DOG. The most sagacious of animals,óloves to associate with his kind : he possesses gaiety and gracefulness, a steady eye, and playful countenance; he is endowed with the strongest attachment, even to the loss of his own life; if roused to assail his own species, he only proceeds to conquer, and would not kill, unless urged on by savage man. When the dog howls he laments; but he constantly barks, and in this manner often expresses his joy, or his attachment to his master.
Of the early existence of the dog in this island we have but little information, and it was not until the reign of Queen Elizabeth, that any authentic account of the varieties, or different breeds, if they may be so termed, appeared, when Dr. Caius furnished us with a description of sixteen species, several of which appear to be now extinct, or a few individuals only preserved by the curious. Fashion and caprice have from time to time caused the breeds of others to be neglected, so as now to be nearly or quite unknown.
England, long eminent for horses, is no less so for the superiority of her breed of dogs, which appear to be preferred in almost every part of the world; but, for some peculiar cause, probably in the climate, are reported to change in their properties, by losing some and taking on others; and instances are afforded of their wholly degenerating.
During the time of the Romans, the Mastiff dog seems to have been
Though now but little known, the noble and generous Mastiff appears formerly to have been trained to battle by the continental barbarians, and employed to protect their baggage during war; and instances are not wanting of their ably defending it for a long time against the conquerors. Shakspeare might possibly allude to this when he says,
" cry havock, And let slip the dogs of war."
Whether the dog be indigenous to this island, like Buffon's hypothesis of all varieties originating from the shepherd's dog, still remains a problem; and, after all that might be advanced on both sides, the reader would be left much in the same state of doubt; we shall not, therefore, attempt to solve it, for while so tough a controversy extends to Man, and the question still undecided, as to which was his original colour, and which his native soil, we cannot hope to settle the question.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.
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