station can endure: The anxiety consequent on its proximity is never-ending, nor can the damage done be estimated by the number of sheep actually found dead; in rough country a dozen or a hundred may be smothered or drowned for every one actually worried to death.
In early times on unstocked country, wild dogs lived on such ground birds as were procurable; but their mainstay was pig, and pig, rather remarkably, they continued to hunt long after their wilds had been stocked with sheep. The upland Patea country in Hawke’s Bay was taken up and stocked in the ’sixties. Wild dogs were there unusually numerous, yet for several seasons sheep, I have been told by the late Mr W. Birch, remained untouched, the dogs for a time either desisting from fear of latent possibilities in the new animal, or from mere force of habit continuing to follow their original game.
When a mixed pack worries, the predominating trait of each breed asserts itself, the mongrels of bull-dog and mastiff extraction throttling the wretched sheep, the collie curs holding the huddled ﬂock together and preventing it from scattering in a hundred directions. 1
of them together, “Tommy” grunting out explanations, the mastiffs listening with friendly wagging tails; before my arrival they had settled it was all a mistake. “Tommy” was offered a few bits of fern-root by way of apology, and the four of us returned together. One of his great pleasures was to be scratched. Regardless of the sides of bacon dangerously exposed in the process, he would lie ﬁrst on one side then upon the other, his eyes closed in ecstasy, enraptured, like a woman having her hair combed. In later life he became, like all pig pets, rough, brutal, even hunnish in his manners. He was ﬁnally presented, when he would no longer take “No” for an answer, to Joe Raniera and Hepe, his helpmate, then fencing on Tutira. With them for several seasons he shared bed and board.
1 No shepherd can have owned a team of dogs without speculation as to the herding habit of the breed, the essence of which is to head and hold. Pups but a few days alive to light will on a hillside watch fowls or ducks or chickens, carefully keeping them together, running ahead of them, checking stragglers, “working” them carefully and correctly. This passion for watching and working stock is of so overmastering a nature that sometimes a young unbroken collie will instantly, when freed, bolt for the hills and there remain till dark, moving ahead of the little ﬂock he has gathered, holding them together, shepherding them harmlessly and delightedly for hours without order or tuition, behaving as his forefathers did behave in the dim past, and as his descendants will behave in the remote future. In the pup there is no sign of a wish to drive, in the young unbroken dog there is no sign of a desire to heel stock – in short, herding and heading shows the collie instinct unmodiﬁed, driving shows it warped to the will of man. The origin of an instinct no wise man will attempt to fathom whilst the puzzle of priority in nature of the hen and of the hen’s egg is unsolved, yet something may be ventured as to the use of the herding habit to its prehistoric possessors and of its exploitation by man. In the canine race, the stalk and momentary ﬁnal pause ere leaping upon prey, the carriage of game dead and alive to den and earth, are, equally with the herding trait, primordial instinctive actions: basal, spontaneous, elemental, innate, they have no more been invented, superadded, or taught by man to beast than breathing, feeding, or perambulation. Each of these three instinctive actions has been originally wholly for the beneﬁt of the animal itself. There exists, however, this vast difference betwixt two of these actions and the third, that whereas the stalk and momentary pause and the carrying of game are actions in each case concerning one animal only and its prey, the herding instinct could only have been useful to its possessor in combination with a partner. The ancestral collie has, I believe, herded and held together ﬂocks of some sort in