MANY efforts have been made to trace the ancestry of the modern domestic dog, and although some scientists are inclined to dispute the fact, on the grounds of insufficient evidence, it is now almost universally recognised that to the wolf tribe must we look for the original parents. Whatever may be the doubts of a Zoological scientist, there are none so far as the artist is concerned. To the wolf alone does he look for his general type of dog, and however much the proportions of our different breeds may vary, the coat, with few exceptions, follows one rule, and conforms to certain clearly defined masses of hair growth. These masses may be found exaggerated or the reverse, but nevertheless all can be discerned as being variations of the growth of hair on the body of the wolf.
The hair of the wolf is of two kinds (Plate xvi), an outer covering of long, coarse, dark hairs acting as a thatch and growing through the fine wool next the skin. The importance of offering the smallest possible resistance to the passage of the animal through grass, bushes, or other obstacles, and the necessity for running off the rain, especially when lying down at rest, are the two important factors when considering the direction of hair, and this is complied with by the backward and downward direction taken throughout. There are, however, certain local requirements which necessitate a compromise ; for example, the radiation of the hair about the eye. The eye is protected from any small obstacle or flying object, such as flies, dust, etc., etc., which may have a tendency to be brushed into it, by the radiating hair which, by coming into opposition with the upward growing hair of the nose forms a little ridge which is so marked a feature in the faces of most hairy animals. Drops of water, tears, etc., are also run off quickly, which would not be the case if against the grain. The radiation upon the chest is accounted for by the hair upon ribs coming forward and meeting the downward hair from throat and neck. The necessity for preventing small objects from working underneath the body, to become ticklish or troublesome to the more vital organs, is possibly a reason again for this.
FIG. 26. SHOWING ARRANGEMENT OF HAIR
The drawing of a dog lying upon its side (Plate xvii) shows how important is the knowledge of the hair growth. In a slight sketch such as this, the art of suggestion is all important, and every touch, however tentative, should be full of meaning ; therefore the greater the necessity to differentiate dearly the lines which denote shadow, structural form or hair. For the same reason the drawings of puppies are introduced, the curves of infancy and the colour being suggested by the hair alone.
STUDY OF A WOLF. WITH DIAGRAM SHOWING THE ARRANGEMENT OF THE COAT
In examining the drawing of the wolf, note the furtive, cruel expression so characteristic of the animal. The following points contribute to that impression The movement of the upper lip, showing the tremendous length of jaw ; the oblique angle at which eyes are set in the skull ; the stealthy action as shown by length of stride covering ground with least possible exertion or noise ; the carriage of the tail, growing well below the level of the back, and seldom raised unless in action, as shown in drawing. When standing or walking the tail is always carried well down between the hind- legs, a mark of cowardice when seen in a dog. It is interesting to mark the carriage of tail through the various breeds of dogs (Fig. 27) ; the greater the distance between them and their ancestor, the wolf, the higher and more erect the tail is carried, finally reaching the extreme limit in the artificial toy dog, such as the Porn. and the Pekingese spaniel, where it is carried so high as to fall over the back in the form of a plume.
Exceptions to this, however, are found in the Chow and the Esquimaux or Samoyede, both being decidedly wolf-like in character and ways, and the latter are, in fact, often interbred directly with the wolf.
The coat of a Collie (Plate xviii and Fig. 28) follows very closely the arrangement of that of the wolf. The cheek patches, however, are lengthened, and fall downwards instead of standing out from the sides, and by merging into the long ruffle of neck hair, become the magnificent front and collar of the Collie. The masses of hair upon the back are clearly shown, and the exaggeration of the hair upon back of forelegs forms the feathering. Note how the colour follows these changes of hair.
WIRE-HAIRED TERRIER and SNARLING DOG.
The expression of the head becomes less wolfish, the eyes being rounder and set more at right angles to the centre line of skull. The ears, whilst remaining erect, droop at the extreme tips. The legs, whilst appearing shorter, are not actually so, being due to the increased heaviness of the body and the long hair. The tail is set slightly higher at the root and is carried in a gayer fashion.
NOTE.—The degree of breeding of a Collie can usually be told at a glance by this point. A mongrel Collie will carry his tail in wolf fashion without a curl, whilst a well- bred dog always curls the tip upwards. The feet, as in all the dogs built for speed, are small and compact.
The Collie gets his name from the word "Colly," which is the old-fashioned title of the Highland black-faced sheep, and as he is undoubtedly a dog of the Highlands, the Collie dog means a "Sheep dog."
In comparing the coat of a Chow (Plate xrx) the cheek patches are again prominent, but not so as to fall in a downward direction. They stand erect from the face and form a complete surrounding collar or ruffle, which is again repeated by the neck fur, thus forming a double collar. The hair is rough and wiry in texture, appearing as if "on end," and does not lie close to the body anywhere. The ears are still of the wolf type, but a greater expression of intelligence is given to the face by the rounder eyes and heavy thoughtful brow. The hair upon the thighs is similar to the wolf and the Collie, but the tail is carried erect, falling over the back.
NOTE.—The Esquimaux and Samoyede are similar in coat arrangement and all three breeds show a short-legged sturdy type, built more for strength than speed.
The beautiful silken texture of the Spaniel's coat (Plate xx) is in direct contrast to all the previous dogs ; it is flat and wavy, forming small curls upon the ears, which are long and pendulous. They start low down upon the side of the skull, thus giving full prominence to its broad domed shape. There are no vestiges of any cheek patches or ruffle, but the chest is well covered with curls. The thigh patches again do not grow as on the Collie, but in the form of curls extending down to the hocks. The feet are broad and open. All the Spaniel breeds are as much at home in water as on dry land, being bred for the express purpose of flushing birds whose habitat are swampy lands and edges of rivers, lakes, etc. Therefore, the wide open foot supports their weight upon the spongy ground, at the same time giving a broad paddle for swimming. Between the toes is usually found a thick growth of coarse hair, which serves as a protection against injury to the tender portions between.
BOBTAIL SHEEP DOG and CHOW
The Scottish Terrier (Plate xxr) possesses little beauty from the point of view of the painter, being square and stocky, with a large, ugly head and a harsh coat. His companionable qualities, however, atone for this deficiency, and as a sportsman he is hard to beat.
The hair masses are hardly distinguishable, owing to the even growth of coat, and it is interesting to note that there is not any change of colour, due to the same fact.
In this breed the head takes a different character entirely owing to the hair. A fierceness of aspect is given by the suggestion of beard and moustache, whilst the eyes are partially obscured by the longer hair of the nose being forced upwards and outwards by the radiation of that about the eyes. The cheek tufts are absent, also the neck ruffle, although a suggestion of their presence can be detected by the manner in which the hair curls at these points. The converging masses of the throat can be seen forming a ridge on either side down to the chest, where it again meets the hair, arising from between the forelegs.
NOTE.—The different form taken here when compared with the skin of a horse. The longer hair upon the back is not conspicuous, but can be faintly traced, and upon the fore limbs it forms a distinct ridge at elbow, and from thence down to the wrist. Upon the hind limbs it extends as far as the hock.
Both the Poodle (Plate xxii) and the Sheep dog (Plate xix) are the exceptions to the general rule as to hair arrangement. In these two dogs the hair has been artificially developed to such an extent that it completely hides the form of the body beneath, and the equal density of growth showing but little change in direction has given them something of the lack of character seen in the sheep. In cases such as this, it is upon shadow masses only that the artist is forced to rely.
SCOTTISH TERRIER. DEERHOUND.
The Sheepdog should be a powerful, tireless beast, capable of considerable speed under all circumstances. His well-developed and powerful hind-quarters give him a rolling action when trotting, similar to that of a bear, a likeness accentuated by the movement of the coat. The peculiarity of this breed being tailless is supposed to date from the time of the Conquest, when dogs for hunting purposes were the exclusive possessions of the great nobles. A powerful dog, however, was very necessary to the serfs to protect the flocks and herds from attacks of wolves, etc., and these were marked by "tawing" or cutting off three toes. This so interfered with their running that the tail was substituted for the toes, and it is possible that the Sussex Bobtail Sheepdog is a direct descendant of these, and has by selection become a tailless breed. The mark or badge denoting a Sheepdog has until quite recent years remained as a tailless dog, such being exempt from licence duties, and, in the opinion of many ancient shepherds, a tailless dog is preferable with sheep, because without this ornament he cannot turn so quickly, and is, therefore, obliged to make wider circles, thus causing less excitement and flurry to the sheep.
The English Setter (Plate xx) is a dog greatly beloved by all animal painters, owing to its beautiful form and colour. The soft, silky coat is more like the plumage of a bird, and reflects the varying sky and surroundings, whilst the clinging texture shows every play of muscle and movement. Only on the ears and throat, tail and legs can be found any curls, and here they are full of dainty and subtle lines.
In the Deerhound (Plate xxi) we have another graceful dog, but requiring an entirely different treatment to do full justice to its beauties. The general ruggedness of character is accentuated by the brows.
That the Greyhound (Plate xxitt) is of very ancient descent there is not the slightest doubt. The dogs depicted upon many Greek and Egyptian vases and Assyrian sculptures show a thin, long-legged dog, not unlike our modern Greyhound, and many authorities are inclined to think that this breed is really one of the purest forms left of the olden time dog, and owing to its having been always used for the same purpose, namely, the swift pursuit of and capture of some smaller fleeing animal, there has been little inducement to alter his shape, or, in other words, we may presume any alterations were not a success. Certainly, it is more than a coincidence that three animals built for speed, namely, the Hunter, the Greyhound and the Deer, should all be of practically the same proportions, and their height from ground to shoulders should approximately be the same as the length of the body from point of shoulder to rump.
NOTE.—The name Greyhound is supposed to be a corruption of Gaze hound, from its hunting by eyesight alone, but some authorities attribute it to the early British name, Goath Hurd, "Goath" meaning "the Wind." This the Anglo-Saxons called the Grewhund, since corrupted to Greyhound.