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best I ever saw. They were very fast, most indefatigable, had capital noses, carried their heads well, and found their game at a very great distance. These dogs could hunt every day, and no day was too long for them. They were large, but beautifully made and very handsome; colour, black and white; much feathered about the legs and tail. Dogs of this description are more suitable for grouse shooting than for any other sport; in fact, their speed is thrown away in field shooting, except it be in those districts where the fields are from fifty to a hundred acres; but pointers, perhaps, are better calculated for partridge shooting, as they hunt closer and more cautiously than setters, the latter being apt occasionally to run over birds if too fresh, and not kept under by sufficient work, especially when they are young.
For pheasant shooting, where they are thin, and not over-preserved, so as to make dogs not requisite, there is no dog equal to the Sussex spaniel; but in these times of preserving, pheasants are generally so numerous, that a few beaters and a retriever are all that are required. In strong covers, furze, or thick hedge-rows, spaniels afford excellent sport; very little game escapes their close hunting and excellent noses, but a relay of them is necessary, as they will seldom work throughout the day, especially if the covers are strong and thick, and a little wet at starting in the morning, and they take so much more out of themselves than any other dogs at the commencement of the day, being more eager and vivacious; their subsequent melancholy aspect when done up towards evening, affords a very striking contrast to their lively and sprightly appearance in the morning. For woodcocks there is no dog equal to them. A steady old pointer or setter may be made good for cocks, but they will never find half the quantity that spaniels will flush. This I have found from experience, having tried both on alternate days in a good cock country, the result being always most decidedly in favour of spaniels. No bird lies closer than a cock when he is not wild; consequently, a low-scented, close-hunting dog must have the advantage, in addition to his inferior size, enabling him to get under bushes and other places where a pointer or setter, even if disposed, could not so easily pass; but close as woodcocks lie on particular days, they are sometimes very wild; and when this is found to be the case, it is advisable to beat down wind as much as possible, otherwise you may not get a shot.
When dogs are working hard, it is of the utmost importance to have their food ready for them immediately on their return .home, as they will then eat with appetite what they require, before they get upon their benches; whereas, were the food not ready, they would retire to their beds, and be indisposed to move even when the food was brought; and if forced from their benches, would soon return without eating half the quantity requisite. The consequence of this neglect and inattention, if persisted in, would be a falling off in condition, and inability to do regular work. Some dogs are very shy feeders, and require much attention on the part of those whose duty it is to take care of them; and it will be frequently necessary not only to feed these alone, but to humour and coax them, and sometimes feed them with the hand. By the neglect of this many a valuable dog is lost, the feeder being indifferent about his dogs, and merely placing the food in the kennel, leaving each dog to take his chance. The sportsman must either see his dogs fed himself, or have a trustworthy person to look after them; otherwise, he will meet with serious disappointment .
Dogs are easily kept in good condition by judicious and careful management; but, when once neglected, quickly fall off, and do not readily regain condition. There is no part of a keeper's duty to which the vigilant eye of the master ought to be more constantly and unremittingly directed, than that which involves the feeding of his dogs and other minor attentions to them; such as cleanliness of the kennel, a constant supply of clean water, and dry, clean straw. Upon attention to these particulars depend their health, strength, and efficiency in the field. The unwholesome atmosphere of a dirty, neglected kennel must impair the sense of smell; hence the necessity of the greatest attention to cleanliness where pointers and setters are concerned, their efficiency depending so much upon the organ of smelling, and its healthy condition.
If a dog returns home apparently tender upon his feet, they should be washed with warm potliquor. If a foot be sore, the dog should on no account be taken out till he be quite recovered; a few days' rest, which is the only certain remedy, with the assistance of his own tongue, which is more healing than anything that can be applied, will soon restore him; if, on the contrary, you persevere in working him, you may lame him to such an extent that he may be useless for weeks. When the soreness is slight, and you cannot manage without the dog, a boot may be tried; it must be made of thick, soft, pliable leather, fastened by a lace. I have known many a dog work well in this manner without injury to his foot. The only difficulty is to fasten it in such a manner that it will not come off. Cessation from work is, however, the only safe plan; the opposite course frequently not only produces protracted lameness, but fever, and general disability. Stimulants are sometimes used with effect in incipient cases, but will be of no avail except accompanied by rest. The stimulants usually recommended are sulphate of zinc, which may be used alone in a diluted form, or oil of vitriol, with some tincture of myrrh.
DISEASES IN DOGS.—THE DISTEMPER.
Although there are many elaborate works on canine pathology containing all necessary instruction as to remedies, cure, &c, so that any remarks on the subject by a non-professional person might appear superfluous, still as a work on shooting might be considered incomplete which did not contain a few remedies for some of the most prevalent and troublesome complaints to which dogs are liable, I will afford such information as I possess, accompanied by remedies which I have found, from long experience, to be most successful. With regard to the distemper I can however offer no certain remedy, neither do I think that any has been discovered, although many profess to have an infallible specific. To such I would merely observe, that it would only be bene