Pets

Intelligent and picturesque, workmanlike and affectionate, the Old English Sheepdog combines, in his shaggy person, the attributes at once of a drover's drudge and of an ideal companion. Although the modern dog is seen less often than of old performing his legitimate duties as a shepherd dog, there is no ground whatever for supposing that he is a whit less sagacious than the mongrels which have largely supplanted him. The instincts of the race remain unchanged; but the mongrel certainly comes cheaper.

I. THE SPANIEL FAMILY.—The Spaniel family is without any doubt one of the most important of the many groups which are included in the canine race, not only on account of its undoubted antiquity, and, compared with other families, its well authenticated lineage, but also because of its many branches and subdivisions, ranging in size from the majestic and massive Clumbers to the diminutive toys which we are accustomed to associate with fair ladies' laps and gaily-decked pens at our big dog shows.

That the Skye Terrier should be called “the Heavenly Breed” is a tribute to the favour in which he is held by his admirers. Certainly when he is seen in perfection he is an exceedingly beautiful dog. As certainly there is no breed more affectionate, more faithful, or more lovable. Among his characteristics are a long-enduring patience, a prompt obedience, and a deep-hearted tenderness, combined with fearless courage.

The Chow Chow is a dog of great versatility. He is a born sportsman and loves an open-air life—a warrior, always ready to accept battle, but seldom provoking it. He has a way of his own with tramps, and seldom fails to induce them to continue their travels. Yet withal he is tender-hearted, a friend of children, an ideal companion, and often has a clever gift for parlour tricks. In China, his fatherland, he is esteemed for another quality—his excellence as a substitute for roast mutton.

The Basset was not familiarly known to British sportsmen before 1863, in which year specimens of the breed were seen at the first exhibition of dogs held in Paris, and caused general curiosity and admiration among English visitors. In France, however, this hound has been used for generations, much as we use our Spaniel, as a finder of game in covert, and it has long been a popular sporting dog in Russia and Germany.

The most devout lover of this charming and beautiful terrier would fail if he were to attempt to claim for him the distinction of descent from antiquity. Bradford, and not Babylon, was his earliest home, and he must be candidly acknowledged to be a very modern manufactured variety of the dog. Yet it is important to remember that it was in Yorkshire that he was made—Yorkshire, where live the cleverest breeders of dogs that the world has known.

The Poodle is commonly acknowledged to be the most wisely intelligent of all members of the canine race. He is a scholar and a gentleman; but, in spite of his claims of long descent and his extraordinary natural cleverness, he has never been widely popular in this country as the Collie and the Fox-Terrier are popular. There is a general belief that he is a fop, whose time is largely occupied in personal embellishment, and that he requires a great deal of individual attention in the matter of his toilet.

Persons unfamiliar with the sporting properties of this long-bodied breed are apt to refer smilingly to the Dachshund as “the dog that is sold by the yard,” and few even of those who know him give credit to the debonair little fellow for the grim work which he is intended to perform in doing battle with the vicious badger in its lair. Dachshund means “badger dog,” and it is a title fairly and squarely earned in his native Germany.

Long before the Pomeranian dog was common in Great Britain, this breed was to be met with in many parts of Europe, especially in Germany; and he was known under different names, according to his size and the locality in which he flourished. The title of Pomeranian is not admitted by the Germans at all, who claim this as one of their national breeds, and give it the general name of the German Spitz.

The Schipperke may fitly be described as the Paul Pry of canine society. His insatiate inquisitiveness induces him to poke his nose into everything; every strange object excites his curiosity, and he will, if possible, look behind it; the slightest noise arouses his attention, and he wants to investigate its cause. There is no end to his liveliness, but he moves about with almost catlike agility without upsetting any objects in a room, and when he hops he has a curious way of catching up his hind legs.

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