Monday, December 31, 2012
The Bulldog (Canis Anglicus), is said to be an original English breed, and Colonel Smith suggests that this dog rather than the mastiff was the one which flourished in England in Roman times. Not indeed the breed as it at present exists, but "one little inferior to the mastiff," "but with the peculiar features of the bull form more strongly marked." "The bull-dog," says Colonel Smith, "differs from all others, even from the mastiff, in giving no warning of his attack by his barking, he grapples his opponents without in the least estimating their comparative weight and powers. We have seen one pinning an American Bison and holding his nose down till the animal gradually brought forward its hind feet and crushing the dog to death tore his muzzle out of the fangs, most dreadfully mangled. We have known another hallooed on to attack a disabled eagle; the bird unable to escape, threw himself on the back, and as the dog sprang at his throat, struck him with his claws, one of which penetrating the skull, killed him instantly, and caused his master the loss of a valued animal and one hundred dollars in the wager." "The bull-dog is possessed of less sagacity and less attachment than any of the hound tribe; he is therefore less favoured, and more rarely bred with care, excepting by professed amateurs of sports and feelings little creditable to humanity. He is of moderate size, but entirely moulded for strength and elasticity." He never leaves his hold, when once he has got it, while life lasts, hence he has become the type of obstinate pertinacity; and unflinching courage.
The Mastiff as Protector
Mr. Jesse gives the following story which he reprinted from a contemporary newspaper: "A most extraordinary circumstance has just occurred at the Hawick toll bar, which is kept by two old women. It appears they had a sum of money in the house, and were extremely anxious lest they should be robbed of it. Their fears prevailed to such an extent that when a carrier whom they knew was passing by, they urgently requested him to remain with them all night, which, however, his duties would not permit him to do; but in consideration of the alarm of the women, he consented to leave with them a large mastiff dog. In the night the women were disturbed by the uneasiness of the dog, and heard a noise apparently like an attempt to force an entrance into the premises, upon which they escaped by the back door, and ran to a neighboring house, which happened to be a blacksmith's shop. They knocked at the door, and were answered from within by the smith's wife. She said her husband was absent, but that she was willing to accompany the terrified women to their home. On reaching the house, they heard a savage but half-stifled growling from the dog. On entering they saw the body of a man hanging half in and half out of their little window, whom the dog had seized by the throat and was still worrying. On examination, the man proved to be their neighbor the blacksmith, dreadfully torn about the throat, and quite dead.
From The Universal Natural History, by Alfred H. Miles, Dodd Mead & Co., 1895