Although different species of wild dogs or wolves may have been responsible for some breeds of dogs, like those used by the Eskimo, and although Egyp tian pictures made more than five thousand years ago show that even then various breeds had been developed, yet most of our common breeds have been developed in Europe and England within a few centuries. It is interesting to note that pictures painted by great artists showing dogs in hunting scenes, have helped much in revealing the history of different varieties.
Since dogs were tamed first to become the compan ions and protectors of man, so the different breeds have been developed to meet the needs or fancies of man. For instance, the bulldog was originally a large dog used for general purposes, but the need for a dog by butchers and others to subdue wild and fierce bulls developed a dog with strong jaw and grit to match. At first the bull was led by the ear, and naturally a large rather tall dog was needed for that ; later, the bull was led by the nose and a smaller, short-legged dog was needed for that, and thus the bulldog as we know him was evolved.
In ancient times there were many robbers that preyed upon people who lived in isolated houses, and strong, fierce watch dogs were almost a neces sity; these were called “bandogs”, and from them was developed the mastiff. The great Dane came from a race of dogs prized by the Greeks and Romans in hunting fierce wild game, like the wild boar. The greyhound gained his slender body and long legs because man needed a swift dog to help him catch, for food, swift animals like rabbits and deer. Later the foxhound was developed to hunt foxes for sport; and the long-bodied short-legged dachs hund was evolved to go into the burrows of badgers and rabbits and thus capture these creatures. The great St. Bernard came into being by aiding the monks of Switzerland in keeping to the safe roads in deep snows, thus enabling travelers to reach the hospices in safety. The Newfoundland probably developed itself as a water dog since in that country it had to eat fish or starve and therefore learned to catch fish for itself. It thus gained its webbed feet.
The spaniel was first used to start game birds for falcons both on land and water, as records five hun dred years ago show ; and the setter was also early developed as a dog that would sit down as soon as it located game, but pointers were probably developed independently. The spaniel, as its name indicates came originally from Spain. It was first used to spring feathered game for the hawk ; while the sitting spaniel or “setter” was used to start birds to be caught in a net; and the pointer was used to point game which the hunter shot with the cross-bow, all before gunpowder was invented.
From ancient times almost every country had its sheep dogs, for one of the earliest needs for a dog was to aid nomadic man in guarding his flocks of cattle, sheep and goats. In the British Isles there have been developed three kinds of sheep dcgs r the smooth coated, the bobtailed, and the collie. The collie was developed in the Highlands of Scot land, but f om what ancestors we do not know; he is famed for his loyalty and sagacity in caring for sheep, but he was scarcely known outside of Scotland before 1860. Now he is a favorite in every civilized country, and is highly appreciated for his intelligence and beauty. Every one inter ested in collies should read “Bob, Son of Battle,” for this book gives a true picture of the skill cf these wonderful dogs in their native Highlands.
The terriers seem to have originated in England and are of hound origin, probably a mixture of fox hound or wolfhound and deerhound. They were probably mongrels of small size in that they were used to hunt badgers, foxes and rabbits in their burrows. They thus won their name, terrier, from the Latin terra, meaning earth. Although such dogs may have existed in England for several centuries, the many breeds of terriers known today have been developed mostly within the last century.
The toy dogs were especially developed as pets, and have no use whatever. The Pomeranian or spitz is descended from a large dog, and was developed in Southern Europe. The poodle has a spaniel origin, and the fashion of clipping his hair is at least three hundred years old, as is shown by pictures. The Maltese toy dog is descended from poodles. The pug is from China, and of very ancient lineage. The Pekinese and Japanese spaniels are also of a very ancient breed, and probably have common ancestors.