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. In that year, too, as many as 906 separate dog shows were sanctioned by the Kennel Club and held in various parts of the United Kingdom. At the present time there exist no fewer than 156 specialist clubs established for the purpose of watching over the interests of the different breeds.
Recognising this advance in our national love of dogs and the growing demand for information on their distinguishing characteristics, I am persuaded that there is ample room for a concise and practical handbook on matters canine. In preparing the present volume, I have drawn abundantly upon the contents of my larger and more expensive New Book of The Dog, and I desire to acknowledge my obligations to the eminent experts who assisted me in the production of the earlier work and whose contributions I have further utilised in these pages. I am indebted to Mr. W. J. Stubbs for his clear exposition of the points of the Bulldog, to Colonel Claude Cane for his description of the Sporting Spaniels, to Lady Algernon Gordon Lennox for her authoritative paragraphs on the Pekinese, to Mr. Desmond O'Connell for his history of the Fox-terrier, and to Mr. Walter S. Glynn, Mr. Fred Gresham, Major J. H. Bailey, Mr. E. B. Joachim and other specialists whose aid I have enlisted.
In the following chapters the varieties of the dog are classified in the order of (1) Non-Sporting and Utility breeds, (2) Hounds, Gundogs and other Sporting breeds, (3) the Terriers, (4) Toy and Miniature breeds.