Irish Wolfhound Times
(Irish Wolfhound Database and Breed information Exchange)
Wolfhound and Deerhound
(Encyclopædia Britannica, edited by Hugh Chisholm 1910)
Wolfhounds. — Throughout the northern regions of both hemispheres there are several breeds of semi-domesticated dogs which are wolf-like, with erect ears and long woolly hair. The Eskimo dog has been regarded as nothing more than a reclaimed wolf, and the Eskimo are stated to maintain the size and strength of their dogs by crossing them with wolves. The domestic dogs of some North American Indian tribes closely resemble the coyote; the black wolf dog of Florida resembles the black wolf of the same region; the sheepdogs of Europe and Asia resemble the wolves of those countries, whilst the pariah dog of India is closely similar to the Indian wolf. The Eskimo dog has small, upright ears, a straight bushy tail, moderately sharp muzzle and rough coat. Like a wolf, it howls but does not bark. It occurs throughout the greater part of the Arctic regions, the varieties in the old and new world differing slightly in colour. They are fed on fish, game and meat. They are good hunters and wonderfully cunning and enduring. Their services to their owners and to Arctic explorers are well known, but Eskimo dogs are so rapacious that it is impossible to train them to refrain from attacking sheep, goats or any small domesticated animals. The Hare Indian dog of the Great Bear Lake and the Mackenzie river is more slender, gentle and affectionate than the Eskimo dog, but is impatient of restraint, and preserves many of the characters of its wild ally, the coyote, and is practically unable to bark.
Greyhounds.—These are characterized by slight build, small ears falling at the tips, elongated limbs and tails and long narrow muzzles. They hunt entirely by sight, the sense of smell being defective. The English greyhound is the most conspicuous and best-known member of the group, and has been supposed to be the parent of most of the others. The animal is thoroughly adapted for extreme speed, the long, rat-like tail being used in balancing the body in quick turns. The favourite colour is a uniform sandy, or pale grey tone, but characters directly related to capacity for speed have received most attention. The Italian greyhound is a miniature greyhound, still capable of considerable speed but so delicate that it is almost unable to pull down even a rabbit, and is kept simply as a pet. The eyes are large and soft, and a golden fawn is the colour most prized.
The Scotch deerhound is a larger and heavier variety of the English greyhound, with rough and shaggy hair. It has been used both for deer stalking and for coursing, and several varieties exist. The Irish wolfhound is now extinct, but appears to have been a powerful race heavier than the deerhound but similar to it in general characters.
Greyhounds have been bred from time immemorial in Eastern Europe and Western Asia, while unmistakable representatives are figured on the monuments of ancient Egypt. The existing Oriental varieties are in most cases characterized by silky hair. The hairless dogs of Central Africa are greyhounds employed chiefly in hunting antelopes, and there are somewhat similar varieties in China, Central and South America. The whippet is a local English dog, used chiefly in rabbit coursing and racing, and is almost certainly a cross between greyhounds and terriers.
The lurcher is a dog with the general shape of a greyhound, but with a heavier body, larger ears and rougher coat. Lurchers are cross-bred dogs, greyhounds and sheepdogs, or deerhounds and collies, being the parents.
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