THE BEST "ALL ROUND" DOGS
THE BEST "ALL ROUND" DOGS
REAL "all round" dogs are those of the far north, where for the major part of the year it is impossible to travel or transport supplies without the aid of dogs. The variety used are for the most part natives of those regions and are undoubtedly mainly descendants of the wolves, and that so recently, that they retain many of their wild kindred's traits and characteristics. They are better adapted for the work required of them, at least, from nearly all accounts it appears that their endurance and ability to stand the severe weather and scanty feed is greater than of equal size and strength belonging to more domesticated breeds. This advantage possessed by them is offset somewhat by their sulky and sullen disposition, which may be said to be common to nearly all of them. At the same time they are terrible thieves, nothing eatable, or having the least appearance of being so is safe from them unless beyond their reach, or constantly watched.
Many of the larger breeds of more domesticated dogs are easier trained or broken to harness work and are much more tractable and trustworthy. The weight of the load that a team of four of these dogs can haul more miles in a day than horses could get over is amazing. Have read trustworthy accounts where six dogs in a team were used to haul timbers of spruce or balsam which squared ten inches, thirty-six feet long, the front end of the timber held up by a sled. These timbers had to be hauled over rough trails. Eight dogs on a plow will, when used to the work, plough as much in a day as a team of horses. Many times the far northern hunter when on the trail with his dog team, on sighting the trail of certain kinds of game, or perhaps the animal themselves, at once loosens his dogs and they are transformed at once from mere draft animals to keen-scented, powerful and efficient hunting dogs.
It seems to me that a great many fur hunters who operate a long way south of where these dogs are used could profit by the same methods, at least those of us who are partial to dogs. I do not posses the hardihood to attempt to convert Friend Little, for instance, into an enthusiastic admirer of the dog as an all round helper and assistant to the fur hunter and trapper. But joking aside, I can see no reason why dogs who may be first class 'coon, skunk, fox, or wolf dogs, might not become without much training or trouble, also first-class harness dogs and providing suitable sleds or running gear were provided, be of double use and value on a hunting or trapping expedition.
It is often a big advantage to be able to move camp and outfit: if the party are obliged to hire transportation, it is often very inconvenient and costly. Taking a team on the trip often is just as inconvenient and troublesome and
in many localities there may be impassable roads for large wagons or sleds, or perhaps no roads of any sort. A stout toboggan with two or four dogs hitched tandem is perhaps the best rig for timbered country and winter work and I should think a small wagon with bicycle wheels, able to carry five or six hundred pounds, would be apt to fill the requirements when wheels were needed.
Any of the larger breeds of hounds, or any dogs of fifty to eighty pounds in weight would be capable of doing the work and it is a well known fact that nearly all dogs when accustomed to 'such work take a great deal of pride and pleasure in it.
It is the writer's opinion that dogs which could be used for both hunting and hauling would come near to filling the bill as the best all round dogs for the fur hunter or trapper.
F. W. Howard
Fur, News. Fur News, January 1916.
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