Home >> Encyclopedia-britannica-volume-7-part-1-damascus-education-in-animals >> Dog to Forest Of Dean >> Dog

Dog

Loading


DOG. Although the word "dog" is believed to have been originally applied to a particular English breed, it is now used in a general sense to connote all the domesticated varieties of the zoological genus Canis, of which the wolf (Canis lupus) and the northern jackal (Canis aureus) of Europe and Asia are familiar wild species. The accepted zoological name is Canis f amiliaris.

Origin and Antiquity.—The origin of domesticated dogs has been often discussed, and it cannot be claimed that absolute unanimity has as yet been reached. The theory which, until a few years ago, received the support of most competent judges was that two or more existing wild species, like the wolf and the jackal, were concerned in their parentage. But recently there has been a steady convergence towards the conclusion that they are descended from a single species, namely, the common wolf, which existed in the countries of Europe in which we first find evidences of the domestication of the dog. The view that European and North African jackals were probable contributors to the strain has been discredited by Gerritt Miller's demonstration that jackals differ from dogs in the structure of the teeth, the crown of the last two upper crushing teeth having a well developed ridge or "cingulum" on the outer side and the lower cutting tooth a comparatively high cusp on the inner side of the blade. The teeth of the wolf, on the other hand, agree in every structural detail with those of domesticated dogs, except that they are relatively larger. It cannot, however, be maintained that Miller's contention that the wolf was the sole progenitor of the domesti cated dog rests upon absolutely conclusive evidence ; and if it be held that the ancestor of our dogs was a species differing from the wolf in the size of the teeth and possibly other characters, like the greater uniformity and smoothness of the coat, and that the resemblance of certain breeds, like Eskimos, to the wolf, is due to subsequent crossing with that species, it would be difficult to set aside the hypothesis, except on the grounds of the improbability of such a species being wholly reclaimed from the wild state. In support of this view, however, it may be said that the dingo, which was introduced into Australia by the aborigines from southern Asia at a remote epoch, closely agrees in type with the possible progenitor of domesticated breeds.

From the investigation of caves, middens and lake dwellings, it is known that Europeans of the New Stone Age possessed a breed of dogs ; and a similar breed has been traced through the successive ages of Bronze and Iron. But it is not until we reach historic times that accurate information of the external form of domesticated dogs is forthcoming. From the oldest records sup plied by Chaldaean and Egyptian monuments, it is manifest that several distinct varieties had been developed 4,000-5,00o years ago. Slender dogs of the greyhound type, and a short-legged breed like a smooth Aberdeen are depicted in Egypt ; and the Assyrians of about 600 B.C. had mastiff-like hounds. The Greeks and Romans of the classical period had dogs of different kinds; and the Europeans who first visited Australia, Polynesia, New Zealand and America found domesticated dogs in possession of the natives, a discovery attesting that the dog was the companion of man in his early wanderings from Europe and Asia. It is also certain that in the middle ages and later, European breeds of various types were introduced into America and elsewhere; and naturalists have claimed that in many countries there is a close resemblance between the domesticated breeds and native wild species. Resemblance between the pariah dogs of the east and the Asiatic jackal has been repeatedly noticed. A similar likeness has been observed between dogs and jackals in Africa, between Eskimo dogs and the North American wolf, the Hare Indian dogs and the prairie wolf, and between the domesticated dogs of Guiana and the native crab-eating dog. These resemblances are mainly accountable for the theory of the multiple specific origin of domesticated breeds, but they are equally explicable on the theory of the origin of domesticated dogs from a single wild source, their early differentiation into a variety of breeds, and their crossing with native species in many countries of the world.

Of modern European breeds, probably the Alsatian (some times called the Police dog), which differs mainly from the wolf in its finer head, smaller teeth and shorter, more uniform coat, comes nearest to the ancestral type. From this breed it is evi dent that the selective agency of man has produced breeds of dogs differing profoundly from the prototype.

To enumerate all the breeds of dogs owned by savage and semi-civilized peoples would be impossible. Nor is it possible to mention all of those admitted by the Kennel club. How and where and when most breeds arose is unknown ; and since their true affinities are by no means clearly understood, no satisfactory classification can be drawn up. Roughly they may be assigned to the following groups. It must be remembered, however, that, unless size is an obstacle to pairing, all the breeds are mutually fertile, and that since some well-known and recognized breeds have been formed by deliberately crossing dogs belonging to two distinct groups, many intermediate types exist which cannot be definitely affiliated with either. Most of the groups, moreover, contain degenerate breeds, now fostered as pets or toys, and in these the essential characteristics of the group are frequently obscured.

The Schnauzer is one of the newer breeds, and are of two sizes—Schnauzers and Miniature Schnauzers. They are a very popular breed, rough-coated and coming originally from the city of Munich.

The Eskimo Group.—To this group belong a number of breeds mostly found in the northern districts of Europe, Asia and America. They have pricked ears, and some of them very closely resemble wolves not only in general build, shape of head and size, but in the texture and colour of the coat—resemblances due either to direct inheritance from the wolf or to crossing with that animal. The bushy tail, however, is habitually carried tightly curled over the loins, which is never the case in wolves. The best-known breed is the Eskimo of North America, which has been declared to be nothing but a wolf reclaimed from a wild state. Like the wolf it does not bark, and in typical examples the coat consists, as in wolves, of coarse, shaggy, long hair rising from a thick coat of underwool. Throughout Siberia the larger dogs of this type, which, however, do bark, are known by the general name of Laika and, like the Eskimo, these dogs are used for sport and draught purposes, and sometimes as sheep-dogs. Other Asiatic breeds are the Samoyede, which is generally white and is used for draught and reindeer-herding, and the Chow, which is broader in the head, shorter in the muzzle and blue-tongued. Somewhat similar to the Samoyede, but less thickly coated, is the Naga, used as a sheep-dog in Assam. Two breeds are of out standing interest in Europe, namely, the Norwegian elkhound and the Pomeranian, the latter, to which the name Spitz properly be longs, being now best known by the toy variety which may weigh no more than 4 or 5 lb.

The Sheep-dog Group.—Though some breeds of the Eskimo group, like the elkhound, are used for herding sheep, as well as other purposes, this group-name may be applied to such dogs as the Alsatian and some French, Belgian and Hungarian sheep-dogs, typical examples of which, on account of the drooping tail, are even more like wolves than the average Eskimo, although the coat is usually much closer and shorter. Collies must also be re ferred here. Typical specimens have been deprived of much of their wolf-like aspect by the folding of the ear; but the likeness between a prick-eared, rough-coated collie and a wolf is unmistak able. The old English sheep-dog is frequently associated with the collie, a Scotch breed, but apparently without justification. At all events the modern breed is a totally distinct type. It is a shaggy, long-coated dog, the hair concealing the eyes, typically with a naturally abbreviated tail, and is peculiarly built about the hindquarters owing in a large measure to the low setting of the hocks.

The Greyhound Group.—The greyhound, as known from ancient Egyptian monuments, existed several thousand years B.C. and has come down to us with very little structural change. The group comprises many breeds, notable for swiftness of foot and running prey by sight. They are strongly but lightly built, with long narrow head, long powerful limbs, and the tail is carried low. Familiar European breeds are the English greyhound with a smooth, short coat; the Scottish deerhound, a larger and more powerful dog, with a shaggy coat ; the Irish wolfhound, similar to the deerhound but still larger, standing 2 ft. 6 in. or more at the shoulder; and the Russian wolfhound, or borzoi, which is as high but not so powerful as the Irish breed and has a long, silky coat and a flat head. In these breeds the ears are small, set well back and neatly folded. But in some of the Balearic islands there is a smooth-coated breed, with large erect ears, recalling greyhounds depicted on the Egyptian monuments and possibly lineally de scended from them. To the east, in Arabia, Persia and Afghanis tan, there are breeds of greyhounds, known as Salukis, which vary locally in the amount of coat they carry but differ from European breeds in having large, pendulous, hound-like ears. There is also a powerful type of greyhound in India, known as the Rampur.

A small edition of the English greyhound, used for rabbits, is called the whippet ; and the smallest breed of all, the toy Italian greyhound, was once very popular as a pet. It is one of the few dwarfed races which retains the elegance and beauty of its prototype.

The Mastiff Group.—From ancient Babylonian monuments it is evident that the mastiff is a very old breed which has altered in no important particulars from several centuries B.C. to the present time. It is the Molossus of classical writers. In England in the middle ages it was known as the band-dog or ban-dog, while its French title, matin, is still in use. By the ancient Assyrians it was used for hunting, but in more modern times it was chiefly employed as a watch-dog. The existing breed is a powerfully built, smooth-coated dog, large specimens standing 2 ft. 6 in. at the shoulder and weighing as much as 17o lb. The head is high and massive, its width being about two-thirds of its length owing to the shortening of the muzzle, which is very deep; and its skin is more or less wrinkled; the ears are small, pendulous, but set rather high on the head; the body is long, the legs strong and set wide apart, and the tail is tapering and carried low.

The mastiff was used in the middle ages for bear-baiting and bull-baiting, and the bulldog of that period, represented by the existing dogue de Bordeaux, a breed smaller than the mastiff and with a more abbreviated muzzle, was derived from it. The gro tesque modern bulldog is a dwarfed, degenerate type of the latter, bred solely to suit the taste of fanciers. Several breeds are recog nized. The ordinary type, which is well known, weighs about 5o lb., but miniature breeds may be less than half that weight. The so-called French toy bulldog has erect, so-called "bat" ears. Judg ing from its appearance, the pug is also a diminutive representative of the mastiff stock, although the tail is curled tightly over the loins.

Whether the so-called Tibetan mastiff is akin to the typical mastiff or not is an open question. The two have many points in common and are tolerably similar in size; but the Tibetan dog has a fuller coat and a bushy tail, typically carried in a curl over the back. These dogs are used as watch—dogs; but throughout a greater part of the Himalayas similar breeds are employed as sheep-dogs.

Connecting the mastiff group with the greyhound group is the great dane, or German boarhound, which is believed to have originated in a cross between the mastiff and greyhound, yielding a breed combining in a measure the size and strength of the former with the speed of the latter; and from an imported Ger man boarhound, crossed with a rough coated sheep-dog of a type common in Switzerland, is believed to have arisen the original St. Bernard dog which may take after either of its parents in being smooth or rough coated. But there is probably a strain of Newfoundland or Pyrenean in the modern breed.

The Terrier Group has a number of breeds differing so profoundly from each other that the extreme types have hardly a character in common. It is linked with the mastiff group through the bull-terrier which was originally produced by crossing the bulldog with the white English terrier. Other strains, like grey hound, pointer and Dalmatian, were also, it is said, added to give size and eliminate the defective bulldog physiognomy. The result at all events has been a hardy dog of exceptional courage and strength. The Boston Terrier had a similar origin, but the head in this breed has retained many of the bulldog character istics. With the hound group the terriers are connected through the Airedale, which resulted from a cross between the otter hound and a local terrier of the Aire valley. This is the largest of the terriers, but apart from size the original breed did not differ greatly from rough-coated Welsh or Irish terriers. Another rough-coated terrier of tolerably large size is the Bedlington breed with a flattish head and long ears, originally owned by the gypsies and tinkers of Northumberland who used it for otter hunting and killing vermin.

Dog

Other northern terriers are the Scottish or Aberdeen, a rough coated, short-legged, prick-eared breed; the dandie dinmont, somewhat similar to the latter in build but with a larger head and now at all events with drooping ears, and the Skye terrier, also similar to the Aberdeen but with a long coat, also Cairn Terriers, and West Highland White Terriers. The best known English breeds are the fox-terrier, which may be smooth or wire-haired, and the black-and-tan or Manchester terrier, breeds differing from the northern types in being comparatively long in the leg and generally active and swift of foot. There are also toy terriers differing from the normal type, as is usual with toys, in having the cranium globular and the muzzle reduced. The Brussels griffon is a diminutive rough-coated type.

The Hound Group.—The typical breeds of the group are pow erfully built dogs with strong legs, a hard smooth coat, long head and muzzle, low-set, pendulous ears and pendulous upper lips or "flews." They were originally bred for following the quarry by scent, which is in them exceptionally keen. There was at least one breed of this type of dog, called the St. Hubert, in France before the Conquest ; and there are good reasons for the belief that English breeds of the present day are traceable to the im portation of these dogs by William I. From them were derived the talbot and the old English staghound, both now extinct, and the bloodhound which still survives. The bloodhound, which ex hibits the hound characters of the head in the most exaggerated form, has the keenest scent of all dogs, but is heavily built and lacking in speed. There seem to have been other breeds in this country in the Middle ages known as the southern and northern hounds; and a large breed was used for stags and smaller breeds, harriers and beagles, for hares. Harriers and beagles are often described as small types of foxhound, the beagle being the most diminutive of all true hounds. But stag-hunting and hare-hunting are much older sports than fox-hunting, and harriers and beagles, which were followed on foot, are older breeds than the modern foxhound which was probably developed by crossing one of the old English hounds of the bloodhound type with the greyhound to give speed in the pursuit of the fox over open country. The result was a very perfect type of hound, combining the attributes of its parents, swift, strong and keen-scented and so adaptable that it has superseded the staghound and is rapidly replacing the old rough-coated otter-hound, which retains more of the characters of the original hound.

Another type of hound is the bassett, which was imported from France about half a century ago but is now in disrepute. It deviates from the hound type in being exceedingly short in the leg, a character in which it resembles the diminutive German dachshund, or badger-dog, now a household pet, which has many hound-like characters, although its right to a place in this category has been disputed.

The pointer has many of the physical attributes of the fox hound which lend support to the view that it was derived mainly from that breed. It may be added that the attitudes assumed by the pointer and setter when marking down birds are mere modifica tions of the behaviour of a wolf when aware by scent or sight of the near proximity of game.

The Spaniel Group.—This group, with its long, low-set pendu lous ears, full or pendulous upper lips, long muzzle and habit of hunting by scent, has much in common with the hounds although differing from them in possessing a long, soft and silky coat.

The least modified breed of this group is the setter, which must probably be regarded as the original stock of the different breeds of spaniels, the Clumber, cocker, springer and others, including the degenerate toys, such as the Blenheim and King Charles', and possibly the Pekingese of China and Tibet, although, like many oriental breeds, these have bushy tails curled on the back.

The Newfoundland breed has been assigned to the spaniel group; but apparently without good reason. In size and other characters the breed at the present time shows many resemblances to the huge Pyrenean sheep and cattle dog, which, despite its thick coat, has many of the mastiff attributes; and possibly from this dog, taken to North America in the middle ages, arose the Newfoundland. But there were certainly smaller dogs on that island, differing from the modern type and probably the same as the Labrador "retriever." From one of these, imported from Newfoundland, was produced, apparently by a setter cross, the strain of flat-coated retrievers. A similar dog crossed with a water spaniel yielded the curly-coated retriever.

The Poodle Group.—The poodle is notable for its peculiar coat consisting of a thick covering of curls on the head, limbs, body and tail. The curls are sometimes lengthened into ringlets or cords reaching the ground. The dog is well set up, with long legs, muz zle and pendulous ears, and has a well carried, shapely head. It appears to be of German origin and to have been used as a water dog for flushing and retrieving game. It, or a similar curly-coated water-dog, was probably the ancestor of the so-called Irish water spaniel which shows great resemblance to the poodle except in having a whip-tail, and a long sweeping hind leg with the hock set low down, as in the English sheep-dog. The English water spaniel arose apparently from a cross between a similar water-dog and a true spaniel. Additional groups might perhaps with advan tage be established for aberrant breeds. One that is of special interest is the Schipperke, a small, black, Belgian breed which typically has no trace of a tail. For the rest it is a compactly built dog with a somewhat foxy head and erect ears. (R. I. P.) Setters and pointers in America, while the offspring of a parent stock that had its origin in European countries, are the evolution of American sportsmen. This was effected mainly through the natural course of adaptation to a new environment where upland game shooting varied greatly from Old Country methods, and partly through field trials and bench shows.

In that division of bird dogs known as setters, or long-haired varieties, three groups are recognized as distinct breeds, the English, the Irish and the Gordon. Other appellations are used to designate certain strains of English setters. After 187o two out standing strains of English setters began to be imported, the Laveracks and the variety later called Llewellins. The Lave racks, an old-established strain, were already decadent, but they were handsome dogs, with soft, silky coats and a general air of good breeding. The effete Laveracks were crossed with a puissant strain known as the Duke-Rhoebe combination and the resulting progeny soon began winning in British field trials. R. Purcell Llewellin, a breeder of setters near Shrewsbury, England, fostered the cross with great success. Dogs of this strain swept the bench shows and field competitions of the United States and Canada, and American admirers fixed the name of "Lewellin" upon those on American soil, proclaiming it a distinct breed of setter. Time has given the name a definite sanction. It embraces all setters descended in direct lines from the original Duke-Rhoebe-Lave rack cross without admixture of other blood. These so-called Llewellins are seen in all sizes from small, 20 lb. creatures to dogs weighing 7o lb. No special markings distinguish them from other English setters and they are found in all colours, white, black and tan, white and black, orange and white, chestnut and white, blue ticked or orange ticked.

Those sportsmen who catered principally to bench shows, endeavoured to breed a more uniform type, but they erred in the other extreme by producing exaggerated heads with deep flews and abnormal depth of muzzle, heavy shoulders and profuse coats. Dogs of this kind beautified the benches, but as a rule were too slow and unwieldy for field trials. Unless breeders endeavour to meet on common ground and strive to amalgamate types in the effort to produce a happy medium, the English setter in America will forever be divided against itself with adherents favouring both types.

The Gordon and the Irish setter are distinct species and while neither became as popular as the English variety, both have ad mirers. The Gordon is black and tan in colour and of a heavier and larger mould than the other varieties, while the typical Irish setter is deep mahogany red and more rough-and-ready in appearance. After the early days in field trials, when the speedier and flashier Llewellins were in vogue, neither the Gordon nor the Irish were seen to any extent in field competitions, but on the show benches they are still very popular.

Pointers in America have a pioneer history somewhat analogous to the setters. Authentic importations came to the United States about the same time as the first Laveracks and Llewellins. It was the late Edward Dexter, of Buzzard's Bay, Mass., who had the first decisive success in field trials with this short-haired breed of bird dog, when he produced Rip Rap, Jingo, Maid of Kent and others, in the '8os and early '9os. Since then the pointer has made rapid strides both in field and show competition. So re markable has the progress of the breed been, that it has more than held its own with the best of setters. The success of the two famous bitches, Mary Montrose and Becky Broom Hill, are out standing examples, for both have won the national championship, the greatest event in field trials, three times, a feat no setter has been able to equal thus far.

Pointer breeders carefully eschewed fads, but made their breeding selections from the best available strains, taking individ uality and blood lines that would blend into consideration, rather than attempting to build up pedigrees of fashionable names. The pointer to-day is a vast improvement over his ancestors of 5o years ago and as long as breeders continue to follow along the lines as exemplified by the late Edward Dexter and a few others who succeeded him, there is no reason to believe that the breed will recede from the high position it now occupies in field trials, at bench shows and as a gun dog. (A. F. Ho.)

breeds, breed, dogs, type, english, coat and head