ANECDOTES OF DOGS.
EDWARD JESSE, ESQ.
"Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends." POPE.
With numerous Engravings.
LONDON: HENRY G. BOHN, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN. MDCCCLVIII.
LONDON: Printed by G. Barclay, Castle St. Leicester Sq.
The character, sensibilities, and intellectual faculties of animals have always been a favourite study, and they are, perhaps, more strongly developed in the dog than in any other quadruped, from the circumstance of his being the constant companion of man. I am aware how much has been written on this subject, but having accumulated many original and interesting anecdotes of this faithful animal, I have attempted to enlarge the general stock of information respecting it. It is a pleasing task, arising from the conviction that the more the character of the dog is known, the better his treatment is likely to be, and the stronger the sympathy excited in his behalf.
Let me hope, that the examples which are given in the following pages will help to produce this effect, and that a friend so faithful, a protector so disinterested and courageous, will meet with that kindness and affection he so well deserves.
It is now my grateful duty to express my thanks to those friends who have so kindly contributed original anecdotes to this work, and especially to Lady Morgan and Mrs. S. Carter Hall for their remarks on the Irish wolf-dog.
I have also to acknowledge my obligations for various anecdotes illustrative of the character of peculiar dogs, extracted from Colonel Hamilton Smith's volumes in the Naturalist's Library and Captain Brown's interesting sketches; as well to the Editor of the "Irish Penny Magazine" for his extremely well-written account of the Irish wolf-dog; and to other sources too numerous to mention.
The present new edition is considerably enlarged, both in matter and plates, and, to suit the taste of the age is presented in a cheap and popular form.
My Publisher has, as usual, lent his aid, and is responsible for some of the additional anecdotes, for the account of the Setter, and for all after page 458, including the chapter "On Feeding and Management."
East Sheen, Sept. 1858.
ENGRAVINGS ON WOOD.
TITLE. PAINTER. ENGRAVER. PAGE
1. Spaniel & Newfoundland Dogs W. Harvey W. Branston 1 2. Retriever W. Harvey W. Branston 54 3. Tail-piece W. P. Smith T. Gilks 83 4. Deer-hounds W. Harvey W. Branston 85 5. Tail-piece W. P. Smith T. Gilks 132 6. Newfoundland Dog W. Harvey W. Branston 133 7. Tail-piece W. P. Smith T. Gilks 184 8. The Colley, or Shepherd's Dog Stewart Pearson 185 9. Tail-piece W. P. Smith T. Gilks 239 10. St. Bernard Dog W. P. Smith T. Gilks 240 11. Chasseur & Cuba Bloodhounds Freeman Whiting 250 12. Tail-piece W. P. Smith T. Gilks 263 13. The Terrier W. Harvey W. Branston 264 14. Tail-piece W. P. Smith T. Gilks 299 15. The Blenheim Spaniel W. Harvey Pearson 300 16. Tail-piece W. P. Smith T. Gilks 330 17. The Poodle Carpendale Pearson 331 18. Tail-piece W. P. Smith T. Gilks 352 19. Vignette W. P. Smith T. Gilks 353 20. Otter Hunting W. P. Smith T. Gilks 361 21. Tail-piece W. Harvey Vizitelly 366 22. Greyhounds W. Harvey Vizitelly 367 23. Tail-piece C. D. Radcliffe E. Landells 382 24. The Pointer W. Harvey W. Branston 383 25. Tail-piece W. P. Smith T. Gilks 399 26. The Setter W. Harvey W. Branston 400 27. Tail-piece Bewick Bewick 411 28. The Comforter W. R. Smith Pearson 412 29. A Pugnacious Pair Cruickshank Cruickshank 417 30. The Foxhound C. D. Radcliffe E. Landells 421 31. Hounds in a Bath C. D. Radcliffe E. Landells 437 32. The Beagle W. R. Smith T. Gilks 438 33. Tail-piece C. D. Radcliffe E. Landells 439 34. The Mastiff W. Harvey Whimper 440 35. Tail-piece W. R. Smith T. Gilks 453 36. The Bull-dog W. Harvey Vizitelly 454 37. Tail-piece W. R. Smith T. Gilks 458 38. Tail-piece Seymour Pearson 481 39. Feeding Hounds C. D. Radcliffe E. Landells 482 40. Tail-piece W. R. Smith T. Gilks 490
INTRODUCTION—Value, propensities, and origin of the dog, 1 et passim—the wolf partially domesticated, 6—wild dogs of Ceylon, 15—Sir Walter Scott's bull-dog terrier Camp, 16—the dog and the pieman, 17—death of a dog from affection for its deceased mistress, 18—frozen fowls rescued by a house-dog, 19—Sir R. Brownrigg's dog, 19—the author's terrier Phiz, 20—a dog fond of travelling by himself, 20—runaway horse caught by a dog, 21—lost money guarded by, 21—dogs can reckon time, 22—death of a dog from joy at the return of his master, 22—faithfulness of a dog to its charge, 24—the dog's character influenced by that of its master, 25—sense of smelling, 26—duel about a dog, 28—murder prevented by, 29—a faithful dog killed by mistake, 30—sporting anecdotes of Smoaker, Bachelor, Blunder, &c., 31—intelligence of the dog, 42—tact in cat-hunting, 44—find their way home from long distances, 46—bantam rescued from a game cock, 46—perception of right and wrong, 47—turkey punished for gluttony, 48—speaking dogs, 48-9—a singing dog, 50—creatures of habit, 50—Caniche and the breeches, 51—distinguishes his master's customers, 54—a robber killed by a dog, 55—Dr. Hooper's dog, 55—the fireman's dog, Tyke, 56—the fireman's dog, Bill, 60—dog used as a servant, 61—Mr. Backhouse's dog, 62—the post-dog's revenge, 62—dog returns from Bangalore to Pondicherry, 63—Mr. Decouick's dog, 63—a dog saves human life, 64—guards a chair dropped from a waggon, 64—rescues his master from an avalanche, 64—spaniel tracks his master to Drury Lane, and discovers him in the pit, 65—large dog rescues a small one from drowning, 65—a canine messenger, 66—contrivance of a Newfoundland to get a bun, 67—dog lost for nine weeks in the dome of St. Paul's, 67—support themselves in a wild state, 69—laughable account of the transmigration of souls in connexion with dogs, 71—sheep-dogs in the Pyrenees, 76—Mrs. S. C. Hall's dog, 77—musical spaniel of Darmstadt, 77—Lord Grenville's lines on the dog, 82.
THE IRISH AND HIGHLAND WOLF-DOG.
History of the Irish wolf-dog, 86 et seq. passim—supposed recognition of a wolf-dog of the Irish blood royal, 86—lines on the Irish wolf-dog, 88—anecdotes from Plutarch, 89—the dog of Montargis, 90—the dog of Aughrim, 93—wolf-hunting in Tyrone, 94—sheep-killing wolf-dog, 107—Buskar and Bran, 112—incident with Lord Ossulton's hounds, 116—Bruno and O'Toole, 117—a deer-hound recovers a glove from a boy, 119—Sir W. Scott's dog Maida, 120—a deer-hound detains a suspicious person, 120—follows a wounded deer for three days, 121—Comhstri drowns a stag, 122—Scotch dogs much prized in England, 123—Llewellyn and Beth Gelert, 124—Lady Morgan on the Irish wolf-dog, 127.
THE NEWFOUNDLAND DOG.
Character, &c., 133—saves people from drowning, 135—Baby, 136—saves a child from being run over, 136—saves a spaniel from being drowned, 137—saves a gentleman from drowning at Portsmouth, 138—saves a man in a mill-stream, 138—calculating dogs, 138—Sabbath party disturbed by a dog, 139—Archdeacon Wix's dog, 140—a Newfoundland brings away breeches containing money belonging to his master, 143—commits suicide, 145—saves a coachman in the Thames, 146—tries to drown a spaniel, 147—uses his paw as a fishing-bait, 148—in carrying two hats puts one inside other, 148—three dogs previously enemies unite against a common foe, 149—a dog saves his drowning enemy, 151—releases himself and companions from captivity, 152—a swimming-wager amusingly lost by a dog's care, 153—the dog as postman, 153—swims for ten hours in a tempestuous sea, 153—saves his dead master's pocket-book, 154—Lord Grenville's lines on the, 155—Newfoundland dog ducks his aggressor, 157—carries a rope to the shore, 158—saves an ungrateful master, 158—guardian of a lady's honour, 160—anecdotes of Mr. M'Intyre's dog Dandie, 160-5—a Newfoundland causes the detection of a dishonest porter, 165—saves twelve persons from drowning, 166—watches over his drunken master, 167—his humanity occasions a disturbance at Woolwich Theatre, 167—carries a lanthorn before his master, 168—saves the lives of all on board the Durham Packet, 170—drowns a pet lamb out of jealousy, 171—rescues a canary which had flown into the sea, 171—saves his old master from robbers, 173—St. John's and Labrador dogs, 176—long remembrance of injuries, 177—discovers a poacher, 178—discretion and revenge, 178—returns from Berwick to London, 179—the Romans had some dog of the same kind, 179—liberates a man who had fallen into a gravel-pit, 180—Boatswain provides his mistress a dinner, 181—a trespasser detained, 181—Victor at the Battle of Copenhagen, 182—a Newfoundland dog retrieves on the ice, 182—fetches a coat from the tailor's, 183—lines by Lord Eldon, 184.
THE COLLEY OR SHEPHERD'S DOG.
Saves the life of Mr. Satterthwaite, 186—the Ettrick Shepherd's dog, Sirrah, collects a scattered flock at midnight, 188—Hector, 189—points the cat, 191—has an ear for music, 194—hears where his master is going, and precedes him, 196—a wonderful sheep-dog, 199—a bitch having pupped deposits her young in the hills, and afterwards fetches them home, 201—cunning of sheep-stealing dogs, 202-5—a sheep-dog dies of starvation whilst tending his charge, 206—discrimination of a sheep-dog, 207—a sheep-dog remembers all the turnings of a road, 208—follows a young woman who had borrowed his mistress's cloak, 211—Drummer saves a cow, 212—Caesar rescues his master from an avalanche, 213—a sheep-dog snatches away a beggar's stick, 214—a colley conducts the flock whilst his master is drinking, 214—dishonesty punished, 215—a sporting colley, 216—a colley buries her drowned offspring, 217—brings assistance to her helpless master, 217—saves his master from being frozen to death, 219—his master having broken his arm sends home his dog for assistance, 220—a colley punishes a tailor's dog for worrying his flock, 221—the sheep-stealing colley, 222—a colley distinguishes diseased sheep, 228—the Ettrick Shepherd's story of the dog Chieftain, 230—a colley feeds his master's lost child on the Grampian Hills, 232—the shepherds' dogs of North Wales, 235—training a colley, 238.
THE ST. BERNARD DOG.
Mrs. Houston's lines on the, 240—peculiar intelligence of, 241—the monks and their dogs, 242—a dog saves a woman's life, 243—intuitive foreboding of danger, 244—a dog saves a child, 245—revenges his ill-treated master, 247—a St. Bernard dog named Barry saves forty lives, 248—destruction of a whole party by an avalanche, 249.
Habits of the bloodhound, 251—its remarkable scent, 252—pursuit of Wallace with a bloodhound, 253—bloodhounds employed for hunting negroes in Cuba, 253—a bloodhound traces a miscreant twenty miles, 255—Sir W. Scott's description of a bloodhound, 255—extract from Wanley's "Wonders," 256—a bloodhound discovers a lost child, 257—the Spanish chasseurs and their dogs, 258—a sheepstealer discovered by a bloodhound, 260—atrocities of the Spaniards, 261.
Its varieties, 265—Peter, 266—a terrier kills a child from jealousy, 268—pines to death from jealousy, 268—guards a lady in her walks, 269—affection of a terrier, 269—Sir Walter Scott's description of Wasp, 270—brings assistance to his imprisoned master, 271—gets a friend to pay his boat-hire, 272—Mrs. Grosvenor's dog, 273—a bell-ringing and message-carrying terrier, 273—a dog knows his mistress's dress, and follows the wearer, 274—anecdotes of a terrier at Hampton Court, 274—a terrier saves his master from being burnt to death, 277—suckles a rat, 277—tries to prevent his master from beating his son, 278—Pincer seeks assistance in dislodging rats, 278—a terrier rescues her two drowned pups, 280—seeks assistance in getting a bone, 281—gets a lady to ring the bell for him, 282—flies at the throat of a man who attacks his master, 282—a grateful terrier, 283—attachment to a cat, 283—clever expedient of two affectionate dogs, 284—Snap, 285—the fate of a gentleman revealed to his family by means of a terrier, 286—a terrier in the Tower follows a soldier to find his master, 288—Snob, 289—a terrier suckles fox-cubs, 290—brings assistance to his canine friend, 291—returns from York to London, 292—finds a thief in the cupboard, 292—friendship between a terrier and bantam, 293—traces his master to Gravesend, 294—Peter, 295—a terrier suckles a kitten, 295—a terrier discovers where his master has travelled by the scent, 296—nurses a brood of ducklings and chickens, 296—brings his master's wife to the dead body of her husband, 297—Keeper recognises his master's vessel after a long interval, 298.
Sings, 300—affected by a particular air, 301—gathers a water-lily, 303—retrieves a wild duck, 303—a grateful spaniel, 304—faithful to his guillotined master, 304—Dash, her intelligence and fidelity, 305—gratitude for surgical assistance, 306—spaniels in cover, 308—the Clumber spaniels, 308—Lord Albemarle's spaniels, 309—suckling, 309—friendship between a dog and cat, 310—Rose travels from London to Worcester, 311—recognition of his master after a long absence, 312—friendship between a spaniel and partridge, 313—a spaniel avoids being left behind, 315—an adept in shoplifting, 316—takes up his abode at a grave in St. Bride's churchyard, 317—dies of grief for his dam's death, 317—dogs of the poor the most affectionate, 318—a spaniel takes up his abode in St. Olave's churchyard, 319—causes a man to be executed for murder, 320—saves the life of Mrs. Alderman Yearsley, 321—a spaniel's recognition of his old master by scent, 323—a King Charles spaniel alarms his mistress and saves her from being robbed, 324—a spaniel knocks at the door, 326—opens the gate to release other dogs, 326—imitates his master in eating turnips, 327—finds his way from Boston to Chepstow, 328—prevents a cat from stealing meat, 329—Mrs. Browning's lines on, 329.
The Shoeblack's poodle, 332—two learned poodles exhibited at Milan, 332—a poodle reminds the servant that he wants a walk, 336—hides the whip, 336—performance in a London theatre, 337—finds his way from London to Inverary, 342—supports himself during his master's absence, 342—friendship with a terrier, 342—discerns a rogue at first sight, and causes him to be detected, 343—enjoys a glass of grog, 344—carries three puppies a long distance, one at a time, 345—fetches his master's slippers, &c., 346—imitates the agonies of death, 346—goes to church by habit without the family, the road being overflowed, 347—watches over the dead body of his master, 347—protects his master's body, 348—climbs up a house in Wells Street, Oxford Street, 348—anecdote of Froll, 349.
THE ESQUIMAUX DOG.
Traditions, 353—Capt. Lyons' account of the, 354—Col. Hamilton Smith's account of one, 359.
THE OTTER TERRIER.
Somerville's description of an otter-hunt, 361—otter-hounds almost extinct, 362—otter-hunting, 363 to end of chapter.
Match between a Scotch greyhound and Snowball, 368—Match between a greyhound and a racehorse, 368—its courage and perseverance, 369—a coursed hare dies of exhaustion, 369—a hare and two dogs die of exhaustion, 370—a wild greyhound, 370—greyhounds coupled pursue a hare, 372—a greyhound brings assistance to his drowning master, 372—finds his way from Cumnock to Castle Douglas, 373—canine friendship, 373—King Richard's greyhound, 375—attachment between St. Leger and his greyhound, 377—the Persian greyhound, 379.
Its origin and present breed, 384—a pointer punished by her grand-dam, 386—disgust at a bad shot, 387—pointing on the top of a wall, 388—steady pointing, 389—a weather-wise pointer, 389—guards some dropped birds all night, 389—finds his way back from America, 390—traces his master four hundred miles, 390—M. Leonard's dogs, Brague and Philax, 391—a pointer acts as a landing-net, 394—calls the attention of his master to a hare, 394—an extraordinary pointer, 395—a pointer suckles a hedgehog, 398.
Its origin and present breed, 400—smells birds a hundred yards off, 401—acts as a retriever, 402—traces a wounded deer, and brings her master to it next morning, 403—finds a lost whip, 404—gratitude of a dying setter, 405—friendship with a cat, 406—a setter angry with his master for missing birds, 406—falls in love with a mongrel, 407—effect of imagination on pregnant bitches, 408—Medor brings the keys to his shut-out mistress, 409—sagacity in hunting red-legged partridges, 410.
THE PUG DOG.
Its history and progress, 412—a pug saves the life of the Prince of Orange, 413—a lady incurs a pug's displeasure for preventing him from stealing, 414—a pug pronounces the word William, 415—ditto Elizabeth, 416—the Comforter, 416.
Recollections of it, 418—an industrious dog punishes his lazy fellow-labourer, 419—one dog forces another to take his turn at the wheel, 420.
Somerville's lines on, 421—friendship between a fox and a pack of hounds, 424—dog always attacks the fox's head, 424—a hound finds its way back from Lincolnshire to Frogmore, 425—dog found swimming across the Channel, 425—dog finds its way back from Ireland to Liverpool, 425—three hounds escape from their kennel in Ireland and return to Leicestershire, 426—bitch after losing her eye continues to follow the fox, 427—three hounds hunt a fox alone for seven hours, 428—pack of hounds hunt a fox for eight hours, 428—a hound follows a fox for thirty hours, 429—foxhound follows with her new-born pup in mouth, 429—hounds follow a fox for four days, 430—fox leaps a precipice of sixty yards and is followed by the hounds, 433—foxhounds refuse to eat a bag-fox, 435.
Description of, 438—lines on, by Dryden and Pope, 439.
Description of, 440—detects and kills a housebreaker, 443—mastiff engages a bear, a leopard, and a lion, 444—prevents his master from being murdered by his valet, 446—gentle towards children, 448—killed by the wheel of a cart rather than desert his charge, 449—attacks a horse which had trodden upon him, 450—drops a snarling cur into the water, 453.
Description of, 454—saves a shipwrecked crew, 457.
DALMATIAN OR COACH-DOG.
Finds its way from France to England, 461—affection for a horse, 462.
GREAT DANISH DOG.
Discovers a murderer under the bed, 464—dies of starvation rather than eat his master's game within reach, 465—rings a convent bell for his dinner, 466.
Prevents a man from stealing a bridle, 468—carries his master's dinner to him daily, 470—pursues a pony and conducts him to the stable, 474.
Hunting rabbits, 477—attacks a fox and is killed by the hounds, 479.
Gratitude for a favour conferred, 480.
A French writer has boldly affirmed, that with the exception of women there is nothing on earth so agreeable, or so necessary to the comfort of man, as the dog. This assertion may readily be disputed, but still it will be allowed that man, deprived of the companionship and services of the dog, would be a solitary and, in many respects, a helpless being. Let us look at the shepherd, as the evening closes in and his flock is dispersed over the almost inaccessible heights of mountains; they are speedily collected by his indefatigable dog—nor do his services end here: he guards either the flock or his master's cottage by night, and a slight caress, and the coarsest food, satisfy him for all his trouble. The dog performs the services of a horse in the more northern regions; while in Cuba and some other hot countries, he has been the scourge and terror of the runaway negroes. In the destruction of wild beasts, or the less dangerous stag, or in attacking the bull, the dog has proved himself to possess pre-eminent courage. In many instances he has died in the defence of his master. He has saved him from drowning, warned him of approaching danger, served him faithfully in poverty and distress, and if deprived of sight has gently led him about. When spoken to, he tries to hold conversation with him by the movement of his tail or the expression of his eyes. If his master wants amusement in the field or wood, he is delighted to have an opportunity of procuring it for him; if he finds himself in solitude, his dog will be a cheerful and agreeable companion, and maybe, when death comes, the last to forsake the grave of his beloved master.
There are a thousand little facts connected with dogs, which many, who do not love them as much as I do, may not have observed, but which all tend to develope their character. For instance, every one knows the fondness of dogs for warmth, and that they never appear more contented than when reposing on the rug before a good fire. If, however, I quit the room, my dog leaves his warm berth, and places himself at the door, where he can the better hear my footsteps, and be ready to greet me when I re-enter. If I am preparing to take a walk, my dog is instantly aware of my intention. He frisks and jumps about, and is all eagerness to accompany me. If I am thoughtful or melancholy, he appears to sympathise with me; and, on the contrary, when I am disposed to be merry, he shows by his manner that he rejoices with me. I have often watched the effect which a change in my countenance would produce. If I frown or look severe, but without saying a word or uttering a sound, the effect is instantly seen by the ears dropping, and the eyes showing unhappiness, together with a doubtful movement of the tail. If I afterwards smile and look pleased, the tail wags joyously, the eyes are filled with delight, and the ears even are expressive of happiness. Before a dog, however, arrives at this knowledge of the human countenance, he must be the companion of your walks, repose at your feet, and receive his food from your hands: treated in this manner, the attachment of the dog is unbounded; he becomes fond, intelligent, and grateful. Whenever Stanislas, the unfortunate King of Poland, wrote to his daughter, he always concluded his letter with these words—"Tristan, my companion in misfortune, licks your feet:" thus showing that he had still one friend who stuck to him in his adversity. Such is the animal whose propensities, instincts, and habits, I propose to illustrate by various anecdotes.
The propensities of the dog, and some of them are most extraordinary, appear to be independent of that instinct which Paley calls, "a propensity previous to experience, and independent of instruction." Some of these are hereditary, or derived from the habits of the parents, and are suited to the purposes to which each breed has long been and is still applied. In fact, their organs have a fitness or unfitness for certain functions without education;—for instance, a very young puppy of the St. Bernard breed of dogs, when taken on snow for the first time, will begin to scratch it with considerable eagerness. I have seen a young pointer of three or four weeks old stand steadily on first seeing poultry, and a well-bred terrier puppy will show a great deal of ferocity at the sight of a rat or mouse.
Sir John Sebright, perhaps the best authority that can be quoted on this subject, says that he had a puppy of the wild breed of Australia; that the mother was with young when caught, and the puppy was born in the ship that brought her over. This animal was so like a wolf, not only in its appearance, but in all its habits, that Sir John at first doubted if it really were a dog, but this was afterwards proved by experiment.
Of all the propensities of the brute creation, the well-known attachment of the dog to man is the most remarkable, arising probably from his having been for so many years his constant companion, and the object of his care. That this propensity is not instinctive is proved, by its not having existed, even in the slightest degree, in the Australian dog.
Sir John Sebright kept this animal for about a year, almost always in his room. He fed him himself, and took every means that he could think of to reclaim him, but with no effect. He was insensible to caresses, and never appeared to distinguish Sir John from any other person. The dog would never follow him, even from one room to another; nor would he come when called, unless tempted by the offer of food. Wolves and foxes have shown much more sociability than he did. He appeared to be in good spirits, but always kept aloof from the other dogs. He was what would be called tame for an animal in a menagerie; that is, he was not shy, but would allow strangers to handle him, and never attempted to bite. If he were led near sheep or poultry, he became quite furious from his desire to attack them.
Here, then, we see that the propensities that are the most marked, and the most constant in every breed of domestic dogs, are not to be found in animals of the same species in their natural state, or even in their young, although subjected to the same treatment from the moment of their birth.
Notwithstanding the above-mentioned fact, we may, I think, consider the domestic dog as an animal per se; that is, that it neither owes its origin to the fox nor wolf, but is sprung from the wild dog. In giving this opinion, I am aware that some naturalists have endeavoured to trace the origin of the dog from the fox; while others, and some of the most eminent ones, are of opinion that it sprung from the wolf. I shall be able to show that the former is out of the question. The wolf, perhaps, has some claim to be considered as the parent animal, and that he is susceptible of as strong attachment as the dog is proved by the following anecdote, related by Cuvier.
He informs us, that a young wolf was brought up as a dog, became familiar with every person whom he was in the habit of seeing, and in particular, followed his master everywhere, evincing evident chagrin at his absence, obeying his voice, and showing a degree of submission scarcely differing in any respect from that of the domesticated dog. His master, being obliged to be absent for a time, presented his pet to the Menagerie du Roi, where the animal, confined in a den, continued disconsolate, and would scarcely eat his food. At length, however, his health returned, he became attached to his keepers, and appeared to have forgotten all his former affection; when, after an absence of eighteen months, his master returned. At the first word he uttered, the wolf, who had not perceived him amongst the crowd, recognised him, and exhibited the most lively joy. On being set at liberty, the most affectionate caresses were lavished on his old master, such as the most attached dog would have shown after an absence of a few days.
A second separation was followed by similar demonstrations of sorrow, which, however, again yielded to time. Three years passed, and the wolf was living happily in company with a dog, which had been placed with him, when his master again returned, and again the long-lost but still-remembered voice was instantly replied to by the most impatient cries, which were redoubled as soon as the poor animal was set at liberty; when, rushing to his master, he threw his fore-feet on his shoulders, licking his face with the most lively joy, and menacing his keepers, who offered to remove him, and towards whom, not a moment before, he had been showing every mark of fondness.
A third separation, however, seemed to be too much for this faithful animal's temper. He became gloomy, desponding, refused his food, and for a long time his life appeared in great danger. His health at last returned, but he no longer suffered the caresses of any but his keepers, and towards strangers manifested the original savageness of his species.
Mr. Bell, in his "History of Quadrupeds," mentions a curious fact, which, I think, still more strongly proves the alliance of the dog with the wolf, and is indeed exactly similar to what is frequently done by dogs when in a state of domestication. He informs us, that he "remembers a bitch-wolf at the Zoological Gardens, which would always come to the front bars of her den to be caressed as soon as he, or any other person whom she knew, approached. When she had pups, she used to bring them in her mouth to be noticed; and so eager, in fact, was she that her little ones should share with her in the notice of her friends, that she killed all of them in succession by rubbing them against the bars of her den, as she brought them forwards to be fondled."
Other instances might be mentioned of the strong attachment felt by wolves to those who have treated them kindly, but I will now introduce some remarks on the anatomical affinities between the dog, the fox, and the wolf, which serve to prove that the dog is of a breed distinct from either of the last-mentioned animals.
It must, in fact, be always an interesting matter of inquiry respecting the descent of an animal so faithful to man, and so exclusively his associate and his friend, as the dog. Accordingly, this question has been entertained ever since Natural History took the rank of a science. But the origin of the dog is lost in antiquity. We find him occupying a place in the earliest pagan worship; his name has been given to one of the first-mentioned stars of the heavens, and his effigy may be seen in some of the most ancient works of art. Pliny was of opinion that there was no domestic animal without its unsubdued counterpart, and dogs are known to exist absolutely wild in various parts of the old and new world. The Dingo of New Holland, a magnificent animal of this kind, has been shown to be susceptible of mutual attachment in a singular degree, though none of the experiments yet made have proved that he is capable, like the domestic dog, of a similar attachment to man. The parentage of the wild dogs has been assigned to the tame species, strayed from the dominion of their masters. This, however, still remains a question, and there is reason to believe that the wild dog is just as much a native of the wilderness as the lion or tiger. If there be these doubts about an animal left for centuries in a state of nature, how can we expect to unravel the difficulties accumulated by ages of domestication? Who knows for a certainty the true prototype of the goat, the sheep, or the ox? To the unscientific reader such questions might appear idle, as having been settled from time immemorial; yet they have never been finally disposed of. The difficulty, as with the dog, may be connected with modifications of form and colour, resulting from the long-continued interference of man with the breed and habits of animals subjected to his sway.
Buffon was very eloquent in behalf of the claim of the sheep-dog to be considered as the true ancestor of all the other varieties. Mr. Hunter would award this distinction to the wolf; supposing also that the jackal is the same animal a step further advanced towards civilization, or perhaps the dog returned to its wild state. As the affinity between wolf, jackal, fox, and dog, cannot fail to attract the notice of the most superficial observer; so he may ask if they do not all really belong to one species, modified by varieties of climate, food, and education? If answered in the negative, he would want to know what constitutes a species, little thinking that this question, apparently so simple, involves one of the nicest problems in natural history. Difference of form will scarcely avail us here, for the pug, greyhound, and spaniel, are wider apart in this respect, than many dogs and the wild animals just named. It has often been said that these varieties in the dog have arisen from artificial habits and breeding through a long succession of years. This seems very like mere conjecture. Can the greyhound be trained to the pointer's scent or the spaniel to the bulldog's ferocity? But admitting the causes assigned to be adequate to the effects, then the forms would be temporary, and those of a permanent kind only would serve our purpose. Of this nature is the shape of the pupil of the eye, which may be noticed somewhat particularly, not merely to make it plain to those who have never thought on the subject, but with the hope of leading them to reflections on this wondrous inlet to half our knowledge, the more especially as the part in question may be examined by any one in his own person by the help of a looking-glass. In the front of the eye then, just behind the transparent surface, there is a sort of curtain called the iris, about the middle of which is a round hole. This is the pupil, and you will observe that it contracts in a strong light, and dilates in a weaker one, the object of which is to regulate the quantity of light admitted into the eye. Now the figure of the pupil is not the same in all animals. In the horse it is oval; in the wolf, jackal, and dog, it is round, like our own, however contracted; but in the fox, as in the cat, the pupil contracts vertically into an elongated figure, like the section of a lens, and even to a sort of slit, if the light be very strong.
This is a permanent character, not affected, as far as is at present known, by any artificial or natural circumstances to which the dog has been subjected. Naturalists, therefore, have seized upon this character as the ground for a division of animals of the dog kind, the great genus Canis of Linnaeus, into two groups, the diurnal and nocturnal; not to imply that these habits necessarily belong to all the individuals composing either of these divisions, for that would be untrue, but simply that the figure of the pupils corresponds with that frequently distinguishing day-roaming animals from those that prowl only by night. It is remarkable that a more certain and serviceable specific distinction is thus afforded by a little anatomical point, than by any of the more obvious circumstances of form, size, or colour. Whether future researches into the minute structure of animals may not discover other means to assist the naturalist in distinguishing nearly allied species, is a most important subject for inquiry, which cannot be entertained here. But to encourage those who may be disposed to undertake it, I must mention the curious fact, that the group to which the camel belongs is not more certainly indicated by his grotesque and singular figure than by the form of the red particles which circulate in his blood. And here again the inherent interest of the matter will lead me to enter a little into particulars, which may engage any one who has a good microscope in a most instructive course of observations, not the least recommendation of which is, that a just and pleasing source of recreation may be thus pursued by evening parties in the drawing-room, since the slightest prick of the finger will furnish blood enough for a microscopic entertainment, and you may readily procure a little more for comparison from any animal.
Now the redness of the blood is owing to myriads of minute objects in which the colour of the vital fluid resides. They were formerly called globules, but as they are now known to be flattened and disc-like, they are more properly termed particles or corpuscles. Their form is wonderfully regular, and so is their size within certain limits; in birds, reptiles, or fishes, the corpuscles are oval. They are circular in man, and all other mammalia, except in the camel tribe, in which the corpuscles are oval, though much smaller than in the lower animals. Thus, in the minutest drop of blood, any one of the camel family can be surely distinguished from all other animals, even from its allies among the ruminants; and what is more to our purpose, in pursuing this inquiry, Mr. Gulliver has found that the blood-corpuscles of the dog and wolf agree exactly, while those of all the true foxes are slightly though distinctly smaller.
These curious facts are all fully detailed in Mr. Gulliver's Appendix to the English version of Gerber's Anatomy, but I think that they are now for the first time enlisted into the service of Natural History.
Thus we dismiss the fox as an alien to the dog, or, at all events, as a distinct species. Then comes the claim of the wolf as the true original of the dog. Before considering this, let us revert to the question of what constitutes a species. Mr. Hunter was of opinion that it is the power of breeding together and of continuing the breed with each other; that this is partially the case between the dog and the wolf is certain, for Lord Clanbrassil and Lord Pembroke proved the fact beyond a doubt, above half-a-century ago; and the following epitaph in the garden at Wilton House is a curious record of the particulars:—
Here lies Lupa, Whose Grandmother was a Wolf, Whose Father and Grandfather were Dogs, and whose Mother was half Wolf and half Dog. She died on the 16th of October, 1782, Aged 12 years.
Conclusive as this fact may appear, as proving the descent of the dog from the wolf, it is not convincing, the dog having characters which do not belong to the wolf.
The dog, for instance, guards property with strictest vigilance, which has been entrusted to his charge; all his energies seem roused at night, as though aware that that is the time when depredations are committed. His courage is unbounded, a property not possessed by the wolf: he appears never to forget a kindness, but soon loses the recollection of an injury, if received from the hand of one he loves, but resents it if offered by a stranger. His docility and mental pliability exceed those of any other animal; his habits are social, and his fidelity not to be shaken; hunger cannot weaken, nor old age impair it. His discrimination is equal, in many respects, to human intelligence. If he commits a fault, he is sensible of it, and shows pleasure when commended. These, and many other qualities, which might have been enumerated, are distinct from those possessed by the wolf. It may be said that domestication might produce them in the latter. This may be doubted, and is not likely to be proved; the fact is, the dog would appear to be a precious gift to man from a benevolent Creator, to become his friend, companion, protector, and the indefatigable agent of his wishes. While all other animals had the fear and dread of man implanted in them, the poor dog alone looked at his master with affection, and the tie once formed was never broken to the present hour.
It should also be mentioned, in continuation of my argument, that the experiment of the wolf breeding with the dog is of no value, because it has never been carried sufficiently far to prove that the progeny would continue fertile inter se. The wolf has oblique eyes—the eyes of dogs have never retrograded to that position. If the dog descended from the wolf, a constant tendency would have been observed in the former to revert to the original type or species. This is a law in all other cross-breeds—but amongst all the varieties of dogs, this tendency has not existed. I may also add, that as far as I have been able to ascertain the fact, the number of teats of the female wolf have never been known to vary. With respect to the dog, it is known that they do vary, some having more, and others a less number.
Having thus brought forward such arguments as have occurred to me to prove that the dog is a breed sui generis, I will give a few anecdotes to show how different this animal is in his specific character to the wolf, and that he has a natural tendency to acknowledge man as his friend and protector, an instinct never shown by the wolf.
In Ceylon there are a great number of what are called wild dogs, that is, dogs who have no master, and who haunt villages and jungles, picking up what food they are able to find. If you meet one of these neglected animals, and only look at him with an expression of kindness, from that moment he attaches himself to you, owns you for his master, and will remain faithful to you for the remainder of his life.
"Man," says Burns, "is the God of the dog; he knows no other; and see how he worships him! With what reverence he crouches at his feet, with what reverence he looks up to him, with what delight he fawns upon him, and with what cheerful alacrity he obeys him!"
Such is the animal which the brutality of man subjects to so much ill-treatment; its character depends very much on that of his master, kindness and confidence produce the same qualities in the dog, while ill-usage makes him sullen and distrustful of beings far more brutal than himself.
I have had many opportunities of observing how readily dogs comprehend language, and how they are aware when they are the subject of conversation. A gentleman once said in the hearing of an old and favourite dog, who was at the time basking in the sun,—"I must have Ponto killed, for he gets old and is offensive." The dog slunk away, and never came near his master afterwards. Many similar anecdotes might be brought forward, but I will mention one which Captain Brown tells us he received himself from Sir Walter Scott.
"The wisest dog I ever had," said Sir Walter, "was what is called the bulldog terrier. I taught him to understand a great many words, insomuch that I am positive that the communication betwixt the canine species and ourselves might be greatly enlarged. Camp once bit the baker, who was bringing bread to the family. I beat him, and explained the enormity of his offence; after which, to the last moment of his life, he never heard the least allusion to the story, in whatever voice or tone it was mentioned, without getting up and retiring into the darkest corner of the room, with great appearance of distress. Then if you said, 'the baker was well paid,' or, 'the baker was not hurt after all,' Camp came forth from his hiding-place, capered, and barked, and rejoiced. When he was unable, towards the end of his life, to attend me when on horseback, he used to watch for my return, and the servant would tell him 'his master was coming down the hill, or through the moor,' and although he did not use any gesture to explain his meaning, Camp was never known to mistake him, but either went out at the front to go up the hill, or at the back to get down to the moor-side. He certainly had a singular knowledge of spoken language." An anecdote from Sir Walter Scott must be always pleasing.
Mr. Smellie, in his "Philosophy of Natural History," mentions a curious instance of the intellectual faculty of a dog. He states that "a grocer in Edinburgh had one which for some time amused and astonished the people in the neighbourhood. A man who went through the streets ringing a bell and selling pies, happened one day to treat this dog with a pie. The next time he heard the pieman's bell he ran impetuously toward him, seized him by the coat, and would not suffer him to pass. The pieman, who understood what the animal wanted, showed him a penny, and pointed to his master, who stood at the street-door, and saw what was going on. The dog immediately supplicated his master by many humble gestures and looks, and on receiving a penny he instantly carried it in his mouth to the pieman, and received his pie. This traffic between the pieman and the grocer's dog continued to be daily practised for several months."
The affection which some dogs show to their masters and mistresses is not only very often surprising, but even affecting. An instance of this lately occurred at Brighton. The wife of a member of the town council at that place had been an invalid for some time, and at last was confined to her bed. During this period she was constantly attended by a faithful and affectionate dog, who either slept in her room or outside her door. She died, was buried, and the dog followed the remains of his beloved mistress to her grave. After the funeral the husband and his friends returned to the house, and while they were partaking of some refreshment the dog put its paws on his master's arm, as if to attract his attention, looked wistfully in his face, and then laid down and instantly expired.
In giving miscellaneous anecdotes in order to show the general character of the dog, I may mention the following very curious one.
During a very severe frost and fall of snow in Scotland, the fowls did not make their appearance at the hour when they usually retired to roost, and no one knew what had become of them; the house-dog at last entered the kitchen, having in his mouth a hen, apparently dead. Forcing his way to the fire, the sagacious animal laid his charge down upon the warm hearth, and immediately set off. He soon came again with another, which he deposited in the same place, and so continued till the whole of the poor birds were rescued. Wandering about the stack-yard, the fowls had become quite benumbed by the extreme cold, and had crowded together, when the dog observing them, effected their deliverance, for they all revived by the warmth of the fire.
That dogs possess a faculty nearly allied to reason cannot, I think, be doubted. Mr. Davy, in his "Angler in the Lake District," (a charming work), gives one or two anecdotes in proof of this.
When Mr. Davy was at Ceylon, the Governor of that Island, the late Sir Robert Brownrigg, had a dog of more than ordinary sagacity. He always accompanied his master, being allowed to do so, except on particular occasions, such as going to church or council, or to inspect his troops, when the Governor usually wore his sword; but when the dog saw the sword girded on, he would only follow to the outer door. Without a word being said, he would return and wait the coming back of his master, patiently remaining up-stairs at the door of his private apartment. So it is with respect to my own pet terrier, Phiz. When he sees me putting on my walking-shoes, my great-coat, or hat, he is all eagerness to accompany me, jumping about me and showing his joy. But on Sundays it is very different. My shoes, great-coat or hat, may be put on, but he remains perfectly resigned on the rug before the fire, and never attempts or shows any inclination to follow me. Is the dog guided in acting thus by instinct or reason?
Let me give another instance from Mr. Davy's work.
Once when he was fishing in the highlands of Scotland, he saw a party of sportsmen, with their dogs, cross the stream, the men wading, the dogs swimming, with the exception of one, who stopped on the bank piteously howling. After a few minutes he suddenly ceased, and started off full speed for a higher part of the stream. Mr. Davy was able to keep him in view, and he did not stop till he came to a spot where a plank connected the banks, on which he crossed dry-footed, and soon joined his companions.
Dogs have sometimes strange fancies with respect to moving from one place to another. A Fellow of a College at Cambridge had a dog, which sometimes took it into his head to visit his master's usual places of resort in London. He would then return to his home in Suffolk, and then go to Cambridge, remaining at each place as long as he felt disposed to do so, and going and returning with the most perfect indifference and complacency.
The extraordinary sense of a dog was shown in the following instance. A gentleman, residing near Pontypool, had his horse brought to his house by a servant. While the man went to the door, the horse ran away and made his escape to a neighbouring mountain. A dog belonging to the house saw this, and of his own accord followed the horse, got hold of the bridle and brought him back to the door.
I have been informed of two instances of dogs having slipped their collars and put their heads into them again of their own accord, after having committed depredations in the night, and I have elsewhere mentioned the fact of a dog, now in my possession, who undid the collar of another dog chained to a kennel near him. These are curious instances of sense and sagacity.
Mr. Bell, in his "History of British Quadrupeds," gives us the following fact of a dog belonging to a friend of his. This gentleman dropped a louis d'or one morning, when he was on the point of leaving his house. On returning late at night, he was told by his servant that the dog had fallen sick, and refused to eat, and, what appeared very strange, she would not suffer him to take her food away from before her, but had been lying with her nose close to the vessel, without attempting to touch it. On Mr. Bell's friend entering the room, the dog instantly jumped upon him, laid the money at his feet, and began to devour her victuals with great voracity.
It is a curious fact that dogs can count time. I had, when a boy, a favourite terrier, which always went with me to church. My mother, thinking that he attracted too much of my attention, ordered the servant to fasten him up every Sunday morning. He did so once or twice, but never afterwards. Trim concealed himself every Sunday morning, and either met me as I entered the church, or I found him under my seat in the pew. Mr. Southey, in his "Omniana," informs us that he knew of a dog, which was brought up by a Catholic and afterwards sold to a Protestant, but still he refused to eat anything on a Friday.
Dogs have been known to die from excess of joy at seeing their masters after a long absence. An English officer had a large dog, which he left with his family in England, while he accompanied an expedition to America during the war of the Colonies. Throughout his absence, the animal appeared very much dejected. When the officer returned home, the dog, who happened to be lying at the door of an apartment into which his master was about to enter, immediately recognised him, leapt upon his neck, licked his face, and in a few minutes fell dead at his feet. A favourite spaniel of a lady recently died on seeing his beloved mistress after a long absence.
A gentleman who had a dog of a most endearing disposition, was obliged to go a journey periodically once a-month. His stay was short, and his departure and return very regular, and without variation. The dog always grew uneasy when he first lost his master, and moped in a corner, but recovered himself gradually as the time for his return approached; which he knew to an hour, nay, to a minute. When he was convinced that his master was on the road, at no great distance from home, he flew all over the house; and if the street door happened to be shut, he would suffer no servant to have any rest until it was opened. The moment he obtained his freedom away he went, and to a certainty met his benefactor about two miles from town. He played and frolicked about him till he had obtained one of his gloves, with which he ran or rather flew home, entered the house, laid it down in the middle of the room, and danced round it. When he had sufficiently amused himself in this manner, out of the house he flew, returned to meet his master, and ran before him, or gambolled by his side, till he arrived with him at home. "I know not (says Mr. Dibdin, who relates this anecdote), how frequently this was repeated; but it lasted till the old gentleman grew infirm, and incapable of continuing his journeys. The dog by this time was also grown old, and became at length blind; but this misfortune did not hinder him from fondling his master, whom he knew from every other person, and for whom his affection and solicitude rather increased than diminished. The old gentleman, after a short illness, died. The dog knew the circumstance, watched the corpse, blind as he was, and did his utmost to prevent the undertaker from screwing up the body in the coffin, and most outrageously opposed its being taken out of the house. Being past hope, he grew disconsolate, lost his flesh, and was evidently verging towards his end. One day he heard a gentleman come into the house, and he ran to meet him. His master being old and infirm, wore ribbed stockings for warmth. The gentleman had stockings on of the same kind. The dog perceived it, and thought it was his master, and began to exhibit the most extravagant signs of pleasure; but upon further examination finding his mistake, he retired into a corner, where in a short time he expired."
Some dogs are so faithful that they will never quit a thing entrusted to their charge, and will defend it to the utmost of their power. This may be often observed in the case of a cur, lying on the coat of a labourer while he is at work in the fields, and in those of carriers' and bakers' dogs. An instance is on record of a chimney-sweeper having placed his soot-bag in the street under the care of his dog, who suffered a cart to drive over and crush him to death, sooner than abandon his charge. Colonel Hamilton Smith, in the "Cyclopaedia of Natural History," mentions a curious instance of fidelity and sagacity in a dog. He informs us that "in the neighbourhood of Cupar, in the county of Fife, there lived two dogs, mortal enemies to each other, and who always fought desperately whenever they met. Capt. R—— was the master of one of them, and the other belonged to a neighbouring farmer. Capt. R——'s dog was in the practice of going messages, and even of bringing butchers' meat and other articles from Cupar. One day, while returning charged with a basket containing some pieces of mutton, he was attacked by some of the curs of the town, who, no doubt, thought the prize worth contending for. The assault was fierce, and of some duration; but the messenger, after doing his utmost, was at last overpowered and compelled to yield up the basket, though not before he had secured a part of its contents. The piece saved from the wreck he ran off with, at full speed, to the quarters of his old enemy, at whose feet he laid it down, stretching himself beside it till he had eaten it up. A few snuffs, a few whispers in the ear, and other dog-like courtesies, were then exchanged; after which they both set off together for Cupar, where they worried almost every dog in the town; and, what is more remarkable, they never afterwards quarrelled, but were always on friendly terms."
That society and culture soften and moderate the passions of dogs cannot be doubted, and they constantly imbibe feelings from those of their master. Thus, if he is a coward, his dog is generally found to be one. Dogs are, however, in many respects, rational beings; and some proofs of this will be given in the present work. They will watch the countenance of their master—they will understand words, which, though addressed to others, they will apply to themselves, and act accordingly. Thus a dog, which, from its mangy state, was ordered to be destroyed, took the first opportunity of quitting the ship, and would never afterwards come near a sailor belonging to it. If I desire the servant to wash a little terrier, who is apparently asleep at my feet, he will quit the room, and hide himself for some hours. A dog, though pressed with hunger, will never seize a piece of meat in presence of his master, though with his eyes, his movements, and his voice, he will make the most humble and expressive petition. Is not this reasoning?
But there is one faculty in the dog which would appear perfectly incomprehensible. It is the sense of smelling. He will not only scent various kinds of game at considerable distances, but he has been known to trace the odour of his master's feet through all the winding streets of a populous city. This extreme sensibility is very wonderful. It would thus appear that the feelings of dogs are more exquisite than our own. They have sensations, but their faculty of comparing them, or of forming ideas, is much circumscribed. A dog can imitate some human actions, and is capable of receiving a certain degree of instruction; but his progress soon stops. It is, however, an animal that should always be loved and treated with kindness. It is a curious fact, that dogs who have had their ears and tails cut for many generations, transmit these defects to their descendants. Drovers' dogs, which may always be seen with short tails, are a proof of this.
A pleasing character of the dog is given in Smellie's "Philosophy of Natural History." He says:—
"The natural sagacity and talents of the dog are well known, and justly celebrated. But when these are improved by association with man, and by education, he becomes, in some measure, a rational being. The senses of the dog, particularly that of scenting distant objects, give him a superiority over every other quadruped. He reigns at the head of a flock; and his language, whether expressive of blandishment or of command, is better heard and better understood than the voice of his master. Safety, order, and discipline, are the effects of his vigilance and activity. Sheep and cattle are his subjects. These he conducts and protects with prudence and bravery, and never employs force against them except for the preservation of peace and good order. But when in pursuit of his prey, he makes a complete display of his courage and intelligence. In this situation both natural and acquired talents are exerted. As soon as the horn or voice of the hunter is heard, the dog demonstrates his joy by the most expressive emotions and accents. By his movements and cries he announces his impatience for combat, and his passion for victory. Sometimes he moves silently along, reconnoitres the ground, and endeavours to discover and surprise the enemy. At other times he traces the animal's steps, and by different modulations of voice, and by the movements, particularly of his tail, indicates the distance, the species, and even the age of the fugitive deer. All these movements and modifications of voice are perfectly understood by experienced hunters. When he wishes to get into an apartment he comes to the door; if that is shut, he scratches with his foot, makes a bewailing noise, and, if his petition is not soon answered, he barks with a peculiar and humble voice. The shepherd's dog not only understands the language of his master, but, when too distant to be heard, he knows how to act by signals made with the hand."
Mr. Brockedon, in his "Journal of Excursions in the Alps," says:—"In these valleys, the early hours of retirement placed us in the difficult situation of fighting our way to the inn door at Lanslebourg against a magnificent Savoyard dog, who barked and howled defiance at our attempts, for which he stood some chance of being shot. At length a man, hearing our threats, popped his head out of a window, and entreated our forbearance. We were soon admitted, and refreshments amply provided. I had heard a story of a duel fought here from Mr. N——, in which he was a principal, about a dog; and upon inquiry learnt that this was the same animal. A party of four young officers, returning from Genoa, stopped here. Mr. N—— had brought with him a beautiful little pet dog, which had been presented to him by a lady on his leaving Genoa. Struck by the appearance of the fine dog at the inn, one of the officers bought it. He was fairly informed that the dog had been already sold to an Englishman, who had taken it as far as Lyons, where the dog escaped, and returned (two hundred miles) to Lanslebourg. The officer who made the purchase intended to fasten it in the same place with the little dog. This Mr. N—— objected to; when his brother-officer made some offensive allusions to the lady from whom the pet had been received. An apology was demanded, and refused. Swords were instantly drawn; they fought in the room. Mr. N—— wounded and disarmed his antagonist; an apology for the injurious reflections followed, and the party proceeded to England. The dog was taken safely as far as Paris, where he again escaped, and returned home (five hundred miles). I was now informed that the dog had been sold a third time to an Englishman; and again, in spite of precautions having been taken, he had returned to Lanslebourg from Calais."
A Scotch grazier, named Archer, having lost his way, and being benighted, at last got to a lone cottage; where, on his being admitted, a dog which had left Archer's house four years before immediately recognised him, fawned upon him, and when he retired for the night followed him into the chamber where he was to lie, and there, by his gestures, induced him narrowly to examine it; and then Archer saw sufficient to assure him that he was in the house of murderers. Rendered desperate by the terrors of his situation, he burst into the room where the banditti were assembled, and wounded his insidious host by a pistol-shot; and in the confusion which the sudden explosion occasioned, he opened the door; and, notwithstanding he was fired at, accompanied by his dog Brutus, exerted all the speed which danger could call forth until daylight, which enabled him to perceive a house, and the main road, at no great distance. Upon his arrival at the house, and telling the master of it his story, he called up some soldiers that were there quartered, and who, by the aid of the dog, retraced the way back to the cottage. Upon examining the building a trap-door was found, which opened into a place where, amongst the mangled remains of several persons, was the body of the owner, who had received the shot from the grazier's pistol in his neck; and although not dead, had been, by the wretches his associates, in their quick retreat, thrown into this secret cemetery. He was, however, cured of his wound, delivered up to justice, tried, and executed.[A]
A merchant had received a large sum of money; and being fatigued with riding in the heat of the day, had retired to repose himself in the shade; and upon remounting his horse, had forgotten to take up the bag which contained the money. His dog tried to remind his master of his inadvertency by crying and barking, which so surprised the merchant, that, in crossing a brook, he observed whether the dog drank, as he had his suspicions of his being mad; and which were confirmed by the dog's not lapping any water, and by his increased barking and howling, and at length by his endeavouring to bite the heels of the horse. Impressed with the idea of the dog's madness, to prevent further mischief, he discharged his pistol at him, and the dog fell. After riding some distance with feelings that will arise in every generous breast at the destruction of an affectionate animal, he discovered that his money was missing. His mind was immediately struck that the actions of the dog, which his impetuosity had construed into madness, were only efforts to remind him of his loss. He galloped back to where he had fired his pistol; but the dog was gone from thence with equal expedition to the spot where he had reposed. But what were the merchant's feelings when he perceived his faithful dog, in the struggles of death, lying by the side of the bag which had been forgotten! The dog tried to rise, but his strength was exhausted. He stretched out his tongue to lick the hand that was now fondling him with all the agony of regret for the wound its rashness had inflicted, and casting a look of kindness on his master, closed his eyes for ever.[B]
I am indebted to a well-known sportsman for the following interesting account of some of his dogs. It affords another proof how much kindness will do in bringing out the instinctive faculties of these animals; and that, when properly educated, their sense, courage, and attachment are most extraordinary.
"Smoaker was a deer greyhound of the largest size, but of his pedigree I know nothing. In speed he was equal to any hare greyhound; at the same time, in spirit he was indomitable. He was the only dog I ever knew who was a match for a red stag, single-handed. From living constantly in the drawing-room, and never being separated from me, he became acquainted with almost the meaning of every word—certainly of every sign. His retrieving of game was equal to any of the retrieving I ever saw in any other dogs. He would leap over any of the most dangerous spikes at a sign, walk up and come down any ladder, and catch, without hurting it, any particular fowl out of a number that was pointed out to him. If he missed me from the drawing-room, and had doubts about my being in the house, he would go into the hall and look for my hat: if he found it, he would return contented; but if he did not find it, he would proceed up-stairs to a window at the very top of the house, and look from the window each way, to ascertain if I were in sight. One day in shooting at Cranford, with his late Royal Highness the Duke of York, a pheasant fell on the other side of the stream. The river was frozen over; but in crossing to fetch the pheasant the ice broke, and let Smoaker in, to some inconvenience. He picked up the pheasant, and instead of trying the ice again, he took it many hundred yards round to the bridge. Smoaker died at the great age of eighteen years. His son Shark was also a beautiful dog. He was by Smoaker out of a common greyhound bitch, called Vagrant, who had won a cup at Swaffham. Shark was not so powerful as Smoaker; but he was, nevertheless, a large-sized dog, and was a first-rate deer greyhound and retriever. He took his father's place on the rug, and was inseparable from me. He was educated and entered at deer under Smoaker. When Shark was first admitted to the house, it chanced that one day he and Smoaker were left alone in a room with a table on which luncheon was laid. Smoaker might have been left for hours with meat on the table, and he would have died rather than have touched it; but at that time Shark was not proof against temptation. I left the room to hand some lady to her carriage, and as I returned by the window, I looked in. Shark was on his legs, smelling curiously round the table; whilst Smoaker had risen to a sitting posture, his ears pricked, his brow frowning, and his eyes intently fixed on his son's actions. After tasting several viands, Shark's long nose came in contact with about half a cold tongue; the morsel was too tempting to be withstood. For all the look of curious anger with which his father was intently watching, the son stole the tongue and conveyed it to the floor. No sooner had he done so, than the offended sire rushed upon him, rolled him over, beat him, and took away the tongue. Instead, though, of replacing it on the table, the father contented himself with the punishment he had administered, and retired with great gravity to the fire.
"I was once waiting by moonlight for wild ducks on the Ouze in Bedfordshire, and I killed a couple on the water at a shot. The current was strong; but Shark, having fetched one of the birds, was well aware there was another. Instead, therefore, of returning by water to look for the second, he ran along the banks, as if aware that the strong stream would have carried the bird further down; looking in the water till he saw it, at least a hundred yards from the spot where he had left it in bringing the first; when he also brought that to me. Nothing could induce either of these dogs to fetch a glove or a stick: I have often seen game fall close to me, and they would not attempt to touch it. It seemed as if they simply desired to be of service when service was to be done; and that when there were no obstacles to be conquered, they had no wish to interfere. Shark died at a good old age, and was succeeded by his son Wolfe. Wolfe's mother was a Newfoundland bitch. He was also a large and powerful dog, but of course not so speedy as his ancestors. While residing at my country house, being my constant companion, Wolfe accompanied me two or three times a-day in the breeding season to feed the young pheasants and partridges reared under hens. On going near the coops, I put down my gun, made Wolfe a sign to sit down by it, and fed the birds, with some caution, that they might not be in any way scared. I mention this, because I am sure that dogs learn more from the manner and method of those they love, than they do from direct teaching. In front of the windows on the lawn there was a large bed of shrubs and flowers, into which the rabbits used to cross, and where I had often sent Wolfe in to drive them for me to shoot. One afternoon, thinking that there might be a rabbit, I made Wolfe the usual sign to go and drive the shrubs, which he obeyed; but ere he had gone some yards beneath the bushes, I heard him make a peculiar noise with his jaws, which he always made when he saw anything he did not like, and he came softly back to me with a sheepish look. I repeated the sign, and encouraged him to go; but he never got beyond the spot he had been to in the first instance, and invariably returned to me with a very odd expression of countenance. Curiosity tempted me to creep into the bushes to discover the cause of the dog's unwonted behaviour; when there, I found, congregated under one of the shrubs, eight or nine of my young pheasants, who had for the first time roosted at a distance from their coop. Wolfe had seen and known the young pheasants, and would not scare them.
"Wolfe was the cause of my detecting and discharging one of my gamekeepers. I had forbidden my rabbits to be killed until my return; and the keeper was ordered simply to walk Wolfe to exercise on the farm. There was a large stone quarry in the vicinity, where there were a good many rabbits, some parts of which were so steep, that though you might look over the cliff, and shoot a rabbit below, neither man nor dog could pick him up without going a considerable way round. On approaching the edge of the quarry to look over for a rabbit, I was surprised at missing Wolfe, who invariably stole off in another direction, but always the same way. At last, on shooting a rabbit, I discovered that he invariably went to the only spot by which he could descend to pick up whatever fell to the gun; and by this I found that somebody had shot rabbits in his presence at times when I was from home.
"Wolfe accompanied me to my residence in Hampshire, and there I naturalised, in a wild state, some white rabbits. For the first year the white ones were never permitted to be killed, and Wolfe saw that such was the case. One summer's afternoon I shot a white rabbit for the first time, and Wolfe jumped the garden fence to pick the rabbit up; but his astonishment and odd sheepish look, when he found it was a white one, were curious in the extreme. He dropped his stern, made his usual snap with his jaws, and came back looking up in my face, as much as to say, 'You've made a mistake, and shot a white rabbit, but I've not picked him up.' I was obliged to assure him that I intended to shoot it, and to encourage him before he would return and bring the rabbit to me. Wolfe died when he was about nine years old, and was succeeded by my present favourite, Brenda, a hare greyhound of the highest caste. Brenda won the Oak stakes of her year, and is a very fast and stout greyhound. I have taught her to retrieve game to the gun, to drive home the game from dangerous sands, and, in short, to do everything but speak; and this she attempts, by making a beautiful sort of bark when she wants her dinner.
"I have the lop-eared rabbit naturalised, and in a half-wild and wild state, and Brenda is often to be seen with some of the tamest of them asleep in the sun on the lawn together. When the rabbits have been going out into a dangerous vicinity, late in the evening, I have often sent Brenda to drive them home, and to course and kill the wild ones if she could. I have seen one of the wild-bred lop-ears get up before her, and I have seen her make a start to course it; but when she saw that it was not a native of the soil she would stop and continue her search for others. The next moment I have seen her course and kill a wild rabbit. She is perfectly steady from hare if I tell her not to run, and is, without any exception, one of the prettiest and most useful and engaging creatures ever seen. She is an excellent rat-killer also, and has an amazing antipathy to a cat. When I have been absent from home for some time, Mrs. B. has observed that she is alive to every sound of a wheel, and if the door-bell rings she is the first to fly to it. When walking on the sea-beach during my absence, she is greatly interested in every boat she sees, and watches them with the most intense anxiety, as in the yachting season she has known me return by sea. Brenda would take my part in a row, and she is a capital house-dog. If ever the heart of a creature was given to man, this beautiful, graceful, and clever animal has given me hers, for her whole existence is either passed in watching for my return, or in seeking opportunities to please me when I am at home. It is a great mistake to suppose that severity of treatment is necessary to the education of a dog, or that it is serviceable in making him steady. Manner—marked and impressive manner—is that which teaches obedience, and example rather than command forms the desired character.
"I had two foxhounds when I hunted stag,—my pack were all foxhounds,—they were named Bachelor and Blunder. We used to play with them together, and they got to know each other by name. In returning from hunting, my brother and myself used to amuse ourselves by saying, in a peculiar tone of voice,—the one we used to use in playing with them—'Bachelor, where's Blunder?' On hearing this, Bachelor's stern and bristles rose, and he trotted about among the pack, looking for Blunder, and when he found him he would push his nose against his ear and growl at him. Thus Bachelor evidently knew Blunder by name, and this arose from the way in which we used to play with them. At this moment, when far away from home, and after an absence of many weeks, if I sing a particular song, which I always sing to a dog named Jessie, Brenda, though staying in houses where she had never seen Jessie, will get up much excited, and look to the door and out of the window in expectation of her friend. I have a great pleasure in the society of all animals, and I love to make my house a place where all may meet in rest and good fellowship. This is far easier to achieve than people would think for when dogs are kindly used, but impressed with ideas of obedience.
"The gazelle which came home from Acre in the Thunderer, was one evening feeding from Mrs. B.'s plate at dessert, when Odion, the great deerhound, who was beaten in my match against the five deer by an unlucky stab in the first course, came in by special invitation for his biscuit. The last deer he had seen previous to the gazelle he had coursed and pulled down. The strange expression of his dark face was beautiful when he first saw her; and halting in his run up to me, he advanced more slowly directly to her, she met him also in apparent wonder at his great size, and they smelled each others' faces. Odion then kissed her, and came to me for his biscuit, and never after noticed her. She will at times butt him if he takes up too much of the fire; but this she will not do to Brenda, except in play; and if she is eating from Mrs. Berkeley's hand, Brenda by a peculiar look can send her away and take her place. Odion, the gazelle, Brenda, and the rabbits, will all quietly lay on the lawn together, and the gazelle and Bruiser, an immense house-dog between the bloodhound and mastiff, will run and play together.
"I had forgotten to mention a bull-and-mastiff dog that I had, called Grumbo. He was previous to Smoaker, and was indeed the first four-footed companion established in my confidence. I was then very young, and of course inclined to anything like a row. Grumbo, therefore, was well entered in all kinds of strife—bulls, oxen, pigs, men, dogs, all came in turn as combatants; and Grumbo had the oddest ways of making men and animals the aggressors I ever knew. He seemed to make it a point of honour never to begin, but on receiving a hint from me; some one of his enemies was sure to commence the battle, and then he or both of us would turn to as an oppressed party. I have seen him walk leisurely out into the middle of a field where oxen were grazing, and then throw himself down. Either a bull or the oxen were sure to be attracted by the novel sight, and come dancing and blowing round him. All this he used to bear with the most stoical fortitude, till some one more forward than the rest touched him with the horn. 'War to the knife, and no favour,' was then the cry; and Grumbo had one of them by the nose directly. He being engaged at odds, I of course made in to help him, and such a scene of confusion used to follow as was scarce ever seen. Grumbo tossed in the air, and then some beast pinned by the nose would lie down and bellow. I should all this time be swinging round on to some of their tails, and so it would go on till Grumbo and myself were tired and our enemies happy to beat a retreat. If he wished to pick a quarrel with a man, he would walk listlessly before him till the man trod on him, and then the row began. Grumbo was the best assistant, night or day, for catching delinquents, in the world. As a proof of his thoughtful sagacity, I give the following fact. He was my sole companion when I watched two men steal a quantity of pheasants' eggs: we gave chase; but before I could come near them, with two hundred yards start of me, they fled. There was no hope of my overtaking them before they reached the village of Harlington, so I gave Grumbo the office. Off he went, but in the chase the men ran up a headland on which a cow was tethered. They passed the cow; and when the dog came up to the cow he stopped, and, to my horror, contemplated a grab at the tempting nose. He was, however, uncertain as to whether or not this would be right, and he looked back to me for further assurance. I made the sign to go ahead, and he understood it, for he took up the running again, and disappeared down a narrow pathway leading through the orchards to the houses. When I turned that corner, to my infinite delight I found him placed in the narrow path, directly in front of one of the poachers, with such an evident determination of purpose, that the man was standing stock still, afraid to stir either hand or foot. I came up and secured the offender, and bade the dog be quiet."
It is, I believe, a fact, and if so, it is a curious one, that the dog in a wild state only howls; but when he becomes the friend and companion of man, he has then wants and wishes, hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, to which in his wilder state he appears to have been a stranger. His vocabulary, if it may be so called, then increases, in order to express his enlarged and varying emotions. He anticipates rewards and punishments, and learns to solicit the former and deprecate the latter. He bounds exultingly forth to accompany his master in his walks, rides, and sports of the field. He acts as the faithful guardian of his property. He is his fire-side companion, evidently discerns days of household mirth or grief, and deports himself accordingly. Hence, his energies and his sensibilities are all expanded, and what he feels he seeks to tell in various accents, and in different ways. For instance, our little dog comes and pulls his mistress's gown and makes significant whines, if any one is in or about the premises whom he thinks has no right to be there. I have seen a dog pick up a stick and bring it in his mouth to his master, looking at the water first and then at his master, evidently that the stick might be thrown into it, that he might have the pleasure of swimming after it. In my younger days, I was in the habit of teazing a favourite dog by twitching his nose and pretending to pull his ears. He would snap gently at me, but if, by accident, he gave me rather a harder bite than he had intended, he became instantly aware of it, and expressed his regret in a way not to be mistaken. Dogs who have hurt or cut themselves will submit patiently while the wound is being dressed, however much the operation may hurt them. They become instantly sensible that no punishment is intended to be inflicted, and I have seen them lick the hand of the operator, as if grateful for what he was doing. Those who are in the habit of having dogs constantly in the room with them, will have perceived how alive they are to the slightest change in the countenance of their master; how gently they will touch him with their paw when he is eating, in order to remind him of their own want of food; and how readily they distinguish the movements of any inmate of the house from those of a stranger. These, and many other circumstances which might be mentioned, show a marked distinction between a domesticated dog and one that is wild, or who has lived with people who are in an uncivilized state, such as the Esquimaux, &c. Both the wild and domestic dog, however, appear to be possessed of and to exercise forethought. They will bury or hide food, which they are unable to consume at once, and return for it. But the domestic dog, perhaps, gives stronger proofs of forethought; and I will give an instance of it. A large metal pot, turned on one side, in which a great quantity of porridge had been boiled, was set before a Newfoundland puppy of three or four months old. At first, he contented himself by licking off portions of the oatmeal which adhered to the interior, but finding this unsatisfactory, he scraped the morsels with his fore-paws into a heap, and then ate the whole at once. I had a dog, who, having once scalded his tongue, always afterwards, when I gave him his milk and water at breakfast, put his paw very cautiously into the saucer, to see if the liquid was too hot, before he would touch it with his tongue.
Dogs have frequently been known to hunt in couples; that is, to assist each other in securing their prey: thus associating together and admitting of no partnership.
At Palermo, in Sicily, there is an extraordinary quantity of dogs wandering about without owners. Amongst the number, two more particularly distinguished themselves for their animosity to cats. One day they were in pursuit of a cat, which, seeing no other place of refuge near, made her escape into a long earthen water-pipe which was lying on the ground. These two inseparable companions, who always supported each other, pursued the cat to the pipe, where they were seen to stop, and apparently to consult each other as to what was to be done to deceive and get possession of the poor cat. After they had stood a short time they divided, taking post at each end of the pipe, and began to back alternately, thus giving the cat reason to suppose that they were both at one end, in order to induce her to come out. This manoeuvre had a successful result, and the cheated cat left her hiding-place. Scarcely had she ventured out, when she was seized by one of the dogs; the other hastened to his assistance, and in a few moments deprived her of life.[C]
The memory of dogs is quite extraordinary, and only equalled by that of the elephant. Mr. Swainson, in his work on the instincts of animals, gives the following proof of this. He says that "A spaniel belonging to the Rev. H. N., being always told that he must not follow his master to church on Sundays, used on those days to set off long before the service, and lie concealed under the hedge, so near the church, that at length the point was yielded to him." My little parlour dog never offers to go with me on a Sunday, although on other days he is perfectly wild to accompany me in my walks.
In my younger days I had a favourite dog, which always accompanied me to church. My mother, seeing that he attracted too much of my attention, ordered the servant to shut him every Sunday morning. This was done once, but never afterwards; for he concealed himself early every Sunday morning, and I was sure to find him either under my seat at church, or else at the church-door. That dogs clearly distinguish the return of Sunday cannot be doubted.
The almost incredible penetration and expedition with which dogs are known to return to their former homes, from places to which they have been sent, or carried in such a recluse way as not to retain a trace of the road, will ever continue to excite the greatest admiration.
A dog having been given by a gentleman at Wivenhoe to the captain of a collier, he took the dog on board his vessel, and landed him at Sunderland; but soon after his arrival there the dog was missing, and in a very few days arrived at the residence of his old master, in Essex. A still more extraordinary circumstance is upon record, of the late Colonel Hardy, who, having been sent for express to Bath, was accompanied by a favourite spaniel bitch in his chaise, which he never quitted till his arrival there. After remaining there four days, he accidentally left his spaniel behind him, and returned to his residence at Springfield, in Essex, with equal expedition; where, in three days after, his faithful and steady adherent arrived also, notwithstanding the distance between that place and Bath is 140 miles, and she had to explore her way through London, to which she had never been, except in her passage to Bath, and then within the confines of a close carriage.[D]
In the small town of Melbourne, in Derbyshire, cocks and hens may be seen running about the streets. One day a game cock attacked a small bantam, and they fought furiously, the bantam having, of course, the worst of it. Some persons were standing about looking at the fight, when my informant's house-dog suddenly darted out, snatched up the bantam in his mouth, and carried it into the house. Several of the spectators followed, believing that the poor fowl would be killed and eaten by the dog; but his intentions were of a more benevolent nature. After guarding the entrance of the kennel for some time, he trotted down the yard into the street, looked about to the right and left, and seeing that the coast was clear, he went back again, and once more returning with his protege in his mouth, safely deposited him in the street, and then walked quietly away. How few human beings would have acted as this dog had done!
Here is another curious anecdote from Mr. Davy's work. He says that the cook in the house of a friend of his, a lady on whose accuracy he could rely, and from whom he had the anecdote, missed a marrow-bone. Suspicion fell on a well-behaved dog—a great favourite, and up to that time distinguished for his honesty. He was charged with the theft; he hung down his tail, and for a day or two was altered in his manner, having become shy, sullen, and sheepish, to use these expressions for want of better. In this mood he continued, till, to the amusement of the cook, he brought back the bone and laid it at her feet. Then, with the restoration of her stolen property, he resumed his cheerful manner. How can we interpret this conduct of the dog, better than by supposing that he was aware he had done amiss, and that the evil doing preyed on him till he had made restitution? Was not this a kind of moral sense?
If a dog finds a bone while he is accompanying his master in a walk, he does not stay behind to gnaw it, but runs some distance in advance, attacks the bone, waits till his master comes up, and then proceeds forward again with it. By acting in this manner, he never loses sight of his master.
A dog has been known to convey food to another of his species who was tied up and pining for want of it. A dog has frequently been seen to plunge voluntarily into a rapid stream, to rescue another that was in danger of drowning. He has defended helpless curs from the attacks of other dogs, and learns to apportion punishment according to the provocation received, frequently disdaining to exercise his power and strength on a weaker adversary. Repeated provocation will, however, excite and revenge. For instance, a Newfoundland dog was quietly eating his mess of broth and broken scraps. While so employed, a turkey endeavoured to share the meal with him. The dog growled, and displayed his teeth. The intruder retired for a moment, but quickly returned to the charge, and was again "warned off," with a like result. After three or four attempts of the same kind, the dog became provoked, gave a sudden ferocious growl, bit off the delinquent's head, and then quietly finished his meal, without bestowing any further attention on his victim.
The celebrated Leibnitz related to the French Academy an account of a dog he had seen which was taught to speak, and could call in an intelligible manner for tea, coffee, chocolate, &c.
The dog was of a middling size, and the property of a peasant in Saxony. A little boy, the peasant's son, imagined that he perceived in the dog's voice an indistinct resemblance to certain words, and was, therefore, determined to teach him to speak distinctly. For this purpose he spared neither time nor pains with his pupil, who was about three years old when his learned education commenced; and at length he made such progress in language, as to be able to articulate no less than thirty words. It appears, however, that he was somewhat of a truant, and did not very willingly exert his talents, being rather pressed into the service of literature, and it was necessary that the words should be first pronounced to him each time before he spoke. The French Academicians who mention this anecdote, add, that unless they had received the testimony of so great a man as Leibnitz, they should scarcely have dared to relate the circumstance.