The sable and the sable and white, however, are most popular among the fanciers and will usually sell more readily and at higher prices than the tricolors.

Because the Collie is such a favorite at dog- shows and has been so persistently bred for the bench, it is said that the modern bench type has lost much of its former intelligence and instinct for driving. It must be admitted that but very few of our most valuable Collies have ever been trained to drive live-stock, and the majority of them, until trained, would be useless for agricultural purposes. It is even doubted whether some of them are susceptible of a high degree of training. This latter is true not only of show Collies but of others as well. There is no good reason why a good show Collie should not make, with proper training, a good driver. Well-trained dogs, however, are seldom in proper condition for show. The rugged life to which many of them are subjected unfits them for exhibition purposes. In this way, the show may militate against the best development of the Collie for farm purposes.

It is doubtful whether the Collie has really lost in intelligence. He has certainly lost much in opportunity, but what he has lost in opportunity he has gained in beauty and elegance; and while formerly only the sheep-herder was familiar with his excellent qualities and privileged with his companionship, he is today admitted to the most exclusive society.


The ailments of dogs that are most troublesome and likely to be met with are distemper, worms and fleas.

Distemper.—Of all the diseases of dogs, distemper is by far the most to be feared. It assumes a great variety of forms and is not so well understood as other diseases. The writer takes the liberty of quoting from “The Collie”  the discussion of the disease as it appears in that work: ” It is a contagious febrile disease, and therefore, once it has been diagnosed, the subject should be isolated, and the same person should not be allowed to wait on the affected dog and the healthy ones, as the contagion is readily conveyed. In order to prevent distemper, all that the thoughtful owner can do is to keep his young stock in robust health ; then, if any, or all, should fall victims, they will be less liable to ” go under ” than the weakling and the wastrel.

“Usually the disease is ushered in with catarrh, accompanied by a poor appetite, lassitude, hot nose, furred tongue, eye inflammation, and a discharge alike from eyes and nose—thin at first, but becoming thicker as the disease progresses. Usually, too, the bowels are loose, while the under part of the belly not infrequently becomes spotted. Good nursing will do more good than drugs, providing it be in conjunction with warmth and well-ventilated quarters. An even temperature is desirable, and the patient should wear a flannel coat. The eyes and nose should be sponged clean of discharge, using a little rose-pink solution of Condy’s Fluid (warm). There is almost certain to be a cough; but so long as the lungs and bronchi are not involved, this will soon cease to trouble. When, however, pneumonia supervenes, the aid of the veterinary surgeon should be at once invoked, as also when that form of distemper accompanied by jaundice is present. This latter is shown by the yellowness of the mucous membranes—a condition that has given rise to the name of the “yellows.” Diarrhea, if present, should be relieved by means of carbonate of bismuth, given dry on the tongue twice a day— the dose varying from 10 grains to 30 or 40 grains. If there be a high temperature (over 103°), something must be done to reduce it. Dissolve 2 drams of salacin in a little hot water, add J ounce of tincture of gentian and sufficient water to make 6 ounces, and give a dessertspoonful three times a day.

“The food during the time the patient is unwell should be light and nourishing. It may consist of good broth poured over stale brown bread. The best is made from sheep’s head boiled. The meat may also be cut up and added to the mass. Beaten- up egg and Bovril are also useful when more solid food is refused. The patient should be fed on the ‘little and often’ principle.”

Worms.—Tapeworms, threadworms and round- worms are commonly met with. The roundworm is the form which most prevails in puppies, while the tapeworm is frequently found in adult dogs. The presence of worms is usually indicated by a staring coat, a cough, irregular bowels, and, in some instances, severe diarrhea, and sickness. In some cases worms are vomited. Various worm remedies for dogs are on sale at drug-stores, and many of these remedies are as satisfactory as any prescribed remedies with which the writer is familiar. Vermifuges, of whatever nature, should always be administered to a dog after a period of fasting.

Fleas.—Fleas greatly annoy dogs, and the long coat of a rough-coated Collie makes a good refuge for them. There are numerous insecticides on the market that are good. Care should be taken when attempting to eradicate fleas or lice, thoroughly to clean the kennel and follow the cleaning with a free use of some good insecticide.

Organizations and records.

The Collie Club of England was founded in 1881. This club aided greatly in promoting the interests of the breed both at home and abroad. An American Collie Club has also been organized. A Collie studbook is issued. There are a few local Collie clubs scattered over the country.

excerpted from Cyclopedia of farm animals
By Liberty Hyde Bailey

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