Pets

The Deerhound is one of the most decorative of dogs, impressively stately and picturesque wherever he is seen, whether it be amid the surroundings of the baronial hall, reclining at luxurious length before the open hearth in the fitful light of the log fire that flickers on polished armour and tarnished tapestry; out in the open, straining at the leash as he scents the dewy air, or gracefully bounding over the purple of his native hills.

To attempt to set forth the origin of the Fox-terrier as we know him to-day would be of no interest to the general reader, and would entail the task of tracing back the several heterogeneous sources from which he sprang.

Except in the matter of size, the general appearance and qualifications of the Miniature Black and Tan Terrier should be as nearly like the larger breed as possible, for the standard of points applies to both varieties, excepting that erect, or what are commonly known as tulip ears, of semi-erect carriage, are permissible in the miniatures.

There is no incongruity in the idea that in the very earliest period of man's habitation of this world he made a friend and companion of some sort of aboriginal representative of our modern dog, and that in return for its aid in protecting him from wilder animals, and in guarding his sheep and goats, he gave it a share of his food, a corner in his dwelling, and grew to trust it and care for it. Probably the animal was originally little else than an unusually gentle jackal, or an ailing wolf driven by its companions from the wild marauding pack to seek shelter in alien surroundings.

Of the many foreign varieties of the dog that have been introduced into this country within recent years, there is not one among the larger breeds that has made greater headway in the public favour than the Borzoi, or Russian Wolfhound. Nor is this to be wondered at. The most graceful and elegant of all breeds, combining symmetry with strength, the wearer of a lovely silky coat that a toy dog might envy, the length of head, possessed by no other breed—all go to make the Borzoi the favourite he has become.

The wire-hair Fox-terrier is, with the exception of its coat, identical with the smooth Fox-terrier—full brother in fact to him. The two varieties are much interbred, and several litters in consequence include representatives of both; and not only this, but it is quite a frequent occurrence to get a smooth puppy from wire-hair parents, although for some generations neither of the parents may have had any smooth cross in their pedigrees.

Many people are deterred from keeping dogs by the belief that the hobby is expensive and that it entails a profitless amount of trouble and anxiety; but to the true dog-lover the anxiety and trouble are far outbalanced by the pleasures of possession, and as to the expense, that is a matter which can be regulated at will. A luxuriously appointed kennel of valuable dogs, who are pampered into sickness, may, indeed, become a serious drain upon the owner's banking account, but if managed on business principles the occupation is capable of yielding a very respectable income.

Of the many different kinds of dogs now established as British, not a few have had their origin in other lands, whence specimens have been imported into this country, in course of time to be so improved by selection that they have come to be commonly accepted as native breeds. Some are protected from the claim that they are indigenous by the fact that their origin is indicated in their names. No one would pretend that the St. Bernard or the Newfoundland, the Spaniel or the Dalmatian, are of native breed.

The Greyhound is the oldest and most conservative of all dogs, and his type has altered singularly little during the seven thousand years in which he is known to have been cherished for his speed, and kept by men for running down the gazelle or coursing the hare. The earliest references to him are far back in the primitive ages, long before he was beautifully depicted by Assyrian artists, straining at the leash or racing after his prey across the desert sands. The Egyptians loved him and appreciated him centuries before the pyramids were built.

There is perhaps no breed of dog that in so short a time has been improved so much as the Airedale. He is now a very beautiful animal, whereas but a few years back, although maybe there were a few fairly nice specimens, by far the greater number were certainly the reverse of this.

Syndicate content