Pets

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.

There can hardly have been a time since the period of the Norman Conquest when the small earth dogs which we now call terriers were not known in these islands and used by sporting men as assistants in the chase, and by husbandmen for the killing of obnoxious vermin. The two little dogs shown in the Bayeux tapestry running with the hounds in advance of King Harold's hawking party were probably meant for terriers. Dame Juliana Berners in the fifteenth century did not neglect to include the “Teroures” in her catalogue of sporting dogs, and a hundred years later Dr.

In the fourth chapter of Macaulay's History of England we read of King Charles II. that “he might be seen before the dew was off the grass in St. James's Park, striding among the trees playing with his Spaniels and flinging corn to his ducks, and these exhibitions endeared him to the common people, who always like to see the great unbend.”

The Bloodhound was much used in olden times in hunting and in the pursuit of fugitives; two services for which his remarkable acuteness of smell, his ability to keep to the particular scent on which he is first laid, and the intelligence and pertinacity with which he follows up the trail, admirably fit him. The use and employment of these dogs date back into remote antiquity.

This dog, one would think, ought, by the dignified title which he bears, to be considered a representative national terrier, forming a fourth in the distinctively British quartette whose other members are the Scottish, the Irish, and the Welsh Terriers. Possibly in the early days when Pearson and Roocroft bred him to perfection it was hoped and intended that he should become a breed typical of England.

Syndicate content