Sam Merlotte, the owner of Merlotte’s, a diner in the town of Bon Temps, LA. As the series continues though the first season you learn that Sam is hiding a secret and it is later revealed that he is a shape shifter. While his talent is limited to animals he’s been with or seen, his preferred animal of choice is a collie (the actual collie is also seen walking up to Sam in an episode).
For almost as long as the breed has been around, collies have always been looked at the family protector, most notably Lassie. Collies reputation is one of the most solid ones in any breed of dog, even the extremely few instances of aggression in the breed are far offset by the instances of a collie protecting it’s family, playing with children, or protecting a herd of livestock. While most of the time collies are overly friendly, even to strangers, when one is threatened or their family is threatened that friendliness can easily turn into a fierce protector (collies have been known to rank nationally in the sport of schtuzhund).
This is a clear signal that Sam is there to be a protector, mainly to protect Sookie, yet doesn’t want to appear as the overbearing
Collies are also very intelligent and love to please their human companions which means they are generally one of the easier breeds to train for almost any kind of work needed, making them close to perfect for acting.
Boone Narr is credited for being the animal supplier and wrangler. Shawn Weber and David Allsberry are credited for being animal trainers and wranglers. Mark Harden is also credited for being an animal trainer.