I have written at more or less length on the dogs I consider most companionable. But there are others, not so common or not so popular, whose acquaintance is nevertheless worth cultivating. In the way of friendly companionship, there is little to be said for the pointer. It is not his fault, poor beast; he does his own work to perfection, but from time immemorial he has been banished to the kennel and the company of keepers of a single idea. It is different with the setter. He is so handsome, and his face is so full of sympathetic intelligence, that his master could hardly help making friends with him : when the pointer was sent off to the kennel, the setter was invited into the parlour. I have known many setters in the stubbles and on the moors, but there was one of my own to whom I became specially attached. It was a case of love at first sight, and I loved her so much that I was foolish enough to bring her up to London. She was an embarrassing companion in walks in Piccadilly and the Parks. Her beauty drew all eyes, and in the affability of her manners she met the advances of all and sundry. Sometimes she gave introductions to desirable acquaintances : quite as often it was the reverse. Doubtless the dog-stealers were on her track, though I knew it not. One dusky evening she disappeared. Moral : never keep a favourite in London.
If you chance to come across a good otter-hound, which is unlikely, you will be in luck. He comes of the staunch and steady old Southern hound, and has something of the look of his progenitors. With a constitution of iron and a coat like rough Irish frieze, impervious to all weathers, he is the ideal of hardihood. Wise as a Lord Chancellor and solemn as an archbishop, it is only slowly you learn to realise the depths of his wisdom. Hunting the wily otter in scent often drowned by water, has developed his sagacity to the highest pitch. I say it is unlikely you will come across one, for the pure otter-hound has been dying out with the gradual diminution of the otters. And it must be owned that the otter has deserved his doom, for there is no more inveterate or destructive water-poacher.
The dachshund has come into favour of late years, and he was a special favourite of the late Prince Consort. He is a German version of the Border terrier, and with his preternaturally long body and short bandy legs, developed by hereditary scraping, is a quaint-looking little beggar. Like the ant-eater of South Africa, he seems built for burrowing, and as dachs is German for badger, he doubtless got his name from his feats in the badger-holes. He is constantly to be seen at the heels of keepers in the great German woods, but now is generally used like our spaniels for hunting the coverts, and especially in roe drives. The dachshund is susceptible, and though game to the backbone, is troubled with nerves. If you take him out hunting, he is extremely independent, slow to answer to the whistle and resentful of the whip. His high spirit is easily cowed, and then he sulks. And if too highly fed, with insufficient exercise, he is apt to get savage like a mastiff on chain.