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The definition, therefore, of Canis familiaris caudá (sinistrorsum) recurratâ, will not serve to separate the species from the others of the genus Canis, as proposed by the Swedish naturalist.
In almost every climate the dog is to be met with, from Kamtschatka to Cape Horn, the chief exception being some of the islands in the Pacific Ocean ; but it is only in the temperate zone that he is to be found in perfection, the courage of the bulldog and the speed of the greyhound soon degenerating in tropical countries. In China and the Society Islands dogs are eaten, being considered great delicacies, and by the ancients the flesh of a young fat dog was highly prized, Hippocrates even describing that of an adult as wholesome and nourishing. In a state of nature the dog is compelled to live on flesh which he obtains by hunting, and hence he is classed among the Carnivora ; but when domesticated he will live upon vegetable substances alone, such as oatmeal porridge, or bread made from any of the cereals, but thrives best upon a mixed diet of vegetable and animal substances; and, indeed, the formation of his teeth is such as to lead us to suppose that by nature he is intended for it, as we shall hereafter find in discussing his anatomical structure.
VARIETIES OF THE DOG.
The varieties of the dog are extremely numerous, and, indeed, as they are apparently produced by crossing, which is still had recourse to, there is scarcely any limit to the numbers which may be described. It is a curious fact that large bitches frequently take a fancy to dogs so small as to be incapable of breeding with them; and in any case, if left to themselves, the chances are very great against their selecting mates of the same breed as themselves. The result is, that innumerable nondescripts are yearly born, but as a certain number of breeds are described by writers on the dog, or defined by “dog-fanciers,” these “mongrels,” as they are called from not belonging to them, are generally despised, and, however useful they may be, the breed is not continued. This, however, is not literally true, exceptions being made in favour of certain sorts which have been improved by admixture with others, such as the cross of the bulldog with the greyhound; the foxhound with the Spanish pointer; the bulldog with the terrier, &c., &c., all of which are now recognised and admitted into the list of valuable breeds, and not only are not considered mongrels, but, on the contrary, are prized above the original strains from which they are descended. An attempt has been made by M. F. Cuvier to arrange these varieties under three primary divisions, which are founded upon the shape of the head, and the length of the jaws; these being supposed by him to vary in accordance with the degree of cunning and scenting powers, which the animal possessing them displays. The following is his classification, which in the main is correct, and I shall adhere to it with trilling alterations in the pages of this book.
Characterised by head more or less elongated; parietal bones insensibly approaching each other; condyles of the lower jaw placed in a horizontal line with the upper molar teeth, exemplified by
Sect. 1. Half-reclaimed dogs, hunting in packs; such as the
Dingo, the Dhole, the Pariah, &c.
Sect. 2. Domesticated dogs, hunting in packs, or singly, but using
the eye in preference to the nose; as, for instance, the Albanian dog, Deerhound, &c.
Sect. 3. Domesticated dogs, which hunt singly, and almost entirely
by the eye. Example: the Greyhound.
Characteristics. Head moderately elongated; parietal bones do not approach each other above the temples, but diverge and swell out, so as to enlarge the forehead and cavity of the brain.
Sect. 4. Pastoral dogs, or such as are employed for domestic
purposes. Example : Shepherd's Dog.
Sect. 5. Water dogs, which delight in swimming. Examples :
Newfoundland Dog, Water-Spaniel, &c. Sect. 6. Forclers, or such as have an inclination to chase or point
birds by scenting only, and not killing. Examples :
the Setter, the Pointer, the Field-Spaniel, &c. Sect. 7. Hounds, which hunt in packs by scent, and kill their
game. Examples : the Foxhound, the Harrier, &c.
SECT. 8. Crossed breeds, for sporting purposes.
III. HOUSE DOGS.
Characteristics. Muzzle more or less shortened; skull high; frontal sinuses considerable ; condyle of the lower jaw extending above the line of the upper cheek teeth. Cranium smaller in this group than in the first and second, in consequence of its peculiar formation.
Sect. 9. Watch dogs which have no propensity to hunt, but are
solely employed in the defence of man, or his property. Examples : the Mastiff, the Bulldog, the Pug dog, &c.
As before remarked, this division is on the whole founded on natural laws, but there are some anomalies which we shall endeavour to remove. For instance, the greyhound is quite as ready to hunt in packs as any other hound, and is only prevented from doing so by the hand of his master. The same restraint keeps him