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Now, although the several points herein mentioned may be enlarged upon, it is scarcely possible to dissent from any one of them; but, as all my readers may not exactly know the form which is meant to be conveyed by the side of a bream for instance, it is necessary to explain it in more intelligible language.
1st. The head, it is said, should be snake-like, but this is not to be taken literally, as that of the snake differs considerably from the head of any specimen of the greyhound which has ever come under my observation. Every snake's head is flat and broad, with the nose or snout also quite compressed, while the head of the greyhound, though flat at the top, is comparatively circular in its transverse section, and the nose is irregularly triangular. There is no doubt that the greyhound of former days, before the cross of the bulldog was introduced, had a much smaller head than that which is now seen; and I also believe that some breeds at present existing may be ascertained to be free from this cross, by their small brairi-cases ; but, still, none have the perfectly flat head of the reptile in question. The tyro, therefore, who looks for a literal interpretation of the first line of the rhyme will be disappointed. My own belief is that a full development of brain gives courage and cleverness, but leads to such a rapid acquirement of knowledge relative to the wiles practised by the hare, as to make the dog possessing it soon useless for anything but killing his game, which he is often able to do with absolute certainty. Hence it is important to bear this in mind, and to take care not to overdo this characteristic. In all cases, the more the development is increased behind the ears, the higher will be the courage; and if this can be obtained without a corresponding increase in the diameter in front of those organs, there will be no attendant disadvantage, as the intellectual faculties no doubt reside in the anterior part of the • brain. The best average measurement opposite the car in dogs of full size is about 15 inches, and for bitches, 14 or 141. The jaw should be very lean, and diminishing suddenly from the head, not gradually falling off in one uniform line. The teeth are of great importance, as, unless they are strong and good, the hare cannot be seized and held. They should be white, strong, and regular, showing strength of constitution, as well as being useful in the course. As a rule, the incisor teeth meet each other, but some dogs are underhung like the bulldog, and others the reverse like the pig; that is to say, one or other set of teeth overlaps those above or below, as the case may be. The forier is not of much consequence unless very much marked, when it diminishes the chance of holding the hare; but the latter is certainly prejudicial, and a "pig-jawed ” greyhound should never be selected, though I have known one or two good killers with this formation. The eye should be bright and tolerably full, the colour varying with that of the coat. The cars are generally recommended to be soft and falling, and pricked ears are despised, as being terrier-like, but some good breeds possess them, nevertheless, probably deriving them from the bulldog. I cannot, therefore, lay any great stress upon this point in the formation of the head.
The NECK also, though compared to that of a drake, is a long way from being as thin, but, nevertheless, it may be said that it should be as drake-like as possible. The object of this is to enable the greyhound to stoop and bear the hare without being put out of his stride. The proper average length of the neck is about equal to that of the head.
The beam-like BACK is all-important, for without strength in this department, though high speed may be obtained for a short distance, it is impossible to maintain it, and then we have a flashy animal, who is brought up at the end of a quarter of a mile. What is meant by the comparison to the beam is not only that it shall be strong, but that the back shall have the peculiar square form of that object. There is a long muscle which runs from the hip forwards to be attached to the angles of the ribs, and this, if well developed, gives great power in turning, so that it is a very essential point, and upon the size of it the squareness mainly depends. Without width of hip no back can be strong, since the muscles have no possibility of attachment in sufficient breadth, and the same may be said of the ribs. In examining, therefore, a dog out of condition, the experienced eye often detects the probability of the future development of a good back, even though there is no appearance of muscle at the time; because, the bones being of good size and breadth, there is every reason to expect, with health and good feeding, that they will be covered by their usual moving powers, and will then show the substance which is desired. It is also desirable to have depth of back from above downwards, by which the whole body is “buckled and unbuckled” with quickness and power, as is required in the gallop. The muscles of the abdomen may draw the chest towards the hind legs powerfully, but the action is too slow, and for quick contraction those of the under side of the back are essential.
By the side is to be understood the chest, which is composed of the two sides combined. The bream-like form of this part depends upon the width at the angles of the ribs, where they curve towards the backbone, and upon which, as I before observed, the size of the back depends. Very round ribs like a barrel are not so desirable as the squared form which I have alluded to, for several reasons which will be given under the anatomical description of this part. Great depth of chest is apt to prevent the dog stooping on rough ground, as he strikes it against high ridges or large stones, but a moderately deep chest is a valuable point, giving plenty of “ bellows' room ” as it is popularly called. This, however, is provided for better by breadth than depth, and the former should be insisted on more than the latter, provided there is not that round tub-like form of the ribs which interferes with the action of the shoulder-blades, and often accompanies low breeding.
A rat-like tail is insisted upon, not as of absolute use in any way, but as a sign of high breeding, without which it is well known the greyhound is comparatively valueless. But it must be understood that it is only in the size of the bones that the similarity should be insisted on, for many good breeds have a considerable quantity of hair upon the tail, though this never ought to be in a bushy form. A slight fan-like distribution of hair is not therefore to be considered objectionable, and in puppies is a mark of hardihood.
Cat-like FEET are much insisted on, and this point has been so much attended to that some breeds have been produced remarkable for having their feet even more round than those of the cat. Their toes seem to be the only parts touching the ground, the pad appearing as if it was not in contact with it. This form I believe to be an exaggeration of a good point, as all dogs so provided are very apt to draw their nails, or break their toes, both of which accidents it is of great importance to avoid. The most essential point, therefore, is such a form of foot as will prevent the toes spreading, taking care that the knuckles are well up, by which a good foothold is secured. But beyond this it is necessary to provide for the wear and tear which the sole of the foot incurs, and hence a thick pad well corcred with hard skin is to be insisted on. If the greyhound has this he will stand his work, while its absence renders him at all times liable to become footsore, and incapable of doing it.
The HiND QUARTER is entirely overlooked in the rhymes abovementioned, but it is of the greatest importance nevertheless, being the chief element of progression. First of all, we should insist upon a good framework, which, presenting the levers acted on by the muscles, must be in proper form, and of sufficient length and strength. Thus it is usual in examining puppies for selection to extend them to their full length, and then the one which stretches over the greatest distance is supposed to be the best in this point, and (other things being equal) very properly so. Thus, then, we arrive at the conclusion that the hinder limbs should be made up of long bones ; but they must be united by well-formed joints, and in order that the dog shall not stand too high they should be well bent, though if the fore part of the dog is lower than the hind there is no necessity for the presence of this form, as it comes to the same