This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
The hind quarter is entirely overlooked in the rhymes above-mentioned, but it is of the greatest importance nevertheless, being the chief element of progression. First of all, we should insist upon a good framework, which, presenting the levers acted on by the muscles, must be in proper form, and of sufficient length and strength. Thus it is usual in examining puppies for selection to extend them to their full length, and then the one which stretches over the greatest distance is supposed to be the best in this point, and (other things being equal) very properly so. Thus, then, we arrive at the conclusion that the hinder limbs should be made up of long bones; but they must be united by well-formed joints, and in order that the dog shall not stand too high they should be well bent, though if the fore part of the dog is lower than the hind, there is no necessity for the presence of this form, as it comes to the same thing in reality. Strong bony stifle-joints and hocks, with great length between them and from the stifle to the hip, united with a short leg, constitute the perfection of form in the hind quarter, if, as is almost always the case, the muscles covering them are strong enough to put them in action.
The Fore quarter is composed of the shoulder, the upper arm (between it and the elbow), the fore-arm (below the elbow), the knee, the leg, and the foot. The shoulder should be oblique, well covered with muscles, and moving freely on the ribs, which it seldom does if the two blades are kept wide apart at their upper edges by the tub-like form of the chest, described under that head. Hence we should examine, and anxiously look for, length of shoulder-blade, which cannot exist without obliquity; freedom of play, without which the fore quarter is not protruded in the gallop as it ought to be; and muscular development to bear the shocks to which this part is subject. The arm also should be long, so as to raise the point of the shoulder high enough to make the blade lie at an angle of 45° with the horizon, and to throw the elbow well back to take the weight of the body. With regard to the elbow itself, the joint must be placed in the same plane as the body; that is to say, the point of the elbow should not project either inwards or outwards. In the former case, the feet are turned out, and then there is a want of liberty in the play of the whole shoulder, because the elbow rubs against the ribs, and interferes with the action.
This is called being "tied at the elbow," and is most carefully to be avoided in selecting the greyhound, as well as all other breeds. The arm should be straight, long, and well clothed with muscle. The knee should be bony, and not bent too much back, which is an element of weakness, though seldom to such an extent as to be prejudicial to real utility. The leg, or bones below the knee, should be of good size, the stopper (or upper pad) well united to it, and firm in texture, and supported upon a foot of the formation recommended under that head.
The colors commonly met with among high-bred greyhounds, are black, blue, red, fawn, brindled, and white, variously mixed. There are also sometimes seen cream, yellow, brown, dun, and grey dogs. When a plain color is speckled with small white marks, the dog is said to be ticked. The black, red, and fawn are the most highly prized by most coursers, especially when the last two have black muzzles. Some people are partial to blue clogs, of which several good specimens have been met with, as may also be said of the brindled color, but, as before remarked, the genera) opinion is in favor of black, red, and fawn. I believe that black, red, and white, may be considered as the primary colors, and that the others arise out of their mixture in breeding. Thus a black dog and a white bitch will produce either blacks, whites, black and whites, blues, or greys; while a red dog and white bitch will have red, white, fawn, red and white, yellow, or cream puppies. Black and red united together make the red with black muzzle or the black brindle, while the blue and fawn give rise to the blue brin-dle; or sometimes we see the black or blue tanned color, as we meet with commonly enough in the setter, spaniel, and terrier.
Mr. Thacker was of opinion, with some of the early writers on the greyhound, that the brindle was a mark of the descent from the bulldog; but, as nothing is known of the time when the color first appeared, no reliance can be placed on the hypothesis.
The texture of the coat is the last point upon which any reliance is placed, but, as far as my experience goes, there is little to be gained from it. Nevertheless, I should always discard a very soft woolly coat as being an evidence of a weak constitution, unable to bear exposure to weather, and, on that account, unlit for the purposes of the courser. The old breeds were, many of them, very bald about the cheeks and thighs, and this used to be considered a mark of good blood; but, since the intermixture of the rough greyhound, most of our best sorts have been free from this peculiarity, and many of them have had hard rough coats, quite unlike the fine and thin hair, which was formerly so highly prized. My own impression is in favor of a firm, glossy, and somewhat greasy-feeling, coarse coat, which stands wetting well, and at the same time looks healthy and handsome to the eye.
The relative value of these several points varies a good deal from those of clogs whose breeding can chiefly be arrived at by external signs - e.g., the stern, color, and coat in the pointer and setter. Here the pedigree is well known for many generations; and therefore, although the breeding may be guessed at from the appearance of the individual, it is far better to depend upon the evidence afforded by the Coursing Calendar, or if that is not forthcoming, to avoid having anything to do with breeding from the strain. I quote:
"In measuring a dog, I should take only the following points, which should be nearly of the proportions here given in one of average size:
"Principal points: Hight at the shoulder, 25 in.; length from shoulder point to apex of last rib, 15 in.; length of apex of last rib to back of buttock, 13 in. to 15 in.; length from front of thigh round buttock to front of other thigh, 21 in.
"But to be more minute, it is as well to measure also the subordinate points as under: Circumference of head between eyes and ears, 14 1/2 in. to 15 in.; length of neck, 9 in. to 10 in.; circumference of chest, 28 in. to 30 in. in condition; length of arm, 9 in.; length of knee to the ground, 4 1/2 in.; circumference of the loin, 18 in. to 19 in., in running condition; length of upper thigh,10 1/2 in;; lower thigh, 11 in.; and leg from hock to ground, 5 1/2 in. to 6 in.
"In taking these measurements, the fore legs should, as nearly as possible, be perpendicular, and the hind ones only moderately extended backwards."
The specimens selected for illustrations are Riot and David, which were perhaps the best greyhounds for all kinds of ground which ever ran, not even excepting the two treble winners of the Waterloo Cup, as they were not tried over the downs. Riot was the property of Mr. C. Randell, of Chadbury, and was not only the winner of seventy-four courses in public, with the loss of only ten, but she was also the dam of several good greyhounds. David had also the same double distinction, but was not quite so celebrated in the coursing field as the bitch. He had, however, the advantage at the stud, as might be expected from his sex, and a goodly list of winners are credited to him.
In the choice of a greyhound I have already observed that we must be guided by other considerations besides make and shape, depending greatly upon the precise object which the intending possessor has in view, since, although the high-bred and lowbred greyhounds are alike externally, yet there is in their internal structure some difference beyond the ken of our senses. But, as it is found by experience that in this particular "like produces like," it is only necessary to be assured that the parents possessed this internal formation, whatever it may be, in order to be satisfied that their descendants will inherit it. Thus we arrive at the necessity for "good breed," or "pure blood," as the same thing is called in different language, both merely meaning that the ancestors, for some generations, have been remarkable for the possession of the qualities most desired, whatever they may be. Hence, in selecting greyhounds to breed from, the pedigree for many generations is scrutinized with great care, and if there is a single flaw it is looked at with suspicion, because the bad is almost sure to peep out through any amount of good blood.
The modes of breeding, managing, breaking, and using the greyhound, will be described later on in the volume.