Spaniel pups - Maud Earl
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In the eyes of the artist…

Fourteenth-century engravers, 18th century painters and yesterday’s photographers all show us dogs as seen through their eyes. Their work is an enlightening way to follow the development of breeds and how they were seen in the eyes of the artist.
Dog Writer and Contributing Editor of Dog Magazines
1. Border Collie 2. Beagle 3. Dalmatian 4. Field Spaniel
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At the end of the 16th century, Dr. John Caius described in Treatise on Englishe Dogges the working style of various sheepdogs. Their style of driving sheep was more or less the same as that of today’s working Border Collies. With hand signals and a shrill whistle, the shepherd directed his dog to where he wanted his flock to go. In both the 20th and 21st centuries, many breeds became unemployed, but in Britain from the Borders between England and Scotland to the Hebrides people can still enjoy the sight of large flocks of sheep driven by Border Collies. Upwards and downwards, over the hilltops, down again, to the farm and the sheep fold. Perpetual motion through the ages… At the beginning of the 19th century, England had many different sheepdogs, not only Border collies, but also Scotch collies, Highland collies, Old Welsh Grey sheepdogs, Smithfield sheepdogs, Welsh hillmen, Cumberland sheepdogs, Dorset blues, Welsh black-and-tan sheepdogs, bobtailed sheepdogs, etc. From the mid-19th century, an abundance of different sheepdog types was used by farmers to drive their cattle and sheep. One of these types that is still known today the Border collie derives its name from the Borders and from a black- headed sheep with black legs: the coalley or black-faced sheep. According to the Agricultural Dictionary (1743), the dogs that drove and tended the flocks were called coalleys-dogs or coally-dogs.
If you are interested in publishing one or more of these articles, illustrations and photographs included please contact me. E-mail: All articles are available in English and/or in Dutch.


Looking at a dog breed in old and new depictions is more or less the same as skating. Just as you think it's going well, the ice is not yet thick enough and you end up in cold water. Then the handsome black-and-white-spotted dog is not a Dalmatian but a Great Dane. Just because the unusual coat has the uniquely recognizable spots, you were set on the wrong track. Harlequin Great Dane puppies bear an amazing resemblance to Dalmatian puppies. A second problem is the artist. Is he or she a talented horse painter who added a spotted dog to fill a gap? Or is the painting a true- to-nature rendering of a famous Dahnatian? It is important to know what other paintings the artist has made. ls he or she a talented animal painter, or a dilettante? Sometimes more than one painter worked on a painting; an authority on dogs or horses, for example, might be invited to finish an animal's portrait. Some knowledge of European history is required when writing about dog breeds. After every war the borders changed, especially after the First and Second World Wars. Before the Cold War, Yugoslavia was the Dahnatian 's country of origin. During the Balkan Wars (1991-95) Croatia became an independent republic ( 1991) and is now the country of origin. Turks, Romans, Italians, Austrians and Serbs left a mark on Croatia - as well as its dog world. The name of the breed seems to be derived from the datmatica, a liturgical tunic dating from antiquity. Dalmatia, once part of Yugoslavia, is now a region in Croatia.