GENERAL HISTORY OF DOGS.
There is no incongruity in the idea that in the very earliest period of man's habitation of this world he made a friend and companion of some sort of aboriginal representative of our modern dog, and that in return for its aid in protecting him from wilder animals, and in guarding his sheep and goats, he gave it a share of his food, a corner in his dwelling, and grew to trust it and care for it. Probably the animal was originally little else than an unusually gentle jackal, or an ailing wolf driven by its companions from the wild marauding pack to seek shelter in alien surroundings. One can well conceive the possibility of the partnership beginning in the circumstance of some helpless whelps being brought home by the early hunters to be tended and reared by the women and children. Dogs introduced into the home as playthings for the children would grow to regard themselves, and be regarded, as members of the family
In nearly all parts of the world traces of an indigenous dog family are found, the only exceptions being the West Indian Islands, Madagascar, the eastern islands of the Malayan Archipelago, New Zealand, and the Polynesian Islands, where there is no sign that any dog, wolf, or fox has existed as a true aboriginal animal. In the ancient Oriental lands, and generally among the early Mongolians, the dog remained savage and neglected for centuries, prowling in packs, gaunt and wolf-like, as it prowls today through the streets and under the walls of every Eastern city. No attempt was made to allure it into human companionship or to improve it into docility. It is not until we come to examine the records of the higher civilisations of Assyria and Egypt that we discover any distinct varieties of canine form.
The dog was not greatly appreciated in Palestine, and in both the Old and New Testaments it is commonly spoken of with scorn and contempt as an "unclean beast." Even the familiar reference to the Sheepdog in the Book of Job "But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to set with the dogs of my flock" is not without a suggestion of contempt, and it is significant that the only biblical allusion to the dog as a recognised companion of man occurs in the apocryphal Book of Tobit (v. 16), "So they went forth both, and the young man's dog with them."
The great multitude of different breeds of the dog and the vast differences in their size, points, and general appearance are facts which make it difficult to believe that they could have had a common ancestry. One thinks of the difference between the Mastiff and the Japanese Spaniel, the Deerhound and the fashionable Pomeranian, the St. Bernard and the Miniature Black and Tan Terrier, and is perplexed in contemplating the possibility of their having descended from a common progenitor. Yet the disparity is no greater than that between the Shire horse and the Shetland pony, the Shorthorn and the Kerry cattle, or the Patagonian and the Pygmy; and all dog breeders know how easy it is to produce a variety in type and size by studied selection.
In order properly to understand this question it is necessary first to consider the identity of structure in the wolf and the dog. This identity of structure may best be studied in a comparison of the osseous system, or skeletons, of the two animals, which so closely resemble each other that their transposition would not easily be detected.
The spine of the dog consists of seven vertebrae in the neck, thirteen in the back, seven in the loins, three sacral vertebrae, and twenty to twenty-two in the tail. In both the dog and the wolf there are thirteen pairs of ribs, nine true and four false. Each has forty-two teeth. They both have five front and four hind toes, while outwardly the common wolf has so much the appearance of a large, bare-boned dog, that a popular description of the one would serve for the other.
Nor are their habits different. The wolf's natural voice is a loud howl, but when confined with dogs he will learn to bark. Although he is carnivorous, he will also eat vegetables, and when sickly he will nibble grass. In the chase, a pack of wolves will divide into parties, one following the trail of the quarry, the other endeavouring to intercept its retreat, exercising a considerable amount of strategy, a trait which is exhibited by many of our sporting dogs and terriers when hunting in teams.
A further important point of resemblance between the Canis lupus and the Canis familiaris lies in the fact that the period of gestation in both species is sixty-three days. There are from three to nine cubs in a wolf's litter, and these are blind for twenty-one days. They are suckled for two months, but at the end of that time they are able to eat half-digested flesh disgorged for them by their dam or even their sire.
The native dogs of all regions approximate closely in size, coloration, form, and habit to the native wolf of those regions. Of this most important circumstance there are far too many instances to allow of its being looked upon as a mere coincidence. Sir John Richardson, writing in 1829, observed that "the resemblance between the North American wolves and the domestic dog of the Indians is so great that the size and strength of the wolf seems to be the only difference.
It has been suggested that the one incontrovertible argument against the lupine relationship of the dog is the fact that all domestic dogs bark, while all wild Canidae express their feelings only by howls. But the difficulty here is not so great as it seems, since we know that jackals, wild dogs, and wolf pups reared by bitches readily acquire the habit. On the other hand, domestic dogs allowed to run wild forget how to bark, while there are some which have not yet learned so to express themselves.
The presence or absence of the habit of barking cannot, then, be regarded as an argument in deciding the question concerning the origin of the dog. This stumbling block consequently disappears, leaving us in the position of agreeing with Darwin, whose final hypothesis was that "it is highly probable that the domestic dogs of the world have descended from two good species of wolf (C. lupus and C. latrans), and from two or three other doubtful species of wolves namely, the European, Indian, and North African forms; from at least one or two South American canine species; from several races or species of jackal; and perhaps from one or more extinct species"; and that the blood of these, in some cases mingled together, flows in the veins of our domestic breeds.
NEWFOUNDLAND - THE ARISTOCRAT AMONG DOGS.
The dogs which take their name from the island of Newfoundland appeal to all lovers of animals.There are now two established varieties, the black and the white and black. There are also bronze-coloured dogs, but they are rare. The black variety of the Newfoundland is essentially black in colour; but this does not mean that there may be no other colour, for most black Newfoundlands have some white marks. In fact, a white marking on the chest is said to be typical of the true breed. Any white on the head or body would place the dog in the other than black variety. The black colour should preferably be of a dull jet appearance which approximates to brown. In the other than black class, there may be black and tan, bronze, and white and black. The latter predominates, and in this colour, beauty of marking is very important. The head should be black with a white muzzle and blaze, and the body and legs should be white with large patches of black on the saddle and quarters, with possibly other small black spots on the body and legs.
Apart from colour, the varieties should conform to the same standard. The head should be broad and massive, but in no sense heavy in appearance. The muzzle should be short, square, and clean cut, eyes rather wide apart, deep set, dark and small, not showing any haw; ears small, with close side carriage, covered with fine short hair (there should be no fringe to the ears), expression full of intelligence, dignity, and kindness.
The body should be long, square, and massive, loins strong and well filled; chest deep and broad; legs quite straight, somewhat short in proportion to the length of the body, and powerful, with round bone well covered with muscle; feet large, round, and close. The tail should be only long enough to reach just below the hocks, free from kink, and never curled over the back. The quality of the coat is very important; the coat should be very dense, with plenty of undercoat; the outer coat somewhat harsh and quite straight.
The appearance generally should indicate a dog of great strength, and very active for his build and size, moving freely with the body swung loosely between the legs, which gives a slight roll in gait. As regards size, the Newfoundland Club standard gives 140 lbs. to 120 lbs. weight for a dog, and 110 lbs. to 120 lbs. for a bitch, with an average height at the shoulder of 27 inches and 25 inches respectively; but it is doubtful whether dogs in proper condition do conform to both requirements.
When rearing puppies give them soft food, such as well-boiled rice and milk, as soon as they will lap, and, shortly afterwards, scraped lean meat. Newfoundland puppies require plenty of meat to induce proper growth. The puppies should increase in weight at the rate of 3 lbs. a week, and this necessitates plenty of flesh, bone and muscle-forming food, plenty of meat, both raw and cooked. Milk is also good, but it requires to be strengthened with casein. The secret of growing full-sized dogs with plenty of bone and substance is to get a good start from birth, good feeding, warm, dry quarters, and freedom for the puppies to move about and exercise themselves as they wish. Forced exercise may make them go wrong on their legs. Medicine should not be required except for worms, and the puppies should be physicked for these soon after they are weaned, and again when three or four months old, or before that if they are not thriving. If free from worms, Newfoundland puppies will be found quite hardy, and, under proper conditions of food and quarters, they are easy to rear.
THE COLLIE DOG.
The Collie dog makes an excellent sporting dog, and can be taught to do the work of the Pointer and the Setter, as well as that of the Water Spaniel and the Retriever. He can be trained to perform the duties of other breeds. He is clever at hunting, having an excellent nose, is a good vermin-killer, and a most faithful watch, guard, and companion.
Little is known with certainty of the origin of the Collie, but his cunning and his outward appearance would seem to indicate a relationship with the wild dog. Buffon was of opinion that he was the true dog of nature, the stock and model of the whole canine species. He considered the Sheepdog superior in instinct and intelligence to all other breeds, and that, with a character in which education has comparatively little share, he is the only animal born perfectly trained for the service of man.
At the shows this type of dog is invariably at the top of the class. He is considered the most tractable, and is certainly the most agile. Second to this type in favour is the smooth-coated variety, a very hard, useful dog, well adapted for hill work and usually very fleet of foot. He is not so sweet in temper as the black and white, and is slow to make friends. There is not a more graceful and physically beautiful dog to be seen than the show Collie of the present period. Produced from the old working type, he is now practically a distinct breed.
The skull should be flat, moderately wide between the ears, and gradually tapering towards the eyes. There should only be a slight depression at stop. The width of skull necessarily depends upon combined length of skull and muzzle; and the whole must be considered in connection with the size of the dog. The cheek should not be full or prominent.
The muzzle should be of fair length, tapering to the nose, and must not show weakness or be snipy or lippy. Whatever the colour of the dog may be, the nose must be black. The teeth should be of good size, sound and level; very slight unevenness is permissible. The jaws Clean cut and powerful. The eyes are a very important feature, and give expression to the dog; they should be of medium size, set somewhat obliquely, of almond shape, and of a brown colour except in the case of merles, when the eyes are frequently (one or both) blue and white or china; expression full of intelligence, with a quick alert look when listening. The ears should be small and moderately wide at the base, and placed not too close together but on the top of the skull and not on the side of the head. When in repose they should be usually carried thrown back, but when on the alert brought forward and carried semi-erect, with tips slightly drooping in attitude of listening.
The neck should be muscular, powerful and of fair length, and somewhat arched. The body should be strong, with well sprung ribs, chest deep, fairly broad behind the shoulders, which should be sloped, loins very powerful. The dog should be straight in front. The fore-legs should be straight and muscular, neither in nor out at elbows, with a fair amount of bone; the forearm somewhat fleshy, the pasterns showing flexibility without weakness. The hind-legs should be muscular at the thighs, clean and sinewy below the hocks, with well bent stifles. The feet should be oval in shape, soles well padded, and the toes arched and close together.
In general character he is a lithe active dog, his deep chest showing lung power, his neck strength, his sloping shoulders and well bent hocks indicating speed, and his expression high intelligence. He should be a fair length on the leg, giving him more of a racy than a cloddy appearance. In a few words, a Collie should show endurance, activity, and intelligence, with free and true action. In height dogs should be 22 ins. to 24 ins. at the shoulders, bitches 20 ins. to 22 ins. The weight for dogs is 45 to 65 lbs., bitches 40 to 55 lbs. The smooth collie only differs from the rough in its coat, which should be hard, dense and quite smooth.
THE DECORATIVE DEERHOUND.
The Deerhound is one of the most decorative of dogs, impressively stately and picturesque wherever he is seen, whether it be amid the surroundings of the baronial hall, reclining at luxurious length before the open hearth in the fitful light of the log fire that flickers on polished armour and tarnished tapestry; out in the open, straining at the leash as he scents the dewy air, or gracefully bounding over the purple of his native hills. Grace and majesty are in his every movement and attitude, and even to the most prosaic mind there is about him the inseparable glamour of feudal romance and poetry.
From remote days the Scottish nobles cherished their strains of Deerhound, seeking glorious sport in the Highland forests. The red deer belonged by inexorable law to the kings of Scotland, and great drives, which often lasted for several days, were made to round up the herds into given neighbourhoods for the pleasure of the court, as in the reign of Queen Mary. But the organised coursing of deer by courtiers ceased during the Stuart troubles, and was left in the hands of retainers, who thus replenished their chief's larder.
Head:-The head should be broadest at the ears, tapering slightly to the eyes, with the muzzle tapering more decidedly to the nose. The muzzle should be pointed, but the teeth and lips level. The head should be long, the skull flat rather than round, with a very slight rise over the eyes, but with nothing approaching a stop. The skull should be coated with moderately long hair which is softer than the rest of the coat. The nose should be black (though in some blue-fawns the colour is blue) and slightly aquiline. In the lighter-coloured dogs a black muzzle is preferred. There should be a good moustache of rather silky hair, and a fair beard.
Ears:-The ears should be set on high, and, in repose, folded back like the Greyhound's, though raised above the head in excitement without losing the fold, and even, in some cases, semi-erect.The ear should be soft, glossy, and like a mouse's coat to the touch, and the smaller it is the better. It should have no long coat or long fringe, but there is often a silky, silvery coat on the body of the ear and the tip. Whatever the general colour, the ears should be black or dark-coloured.
Neck and shoulders:-The neck should be long that is, of the length that befits the Greyhound character of the dog. The nape of the neck should be very prominent where the head is set on, and the throat should be clean-cut at the angle and prominent. The shoulders should be well sloped, the blades well back, with not too much width between them.
Stern:-Stern should be tolerably long, tapering, and reaching to within 1-1/2 inches of the ground, and about 1-1/2 inches below the hocks. When the dog is still, dropped perfectly straight down, or curved. When in motion it should be curved when excited, in no case to be lifted out of the line of the back. It should be well covered with hair, on the inside thick and wiry, underside longer.
Eyes:-The eyes should be dark: generally they are dark brown or hazel. The eye is moderately full with a soft look in repose, but a keen, far-away gaze when the dog is roused. The rims of the eyelids should be black.
Body: The body and general formation is that of a Greyhound of larger size and bone. Chest deep rather than broad, but not too narrow and flat-sided. The loin well arched and drooping to the tail.
Legs and feet:-The legs should be broad and flat, a good broad forearm and elbow being desirable. Fore-legs, of course, as straight as possible. Feet close and compact, with well-arched toes. The hind-quarters drooping, and as broad and powerful as possible, the hips being set wide apart. The hind-legs should be well bent at the stifle, with great length from the hip to the hock, which should be broad and flat.
Coat:-The hair on the body, neck, and quarters should be harsh and wiry, and about 3 inches or 4 inches long; that on the head, breast, and belly is much softer. There should be a slight hairy fringe on the inside of the fore and hind-legs, but nothing approaching to the feathering of a Collie. The Deerhound should be a shaggy dog, but not over coated.
Colour:-Colour is much a matter of fancy. But there is no manner of doubt that the dark blue-grey is the most preferred. Next come the darker and lighter greys or brindles, the darkest being generally preferred. Yellow and sandy-red or red-fawn, especially with black points i.e., ears and muzzle are also in equal estimation.
Height:-From 28 inches to 30 inches, or even more if there be symmetry without coarseness, which, however, is rare. Height of bitches: From 26 inches upwards. There can be no objection to a bitch being large, unless she is too coarse, as even at her greatest height she does not approach that of the dog, and, therefore, could not well be too big for work, as over-big dogs are.
THE FOXHOUND DOG.
Foxhounds were the very first of the canine races in Great Britain to come under the domination of scientific breeding. There had been hounds of more ancient origin, such as the Southern Hound and the Bloodhound; but something different was wanted towards the end of the seventeenth century to hunt the wild deer that had become somewhat scattered after Cromwell's civil war. The demand was consequently for a quicker hound than those hitherto known, and people devoted to the chase began to breed it.
Head:-Somewhat broad, not peaked like the Bloodhound, but long from the apex to the frontal bones, eyebrows very prominent, cheeks cut clean from the eye to the nostril, ears set low and in their natural condition thin and shapely, but not large, nose large, jaw strong and level, and small dewlaps, expression fierce, and with the best often repellent.
Eyes:-Very bright and deeply set, full of determination, and with a very steady expression. The look of the Foxhound is very remarkable.
Neck:-Should be perfectly clean, no skin ruffle whatever. The length of neck is of importance, both for stooping and giving an air of majesty.
Shoulders:-The blades should be well into the back, and should slant, otherwise be wide and strong, to meet the arms, that should be long and powerful.
Legs and feet:-The bone should be perfectly straight from the arm downward, and descend in the same degree of size to the ankles. The knee should be almost flat and level; there should be no curve until coming to the toes, which should be very strong, round, cat-shaped, and every toe clean set as it were.
Coat:-The coat is hard hair, but short and smooth, the texture is as stiff as bristles, but beautifully laid.
Colour:-Belvoir tan, which is brown and black, perfectly intermixed, with white markings of various shapes and sizes. The white should be very opaque and clear. Black and white, with tan markings on head and stifles. Badger pied a kind of grey and white. Lemon pied, light yellow and white. Hare pied, a darker yellow and white.
Height:-Dogs from 23-1/2 to 24 inches; bitches from 22 to 22-1/2 inches.
THE MOST INTELLIGENT POODLE.
The Poodle is commonly acknowledged to be the most wisely intelligent of all members of the canine race. There is a general belief that he is a fop, whose time is largely occupied in personal embellishment, and that he requires a great deal of individual attention in the matter of his toilet. It may be true that to keep him in exhibition order and perfect cleanliness his owner has need to devote more consideration to him than is necessary in the case of many breeds; but in other respects he gives very little trouble, and all who are attached to him are consistent in their opinion that there is no dog so intensely interesting and responsive as a companion. His qualities of mind and his acute powers of reasoning are indeed so great that there is something almost human in his attractiveness and his devotion. His aptitude in learning is never denied, and many are the stories told of his marvellous talent and versatility.
Not merely as a showman's dog has he distinguished himself. He is something more than a mountebank of the booths, trained to walk the tight rope and stand on his head. He is an adept at performing tricks, but it is his alertness of brain that places him apart from other animals.
The profuse and long coat of this dog has the peculiarity that if not kept constantly brushed out it twists up into little cords which increase in length as the new hair grows and clings about it. The unshed old hair and the new growth entwined together thus become distinct rope-like cords. Eventually, if these cords are not cut short, or accidentally torn off, they drag along the ground, and so prevent the poor animal from moving with any degree of comfort or freedom.
Corded Poodles are very showy, and from the remarkable appearance of the coat, attract a great deal of public attention when exhibited at shows; but they have lost popularity among most fanciers, and have become few in number owing to the obvious fact that it is impossible to make pets of them or keep them in the house. The reason of this is that the coat must, from time to time, be oiled in order to keep the cords supple and prevent them from snapping, and, of course, as their coats cannot be brushed, the only way of keeping the dog clean is to wash him, which with a corded Poodle is a lengthy and laborious process. Further, the coat takes hours to dry, and unless the newly washed dog be kept in a warm room he is very liable to catch cold. The result is, that the coats of corded Poodles are almost invariably dirty, and somewhat smelly.
Poodle's General appearance
Head: Long, straight, and fine, the skull not broad, with a slight peak at the back.
Muzzle: Long (but not snipy) and strong not full in cheek; teeth white, strong, and level; gums black, lips black and not showing lippiness.
Eyes: Almond shaped, very dark, full of fire and intelligence.
Nose: Black and sharp.
Ears: The leather long and wide, low set on, hanging close to the face.
Neck: Well proportioned and strong, to admit of the head being carried high and with dignity.
Feet: Rather small, and of good shape, the toes well arched, pads thick and hard.
Legs: Fore-legs set straight from shoulder, with plenty of bone and muscle.
Hind-legs: Very muscular and well bent, with the hocks well let down.
Tail: Set on rather high, well carried, never curled or carried over back.
Coat: Very profuse, and of good hard texture; if corded, hanging in tight, even cords; if non-corded, very thick and strong, of even length, the curls close and thick, without knots or cords.