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The next subject to which we must turn our attention, and though it has come the last under our consideration, is by no means the least important, is the various diseases of dogs, their different classifications, and inquiry into their nature and utility.
In a wild state, dogs are not very abundant at the present day; these being generally found in America and Africa; but being possessed of considerable courage, and having a natural ferocity of disposition, they are rendered very troublesome and formidable opponents to all inhabitants dwelling in the neighbourhood of their resorts.
In a domesticated state how very materially is this animal's nature altered! the friend and companion of man ; like the horse, he becomes universally esteemed and sought after; the most intelligent of all quadrupeds, and yielding to none in docility and speed; in proportion to its size, possessing great strength; in form, both beautiful and noble, and surpassing all
wataals in vivacity, and that invaluable gift of an unerrinni pigs quind above all, but little inferior to the human race in its testimony of gratitude and sincerity. He forgets nor friend nor foe, although generally more affected by the gratuitous favours he receives, tban mindful of undeserved injuries; the first he ever remembers with affection, and the latter are quickly ppelled. Ever zealous in his master's cause, he ws not flinch in the hour of danger, but is ready to defend him, and is never found deficient in the trust reposed in him, keeping a vigilant eye over all property it is his duty to guard. Equally useful in every occupation of life; the shepherd is less obeyed by the flocks than his dog; the huntsman and every lover of field sport could derive neither benefit nor enjoyment without this companion: and in many parts the mastiff or bull-dog is the sole guardian against unwarrantable intruders; and in the cold regions of the north, mankind would be unable to trade, or procure food, without the assistance of dogs.
GENERAL HABITS, &c.
Dogs sleep but little; and during all times of repose, even after most fatiguing journeys, they are as easily arous d by noise as if they were untired; waking or sleeping, their hearing being equally acute. They never perspire, and when weary, usually hang the tongue out of the mouth. Their dung and urine are very pernicious to vegetable matter; and as if conscious of this, they never drop either but where no harm can accrue. Dogs have six cutting teeth in both
the upper and lower jaws, pointed, and longer at the sides than in the centre of the mouth ; next come four canine teeth, one on each side, above and below; after which come the six grinders. Till a year old they crouch their hinder parts to pass their urine, after which period they raise one leg and emit it sideways; and whenever they pass a place where a dog has lately performed this function, they seldom fail to do the same.
This animal may be placed at the head of his species, and derives his name from a natural antipathy he bears to the bull, and was formerly in great requisition when that cruel sport of bull-baiting was in vogue. He is, probably, the most courageous animal in the world, and bears a most terrific appearance. He is low in stature, but remarkably strong and muscular; the head is short, the forehead wide, the nostril distended, and the projection of the under jaw beyond the upper gives a peculiar ferocity of aspect; the whole countenance exhibits a suspicious and designing leer ; but in a state of domestication he is usually inoffensive unless provoked and irritated. The race is peculiar to Great Britain, but it is not now neither numerous, nor is such care taken as formerly to propagate the thoroughbred breed; those of the brindled kind are looked upon as the best. This animal never barks until he has bitten, and once excited or urged by his master, no pain or punishment will prevent him obtaining his ends.
The valour of this dog in attacking the bull, the ferocity he displays in the encounter, and the unconquerable and determined obstinacy with which he perseveres in maintaining his hold, are truly astonishing.
Many years ago, when bull-baiting formed a very favourite amusement for Englishmen in holiday-times, in one of the northern counties, a young man, confident of the courage of his dog, laid some trifling wager that he would, at separate times, cut off the animal's feet, and that after each amputation the dog would attack the bull. The barbarous experiment was allowed and tried, and the dog horribly mutilated and pained as he was, continued to attack and seize the bull with unabated ferocity and eagerness.
Of the true and genuine breed, there are not many now to be found. It was supposed that two of these dogs let loose at once were a match for a bull, three for a bear, and four for a lion.
This breed of dogs was early celebrated ; and mention is made of them in the time of the Romans, being noted for their ferocity and innate courage.
It is peculiar to Great Britain, and is generally used as a watch-dog, which duty it performs not only with uncommon fidelity, but frequently displays considerable judgment.
Their ferocity is increased or diminished according to the degree of restraint in which they are kept; such as are constantly chained being dangerous to approach, To their masters, however, they are both mild in their
manners, and grateful and solicitous for every attention.
Some of these animals will allow a stranger to come into the premises they are appointed to watch over, and will go peaceably along with him through every portion of them, so long as he touches nothing; but the moment he attempts to lay hold of any of the property, the animal informs him, first, by a gentle growling; and if that prove ineffectual, by harsher means.
At night they are particularly watchful, and it is dangerous to approach them unless well known, and even then not always, as the following will testify :
A very large mastiff was kept by Sir H. Lee of Ditchley, Oxfordshire, the ancestor of the late earls of Litchfield. This dog never received any particular kindness or attention from his master, and was kept solely to guard the house and yard.
One night Sir Harry retired to his chamber attended by his favourite valet, who was an Italian, when the mastiff followed them up the stairs, an unusual circumstance, never having been known to do the like before. To his master's astonishment, the dog presented himself at the bed-room door, and being deemed an intruder, he was instantly ordered to be driven away; this being done, and the door shut, the animal began to paw and scratch violently at the door, and howled loudly for admission. The servant was directed to turn him away again, but the dog was not to be discouraged, and he returned again, and appeared more importunate than before.
The apparent obstinacy of the animal wearied Sir Harry, who was astonished beyond measure that the dog should display so much fondness for the society of a master who had never shown him the slightest kindne-s, and desiring to retire to rest, he ordered the