National Geographic : 1940 Apr
SHEEP DOG TRIALS IN LLANGOLLEN Photograph by Arthur Brook A FINE SHEEP DOG MAKES FRIENDS WITH A FOAL AT BRECKNOCK A gentle nature, combined with tremendous agility and speed, makes the small, wiry Welsh dogs admirably adapted to the task of handling sheep, whether in the course of daily chores or in the world-famous trials. It, is a job that calls for tact and diplomacy. A good sheep dog must never bark or nip at the sheep, no matter how sorely his patience is tried. them before him. There, look sharp now." As the boy spoke, the sheep, which had been quietly grazing, stopped as if petri fied, heads held rigidly up. Then, like three small tumbling clouds of white wool, they started in our direction. Jix had a doggy handful. It was not "sheep follow sheep" with this trio. They bolted in three directions at once. But the dog, swifter than they, dashed past each one as it ran to right or left and blocked its path. He kept the flock together and ran them zigzag, zigzag, down the hill. Like a tiny black shadow he seemed, whirling and stop ping. But though he subdued them to his will, he did not frighten them, always keep ing a short distance away. The hill was a long one, but the sheep neared the fence at last. Now a special dexterity was essential. If they missed the gate, there was no telling how long it would take to bring them back to it. Slowly and more slowly went Jix, and quietly. The sheep were huddled now, standing almost still. Jix lay down behind them, leaving them free. They sniffed the air, surveyed the fence, gazed with curiosity at the gate. One sheep put his nose through, then the second, then the third! Hours seemed to have passed. We looked at our watches. It was exactly three and one-half minutes since the fall of the flag! FOUR LABORS OF HERCULES REMAIN Eight and one-half minutes remained in which to negotiate the barriers in the lower, or nearer, field. These were a narrow run way far to one side; an open gate set more toward the middle of the field; an open lorry, with back, front, and shafts removed; and, close to the spectators, a small pen, which seemed not much larger than a child's play yard. The opening was scarcely large enough to admit one sheep at a time (page 565).