A Chapter on Dogs by the London Reading Book

Letter N.

Newfoundland Dogs are employed in drawing sledges laden with fish, wood, and other articles, and from their strength and docility are of considerable importance. The courage, devotion, and skill of this noble animal in the rescue of persons from drowning is well known; and on the banks of the Seine, at Paris, these qualities have been applied to a singular purpose. Ten Newfoundland dogs are there trained to act as servants to the Humane Society; and the rapidity with which they cross and re-cross the river, and come and go, at the voice of their trainer, is described as being most interesting to witness. Handsome kennels have been erected for their dwellings on the bridges.


There is a breed of very handsome dogs called by this name, of a white colour, thickly spotted with black: it is classed among the hounds. This species is said to have been brought from India, and is not remarkable for either fine scent or intelligence. The Dalmatian Dog is generally kept in our country as an appendage to the carriage, and is bred up in the stable with the horses; it consequently seldom receives that kind of training which is calculated to call forth any good qualities it may possess.

Dalmatian Dog.


The Terrier is a valuable dog in the house and farm, keeping both domains free from intruders, either in the shape of thieves or vermin. The mischief effected by rats is almost incredible; it has been said that, in some cases, in the article of corn, these little animals consume a quantity in food equal in value to the rent of the farm. Here the terrier is a most valuable assistant, in helping the farmer to rid himself of his enemies. The Scotch Terrier is very common in the greater part of the Western Islands of Scotland, and some of the species are greatly admired. Her Majesty Queen Victoria possesses one from Islay—a faithful, affectionate creature, yet with all the spirit and determination that belong to his breed.

Head of the Scotch Terrier.


The modern smooth-haired Greyhound of England is a very elegant dog, not surpassed in speed and endurance by that of any other country. Hunting the deer with a kind of greyhound of a larger size was formerly a favourite diversion; and Queen Elizabeth was gratified by seeing, on one occasion, from a turret, sixteen deer pulled down by greyhounds upon the lawn at Cowdry Park, in Sussex.

Head of the Greyhound.


The dog we now call the Staghound appears to answer better than any other to the description given to us of the old English Hound, which was so much valued when the country was less enclosed, and the numerous and extensive forests were the harbours of the wild deer. This hound, with the harrier, were for many centuries the only hunting dogs.

Head of the Old English Hound.


Instinct and education combine to fit this dog for our service: the pointer will act without any great degree of instruction, and the setter will crouch; but the Sheep Dog, especially if he has the example of an older one, will, almost without the teaching of his master, become everything he could wish, and be obedient to every order, even to the slightest motion of the hand. If the 's dog be but with his master, he appears to be perfectly content, rarely mingling with his kind, and generally shunning the advances of strangers; but the moment duty calls, his eye brightens, he springs up with eagerness, and exhibits a sagacity, fidelity, and devotion rarely equalled even by man himself.

Head of the Shepherds Dog.


Of all dogs, none surpass in obstinacy and ferocity the Bull-dog. The head is broad and thick, the lower jaw generally projects so that the under teeth advance beyond the upper, the eyes are scowling, and the whole expression calculated to inspire terror. It is remarkable for the pertinacity with which it maintains its hold of any animal it may have seized, and is, therefore, much used in the barbarous practice of bull-baiting, so common in some countries, and but lately abolished in England.

Head of the Bull-dog.

A Chapter On Dogs.