When Cheops built his Pyramid, the dog was an old favourite; the Assyrians knew him and loved him; a Greek vase of the fifth century B.c. in the British Museum shows that fanciers have not improved him; and Albrecht Durer's "Vision of St. Hubert" introduces a dog which might well be a Waterloo Cup winner.
Kings and emperors long since dust have fondled him. Wise Xenophon and Herodotus and amorous Ovid have sung his praises, and, of course, he did not escape the notice of the Elizabethan Dr. Caius, who appears in all dog books with the regularity of King Charles's head in the luckless Mr. Dick's memorial. Indeed, doubtless, as the hare left the Ark, the "long-tail" gave chase to her.
But, alas! to the modern dog-loving public the greyhound too often is a dejected-looking animal, whose only claim to distinction is the fact that he can run once a year for the classic Waterloo Cup, Plate, and Purse, and thus achieve a brief notoriety. They ignor-antly declare him a coward, dull, uninteresting. All of which proves that they know not the breed.
A greyhound, like most dogs, is what his owner makes him. He can be made a listless fool, or he can be an alert, graceful, and devotedly affectionate dog; and his good qualities will not be impaired by his coursing training, if rightly conducted. But any animal treated merely as a money-making machine will be but little likely to become anything better.
As a lover of the race remarks, "Those who have tested the greyhound's character in the house find many qualities which endear him to his owners. He is most sensitive to blame or praise from his superiors, for he undoubtedly recognises the 'classes,' and distinguishes them from the 'masses.' And he has a sweet gentleness which disarms criticism and roughness of speech. In a room he has the merit of a short coat and quiet movements."
The same admirer indignantly rebuts the accusation that a greyhound is a thief.
She constantly leaves a fully equipped tea-table in charge of her greyhound pups. And as for kindliness of disposition, one of her dogs "constituted himself dry-nurse to his half-brothers and sisters, leading them out of mischief during the daytime and cuddling them under his body in the straw at nights to protect them from the cold."
Such is the testimony of one who knows, and it is put forth here to vindicate the claims to attention of a dog who is probably the oldest and purest blooded of our dogs, and certainly nowadays one of the most often overlooked by those who keep a dog as a pet.
There is no more illuminating guide to what a dog should be like, so far as regards type and general excellence, than a good picture or photograph, and, if possible, both should be studied.
One of the most beautiful pictures of our generation immortalises the greyhound. Alas! the artist, Mr. Charles Wellington Furse, A.r.a., died ere he could do more than show what his loss to British art meant. But "Diana of the Uplands," enshrined in the Tate Gallery, London, lives to be a joy for ever and a source of pride to our race.
The dog models in the picture were two famous specimens of greyhounds, well known prize-winners at the M e l1 s and Burleigh Coursing Meetings, both bred in Somerset. Well has their beauty been immortalised, the beauty of strength, lightness, and perfection of form, which appealed so strongly to the painter, and which he painted also in the beautiful horses of his other famous picture, "Cub-hunting with the York and Ainstey" (hounds).
The photograph represents the famous Waterloo Cup winner of 1911, Sir R. W. B. Jardine's Jabberwock. In this connection it is interesting to remember that Fullerton, the greatest greyhound of all time, is immortalised in the South Kensington Museum. He won the Cup four times, was bought for £900, but gained more than twice that sum in stakes for his master, the late Colonel North, the Nitrate King.
A technical description of the points of the dog might be wearisome to the uninitiated, so it will be enough to quote the lines of a famous doggy man of 1496, Wynkyn de
Werde, printer and poet, who knew and loved a good "long-tail" when he saw it:
Headed lyke a snake, Neckyed lyke a drake, Footed lyke a catte, Tayled lyke a ratte, Syded lyke a teme, And chyned like a breme.
Like a good horse, a good greyhound can never be a bad colour, but the club standard includes chiefly brindle, black, fawn, red, slate, or blue; also these colours mingled with white, the coat being not too fine nor too coarse, but with a good gloss.
The weight and size question is so debatable that it is best left to experts to quarrel over. It might be mentioned that Coo-massie, twice a Cup winner and never defeated, scaled only 42 lb.; while Selby, according to the "Coursers' Guide," the heaviest winner, was 75 lb. in weight.
S r R. W. B. Jardine's famous coursing greyhound "Jabberwock," winner of the Waterloo Cup 1911. This event is on a par with the winning of the Derby by a racehorse
To sum up, a greyhound is a charming companion, clean and affectionate and docile; he takes less room than many a smaller dog, and is a reliable watchdog. If bred scientifically, he is a financial success, for saplings, as the puppies are termed, fetch high prices at the annual sales.
The winner of 1912 was bought for twenty-five guineas, and won by his victories over £600, and he but a puppy. But it is only successful breeding which makes a remunerative thing of greyhound keeping; and the novice had better leave the matter in other hands, and content himself with a dog who, until recent times, was the favoured and exclusive companion of the rich and noble.