As Doctors seldom agree, and the wisest Philosophers are occasionally deceived, it would indeed be somewhat surprising, should I, (a nonprofessional Dogmatist, possessing a very imperfect knowledge of anatomy and chemistry), at least draw some crooked inferences, both from standard facts and from the results of my own personal experience. We are all more or less liable to error; but whilst the false conclusions of Philosophers are handed down to us as incontrovertible truths, none daring to contradict, I humbly request my readers to credit nothing from my pen, that may be in any wise revolting to their reason and common sense. Great men can write what they please, and it were the height of presumption to doubt the soundness of their arguments, or question the correctness of their conclusions.
Buffon, (the celebrated French Naturalist) readily accounts for the lack of hair on the Turkish dog, by presuming the stock to have become degenerated by Mange or some other cutaneous disease, thus bequeathing bare pelts and scabby hides to all their future generations. This same Baffon also states that the Shepherd-dog is the origin of the whole canine fraternity. Now I dare doubt the proof of either of these assertions : of the former, because, if a cutaneous disease were the cause of the absence of hair on the Turkish and other dogs, they would be the visible subjects of the contagion, whilst not only their hides, but their constitutions would be the sufferers ; whereas, they ore less subject to Mange than the heavier clad. In the second place, what ground can there be for supposing that the Bull-dog, Greyhound, etc, are direct lineal descendants of the Shepherd-dog, when there is as much difference even in the varied breeds of Shepherd-dogs, as between the Newfoundland and Pug I But these conclusions are con-sidered as undeniable facts. Why ? because the great Buffon says so.
Youatt, an esteemed author on canine pathology, remarks: " It is singular that the Greyhound exhibits so little rower of scent; but this is simply because he has never been taught to use it, or has been cruelly corrected, when he has attempted to exercise it." If this be fair reasoning, it might also appear logical to infer, that the offspring of animals, who had been broken from eating meat, or barking at night, would naturally inherit the particular teachings of their forefathers. 1 am willing to admit that talents to a certain extent may be hereditary, but the sudden annihilation of an instinct I could never believe, before I had raised a litter or two of three-legged puppies, from a slut who had unfortunately lost a limb.
The same author also states that it is only in England that the Shepherd-dog injures and worries the sheep. I can account for this assertion in no other way, than by supposing that the writer of it had not yet crossed the Channel, or he might have returned with the impression that Paris Poodles all learn to dance. He also appears to take it for granted, that the relative weight of the brain is an unerring criterion of intellectual power ; and to illustrate his theory, he adds, that the brain of a man is a thirtieth of his entire weight, that of the Newfoundland, a sixtieth; of tike Poodle, a hundredth ; and of the ferocious and stupid Bulldog, only a three hundredth part of its entire weight. This may be true, but, as it docs not tally with my experience on the subject of canine phrenology, I cannot corroborate such a conclusion: for instance, it would be difficult to prove to me, that the offspring of a cross between the Bulldog and Newfoundland would only have half the sense of a Newfound land, pure, any more than I can believe that the Newfoundland has two-fifths more of intellect than the Poodle. Besides, I have made many researches among canine skulls, and am rather inclined to award the premium of merit to quality than to quantity. Pliny, the great Historian, states that the King of Albania made Alexander a present of a Dog, to which the latter introduced wild Boars and Bears. Of these the Dog took no notice, upon which Alexander ordered him to be killed for his cowardice. When the King of Albania hears of this, he sends Alexander another Dog, telling him he should not make a trial with such insignificant animals, but rather with a Lion or an Elephant. Alexander being much surprised, (and well he might !) made immediate preparation for a trial, and soon saw the Lion prostrate, with his back broken. Then the Elephant was produced. The Dog maintained such an ingenious combat with the Elephant, that the latter ultimately came down with a crash, that made the earth tremble with the fall. In reference to this, Youattsays, that possibly the English Bull-dog is the same breed. Only imagine, gent'e reader, an English Bull-dog breaking a Lion's back, and overcoming an Elephant in single combat. Now the largest English Mastiff have been loosened on the Lion in successive pairs, a id were annihilated in a twinkling. Pliny's Dog then must indeed have been a Rouser ! The effects of climate are now easily accounted for! What would Buffon's original Shepherd-dog have thought, had he witnessed the strength and prowess of his dauntless descendant?
I do not quote these remarkable sayings of wonderful men, cither as a critic or a fault finder, but to plead for mercy in advance in behalf of my unworthy self, should I, perchance, be accused of similar misapprehensions. I trust, however, that by carefully keeping within the limits of my range, and avoiding the unfathomable depths of metaphysical suppositions, I may somewhat elucidate and simplify the mystified art of Dog-management, presenting simple facts, free from incomprehensible technicalities, and in such alight, that they may be understood, and freely digested by the non-professional.