ENGLISH SHEEPDOG – Rapidly gaining in popularity, the curious woolly sheep-dog has become thoroughly established in the United States ; he has long been used as a practical helper in the great sheep ranges of western Canada. He bears no resemblance whatever to the familiar collie type of sheep-dog, but looks rather like a great long-legged, round-headed, bounding terrier.
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK:
“THE BOOK OF DOGS – OUR COMMON DOGS” BY LOUIS AGASSIZ FUERTES AND ERNEST HAROLD BAYNES
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY LOUIS AGASSIZ FUERTES
PUBLISHED BY THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY WASHINGTON, D. C. U. S. A. 1919
He has a formidable voice, very different in- deed from the rather fox-like yap of the collie, and while he is some 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weighs 60 to 80 pounds one can- not quite get away from the impression that he is, in fact, a huge terrier of some kind. The effect is heightened greatly by the long woolly hair on his head and face, which virtually hides the clever eyes, and makes a study of his actual head-form very difficult. The hair on back and hips is very long; when combed out they look very curious indeed.
In color they are usually blue gray and white; any strong tendency toward brown is not good. The white usually occupies most of the head and fore-quarters.
He is a dog of very striking appearance — one might almost say of un-dog-like appearance. He is large, rather tall on the legs, tailless, and covered from head to foot with a long, loose hair, which tosses about freely when he runs or jumps, giving him the appearance of a huge animated floor-mop. But if you part the hair on his face you will find a pair of beautiful, intelligent, friendly eyes. He is active, good- natured, and makes a fine companion.
Dogs of this breed were not always bob- tailed ; originally they were probably as well provided with tails as other dogs. Many of them were used for herding, and consequently exempt from taxation. It is said that the drovers amputated the tails of their working sheep-dogs to distinguish them from those which were not exempted.
It is believed by some authorities that this mutilation, continued through many generations, created in the breed a tendency to produce tailless and short-tailed offspring. What- ever the cause, it is certain that today many Old English sheep-dog puppies are born bob- tailed. When they are born with tails it is customary to dock them to within an inch or two of the root, and the operation is per- formed not more than four days after birth.
The docking accentuates the characteristic rounded quarters and increases the somewhat bearlike appearance of the animal.