Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

than the smaller of these weights is very seldom wanted, and it may be taken as the average weight of food of this kind for all dogs in tolerably active exercise.

GENERAL TREATMENT.

During the whole time of growth, the only general management required is, firstly, a habit of obedience, the dog being taught his kennel name, to follow at heel, and to lead. Some breeds require more than this; as, for instance, the pointer and setter, which will be mentioned under the head of breaking. Secondly, great cleanliness in all respects, the kennel being kept scrupulously clean by washing the floor, and at least once a year lime-washing the walls, while the skins are freed from any vermin which may be found by the means described in the Third Book. In the summer a straw bed is seldom required, but in the winter it must be given for the sake of warmth, and changed once or twice a week. Physic is not needed as a regular practice, if feeding is conducted on the above plan, and the exercise is sufficient; but if the puppies are dull, a dose of castor oil occasionally will do good.

CHOICE OF PUPPIES AFTER WEANING THEM.

Puppies of all kinds vary in form so much between the weaning time and the period of full growth, that there is great difficulty in making a choice which shall be proved by subsequent events to be on reliable grounds. All young animals grow by fits and starts, the proportions varying with the stage of development in which any part is at the time of examination. Thus at the fourth month a puppy may look too long, but during the next month he may have grown so much in the legs that he no longer looks so. Again, another may be all legs and wings in the middle of his growth, but he may finally grow down to a strong, low, and muscular dog. So also with the fore and hind quarters, they may grow alternately, and one month the fore quarter may be low, and the next the hind. None but an experienced eye therefore can pretend to foresee, after the period of weaning, what will be the final shape ; but either soon after that time, or a day or two after birth, a pretty good guess may be given, subject to the continuation of health, and to proper rearing in all respects. Bad feet can soon be detected, but the limbs grow into a good shape after most extraordinary deviations from the line of beauty, particularly in the greyhound, which is often apparently deformed in his joints when half grown. The most unwieldy-looking animals often fine down into the best shapes, and should not be carelessly rejected without the fat being pronounced by a breeder of 'experience.

CU

CROPPING, BRANDING, AND ROUNDING.

If terriers are to be cropped, the beginning or end of the fourth month is the best time to choose; and, before sending out to walk, hounds are branded with the initials of the master or of the hunt, a hot iron shaped like the letter itself being used. Both cropping and rounding require practice to perform them well, a large sharp pair of scissors being used, and care being necessary to hold the two layers of skin in the ear in their natural position, to prevent the one rolling on the other, and thus leaving one larger than the other. Foxhounds have so much work in covert that rounding is imperatively called for to prevent the ears from being torn, and it always has been adopted as a universal practice, different huntsmen varying in the quantity removed. Some people after cutting one ear lay the piece removed on the other, and so mark exactly the amount which is to be removed from it; but this is a clumsy expedient, and, if the eye is not good enough to direct the hand without this measurement, the operation will seldom be effected to the satisfaction of the owner of the dog. It is usual to round foxhound puppies after they come in from their walks ; but it would be far better to perform the operation before their return, as it only makes them more sulky and unhappy than they otherwise would be, and is a poor introduction to their new masters. The men could easily go round to the different walks during the summer, and it would insure a supervision which is often required.

225

CHAPTER III.

KENNELS AND KENNEL MANAGEMENT.

Greyhound Kennels. — Foxhound Kennels. — Pointer Kennels. — Kennels for

single Dogs.—House Dogs.

BETWEEN the kennels intended for the various kinds of dogs, and the methods of management therein, some considerable difference exists, though the same principles are adopted throughout Thus, packs of foxhounds are often kept to the number of 80 or even 100 couples, and these must be managed rather differently to the three or four brace of greyhounds or pointers, which usually constitute the extent of each of these kinds in one man's possession, or at all events in one building. Besides this, foxhounds are much more exposed to the weather than greyhounds, which are usually clothed out of doors, and otherwise protected by dog-carts, &c. The former therefore must be hardened to the duties they have to perform, while the latter may be brought out in more vigorous health, and with their speed very highly developed, but at the same time in so delicate a condition as to be liable to take cold if allowed to remain in the rain for any length of time. Hence it will be necessary to describe the kennels for greyhounds, hounds, pointers, &c., separately.

GREYHOUND KENNELS.

Every kennel intended for greyhounds should be thoroughly protected from the weather, and should have the yard covered in as well as the lodging-house. The plan which has been indicated at page 214 as useful for the kennel intended to rear puppies is also best adapted for their future keeping, and this it will be desirable to describe more fully here.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

The central square, comprised between the four angles a b c d, is divided into four lodging-houses, having a ventilating shaft in the middle, with which they all communicate. These are filled up with benches separated by low partitions as shown in the diagram,

« AnteriorContinuar »