A Chapter on Dogs by
the London Reading Book
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
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.
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.
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.
OLD ENGLISH HOUND.
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
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.
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.