It is now settled, as a philosophical question, that the instruction communicated to doss, as well as various other animals, has an hereditary effect on the progeny. If a dog be taught to perform certain feats, the young of that dog will be much easier initiated in the same feats than other dogs. Thus, the existing races of English Pointers are greatly more accomplished in their required duties than the original race of Spanish pointers. Dogs of the St. Bernard variety inherit the faculty of tracking footsteps in the snow. A gentleman of our acquaintance, and of scientific acquirements, obtained some years ago a pup, which had been produced in London by a female of the celebrated St. Bernard breed. The young animal was brought to Scotland, where it was never observed to give any particular tokens of a power of tracking footsteps until winter, when the ground became covered with snow. It then showed the most active inclination to follow footsteps; and so great was its power of doing so under these circumstances, that, when its master had crossed a field in the most curvilinear way, and caused other persons to cross his path in all directions, it nevertheless followed his course with the greatest precision. Here was a perfect revival of the habit of its Alpine fathers, with a degree of specialty as to external conditions at which it seems to us, we cannot sufficiently wonder.
Such are some of the qualities of dogs in a state of domestication, and let us hope that the anecdotes related of them will tend to insure for them that love and gratitude to which their own fine disposition and noble character give them a claim from us.
It is pleasing to observe that men of the highest acquirements and most elevated minds have bestowed their sincere attachment upon their favorite canine companions ; for kindness to animals is, perhaps, as strong an indication of the possession of generous sentiments as any that can be adduced. The late Lord Grenville, a distinguished statesman, an elegant scholar, and an amiable man, affords an illustration of the opinion: It is thus that he eloquently makes his favorite Zephyr speak :
"Captum oeulis, senioque hebetem, morboque gravatum,
Dulcis liere, antiquo me quod a more fores, Suave habet et carum Zephyrus tuus, et leviore
Se senlit mortis conditione premi. Interiere quidem, tibi quae placuisse solebant,
Et forma? dotes, et facile ingenium: Deficiunt sensus, tremula? scintillula vita?
Vix micat, in cinerem mox abitura brevem. Sola manet, vernli tibi nee despecta ministri,
Mens grata, ipsuque in morte ineinor dominL Hanc tu igitur. pro blanditiis molique lepore,
Et promta ad nutus sedulitate tuos. Pro saltu cursuque levi, lusuque protervo,
Hanc nostri extrennun pignus anions babe. Jainque vale! Elysii suboe loca la?ta, piorum
Qua? dat Persephone manibus esse canum."
Pope says, that history is more full of examples of fidelity in the dog than in friends: and Lord Byron characterises him asó fall life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend;
"Whose honest heart is still his master's own;
Whose labors, fights, lives, breathes for him alone; " and truly indeed may be called
"The rich man's guardian, and the poor man's friend."
In Bethlehem, Pa., there lived, a few years ago. a man named P., who kept a saloon by the side of the railroad, and was the owner of a fine Newfoundland dog, of great sagacity. The saloon was often visited by boisterous and belligerent customers, who were "spoiling for a fight," and considered a bar-tender as presenting the best subject for a pummeling. In all such cases Mr. P. only had to say "Major," and the big Newfoundland had his paws on the shoulders of the pugnacious customer, looking him in the face. Two or three admonishing words from his capacious mouth was always a sufficient warning to keep the peace. He often amused the barroom crowd, by his various tricks, among them was that of taking the hat from the head of any one in the room. Once a stranger came into the saloon to get some refreshments while waiting for the train. P. wished to show some half-dozen loungers Major's tricks, and ordered him to remove the strangers hat. Major did as ordered, but the hair also came with the hat. The maneuver frightened the gentleman badly, and Mr. P., seeing the hair pealed from the gentleman's head, was more frightened than the stranger, and made haste to make amends. Major had great friendship for a little dog, a cross between the Poodle and the Scotch terrier. The little " Prince " was often set upon by his larger neighbors, and generally got the worst of if. In such cases he would sally forth in quest of his friend Major, when the fight was renewed and his assailant punished for his temerity. The little fellow was often, in summer time, partly sheared, which gave him, in the eyes of some, an ugly appearance. If any one made a derogatory remark about him, he noticed it, and showed his teeth in a very passionate manner. If Major was along, he also raised his voice in protest of any disapproval of his friend's looks. Major's master occasionally took too much of what he dispensed toothers, and one evening, after sending Major to the field for the horses, which he drove up in good style, as was his practice, he followed his master up stairs. P., not finding wife or child to maltreat, kicked poor Major down stairs, injuring his spine. He dragged out a miserable existence for a few months ; but becoming tired of life, he laid himself across the railroad track that fronted the door. He saw the locomotive coming, and when it neared him, he turned his head away, and allowed the train to crush him. This was witnessed by dozens of people, who knew it to be a deliberate case of suicide.
Another Newfoundland was installed in Major's place. The brutal master undertook to kick him around, but we arc happy to say not without resentment, for he turned upon him, seized him by the throat, and would have choked him to death had not his cries brought the bar-keeper to his assistance.