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ex Mris; 







Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation 







with a preface by 


Illustrated by the Author with i6 plates and 
numerous illustrations in the text 





li'O-^^t^ IsH »n 






Late Superintendent of the London Zoological Gardens 

THE lasting and admittedly well-deserved liking 
for dogs held by the peoples of the Western civiliza- 
tion has stimulated the output of a vast literature 
dealing with them from almost every conceivable 
standpoint. As a result there is very little that, 
strictly speaking, can be called new to be said about 
them, except perhaps on the purely scientific side. 
But to write a fresh book, worth publishing on the 
subject, required patience and diligence in biblio- 
graphical research, astuteness in selecting for treat- 
ment such aspects of their story as will make a wide 
appeal and a standard of intelligence regrettably 
rare in amateur compilers of books on animals. 
Happily Cecil G. Trew is well equipped for the 
task he undertook ; and being gifted as well with 
artistic skill he has added considerably to the valin 
and interest of his volume by the plates and text 
figures with which he has illustrated it. 

In handling the subject-matter he has closely 
followed the lines adopted in an earlier work of his 
on horses, entitled From ' Dawn ' to ' Eclipse ' . Most of 
the chapters deal with the changing uses of different 
breeds of dogs as companions of man from the 

vi The Story of the Dog 

prehistoric period of their domestication to the 
present time ; but he has traced their history back 
to still earlier ages and lucidly explained the 
evolution of the canine family from ancestors in 
appearance and structure quite unlike the wild and 
tame dogs with which we are familiar. This novel 
feature in an animal-book written for the ordinary 
public contains information that will be entirely 
new to 90 per cent, of its readers ; but it will be 
welcomed by all who take an intelligent interest 
in our dogs. 

British Museum [Natural History) 
December igjg 


MY thanks are due to Mr. R. I. Pocock, F.R.S., 
for his untiring help and criticism, especially with 
that part of this book which deals with the evolution 
of the dog ; to Dr. Bullock for permission to use 
the Library of the Royal College of Veterinary 
Surgeons ; to Mr. L. E. Naylor, of the National 
Canine Defence League, for information on the 
Laws regarding dogs ; to the Tail Waggers Club, 
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, The 
British Museum and the Wallace Collection for 
permission to use their material, and to Mr. J. G. 
Mann for information regarding dog-armour. 

My special thanks are due to Mr. Richard Sabin 
for the loan, and permission to draw from, his 
wonderful collection of dog prints. 


This Dogge hath so himself subdued 

That hunger cannot make him rude ; 

And his behaviour doth confess 

True courage dwells in gentleness. 

Few men to do such noble deeds have learned, 

Or having done, could look so unconcerned. 

Anon., 1669 




















THE GUIDE DOG Frontispiece 









' WOLF ', 1939 112 




























xii The Story of the Dog 























WAR ARMOUR, I449-I509 9 1 



Lijie Illustrations xiii 






' FAN-TRACE ' I 1 6 

' MUSH ' 121 



COLLIE, 1653 124 

SHEPHERD, 1 410 126 




1570 BLOODHOUND 1 35 











SEA-DOG FROM 1 482 MS. 181 



boye's death at marston MOOR 185 

PUDEL AND PIPER, 1 642 1 87 




The more I see of men, the better I like my dog, 

Frederick the Great 

THE family of the dog is to-day the most widely 
distributed of any of the four-footed animals. 
Using the term ' dog ' in its widest sense, species 
of one sort or another are to be found in every 
continent and in every climate practically from 
pole to pole. 

In every part of the globe that is inhabited by 
man, there is the dog to be found with him ; and 
everywhere is the dog privileged to share man's 
dwelling. Other animals, such as the horse, the 
cat, the cow and the sheep, have become honoured 
servants and friends of man, but none has entered 
into human life, sharing its pleasures and respon- 
sibilities to such an extent as has the dog. One 
cannot but wonder how this has come about. 

The dog has been called ' Man's best Friend ', 
and not only is this true, but he was also apparently 
man's first friend. Long before primitive man 
thought of extending the hand of friendship to any 

2 The Story of the Dog 

other living creature the dog seems to have taken 
his place by the cave-dweller's fireside. In almost 
every part of the world where the bones of primitive 
man have been uncovered the bones of the dog have 
been found in close proximity. A striking example 
of this is seen in the kitchen middens found near 
the coasts of the Baltic and North Seas where the 
finds have been very prolific. These remains are 
of a small dog, and discoveries of later periods show 
a gradual increase in size until, by the time man 
had added the horse, the ox and the sheep to his 
menage, the dog had attained considerable stature. 
Bones of dogs have also been found on the sites of 
the ancient lake dwellings in Switzerland and in 
Ireland. The aboriginal peoples of these regions 
were ignorant of agriculture, living by the chase 
alone, and there can be no doubt but that in their 
hunting, as protection against other animals, and 
probably as an emergency supply of food, they 
were largely indebted to the dog. From the 
Palaeolithic era we have some wonderful cave 
drawings, one of which shows a fine hunting scene 
with dogs well depicted. The drawing is estimated 
to be some 50,000 years old. 

Who can tell how this association of dog and 
man first came about ? It is certain that, at the 
beginning of things, man's hand was against all 
animals and theirs against him, each caring only 
for the protection of his own family and the pre- 
servation of his own kind. Primitive dogs, hunt- 
ing in packs, did not hesitate to destroy man 
whenever they got the chance, and man, with his 
ability to throw stones and fashion spears and bows 

Why is Dog Man's Best Friend? 3 

and arrows, was only too anxious to kill the animal 
in defence of his family and perhaps to add to the 

One can imagine several ways in which this 
companionship may have begun. Perhaps primi- 
tive man found a litter of cubs, left helpless and 
destitute through his having killed the parents, and 
took one of the engaging little things home with 
him to amuse his children. He would be impressed 
by the way in which the dog fitted in with his 
family life. His wife would throw it bones and 
scraps, and the dog, feeling that its rightful home 
was wherever it received food and comfort, would, 
in return, develop a sense of protection and 
guardianship. It would growl at the approach of 
strangers who might, it would feel, be coming to 
usurp its privileges ; it would follow this strange 
biped about hoping for more food and therefore 
prepared to protect its benefactor from possible 
enemies. As I say, one can only imagine — 

When Wild Dog reached the mouth of the Cave he Hfted 
up the dried horse-skin with his nose and sniffed the beautiful 
smell of the roast mutton, and the Woman, looking at the 
blade-bone, heard him, and Laughed, and said, ' Here comes 
the first. Wild Thing out of the Wild Woods, what do you 
want ? ' 

Wild Dog said, ' O my Enemy and Wife of my Enemy, 
what is this that smells so good in the Wild Woods ? ' 

Then the Woman picked up a roasted mutton-bone and 
threw it to Wild Dog, and said, ' Wild Thing out of the Wild 
Woods, taste and try.' Wild Dog gnawed the bone, and it 
was more delicious than anything he had ever tasted, and he 
said, 'O my Enemy and Wife of my Enemy, give me another.' 

The Woman said, ' Wild Thing out of the Wild Woods, help 
my Man to hunt through the day and guard this Cave at 

4 The Story of the Dog 

night, and I will give you as many roast bones as you need.' 
. . . Wild Dog crawled into the Cave and laid his head on 
the woman's lap, and said, ' O my friend and Wife of my 
Friend, I will help your Man to hunt through the day, and at 
night I will guard your Cave.' . . . When the Man waked 
up he said, ' What is Wild Dog doing here ? ' And the 
Woman said, ' His name is not Wild Dog any more, but 
First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and 
always and always. Take him with you when you go 

Jtist So Stories 

Dog's power of tracking and sharp sense of smell 
would help man in pursuing game, and when the 
quarry was struck down, he would receive as his 
reward those parts of the carcass which man did 
not need for himself and his family. The word 
' quarry ' originally meant ' the entrails of the game 
given to the dogs after the chase '. 

A man cannot go abroad to provide for his family 
and at the same time stay and protect them in the 
home. Prehistoric man had many enemies lurking 
in the forest and he could leave the dog on guard 
while he was away. Thus the dog would receive 
some measure of respect from the family in his role 
of deputy man and, probably, some rough kindness 
to ensure his remaining at his post. 

It should be remembered that when speaking of 
these primitive canines, the word ' Dog ' must be 
taken to include all those branches of the family 
which have, in all probability, contributed to the 
ancestry of our domestic breeds, such as the wolves, 
jackals and various wild dogs. The ancestry of the 
dog proper will be gone into later on. 

Perhaps the partnership began through the 

Why is Dog Man's Best Friend? 5 

mutual assistance given in hunting. A wounded 
quarry might escape man, to become easy prey for 
the dog ; or an animal tracked down and brought 
to bay by a pack would be despatched by man's 
superior weapons. However the association started 
it is very certain that it has continued through all 
the ages for the benefit of both man and beast. 

Why is it that this animal above all others has 
become the friend and companion of man ? Man 
and dog began life as enemies, and we may be sure 
that our primitive ancestors possessed little or none 
of that sentiment we call ' love of animals '. Life 
was very simple, and the struggle for existence 
precluded all sentimental affections save those 
tending to the preservation of family and race. 
The partnership brought man a guardian for his 
home and a reliable ally in the search for food, 
while the dog gained the comfort and warmth of 
the dwelling-place and more assured meals, but the 
' opening of negotiations ', as politicians say, must 
have been difficult. 

It seems very unlikely that primitive man took 
the trouble — or, indeed, had the wit — to try to 
train the dog to serve his, man's, own ends, when 
he can only have had the very vaguest conception 
of the advantages to which the association would 
eventually lead. 

If we study the natural life of the wild dog it 
becomes plain that the qualities for which we love 
and value our dog to-day have not been introduced 
into its character by man, but that the germs were 
already there when first the partnership began. 
In this fact lies the foundation of the unique 

6 The Story of the Dog 

position dogs now occupy in the scheme of human 

Nearly all the creatures which man has found it 
practicable to domesticate are naturally gregarious 
in their habits — even down to the bee, whose winter 
store of food we share. The ' tribal ' sense, the 
recognition of social obligations, and the practice 
of ' give and take ' are essential to association be- 
tween man and beast. Gregarious animals have 
learned that ' the house divided against itself can- 
not stand '. Animals which hunt in packs know 
that their success depends upon co-operation, and 
this co-operation enables them to prey upon crea- 
tures larger and stronger than themselves. An 
individual may pick up a scent and he will call to 
the others to help him to follow it. Alone, he may 
lose it and valuable time be lost before it is found 
again, but once the pack is called the scent is 
seldom lost, and the quick pursuit increases the 
chances of a meal. Even if the individual can hold 
the trail alone, he has little hope of pulling down 
a large and fierce quarry single-handed. He 
knows it is wiser to share both the fight and the 
prize with the pack. 

And if there is to be team-work and strategy it 
follows, naturally, that there must not only be 
leaders but also that the younger members of the 
pack must be teachable, submissive and faithful. 
These qualities, which form the very basis of man's 
friendship with the dog, have not been taught by 
man, but merely developed and accentuated in the 
natural character of the animal. 

Another sense which is very well defined in the 

Wky is Dog Man's Best Friend? 7 

dog is the instinct of ownership and protection of 
the lair. The pariah dogs of the East are, for the 
most part, utterly untamed and free from the 
influence of man, who only tolerates their existence 
as scavengers. Yet these ill-favoured packs each 
have their well-defined territories into which no 
other dog is permitted to venture. Invisible 
barriers mark off one street from another, and woe 
betide the dog who transgresses. 

At the first intimation of the presence of a 
stranger a dog barks and growls, which is both an 
attempt to intimidate the intruder and a call to 
the rest of the pack. How often, as one sits peace- 
fully by the fire with one's pampered pet asleep 
at one's feet, somewhere, streets away, a dog will 
bark : our friend will leap to his feet and, though 
for generations and generations he and his forebears 
have been members of human families, he will 
instinctively answer the call and hand on the 
message to the rest of his imaginary pack. The 
bark is essentially a call for assistance, while the 
growl is intended to frighten. Incidentally, the 
growl is generally accompanied by a bristling up 
of the coat which makes the single warrior look 
larger and more formidable until assistance comes. 

The dog's sense of loyalty is seen, only too often, 
by his eagerness to join in a fight between others 
of his kind regardless of the cause of the dispute, 
and in this the canine tribe seems to be unique. 
Two cats are permitted to ' have it out ' alone with 
no more than sympathetic yells and screams from 
an interested audience. Horses, in their wild state, 
go about in herds, but although there are many 

8 The Story of the Dog 

recorded instances of single combat to the death, 
I have never heard of a pitched battle of herd 
against herd, and the same applies to cattle. 
Although, almost throughout the animal kingdom, 
one species will band together to fight a common 
alien foe, the dog alone, like man, believes in co- 
operation in the defence of tribal rights. 

And so we see that, although by selective breed- 
ing and considerate treatment, man may justly 
boast that his is the credit for the great diversity 
of breed seen in the dog world to-day, all those 
virtues which go to form the character of his ' best 
friend ' are inborn and have merely been developed 
through mutual understanding. 

The dog has so closely associated himself with 
the human mode of living that sentimentalists are 
apt to make, to my mind, absurd and extravagant 
statements as to dog's conception of man. How 
often do we read, or hear said, that ' Dog considers 
man to be his God '. Very well, but do those same 
sentimentalists stop to consider what is our concep- 
tion of God ? In a general way, surely, our idea 
of God is a sort of omniscient, all-powerful man. 
The great masters depict him as a benevolent, wise 
old man. Most religions have, at one time or 
another, demanded the choicest food and drink to 
be sacrificed with the idea that their Gods enjoy 
human pleasures. The logical conclusion is that 
dog considers man to be a super-dog. Man and 
the members of his household are the pack, to be 
guarded and cherished, and to whom tribal obliga- 
tions should be rendered. He protects the house 
because it is the lair of the pack to which he now 

Why is Dog Man's Best Friend? 9 

belongs. He barks to call this human pack when 
he considers danger is near. 

In return he justly expects to be accorded the 
rights of a member of this pack. 

Dog annoyed by Flies 
{Brit. Mus. MS.) 



NO one can say quite how long ago began man's 
first knowledge of the dog. Co-existent with 
primitive man there was a type of dog, and one 
is led to suppose that some sort of association 
existed between them from the fact that the bones 
of the two have so frequently been unearthed on 
the same site. It seems improbable that man 
merely looked on the dog as an article of food for, 
with the exceptions alluded to elsewhere, human 
beings have always shown aversion to eating the 
flesh of carnivorous animals except in cases of 
extreme emergency. It follows, naturally, that it 
was unprofitable for primitive man to keep dogs 
merely as a source of food since, dogs being car- 
nivorous, they would eat more than they eventually 
yielded in the way of food. 

It seems far more likely that man made use of 
the live dog as protection for his home and to assist 
in the hunt in some such way as is suggested in the 
previous chapter. The findings of geology suggest 
that the partnership of these two primitive beings 
began some time during the Stone Age, probably 
about 50,000 years B.C. The earliest historical 
records, however, do not date back more than 





Can the Wolf type really be the ancestor of all these ? 

12 The Story of the Dog 

5,000 B.C., by which time the dog seems to have 
become definitely a ' domestic animal '. 

Experts agree that the earliest animals deserving 
the name of dog were of the wolf type. Whether 
all dogs are descended from the true wolf or not 
is still a moot point. It seems probable that 
several species of wolf and jackal have contributed 
to its make-up, and it is very unfortunate that until 
comparatively recent years no records were kept of 
the development of the amazingly different breeds 
now existing in the dog family. It seems almost 
inconceivable that two such creatures, for instance, 
as the dachshund and the St. Bernard should have 
sprung from common ancestors. Yet, if this is not 
so, if these two animals are descended from separate 
family trees, what has become of all their forebears ? 
If all widely divergent breeds of dogs come from 
different sources, how is it that we have absolutely 
no evidence of their previous existence, for geology 
tells us nothing of the different breeds now extant. 
On the other hand, when we consider that in a 
matter of about fifty years or so man, by selective 
breeding, manages to evolve an entirely new breed, 
or to change almost beyond recognition some 
existing one, is it not conceivable that, over a period 
of the thousands of years of dog's association with 
man, all these marvellous variations have been 
created from a more or less common stock ? 

Two examples of this quick evolution can be seen 
in the Sealyham and the Pomeranian. The former 
breed was produced by Captain Edwardes, of 
Sealyham, Haverfordwest, with a definite object 
in view. During his lifetime, Captain Edwardes 

Have all Dogs a Common Origin ? 1 3 

not only achieved his purpose but stabilized the 
breed for future generations. The Pomeranian 
was originally imported from the Continent (though 
probably not from Pomerania) and was, in 1816, 
described in Ree's Encyclopaedia as being ' larger 
than the common sheep dog '. Public favour 
demanded a smaller dog, and breeders set about 
reducing it until to-day the average weight of a 
Pomeranian is 7 lb. 

To what extent man can alter actual anatomical 
features is hard to decide. For instance, the 
evolution of short tails is very interesting, for it is 
certainly true that in several breeds, notably Old 
English sheepdogs, corgis and schipperkies, in 
which it has been the practice for many genera- 
tions to dock the tails, many puppies are born 
already ' curtailed '. 

One is venturing on dangerous ground if one 
mentions the inheritance of acquired faculties. So 
much was said during the Great War as to the 
advisability or otherwise of men marrying after 
they had sustained some permanent injury. It is 
obviously absurd to suggest that a man who has 
lost an eye or a limb is likely to have children born 
with the same disability, but it must be remem- 
bered that an isolated case of a disabled man is 
very different from a series of such cases all in the 
same line. Imagine a family in which, for gener- 
ation after generation, one of the parents had, 
through accident, lost the sight of an eye, and I 
believe that, in time, there would be a tendency 
towards weakened sight in the children. It seems 
quite reasonable to me that, after generations of 

14 The Story of the Dog 

disuse through having nothing to wag or support, 
the tail muscles and other vital parts of a dog's 
tail would atrophy and re-production in the off- 
spring would be impaired. 

To return to the general evolution of the dog, 
A. D. Bartlett says, in the Proceedings of the Zoo- 
logical Society : 

All wolves, if taken young and reared by man, are tame, 
playful and exhibit a fondness for those who feed and attend 
to them. The same may be said of all the species of jackals. 
This being so, it is highly probable that both wolves and 
jackals were for many ages found in the company of man, and 
that, owing to this association, the different species of these 
animals may have bred together and become mixed. A 
variety once commenced would in all probability in a few 
generations undergo many changes, especially if any well- 
marked variety should occur. Nothing would be more 
natural than to suppose that the owner of this variety would 
endeavour to increase its members, especially if it were found 
to possess useful qualities. 

Man is not by any means the only factor which 
has, and still does, affect the trend of evolution in 
the dog. Climate and environment play a big 
part, and there is a tendency all over the world for 
the domestic breeds of dogs to resemble, to some 
extent, the local wild Canidae. Wolves still run 
wild over the polar quarter of the globe, and round 
the world in northern regions the recognized breeds 
of dogs have a distinctly ' wolfy ' look. The 
Esquimaux purposely breed their dogs back to 
wolves whenever they think that the strain is be- 
coming weak or too in-bred, and in other parts of 
the North inhabited by wolves there must be a 
frequent infusion of wild blood into the dog stock. 

Have all Dogs a Common Origin ? 15 

The dogs of the North American Indians, as a 
general rule, show a marked resemblance to the 
coyote (the small native wolf), and in Asia, Central 
Europe and right down through Africa, the common 
dogs of the people are very like the local wolves 
and jackals. 

Nor is it only contact with indigenous wild 
relatives that determines the breed of a dog. The 
heavy coat of the wolf-like dogs of the North is 
desirable for such frozen lands ; their ability to 
subsist on a diet of fish in a land where warm- 
blooded animals are rare, and their great stamina, 
demands that the dogs living in severe cold climates 
should be what they are. In every region the wild 
Canidae have evolved along the lines most adapted 
to that part of the world which they inhabit, and 
it is only natural that the domestic breeds should 
follow the same trend. 

It has been humorously said — but with some 
truth, I think — that the dogs of various countries 
tend to resemble the characteristics of their masters ; 
thus the Chinese Chow is inscrutable ; the French 
Poodle is vain ; the Irish terrier is equally ready 
for a scrap or a joke ; the German police dog is 

If cold climates produce thick-coated dogs, in 
hot countries it is obvious that a heavy coat would 
be not only a great discomfort to the animal but 
would also reduce its efficiency and stamina and 
ultimately tend to its extinction. In Northern 
Africa short-coated dogs, very much resembling 
our greyhound, were depicted in Art very far back 
in history. The early evolution of short-haired 

1 6 The Story of the Dog 

dogs was probably brought about by the survival 
of the fittest, aided by man's recognition of the 
advantages of this trait and his selecting the shorter- 
coated dogs to breed from. Dogs with no hair at 
all are found in many parts of the world and have 
been relegated to definite breeds such as the 
Mexican Hairless and the African Sand Dog. It 
is thought, however, that this phenomenon is due, 
not to any specific strain, but to some lack of pig- 
ment in the skin, which, in its turn, is due to the 
absence of some necessary constituent of diet. 
This lack of hair is nearly always accompanied by 
lack of teeth formation. An interesting point with 
regard to these hairless dogs is that there is one 
variety found in China known as the Chinese 
Crested Dog, which is completely naked except for 
a tuft of long hair on the top of the head — that part 
of the human body where the hair grows longest. 

Once man took conscious interest in directing 
the development of any given breed, changes both 
in size and characteristics would quickly be brought 
about. Dogs are prolific animals and breed young, 
and during one man's lifetime it is possible for him, 
by intensive selective breeding, to produce enor- 
mous alterations. Also it must be remembered 
that by accentuating certain traits one automatic- 
ally lessens or eliminates others, so that the more 
highly specialized a breed is, the more stable it is 
likely to prove. The elements with which one is 
dealing are fewer and more easily recognized, so 
there is less likelihood of a ' sport ' or throw-back 
to some previous type. 

The step between merely choosing the most 

Have all Dogs a Common Origin ? 17 

suitable dog for one's purpose from those available, 
and purposely mating two dogs having the desired 
traits with the idea of producing doubly satisfactory 
offspring, is an easy one. When one studies the 
perfect types of dogs depicted in early Egyptian 
Art, one cannot but feel sure that selective breeding 
was even then a recognized practice. Some of these 
pictures show hunting dogs that would arouse little 
criticism in modem greyhound fanciers, and what 
breed could be more effective for pursuing the 
swift antelope and gazelle over wide desert sands ? 
In a dry country scent is poor, and sharp, long- 
sighted eyes, long legs and general stream-line 
contour would be perfect for long hunting over 
open country. The Saluki, the greyhound of 
Arabia, as it has been called, has yet another 
practical feature for, although typically greyhound 
in build, its feet, particularly between the toes, are 
covered with amazing long hair, which prevents 
the foot from sinking far into the soft desert sand. 
The Saluki, and its long-haired relative, the Afghan 
hound, are supposed to be among the oldest breeds 
in existence. 

Another very distinct breed of dog depicted in 
ancient Egyptian and Assyrian Art is typical of the 
modern mastiff and was used in war. Though still 
short-coated, out of respect for the climate, its 
massive head, neck and shoulders must have made 
it a formidable foe, and we are told that it was 
used not only as a watch-dog to guard the camps 
but that it actually entered the battle beside the 
soldiers and was of great assistance in attacking 
and pulling down the enemy. 

1 8 The Story of the Dog 

Dogs of the terrier type, and a breed very closely 
resembling the dachshund, were also known in 
Ancient Egypt, and we read that, even in those 
days, lap-dogs were popular with the ladies. 

Some years ago many breeds were becoming 
distorted beyond all reason and use and the original 
object of certain characteristics being forgotten in 
an attempt to produce unique specimens for show, 
but happily this insanity seems to be passing. 
Perhaps the best example of this is seen in the bull- 
dog. When men first engaged in the ' sport ' of 
bull-baiting, dogs were chosen which, once having 
got a grip on the bull's nose, could hold on how- 
ever much the bull tossed and threw himself about. 
It was found that even if the dog had the necessary 
tenacity, it could only retain its grip for the length 
of time which it could hold its breath because its 
nostrils were necessarily pressed against the flesh 
it gripped. This was the reason for the develop- 
ment of the bulldog's great undershot jaw and 
receding nose. This strange, crumpled face be- 
came the predominant feature in the bulldog, and 
for years after bull-baiting was made illegal this 
distortion was accentuated by breeders and fanciers, 
until the unfortunate creature's nose was so pushed 
back into its face that its breathing was seriously 
impaired and early death was frequently the result 
from lung and heart trouble. At one time the 
English collie was a perfect animal for the job for 
which he was intended — herding sheep — but to- 
day it is what is known as the ' working collie ' 
(a Nature's gentleman, who is not invited to aristo- 
cratic shows) who retains the virtues of the breed. 

Have all Dogs a Common Origin? 19 

The old English collie had a fine, thick coat as 
befitted one whose work so often kept him out at 
night, and who, in times past, not infirequently had 
to keep wolves firom the herd. The modern collie's 
coat is beautifiil to behold, but it is so long it 
becomes an obstruction in bushes and undergrowth. 
The whole animal is too big for practical purposes ; 
his head is too long to allow sufficient brain space 
and, in consequence, the dog is nervous and un- 
certain in temper. Lack of work and inbreeding 
have brought many a breed the reputation of un- 
certain temper and untrustworthiness. 

So much, then, for what man can, and has done 
to the dog. 

Someone has said that the happiest dogs are not 
those which lead the easiest and most pampered 
lives ; that the happiest dogs are to be found 
amongst those which, though receiving their mea- 
sure of kindness and consideration, are expected 
to work — among the game-keepers' dogs, the sheep- 
dogs and the dogs which work with their masters. 
A dog loves the chase ; loves to exercise his won- 
derful natural powers of scent and hearing ; loves 
to feel he is co-operating, in fact, that he is still 
' one of the pack '. 



I HAVE attempted to point out that, in all the 
animal kingdom, the dog is best fitted to be man's 
close companion because he has in him naturally 
those qualities necessary for a social and civiUzed 
life. It is, therefore, rather surprising to find that, 
from the zoologist's point of view, the dog is still 
a really very primitive creature — far more so, 
indeed, than most of our other domestic animals. 

Palaeontology has not succeeded in revealing the 
ancestry of the dog so completely as that of some 
other animals. The evolution of the horse, for 
instance, has been successfully traced until now 
there are practically no ' missing Hnks '. With the 
dog, too little material so far has been brought to 
light to form a clearly defined and continuous 
series, though enough has been discovered to show 
us that he is still very primitive. 

The horse, which is generally considered to be 
the most highly specialized animal we have on 
earth to-day, has been traced back through the 
testimony of the rocks to a little creature about the 
size of a fox-terrier. This little animal, which had 
five toes on each foot and whose life was spent in 
marshy swamps hiding beneath undergrowth from 


Dog's Primitive Ancestors 21 

its enemies, bore practically no resemblance to the 
modern horse ; yet, page by page, the story of the 
evolution of the horse from this little animal has 
been discovered. By the time man put in an 
appearance on earth the horse had developed into 
a fine and highly specialized animal, in appearance 
very like the wild ponies of Mongolia to-day. 
From these wild horses man has developed the 
splendid race-horse, the magnificent shire, and the 
stalwart hunter, but great though are the differ- 
ences between the various kinds of horses known 
to-day, they are as nothing compared with the 
variety in the dog world. When one considers the 
greyhound and the dachshund, the St. Bernard 
and the Pekinese, the bloodhound and the Pomer- 
anian, it is difficult to believe that they all come 
originally from the same stock. And the reason 
why man has been able to mould the dog into so 
many different shapes, sizes and temperaments is 
that the more primitive the animal is, the more 
plastic it is and the more readily diversified. Be 
the difference in appearance ever so great, two 
dogs will always recognize each other as fellow 
creatures ; a dog is more interested in another dog 
than in any other animal of another family — except 

Science has designated the dog family Canidae. 
This term covers dogs, wolves, foxes and many 
intermediate species which have come to be known 
by such names as the jackal, the coyote, the dhole, 
etc. Of these the wolf is thought to be the ancestral 
type of all dogs, and, in support of this theory, dogs 
and wolves will interbreed, as will two varieties of 



Dog^s Primitive Ancestors 23 

dogs. Although dogs are frequentiy very fox-hke 
in outward appearance, the skull of the dog differs 
widely from that of the fox, while on the other 
hand, it clearly resembles that of the wolf. One 
obvious distinction between the dogs and wolves 
on the one side, and the foxes on the other, is that 
whereas the pupil of the eye in the former is always 
round, in the latter it is vertically elliptical, and 
in a strong Hght, narrows to a slit. 

The earliest known ancestor of the dog is a 
creature called the Cynodictis, the skeleton of 
which suggests that it was something like a palm- 
civet to look at. It had a longish body, a long tail 
and short legs, each foot having five complete toes. 
The teeth were forty-two in number, comprising 
three incisors, one canine, four premolars and two 
molars on each side of the upper jaw, and the same 
in the lower jaw but with an extra molar. This 
is exactly the same dentition as that of the modern 
wolf, though in the latter animal the third lower 
molar is very small and appears to be on the point 
of disappearing. The dentition of the dog shows 
Httle or no change from that of the earliest typically 
carniverous mammal. 

The Cynodictis lived in the Eocene Age, and was 
more or less a contemporary of the little five-toed 
horse mentioned above. The comparison with this 
primitive horse is made to show that, although in 
the many thousands of years which have elapsed 
between the Eocene Age and present day the horse 
has changed almost beyond recognition, over the 
same period the dog has changed comparatively 

24 T^he Story of the Dog 

As has already been stated, we gain our know- 
ledge of the type of dog which first associated with 
man from the heaps of bones which have been 
uncovered in old cave dwellings. These show the 
skeletons of both man and dog, and the latter show 
that it must have been very much of the wolf type 
of animal. It was longer in the leg than the 
Cynodictis, and somewhat shorter in the body and 
tail, but the only really great structural change 
which had taken place was in the evolution of the 

The forefoot of the primitive carnivora had five 
free digits, each with a digital pad and a claw at 
the end. The sole of the foot was hairless and had 
six distinct pads — four small ones corresponding to 
the spaces between the bases of the digits and two 
larger at the wrist, behind which was a tuft of 
tactile (sensitive) hairs. 

An intermediate stage in the evolution of the dog 
shows a forefoot still with five digits, though the 
first, or thumb, is greatly reduced in length and 
all are webbed to about half their length. The 
interdigital pads are enlarged and the wrist pads 
reduced in size. 

In comparing the above with the modern dog's 
forefoot we find that the first digit has become 
reduced still more, until it no longer touches the 
ground and is what we now call the ' dew-claw '. 
This claw sometimes has a bony attachment and 
is sometimes attached only to the muscle and skin. 
The remaining four digits are webbed to the ends 
and protected by larger pads. The interdigital 
pads are joined to form a central cushion and there 



Evolution of the Foot 

Figures showing 
diagrammatically the 
probable stages in the 
evolution of the dog's 

26 The Story of the Dog 

is only a single wrist pad. The wrist no longer 
touches the ground when the animal is standing 
or moving slowly, but the wrist pad still serves as 
a buffer when the leg is fully extended, as in very 
fast paces, or on yielding ground. 

The evolution of the hind foot has followed much 
the same lines as the fore, with the exception that 
the first digit has eventually become lost altogether, 
as have also the two hinder pads. As the animal 
became capable of faster paces the heel was grad- 
ually raised from the ground. The interdigital 
pads have increased in size until they became joined 
in one. The posterior pads have dwindled, the 
hair extending down between them and the inter- 
digital pads, until the hind foot, as we see it to- 
day, has no heel pad and is hairy right down to 
the one cushion in the centre. 

In the dog's feet the pads on the ends of the 
digits are enlarged and shaped so that they fit 
closely together when the digits are closed. When 
at rest, the digits, which are shorter than those of 
the Gynodictis, are held together by the thickened, 
elastic rim of the webs. The webs extend nearly 
to the ends of the digits and are covered with hair 
on their lower surface. In some species these hairs 
are very long and thick and spread over the under 
side of the digits as well, while the foot of the 
Gynodictis was probably entirely naked under- 
neath. When spread, the toes with their strong 
claws get an excellent grip of the ground for speedy 
running, and the specially granulated skin which 
covers the pads also helps in this respect. When 
digging the toes are also spread, and for the remov- 

I— I 










Dog's Primitive Ancestors 27 

ing and throwing out of earth the interdigital webs 
make the foot of the dog a very efficient implement. 

The origin of the ' lop-ear ' has never been fully 
decided upon. Most authorities are of the opinion 
that, to begin with, all dogs had prick ears. As 
the different types of dog began to diverge from 
the common stock, in those which concentrated 
upon the development of their senses of sight and 
scent, the ear muscles gradually relaxed, allowing 
the ear to become pendulous. The transition stage 
is to be seen to-day in such breeds as the collie 
and many of the terriers. 

Much scepticism has been expressed on the 
subject of the evolution of animals with which we 
are familiar from strange and often totally different- 
looking creatures of the past, and here again, one 
must instance the story of the development of the 
horse, which is now so complete in sequence that 
few who take the pains to study it can fail to be 
convinced of its truth. The story of man has not 
hitherto been so fully revealed, and the dog even 
less so, but even in these latter two enough has 
been discovered to convince many great authorities 
that their theories are correct. 

In many cases, knowledge of certain links in the 
chain is based solely on the discovery of a single 
skull, or even a jaw bone. Scientists have learned 
from long experience that Nature is consistent, and 
perhaps the best example of this is Professor Owen's 
wonderful deductions with regard to the extinct Moa. 
Sir Ray Lankester says, in his Extinct Animals : 

We are able to know these and like matters because the 
shape of different parts of each kind of animal is very constant. 

28 The Story of the Dog 

The kinds which are like one another in other respects are 
like one another in the details of their bones and teeth, even 
in such minute points as the microscopic texture of the bones. 
An immense mass of facts about such things is known, and 
when set out in orderly fashion is termed the science of 
comparative anatomy or animal morphography. 

The first photograph I have shown in this chapter is of a 
piece of bone which was sent fifty years ago to Professor Owen 
by a gentleman in New Zealand who had lately arrived there 
and who had found it in his garden. Professor Owen, on 
examination, was able to say from the general make and 
structure of the bone that it was the bone of a bird. It was 
about seven or eight inches long. On examining the ridges 
and various marks on the bone, Owen was able, from his 
knowledge of the character of bones, to say that it was identical 
with the middle part — the ends were broken off — of the thigh 
bone of an ostrich. He ventured then to publish that this 
bone was a proof that there existed formerly in New Zealand 
a huge terrestrial bird like the ostrich, only bigger. After a 
few years, more bones were sent to Owen from New Zealand, 
which entirely confirmed what he had said : and in the course 
of a few years he was able to put together from the bones sent 
a skeleton with enormous legs and neck, the skeleton of the 
ostrich-like bird the Moa of New Zealand. . . . Since that 
time a great number of these birds have been found buried in 
the morasses and comparatively recent deposits of New 
Zealand, showing that many of them existed alive some 
five or six hundred years ago, and that they were probably 
hunted out of existence by the ancestors of the present 

In such a way, despite considerable gaps in the 
circumstantial evidence, from a scrap here and a 
scrap there, the ancestry of the dog has been tenta- 
tively worked out. I say tentatively because new 
evidence and new links are continually being 
brought to Hght in the face of which adjustments 
may have to be made. 

Dog's Primitive Ancestors 29 

All natural attributes of the dog, however much 
they have been obscured by domestication, should 
be of interest to those who wish to understand 
their friend to the fullest. The dog belongs first 
to the great family Mammalia (animals which 
suckle their young) and in that family, to the sub- 
order Carnivora or beasts of prey. However pam- 
pered, and however easy an existence our house- 
loving pet may live, some of the instincts of his 
flesh-hunting ancestors are still in him. The 
Carnivora include all the cat family, the bears, 
racoons, civets, weasels, hyaenas, etc., and some 
such sea beasts as the seals and walruses, as well 
as the dogs ; but of them all, says Cope, the dogs 
display superiority to all other families in intelli- 
gence. Anatomical evidence of this shows that 
the dog's brain has four longitudinal convolutions 
of the central hemisphere, while the other families 
have but three. 

Some of the animals mentioned above trace their 
descent back to the Cynodictis, but, one by one, 
they branched off, the cats in one direction, the 
bears in another, and so on, and it is the dog that 
is considered to be in the direct line of this primitive 

Following the evolution down through the ages 
the first creature which can rightly be termed 
Canis appeared at about the end of the Miocene 
Age, since when the line has persisted and spread 
to all parts of the world. In the early history of 
the family, branches were thrown off, most of 
which were wiped out within the Tertiary period. 
The main line, however, appears to have been 

Primitive Ancestor 
{Cynodimus Mondes) 



King Charles 

Right manus of Cynodictis 

Right manus of Canii 

Dog^s Primitive Ancestors 31 

very strong and able to adapt itself to the various 
climatic changes which took place in the world. 
This hardiness is shown in the wolf, which still 
flourishes in spite of all man's efforts to exterminate 

The development of Canis shows a gradual 
lengthening of the legs which increased the animal's 
swiftness ; a reduction and strengthening of the 
toes and a change from plantigrade position to 
running on the toes, which also added pace and 
endurance over difficult ground ; a lengthening 
of the jaws and coincident increase in the size and 
sharpness of the teeth ; and an enlargement and 
development of the brain. 



OLD Man Science frequently appears, to the lay 
mind, to be deliberately perverse in his dictates. 
He tells us that all the different animals to which 
we apply the name of ' dog ', be it St. Bernard, 
dachshund, Pekinese or greyhound, have evolved, 
largely through the agency of man, from a common 
wolf-like ancestor, and he dismisses the whole lot 
merely as Canis familiaris. Science (and who shall 
blame him ?) just shrugs his shoulders and peers 
through his horn-rimmed spectacles when asked to 
be a little more explicit. ' You have,' he says, 
* through your faddiness, so messed up the dog 
family that I wash my hands of the whole affair. 
You have selected dogs to breed varieties with 
long legs for one purpose, short legs for another ; 
you've ordered the colour, length and texture of 
his clothing ; you've treated his face as though it 
were a concertina and his ears and tail as though 
they were embellishments on a lady's dress. Not 
only this, but until fairly modern times you have 
kept no records of your interference with Nature. 
It's no good coming to me. You can jolly well 
sort it out for yourself.' (The Kennel Club Stud 
Book dates from 1874 and is the earliest public 


Near Relations 33 

registration of breeds, although a few private 
individuals had kept records for some time prior 
to that.) 

So much, then, for our Canis familiaris ; but our 
friend's less familiar relatives are still of interest. 
They, too, come from the same family tree, although 
they branched off from the stem which produced 
our complicated breeds of dog at a different angle 
and probably at a different date. They show what 
the dog would have been like had he never taken 
his place by man's fireside, and they still leave their 
mark on the domestic dogs in many parts of the 

It is rather the rule than the exception that the tame dogs 
of any region carry an obvious dash of blood from their local 
wild kindred. The civilized countries are exceptional in this 
respect, for we select and mould our dogs to an extraordinary 
degree and we destroy our strays. But from Central Europe, 
across Asia, and down through Africa the common dogs of 
the people show evident resemblances to the local kinds of 
wolves and jackals ; and it is the same in America, for the 
Esquimaux dog is like the Northern wolf and the Hare Indian 
dog is like the coyote. ( The Science of Life, Wells, Huxley 
and Wells.) 

Therefore I feel that the undomesticated members 
of the family are of interest to a true dog lover. 
I use the term ' undomesticated ' advisedly be- 
cause, although Science teaches us that the domes- 
tic dog is descended from some form of wild dog or 
wolf, many species of so-called wild dogs existing 
to-day are, in reality, descended from the domestic 
dog. For instance, the dingo of Australia is con- 
sidered by some to have evolved from dogs brought 
thither by man, since there is no evidence of any 

34 The Story of the Dog 

highly organized mammals like the dog being 
indigenous to that continent. 

Although the dingo is naturally cunning and 
savage the domesticated puppies are easily tamed 
and soon develop domestic traits. The first men- 
tion of dingos was by William Dampier who landed 
in Australia in 1688, and it is interesting that both 
Dampier and subsequent explorers recognized the 
dingo as being a dog and not a wolf, although the 
animal strongly resembles a small wolf in many 
respects. Several of these early travellers mention 
that they found dingos with white patches on their 
feet and tip of the tail which certainly suggests 
that the dingo is a feral, or tame animal run wild. 
Other authorities, notably Dr. Nehring, who has 
made a special study of the dingo, claim that it is 
a true wild dog. Mivart states that fossils of the 
dingo have been found in early river gravel and 
cavern deposits in Australia, among fossils of other 
animals, now extinct, but I can find no corrobora- 
tion of this. 

When civilized man began to settle in Australia 
he brought his domestic dog with him, and these 
readily interbred with the dingo. In these early 
days the dingos were very numerous throughout 
the forested areas of the country and were so 
destructive to stock that the settlers did all they 
could to exterminate them. The dingo is naturally 
nocturnal and hunts in packs. When tamed he 
readily adapts himself to household life and becomes 
very attached to his master. He has very keen 
scent and is easily trained for hunting. 

The pariah dog of the East is not considered to 


Near Relations 35 

be a true wild dog but rather a feral which has 
ceased to associate with man. Pariah dogs vary 
much in appearance though they are generally of 
medium size, and environment and indiscriminate 
inbreeding has led to easily recognizable local 
types. Unattractive, verminous and despised by 
man they are nevertheless indispensable as scaven- 
gers, and although they live in towns they have 
their own moral code which is as strongly developed 
as is the ' pack law ' with their wild kindred of 
the forests. Jesse says of them : 

The dogs of the towns associate in bands, and each band 
has its district and its chief. No other dog is permitted to 
enter the territory without being at once assailed. If, how- 
ever, a dog wishes to pass from one quarter to another, he is 
said to creep along with his tail down in a humble manner, 
and immediately the dogs of that part come upon him, to 
throw himself on his back, and deprecate their attacks. 
After due examination he is allowed to proceed, but repeats 
his submissive actions whenever he meets new foes, and so, 
after enduring repeated challenges, gains his destination. 

Although the Turks consider dogs to be unclean 
animals and avoid all possible contact with them, 
they appear to recognize their usefulness. All 
through the hot months water is regularly placed 
in the streets for them, and an expectant bitch is 
frequently given a box in some secluded spot in 
which to whelp. 

The aloofness of the pariah, both from his domes- 
ticated brothers and his wild relatives of the woods, 
keeps him remarkably free from both distemper 
and rabies although, particularly in the hot weather, 
he is very subject to mange. 

36 The Story of the Dog 

Sultan Mohammed II, who died in 1839, 
attempted to rid Constantinople of her pariah 
dogs and, as it is against the principles of a Moham- 
medan to kill any animal, he had all the dogs col- 
lected and shipped to an island some little distance 
from the coast. As soon as their kidnappers' backs 
were turned, however, the dogs all took to the 
water, swam back to the mainland and returned, 
each to his own quarter of the city, since when they 
have been allowed to live unmolested. 

One very interesting thing about the wild Canidae 
is that, in their natural state, none of them bark, 
though if brought into contact with domestic 
dogs they soon learn to do so. A traveller to 
Juan Fernandez noticed that the dogs of the natives 
never barked, and that their first attempts at immi- 
tating some dogs imported from Europe were 
comic and unnatural. On the other hand, another 
authority tells us that some domestic dogs were 
imported to Jamaica where, after a few genera- 
tions, they gave up barking and expressed their 
emotions by howling. 

The jackals form a large part of the family of 
Canidae, and varieties are found over most of 
Africa and Southern Asia. They are the most highly 
coloured of the wild dogs, varying from bright, 
foxy red to pale yellow and fawn ; in some species 
the tail is tipped with black. In spite of this they 
cannot be described as the most attractive of their 
kind for they have a strong, offensive smell and in 
countries where they are numerous the night is 
made hideous with their bowlings. Although they 
hunt in packs they rarely attack mammals larger 

Near Relations 37 

than themselves but depend chiefly on the leavings 
of lions and other big carnivora for their Hving. 

By far the biggest and, with the exception of the 
fox, the most widely distributed section of wild 
Canidae is the wolf The wolf is indigenous in 
Europe, Asia, as far south as India and China, and 
North America ; but is not found in Burma, the 
Malay Archipeligo, South America, or Africa, and 
it is now extinct in the British Isles, Holland and 

The great, grey wolf, which ranges over practi- 
cally the whole of the Northern Hemisphere, 
measures up to thirty inches at the shoulder and 
sometimes weighs as much as 150 pounds, the 
largest examples being found in Alaska. Wolves 
have been separated into different species but many 
authorities are of the opinion that the variations 
are not more than can be accounted for by local 
conditions. The small North American species, 
the coyote or prairie wolf, is distinct. 

The wolf is the most perfect trotter of any of the 
Canidae — wild or tame — and although it is not 
so fast over a short distance as the greyhound 
group it can outstay any species of the family. 
Mark Twain gives a delightful description of the 
swiftness of a coyote which was being chased by a 
dog. After pursuing the creature for several miles 
across the desert the dog was surprised to find that 
he was not getting any nearer in spite of the fact 
that the coyote did not appear to be exerting itself 
in the least ; so the dog made one terrific spurt, 
putting on all the speed he could. The coyote 
cast one casual glance over its shoulder ; there 

38 The Story of the Dog 

* was a splitting sound in the atmosphere and the 
dog was alone '. 

In England wolf-hunting was a popular sport 
in Anglo-Saxon times, and in the north they were 
so numerous that there is at least one recorded 
instance of a wolf refuge being built to which 
travellers might flee if attacked. King Edgar, in 
an attempt to reduce the number of wolves, de- 
manded a yearly tribute of three hundred skins 
from Wales. Henry III made grants of land on 
the condition that the owners destroyed all the 
wolves on their estate. Although no exact date 
is known, wolves probably became extinct in 
England during the reign of Henry VII, their last 
retreat being the desolate Yorkshire wolds. In 
Scotland they persisted until about the beginning 
of the eighteenth century, and in Ireland even later. 
During Cromwell's time wolves became so trouble- 
some in Ireland that a bounty was placed on their 
heads and a law was passed prohibiting the exporta- 
tion of Irish wolf-hounds. The final extinction of 
wolves in the British Isles has been placed as late 
as 1766. 

One species of wild dog for which no one seems 
to have a good word is the Cape hunting dog, 
sometimes called the hyaena dog on account of 
its hyaena-like appearance. It is peculiar in having 
only four toes on the forefoot, and huge, expanded, 
roundish ears. It is slender of build, and its 
strange colouring singles it out from any other 
member of the dog tribe. No two specimens 
appear to be marked the same but all are covered 
with irregular blotches and spots of black, white 

Near Relations 39 

and yellow. They hunt in packs and are the terror 
of every inhabitant of the forest and veldt. Their 
method of attack is thus described by H. A. Bryden : 

A pack of European hounds press their game steadily until 
it is run to a standstill, and overwhelm it in a body. But the 
' wild honde ' hunts quite differently. Each of the fleetest 
hounds in turn, or as it gets a chance, races up to the game 
and tears at some portion of the hinder parts ; the flanks and 
under parts and the hock tendons are favourite places. By 
this method the unfortunate antelope is finally overcome. 
As its paces become shorter and more feeble, the attacks grow 
fiercer and more deadly, and finally, maimed, hamstrung, 
and partly disembowled, the quarry is pulled down and 

Another species of wild dog is the Bush dog of 
Brazil. It is an insignificant, rather mean-looking 
creature, with short face, short ears and short legs 
and tail. It has retained so many of its primitive 
characteristics that it has been called the ' living 
fossil ', in fact it shows no change from the fossil 
remains found in the Pleistocene cave deposits of 

South America boasts of another strange member 
of the family, the maned wolf, a creature with a 
long, fox-like face and very long, slender legs. It 
is nocturnal and very swift, and therefore seldom 
seen, and its range is thought to extend over Brazil, 
Paraguay, Northern Argentina and probably into 
the Pampas. 

The wild dogs of Asia have one peculiarity in 
common, in that they all have one less molar in the 
lower jaw than the usual number. 

The dhole of India is the most widely known of 
all the Asiatic dogs, and is to be found throughout 

40 The Story of the Dog 

India and Tibet, but, strangely enough, not in 
Ceylon. They avoid human habitation and so 
seldom attack domestic animals, but the united 
strength and cunning of a pack of these creatures 
is a match for any big game, and even tigers and 
leopards fall prey to them. 

Much the same may be said of the wild dog of 
the Malay Archipelago, though in appearance it 
is a lankier, poorer specimen than the dhole. It 
inhabits the forests and is very numerous. It 
has never been known to attack man, but all other 
living animals flee before it and wild life on the 
archipelago would probably have been extermi- 
nated were it not for a terrible epidemic disease 
which periodically decimates the canine popula- 
tion. Observers have noted that members of 
different packs never mingle. 

The study of the wild Canidae existing to-day 
can aid us considerably in trying to work out the 
evolution of our domestic breeds. Although, as 
has been stated, there is a tendency for the domestic 
breeds in any given district to show some of the 
characteristics of the local wild varieties, it must be 
remembered that the distribution and range of the 
wild Canidae has not always been as it is to-day. 
Civilization is everywhere pushing wild life of all 
kinds back into less accessible corners of the globe, 
many species becoming extinct and others only 
occurring in very restricted areas. 



AS dog has entered into the daily life of man 
practically since ' the beginning of things ' it is 
not surprising to find that he had an effect on early 
religious beliefs. It is interesting to find that from 
the very start his faithfulness seems to have been 
the thing which impressed people most, even 
though as a scavenger he was dubbed unclean in 
many parts of the world. 

A very ancient legend tells that after He had 
created the world and all the animals, God made 
Man as His masterpiece. But Man did not come 
up to God's expectations and his behaviour was 
such that God, in disgust, caused a great chasm to 
open in the ground between Man and the other 
beasts. Among the beasts stood the dog, gazing 
wistfully across the slowly widening gulf, until, 
unable to bear it any longer, the dog took a mighty 
leap and landed by Man's side, where he has 
remained, more faithful than any other living 
creature, ever since. 

Another legend, met with in India, tells how God 
made Adam and Eve, and during the night the 
Serpent came and devoured them. God was 
angry, but He fashioned them again, only for 


42 The Story of the Dog 

the same thing to happen on the second night. 
Then God was very wroth. Besides remaking 
Adam and Eve he made a dog to protect them, 
and when the Serpent appeared that night it 
was driven away by this faithful guardian. That 
is why, they say, a dog howls when a man is 

In many of the early civilizations which sprang 
up round the Mediterranean the dog was taken to 


Canis Major 

be the symbol of f delity. In lower Egypt the 
prosperity and even the very lives of the people 
depended upon the annual overflow of the Nile. 
The coming of this great event was always heralded 
by the appearance of Sirius, the brightest star in 
the heavens. As soon as this star rose above the 
horizon the people would remove their flocks to 
the pastures on higher levels, leaving the lower 
ground to be fertilized by the rising waters. So 
timely and unfailing was the appearance of Sirius 

Dog in the Eyes of the Ancients 43 

that the people called it the ' Dog Star ' because 
of its watchful faithfulness. 

It was the custom all over Egypt, when a dog 
died, for the entire family to shave themselves as 
a sign of mourning, and every city had its cemetery 
for dog mummies. 

In Assyria it was the custom to bury little terra- 
cotta effigies of the dog on either side of the door 
as a protection against evil spirits. 

The Egyptians looked upon the dog as a god 
and its image was placed in the 
temples. These representations show 
the body of a man with the head of 
a dog, and Anubis, as the god was 
called, was one of the greater deities 
of the country. Later, the city of 
Cynopolis, dedicated to Anubis, was 
built on the banks of the Nile. 
Here, at special festivals, dogs were 
sacrificed, black and white ones alter- 
nately, and were afterwards em- Anubis 

Recent archaeological discoveries have brought 
to light a cemetery to the west of the Pyramid of 
Cheops at Giza. In one of the Royal Tombs in 
this cemetery is a stone slab on which is engraved : 

The dog which was the guard of his Majesty. Abuwtiyuw 
is his name. His Majesty ordered that he be buried cere- 
monially, that he be given a coffin from the royal treasury, 
fine linen in great quantity, and incense. His Majesty gave 
perfume ointment, and ordered that a tomb be bmlt for him 
by gangs of masons. His Majesty did this in order that the 
dog might be honoured before the great god Anubis. 

44 The Story of the Dog 

The date of the inscription is placed at about 

3,000 B.C. 

Veneration of the dog reached its height of 
fanaticism in Ethiopia where, besides showing great 
respect for dogs in general, the inhabitants used to 
elect a dog for their king. This honoured creature 
lived in great state in a palace surrounded by atten- 
dants, officers and guards. Its cheerfulness or 
displeasure were taken as indications for the ruling 
of the country, and matters of state were decided 
by whether it growled or wagged its tail. If it 
licked a man's hand it was taken to be the con- 
ferring of an honour, while its growl condemned 
the offender to captivity or death. 

Amazing and ridiculous though this may be, it 
is not the only case of a dog king. When Oistene, 
King of Denmark, conquered the ancient capital 
of Norway, to humiliate the citizens he offered 
them as a choice of rulers either his slave or his 
dog, Sor, and they (probably wisely) chose Sor. 
Having accepted him as king they treated him 
right royally. He was presented with a sumptuous 
collar of gold, and when his appointments on state 
matters necessitated his going out in the rain he 
was carried by liveried attendants so that he should 
not get his paws wet. Unfortunately King Sor 
came to an untimely end. When out, unattended, 
for his constitutional one day he met with a pack 
of wolves, and these rude creatures, unaware of 
the fact that he was not as other dogs are, fell upon 
him and tore him to pieces. 

It was probably in order to preserve the Israelites 
from such forms of idolatry that the Jewish Law 

Dog in the Eyes of the Ancients 45 

proclaimed the dog an ' unclean animal ', and why, 
in both the Old and New Testaments, it is spoken 
of as ' an abomination '. In the whole of Jewish 
history there is not a single mention of hunting, 
although nets and snares are mentioned. Never- 
theless the Jews must have recognized the advan- 
tage of ' having a dog about the house ', for we 
read in Matthew xv. 27, ' yet the dogs eat of the 
crumbs which fall from their master's table ', which 
cannot be taken to refer to the pariah dogs of the 
street. Nor can they have been oblivious of the 
dog's loyalty and faithfulness since they called 
their most- trusted spy ' Caleb ', which means ' Dog 
of God '. 

The Hindus and Mohammedans also consider 
the dog to be unclean though the origin of their 
belief is obscure. With them the dog is believed 
to be possessed of evil spirits, and contact with it 
calls for elaborate purification. Certain sects of 
Mussulmans believe that dogs will give evidence 
against them in the hereafter. 

Many dogs figure in the old Greek legends, 
more than one being even admitted to Olympus. 
The dog Cerberus was entrusted by Pluto with the 
tricky business of preventing the spirits of the dead 
from escaping from Hell. And, indeed, when 
Christianity replaced Pluto with Satan the services 
of Cerberus were still retained for, according to 
Dante, he found him guarding the third circle of 
the Inferno. 

Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher {circa 520 e.g.), 
taught that at death the soul enters the body of 
an animal, and if one of his followers died he would 

46 The Story of the Dog 

hold a dog to the mouth of the dying man, saying 

that there was no animal better worthy to receive 

the departing spirit and to perpetuate its virtues. 

Socrates' favourite pledge was to swear by the dog. 

o,^ Both the Greeks and Romans sacri- 

';-' "^'^ ficed dogs that the gods might not 

y ^Vv^ be without their faithful companions. 

^ ; These sacrifices generally took place 


;,\ at the rising of Procyon, or Canis 

';f-^;J:-3) ■" Minor, the little dog star which appears 

^ .* - -. in the heavens shortly before Sirius, or 
Lams Mi?ior r-i • t, r • 

Cams Major. 

The Greeks felt that the dog could protect them 

not only from earthly foes but also from evil spirits, 

and if a man thought he was in danger of going 

insane he carried a dog about with him in the 

belief that it would keep the Evil One at bay. 

Grecian Greyhounds — Fifth Century b.c. 

Dog worship was not confined to the regions 
round the Mediterranean, and indications of it 
have been found in many parts of the world. It 
preceded the Ancient Sun worship in Peru. When 
the Chinese first embraced Buddhism they adopted 
the Buddha lion as their sacred symbol, but as 
lions were not native to China their idea of the 
king of beasts took much more the form of the dog, 

J . * 


.. <^-^-'?S 


4 ,^>>£<^ 

the lion-dog in life and in art 

(the lower figure represents a terracotta epaulet 
from a chinese military uniform) 

Dog in the Eyes of the Ancients 47 

which they considered to be the most noble of 
animals, and even in modern Chinese art the 
representation of the lion might very well be mis- 
taken for a Pekinese ! From this similarity, it is 
thought, the Pekinese came to be looked upon as 
sacred. From Korea we have an example of a 
bronze lion-dog thought to date from 2,000 B.C. 

The sacred dogs of China were the especial 
property of the Emperor. They were tended with 
meticulous care and had special quarters in the 
palace. Here they were cared for by eunuchs, 
and the puppies were fostered by women slaves 
whose own babies had been destroyed at birth. 
On ceremonial occasions the dogs were given 
prominent places in court ; two of the most 
highly honoured preceded the Emperor to the 
Chamber of Ceremonies and two others walked 
behind him holding up the corners of his robe. 
These sacred dogs were never allowed beyond the 
precincts of the palace. The four chief ones consti- 
tuted the Emperor's bodyguard ; they shared his 
couch and only they were allowed to partake of 
the food specially prepared for him. The punish- 
ment for any sin committed against one of these 
dogs was death by torture. 

Although the veneration of dogs in China has 
become vastly moderated, right down to very 
recent times they held a unique position in the 
palace. Even at the end of the nineteenth century 
some hundreds of these lion dogs, or Pekinese, were 
kept in the royal household. They were divided 
into groups according to their colour and each 
group was tended by a titled lady of the court. 

48 The Story of the Dog 

Both the early Greeks and Romans distinguished 
between dogs which hunt by scent and those which 

Greek Boarhounds 

hunt by sight. The Romans had a quite advanced 
classification, and we read of Canes villatici, or 
housedogs ; Canes pastorales, or sheepdogs ; Canes 

Roman Boarhounds 

venatici, or dogs of the chase, and these last were 
divided into the Sagaces, or hunting dogs, and the 
Pugnaces, or fighting dogs ; among the latter we 
find mention of the mastiflf which was said to have 

Dog in the Eyes of the Ancients 49 

been imported to Rome from Britain to be used 
in the arena against bulls. 

Strabo mentions, in a list of things exported 
from Britain, ' dogs of a superior breed for the 
chase ', and Oppian says ' There is a certain strong 
breed of hunting dogs, small, but worthy of sublime 
praise, which the wild tribes of Britain maintain '. 

In classical times, and indeed later as well, dogs 
were much used in battle, when they were clothed 
in armour and provided with heavy, spiked collars. 

Our national bulldog nowadays shows little 
resemblance to the modern mastiff, but one has 
only to look at nineteenth- and eighteenth-century 
pictures of him to see the course of his evolution. 

In the time of Julius Caesar lap-dogs were so 
popular in Rome that the great consul, seeing the 
number which followed their mistresses about the 
streets, asked a passer-by if Roman ladies had 
given up having babies and had dogs instead. 

From ancient Egyptian monuments and other 
records we get what is, perhaps, one of the best 
arguments for the common origin of widely dis- 
similar breeds. The Egyptians 
were very profuse in their illustra- 
tion of contemporary animal life, 
and we may take such representa- 
tions as have come down to us to £•^^^, Egyptian 
be fairly comprehensive. In the Dog 

earliest monuments the only dog 
shown is a very wolf-like animal except for its 
shghtly elongated body. A httle later a rather 
more compact creature is shown, still with prick 
ears and generally with a very finely curled tail. 

50 The Story of the Dog 

These curly tails are very carefully depicted, sug- 
gesting that they were considered a thing of beauty 
— a likely fancy if it was the first deviation man 
produced from the wolf type. 

Egyptian Hounds, circa 3000 b.c. 

{Great Dane type) 

Then come representations of what might almost 
be our modern foxhound. It is shown as slightly 
more slender than the last and with drooping ears. 
Some of these dogs are shown in conjunction 

Terrier-type Dog of Hound of the 
the Egyptians Egyptians 

Dachshund type. 

with deer-hunting. Go-existent with these there 
appears a kind of lap-dog, very like a dachshund in 

In appraising these early representations of soli- 
tary animals it is frequently difficult to judge their 

Dog in the Eyes of the Ancients 51 

size, but when they are shown in conjunction with 
a man or some other fairly well defined object 
their size is obvious. For instance, the claim that 

Maltese Dog. Vase from Vulci 

the Maltese dog is one of the oldest breeds in exis- 
tence is based on the discovery, at Vulci, of a 
painting on a vase of one of these dogs accompanied 

Greek representation of Maltese Dog 

by a man and labled meaitaie. Strabo mentions 
that these dogs were frequently kept as pets. 

The Assyrian sculptures give wonderful pictures 
of the sort of dog used for hunting. These appear 

52 The Story of the Dog 

to have been of the Great Dane type and were used 
for hunting game such as lions and wild asses, 
the latter being a favourite quarry of kings. This 
seems to have been the most popular dog in 

Egyptian Deerhounds 

Assyria, although a fine animal, very like a grey- 
hound, is often shown, sometimes employed in 
coursing the hare. 

Evidence is scanty of the kinds of dogs existing in 

Mastiff type of Assyrian Dog 

Other parts of the world in the very early days, 
with the exception of China, which has been 
referred to before. The Tibetan mastiff can trace 
its ancestry back into the dim ages, and many 
authorities consider it to be the father of all big 

Dog in the Eyes of the Ancients 53 

breeds in the world. A somewhat similar animal 
was used in later times for sheep-herding in the 
region of the Alps. In the Northern half of Europe 
various terrier types were developed, and the 
popularity of these spread quickly owing to their 
ability to adjust themselves to climatic conditions, 
especially to hot regions. 

Too many stories about dogs have come down to 
us from the Ancients for one to recount them all, 
but one or two cannot be passed without mention. 
Perhaps the most famous is that of Ulysses' dog, 
Argus. Argus spent a happy youth hunting with 
his beloved master, and when Ulysses was forced to 
set forth on his travels he had to leave Argus behind. 
Ulysses was away for about ten years and when he 
returned diguised as a beggar no one recognized 
him. As he approached the palace, Argus, weak, 
crippled with age and lying on a dung-heap for his 
bed, recognized his master's voice. Feebly wagging 
his tail, the old dog crawled to his master and 
attempted to lick his hand but only succeeded in 
sinking dead at his feet. Ulysses turned his head 
so that those around him would not see his tears, 
and he mourned the loss of the only friend who 
had not forgotten him. 

Another story of dog's fidelity is told by Pliny 
himself A certain man, Titus Sabinus by name, 
and all his slaves were condemned to death for 
conspiracy. One of the slaves owned a dog which 
insisted on following him to prison, and when the 
master paid the supreme penalty the dog leapt the 
barrier and stood howling by his side. Some one 
in the watching crowd took pity on the beast and 

54 The Story of the Dog 

tossed it a piece of bread, whereupon the dog took 
the bread in its teeth and held it to his master's 
Hps. When the body was subsequently thrown 
into the Tiber the dog plunged in after it, and the 
last that was seen of the faithful animal it was 
swimming by its master's side until it sank from 

Although one feels that some of these stories 
may have been, if not actually woven, at least 
embroidered by the old poets, we have one which 
is indisputable and rests on circumstantial evidence. 
The ancient town of Pompeii was destroyed by the 
great eruption of Vesuvius in a.d. 79, and it was 
not until the middle of the eighteenth century that 
the site of it was found. Among the many things 
discovered during the excavations was the skeleton 
of a child, across which, as though in a last attempt 
to guard its playmate, lay the skeleton of a dog. 
Round the dog's neck was a collar of silver on which 
was engraved the name of its master, Severinos, 
the name of the dog. Delta, and the fact that 
Delta had once saved his master's life by killing a 
wolf which had attacked him near the town of 

Another story tells how King Lysimachus, one 
of the generals of Alexander the Great, fell in battle 
and his dog, Hyrcanus, mournfully followed the 
body as it was carried to the funeral pyre. For 
some time the dog stood watching, but as the flames 
grew higher he took one mighty bound and landing 
by the king's side, perished with his master. 

A tale of faithfulness to a master's memory is told 
of the reign of King Pyrrhus, some 250 years b.c. 

Mosaic, Pompeii 

56 The Story of the Dog 

One of the king's slaves was set upon and killed 
by two men despite the efforts of his dog to 
protect him. The murderers left the body by the 
roadside and the dog remained by its side. Pres- 
entiy the king passed by, and, seeing what had 
happened, ordered the body to be buried and, 
taking compassion on the dog, took it back to the 
palace, where it soon learned to follow its new 
master. One day it accompanied him when he 
went to review the troops and, as the soldiers 
marched past, the dog suddenly rushed out and 
attacked two of them with such violence that, in 
order to escape its fury, they confessed their crime. 


To be ydel and have no lust neither in houndes neither in hawkes 
is no good token. . . . Never good man that he ne had lust in 
some of thise. . . . The most default of houndes is yat thee lyven 
not longe inowe. 

MS., British Museum 

AS has already been shown, one of the first — if not 
the first — uses man made of the dog was to help 
him in the chase, a use which has increased in 
popularity and specialization down to the present 
day. Hunting has probably been responsible for 
the development of more different breeds than any 
other sphere in which the dog assists man, and a 
greater number of dogs are kept for this purpose 
than for any other. 

Certain ethics of the chase seem to have been 
recognized at a surprisingly early date, for among 
the Laws of Socrates we find ' Let no man hinder 
the huntsman, but let the nightly hunter who lays 
snares and nets be everywhere prohibited '. 

Very early in history man distinguished between 
dogs which hunt by scent and those which hunt 
by sight. To-day, in England, where hunting dogs 
have reached a higher state of perfection than in 
any other country in the world, the former are by 
far the most prevalent, our moist climate and 


58 The Story of the Dog 

frequently overcast weather being much more 
suitable for scent trailing than for vision. In the 
early civilizations, particularly those of Northern 
Africa and Western Asia, the hot, dry air of the 
desert would have made tracking poor, but visi- 
bility good. We know, however, that in ancient 
times there existed in these countries much greater 
and denser areas of vegetation than are to be found 
there now, so. it is not surprising to find that the 
Assyrians and Egyptians had well-developed breeds 
for both types of hunting. 

Game in these regions was very varied, ranging 
from big game such as lion, deer and wild ass, to 
hares, rabbits and birds. Lion hunting called for 
a dog which was not only large but was also heavy 
and strong, and in both Assyria and Egypt a 
splendid type of mastiff was produced for this 
purpose. Slightly lighter dogs, very like our fox- 
hounds or staghounds, were probably used for the 
swift-footed ass and deer, while greyhound types 
were employed for coursing the hare and gazelle. 
Of these breeds, the greyhound has remained much 
the same down through the ages, and the Arabs 
superintend its breeding as carefully as that of their 
treasured horse. The Afghan hound and the 
Saluki are the typical greyhound of the Near East, 
the latter being one of the oldest breeds in exist- 
ence. It is said that the Arab women will suckle 
the pups along with their own offspring, while a 
prized dog is allowed to eat from the same dish as 
its master. Quite recently a highly valued Saluki 
was being exported to England, and when the 
Arab Customs official saw that it was described on 


Dogs of the Chase 59 

its bill of lading as a dog he was highly incensed 
and refused to let it through until its papers were 
changed to Saluki. 

The Arab says of his greyhound : ' When he 
perceives a gazelle cropping a blade of grass, he 
overtakes her before she has time to swallow what 
she already has in her mouth.' According to them 

Sixth-century B.C. Greek Salukis 

a Saluki should be able to kill a gazelle at two 
years of age and at three a boar. 

The Canis venatici, or sporting dog of the Greeks, 
was also of the greyhound type. 

History tells us very little about dogs of the chase 
in Britain prior to the tenth century a.d., although 
Strabo wrote of Britain : 

It produces corn, cattle, gold, silver and iron, which it 
exports together with skins, slaves and dogs of a superior 

Fourteenth-century Hunting-dogs 

Dogs of the Chase 6i 

breed for the chase. The Gauls use these dogs for war as 
well as others of their own breed. 

These dogs were probably the British mastiff, 
numbers of which were taken to Rome for sports 
in the amphitheatre, and which in Britain were 
used both in war and for the chase. 

Symmachus (fourth century a.d.) says in a 
letter : 

I thank you for the present you made me of seven Scottish 
dogs, which were shown at the Cirensian games to the great 
astonishment of the people, who could not judge it possible 
to bring them to Rome otherwise than in iron cages, like lions 
and tigers, so fierce were they. 

These animals were probably not from Scotland, 
but were Irish wolf-hounds. Wolves thrived in 
Ireland for some time after they were exterminated 
in England, and there are very early records of 
dogs bred expressly for the purpose of hunting 

Very little has come down to us of the conditions 
during Anglo-Saxon times, but Lappenberg, in his 
England under Anglo-Saxon Kings, writes : 

The noble craft of hunting was the chief recreation of the 
highest personages, both temporal and ecclesiastical. . . . 
Even Edward the Confessor himself appears to have spent a 
great part of his time between masses and hunting. . . . The 
British dogs, which had drawn the attention of the Romans, 
were also cherished by the Anglo-Saxons, and every two 
villeins were under the negessity of maintaining one of these 

Throughout the Early and Middle Ages dogs 
entered so much into the superstitions of the people 
that it is impossible to sift fact from fancy, although 

62 The Story of the Dog 

it is evident that from very early times some atten- 
tion was paid to breeding. Until comparatively 
recently dogs were believed to be able to see 
invisible spirits, and devils and demons were sup- 
posed to make their appearance in the shape of 
dogs. In outlying parts of our islands even to-day 
one may hear from old country folk stories of 
Gabriel's Hounds which are said to race through 
the night when disaster is imminent. 

Coursing Hound — Tenth Century a.d. 

Prior to the Norman Conquest history tells us 
very little of the kinds of dogs to be found in 
England. When the Normans came to our shores 
it is certain that they found at least three distinct 
breeds of dogs here, the mastiff, the wolf-dog and 
the gazehound. 

The type of the last mentioned is difficult to 
discover, and the term was probably applied to all 
dogs which hunted by sight rather than scent. 
Several references to the gazehound type occur in 
medieval literature : 

Seest theu the gazehound ! how with glance severe, 
From the close herd he marks the destin'd deer : 
How ev'ry nerve the greyhound's stretch displays, 
The hare preventing in her airy maze. 


Dogs of the Chase 63 

On the other hand, we have the following 
description from Oppian which suggests a scent- 
hunting animal : 

Again, the gazehound Is most of all excellent for his nose, 
and first rate for tracing, since he is greatly sagacious in finding 

Canis Molossus 
{From ' Icones Animation ', by T. F. Riedel) 

the footsteps of animals that pass along the ground and more- 
over very expert in indicating even the very odour that floats 
in the atmosphere. 

The Molossian dog, to which one finds frequent 
references, was a type known in ancient Greece 
and Rome and seems to have been a large, shaggy- 

64 The Story of the Dog 

coated animal noted for its ferocity. Its origin is 
obscure, though some authorities claim that it was 
the Tibetan mastiff brought to Greece by Alex- 
ander the Great. Professor Studen, in his Breed 
of Dogs, says that the best big dogs were obtained 
from the Province of Molossis in Epirus (now called 
Janina). It is possible that it was this dog, intro- 
duced into Britain by the Phoenicians, that was the 
origin of the British mastiff. However this may 
be, it is probable that there is Molossian blood in 
all large breeds of to-day. Faliscus, who lived 
about fifty years after Julius Caesar, wrote : 

But if you visit the Morinian shores, 
Whose ebbing waves oft leave the Ocean doubtful, 
And thence cross o'er to Britain, set aside 
The form and colour, which in British dogs 
Are the worst points, but, when the tug of war 
And inbred courage spur them to their work. 
Then is their metal seen : Molossian hound 
In vain competes with them. 

While on the subject of the Molossus, or Mastiff 
of the East, Marco Polo has something of interest 
with regard to the dogs of the Great Khan : 

The Emperor hath two Barons who are own brothers, one 
called Baian and the other Mingan ; and these two are styled 
Chinuchi, which is as much as to say ' The Keepers of the 
Mastiff Dogs '. Each of these brothers hath 10,000 men under 
his orders ; each body of 10,000 being dressed alike, the one 
in red and the other in blue, and whenever they accompany 
the Lord to the chase, they wear this livery, in order to be 
recognized. Out of each body of 10,000 there are 2,000 men 
who are each in charge of one or more mastiffs, so that the 
whole number of these is very great. And when the Prince 
goes a-hunting, one of those Barons, with his 10,000 men and 

Dogs of the Chase 65 

something like 5,000 dogs, goes towards the right, whilst the 
other goes towards the left with his party in like manner. 
They move along, all abreast of one another, so that the whole 
line extends over a full day's journey, and no animal can 
escape them. Truly it is a glorious sight to see the working 
of the dogs and the huntsmen on such an occasion ! And as 
the Lord rides a-fowling across the plains, you will see these 
big hounds come tearing up, one pack after a bear, another 

Molossus Dogs in Africa 

pack after a stag, or some other beast, as it may hap, and 
running the game down now on this side and now on that, 
so that it is really a most delightful sport and spectacle. 

Yule's translation 

and later : 

But you see they have in this province a large breed of dogs, 
so fierce and bold that two of them together will attack a lion. 
So every man who goes a journey takes with him a couple of 
those dogs, and when a lion appears they have at him with 


The Story of the Dog 

the greatest boldness, and the lion turns on them, but can't 
touch them for they are very deft at eschewing his blowrs. 
So they follow him, perpetually giving tongue, and watching 
their chance to give him a bite in the rump or in the thigh, 
or wherever they may. The lion makes no reprisal except 
now and then to turn fiercely on them, and then indeed were 
he to catch the dogs it would be all over with them, but they 
take good care that he shall not. So, to escape the dogs' 

Fourteenth-century Heron Hawking 

din, the lion makes off, and gets into the wood, where mayhap 
he stands at bay against a tree to have his rear protected 
from their annoyance. And when the travellers see the lion 
in this plight they take to their bows, for they are capital 
archers, and shoot their arrows at him until he falls dead. 
And 'tis thus that travellers in those parts do deliver them- 
selves from those lions. 


To return to England, King Alfred was said to 
be an expert and keen hunter at the age of twelve 

Dogs of the Chase 67 

years, and he himself undertook the instruction 
of his falconers, hawkers and dog-keepers. Of 
Edmund, his grandson, we read : 

When they reached the woods they took various directions 
among the woody avenues ; and lo, from the varied noise of 
the horns and the barking of the dogs, many stags began to 
fly about. From these, the king, with his pack of hounds, 
selected one for his own hunting, and pursued it long through 
devious ways with great agility on his horse and with dogs 

Cott. MSS., Cleop. B. 13 

The passion for hunting, particularly among 
royalty, was so great, that certain barbarous laws 
were passed with the idea of preserving game for 
royal pleasure. The first forest laws were made 
by Canute, who decreed that any dogs kept within 
ten miles of any of the king's forests must have their 
' knees cut ' so as to render them incapable of 
chasing game, and — 

If a greedie, ravening dog doe bite a wild beast in the forest, 
. then the owner shall yeeld recompence for the same, according 
to the price of a freeman, which is twelve times a hundred 
shilling. But if he doe bite a royal beast, then he shall be 
guilty of the greatest offence. 

An exception was made in the case of ' little dogges 
(al which dogges are to sit in ones lap), because 
in them there is no daunger ', but to gain this 
exemption a dog had to be small enough to be able 
to pass through a ' dog gauge '. These gauges 
were in the form of an oval ring, seven inches by 
five in diameter, with a swivel attached by which 
it could be hung from a girdle. 

Laws with regard to the maiming of dogs re- 

68 The Story of the Dog 

mained in force for many centuries, and ' knee 
cutting ' gave place to ' lawing ', ' expeditating ' 
or hambling. The law laid down exactly how this 
cruel practice was to be carried out. 

Three claws of the fore foot shall be cut off by the skin, by 
setting one of his fore feet upon a piece of wood 8 inches thick 
and I foot square, and with a mallet, setting a chisel of 2 inches 
broad upon the three claws of his fore foot, and at one blow 
cutting them clean off. 

Dog Gauge of Canute's days 

In the Public Record Office there are several 
lists giving the fines levied for the possession of un- 
lawed dogs, and at least a little compassion seems 
to have been shown to the impecunious : 

Concerning the expeditation of dogs in the forest of Galtres 

From John de Maunchestrc for one dog 3^. 
From Wilto de Huntyngtone for one dog, because he was 
poor, 1 2d. 

Dogs of the Chase 69 

From Elizabeth Gruil for 2 dogs 6j. 

From Wilto de Seriaunte for one dog 35. 

From Emma de Shuptone, because she was poor, i8</. 

Another entry of 1334, after giving the total of 
fines collected in one forest as 585. io</., finishes 
with a note : ' No more accounted for, for the 

King John hunting 

expeditation of dogs this year, because the whole 
country was burned and destroyed by the Scotch 

King John appears to have kept an enormous 
number of hunting dogs. A pack of 240 grey- 
hounds alone was kept ' to hunt fallow-deer in the 
Park of Knappe '. 

The hardships caused by these laws may be 

yo The Story of the Dog 

imagined when one finds that in the time of 
Charles I there were no less than sixty-nine royal 
forests in England, not including 781 royal parks. 

Certain privileged persons, such as court favour- 
ites and influential clergy, were exempt from 
lawing their dogs. The clergy appear to have been 
keen followers of the chase, and at one period 
bishops were forbidden to keep dogs ' lest the poor 
should be bit by these animals instead of being 
fed '. Apparently this ruling was not in force at 
the time when, as history tells, a certain archbishop, 
while following his hounds, shot a keeper by 
mistake ! 

Chaucer writes of his jolly monk : 

A Monk ther was a fair for the maistrye. 

An out-rydere, that lovede venerye ; 

A manly man, to been an abbot able. 

Ful many a deyntee hors hadde he in stable : 

Grehoundes he hadde, as swifte as fowel in flight 
Of priking and of hunting for the hare 
Was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare. 

An amusing remark is recorded of King John's, 
whose hatred of the clergy was well known. When 
out hunting one day a very fine, plump stag was 
killed and the king exclaimed, ' How fat the rascal 
is, and yet he never heard mass ! ' 

At the coronation of Queen Eleanor, wife of 
Henry HI, the Earl of Arundel was unable to act 
in his capacity as cup-bearer to the king, on account 
of his having been excommunicated by the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury for making oflf with some of 
that prelate's hounds. In the thirteenth century 

Dogs of the Chase 71 

the Bishop of Rochester is said to have hunted at 
the age of eighty and to have ' left his bishoprick 
to take care of itself. William of Wykham, 
founder of Winchester College, who was not only 
a bishop but who rose to be chancellor of England, 
was responsible for the king's dogs at Windsor — 
a strange appointment for a bishop ! 

Certain tracts of land were granted by the 
Crown in return for the maintenance of the king's 

' Nature and appearance of the Deer, and how they can be hunted 

with Dogs ' 

{Fourteenth-century MS.) 

hounds, and among the oldest of these ' Dog- 
Tenures ' was that of ' Pightesle, in the county of 
Northampton ', which was held by the family of 
Engaine from time immemorial to within fairly 
recent times. ' Pightesle ' has become ' Pytchley ' 
and the old Dog Tenure was the origin of the 
Pytchley Hunt. 

Two important, and oft-quoted, books on dogs 
appeared during the fourteenth and fifteenth cen- 
turies. The first is by Juliana Berners, Lady 

72 The Story of the Dog 

Prioress of Sopwell, who wrote in 1481 The Boke 
of Huntynge which is the first attempt in England 
to classify dogs. The list she gives is as follows : 




Butchers Houndes 


Dunghyll dogges 




Prycheryd currys 


Small ladyes poppees that 


bere awaye the flees 


— a not very comprehensive list, but interesting in 
that several of the breeds mentioned are recogniz- 
able as existing to-day. 

The second work, originally written in Latin but 
subsequently translated into English, is by Dr. 
Caius, physician to Queen Elizabeth. It was 
written in 1570 and shows a much better attempt 
at classification. (See opposite page.) 

The first attempt, so far as I can trace, to work 
out the genealogy of dogs was made by the cele- 
brated French naturalist, Buffon (1707-88). Ac- 
cording to him all dogs are descended from the 

Fox-hunting is a very ancient sport, but to begin 
with only the huntsman was mounted, the rest of 
the field following the hounds on foot. Both 
' fox-dogs ' and greyhounds were used. The first 
mention of the term ' fox-hound ' is, so far as I can 
find, in a warrant of the reign of Edward I, which 
says that one, ' William de Foxhunte, the King's 
Foxhunter ' is to receive wages for himself and two 
grooms, keepers of the King's ' Fox hounds ' at the 











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74 The Story of the Dog 

rate of 2d. per day ' for 366 days because it is leap- 
year ' ! (The extra 2d. must have been very 
welcome !) Many delightful and quaint names 
appear in these old documents, suggesting the 
origin of some of our surnames, such as Richard 
Ferreter, John le Oterhunte, John de Harretter 
{Herrecti canes = hounds for hunting the hare), and 
John de Gaunt, the King's Falconer, presumably 
from the glove worn in falconing. 

Boarhound in quilted Coat 
{From a Tapestry in the Louvre by Bernard van Orley, 1527-33) 

At this period game was still very plentiful in 
England. Fitz-Stephen, who wrote a description 
of London about 1 1 74, speaks of stags, bucks, boars 
and wild cattle as abounding in the forest adjoining 
the city to the north. 

From the time of Edward I onwards one finds 
references showing that many different breeds of 
hunting dogs were recognized, some of which are 
no longer known in England as the sports which 

Dogs of the Chase 75 

were responsible for them have died out in our 
country. In the British Museum there is an illus- 
trated manuscript, ' Le Art de Venerie ', by 
Guillamme Twici, King's huntsman, wherein it is 
stated that ' the buk, the do, fox, martyn and roo ' 
are beasts of the chase, and the ' grey cat and otre 
neyther of venery ne chace '. 

It goes on to say : ' The sesonn of the fox be- 
gynnyth at the natyvite of our lady and duryth til 
the Annunciacion, and the hare is always in seson 
to be chasyd.' The manner of hunting the various 
animals is described and also the different notes 
blown on the horn. 

Besides foxhounds, otter-hounds, wolf-hounds, 
stag-hounds, boar-hounds and barretters (harriers) 
there were ' crane-greyhounds, heron-greyhounds, 
bow-legged hare-hounds of Wales (Bassetts ?) and 
even wild-cat-hounds '. One wonders what the 
last-named dog was like as one contemporary writer 
says, ' but oone thing dare I wel say, that if eny 
beest hath the develis streynt in him without doute 
it is ye catt '. Both stag-hounds {Canihus cervericus) 
and deer-hounds {Canibus damericiis) are mentioned 
for hunting the red deer and the fallow deer 

But in spite of — perhaps because of — all these 
specialized breeds, it seems that sometimes they 
got a little mixed in their uses. ' His Majesty the 
King sends Guy and John the Fool, his huntsmen, 
with his Majesty's stag-hounds to hunt in the forest 
of Dene and capture ten boares ' (8 Henry III). 
Possibly the second-named gentleman had some- 
thing to do with the confusion. 

76 The Story of the Dog 

Scotland seems to have been chiefly responsible 
for the production of deer-hounds. The earliest 
records of the Scottish deer-hound date from about 
1520, but the breed is known to have existed for 
many centuries before that. They are the rough- 
haired greyhound of the North, and it is their 

Dogs waiting for their reward — Fourteenth Century 

colour which is supposed to be responsible for the 
name, which was originally ' Grewhound ' ; until 
quite recently ' Grews ' were spoken of in Scotland. 
However, with the invention of the express rifle 
and the dividing up of the large forests and estates 
the deer-hound became less and less popular, and 
there seemed grave danger of the breed becoming 

Dogs of the Chase 


extinct, until, in 1861, the introduction of dog 
shows revived the breeders' interests and saved the 
situation. So ardent did enthusiasts become, we 
are told, that many a Parliamentary vote could be 
assured by the promise of a puppy. 

German Woodcut, 1582. Sportsman training Dogs not 
to touch Hawks 

The deer-hound, with his magnificent size, quiet 
dignity and tragic eyes, conjures up visions of old 
baronial halls and the days of chivalry, and many 
are their exploits told in song and story. As 
recently as about 1844 one famous dog, Bran, is 
recorded to have killed two unwounded stags 
singlehanded in forty-five minutes. 

78 The Story of the Dog 

Falconry was a very popular sport in the Middle 
Ages and Falconers were always accompanied by 
dogs, generally either greyhounds or ' Spanells, 
without the wich a Falconer cannot be, without 
mayme of his pastime, and impayne of his gallant 
glee '. 

The first traceable mention of the word ' spaniel ' 
is in the Irish Laws, a.d. 17, wherein it is stated 
that water-spaniels were given as tribute to the 

Sixteenth-century Hunting-dogs 

king. The next mention is some three hundred 
years later in Welsh Laws — a time at which Wales 
was overrun by the Irish. 

In his Book of Falconrie (1575) George Turbervile 
gives much information about spaniels, which he 
speaks of as the ' dogge called the Spaniel Gentle, 
or the Comforter '. He tells of their afflictions 

among which I place the mangle firste, as the capitall enemie 
to the quiete and beautie of the brave Spanell, wherewith 
they poore dogges are oftentymes greatly plagued, bothe to 
the infection of their fellowes, and no slender griefe to there 

Dogs of the Chase 


masters. When a Spaniel is hurte, as long as he can come 
to licke the wounde with his tongue, he needes no other 
remedie. His tongue is his Surgeon. ... A good Spanell 
is a great jewel ; and a good Spanell maketh a good Hawke, 
and a curst maister, a careful footman. 

It is pleasing to find, in the reign of Henry VIII, 
reference to the care taken of dogs in a record of 
payment made to ' Robin, the King's Spaniel 
Keeper for hair cloth to rub the Spaniels with '. 

Spaniels u^ed in hawking — Sixteenth Century 

Charles I, who had no interest in hunting, but 
whose fondness for lap-dogs was responsible for the 
breed which bears his name, did a great deal to 
promote the popularity of small dogs, some of 
which were probably as spoiled and pampered as 
they frequently are to-day. During his reign 
Elizabeth Gary, widow, petitioned as follows : 

Now so it may please your Majesty your Petitioner being 
old and decrepit, and not likely to enjoy the same long ; 
having a son that followed your Majesty to Oxford and was 


The Story of the Dog 

there bitten by your Majesty's Dog Cupid (as your Majesty 
may happily call to mind) destitute of a livelihood is like to 
come to much misery after your Petitioner's death without 
your Majesty's clemency and goodness, he having been a 

Fourteenth-century Veterinary Science 

sufferer with your Petitioner by Imprisonment and otherwise. 
Wherefore your Petitioner most humbly prays, that your 
Majesty in consideration of your promises will be graciously 
pleased to grant that the said pension may be turned over 
tx> her said son Peter Gary. 

Dogs of the Chase 8i 

Shakespeare has many references to the spaniel, 
showing that they had much the same character- 
istics in his time as they have to-day — 

— you play the Spaniell 
And think with wagging of your tongue to win me. 

Henry VIII, v, 2 

Yet, (Spaniel-Uke) the more she spurnes my love, 
The more it growes, and fawneth on her still. 

Two Gentlemen of Verona, iv. 2 

She hath more qualities than a Water-spaniell, — 
Which is much in a bare Christian. 

Ibid., III. I 

Administering Medicine in the Middle Ages 

From Shakespeare we learn that the colour of 
the roof of a dog's mouth was then, as now, con- 
sidered an indication of breeding — 

Avaunt, you curs ! 

Be thy mouth or black or white. 

King Lear, iii. 6 

The fame of English spaniels spread abroad, and 
Jonhan ben Doulat, King of Acheen in Sumatra, 
heard of them : 


The Story of the Dog 

Also he takes great delyte in doges, and heeringe there was 
2 abord of the Hector, was verie desyrous of them ... it is 
said he gladly would have a water spaniell and also a cask 

Italian Nobleman Hawking 
{Playing card, 1460) 

of hot drincke were a fitt present for him for he delyted greatly 
in drinckinge and to mack men druncke. 

Public Record Office 

It was a spaniel belonging to Lord Wiltshire 
that, according to historians, was responsible for 

Dogs of the Chase 83 

the foundation of the Church of England. Henry 
VIII sent Lord Wikshire as special ambassador to 
Rome to obtain permission from the Pope for his 
divorce. When ushered into the Pope's presence, 
Lord Wiltshire knelt to kiss his Holiness's toe, and 
the Pope, to facilitate matters, moved his foot for- 
ward. Wiltshire's spaniel, who had accompanied 
him, taking the action for an attempt to kick his 

Sixteenth-century Dachshunds at work 

master in the face, leapt forward and bit the toe. 
Such a riotous scene followed that Lord Wiltshire 
had to beat a hasty retreat from Rome, his mission 
unaccomplished, with the result that Henry, unable 
to obtain a legal divorce, disassociated himself — 
and England — from Rome. 

Hunting became more and more popular as time 

went on, and those in high places frequently allowed 

their passion for the chase to interfere with duty. 

It was said of James I that during his reign one 


84 The Story of the Dog 

man might more safely kill another than one of 
the king's stags, and the King was criticized for 
being more fond of hunting than of going to 

James had numerous packs of hounds, including 
buck-hounds, harriers, otter-houndsj greyhounds, 
lyan-hounds (hounds held at leash), and spaniels, 
and it is interesting to read of his hunting stags in 
Hyde Park and Marylebone Park. 

One day one of the King's favourite hounds, 
called 'Jowler', was missing, and the King was 
' much annoyed '. However, when he was out 
hunting on the following day, Jowler mysteriously 
appeared and joined the pack. The King called 
the hound to him to caress it, and then noticed a 
paper tied to its collar on which was written : 

Good Mr. Jowler, we pray you speake to the king (for he 
hears you every day, and so doth he not us) that it will please 
his Majestie to go back to London, for els the country wil 
be undone ; all our provition is spent already, and we are 
not able to intertayne him longer. 

It was during James's reign that the Archbishop 
of Canterbury shot a keeper, and the king sent 
word that he was ' not to discomfort himself as such 
an accident might befall any man '. In contrast 
to this, when his queen accidentally shot one of his 
hounds ' he stormed exceedingly a while ', although 
he afterwards relented and magnanimously wrote 
to his spouse that ' he should love her never the 
worse '. 

James's favourite terms of endearment generally 
took the form of dog names ; thus he addressed 

cySrtnce or 

J/M fnaH- iA Ttwjt nurnUyu 

Great Danes in Denmark. 1686 

86 The Story of the Dog 

Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, as ' my little 
Beagill ' ; Lord Cranborne as '' King's Beagle ' ; 
Buckingham was his ' Dog Steenie ' and the Queen 
' Deare little Beagle '. 

No man has told us more about hounds and 
hunting in the Middle Ages than Gervase Mark- 
ham in his magnificent book Countrey Contentments, 
or, the Husbandman's Recreations, containing Wholesome 
Experience, in which any ought to Recreate himself, after 
the toyl of more Serious Business (first published in 
165 1). He gives very detailed descriptions, too 
long to quote here, of what he considers each breed 
should be. 

Markh'am says that hunting the stag is ' the most 
Princely and Royal Chase of all Chases ', hunting 
the hare ' every honest Man's, and good Man's 
chase ', but hunting the fox and badger 

they are chases of a great deal less use, or cunning than any 
of the former, because they are of much hotter scent, as being 
intituled stinking scents and not sweet scents, and indeed very 
few Dogs but will hunt them with all eagerness. 

The necessity for careful selection in breeding 
was recognized long before Markham's day. In 
the reign of Henry VHI there is mention of one 
of the King's kennel men under the delightful title 
of ' Keeper Chaste of the King's Grey-Houndes ', 
whose duty it was to see that his charges remained 
' pure thoroughbred Grey-Houndes '. 

Addison, writing in the Spectator, some sixty years 
later, speaks of the importance of voice in hounds : 

He [Sir Roger de Coverley] is so nice in this particular, 
that a Gentleman having made him a Present of a very fine 

Dogs of the Chase 


Hound the other day, the Knight returned it by the Servant 
with a great many Expressions of CiviUty ; but desired him 
to tell his Master, that the Dog he had sent was indeed a most 
excellent Base, but that at present he only wanted a Counter 

Eighteenth Century 


Let loose the Dogs of War ! 

THE use of the dog as an auxiliary of war is as old 
as war itself. Primitive man was quick to make 
use of the dog as a guardian for his family, his 
belongings and himself, and, as such, we may be 
certain that, when men began to live together in 
communities, their four-footed protectors were not 
denied the joy of battle when rival tribes came to 

In the days of primitive weapons, and, in fact, 
down to the time of the invention of gun-powder, 
the dog was used not only for purposes of defence, 
but actually as a force of attack. From about 
700 B.C. on we have numerous references to the use 
of the dog in battle in Western Asia, Europe and 
Northern Africa. The wonderful reliefs from the 
Palace of Nineveh [circa 650 B.C.), now in the British 
Museum, show very clearly the war dogs of Assur- 
banipal — a large, mastiff type of beast. Hero- 
dotus (v. i), in his account of the battle between 
the Perinthi and the Paeoni, says : ' Man was 
matched against man, horse against horse, dog 
against dog.' On the frieze from Pergamum (circa 


Dogs of War 


280 B.C.) we see representations of the type of dog 
used by the Assyrians in war, a big, shaggy creature, 
with pricked ears and a short, broad muzzle. 

Certain nations, notably the Gauls, clad their 
war dogs in armour, but unfortunately no com- 
plete suit of this ancient dog armour has survived, 
and our only knowledge of what it was like comes 

Babylonian War Dog 

from contemporary pictures. The only two suits 
of armour I have been able to trace are neither of 
them war armour, but were intended for protection 
in hunting such dangerous game as the wild boar. 
One suit, now in the museum at Madrid, is composed 
of metal plates and chain, with an under coat of 
velvet, and belonged to King Charles V. The 

go The Story of the Dog 

other, the property of the Dukes of Saxe-Weimar, 
and now in the Wartburg Museum, is what is 
known as an eyelet coat. It is made of several 
thicknesses of canvas, perforated and stitched 
together with close-set button-holing, the stitching 
giving additional stiffness to the coat and the holes 
supplying ventilation. 

The Garamantes, the ancient nomadic people 
of the Sahara, depended largely on dogs for the 
defence of their camps, as did also the Great Attila, 
King of the Huns. The Romans employed cor- 
dons of dogs to guard the ramparts of their towns, 
but do not seem to have used them very much in 
actual battle. 

From Homer we get the first mention of dogs 
being used as despatch-bearers, carrying letters 
attached to their collars. 

When dogs were used for fighting, in addition 
to their coats of mail, they were frequently armed 
with heavy iron collars from which spikes and 
curved knives protruded at all angles. Animals 
so armed wrought much havoc among enemy 
cavalry and not infrequently reduced the ranks to 

Throughout Europe the English mastiff seems 
to have been popular as a war dog from the time 
of the Roman Conquest onwards, but I can find 
no very early mention of their being used as such 
in England itself. Henry VHI sent some 400 of 
these dogs to Charles V of Spain who was at that 
time engaged in war with France, and these animals 
fought so splendidly and proved themselves such a 
valuable asset to the Spanish army that Charles 


Dogs of War 91 

held them up as an example to his soldiers. When 
parties were sent out for reconnaissance they were 
accompanied by dogs, and the animals' sense of 
smell discovered many an ambuscade as well as 
helping to track a fleeing foe. 

After the French had entered Alexandria in 
1798, Napoleon wrote to one of his generals : 
' They ought to have at Alexandria a large number 

War Armour — Albert du Hamel, i^^g-ijog. Suit of splinter 
Plates strapped across the Back 

of dogs, which you can easily make use of by 
fastening them a short distance from your walls.' 
One dog in particular became famous in the 
Napoleonic Campaigns, a creature of unrecorded 
breed called Moustache. He first acquired merit 
by warning the French of a surprise attack by the 
Austrians. He also disclosed the presence of an 
Austrian spy, who, carefully disguised, had man- 
aged to get into the French camp. But his greatest 

92 The Story of the Dog ' 

feat was at the Battle of Austerlitz, where it is said, 
when he saw his master, the standard-bearer, fall 
dead, Moustache rushed at the Austrian soldier 
who had grabbed the cherished flag, tore it from 
his hands and dragged it, torn and muddy, back 
to his company. For this deed Moustache was 
personally decorated by Marshal Larmes. 

An interesting story is told showing how dogs 
employed in war absorb the military spirit. After 
the Battle of Talavera, word was brought to General 
Graham that there was a dog on the battlefield 
who, in spite of all inducements, refused to leave 
the side of its dead master, a Spanish officer. 
Eventually General Graham managed to capture 
the desolate creature, and he had it sent to a friend 
of his who lived just outside Edinburgh Castle. 
The dog is described as a large, brown poodle, and 
he had had an ear shot offin battle. In those days of 
war, victories and important events were announced 
from the castle by the firing of guns, and whenever 
this happened, Muchuch, as the dog was called, 
would go wild with excitement. His sympathetic 
master would open the door of the house where 
they lived, whereupon Muchuch would rush up to 
the castle, where he would take up his position with 
the battery. He became a well-known character 
among the garrison and when, owing to some slight 
indisposition, he was confined to the house for some 
days, there was a continual stream of soldiers 
ringing the bell to enquire after the old warrior. 

Admiral CoUingwood had a Newfoundland called 
Bounce who was with him on the Royal Sovereign 
at the Battle of Trafalgar. On CoUingwood's 


Dogs of Knights and Prelates from Memorial Brasses 

8. Sir John Wylcotes, 1410 

g. Roger Elmebrygge Esquire, 1435 

10. Lady de Northwode, 1330 

11. Sir Robert Staunton, 1458 

12. Lady Staunton, 1458 

13. Lady Bagot, 1407 

14. Sir Roger de Trumpington, i28g 

15. Margaret Torrington, i34g 

1. Margaret, Lady Ferrers of Chartley, 


2. Priest, Wensley, Yorkshire, 1360 

3. Maud, Lady de Cobham, 1360 

4. Sir William de Fitzralph, 1320 

5. Laurentius de Sancto Mauro, 1337 

6. Sir Peter Halle, 1420 

7. Lady Berkeley, I3g2 

94 The Story of the Dog 

promotion to the peerage, Bounce assumed that the 
honour was extended to him also, and the Admiral 
wrote to his wife : 

I am out of patience with Bounce ; the consequential airs 
he gives himself since he became a right honourable dog are 
insufferable. He considers it beneath his dignity to play with 
commoners' dogs. This, I think, is carrying the insolence 
of rank to the extreme. 

Another dog to achieve military fame was 
Thonton, who was attached to the Zouave Guards. 
He served through fourteen campaigns and was 
twice wounded. His name was included in the 
roll-call of the regiment, and when it was read out 
he would bark his ' Sir '. 

Throughout the ages dog has helped man to 
fight his battles, and a charming little story is told 
of impartial recognition of his services. During 
the Revolutionary War, General Washington was 
dining one night, when a large dog suddenly 
appeared at the door of his tent. It was a fine 
animal but obviously was very hungry, and on 
examination its collar was found to bear the name 
of General Howe. Washington ordered the dog 
to be well fed, and then returned to the enemy lines 
under a flag of truce, for which gracious action 
he received a very grateful letter from General 

In the World War a wire-haired terrier. Spot, 
shared with' his master, General Townshend, the 
hardships of the siege of Kut, and was taken prisoner 
with his master when the Turks took the city. He 
was spared to return to England where he took a 
place of honour in a parade of famous war dogs. 

Dogs of War 95 

Unfortunately, on this occasion, probably bored by 
overmuch admiration, he insisted on showing that 
he was a war dog by starting a tattle royal with one 
of his fellow veterans. 

A remarkable, and authentic story is told of an 
Irish terrier, Prince, the property of a soldier in the 
Staffordshire Regiment. When the regiment was 
ordered abroad in 19 14, Prince was left behind in 
charge of the soldier's family in Hammersmith. 
One day, greatly to the consternation of the family, 
Prince disappeared. In some unexplained manner 
he managed to get across the Channel — probably as 
a stowaway on a troop-ship — and, once in France, 
his extraordinary instinct led him to the Stafford- 
shires, who were in the front-line trenches at 
Armentieres, and to his master. He was then 
allowed to ' serve in France ' until his owner 
returned to England where Prince died in 1921. 

Modern methods of warfare are very diflferent 
from those of old, and the dog can no longer take 
part in the actual fighting ; nevertheless, his uses, 
both on the battle-field and behind the lines, are 
many and indispensable. During the World War 
the dog, as some one put it, ' had a paw in every 
pie '. 

To begin with, when Germany invaded Belgium, 
all the thousands of dogs which are commonly em- 
ployed in the latter country for pulling small carts 
and tradesman's vans were of inestimable assist- 
ance in evacuating women, children and house- 
hold goods from the war zone. Later on dogs were 
used extensively in the Belgian Army for pulling 
machine-guns and carrying reserve ammunition. 

96 The Story of the Dog 

Guard dogs were used by practically every 
nation which took part in the conflict. Man- 
power was precious, and became increasingly more 
so, and the use of dogs to guard munition dumps, 
prisoners, food supplies, etc., released many a man 
from sentry-go. Where dogs alone were not suffi- 
cient their presence, with their sharp sense of smell 
and hearing, added much to the men's morale. 
Many a prisoner who would be willing to risk a 
bullet from his human escort would hesitate to 
try and circumvent the vigilance — and teeth — of a 

Strange though it may appear, whether it is by 
smell or by recognizing different uniforms, dogs 
have a wonderful faculty of differentiating between 
friend and foe, and have frequently discovered the 
presence of spies. (See previous anecdote of 

On sentry duty, both in the trenches and in No 
Man's Land, the dog's keen scent and acute eye- 
sight and hearing were a tremendous help. Many 
are the stories of surprise attacks frustrated by the 
sharp senses of dogs accompanying men on patrol, 
and in the dark, particularly, when a man's eyes 
are practically useless to him, the dog's marvellous 
senses saved many a human life. 

Sentry dogs are in regular use in India on the 
North- West Frontier. A type of Afghan hound is 
used and the following description is from Hutchin- 
son's Dog Encyclopaedia : 

Chaman, you must know, is one of our principal posts on 
the North-West Frontier. . . . Two mud forts guard the 
railway station, one on each side ; each fort is manned by one 


Dogs of War 97 

company of Indian infantry, and one squadron of native 
mounted levies and by dogs. 

What strikes the newcomer entering either of the forts at 
any hour of the day is the large, extraordinary-looking 
creatures sprawling all over the place, fast asleep. In size 
and shape they somewhat resemble a large Grey-hound, but 
such slight resemblance is dispelled by the tufts with which all 
are adorned : some having tufted ears, others tufted feet, and 
others, again, possessing tufted tails. 

They are known as Baluchi Hounds, and they get their 
daily food ration from the commissariat babu ; he is the only 
permanent resident of the fort. They will have no truck with 
any stranger, white or black. 

When ' Retreat ' sounds, the pack awakes, yawns, pulls 
itself together, and solemnly marches out to take up positions 
close to the newly arrived night guard. They appear to be 
under no leadership, yet as the patrols are told off a couple of 
dogs attach themselves to each patrol, and they remain with 
their respective patrols till ' reveille ' next morning. Between 
a deep ditch and wall of the fort is a narrow path. Through- 
out the night, this path is patrolled by successive couples of 
dogs. Immediately one couple has completed the circuit of 
the walls and arrives back at the main gate, another couple 
starts out. 

When it is remembered that these extraordinary hounds 
have never had any training whatsoever, that their duties are 
absolutely self-imposed — for no human being has the slightest 
control over them — the perfection of their organization and 
the smoothness with which they carry out their tasks make 
mere man gasp ! 

Another field in which the dog proved his worth 
was that of messenger. By day or night a dog can 
sHp swiftly and silently over ground pocked with 
shell-holes which would mean death from a sniper's 
bullet, or at least, in all likelihood, a broken limb 
to a human being. When telephone wires were 
broken and visual signalling impossible, either 

gS The Story of the Dog 

because of smoke, darkness or bad weather, dogs 
were, at times, the only possible means of com- 
munication between advance posts and head- 

A messenger dog is in the charge of a keeper who 

Japanese Memorial, near Tokio, to their Messenger Dogs killed in 
Manchuquo, igjj 

he recognizes as his master. When the dog is to 
be used he is taken, on the lead, away from his 
keeper to the outpost from which messages may be 
required to be sent, or led with a scouting-party 
who anticipate difficulties in communicating with 
their base. When the necessary message has been 
written and placed in the special container attached 

Dogs of War 99 

to the dog's collar, he is released, and he follows 
his natural desire to return to his master. 

A greater nicety of training is required for the 
' liaison ' dog, for in this work the dog has to learn 
not only to return to his master if told to do so, 
but possibly to leave his master and return to the 
place from which he was released. 

Sometimes, in cases of broken communications, 
a dog was sent to lay a fresh signal wire. The wire 
was wound round a disc attached to an apparatus 
on his back, and he was trained to go at such a 
pace, and over such ground, as was best suited 
for the unwinding and laying of this precious link 
between two posts. The average dog can carry 
about fifty yards of telephone wire. 

On the Italian Front sledge dogs, imported from 
the North, brought provisions and munitions to 
men in the High Alps. It is on record that, after 
one very heavy snowfall, 150 dogs moved, in the 
space of four days, over fifty tons of supplies from 
the valley up to the front line high up on the 
mountain. During the year 1918 the French had 
over 8,000 sledge-dogs working with their army in 
the Vosges Mountains alone. 

But perhaps the most valuable service rendered 
by dogs in modern warfare is that of First Aid. 
Many a man aHve to-day owes his life to the keen 
senses of the dog who, after the battle, is sent out to 
search for the wounded. 

A wounded man's first instinct is to crawl to some 
spot where he is less likely to sustain further injury. 
This may be a shell-hole, an abandoned trench, or 
behind any cover within his reach. Here perhaps 

100 The Story of the Dog 

he may lose consciousness, or become too weak 
to call out should help come within earshot. After 
dark, even if he stays out in the open, he will prob- 
ably be invisible to the human eye, and as likely 
as not might never be found were it not for the 
dogs. A dog's sense of smell is independent of 
sight or hearing, and these First Aid dogs are 

Red Cross Dog 

trained to search out the living from among the 
dead. Sometimes a wounded man is able to avail 
himself of the supplies carried by the dogs in their 
First Aid outfits — bandages, small dressings and 
stimulant — and thus to get himself into a fit state 
to crawl back to safety. But if he is unconscious, 
or too badly hit to help himself even to this extent, 
the dog will return to the lines where its excited 

Dogs of War loi 

manner will attract attention, and stretcher-bearers 
will be sent out to follow the dog back to the 
wounded man. 

Colonel Richardson tells me that, in spite of the 
splendid work done by dogs during the World 
War, there has been, as yet, no official recognition 
of the need of them in England, although he has 
been kept busy supplying them as guard dogs for 
private individuals. 

Dogs employed in the World War were not of 
any one particular breed, though Airedales, Alsa- 
tions and collies were probably in the majority. 
When the Armistice was signed there were about 
10,000 dogs at the actual battle front. 

During the War many dogs were mentioned in 
despatches ; and many more went the way of all 
good dogs without complaint or whimper. 


Everything that is called fighting is a dehcious thing to an English- 

John Houghton, 1694 

IN days gone by wartime was not by any means 
the only occasion on which dogs were expected to 

Although organized fights between dogs and other 
animals, and between dog and dog, have been 
prohibited in England since 1835, they were for 
many centuries considered to be one of the best 
forms of entertainment. Halls and arenas specially 
built for bull- and bear-baiting existed as far back 
as the reign of Henry II. Even after 1835 these 
cruel pastimes were indulged in surreptitiously, and 
in 1847 Youatt wrote : 

The public dog-pits have now been put down ; but the 
system of dog-fighting with most of its attendant atrocities 
still continues. There are many more low public houses 
than there used to be, pits that have roomy places behind 
and out of sight, where there are regular meetings for this 
purpose. . . . Would it be thought possible that certain of 
our young aristocracy keep fighting dogs at the repositories 
of various dealers in the outskirts of the metropolis ? 

So those of us who are given to criticizing the 


Fighting Dogs 103 

cruelty of bull-fights abroad should remember that 
not very long ago our own country showed similar 
tastes. In connexion with this an amusing anec- 
dote is told of a member of one of our societies for 
the prevention of cruelty to animals, who was asked 
to go to Spain to organize a similar society there. 
When it came to the question of raising funds, he 
was assured that by far the most successful way 
would be to have a bull-fight ! 

The ' sport ' of bull-baiting with dogs seems to 
have been indulged in at a very early date, and it 
appears that England was responsible for its in- 
ception. The poet Claudian (fourth century a.d.) 
wrote of ' The British Hound that brings the bull's 
big forehead to the ground '. On the other hand, 
that bull- and bear-baiting was ' peculiar to 
Britain ', as stated by one author, is not correct, 
for it was much practised in Spain (where it devel- 
oped into the bull-fight), though it seems to have 
reached its peak of popularity in England. 

Enthusiasm for this form of entertainment was 
immense throughout the Middle Ages and Erasmus 
noted, in 1506, that there were many herds of 
bears kept for baiting in England. We read, in 
the time of Henry VHI, that 

At Beverley late, much of the people being at a bear-baiting, 
the church fell sodenly down at evensong time. A good 
fellow that after heard the tale told 'So', quod he, ' now may 
you see what it is to be at evensong when you should be at 
the bear-baiting '. 

Sir Thomas More 

The Manor of Paris Garden on the Bankside, 
in Southwark, was built under royal patronage 

104 ^^^ »S'/orv of the Dog 

exclusively for exhibitions of bull- and bear-baiting. 
One penny admission was charged and there was 
seating accommodation for i,ooo spectators. Later 
a second arena was built adjoining it. Contests 
were also held in many parks and other public open 
spaces in the country. 

Master of the King's bears, bulls and mastiffs 


was constituted a court office during Henry VI IPs 
reign and continued such with several succeeding 

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth a law was 
passed prohibiting the exhibition of all plays on 
Thursdays because Thursday was bear-baiting 
day. In the same reign one, Edward Alleyn, an 
actor by profession and a rival of Burbage, added to 

Fighting Dogs 105 

his theatrical fame by becoming owner of the Paris 
Garden. RoyaUy frequently attended, and, from 
the proceeds of his bear-garden, Alleyn acquired 
lasting approbation by founding Dulwich College. 

Queen Elizabeth herself was an ardent supporter 
of the sport, and contests were specially arranged 
to entertain distinguished guests and ambassadors 
from abroad. 

Shakespeare shows much familiarity with baiting, 
and from his many allusions and vivid descriptions 
he must have been a frequent spectator. 

During the reign of James I the Globe Theatre 
was rebuilt so that it could be used either as a 
play-house or an arena, and for some time bear- 
baiting only took place there once a fortnight. 
Gradually, however, the demand for baiting so 
took precedence over that for the drama that more 
and more days were allotted to the former ; its 
old name waned and it was spoken of as the Bear 
Garden, and the last record of a theatrical per- 
formance there is in 161 6. 

Other animals besides bears and bulls were kept 
for fighting dogs. James I had a special den built 
in the wall of the Tower of London ' for the Lyons 
to goe into their walke, at the pleasure of their 
keeper, which walke, shall be maintayned, and 
kept for especiall place to baight the Lyone with 
Dogges '. 

Contests between lions and dogs never seem to 
have achieved quite the popularity of bull- and 
bear-baiting, though they were practised until as 
recently as 1825, when the last of such fights took 
place at Warwick. 

io6 The Story of the Dog 

During the Commonwealth the Puritans tried 
unsuccessfully to bring in a bill prohibiting bull- 
baiting, it being said by scoffers that it was inspired, 
not by compassion for the bull, but by disapproval 
of the pleasure given to the onlookers. It was 
argued that the immense crowds which the contests 
drew tended to spread the plague and other dis- 
eases, but the court held that it was ' a safeguard 
against worse disorders and a sweet and comfortable 
recreation fitted for the solace and comfort of a 
peaceable people '. 

As to the kind of dogs used for these entertain- 
ments, it is probable that to begin with any strong 
and stubborn dog was employed, and that from 
the most successful of these the bulldog breed was 
evolved. It is certain, though, that the bulldog 
owes a great deal to English mastiff blood, and all 
the earlier representations of fighting dogs show a 
marked mastiff strain. Shakespeare writes : 

RAM. That island of England breeds very valiant creatures ; 
their mastiffs are of unmatchable courage. 

ORL. Foolish curs, that run winking into the mouth of a 
Russian bear and have their heads crushed like rotten 
apples ! You may as well say, that's a valiant flea 
that does eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion. 

Henry V, iii. 7 

The ' Annales, or Generall Chronicle of England, 
begun first by Maister John Stow ', gives several 
accounts of bull-baiting and specifically mentions 
mastiffs as the dogs used, saying, ' There are in 
Englande beasts of as great courage as the Lion, 
namely the Mastiffe Dog'. The first mention of 
the name ' bulldog ' is by Prestwick Eaton in 1 63 1 . 

Fighting Dogs 107 

In a letter from him, now preserved in the PubHc 
Record Office, written in Spain to a friend in 
London, he enumerates the things he wishes to be 
sent to him ' by ye first shipp '. Among them are 
' a good masture dogge, my case of bottles re- 
plenished with the best lickour and two good Bull- 
doggs '. The mention of bulldog and mastiff at 
the same time shows that, even at that period, they 
were looked upon as distinct breeds. Shakespeare 
makes many references to the mastiff but not one 
to the bulldog. 

Bull- and bear-baiting seem to have attracted all 
classes of onlookers, from royalty to the poorest, and 
it is pleasing to find an occasional recognition of its 
cruelty. Samuel Pepys wrote : 

1 666. Augt. 1 4. After dinner, with my wife and Mercer to 
the Beare Garden, where I have not been, I think, of many 
years, and saw some good sport of the bull's tossing of the 
dogs ; one into the very boxes. But it is a very rude and 
nasty pleasure. 

Pepys also tells, rather quaintly, of a dog who 
fought less dangerous battles : 

1 66 1. Sept. II. To Dr. Williams, who did carry me into 
his garden, where he hath abundance of grapes ; and he did 
show me how a dog he hath do kill all the cats that come 
thither to kill his pigeons, and do afterwards bury them ; and 
do it with so much care that they shall be quite covered i 
that if the tip of the tail hangs out, he will take up the cat 
again, and dig the hole deeper, which is very strange ; and 
he tells me, that he do believe he hath killed above 100 cats. 

The following, taking from the writings of John 
Houghton, F.R.S., dated 1694, is a curious plea 
for bull-baiting : 


The Story of the Dog 

When he (the bull) is at full growth and strong, he is often 
baited almost to death ; for that great exercise makes his 
flesh more tender ; and so if eaten in good time (before 
putrefaction, which he is more subject to than if not baited) 
he is tolerable good meat, altho' very red. 

Bull-baiting retained its popularity much longer 
than bear-baiting and when, at last, the former 
was prohibited by law, dog-fighting took its place. 

Westminster Pit, 1820 

The Westminster Pit was the centre of this form of 
entertainment, though it was carried on in other 
arenas and in the rooms of public houses as well. 
Large sums of money changed hands at these 
contests which generally ended in the death of at 
least one of the combatants. 

Interest in dog breeding eventually led to greater 
consideration for dogs, and this, in its turn, made 
owners less willing to risk having their animals 

Fighting Dogs 109 

killed, or maimed. Bills advertising dog-fights 
about the middle of the eighteenth century offered 
as a bribe ' Any person who brings a dog will be 
admitted free ', showing that dogs bred for fighting 
were getting scarce. 

A curious little anecdote is told showing the 
popularity of a well-known fighting-dog. A travel- 
ler, towards the end of the eighteenth century, was 
riding in the neighbourhood of Wednesbury, in 
Staffordshire, and was surprised to hear peals of 
church bells ringing. He stopped and asked a 
passer-by the reason. ' Why ? Don't you know ? 
Old Sal's been brought to bed.' Further enquiries 
disclosed that Old Sal was a celebrated bulldog 
bitch, and that she had just been safely delivered of 
her first litter of puppies. 



NO animal has been put to more varied uses than 
the dog, and until comparatively recent times its 
use as a draught animal was common in most 
countries in Europe, while in certain other parts of 
the globe it still is practically the only means of 
transport. Its use in this capacity has now been 
forbidden by law in England, but throughout 
Central Europe, and particularly in Belgium, dogs 
are in constant demand for drawing milk-carts and 
other small vehicles. Many thousands of small 
tradesmen, who cannot afford to keep a horse, 
which, in addition to the expense of its feed, 
requires special accommodation, find great assist- 
ance in the dog, who can be fed on household 
scraps and, as likely as not, share the family 

In Belgium there was, at one time, a society for 
the improvement of the draught dog, and Professor 
Reul, in speaking of these dogs says : 

The dog in business renders such precious services to the 
people, to small traders and to the small industrialists (agricul- 
turalists included) in Belgium, that never will any public 
authority dare to suppress its current use. A disastrous 
economic revolution would be the consequence. Penury and 


Draught Dogs 


poverty would enter thousands of homes where a relative 
affluence is apparent now. 

Belgium has many laws, rigidly enforced, pro- 
tecting draught dogs and insuring their proper 
treatment. The use of dogs under a certain size 
is forbidden ; the type of harness and vehicle 
allowed is strictly regulated, as is also the weight 


Belgian Draught Dog 

of the load, which must not exceed 300 pounds for 
a single dog, or 400 pounds for a pair. Anyone 
who knows Belgium can testify that one seldom 
sees a draught dog in poor condition or mal- 
treated, and they are obviously happy and enjoy 
the work. There is a saying in Belgium that the 
only day in the week when the draught dog is not 
happy is Sunday, when he is not allowed to work. 
The number of dogs working in Belgium is said 

112 The Story of the Dog 

to be something over 200,000, and their earning 
power estimated at about ^^2,000,000 per annum. 

To my mind it is a great pity that the use of dogs 
for draught is not permitted in England — provided 
of course, that they were adequately protected by 
law. Some friends of mine were given one of the 
sledge dogs which accompanied John Rymill on 
his Graham Land expedition. ' Wolf is a magni- 
ficent white husky, probably one of the finest in 
England, but the problem of exercising him was 
a difficult one. Surrounding farms, with their 
chickens, sheep and other stock, made it quite impos- 
sible to allow Wolf to roam the countryside alone. 
When taken out on the lead he insisted on treating 
the poor human being at the other end of the leash 
as though they were a load incapable of voluntary 
progression and pulled him along with great gusto 
at about thirty miles an hour. At last the difficulty 
was solved by making him a sledge, and it would 
be hard to find a happier and prouder dog than 
Wolf as, harnessed to this, he daily hauls his loads 
of firewood and logs from the woods to the house. 
So keen is he to work that when his harness is pro- 
duced he runs up and tries to thrust his head and 
legs through the right straps himself 

On the Continent no particular breed is used for 
draught work, and I have seen collies, Labradors, 
Great Danes, St. Bernards and many which defy 

The best-known draught dogs are, of course, the 
sledge dogs of the North. Jesse says : 

What the horse is to us, and the camel to the Arab, such, 
and even more, is the dog to the children of the ice deserts of 

V ■■■t-^ 

"WOLF," 1939 

Draught Dogs 113 

the forlorn and frozen regions of the North. His strength, 
speed and endurance alone enable that lonely race to traverse 
those trackless wastes shrouded in nature's pall of eternal 
snows, where a gale is as much dreaded by the Esquimaux as 
the simoon by the Bedouins in the sandy deserts of Arabia. 

Not only does the dog provide the only means of 
transport possible in these regions, but his coat of 
coarse, compact fur supplies the natives' chief 
article of clothing. 

Haynes gives a delightful description of the start 
of a journey by dog-sleigh. 

The dogs (seven) were cold and eager to be off. They were 
hitched to the sledge in a moment ; the hunter with his right 
hand threw out the coils of his long whiplash, with his left he 
seized an upstander, and pushing the sledge forward a few 
paces, he at the same moment shrilly sounded the familiar cry 
' Ka ! Ka ! ' — ' Ka ! Ka ! ' which sent the dogs bounding to 
their places, and dashing down over the rough ice-foot. The 
hunter guided his sledge among the hummocks, restraining 
the impetuosity of his team with the nasal ' Ay ! Ay ! ' which 
they well understood. Having reached the smooth ice, he 
dropped upon the sledge, let fall his whiplash upon the snow 
to trail after him, shouted ' Ka ! Ka ! ' — ' Ka ! Ka ! ' to 
his wolfish team, and was off at a wild gallop. 

I watched the sledges from the rocks below the hut until I 
grew cold. They moved gracefully over the heavy drifts, 
and wound skilfully among the hummocks. Sometimes they 
were lost to view for a moment in a valley or behind a wall of 
broken ice. At length they appeared only as dark specks 
upon the white horizon. Even when they were almost lost 
to sight, a cheerful voice reached me through the clear air ; 
and as I turned away, ' Ka ; Ka ! ' rang in my ears. — Happy, 
care-free creatures ! 

' Travelling blind ' is frequently necessary in the 
Polar regions, either because of the long, Arctic 

114 ^'^^ ^^^U ^f ^^^ ^^S 

night, or because of fog or driving snow-storms, 
and in such cases the natives have learned to trust 
impHcitly to their dogs. A dog's instinct will tell 
him when the ice underfoot is unsafe long before 
the danger is apparent to man. As soon as a dog 
feels weak or unsafe ice under his feet, he lies down 
trembling, and it is an unwise man that ignores 
the warning. 

The natives are frequently very brutal to their 
animals, with the result that native-owned dogs 
have the reputation of being ferocious and intract- 
able — which they often are and with justification. 
Nevertheless, these creatures, apparently so little 
removed from their brethren the wolves, seem in- 
stinctively to crave human company. One ex- 
ploring expedition, with the desire to furnish their 
dogs with comfortable quarters, built, at the base, 
a spacious dog-house, some little way from the 
tents, but the dogs refused to sleep there, preferring 
to curl up in the snow within scent and sound of 
the men. When the tents were moved over to 
within a few yards of the dog-house, the dogs were 
quite content to remain in the shelter intended for 

As a general rule, dogs in the Arctic do not dig 
holes in which to sleep, but prefer to curl up on 
the snow, although they sometimes dig holes in 
summer to get away from the heat. 

In the very far North the long, intense darkness 
affects even Arctic-bred dogs. It not only de- 
presses their spirits but the lack of light is thought 
to be largely contributory to an anomalous form of 
disease, which is very fatal among them. Dr. 

Draught Dogs 115 

Kane, the explorer, writes very sympathetically of 
this : 

This morning, January 20, at five o'clock, I went on deck. 
It was absolutely dark ; not a glimmer came to me through 
the ice-crusted window-panes of the cabin. While I was 
feeling my way, half puzzled as to the best method of steering 
clear of whatever might be before me, two of my Newfound- 
land dogs put their cold noses against my hand, and immedi- 
ately commenced the most exuberant antics of satisfaction. 
It then occurred to me how very dreary and forlorn must these 
poor animals be, at atmospheres +10 degrees indoors and 
— 50 without — living in darkness, howling at an accidental 
light, as if it reminded them of the moon — and with nothing, 
either of instinct or sensation, to tell them of the passing hours, 
or to explain the long-lost daylight. They shall see the 
lanterns more frequently. . . . The subject of the influence 
which our long winter night exerted on the health of these 
much-valued animals has some interesting bearings. 

His humane consideration of his dogs apparently 
brought its reward, for later he writes : 

I find by my notes that these six dogs, well worn by previous 
travel, carried me with a fully-burdened sledge between seven 
' and eight hundred miles during the first fortnight after leaving 
the brig — a mean travel of fifty-seven miles a day. 

The record for dog travel was set by a Cree 
Indian called Albert Campbell, who, in answer to 
a desperate appeal for medical aid and supplies, 
drove his team from Winnipeg to St. Paul's, a 
distance of 522 miles, in four days and twenty- two 
hours — a feat never likely to be beaten. The 
longest non-stop run for sledge dogs is reported by 
Commander Macmillan, whose dogs carried him 
a hundred miles in just under eighteen hours. 

These records refer to working trips and not 

1 1 6 The Story of the Dog 

racing. Dog-racing is one of the principal sports 
in Alaska, and every year the ' Dog Derby ' 
attracts great crowds and teams from all over the 
Frozen North are entered. There is great rivalry 
between the Alaskan Malamuts and the Siberian 
wolf-dogs, the latter generally proving the faster of 
the two. The route is from Nome to Candle and 

' Fan-trace 

back, a course of 412 miles, and for many years the 
record time was eighty hours, twenty-seven minutes. 
Long before Arctic Expeditions were thought of, 
the Esquimaux of America and Greenland, and 
the tribes living in the Siberian tundras, had dis- 
covered the safest and easiest means of travelling 
over the barren regions of snow. The majority 
of these people are, of necessity, nomadic, for places 
where food is to be found change with the seasons 

Draught Dogs 1 1 7 

of the year. Only in certain districts is there suffi- 
cient vegetation to provide fodder for reindeer, but 
the dog is carnivorous and, in the North, thrives on 
blubber, fish and flesh of Arctic animals, as does 
his master. Not only this, but it is reckoned that 
two dogs only require as much food as one man and 
that, over any ordinary run, they can pull a load 
twice as far. 

In summer, or whenever the snow is unfit for 
sleighs, the dogs are used as pack animals. The 
load is attached to a small pack-saddle, or carried 
in side panniers, and, generally speaking, a dog can 
carry one-third its weight day after day for an 
indefinite period. 

These dogs of the North are always of the wolf 
type ; they do not bark but only howl, and some- 
times so resemble their wild relatives that the dif- 
ference is hard to detect. The wolf is the only 
denizen of the frozen lands which the dog will not 
attack, though it will not hesitate to tackle creatures 
as formidable as a polar bear. In spite of the low 
temperature the dog's sense of smell is excellent, 
and the natives utilize their dogs in seal-hunting 
to show them which holes in the ice the seals use 
as breathing-holes. These holes are frequently 
covered with snow, and once the dog has indicated 
where they are, the natives clear the snow away 
and squat round, their harpoon poised to strike 
when the seal appears. 

Polar-bear hunting by sleigh is a very exciting 
sport indulged in by Arctic peoples. The dogs, in 
wild excitement, tear madly over the ice, the hunter 
clinging to the sleigh as best he can until they are 

1 1 8 The Story of the Dog 

within attacking distance of the prey. Then, as 
swiftly as his careering advance allows, the driver 
slashes the traces and liberates the dogs. If he 
fails in this he is likely to find the bear scooped into 
the sleigh beside him ! 

To return to the sleigh-dog's similarity to the 
wolf, a striking story is told by Captain Parry in 
the journal of his second voyage to the Arctic. 
One day, as his ship, the Fury, lay ice-bound, a 
pack of about a dozen wolves came boldly up to 
within a few yards of the ship. So similar to 
sledge-dogs did they appear that he and his men 
did not dare to shoot them, fearing they might be 
dogs belonging to the local Esquimaux, for the 
death of a good dog in those climes may prove an 
irreparable loss to the owner. More than one 
explorer has said that the only way he can tell a 
wolf from a sledge-dog is by the tail, which the 
latter carries curled over its back. Once this is 
lowered, as in anger or fear, it is almost impossible 
to distinguish between them. 

It is difficult to over-estimate the value of the 
dog to the Arctic peoples. Though they may mal- 
treat it they certainly respect the dog, and even 
to-day there are tribes to be found all round the 
pole which consider that man himself is descended 
from the dog — the dog being, to them, the epitome 
of all that is practical. Very few records have 
come down to us regarding the ancient inhabitants 
of the North, though Marco Polo tells us something 
of them and their dogs. 

You see the ice and mire are so prevalent, that over this 
tract, which Hes for those thirteen days' journey in a great 

Draught Dogs 119 

valley between two mountains, no horses (as I told you) can 
travel, nor can any wheeled carriage either. Wherefore they 
make sledges, which are carriages without wheels, and made 
so that they can run over the ice, and also over mire and mud 
without sinking too deep in it. Of these sledges indeed there 
are many in our own country, for 'tis just such that are used 
in winter for carrying hay and straw when there have been 
heavy rains and the country is deep in mire. On such a sledge 
then they lay a bear-skin on which the courier sits, and the 
sledge is drawn by six of those big dogs that I spoke of 
The dogs have no driver, but go straight for the next post- 
house, drawing the sledge famously over ice and mire. The 
keeper of the post-house however also gets on a sledge drawn 
by dogs, and guides the party by the best and shortest way. 
And when they arrive at the next station they find a new relay 
of dogs and sledges ready to take them on, whilst the old 
relay turns back ; and thus they accomplish the whole 
journey across that region, always drawn by dogs. 

Yule's translation 

Another account, of the fourteenth century, by 
Ibn Batuta, says : 

In that country they travel only with small vehicles drawn 
by great dogs. For the steppe is covered with ice, and the 
feet of men or the shoes of horses would slip, whereas the 
dogs having claws their paws don't slip upon the ice. , . . 
The guide of the travellers is a dog who has often made the 
journey before ! The price of such a beast is sometimes as 
high as 1,000 dinars or thereabouts. He is yoked to the 
vehicle by the neck, and three other dogs are harnessed along 
with him. He is the chief, and all the other dogs with their 
carts follow his guidance and stop when he stops. The 
master of this animal never ill-uses him nor scolds him, and 
at feeding-time the dogs are always served before the men. 
If this be not attended to, the chief of the dogs will get sulky 
and run off, leaving the master to perdition. 


120 The Story of the Dog 

Two very interesting stories are told of Captain 
Scott's dogs showing the effect of environment on 
the animals. While the expedition was preparing 
its sledges for the long trip south, some puppies 
were born. They were left at the base, where the 
Discovery lay, and were about a year old when the 
ship eventually sailed for New Zealand. Once 
on board, many of them died of thirst because they 
had never learned how to lap ! For the short 
year of their lives they had never known fresh 
water, and had always slaked their thirst by eating 
snow. Much pains and patience were expended 
in trying to teach them how to drink. Although 
obviously desperately thirsty, they took no notice 
when water was put under their noses, and they 
merely fought and resisted when their muzzles were 
pushed down into the bowls. The other interesting 
point is one which might have been anticipated. 
Scott originally obtained his dogs from an agent in 
Russia and their habits were adapted to the seasons 
of the Northern Hemisphere. The Discovery reached 
the Antarctic as winter was setting in, but the dogs 
began to moult in expectation of summer, and for 
weeks they suffered acutely. Happily their normal 
winter coats, apparently stimulated by the cold, 
grew very much more rapidly than they would 
ordinarily have done, and they were well covered 
before the worst cold began. Perhaps the strangest 
thing of all, though, was that the following spring 
they moulted again — another example of the 
extreme adaptability of the dog. 

Captain Scott remarks on the very highly devel- 
oped ' pack ' sense of these dogs. There is always 

Draught Dogs 


a leader or chief among them who will brook no 
rivalry. The rest of the pack follow him and obey 
him implicitly, and insubordination is rewarded 
with speedy death. Tragically none of the dogs 
which set out with Scott ever returned. As hard- 
ships and short rationing sapped their strength, 
one by one the weakest member of the team was 
sacrificed that his body might give a little vitality 
to the others. Scott thus describes the end of the 
last of his two dogs, which were killed to put them 
out of their misery. 

It went to my heart to give the order but it had to be 
done. . . . They were taken a short distance from the camp 
and killed, and it was the saddest scene of all. I think we 
could all have wept. And so this is the last of our dog team, 
the finale of a tale of tragedy. I scarcely like to write of it. 
Through our most troublous times we had always looked 
forward to getting some of our animals home. At first it 
was to have been nine, then seven, then five, and at last we 
thought surely we should be able to bring back these two. 



It is the dog that contributed to the passing of human society 
from the wild to the Patriarchal state by giving it flocks, herds, 


SHEEPDOGS of one sort or another have been 
used by man to help him care for his other domestic 
animals in every quarter of the globe. In view of 
this, it is strange that this ancient and universal use 
of the dog is referred to only once in the Bible and 
that Shakespeare makes no reference to it at all. 

Egyptian Shepherd 

Practically every country has developed its own 
breed of sheepdog, and the type of dog used has 
been evolved in accordance with the nature of the 
land, the climate and the difficulties to be met with. 
In nearly all parts of the world the original sheep- 
dogs were large and strong, for the first duty of the 
dog was to protect his charges from wolves and 


Shepherd Dogs 123 

other wild animals, and also from human thieves. 
In Russia, Mongolia and Tibet the sheepdog is to- 
day still of the type capable of tackling wolves, and, 
because of this, the term ' sheepdog ' and ' wolf- 
hound ' are frequently confused. The wolf-hound 
of Albania, famous from ancient times for its 
ferocity, is the sheepdog of that part of the world, 
and so highly do the natives prize these guardians 
of their flocks that a stranger convicted of killing 

Albanian Wolf-hound 

one of them is, even to-day, likely to meet an un- 
timely end. In more settled countries size and 
strength have been, to a great extent, superseded 
by intelligence and tractability, and many authori- 
ties claim that the peak of canine sagacity is to be 
found in the English working collie. 

The word ' collie ' comes from the Anglo-Saxon 
word ' col ', meaning black, and was first applied 
to the common sheep of Scotland which were black 
and were called ' colleys ' ; from this we get ' colley 
dog ' and later ' collie '. Until the middle of the 

1 24 The Story of the Dog 

nineteenth century these dogs were practically un- 
known outside Scotland and the highlands of Wales, 
but in 1 860 Queen Victoria, on a visit to Scotland, 
was so impressed with the beauty and intelligence 
of the breed that she brought one home with her 
to the royal kennels. This stimulated pubhc 
interest, and, as is always the case, considerable 
changes were brought about, until to-day the show 
coHie and the working colHe are practically con- 
sidered to be separate breeds. 

Collie, 16^3 

There is something almost uncanny in the 
sagacity and understanding of the sheepdog and, 
moreover, aptitude for the work seems to be handed 
on from generation to generation, young dogs of 
well-trained parents needing very little instruction 
in the work. There have been instances where a 
dog has shown a better knowledge of the members 
of his flock than his master. A certain farmer 
bought some sheep in Edinburgh, and whilst being 
driven home, two of them strayed and were lost. 
Some days later he heard that two sheep had been 

Shepherd Dogs 125 

found by another farmer near by, and he went to 
see if they were his. The man who had found the 
sheep very naturally asked the claimant how his 
sheep were marked, and the latter, having only just 
bought the two in question, was unable to say ; 
' but,' he said, ' my dog will know '. To settle the 
question all the sheep on the farm were turned out 
together into a field, and the dog told to fetch the 
two which belonged to his master. Without hesita- 
tion, and in spite of the fact that he had only had 
charge of them for a few hours, the dog singled out 
first one and then the other and brought them to 
his master. 

Many are the stories of the faithfulness and 
devotion of the sheepdog, but few are more touch- 
ing than that told by Hogg in the Shepherd's Calender. 
A shepherd named Steele owned a collie bitch to 
whom he was accustomed to entrust his sheep with- 
out supervision. On one occasion the dog did not 
appear with the sheep at the usual hour, and Steele, 
surprised and annoyed at this lapse from duty, set 
out to look for her. A short distance from home he 
met her driving the sheep, of which not a single 
one was missing, and in her mouth the bitch carried 
a newly born pup. How the poor beast had 
managed to keep control of the flock in her time of 
suffering is beyond human understanding, but, 
nothing daunted, as soon as she had seen her master 
take over the charge of the sheep, she deposited her 
pup in a place of safety and set straight off to the 
hills again. She brought another and another pup 
until she had fetched her whole litter — all alive save 
the last. 

126 The Story of the Dog 

The life of the shepherd-dog, though perhaps the 
most strenuous of any of the canine race, is a happy 
one, for it combines companionship with man with 
scope for natural ability. The shepherd can teach 
his dog much, but there are always circumstances 
when the dog must use his own discretion, and it is 

Shepherd, 1410 
{Book of Hours, Brit. Mus.) 

in this that the sheepdog excels. The shepherd 
follows the beaten track, but the dog must cover 
moorland and crag, scour ditch and chasm, bog 
and bush for truant or injured members of his flock. 
Nor must one forget the hardships endured in 
winter by some of these dogs of the Highlands. 
Even in these mechanized days, nothing can take 
the place of dogs in certain wild areas such as the 

Shepherd Dogs 127 

Grampians, the Cheviots and the Lammermoors. 
But for dogs these ranges could not be used for 
grazing, for no man could cover the ground effec- 
tively, and it is on record that in one storm in the 
south of Scotland alone forty-five dogs perished. 

It is impossible to name any one country for the 
origin of the sheepdog, but it is certain that through- 
out the northern half of Asia and Europe, the 
Tibetan mastiff was chiefly responsible for size and 
strength of the breeds evolved ; in fact, according 
to Professor Keller, ' Tibet is the fatherland of all 
the large breeds of dogs, that poverty-stricken 
country about which the Chinese assert that it has 
produced the most beautiful women and the worst- 
tempered dogs '. All these large, northern types 
of sheepdogs are used purely for guarding the herds 
and their masters, and sheep herding, in the true 
sense of the word, is a comparatively modern 
development requiring highly specialized training 
and perfect co-operation between dog and master. 

British sheepdogs have been famous since the 
days of the Roman Invasion, and the Highland 
variety, in particular, is of great antiquity. There 
are very early references to sheepdogs born with 
little or no tail, and these are probably the fore- 
runners of the Old English sheepdog. 

Of later years the public have become better 
acquainted with the intelligence and self-control 
of the skilled sheepdog through the exhibitions of 
sheepdog trials. These trials were started in Scot- 
land in 1906, but were little seen in England until 
1922 when the International Trials were instituted. 
In these trials twelve dogs from each country — 

128 The Story of the Dog 

England, Scotland and Wales — compete, the dogs 
being chosen on the results of previous local trials. 
On the third and last day the twelve best dogs, 
irrespective of which country they belong to, com- 
pete for the Championship, and the way in which 
these dogs ' gather, shed, and pen ' their sheep is a 
sight to delight the heart of every dog-lover. It is 
not merely a question of driving a given number of 
sheep to a given spot. The dog must not unduly 
excite the sheep or have them galloping wildly at 
one moment and standing still the next. The sheep 
must be driven at a steady pace throughout the 
course, and enormous self-control must be exercised 
by the dog when, quivering with excitement and 
enthusiasm for his work, he sees his sheep nearing 
the goal. 

In speaking of herding, one must not forget the 
littie Welsh Corgi with his ability in herding cattle. 
This little dog, although practically unknown out- 
side Wales until first entered in the Kennel Club's 
register in 1918, was referred to in ancient Welsh 
Law as a cattle-dog as far back as a.d. 920. In 
some parts of Wales it was the only kind of dog 
known until about a hundred years ago, and it is 
strange that a breed with so much pluck and stamina 
should have remained in obscurity for so long. 
One Corgi is said to be able to do the work of six 
men in rounding up either cattle or Welsh moun- 
tain ponies. Small though he is, the Corgi is 
amazingly quick and agile, and his tactics consist 
of barking at the heels of the animals and ducking 
and jumping out of the way of flying hooves. 

There is probably no sphere of life in which man 

Shepherd Dogs 129 

and beast become so united in understanding and 
trust as that of the shepherd and his dog. The 

Sheepdogs protecting Sheep from Wolves — Sixteenth Century 

following is told of James Gardner, a famous 
shepherd and dog-trainer of Midlothian, who died 
in 1900. 

He was returning from the hills, accompanied by 

130 The Story of the Dog 

another shepherd and a flock in charge of his 
favourite colUe, Rasp. As they rounded a loch a 
bUnd sheep fell into the water and proceeded to 
swim out in the wrong direction. Gardner spoke 
one word to Rasp who immediately leapt into the 
water and swam out, trying first this way and then 
that to turn the sheep round towards the shore. 
Gardner stood silently watching, until the younger 
shepherd could stand it no longer and cried out, 
' Auld Rasp is gaun tae be drooned.' 

' Aye,' said Gardner quietly, ' she will dee or 
save her charge.' 

When at last Rasp managed to bring the sheep 
to the bank the dog was so exhausted that Gardner 
had to lift her from the water and carry her home. 


The faithfullness of a dog hath been the cause that many have 
chosen to trust their Uves with that beast and to commit themselves 
to the good of him rather than of reasonable man. 

Camerarius, 1625 

THE readiness with which the dog forsakes his own 
kind and adopts mankind is, to my mind, one of 
the strangest things in nature. One of primitive 
man's most dreaded enemies was the wolf, a close 
blood relation, not to say ancestor, of the dog, and 
yet the dog, through all the ages, has been ready 
to fight his own kith and kin for the protection of 
his human master and his master's possessions. 

This remarkable trait in dogs appears to have 
been widely recognized even in the dim ages of 
pre-history, and I have already written of the way 
in which the ancient peoples of the world made 
use of it. 

This ' instinct of possession ' is by no means 
entirely due to man's training. As Dr. Romanes 
says : 

Most carnivorous animals in their wild state have an idea 

of property and the manner in v^hich certain predaceous 

carnivora take possession of more or less definite areas as 

their hunting grounds implies an incipient notion of the same 

10 131 

132 The Story of the Dog 

thing. From this germ, thus supplied by nature, the art of 
man has operated in the case of the dog, till now, the idea of 
defending his master's property has become in this animal 
truly instinctive. 

He goes on to cite the following story of a fox- 
terrier as an instance of a dog's instinct to protect 
his master's property : 

I have seen this dog escort a donkey, which had baskets 
on its back filled with apples. Although the dog did not 
know he was being observed, he accompanied the donkey all 
the way up the long hill for the express purpose of guarding 
the apples. For every time the donkey turned his head to 
take an apple out of the baskets, the terrier sprang up and 
snapped at his nose ; and such was the vigilance of the dog 
that, although his companion was keenly desirous of tasting the 
fruit, he never allowed him to' get a single apple during the 
half-hour they were together. 

The mythical story of Gelert is too well known 
to need retelling, and even to-day, in the little 
village of Bedd Gelert, a stone marks the place 
where, it is said, the faithful Gelert lies buried. 

A writer of the sixteenth century rather naively 
describes the affection of the house-dog for children 
and how he is prepared to protect them — even 
from deserved chastisement. 

If I had beaten anie of my children, he would gentlie have 
assaied to catch the rod in his teeth and take it out of my 
hand, or else pluck downe their clothes to save them from the 
stripes, which in my opinion is not unworthie to be noted. 

In the Middle Ages house-dogs of any kind, but 
more particularly mastiffs, were called Bandogs, 
meaning one tied with a band or chain. The 
origin of the word mastiff is said to be a corruption 

Guard and Police Dogs 133 

of ' master of thief ', which indicates what was the 
usual use of the dog. The following from the pen 
of one, Barnaby Googe (1631), gives his idea of 
what the perfect house-dog should be : 

The Bandog for the House 

First the Mastie that keepeth the house : for this purpose 
you must provide you such a one, as hath a large and mightie 
body, a great and a shrill voyce, that both with his barking he 
mat discover, and with his sight dismay the Theefe, yea, 
being not seene, with the horror of his voice put him to flight. 
His stature must neither be long nor short, but well set, his 
head great, his eyes sharpe, and fiery, either browne or grey, 
his lippes blackish, neither turning up, nor hanging too much 
downe, his mouth blacke and wide, his neather-iawe fat, and 
comming out of it on either side a fang, appearing more out- 
ward than his other teeth ; his upper teeth even with his 
neather, not hanging too much over, sharpe, and hidden with 
his lippes : his countenance like a Lion, his brest great and 
shagayrd, his shoulders broad, his legges bigge, his tayle short, 
his feet very great, his disposition must neither be too gentle, 
nor too curst, that he neither fawne upon a theefe, nor lavish 
. of his mouth, barking without cause, neither maketh it any 
matter though he be not swift : for he is but to fight at home, 
and to give warning of the enemie. 

The difficulties and dangers of travel during the 
Middle Ages made it advisable for travellers to be 
escorted by dogs wherever they went, and even to 
church. It was so customary for dogs to attend 
church that a special official was appointed to keep 
them in order, and in several churches in England 
to-day are preserved examples of ' lazy tongs ', 
used for ejecting obstreperous dog- worshippers. 

The use of ' carriage-dogs ' originated in the idea 
of a guard-dog for road vehicles. The origin of 

134 T^he Story of the Dog 

the Dalmatian, the breed generally used in this 
capacity, is obscure, though it is fairly certain that 
it was not Dalmatia. They were known as ' pack- 
dogs ' or Talbots, and until quite recently there 
was an old coaching-house in the west country 
called the ' Packhorse and Talbot '. 

Even in these comparatively law-abiding days 
there is still nothing that can take the place of a 
dog as guard in many situations. A friend of mine 
had her house burgled recently, and the first 
question the police asked when they arrived was 

Lazy Tongs. Bangor Cathedral 

' Do you keep a dog ' ? My friend said she did not, 
and the police told her that they had not had a 
single case of burglary or house-breaking, during 
the past year, in any house where a dog was kept. 

Colonel E. H. Richardson, the well-known 
trainer of guard-dogs, says that he was once asked 
to supply guarding Airedales for the business 
premises of an automatic burglar-alarm company ! 

It seems strange that it was not until about the 
beginning of the present century that it occurred 
to man to enrol the dog as an auxiliary to the 

Guard and Police Dogs 135 

Prior to the twentieth century, it is true, the 
bloodhound was used for tracking human beings, 
and stories of their exploits date back to antiquity. 
To begin with, probably any dog which showed 
ability in following human scent was used, but this 
ability alone is not enough, for a man-hunter must 
show his preference for the human scent and must 
resist any temptation to follow any game trails 
which may cross it. Thus gradually would all 
sporting strains be eliminated and the true blood- 
hound evolved. 

i^yo Bloodhound 

Both Grotius (first century B.C.) and Strabo (first 
century a.d.) speak of bloodhounds being imported 
to Gaul from Britain, but it is thought that this 
is a mistake for Brittany, for there is no other 
reference to their having existed on our island 
before they were brought thither by William the 

It was from the south of Gaul that St. Hubert 
is supposed to have got his famous hounds. This 
man, who afterwards became the patron saint of 
the hunt, is said to have led a very worldly youth 
and to have been so devoted to the chase that he 
even went hunting on Sundays and Holy Days. 

136 The Story of the Dog 

One Good Friday, when out hunting with his 
hounds, he saw a vision of a snow-white stag which 

Vision of St. Hubert 
{After Albrecht Diirer) 

carried between its horns a shining crucifix. His 
hounds hung their heads to the ground and shook 
with awe, and the young man fell on his knees, 
praying forgiveness and swearing to renounce his 

Guard and Police Dogs 137 

evil ways. This promise he kept, though he could 
not bring himself to part with his hounds. He 
took Holy Orders and eventually rose to be Bishop 
of Liege. He was buried in the Abbey of St. 
Hubert in the Ardennes, and every year, on 
November 3rd, pilgrims visited the shrine, bringing 
with them their dogs which were given consecrated 
cakes as an antidote to hydrophobia. To touch 
St. Hubert's Stole was also said to give immunity 
from this disease. This custom has fallen into dis- 
use, but on St. Hubert's Day mass for the hunting 
season is held in Brussels Cathedral, while on the 
same day throughout France and Belgium hounds 
are brought to church to be blessed. 

After the death of St. Hubert, his monks carried 
on the work of breeding his hounds. These hounds 
were of two kinds : the white, or Talbots, and the 
black or black-and-tan which became known as St. 
Huberts, and it is from these latter particularly that 
our bloodhounds are supposed to have descended. 
Scott writes of them in The Lady of the Lake : 

Two dogs of black St. Hubert's breed 

Unmatched for courage, breath and speed, 

Fast on his flying traces came, 

And all but won the desperate game : 

For scarce a spear's length from his haunch 

Vindictive toiled the bloodhounds staunch. 

From the time of the Conquest onwards there 
are frequent references throughout British history 
to the use of these dogs for tracking. They were 
used in the pursuit of both Wallace and Bruce. In 
the reign of Queen Elizabeth the Earl of Essex took 

138 The Story of the Dog 

800 of them with his troops to help suppress the 
Irish RebelHon. They were also used in the chase, 
but whether this was considered a part of their 
regular work or only a means of training them for 
human quarry is not certain. 

Of Training Dogs to Blood [De canibus ad sanguinem adaptandis) 

Whereas Edward, the King's son, has intrusted to Robert de 
Chenney, his valet, his dogs to be accustomed to blood, it is 
commanded to all foresters, woodmen, and other bailiffs, and 
servants of the King's warrens, that they allow the said 
Robert to enter with them the King's forests and warrens, and 
to hunt in them, and to take the King's game, in order to 
train the said dogs. 

Patent Rolls, 40 Henry III 

From The Gentleman'' s Recreation, 1688, is the 
following : 

To find out the Hart or Stag where his harbour or Lare is, 
you must be provided with a Bloodhound, Draughthound, or 
Sluithound, which must be led in a Liam (leash) ; and, for the 
quickening his scent, it is good to rub his nose in vinegar. 

Bloodhounds were frequently used for tracking 
thieves and highwaymen, and it is from this that 
we get the name ' sleuth ', now so popularly used 
in connexion with members of Scotland Yard. In 
early days a common refuge for offenders against 
the law was in sloughs or bogs, particularly on the 
Scottish border, and from this, trailing-hounds 
became known as Slough hounds and later Sleuth 
hounds. The services of these dogs were fully 
recognized by law, and in his Chronicles (1577), 
Holinshed speaks of a law whereby ' Whoso denieth 
entrance or sute of a Sleuth hound in persuit made 



Guard and Police Dogs 139 

after fellons and stollen goods, shall be holden as 
accessarie unto the theft '. 

A warrant of 161 6 shows what a serious problem 
these highwaymen and robbers had become : 

. . . Whereas upon due consideration of the increase of 
stealths daily growing both in deed and report among you 
on the borders, we formerly conclude and agree, that for 
reformation therefore watches should be set, and slough dogs 
provided and kept, according to the contents of His Majesty's 
directions to us in that behalf prescribed. 

And then follows a long list of the number of 
dogs and the places where they were to be kept 
' at the charge of the inhabitants '. 

Excellent descriptions of the contemporary blood- 
hound are to be found in Markham's Country 
Contentments, or the Husbandman^ s Recreations, and also 
in a poem by Somerville : 

The deep-flew'd hound 
Breed up with care, strong, heavy, slow, but sure ; 
Whose ears, down-hanging from his thick round head. 
Shall sweep the morning dew, whose clanging voice 
Awake the mountain Echo in her cell. 
And shake the forests : . . , 
Soon the sagacious brute, his curling tail 
Flourish'd in air, low bending plies around 
His busy nose, the steaming vapour sniffs 
Inquisitive, nor leaves one turf untried. 
Till, conscious of the recent stains, his heart 
Beats quick ; his snuffing nose, his active tail. 
Attest his joy ; then with deep-op'ning mouth, 
That makes the welkin tremble, he proclaims 
Th' audacious felon : foot by foot he marks 
His winding way, while all the list'ning crowd 
Applaud his reas'nings. 

140 The Story of the Dog 

As highway robbery, brigandage and sheep- and 
catde-stealing became more rare, the demand for 
bloodhounds decreased to such an extent that the 
breed would have been in danger of extinction had 
it not been for a few people who kept bloodhound 
packs for hunting. Interest in them only revived 

Nightwatchman, 1608. A forerunner of the Police Dog 

when, about the beginning of this century, their 
value to the police was realized. 

Although it cannot be denied that it is in Ger- 
many that the police dog receives his fullest recog- 
nition, it was in the little town of Ghent in Belgium 
that the idea was first put on a working basis. 
Here the Chief of Police was an enthusiastic sup- 

Guard and Police Dogs 141 

porter of the police dog, and by tactful ' pushing ' 
he obtained permission to employ more and more 
dogs in his service. 

The dogs are trained to chase an escaping 
criminal and hold him until the arrival of the 
police ; they are only actually to attack the man 
if the man himself is attacking. They are taught 
to follow a scent, and this is used both in tracking 
a criminal and in tracing some one who is missing. 
Wonderful though a dog's sense of smell is, there 
are many ridiculous and exaggerated stories told 
by those who like to ' gild the lily ', but the best 
authorities agree that even given ideal conditions, 
a dog can seldom follow a trail that is more than 
twenty-four hours old. Innumerable factors go to 
make a good or a bad trail, and they may be 
formulated as follows : 

Factors which make a trail easy for a dog to follow 

1. A mild, dull day, with a certain amount of moisture in the 
air as moisture acts as an intermediary. 

2. Soft, moist soil or grass. 

3. Ground overshadowed by trees or hedged-in lanes. 

4. On commons and downlands a low fog or mist helps to 
retain scent. 

5. A mild wind, particularly if moist, blowing from the 
direction the fugitive has taken. 

6. Night-time, when evaporation is less rapid. 

7. Contrary to what one might expect, a running fugitive 
leaves a better scent than one who has calmly walked 
away, because exertion brings out a better body scent. 

8. A man who, either through force of circumstances or care- 
lessness, is lax about cleanliness of body or clothing. 
(Smith minor might remember this next time he raids an 

9. Spilled blood is the best scent of all. 

142 The Story of the Dog 

Factors which make a trail difficult for a dog to follow 

1. A hot sun. 

2. A strong wind. 

3. Frost or snow, which cover the scent. 

4. Heavy rain, which washes the scent away. 

5. Too dry a surface to the ground, 

6. Highroads are, as a rule, bad because of the strong smells 
already present, i.e. the grease and petrol from cars, tar- 
spray, etc. Also nowadays both roads and pavements 
have too smooth a surface to retain much scent. 

7. Land which has been heavily manured or on which are 
growing strong scented crops such as clover, or mown hay. 

8. Newly turned ground which generally has a strong smell 
of its own. 

9. A heavily shod fugitive and one that is careful of his 
personal habits. 

10. Running water which destroys all scent. Dogs have been 
known to follow a scent successfully across still, shallow 
water, but this may have been due to the body scent still 
lying on the surface. 

11. Crowded streets or places where the fugitive's trail is soon 
crossed by other and fresher scents. 

Very often a trail is too old, or some circum- 
stance makes it impossible for a dog actually to 
run his quarry to earth, but even in these cases a 
dog can frequently save the police much unneces- 
sary work and loss of time. For instance, there 
have been cases where a crime has been committed 
and the criminal has got away without leaving the 
slightest clue as to which direction he has taken. 
If a dog can be brought to the scene before the 
trail is entirely cold he may be able to indicate the 
direction in which the search should begin, even 
if he can only follow the trail for a short distance. 
Supposing, and there have been instances of this. 

Guard and Police Dogs 143 

the dog leads the poHce straight to the railway 
station ; granted that it is known at what time the 
crime was committed, examination of the time- 
table may give valuable indication as to the 
criminal's objective, or at least eliminate several 
points of the compass. 

Tracking may be the most spectacular of a police 
dog's duties, but it is by no means the one he is 
most frequently called upon to perform. He must 
give warning at the approach of suspicious char- 
acters — and there are uncanny instances of a dog's 
intuition in this respect. He must protect his 
master when on a lonely beat or through unsavoury 
quarters of a town. He must, at the word of 
command, scout round empty houses, back gardens 
or alley-ways while his master keeps watch in the 
road. He must know when to attack and when 
merely to ' hold ', and he must be fearless in the 
face of gunfire. 

The modern requirements of the police dog have 
brought into the field many breeds besides the 
bloodhound ; in fact the latter is now used very 
little for regular police work, his services being 
confined to what one might term ' Scotland Yard 
cases '. Very large dogs are unpractical because 
they are inclined to be clumsy and because of the 
expense of their keep. Small dogs, such as terriers, 
although sharp and intelligent, are inadequate 
when it comes to holding a desperate man or 
protecting their masters. But any dog of medium 
size may successfully be trained for police work, 
provided it has strong natural senses and can be 
trained to obey a command. 

144 '^^^ Story of the Dog 

In Germany, where nearly every big town has 
its training centre, the Alsatian is the favourite. 
In Belgium and France the native sheepdog and 
the Pinsher are popular. In England, Airedales, 
retrievers and collies are perhaps the most approved 
for the work, although many other breeds are used 
as well. 

General Atcherley, H.M. Inspector of Constabu- 
lary, writes : ' I am still quite convinced of the 
usefulness of dogs to Policemen on their beats in 
certain areas, but the training is everything if they 
are to be a success.' Colonel Hoel Llewellyn, 
Chief Constable of Wiltshire, who has been using 
dogs for police work for many years, says : 

Good dogs with a night duty man are as sound a proposition 
as you can get. The dog hears what the Constable does not ; 
gives him notice of anyone in the vicinity ; guards his master's 
bicycle to the death ; and remains mute unless he is roused. 
He is easily trained, and will go home with a message in his 
collar. . . . He will run through the little gardens in a row 
of villas or the shrubs of a big house, and hunt out a man as 
he would a rabbit or a pheasant. We have only had three 
country house burglaries in the last ten years, and I am certain 
that is because it is known that our men usually have a dog 
with them. Our last burglary at a country house was two 
years ago. The dog found the tools in a bush, and later on 
all the property, worth ,(^900, in the river nearby. We got 
the two men some way off. 

In the Police Review, January 21st, 1938, which 
I quote with the kind permission of the editor, it 
says that the Home Office Committee have carried 
out some experiments at the training school at 
Washwater, near Newbury. 

Guard and Police Dogs 145 

It was recognized that the dogs fell into two classes ; 
trackers for running down criminals or tracing the where- 
abouts of lost persons and those which could be taught the 
duties specified by the Chief Constable of Wiltshire. . . . 
Under the first head the choice appears to have settled eventu- 
ally on bloodhounds, which are incomparably the best for 
hunting a light scent several hours cold. The doubt about 
these is whether they have sufficient stamina for the job, and 
' crossing ' experiments have been made with a view to 
improve matters in this respect. As regards general ' Liaison ' 
and detective work, however, it is said that nothing has been 
found equal to Labradors. They have proved themselves to 
be the right size, hardy, keen-scented, steady and sensible. 

Some dogs should be of great value to Constables on lonely 
beats who may want to keep in touch with headquarters. 
They can be trained to go backwards and forwards on com- 
mand, carry messages from Constable to the Police station, 
and back to him again. Companionship and help such as 
this is worth paying for, but ' the training is everything ', and 
it will not be an easy matter to find in every Force the right 
man for a type of animal training that calls for a species of 
skill and a knowledge of canine mentality that can only 
come from long experience. 

Many different breeds of dogs are used for police 
work in various parts of the world, and naturally 
the type of country must effect the choice. In 
Canada Esquimau dogs do valuable work with the 
North West Mounted Pohce. In South Africa 
police dogs are extensively used, and the Govern- 
ment have established a depot where they are bred, 
trained and later distributed over the country. As 
the majority of natives go bare-foot they leave an 
easily followed scent. 

The Kimberley diamond mines cover a square 
mile of country, and at one time fifty men were 
employed to patrol the boundaries. These fifty 

146 The Story of the Dog 

men have for some years past been replaced by — 
twelve dogs ! 

In Sydney, N.S.W., an interesting experiment 
is being tried by the police of training dogs to obey 
orders given by radio. Although at first dogs do 
not readily recognize a voice they know when they 
hear it over the wireless (see chapter on character), 
careful training and patience have rewarded the 
Sydney police with marked success. A small set 
with special valves, and weighing only 8 lb., has 
been devised, and this is attached to the dog by 
harness. The experiment is only in its infancy, 
but one or two dogs have been trained who will 
react perfectly to orders received from the contrap- 
tion on their backs. 

Some years ago a number of clever burglaries 
had taken place in the town of Garding, near 
Hamburg, and the police were anxious to employ 
dogs in searching for the criminal. Their request 
was stubbornly opposed by a certain Herr G. — a 
member of the Town Council, who delivered a long 
and eloquent speech on the inhuman use of dogs 
to track down criminals. 

The police, however, all other methods having 
failed, decided to act on their own initiative. Dogs 
were put on the scent — then twelve hours old — 
and they led the way straight to a large house on 
the outskirts of the town, where the stolen goods 
were recovered. The house was the residence of 
Herr G. — no wonder he was opposed to the use of 
dogs for police work ! 


Whenever man is unhappy, God sends him a dog. 


THE dog has proved himself to be a Good Samari- 
tan in more ways than one. His work in searching 
for the wounded on the battlefield I have spoken 
of elsewhere, but war is not the only field in which 
he^helps those in distress. 

Tit was from Germany that we first got the idea 
ortraining dogs to guide the blind, and I am sorry 
to say that we have been very slow in taking up 
this splendid and unique use of the animal. When 
Germany could boast of 5,000 such trained dogs, 
England possessed but thirty-five ! After Ger- 
many, America has taken up the idea most enthu- 
siastically, and nearly all the countries which took 
part in the Great War have done something in this 
way to provide for their blinded soldiers and others 
similarly afflicted. When one hears the terms of 
ecstatic gratitude with which a blind person speaks 
of his or her guide-dog one feels ashamed that we, 
who boast of being more ' dog-minded ' than any 
other nation, have done so little. It is hoped that 
the recent case of the American girl who, when 
she discovered that to land in England would mean 
II 147 

148 The Story of the Dog 

being parted from her guide-dog for six months, 
turned straight round and went back to America, 
may have done something to rouse British interest 
in the subject. 

Experiments with different breeds have been 
made for this purpose, but the Alsatian bitches 
have proved themselves to be the only ones accept- 
able for the great responsibility such service entails. 
The dog must learn that, so long as it is in harness, 
absolutely nothing must be allowed to distract its 
attention from duty. Its owner's life is dependent 
on it. All natural instincts and passions must 
be subjected to duty, and it is the proud boast of 
the guide-dog trainers that, so far, a ' finished ' 
guide-dog has never been known to fail. One 
might think that this rigid exaction of service was 
too hard a thing to expect of any animal, but it is 
amazing how willingly the dogs accept the respon- 
sibility and how they learn to differentiate between 
business hours and 'time off'. As soon as their 
harness is removed they know they are off duty, 
and play and enjoy doggy pleasures as though they 
had not got a responsibility in the world. 

The guide-dog does not begin its training until 
it is a year old. The first thing it is taught is to 
sit when the curb is reached. This must be done 
at the extreme edge of the curb so that its master 
may be prepared when he takes his next step. 
Later on, when confidence and understanding have 
been established between dog and master, the dog 
does not need actually to sit if the road ahead is 
clear, but merely lessens its pace. When man and 
dog have been working together for some time these 

' Out of the darkness ' 

150 The Story of the Dog 

slight variations in pace, communicated by the 
tension on the harness, are almost imperceptible to 
the onlooker, and the progress of the blind man 
through crowded traffic and round obstacles in his 
path appears little short of magic. 

The harness of a guide-dog, for the benefit of 
those who have never seen it, consists of a strap 
across the chest, joined on either side to a strap 
round the body. To this is attached a stiff leather- 
covered hoop reaching to a convenient height for 
the blind man's hand. The sides of the hoop lie 
against the dog's shoulders and the sensitive touch 
of the sightless soon appreciates the slightest varia- 
tion in the dog's movements. The dog always 
walks on the left side of the man, and the man is 
taught to hold his left arm closely to his side. Thus 
the dog knows that the space needed to pass be- 
tween two obstacles is just the width of their two 

A guide-dog must not only learn to obey its 
master's commands but, what requires a far greater 
degree of intelligence, it must know when to 
disobey. When the master wishes to cross a road 
the dog must use its own judgement as to when it 
is safe to do so. And in this we see the necessity 
for the training of the master. Some people are 
not capable of the complete surrender necessary 
from the guided to the guide. The amount of 
faith needed to follow the dog implicitly when one 
hears traffic roaring all round one must be tremen- 
dous, but, as I said before, so far a guide-dog has 
never failed. 

The master's training begins with practically 

Dog, the Good Samaritan 151 

solitary confinement with the dog, until the dog 
understands that this is the only hand which will 
feed it and this is the only voice it must obey. Un- 
necessary commands from the master are discour- 
aged as they tend to confuse the dog and distract 
its mind from the essential lessons. Once the dog 
is trained and the association with its master fully 
established, the niceties of service a dog will give 
are almost beyond belief To learn to pick up 
anything the master has dropped is not enough. 
Medium-sized articles must be held protruding 
well from the mouth and pushed against the wait- 
ing hand. Small objects, such as coins, must be 
dropped carefully into the centre of the palm, while 
a handkerchief must be carefully lifted by the 
corner so that it will not be wetted by the dog's 

The use of a guide-dog means, not only that a 
blind man can pursue certain trades otherwise 
impossible for him, but it is also a vast benefit to 
the master's health. Where before a blind man 
may have been dependent on the kindness of busy 
friends to take him for walks, he can now go out 
every day without feeling beholden to any one 
except the dog who loves him. 

Surely in this service is reached the zenith of 
love aryd understanding possible between man and 
beast ? 

/It i§' not only the blind that dogs have been 
taiaght to lead and succour. The help dogs give 
to lost travellers inevitably iiring one's mind to the 
dogs of the St. Bernard Hospice — the only organized 
service of its kind in the world. 

152 The Story of the Dog 

Much has been written about these dogs ; much 
that is true and even more that is false. The 
famous Hospice in the Pass of Great St. Bernard 
has given its name to the breed, but the enormous, 
shaggy-haired beasts with defective hocks and 
absurdly pendulous lips which take prizes at our 
dog shows are not the kind of animal which does 
such wonderful work in Switzerland. I am in- 
debted to the Prior of the Hospice for the following 
description, and also for a series of wonderful 
pictures which he sent me and from which the 
illustrations are drawn. 

In spite of all the literature devoted to the subject, the 
origin of the Great St. Bernard dogs has not yet definitely been 
proved, whatever any one may say. The cradle of this race 
should certainly not be placed in Switzerland : for it seems 
now proved, thanks to recent profound research, that its 
origin should rather be sought in Eastern Asia. Different 
causes, such as the migrations of peoples, wars and trade, 
have gradually brought this dog to the West. First in Greece, 
later in Rome, it arrived in Switzerland with the Gallic 
Wars. In the latter country more so than anywhere else, 
thanks to local conditions favourable to its development, it 
must have been preserved just as it is for two thousand years. 
There is nothing astonishing about this purity of race so well 
maintained through the centuries ; it is easily explained if 
one considers that the Swiss valleys (in the past especially) 
are isolated and poorly supplied with communications. So it 
would only be incidentally that a mixture of blood, derived 
from cross-breeding with dogs of large build, which had 
reached Switzerland in the course of time, could take place ; 
moreover natural selection took upon itself to bring the type 
back to its primitive purity and keep it there. 

However, in spite of its foreign origin, twenty centuries of 
sojourn on Helvetian soil would justify dog fanciers in con- 
sidering it henceforth a Swiss dog. It is not possible either to 


^o.-.vJ,-5'S«W«F-#w^'?r«rV --^^W- -i 



Dog, the Good Samaritan 153 

determine exactly the date of its appearance at the hospice and 
still less of its use in the service of the mountain. These dogs 
doubtless came from the valleys, being offered to the monks 
by friends or admirers. They were employed at first as 
watch dogs or turnspits. Then gradually the monks, having 
noticed their extraordinary sense of direction, trained them 
to look for lost travellers. Hence their immense popularity 
which makes these dogs the best known and the most prized 
of animals, . . . 

The dogs which are now bred at the hospice to the number 
of ten or twelve usually, are just like those to be met with in 
other parts of Switzerland. The differences sometimes to be 
noticed come solely from breeding, selection and consan- 

These animals are strong and vigorous ; with their imposing 
build, short muzzle and arched skull, their expressive eyes 
reflect intelligence and gentleness. The coat, with its short 
hair, is tawny marked with white. If examples happen to 
have long hair — which is accidental — the monks eliminate 
them ; for long hair, by more easily holding the snow, 
renders their walk heavier and more difficult. For more than 
two centuries they have been the faithful companions of the 
monks in their hard apostolate ; they are valuable auxiliaries, 
very useful in recognizing the path hidden beneath the snow 
and discovering persons lost in the fog or overtaken by the 
tempest. They well deserve the praises given them ; a 
glorious record shows that the monks, helped by these good 
animals, have saved from tempest, hurricane or avalanche, 
more than two thousand human lives. But no one will ever 
know the number of the rescuers, monks and dogs, who have 
perished gloriously, the victims of duty, carrying help to others. 

Nowadays, it is true, travellers on foot who cross the pass 
during the bad season are rarer, communications between 
countries are easier and safer, but, on the other hand, the 
throng of skiers increases yearly. And to-day as formerly, 
when a traveller finds himself in danger, whatever the weather, 
these brave servants set out without hesitation whithersoever 
duty calls — a duty they have obeyed for centuries. 



NO book on the uses of the dog would be complete 
without some mention of the more obscure ways 
in which man has utilized this four-footed friend, 
and, although many of these uses are very local 
and others have become obsolete, they help to show 
the amazing versatility of the dog. 

I have already spoken of the uses of the dog in 
war for fighting, sentry duty, messenger, liaison 
work and First Aid. He has been used for hunt- 
ing practically every known sort of game and in 
every quarter of the globe. As a draught dog he 
is the only means of transport in the vast frozen 
regions of the world. Practically every race of man 
has entrusted both himself and all his possessions 
to his care. As an auxiliary to the police he assists 
in the enforcement of the law, and as scavenger 
he is an aid to sanitation. (He succours travellers 
and guides the blind.'! Ana one must not forget 
the comfort his companionship gives to millions 
the world over. 

In only two parts of the world has the dog ever 
become a really popular article of food — in China 
and in certain of the South Sea Islands. Probably 
in nearly every quarter of the globe, at one time 


Other Uses of the Dog 155 

or another, man has had to choose between starva- 
tion and eating dog flesh, and in the majority of 
such cases has most Ukely chosen the latter. But 
the idea of eating the flesh of any carnivorous 
animal is repugnant to human beings, and it is 
of interest that in both China and Oceania those 
dogs which are kept for food are fed on a purely 
vegetable diet. Civilization has done what it can 
to wipe out the practice, not so much for senti- 
mental reasons, but in the cause of sanitation, for 
as a rule the dogs which are eaten are pariah dogs 
which, besides being very useful in cleaning up 
refuse, are subject to several diseases transmittable 
to man. 

In the Philippine Islands, until quite recent 
years, it was a common thing to see in every town, 
usually on Sundays, a dog market. All the pariahs 
which could be captured from the streets and 
neighbouring villages were brought in and sold by 
the pound. The practice has now been banned 
by the Government, but it is still carried on sur- 
reptitiously outside the towns. Much the same 
applies in the Hawaiian Islands. 

In China the flesh of the chow-chow used to be 
considered a great delicacy, so much so that ' chow- 
chow ' remains the Chinese word for a meal. 
Black chows were considered to be a particular 
dainty, and it is of interest in passing, that the black 
tongue of the chow is unique in the dog world, 
and that the only other mammal which has a black 
tongue is the polar bear — one of the few mammals 
regularly eaten by natives. 

It was largely through British influence that the 

156 The Story of the Dog 

popularity of chow flesh waned, though in many 
parts of China there are still farms where the 
animal is bred ostensibly for its fur, and there can 
be little doubt that the frugal Chinaman does not 
waste the carcass. 

Until quite recent years dogs were used in 
England and elsewhere for turning spits and water- 
wheels. Probably any breed was thus employed, 
and Topsell describes them thus : 

Of the Dog called Turne spete. There is comprehended, 
under the curres of the coursest kinde, a certain dog in kitchen- 
service excellent. For when any meat is to be roasted, they 
go into a wheel, which they turning round with the waight of 
their bodies, so dilligently looke to their businesse, that no 
drudge nor scullion can do the feate more cunningly. 

Shakespeare speaks of the turnspit and suggests 
that they generally had their tails docked. 

She hath transformed me to a curtall-dog, and made me 
turn i' the wheel. 

Comedy of Errors, iii. 2 

Turnspit wheels are still to be seen in certain 
old inns. 

On some parts of the French coast dogs are 
regularly used in collecting lances — those small, 
but delicious eels which live in tidal sands. At 
low tide, dog and fisherman — or more frequently 
fisherwoman — patrol up and down the wet sands. 
Suddenly the dog will pounce and begin to dig 
furiously, and the owner stands over him ready to 
grab the fish as soon as it is uncovered. Not 
infrequently a dog will learn to fish for his own 
benefit and some become extremely dexterous and 

Other Uses of the Dog 157 

cunning in the art of catching shallow-water 

Dogs are extensively used in France, and to a 
less degree in England, for truffle-hunting. The 
poodle is the accepted breed for this work ; in fact 
a small variety of poodle is known as a truffle dog. 
Trufflers employ both dogs and pigs, but most 
prefer the former because of the difficulty of 
retrieving the truffle before the pig eats it itself. 
Truffle dogs get as excited over hunting this prized 
fungus as do hounds in pursuit of their quarry, and 
are said to be able to scent a truffle if it is not too 
deeply buried at a distance of twenty yards. 

Another curious breed of dog which has been 
developed for a special purpose is the Portuguese 
diving dog. It is known as the Cao d'Aqua, or 
water-dog, and is said to be mixture of poodle, 
spaniel and retriever. It is a true working dog 
and leads a strenuous life, a large proportion of 
which is spent in the sea, for which reason its 
posterior half is clipped to allow it freedom in 
swimming, while on its front half the thick shaggy 
coat is left long as a protection against cold. Its 
bed is generally a pile of nets in the prow of its 
master's boat. The Cao d'Aqua spends his day 
carrying messages between the shore and the boat, 
or from one boat to another, diving overboard to 
retrieve fish which escape from the nets and 
generally protecting his master's property. 

When speaking of the messenger type of dog, 
mention must be made of ' Flambeau ' who died 
recently, famous in the Alpine region surrounding 
Lanslebourg as ' post dog '. For eight years, in 

158 The Story of the Dog 

all weathers, through snow and tempest, Flambeau 
daily carried two mail-bags from Lanslebourg to 
the garrison of Saulnieres. 

It may not be generally known that dogs are 
regularly employed by the Great Western Railway 
on certain of their lines in South and Central 
Wales. Their chief business is to keep the per- 
manent way clear of straying sheep, which involves 
not only rounding up the sheep, but also herding 

Great Western Railway Dog 

them through some obscure opening which the dog 
must discover for himself. These dogs are trained 
to know the warning whistle of an approaching 
train. They give warning to men working on the 
line and will not leave the line until all the men are clear. 
They develop such remarkable ' track sense ' that 
if, when on duty, they are caught between two 
approaching trains, rather than desert their post, 
they will lie down between the lines until the trains 
have passed. I am indebted to the editor of the 
Great Western Magazine for this information. 


Other Uses of the Dog 159 

For many years ' smuggler dogs ' made them- 
selves the bane of the customs officials, especially 
on the Franco-Belgian border ; incidentally many 
of them made their masters considerable fortunes. 
They were so cunning and were so well trained 
that numbers of them escaped detection for a long 
time, attention generally being directed to them in 
the end by the unexplained and sudden opulence 
of their owners. Shaggy-haired dogs were gener- 
ally used for the work, and as often as not their 
bodies were enclosed in a false skin matching their 
own, under which they carried such articles as lace 
and cigars. Sometimes their training included 
being beaten by men dressed as customs officials 
to teach them to avoid anyone wearing such a 
uniform. One dog on the French border became 
famous. Le Diable, as he was called, was a large, 
shaggy, nondescript beast almost white in colour. 
However, Le Diable was not always white, for his 
master would dye him different colours so that 
when the customs were on the sharp look out for 
a black Diable, brown or grey Diable was able to 
work undisturbed. Le Diable eventually died 
from the bullet of a customs man who saw him 
swimming a river, but that was not until he had 
smuggled through to his master 50,000 francs' 
worth of lace alone, to say nothing of other articles. 

There are doubtless many other spheres of life 
in which the dog has had a paw, and many which, 
through changing civilization, have died out, but 
one at least is on the increase — that of the dog 

From the performing dog who, since the Middle 

i6o The Story of the Dog 

Ages, has delighted the man in the street and, hke 
the barrel-organ monkey, collected pennies for his 
master, the dog has risen in the theatrical world 
until to-day some dog stars earn a salary which 
many a human performer receives only in his 
happiest dreams. In Hollywood some dog stars 
have had to have a secretary to deal with their 
' fan mail ' ! There are many great names — 
Strongheart, Lady Julie, and perhaps the greatest 
of them all, Rin-tin-tin, who was found in a Ger- 
man trench during the war by an American officer. 
Of our English stars we must not forget Glyn, 
who took the leading part in Owd Bob. Can any 
of these, though, one wonders, boast of so many 
staunch and undying admirers as good old Toby 
of the Punch and Judy show ? 



IT is rather hard to understand why ' horse sense ' 
should be the accepted phrase when it is acknow- 
ledged by most people that the horse is not nearly 
so sensible an animal as the dog. What highly 
schooled horse can show the intelligence of a well- 
bred and well-trained dog, which, with no man 
on its back and no bit to guide it, will answer to a 
spoken word or even a motion of its master's hand ? 

There is a popular theory that a mongrel is more 
intelligent than a thoroughbred dog but, in general, 
this surely is not so ? There certainly are indi- 
vidual mongrels which show extraordinary intelli- 
gence, and there are fools among the dog aristocracy, 
especially in those breeds where ' show points ' 
demand what practically amounts to abnormality 
in shape ; but it stands to reason that, on an 
average, the training and care bestowed on pedi- 
gree dogs will produce more intelligent specimens. 
What is true, I think, is that the sheltered life and 
coddling many well-bred dogs receive tends to 
make them less robust than the mongrel who, and 
his forebears before him, has been allowed to 
' rough it ' and to fend for himself. 

The literature dealing with the character of the 


1 62 The Story of the Dog 

dog is so enormous, and much of it is so prolix and 
so bound up with imagination, that it is very 
difficult to sift. fact from fancy. Many of the tales 

Fifteenth Century. ' Kennel in which Dogs should live, and how 
they should be kept ' 

told of dogs are so obviously ' gilding the lily ', but 
dogs are interesting and complex enough without 
recourse to exaggeration or embellishment. 

The Character of the Dog 163 

Comparisons are frequently made between the 
character of dog and man — usually to the detri- 
ment of the latter, but these comparisons generally 
overlook the really unique position the dog occupies 
in the civilized world. The dog is privileged to 
take his place in human family life. Everything 
he needs is provided for him and he has no ties but 
his master. Man has many responsibilities, his 
family, his profession and his social relationships. 
As I have already pointed out nearly all dog-virtues 
(and one readily acknowledges they are many) are 
traceable to his ' pack instinct '. A dog has no 
abstract sense of responsibility. He obeys orders 
and guards his master and his master's possessions 
through the same instinct which prompted his wild 
ancestors to obey the leader of the pack. 

The line between sense and instinct is too in- 
definite for the subjects to be treated separately. 
The domestic dog still retains many of the instincts 
of his wild forebears — more, perhaps, than is 
obvious on casual acquaintance. Every day a dog 
performs many actions which are of advantage to 
an animal living in the wild, but which are entirely 
superfluous in a domestic state. 

Mr. A. D. Bartlett, late Superintendent of the 
London Zoological Gardens, says : 

Domestic dogs exhibit many of the habits of wolves and 
jackals, such as the scratching up of the earth with the front 
feet, and the pushing of it back with the hind feet in order 
to hide the droppings. Again, when about to rest, the 
turning round two or three times with the object of forming a 
hole may be noticed in pet dogs about to lie down — a habit 
evidently inherited from their wild ancestors. 

164 The Story of the Dog 

As has already been pointed out, a dog's barking 
at the approach of an intruder is a habit which can 
hardly have been deliberately initiated by man, 
but is a survival of the instinct to call the pack for 
mass protection. Burying bones to prevent other 
animals from getting at them is another instance. 
Practically all dogs retire to some secluded or 
hidden spot, such as behind a tree or bush, to per- 
form their natural functions, not, I am convinced, 
from any feeling of delicacy, but because during 
the performance they cannot be on the alert for 
enemies. For the same reason, when a dog lies 
down, even in a house, unless there is some such 
attraction as a fire or a patch of sunlight on the 
carpet, he will nearly always choose some spot 
where his back is against some piece of furniture 
or a wall so as to eliminate the danger of an attack 
from the rear while he is asleep ; it is certainly not 
for the same reason that we like to rest in an easy- 
chair for he will not, as a rule, lean against the 

The psychology of tail-wagging has more in it 
than first appears. When a dog wags his tail we 
understand that he is pleased or happy, but few 
people stop to wonder how such a means of express- 
ing an emotion came into being. Both primitive 
man and primitive dog procured their food by 
hunting and, since they both survived, one may 
assume that they were successful hunters and, 
therefore, that hunting brought them pleasure. 
Civilized man still hunts and, although his dinner 
no longer depends on it, it still gives him great 
pleasure. No one who has watched a modern pack 

The Character of the Dog 165 

of hounds working can doubt the keen joy with 
which they enter into the chase — joy which cannot 
possibly be attributed to hope of material gain at 
the kill, and it is logical to suppose that the same 
applies to modern dog as applies to modern man 
in this respect. 

Now, when a dog is following a scent his head 
is lowered, so it cannot be used as a signal to the 
rest of the pack. Any form of barking or yelping 
interferes with the intaking of breath necessary for 
holding the scent. How can the animal give the 
' come along, boys ' signal better than by flourish- 
ing the flag which nature has so obligingly attached 
to his posterior ? Moreover, much of a wild dog's 
hunting would naturally be through the long grass 
of the prairies or the undergrowth of the jungle 
where only his tail would be visible. All hunting 
dogs, whether wild or domesticated, including the 
wolves and jackals, have long and freely movable 
tails and, as a general rule, these are normally 
carried more or less straight out behind ; but the 
instant a scent is found they are raised aloft to make 
them more conspicuous. Hounds habitually watch 
the tails of those in front when drawing cover. 

So here we get the subconscious association of 
ideas. The wild dog waved his tail about as a 
signal when he was out hunting ; hunting was 
a great joy ; therefore tail- wagging became an 
expression of pleasure. There are many instances 
recorded of wolves, coyotes, dingos and the like 
which have been tamed and which wag their tails 
when pleased. 

Similarly one can trace to pre-historic days the 

1 66 

The Story of the Dog 

habit of depressing the tail and tucking it between 
the legs when scolded or threatened. When pur- 
sued by an enemy the tail would be the part of 
the dog nearest to the pursuer, and therefore the 
part most likely to be seized, so the sensible thing 
was to tuck it down out of harm's way. A dog 
runs away because he is afraid, so fear became 
associated with the idea of lowering the tail. When 
a domestic dog is scolded or threatened by his 
master he may not run away (possibly because he 

Tails up — Heads down ; Heads up — Tails down 

knows the door is shut !), probably because he 
knows punishment will not be avoided by tem- 
porary retreat or maybe because of his underlying 
love, even in the face of a difference of opinion, 
but his ancient instinct tells him to tuck his tail 
between his legs — just to be on the safe side. 

So much, then, for the instincts which have been 
handed down from untamed ancestors of the dim 
past. It is understandable that these instincts are 
so strongly inherent that they cannot be eradicated 
by comparative disuse, but it is more surprising to 
find that habits which can only be the result of 
association with man can also be transmitted from 

The Character of the Dog 167 

one generation to another in an animal which still 
retains so much of his primitive nature. 

Instinct in animals was a subject in which 
Darwin was very interested, and he wrote much 
more about it than appears in his Origin of Species 
in a manuscript in which he says : 

Look at the several breeds of dogs, and see what different 
tendencies, many of which cannot, from being utterly useless 
to the animal, have been inherited from their one or several 
wild prototypes. I have talked with several intelligent Scotch 
shepherds, and they were unanimous in saying that occasion- 
ally a young sheep dog, without any instruction, will naturally 
take a run round the flock, and that all thoroughbred dogs can 
be easily taught to do this ; and although they intensely 
enjoy the exercise of their innate pugnacity, yet they do not 
worry the sheep, as any wild animal of the same size would do. 

In speaking of the pointer he says : 

I have myself gone out with a young dog for the first time, 
and his innate tendency was shown in a ludicrous manner, for 
he pointed fixedly not only at the scent of game, but at sheep 
and large white stones ; and when he found a lark's nest, 
we were actually compelled to carry him along. 

Mr. Andrew Knight, in a paper on ' Hereditary 
Instincts ', states the following : 

A young terrier whose parents had been much employed in 
destroying polecats, and a young springing spaniel whose 
ancestry through many generations had been employed in 
finding woodcocks, were reared together as companions, the 
terrier not having been permitted to see a polecat or any other 
animal of similar character, and the spaniel having been 
prevented seeing a woodcock or other kind of game. The 
terrier evinced, as soon as it perceived the scent of the polecat 
very violent anger ; and as soon as it saw the polecat attacked 
it with the same degree of fury as its parents would have done. 

1 68 The Story of the Dog 

The young spaniel, on the contrary, looked on with indiffer- 
ence, but it pursued the first woodcock it ever saw with joy 
and exultation, of which its companion, the terrier, did not 
in any degree partake. 

Perhaps the most remarkable of all a dog's senses 
is that of smell, for his whole conception of the 
world he lives in must be entirely different from 
that of a human being's on account of this faculty. 
It seems, moreover, that a dog's sense of smell is 
more than merely a magnification of our own, for, 
were it not so, why is it that a dog who instinctively 
avoids fouling its own nest delights in rolling in 

A dog's ability to follow a scent, and the various 
agencies which assist or oppose it, are dealt with 
in the chapter on police dogs, but an interesting 
experiment is recorded by Dr. Romanes, who has 
done much work on the senses of dogs. One 
crowded bank holiday Dr. Romanes took his 
terrier for a walk in Regent's Park. People 
swarmed everywhere, walking this way and that, 
and presently the dog's attention was distracted by 
a canine friend it met. Noting this. Dr. Romanes 
altered his course, zigzagging from side to side of 
the path several times, and then jumped up on a 
seat from where he could watch. The dog, finding 
himself alone and that his master had not con- 
tinued in the direction he had been going before, 
went back to the spot where they had parted, 
picked up the scent, and followed each zigzag the 
doctor had made until he arrived at the seat. Dr. 
Romanes says, ' Now in order to do this he had to 
distinguish my trail from at least a hundred others 

The Character of the Dog 169 

quite as fresh, and many thousands of others not 
so fresh, crossing it at all angles.' 

The Ancients were quick to differentiate between 
dogs which hunted by scent and those which hunted 
by sight, and it is probably due to selective breed- 
ing for the former that our hounds and hunting 
dogs have developed drooping ears — a feature not 
seen in any of the wild Ganidae who need to keep 
all their senses equally sharp. 

In dogs the sense of hearing varies considerably 
according to the breed. The senses of scent and 
sight both play a larger part in a dog's life than 
does that of hearing, though even in the last men- 
tioned the dog is better equipped than man. 
Although dogs have not the ability to speak as we 
speak, they are very quick to appreciate different 
tones in the human voice, even if they cannot 
understand the actual words spoken. A spaniel I 
once had showed unmistakable reaction to certain 
kinds of music. He was a fellow with the most 
perfect manneis I have ever seen in any dog, and 
when called upon to listen to music he would do 
so with the best face he could muster so long as it 
was in the major key. Directly something in a minor 
key was played he would slink with his tail between 
his legs to the sofa where he would put his head 
under the chintz frill and vent his misery in stifled 
howls. I am ashamed to say that his display of 
emotion was so comic that we not infrequently 
entertained friends with a demonstration, playing 
some piece of music which had several changes 
from the major to minor key, and he never failed 
to show that he knew the difference. I have heard 

1 70 The Story of the Dog 

that several people have had the same experience 
with their dogs. 

Recently some experiments have been made with 
the wireless. An owner of two spaniels spoke to 
his dogs by radio, giving them commands which, 
in his presence, they would readily have obeyed, 
and according to a report in the Daily Express ' the 
dogs were not amused '. They were bored ; they 
yawned, scratched themselves, rolled on their backs 
to be tickled and then asked to be allowed to go 
to bed. They showed no evidence of recognizing 
their master's voice. This, of course, was an 
isolated case and should be compared with the 
experiments made by the Australian police as 
described in a previous chapter. 

Professor Pavlov, who did a great deal of research 
on animal instinct, made an interesting experiment 
to test the exactness of a dog's hearing. He had 
several dogs under observation and at their feeding- 
time they were always called by the striking of 
middle C on a tuning-fork. Once he was sure that 
the dogs associated that exact note with dinner he 
tried varying it, and he found that C sharp, C flat, 
or any other note varying by more than eight 
vibrations from middle C produced no response in 
the dogs. 

A dog's sense of hearing is, perhaps, his greatest 
safeguard. Once, when in Mexico, I wished to 
engage a boy to go with me as a packer on a hunt- 
ing trip, and an old Indian brought his son, a lad 
of about fifteen years, to see me. After giving me 
a long list of his offspring's virtues, the old fellow 
ended up by saying, ' And he sleeps like a dog. 

The Character of the Dog 1 7 1 

Senor.' This did not sound too good to me, but 
the father explained, ' A man, when he sleeps, 
sleeps all over, but the ears of a dog and the nose 
of a dog, they never sleep.' 

I think one may say that, with the exception of 
certain breeds bred specially for their eyesight, 
such as the various types of greyhound, there is 
nothing very remarkable about the sight of a dog. 
Practically all diurnal animals have good sight, 
and dogs are no better in this respect than most. 
Few dogs will notice a perfectly stationary object 
— a point which one wishes some dog-owners would 
appreciate when they stand stock-still and yell to 
their pets. 

A very interesting subject is that of colour vision 
in dogs. Several authorities state categorically 
that dogs are colour blind, but this has not definitely 
been proved. The Russian physiologist, Pavlov, 
in his Conditional Reflexes, states that dogs are colour 
blind, while Smith, in the British Journal of Psycho- 
logy, says that they are not. One theory is that 
although dogs may be colour blind in the usual 
sense of the term, they can distinguish the different 
luminosities of the various colours. Thus, they can 
see that there is a difference between two objects 
of different colours except when the two colours 
are reduced to the same luminosity by depth or 
lightness of tone. Dr. H. O. Bull, who has recently 
done more work on the subject than any one else 
in this country, writes to me : 

The question — Can dogs discriminate between different 
colours — cannot be answered in a few words. Most experi- 
mental psychologists and physiologists have not found evidence 

172 The Story of the Dog 

that dogs have a normal colour vision. ... I must empha- 
size that the experiments which still need to be made to 
provide an answer are of the most exacting kind. The reason 
why the question cannot as yet be finally answered lies in the 
extreme difficulty of fulfilling these exacting conditions, and 
it is rendered all the more difficult by the great acuteness of 
the dog's sense of smell and hearing. 

Many dog lovers may be indignant at the state- 
ment frequently met with in scientific books that 
dogs cannot reason, but, taking the word at its true 
meaning, this is undoubtedly the case. 

When a dog appears to reason out something he 
is either acting on some past experience or else 
has arrived at his conclusions by trial and error. 
Many interesting experiments have been made on 
this subject, and I give two which unbelievers may 
try for themselves. 

A hungry dog is confronted with a box which 
his nose tells him contains food. This box can only 
be opened by pressure on a certain spot. The dog 
will scratch abo it until he accidentally touches the 
hidden spring and so is rewarded by the food inside. 
This procedure is repeated over and over again 
until the dog learns where the magic spot is and 
goes straight for it. If, at this stage, the box is 
turned round without the dog seeing it, he will go 
directly to the spot which used to open the box, 
and it will take him just as long to find the second 
position as it did the first. 

Another experiment is to place a dog in a box 
with a lid through which the animal can be 
watched. After one or two fruitless attempts to get 
out it will probably pause either to scratch or lick 

The Character of the Dog 1 73 

itself, or some such action totally unconnected with 
getting out of the box. If the experimenter will 
choose one of these actions and release the dog 
every time on its performance, the dog will eventu- 
ally go through the action with the expectation of 
being let out. 

The first of these experiments shows knowledge 
gained by trial and error, and the second know- 
ledge gained by previous experience, but neither 
show any reasoning power. A reasoning man 
would, in the first case, have tried another side of 
the box as soon as he reahzed it had been turned, 
and, in the second, his reason would tell him that 
scratching his ear with his foot (or whatever the 
action was !) could not possibly release him from 
the box, and he would probably still be inside ! 
And yet there is no end to the ingenious stories 
told of a dog's reasoning power. The one which 
I think intrigues me most of all that I have heard 
is that of a dog which was very fond of eggs. After 
watching a farmer collect the eggs one morning, 
he waited until the man's back was turned, then 
gently collared a hen, carried it tenderly to his 
kennel where he sat, blocking the entrance, until 
the hen had obliged by laying an egg, after which 
he politely released her. 

I am sure that many of the stories which are told 
to demonstrate a dog's power of reasoning can be 
explained by the animal's instinctive knowledge of 
nature, a knowledge handed down by generations 
of experience on the part of his ancestors. For 
instance, he has learned in this way that fire will 
burn and destroy not only himself but also things 

174 The Story of the Dog 

over which he has constituted himself guardian if 
they are not moved out of the way of the blaze. 
Fire is a natural thing and he knows its habits. A 
family consisting of a man and his wife and two 
small children lived in a small two-storied house 
in San Jose, California, and they had a fox-terrier 
who was the devoted friend and companion of the 
little boy and girl. The family all slept upstairs, 
and the dog downstairs in front of the kitchen fire. 
One night the man and his wife were roused by 
the dog's excited barking and, on going downstairs, 
they found that a spark from the fire had set the 
floor alight. The man confined his energies to 
trying to put out the fire, while the woman ran out 
to the nearest telephone-box and neither noticed 
what happened to the dog. The fire brigade 
eventually arrived and managed to put out the 
fire. When they were able to reach the upstairs 
rooms they found the two children in bed, suffocated 
in their sleep by the smoke, and lying dead on the 
floor by the bedside lay the dog, the edge of the 
coverlet still in his teeth as he had tried to drag 
his playmates to safety. 

There is little any one can teach the dog family 
about the art of hunting, either from the point of 
view of the pursuer or the pursued, for since the 
beginning of things their lives have depended on 
it. A coyote had made itself very unpopular by 
its depredations on certain chicken farms near the 
coast in California. Time after time dogs were set 
on its trail, but they always returned after a short 
interval and the chickens continued to disappear. 
At last, by posting watchers, the coyote's strategy 

The Character of the Dog 1 75 

was discovered. He would trot straight from the 
farm down to the edge of the sea. Here he would 
follow the receding waves as near as possible for 
a considerable distance, his tracks being obliterated 
as he made them, and then, when he considered 
it safe, he would turn and trot off inland. 

Dog knows nature, and when nature behaves in 
an unnatural way he cannot understand. I have 

Seventeenth-century Kennels 

seen a playful puppy amusing itself with a bone, 
tossing it up in the air and pushing it about with 
his nose, making believe it was alive. When the 
puppy was not looking its master tied a piece of 
black cotton to the bone and then let the puppy 
play again for a while. When the puppy finally 
dropped the bone the almost invisible cotton was 
pulled, making the bone travel slowly across the 
floor, and immediately the puppy became terrified. 

176 The Story of the Dog 

The hair on his back rose up, he growled and 
backed away, and nothing would induce him to 
go near the bone again. The pup, although quite 
ready to pretend his bone was alive, knew that in 
reality it wasn't. The laws of nature were violated 
and he knew it. 

Dogs — all animals in fact — fear that which they 
cannot understand. Dr. Romanes gives an instance 
of a setter which was always afraid of thunder, as 
many dogs are. On one occasion some bags of 
apples were being emptied onto a wooden floor 
over the room where the setter was. The dog 
behaved exactly as he always did during a thunder- 
storm until Dr. Romanes took him upstairs and let 
him see some more bags being emptied, after which 
he returned to the room beneath and took no more 
notice of the noise. 

Just how far a dog's powers of memory and 
imagination can be compared with those of man 
is very difficult to say. It is very unlikely that dogs 
can call up images of the past in the same way 
that we can. A dog often appears to ' remember ' 
some one whom he has not seen for a long time, 
but it is probable that this is due to his experiencing 
again the same pleasure which in the past he 
experienced in that person's company. This theory 
is rather upheld by two bull-terriers I once knew. 
These two, a dog and a bitch, were absolutely 
inseparable and were devoted to each other. One 
day the bitch died very suddenly of heart failure. 
The dog wandered about disconsolate and obvi- 
ously feeling the lack of something, and in the 
evening his mistress took him for a walk in the 

The Character of the Dog 177 

grounds to try to cheer him up. To her great 
distress they unexpectedly came upon the body of 
the bitch lying outside the gardener's cottage, 
awaiting burial, but the dog showed no grief what- 
ever. He went up and sniffed it and then wan- 
dered off totally uninterested. It apparently re- 
called no memory of his lost companion. 

Nor can a dog's wonderful homing instinct be 
cited as proof of memory. A dog's power of ' back 
tracking ', his sense of direction and scent, and his 
instinct to guard his possessions and those of his 
master, are responsible for the almost uncanny 
feats accomplished. The many instances on record 
of a dog finding its way home after being taken 
many miles by train or car can only be due to his 
sense of direction. 

A lady I heard of recently went to stay in a large 
country hotel, taking her dog with her. On arrival 
she just went up to her room for a moment to 
deposit her luggage and then took her dog out for 
a walk. When she returned she was half-way 
upstairs when she found that she remembered 
neither the whereabouts nor the number of her 
room, but the dog led her straight to it without 

The dog has many human attributes, but his 
attitude towards family life is entirely different 
from ours. Although two dogs of opposite sexes 
frequendy become very fond of each other, their 
affection seems to have nothing whatever to do 
with the physical act of mating. A dog is entirely 
promiscuous in his love-affairs, while a bitch at the 
appointed times finds herself followed by a host of 

1 78 The Story of the Dog 

admirers from which she makes her own choice. 
Again, bitches are as a rule excellent mothers, 
jealously guarding their offspring and caring for 
them to the utmost of their ability, but as soon as 
the puppies are weaned the mothers' interest wanes, 
and in a remarkably short time they fail to recog- 
nize their children if they meet them in the street. 
Puppies, on the other hand, will recognize their 
mother for a far longer period, probably stirred by 
some feeling of gratitude for her past care. There 
is, however, no doubt as to the genuineness of a 
bitch's mother-love while it lasts. One bitch, who 
spent much of her time in the nursery of the family 

Lap-dog — Fourteenth Century 

to whom she belonged, had a litter which, for some 
reason or another, had to be taken from her. The 
morning following the tragedy she was discovered 
in her basket curled round a collection of woolly 
toys which apparently she had purloined to comfort 
herself with during the night. Another story, 
which I believe to be true, tells of a bitch, a keen 
rabbiter, whose puppies were taken from her before 
they were weaned. The day following the disap- 
pearance of her family she happened to kill a rabbit 
in the entrance to its hole. Her nose told her 
that there was something more in the burrow 
and she dug in to find a family of baby rabbits. 
These she carried safely, one by one, to her kennel, 
where she suckled and raised her stolen family. 

The Character of the Dog 1 79 

Never afterwards could she be induced to chase a 

An interesting, and often amusing, side of a dog's 
character is his appreciation of the amenities of 
civiHzation. Almost without exception dogs love 
riding in cars. There are many noted instances of 
dogs who have acquired a passion for travel, the 
most remarkable perhaps being Owney, a dog 
belonging to a Post Office clerk in Albany, New 

Owney's travels started with trips back and forth 
on the mail train, but before very long his lust for 
travel led him to ' jump ' any other train which 
took his fancy. His master then attached a notice 
to Owney's collar, asking railway officials to tag 
him at every town, and in a few years the dog had 
visited practically every large town in the United 
States and also made several trips into Canada and 
Mexico as well. Owney became so famous for his 
travels that the Postmaster-General in Washington 
presented him with some harness in place of his 
tag-laden collar. A little later he visited San 
Francisco where he was presented with a fitted 
travelling bag containing brush, comb, blanket and 
credentials. Thus equipped, Owney boarded the 
S.S. Victoria and sailed for Japan. At Yokohama 
he was given the freedom of the Japanese Empire 
under the personal seal of the Mikado. From 
Japan he went to Foochow. At Hong Kong the 
Emperor of China sent him a personal passport and 
from there he visited Singapore, Suez and numer- 
ous parts of Europe. Finally he sailed for America 
carrying over 200 tags and testimonials. Owney's 

i8o The Story of the Dog 

stuffed skin is now to be seen in the Post Office 
Museum in Washington. Quite alone, Owney 
made the trip round the world in 132 days. 

Only a few weeks ago I was introduced to a dog 
who had learned, entirely on his own initiative, to 
make use of modern traffic control. The dog, a 
Labrador, lives in a house on the south side of 
Kensington Gore and his great delight is to exercise 
in the park opposite. Finding the continual stream 
of traffic along the Gore more than he could 
negotiate alone, he has learned to go along the 
pavement until he is opposite a policeman on duty 
and bark to be conducted across. 



THE part played by dog in the religions of old 
has been referred to in previous chapters, and there 
are many quaint superstitions and myths connected 
with our really very matter-of-fact four-footed 

Topsell (1607) gives pages of strange cures for 

' The Sea-dog is a beasle of the sea who takes his nourishment on the 

earth and in the ocean, swimming in the sea like a fish and going 

upon the earth like a beaste ' 

{1482 MS.) 

dog ailments and also many ways in which the dog 
can be used to cure the ills of man : 

Whereas the inward partes of man are troubled with many 
evils, it is delivered for truth, that if a little Melitaean (Maltese) 
Dog, or young succing puppies, be layed to the brest of a 
child of man that hath inflictions, passions or pains in his 
entrals, the paine wil depart from the man into the beast. 

If a whelpe be cut asunder alive, and layed upon the head 
of a mad melancholike woman, it shall help her, and it hath 
the same power against the spleene. 


1 82 The Story of the Dog 

The flesh of madde Dogges, is salted and given as meate to 
them which are bitten by mad Dogs for a singular remedy. 
The blood is commended against all intoxicating poisons and 
pains in the small guts, and it cureth scabs. The fat is used 
against deafness of the eares, the gout and nits in the head. 

The pouder of the teeth of Dogges, maketh childrens teeth 
to come forth with speed and easie, and if their gums be 
rubbed with a dogs tooth, it maketh them to have the sharper 

The milk of a Bitches first whelping, is an antidote against 
poyson, and the same causeth haire never to come again, if it 
be rubbed upon the place where haires are newly pulled off, 

and so on. 

There are, of course, many superstitions with 
regard to hydrophobia, the most certain cure being 
supposed to be touching the Stole of St. Hubert. 
It has been said that the docking of dogs' tails was 
originally performed as a guard against this disease. 

The Esquimaux maintain that an earthquake is 
due to the Hound of Hell scratching his fleas, and 
in several American Indian tribes it is held that 
an eclipse of the sun is due to its being swallowed 
by the Devil Dog. 

The ancient Greeks thought that the Gods sent 
punishment on Earth by means of dogs : 

Like the red star, that from his flaming hair, 
Shakes down diseases, pestilence and war. 

Iliad, B. XIX 

Orion's dog, (the year when autumn weighs), 
And o'er the feebler stars exerts his rays ; 
Terrific glory ! for his burning breath 
Taints the red air with fevers, plagues and death. 

Ibid., B. XXII 

Legend has it that Fontainebleau owes its name 
to a dog. In the days before it became a royal 

Dog and the Supernatural 183 

forest, a young man, accompanied by his hound, 
Bleau, tripped over the root of a tree and so injured 
his ankle that he was unable to walk. The faithful 
Bleau remained by his master's side until he per- 
ceived that he was suffering from thirst, whereupon 
he trotted to a near-by spot and began to dig. 

Pedlar and his Dog 

[Lambeth Church) 

Soon Bleau uncovered a spring of cooling water, 
and the young man was so refreshed that he was 
able to make his way home. In gratitude to his 
dog he purchased the forest and built a fountain 
at the spring which he christened Fontainebleau. 
In Lambeth Church there is a window depicting 
a pedlar and his dog, and near-by is a property 

184 T^he Story of the Dog 

known as Pedlar's Acre. It is said that, at about 
the end of the fifteenth century, a poor pedlar was 
passing with his dog across what was then open 
ground when his dog suddenly began to dig and 
uncovered a pot full of gold coins. The pedlar, 
after carefully covering the gold again, sought the 

i'idc, Lege. I Cave.. 
Time bringerh all things to lighr. 

Printed atLorvionby^./', for 'Koi>enWilJon,iS:h\<iZ)\o^ 
atGi^«-Inne 6atr in Holbome , 1 ^_} 8. 

Black Dog of Newgate 
{Woodcut, 1638) 

authorities and purchased the land for half a crown. 
As legal owner and a rich man, the pedlar gave a 
handsome sum of money to the church and pre- 
sented the window in commemoration of his dog. 
I am told that Pedlar's Acre is still the property 
of the original pedlar's descendants and that it 
brings in an annual rental of about /^i,ooo. 

Dog and the Supernatural 185 

A strange story of the Middle Ages is that of tlie 
' Black Dog of Newgate '. This monster, ' a 
Cerberus, worse than a Cerberus even, black he 
was, with curling snakes for hairs, his eyes like 
torches, his breath was poison and smoke came 
from his nostrils ', was said to haunt the prisoners 
of Newgate Prison, who, because of bad prison fare, 
were suspected of having resorted to cannibalism. 

Pointed at Lond<n,foT Q. B. July 2.7. I ^^<j. 

Boye's death at Marston Moor 

Boye, a poodle belonging to Prince Rupert, is 
a queer figure occurring in contemporary writings 
of the reign of Charles I. Either for political 
reasons, or else from superstition, Boye was 
credited with supernatural powers. One writer 
says it was a shame that the dog should be allowed 
to converse so much with the King's children ' lest 
he taught them to swear '. From other writers we 
learn that in church, Boye conducted himself 

1 86 The Story of the Dog 

' most Popishly and cathedrally ', and that he was 
never late for prayers, ' being as attentive as one 
of us private Christians '. Boye was supposed to 
cast spells over unsuspecting youths, causing them 
to fall in love with monkeys and other animals. A 
pamphlet was printed purporting to be a dialogue 
between Boye and a Roundhead dog called 
Pepper, which is amusing political propaganda but 
too long to reproduce here. Boye was eventually 
killed at the Battle of the Marston Moor, to the 
great delight of the Roundhead Camp. 

The origin of the name of the ' Isle of Dogs ' is 
supposed to be as follows : Some time during the 
seventeenth century a man who lived in a house 
on the mainland side of the dividing water, noticed 
that every day a dog swam across from the island, 
returning in the same manner a few hours later. 
Curiosity led him to follow the dog, who, he found, 
went to a farm where the farmer told him he was 
sorry for the animal and had been feeding him for 
some time. The farmer's interest was roused when 
he heard where the dog spent the remainder of his 
time, for he was certain that no one lived on the 
island, so the next day the two men followed the 
dog by boat across the water. They found him 
lying on a newly turned mound of earth from 
which he refused to move. Workmen were pro- 
cured from the mainland, and digging revealed the 
body of a man with his head battered in. The 
mystery was not unravelled then, but when his 
master's body was conveyed to the mainland and 
given a decent burial the dog consented to go and 
live with the farmer in peace. The story goes on 

Dog and the Supernatural 187 

that shortly afterwards the dog recognized among 
the watermen at one of the wharves a man whom 
he attacked with such ferocity that the man con- 
fessed to having killed the animal's master. The 
man was brought to the gallows and the dog was 
permitted to witness the hanging. Apparently this 
satisfied the faithful creature, who thenceforth 
devoted himself entirely to his new master. The 

th« benaile of hoiwftfe^peiTohieiiic^. 
"Wa^er.dnJ to mate up the MA TCH. 

Printed xtLon^on for 7.5;)rM, 16^3. 

Pudel and Piper, 1642 

land was originally known as Dog's Island and 
gradually became changed to Isle of Dogs. 

Nowhere in the world is there so much kindness 
to animals as in England. Our love of dogs is 
shown by the fact that in 1939 the number of 
licences taken out was nearly 4,000,000, and that, 
of course, takes no account of hounds and un- 
licenced dogs. 

It was Sir Walter Scott who, when a favourite 

1 88 The Story of the Dog 

dog died, wrote to a friend excusing himself from 
dining ' on account of the death of a very dear 
friend '. Another dog of Sir Waker's, Maida, was 
the original of Bevis in ' Woodstock ', and also the 
model for most of Landseer's pictures of wolf- 
hounds, and Scott amusingly wrote : 'I am as 
tired of the operation as old Maida, who has been 
so often sketched that he gets up and walks off with 
signs of loathing whenever he sees an artist unfurl 
his paper and handle his brushes.' When Maida 
died a monument was erected to him on which 
was inscribed : 

Beneath the sculptured form which late you wore, 
Sleep soundly, Maida, at your master's door. 

And from Byron, who wished to be buried in 
the same vault with his dog, his famous epitaph : 













Two lines on the death of a sheepdog come to 
me from R. E. Vernede, killed in action, April 

Lord ! there'll be deaf angels when we meet — 
And you leap up and bark ! 

Dog and the Supernatural 


Perhaps, as an author, I may be pardoned for 
closing with the following from the pen of Jerome 
K. Jerome. 

They are superior to human beings as companions. They 
do not quarrel or argue with you. They never talk about 
themselves but listen to you while you talk about yourself, 
and keep up an appearance of being interested in the con- 
versation. They never make stupid remarks. . . . And 
they never ask a young author with fourteen tragedies, sixteen 
comedies, seven farces, and a couple of burlesques in his desk, 
why he doesn't write a play. They never say unkind things. 
They never tell us our faults, ' merely for our own good '. 
They do not at inconvenient moments mildly remind us of 
our past follies and mistakes. . . . They never inform us, 
like our inamoratas sometimes do, that we are not nearly as 
nice as we used to be. We are always the same to them. He 
is very imprudent, a dog is. He never makes it his business 
to inquire whether you are in the right or in the wrong, never 
bothers as to whether you are going up or down upon life's 
ladder, never asks whether you are rich or poor, silly or wise, 
sinner or saint. You are his pal. That is enough for him, 
and come luck or misfortune, good repute or bad, honour or 
shame, he is going to stick to you, to comfort you, guard you, 
give his life for you, if need be — foolish, brainless, soulless dog 1 

Chinese drawing of Peke and pup 


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British Dogs. W. D. Dowey. 
Wild Traits in Tame Animals. Louis Robinson. 


192 The Story of the Dog 

Mental Evolution in Animals. G. J. Romanes. 

Watch-dogs, their Training and Management. Lieut.-Colonel 

E. H. Richardson. 
Hunting and Working Terriers. Jocelyn Lucas. 
Researches into the History of the British Dog. G. J. Jesse. 
Forty Tears with Dogs. Lieut.-Colonel E. H. Richardson. 
Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed. Walter Hutchinson. 
War, Police and Watch Dogs. Lieut.-Colonel E. H. Richardson. 
Dog-keeping on Common Sense Lines. W. Powell-Owen. 
Dog and Man. A. Sloan and A. Farquhar. 
Der Deutsche Schdferhund. Von Creytz. 
Dogs and their Masters. Marion Chappell. 
Dogs for Profit. Rowland Johns and Leonard E. Nay lor. 
The Intelligence of Animals. G. C. Grindley. 
Cambridge Natural History, Vol. X. 
Wild Animals in Captivity. A. D. Bartlett. 
American Animals. Stone, Witmer and Cram. 
Zoology of Egypt. John Anderson. 
Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians. Sir John 

Outline of Vertebrate Palaeontology. A. S. Woodward. 
Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication. Charles 

The Qjiadrupeds of North America. Audubon and Bachman. 
American Natural History. John D. Godman. 
Synopsis of the Mammals of North America. D. G. Elliot. 
Land and Sea Mammals of Middle America and the West Indies. 

D. G. Elliot. 
Animal Life as affected by the Natural Conditions of Existence. 

Carl Semper. 
The Nature and Development of Animal Intelligence. Wesley 

The Extinct Dogs of North America. E. D. Cope. 
Natural History of the Ancients. M. G. Watkins. 
Extinct Animals. E. Ray Lankester. 
Moeurs, Usages et Costumes au Moyen Age. Paul Lacroix. 
Traits de Venerie. Side Mahommed el Mangali. 
Mammalia of India. R. A. Sterndale. 
Historic of Four-footed Beastes. Edward Topsell. 

Bibliography 193 

The Japanese Lapdog. E. D. Cope, 

The Cranial and Dental Characteristics of the Canidae. T. H. 

Coyotes in their Economic Relations. D. E. Lautz. 
Monograph of the Canidae. St. George Mivart. 
Zoological Mythology. Angelo de Gubernatis. 
Elementary Text-book of Zoology. Masterman. 
The New Book of the Dog. Edward C. Ash, 
Les Arts au Moyen Age. Paul Lacroix. 
Travels of Marco Polo. Ed. Sir Henry Yule. 
Just So Stories. Rudyard Kipling. 
North American Indians. George Catlin. 
Sport and Life on the Pacific Slope. H. A. Vachell. 
Trailing and Camping in Alaska. A. M. Powell. 
The Book of the Dog. Vero Shaw. 
The New Book of the Dog. Robert Leighton. 
Science and Literature of the Middle Ages. Paul Lacroix. 
Museum of Animated Nature, Vol. I. Anon. 
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Magazine) . 
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Mediaeval England. Ed. H. W. C. Davis. 
English Life in the Middle Ages. L. F. Saltzman. 
Historia Amimalium. Aristotle. 

De Proprietatibus Rerum. Bartholomaeus Angelicus. 
Description of England. William Harrison. 
De Canibus Britainicus. John Caius. 
The Noble Arte of Venerie. George Turbervile. 
The Animal Lore of Shakespeare'' s Time. Emma Phipson. 
Sports and Pastimes of the People of England. Joseph Strutt. 
England as seen by Foreigners. W. B. Rye. 
Master of Game. Edward Plantagenet. 
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Human Physiology. Professor Starling. 
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Hereditary Instincts, Andrew Knight. 


Although most of the dogs trained to lead the blind are German 
boxers have been donated to the famous Seeing Eye Training School in 
E. O. Fraund, who bred the dogs at his Tulgey Wood Kennels near I 
ing the dogs to Bernice Clifton, blind Seeing Eye graduate. 


Red Cross Dog! 

RockvUle, Ind., August 1— 
(AP)— Edward Rowe, farmer, 
told today of receiving first- 
aid treatment for lieat prostra- 
tion from a pet dog. 

Driving a cow to pasture, 
he said, he was overcome and 
nearly fainted. , ^^ 

He said his dog ran to ^^ 
near-by creek, jumped in and 
hurried back to shake water 
on him and revive him. 

hepherds, these 
[orristown, N.J. 
isdale, is show- 

A Canine Gentleman! 


Flash' Sorelv Missed By County Home 
Head, Who Pens Tribiite To 3?ef. 

Touching tribute is paid to a dog 
and a strange disclosure made by 
Dr. C. A. Neal, Superintendent of 
the Hamilton County Home, in 
Twilight, monthly publication of 
the home, out yesteiday. 
i The tribute is to Flash, Dr. Neal's 
i dog, dead at the age of 17 years. 

The disclosure is that Flash has 
passed judgment on all salesmen j 
I and applicants for positions at the i 
I County Home for years. i 

) "Flash was a collie," writes Dr. [ 
j Neal. "Black and yellow, with four 
I white feet and, upon occasions, the 
niost immaculate white shirt front 
'that you ever saw. 
I "He was one of a litter of six. 
i or seven, but he was a 'throwback,' [ 
he did not have the pointed nose ; 
and the almond eyes of his brothei's i 
and sisters but, in lieu of these, | 
dewclaws and brains. I 

"Flash came to me in the sum- 
mer of 1923, all covered with fuzz 
like a young duck. The first eve- 
ning we had him, he chased light- 
ning bugs, each time one flashed 
he would run after it and that is 
how he came by his name. From 

then on, he was my" constant 'com- 
panion. Without the" iioints and 
looks of a show dog, he rJhad all 
the qualifications of , a .wonderful 
companion. He was a canipe gen- 
tleman ... .•■:■■- 

"Flash, old boy, I miss you; I re- 
call that when an applicant for a 
position or a salesman entered the 
office, you would come out and 
sniff them; if you return'- d to your 
corner, then all was well. But if 
you came and curled yourself a*, 
my feet, then I should be on my 
guard. . 

"Flash, old pal, you never made 
a mistake; you turned thumbs down. 
On more applicants than I would 
have dared to do, and those that I 
employed against your judgment 
never proved to be worth the hiring. 

"But, old boy, I miss you; some 
nights I still stoop to fill your 
water bowl; and I know full well 
what was in the heart of St. Jobn 
Lucas when he penned; 

"As for me 
This prayer at least the gods fulfill; 
That when I pass the flood, and see 
Old Charon by the Stygian coast, 
Take toll of all the shades that land, 
Your little faithful, barking ghost 
May leap to lick my phantom hand." 

HV1709 Trew, Cecil G. 
T729 The story of the dog and 
his uses to mankind.