Pets

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.

The popularity of the dog as a companion, as a guardian of property, as an assistant in the pursuit of game, and as the object of a pleasurable hobby, has never been so great as it is at the present time. More dogs are kept in this country than ever there formerly were, and they are more skilfully bred, more tenderly treated, and cared for with a more solicitous pride than was the case a generation ago. There are fewer mongrels in our midst, and the family dog has become a respectable member of society. Two million dog licences were taken out in the British Isles in the course of 1909.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The modern practice of dog-breeding in Great Britain has reached a condition which may be esteemed as an art. At no other time, and in no other country, have the various canine types been kept more rigidly distinct or brought to a higher level of perfection. Formerly dog-owners—apart from the keepers of packs of hounds—paid scant attention to the differentiation of breeds and the conservation of type, and they considered it no serious breach of duty to ignore the principles of scientific selection, and thus contribute to the multiplication of mongrels.

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