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5.7. Of our English dogs and their qualities. Chap. 7.

Of our English dogs and their qualities. Chap. 7.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _THere is no countrie that maie (as I take it) compare with ours, in number, excellencie, and diuersitie of dogs. And therefore if Polycrates of Sa|mia were now aliue, he would not send to Epyro for such merchandize: but to his fur|ther cost prouide them out of Britaine, as an orna|ment to his countrie, and péece of husbandrie for his common wealth, which he furnished of set purpose with Molossian and Lacaonian dogs, as he did the same also with shéepe out of Attica and Miletum, gotes from Scyro and Naxus, swine out of Sicilia, and artificers out of other places. Howbeit the lear|ned doctor Caius in his Latine treatise vnto Gesner De canibus Anglicis, bringeth them all into thrée sorts: that is, the gentle kind seruing for game: the home|lie kind apt for sundrie vses: and the currish kind méet for many toies. For my part I can say no more of them than he hath doone alredie. Wherefore I will here set downe onelie a summe of that which he hath written of their names and natures, with the addi|tion of an example or two now latelie had in experi|ence, whereby the courages of our mastiffes shall yet more largelie appeare. As for those of other countries I haue not to deale with them: neither care I to re|port out of Plinie, that dogs were sometime killed in sacrifice, and sometime their whelps eaten as a de|licate dish, Lib. 29. cap. 4. Wherefore if anie man be disposed to read of them, let him resort to Plinie lib. 8. cap. 40. who (among other woonders) telleth of an armie of two hundred dogs, which fetched a king of the Garamantes out of captiuitie, mawgre the resi|stance of his aduersaries: also to Cardan, lib. 10. De animalibus, Aristotle, &c: who write maruels of them, but none further from credit than Cardan, EEBO page image 230 who is not afraid to compare some of them for great|nesse with oxen, and some also for smalnesse vnto the little field mouse. Neither doo I find anie far writer of great antiquitie, that maketh mention of our dogs, Starbo excepted, who saith that the Galles did somtime buy vp all our mastiffes, to serue in the fore|wards of their battles, wherein they resembled the Colophonians, Castabalenses of Calicute and Phe|nicia, of whom Plinie also speaketh, but they had them not from vs.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The first sort therefore he diuideth either into such as rowse the beast, and continue the chase, or sprin|geth the bird, and bewraieth hir flight by pursute. And as these are commonlie called spaniels, so the other are named hounds, whereof he maketh eight sorts, of which the formost excelleth in perfect smelling, the se|cond in quicke espieng, the third in swiftnesse and quickenesse, the fourth in smelling and nimblenesse, &c: and the last in subtiltie and deceitfulnesse. These (saith Strabo) are most apt for game, and called Sa|gaces by a generall name, not onelie bicause of their skill in hunting, but also for that they know their owne and the names of their fellowes most exactlie. For if the hunter see anie one to follow skilfullie, and with likelihood of good successe, he biddeth the rest to harke and follow such a dog, and they estsoones obeie to soone as they heare his name. The first kind of these are also commonlie called hariers, whose game is the fox, the hare, the woolfe (if we had anie) hart, bucke, badger, otter, polcat, lopstart, wesell, conie, &c: the se|cond hight a terrer, and it hunteth the badger and graie onelie: the third a bloudhound, whose office is to follow the fierce, and now and then to pursue a théefe or beast by his drie foot: the fourth hight a gase|hound, who hunteth by the eie: the fift a greihound, cherished for his strength, swiftnes, and stature, com|mended by Bratius in his De venatione, and not vnre|membred by Hercules Stroza in a like treatise, but aboue all other those of Britaine, where he saith:

—& magna spectandi mole Britanni,
also by Nemesianus, libro Cynegeticôn, where he saith:
Diuisa Britannia mittit
Veloces nostrí orbis venatibus aptos,
of which sort also some be smooth, of sundrie colours, and some shake haired: the sixt a liemer, that excelleth in smelling and swift running: the seuenth a tum|bler: and the eight a théefe, whose offices (I meane of the latter two) incline onelie to deceit, wherein they are oft to skilfull, that few men would thinke so mis|chiefous a wit to remaine in such sillie creaturs. Ha|uing made this enumeration of dogs, which are apt for the chase and hunting, he commeth next to such as serue the falcons in their times, whereof he maketh also two sorts. One that findeth his game on the land, an other that putteth vp such foule as keepeth in the water: and of these this is commonlie most vsu|all for the net or traine, the other for the hawke, as he dooth shew at large. Of the first he saith, that they haue no peculiar names assigned to them seueral|lie, but each of them is called after the bird which by naturall appointment he is allotted to hunt or serue, for which consideration some be named dogs for the feasant, some for the falcon, and some for the partrich. Howbeit, the common name for all is spaniell (saith he) and therevpon alludeth, as if these kinds of dogs had bin brought hither out of Spaine. In like sort we haue of water spaniels in their kind. The third sort of dogs of the gentle kind, is the spaniell gentle, or com|forter, or (as the common terme is) the fistinghound, and those are called Melitei, of the Iland Malta, from whence they were brought hither. These are little and prettie, proper and fine, and sought out far and néere to satisfie the nice delicacie of daintie dames, and wanton womens willes; instruments of follie to plaie and dallie withall, in trifling away the treasure of time, to withdraw their minds from more com|mendable exercises, and to content their corrupt con|cupiscences with vaine disport, a sillie poore shift to shun their irkesome idlenes. These Sybariticall pup|pies, the smaller they be (and thereto if they haue an hole in the foreparts of their heads) the better they are accepted, the more pleasure also they prouoke, as méet plaiefellowes for minsing mistresses to beare in their bosoms, to keepe companie withall in their chambers, to succour with sléepe in bed, and nourish with meat at boord, to lie in their laps, and licke their lips as they lie (like yoong Dianaes) in their wagons and coches. And good reason it should be so, for course|nesse with finenesse hath no fellowship, but featnesse with neatnesse hath neighbourhead inough. That plausible prouerbe therefore verefied sometime vpon a tyrant, namelie that he loued his sow better than his sonne, may well be applied to some of this kind of people, who delight more in their dogs, that are de|priued of all possibilitie of reason, than they doo in children that are capable of wisedome & iudgement. Yea, they oft féed them of the best, where the poore mans child at their doores can hardlie come by the woorst. But the former abuse peraduenture reigneth where there hath bene long want of issue, else where barrennesse is the best blossome of beautie: or final|lie, where poore mens children for want of their owne issue are not readie to be had. It is thought of some that it is verie wholesome for a weake stomach to beare such a dog in the bosome, as it is for him that hath the palsie to féele the dailie smell and fauour of a for. But how truelie this is affirmed let the learned iudge: onelie it shall suffice for Doctor Caius to haue said thus much of spaniels and dogs of the gentle kind.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Dogs of the homelie kind,Homelie kind of dogs. are either shepheards curs, or mastiffes. The first are so common, that it néedeth me not to speake of them. Their vse also is so well knowne in keeping the heard togither (either when they grase or go before the sheepheard) that it should be but in vaine to spend anie time about them. Wherefore I will leaue this curre vnto his owne kind,Tie dogs. and go in hand with the mastiffe, tie dog, or banddog, so called bicause manie of them are tied vp in chaines and strong bonds, in the daie time, for dooing hurt abroad, which is an huge dog, stubborne, ouglie, eager, burthenous of bodie (& therefore but of little swiftnesse) terrible and fearfull to behold, and oftentimes more fierce and fell than anie Archadian or Corsican cur. Our Englishmen to the intent that these dogs may be more cruell and fierce, assist na|ture with some art, vse and custome. For although this kind of dog be capable of courage, violent, vali|ant, stout and bold: yet will they increase these their stomachs by teaching them to bait the beare, the bull, the lion, and other such like cruell and bloudie beasts, (either brought ouer or kept vp at home, for the same purpose) without anie collar to defend their throats, and oftentimes thereto they traine them vp in figh|ting and wrestling with a man (hauing for the safe|gard of his life either a pike staffe, club, sword, priuie coate) wherby they become the more fierce and cruell vnto strangers. The Caspians made so much ac|count sometime of such great dogs, that euerie a|ble man would nourish sundrie of them in his house of set purpose, to the end they should deuoure their carcases after their deaths, thinking the dogs bellies to be the most honourable sepulchers. The common people also followed the same rate, and therfore there were tie dogs kept vp by publike ordinance, to de|uoure them after their deaths: by means whereof these beasts became the more eger, and with great EEBO page image 231 difficultie after a while restreined from falling vpon the liuing. But whither am I digressed? In return|ing therefore to our owne, I saie that of mastiffes, some barke onelie with fierce and open mouth but will not bite,Some [...] some doo both barke and bite, but the cruellest doo either not barke at all, or bite before they barke, and therefore are more to be feared than anie of the other.Some bite and barke not. They take also their name of the word mase and théefe (or master théefe if you will) bicause they often stound and put such persons to their shifts in townes and villages, and are the prin|cipall causes of their apprehension and taking. The force which is in them surmounteth all beleefe, and the fast hold which they take with their téeth excéedeth all credit: for thrée of them against a beare, foure a|gainst a lion are sufficient to trie mastries with them. King Henrie the seauenth, as the report go|eth, commanded all such curres to be hanged, bicause they durst presume to fight against the lion, who is their king and souereigne. The like he did with an excellent falcon, as some saie, bicause he feared not hand to hand to match with an eagle, willing his falconers in his owne presence to pluck off his head after he was taken downe, saieng that it was not méet for anie subiect to offer such wrong vnto his lord and superiour, wherein he had a further mean|ing. But if king Henrie the seauenth had liued in our time, what would he haue doone to one English mastiffe, which alone and without anie helpe at all pulled downe first an huge beare, then a pard, and last of all a lion, each after other before the French king in one daie, when the lord Buckhurst was am|bassador vnto him, and whereof if I should write the circumstances, that is, how he tooke his aduantage being let lose vnto them, and finallie draue them into such excéeding feare, that they were all glad to run awaie when he was taken from them, I should take much paines, and yet reape but small credit: where|fore it shall suffice to haue said thus much thereof. Some of our mastiffes will rage onelie in the night some are to be tied vp both daie and night. Such also as are suffered to go lose about the house and yard, are so gentle in the daie time, that children may ride on their backs, & plaie with them at their pleasures. Diuerse of them likewise are of such gelousie ouer their maister and whosoeuer of his houshold, that if a stranger doo imbrace or touch anie of them, they will fall fiercelie vpon them, vnto their extreame mis|chéefe if their furie be not preuented. Such an one was the dog of Nichomedes king sometime of Bi|thinia, who séeing Consigne the quéene to imbrace and kisse hir husband as they walked togither in a garden, did teare hir all to peeces, mauger his resist|ance, and the present aid of such as attended on them. Some of them moreouer will suffer a stran|ger to come in and walke about the house or yard where him listeth, without giuing ouer to follow him: but if he put foorth his hand to touch anie thing, then will they flie vpon him and kill him if they may. I had one my selfe once, which would not suffer anie man to bring in his weapon further than my gate: neither those that were of my house to be touched in his presence. Or if I had beaten anie of my children, he would gentlie haue assaied to catch the rod in his teeth and take it out of my hand, or else pluck downe their clothes to saue them from the stripes: which in my opinion is not vnworthie to be noted. And thus much of our mastiffes, creatures of no lesse faith and loue towards their maisters than horsses; as may appeare euen by the confidence that Masinissa reposed in them, in so much that mistrusting his houshold seruants he made him a gard of dogs, which manie a time deliuered him from their treasons and conspiracies, euen by thier barking and biting, nor of lesse force than the Molossian race, brought from Epiro into some countries, which the poets feigne to haue originall from the brasen dog that Uulcan made, and gaue to Iupiter, who also deliuered the same to Europa, she to Procris, and Procris to Ce|phalus, as Iulius Pollux noteth, lib. 5. cap. 5: neither vnequall in carefulnesse to the mastiffe of Alex|ander Phereus, who by his onelie courage and at|tendance kept his maister long time from slaughter, till at the last he was remooued by policie, and the ty|rant killed sléeping: the storie goeth thus. The [...]e the wife of the said Phereus and hir three brethren con|spired the death of hir husband, who fearing the dog onelie, she found the means to allure him from his chamber doore by faire means, vnto another house hard by, whilest they should execute their purpose. Neuerthelesse, when they came to the bed where he laie sléeping, they waxed faint harted, till she did put them in choise, either that they should dispatch him at once, or else that she hir selfe would wake hir hus|band, and giue him warning of his enimies, or at the least wise bring in the dog vpon them, which they fea|red most of all: and therefore quicklie dispatched him.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The last sort of dogs consisteth of the currish kind méet for manie toies: of which the whappet or prick|eard curre is one. Some men call them warners, bi|cause they are good for nothing else but to barke and giue warning when anie bodie dooth stirre or lie in wait about the house in the night season. Certes it is vnpossible to describe these curs in anie order, bi|cause they haue no anie one kind proper vnto them|selues, but are a confused companie mixt of all the rest. The second sort of them are called turne spits, whose office is not vnknowne to anie. And as these are onelie reserued for this purpose, so in manie pla|ces our mastiffes (beside the vse which tinkers haue of them in carieng their heauie budgets) are made to draw water in great whéeles out of déepe wels, going much like vnto those which are framed for our turne spits, as is to be séene at Roiston, where this feat is often practised. Besides these also we haue sholts or curs dailie brought out of Iseland, and much made of among vs, bicause of their sawcinesse and quarrelling. Moreouer they bite verie sore, and loue candles excéedinglie, as doo the men and wo|men of their countrie: but I may saie no more of them, bicause they are not bred with vs. Yet this will I make report of by the waie, for pastimes sake, that when a great man of those parts came of late into one of our ships which went thither for fish, to see the forme and fashion of the same, his wife apparrel|led in fine fables, abiding on the decke whilest hir husband was vnder the hatches with the mariners, espied a pound or two of candles hanging at the mast, and being loth to stand there idle alone, she fell to and eat them vp euerie one, supposing hir selfe to haue béene at a iollie banket, and shewing verie ple|sant gesture when hir husband came vp againe vn|to hir.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The last kind of toiesh curs are named bansers, and those being of a mongrell sort also, are taught & exercised to danse in measure at the musicall sound of an instrument, as at the iust stroke of a drum, sweet accent of the citharne, and pleasant harmonie of the harpe, shewing manie trickes by the gesture of their bodies: as to stand bolt vpright, to lie flat vpon the ground, to turne round as a ring, holding their tailes in their teeth, to saw and beg for meat, to take a mans cap from his head, and sundrie such pro|perties, which they learne of their idle rogish masters whose instruments they are to gather gaine, as old apes clothed in motleie, and coloured short wasted iackets are for the like vagabunds, who séeke no bet|ter EEBO page image 232 liuing, than that which they may get by fond pa|stime and idlenesse. I might here intreat of other dogs, as of those which are bred betwéene a bitch and a woolfe, and called Lycisca: a thing verie often séene in France saith Franciscus Patricius in his common wealth, as procured of set purpose, and learned as I thinke of the Indians, who tie their fault bitches often in woods, that they might be loined by tigers: also betweene a bitch and a fox, or a beare and a ma|stiffe. But as we vtterlie want the first sort, except they be brought vnto vs: so it happeneth sometime, that the other two are ingendered and seene at home amongst vs. But all the rest heretofore remembred in this chapter, there is none more ouglie and odious in sight, cruell and fierce in déed, nor vntractable in hand, than that which is begotten betwéene the beare and the bandog. For whatsoeuer he catcheth hold of, he taketh it so fast, that a man may sooner teare and rend his bodie in sunder, than get open his mouth to separate his chaps. Certes he regardeth neither woolfe, beare, nor lion, and therfore may well be com|pared with those two dogs which were sent to Alex|ander out of India (& procreated as it is thought be|twéene a mastiffe and male tiger, as be those also of Hircania) or to them that are bred in Archadia, where copulation is oft seene betweene lions and bitches, as the like is in France (as I said) betwéene shée woolfes and dogs, whereof let this suffice; sith the fur|ther tractation of them dooth not concerne my pur|pose, more than the confutation of Cardans talke, De subt. lib. 10. who saith, that after manie generati|ons, dogs doo become woolfes, and contrariwise; which if it were true, than could not England be without manie woolfes: but nature hath set a difference be|twéene them, not onelie in outward forme, but also in inward disposition of their bones, wherefore it is vnpossible that his assertion can be sound.

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