Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A little snip here, a little snip there...

I wanted to chat a little bit about my dog Mattie, the Smithfield Sheepdog.

Well, Mattie will be undergoing a "beauty-transformation" in the coming days with my mom, a very skilled independent dog groomer whose charge for services is a dinner at the Snoqualmie Casino Buffet (that's a steal if you ask me). Mom grooms Lucky regularly (a Maltese/Shih Tzu mix that you can imagine, has a lot of hair).

The Smithfield Sheepdog is a working bearded collie, not to be confused with the Bearded Collies we see in AKC / UKC shows. The "working beardie" or Smithfield is an old-type of stockdog, but as the name suggests, they are HAIRY. So hairy in fact that if you actually use your Smithfield for any type of farm work, your dog will collect all the pleasantries of the field in their coats and bring them into your home.

On Sunday, Mattie had a herding lesson at Diane's farm. And, in usual style, she collected an assortment of hogs fuel, manure and good old mud into her coat. Further, as her name suggests, Mattie gets a lot of mats in her fur. These mats grab dirt particles and cling onto them for dear life. So, on Sunday, after Mattie's lesson, I got out some scissors and started clipping away, one matted manure-filled chunk at a time. After 20 minutes of "working the coat" I found that Mattie was now asymmetrical in appearance - one leg was hairier than another, her butt was lopsided and her chest-fur was overly-texturized. She looks bad. So, Mom to the rescue. I realize that even the most professional of groomers will find Mattie's coat to be a frustration, but Mattie will be "in the shop" for many days, so that she doesn't have to suffer "on the table" for extensive periods of time. I do expect my dog to come home looking more like a whippet/coyote cross but at least she will be happy.

You may think it's an atrocity to cut Mattie's beautiful coat but really, if I'm expecting her to be a farm dog, then she will only be happier and healthier with a sporty little hairdo. I will post pictures of her before and after shots after her transformation.

I have collected some intersting pictures of Smithfield Sheepdogs from around the world performing different tasks, mostly herding though. Enjoy these assorted pics I found online - and sorry, I cannot cite my sources but if you search hard enough you'll find them just as I did! If you're looking for more, please visit my website www.geocities.com/smithydog123 or join the Smithfield Drovers Dog Yahoo! Group (just search for Smithfield Drover) - there are about 70 members now in this group and almost everyone has posted up pics of their dogs and puppies.

This Smithfield is named "Tease" and she lives in Tasmania

This dog is actually a "Working Beardie" - it lives in Kent, UK

I have no idea where these dogs are from, but they were referenced as Smithfields. Yes, they are running up the backs of sheep.

I THINK this dog is the same as pictured above - this one is also referenced as a Smithfield Sheepdog - location unknown

This is one of my favorite Smithfield Sheepdog pictures from the late 1800's. In England of course!

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