« AnteriorContinuar »
This breed is now lost, and it is very difficult to ascertain in what respects it differed from the greyhound. Bewick describes it minutely, but he does not appear to have any authority for what he writes on this particular.
THE IRISHI GREYHOUND, OR WOLF-DOG.
This fine animal is now, I believe, extinct, though there are still some gentlemen who maintain that they possess the breed in all its pristine purity of blood. They are much larger than the deerhound ; some of them being 35 or even 38 inches high, but resembling that dog in shape, being generally of a fawn colour, with a rough coat, and pendent ears. They were formerly used for the purpose of hunting the wolf.
The French mâtin is not a very distinct dog, comprehending an immense variety of animals, which in England would be called lurchers, or sheep dogs, according to the uses to which they are put. The head has the elongated form of this division of the dog, with a flat forehead ; the ears stand up, but are pendulous towards the tip, and the colour varies from red to fawn. He is about 24 inches high, has strong muscular action, and is very cour eous, being employed in hunting the wild boar and wolf.
This dog is said, by F. Cuvier, to be the progenitor of the greyhound and deerhound; but Pennant, on the contrary, considers him to be descended from the Irish wolf-dog.
The specimen belonging to the Zoological Society, from which the above cut was taken, is now dead, and, I believe, there is no longer one of the variety in England. At one time there were three in the gardens of the Society, but for want of exercise none of the dogs throve there, and they now are entirely absent from the otherwise rich and valuable collection. The general shape of the body would induce us to class this dog with the spaniels or pastoral dogs, but the shape of the head being allowed to be the best guide, it must take the place which is here given it, inasmuch as it has all the characteristics of the first division. The Hare-Indian dog inhabits the country watered by the Mackenzie River and the Great Bear Lake of America, where it is used to hunt the moose and reindeer by sight, aided occasionally by its powers of scent, which are by no means contemptible, but kept in abeyance by disuse. The feet are remarkable for spreading on the snow, so as to prevent them from sinking into it, and to enable the dog to bound lightly over a surface which the moose sinks into at every stride. The height is about 25 inches, combined with great strength. The ears are broad at the base, and pointed towards the tips, being perfectly erect. The tail is thick, bushy, and slightly curved, but not so much so as in the Esquimaux dog. The hair is long and straight; the ground colour being white, marked with large irregular patches of greyish black, shaded with brown.
THE ALBANIAN DOG.
The Albanian dog is said to stand about 27 or 28 inches high, with a long pointed muzzle, powerful body, strong and muscular limbs, and a long bushy tail, carried like that of the Newfoundland dog. His hair is very fine and close, being of a silky texture, and of a fawn colour, variously clouded with brown. He is used for hunting the wild boar and wolf, as well as for the purpose of guarding the sheep-fold from the latter ; but the accounts of this dog vary greatly, and are not much to be relied on.
This elegant animal is somewhat smaller than the English dog, and the hair is longer and slightly wavy, the tail also being clothed with a thin brush of hair. This is supposed to be the same breed as the greyhound of Xenophon, the Athenian.
THE RUSSIAN GREYHOUND.
This variety of the greyhound hunts well by scent, and, being at the same time fast and stout, he is used for the destruction of the wolves and bears which inhabit the Russian forests, and also for coursing the deer and the hare. For this latter sport he is well adapted ; but, being somewhat deficient in courage and strength, he is hardly a match for the wolf and bear, excepting in packs.
The Russian greyhound is about 26 or 27 inches high, with short pricked ears, turned over at the tips ; he is rather thin and weak in the back and loins, and long on the leg. The coat is thick, but not long, excepting the hair of the tail, which is fanlike, with a spiral twist of a peculiar form. The colour is dark brown or grey. I am not aware of any undoubted specimen of this breed having been imported into this country, nor of a correct portrait having been painted ; so my readers must depend upon description alone.