Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

the vicissitudes of the weather, neither wind, rain, nor snow being capable of penetrating it. The legs are well formed and the feet strong and useful. The tail is long, gently curved, and bushy, and the whole outline resembles that of the dingo ; but the form is stouter and the limbs stronger. The colour is nearly always black and tan, with little or no white; sometimes, however, the whole skin is of one or other of these colours, but then the dog is not considered nearly so valuable. The colley, like the true English sheep-dog, has always one or two dew-claws on each hind leg. The sagacity and perseverance of this dog are wonderful, and the instances in which he has succeeded in saving sheep and lambs under perilous circumstances are beyond all description.

THE DROVER’S DOG.

This is a mixed breed, being a cross between the sheep-dog and the mastiff or hound, or sometimes the greyhound, pointer, or setter. In the grazing counties he is of great size and strength, and some strains are highly valued; but they differ so much as to be incapable of being distinguished from other breeds.

THE GERMAN SHEEP-DOG

Is a small-sized dog, with bushy tail carried over the back, small muzzle, and shaggy coat, which is generally black or light fawn. His manner is brisk and affectionate, and his tractability is great, so that he is most useful in his vocation, and as a companionable dog is not excelled.

THE POMERANIAN WOLF-DOG.

This variety is used to protect the sheep from the wolf. His head is long, with a pointed muzzle, and short pricked ears. He is a large wolf-like dog in shape, with long silky hair on the body and tail, but short on the head, legs, and ears. The colour is black, white, grey, fawn, or sometimes yellow. If of the lighter colours the ears and muzzle are of a darker tint. Tail long and spirally curled.

[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

This most valuable animal is of three very different kinds, viz. : 1. The true Newfoundland; 2. The large, loose-made, and longhaired variety, known as the Large Labrador; and, 3. The small, compact, and comparatively short-haired dog, known as the St. John's or Lesser Labrador breed. All were originally natives of Newfoundland, and though many are bred in England, fresh specimens are constantly being imported from the island. Many of the naturalised strains are now more or less crossed with the mastiff or setter. In this country they are chiefly used for ornamental purposes and as companions to their masters, the small breed being also crossed with the setter to make the retriever ; but in their native country they are used to draw timber over the snow in the winter months, being harnessed to carts and sledges made for the purpose. In intelligence the three breeds are about equal, all being celebrated for their faculty of learning to fetch and carry. This is sometimes developed to such an extent that a well-trained dog will go back for anything which his master has pointed out to him, if it has been handled, when it is only necessary to order him back to “ seek,” and he will find it by the scent. Many amusing instances of this are told, one of which we have heard on good authority, but which is almost beyond belief. A lady was most anxious to obtain a particular object from her lover, which he had strong reasons for refusing to her ; but being at length teased into complying he gave it her, and after parting, at some distance from her home, he fetched his dog and ordered him to “go seek.” The intelligent creature at once started off on the heel of his master, and, overtaking the lady still carrying the gage d'amour, he laid hold of it and brought it back in triumph. The dispossessed fair one, not having the least idea whose dog it was, and being ashamed to own how she had lost it, said nothing about the matter, and so the gentleman for once outwitted the lady in this stage of their courtship; whether the tables were turned afterwards, and the dog was enlisted in her service, we know not. Both breeds are good water dogs and bear immersion for a long time, but the large variety having a more woolly coat is superior in endurance of wet and cold. Hundreds of anecdotes are told of extraordinary escapes from drowning by means of these dogs, their tendency to fetch and carry being doubly useful here. Children and light small women may be intrusted to them with safety in the water, if they are not bewildered with fear, when they will sometimes cling round the dog's neck, and frustrate all his efforts to restore them to the land by swimming; generally, however, in cases of recovery, the person has fainted, and being then powerless is towed ashore readily enough. The speed with which the Newfoundland swims is very great, his large legs and feet enabling him to paddle himself with great force. From their great size and strength they are able to beat off most dogs when they are attacked, and their thick coats prevent the teeth of their assailants from doing much damage; but in offensive measures they are of little use, being rather unwieldy, and soon winded in a desperate struggle. Hence they are not useful in hunting the large kinds of game, nor the bear, wolf, or tiger. The nose is delicate enough to hunt any kind of scent, but as they soon tire they are not used in this way, and it is solely as retrievers on land or water that they are useful to the sportsman, being generally crossed with the setter for the former, and the water spaniel for the latter element.

The characteristic points of the Large Newfoundland are, great size, often being from 25 to 30 inches high ; a form proportion

« AnteriorContinuar »