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THE CIRCASSIAN ORLOFF WOLFHOUND
Yet another interesting variety of the Greyhound group is the Circassian Orloff Wolfhound. Although we have not had many specimens in this country, yet the variety is one that is worthy of encouragement, as it has a good appearance, activity, and strength to recommend k. Some seventeen years ago there was exhibited at the Crystal Palace Show a remarkably handsome specimen of this variety in M. Zambaco's Domovoy. This was a fine, upstanding dog, straight and strong in limbs, and in contour resembling a Scotch Deerhound, though shorter in comparison to height. In colour he was a cloudy red, with a useful if not very thick coat. He was a winner at many Continental shows and a descendant from winners. His weight and measurements are thus recorded: Weight, 83lb. ; height of shoulder, 32^in. ; length from nose to set-on of tail, 51 in.; length of tail, 26in.; girth of chest, 35in.; girth of loin, 21^in. ; girth of head, 17m. ; girth of fore-arm, 8in.; length of head from occiput to tip of nose, 11^in.; girth of muzzle midway between eyes and tip of nose, oil, ; length of neck from joint to shoulders, n^in.; girth round neck, 1-in. ; girth of thigh, 19m.; length of ear (important as showing purity of breed), 5in.; colour, fawn, mixed with black (wolf colour).
M. Zambaco, the owner of Domovoy, thus describes the variety: "The Circassian Orloff Wolfhound is the cousin of the Siberian Borzoi, but it has a few special characteristics that show it to be a distinct variety. The coat, instead of being wavy, as in the Northern animal, lies flat on the body, though it is about 2in. long. The hind part of the front legs, the thighs, and the lower part of the tail, are heavily feathered; the coat is longest about the breast and neck, forming a sort of frill. The legs of the Circassian dog are proportionately longer than those of the Siberian; the head is shorter, and the forehead not so sloping back between the ears; the eyes are more open; the colour is dark fawn or black. This hound is faster than the Siberian, and perhaps more intelligent, though both are suitable as companions; their aristocratic demeanour and most graceful attitudes make them the richest ornamental hound of the hall and the drawing-room."
As supplementing the information given by M. Zambaco, in respect of the colour it may be stated that the Circassian Wolfhound is always dark. The colour preferred is dark tawny or black, and fawn on back and other upper parts, shading off into a creamyfawn, almost white, on belly, lower thighs, and limbs.
By some of its admirers the Circassian Wolfhound is believed to be the Siberian transported to the southern mountainous regions, and altered in colour and minor characteristics by centuries of climatic influence This theory, however, is purely conjectural, whilst the structural affinity of both Circassian and Siberian hounds with our Deerhounds and Greyhounds suggest all of them as variations merely, and alike descendants of the same parent stock ; and the little light history throws on the subject points to the Greyhound of the old Celtic tribes as the origin of all.
THE PYRENEAN WOLFHOUND
Under various names, such as Pyrenean Sheepdogs, Pyrenean Mastiffs, etc., dogs of the Wolfhound type are sometimes met with at our shows. These are of stronger build, and shorter, in proportion to height, than the Borzoi, and shaggy. The whole head is thicker, and the skull rounder, although the muzzle is fairly elongated, and not approaching to the truncated Mastiff type. The ears are small, ppinted, and dropping. From an English point of view, so far as general conformation goes, the dog suggests a cross between a Collie and a Deerhound, and about 65lb. to 70lb. in weight. It is not of very prepossessing appearance, and is evidently a dog built rather for use than for ornament. The shoulders' are oblique.
The Pyrenean Wolfhounds look well fitted to tend mountain sheep, and to defend them from the attacks of such predatory animals as wolves and foxes. Their coats are thick and shaggy, especially in the vicinity of the neck, and very wiry, frequently of a rufous colour, slightly tawny, and of a lighter shade on throat, chest, and lower parts. The height appears to range from about 28in. to 3oin. The tail is rather long and tufted.
It is thought by many that the Pyrenean Wolfhound was resorted to to resuscitate the St. Bernard, at a time when that breed of dog was nearly extinct; and many St. Bernards, of good pedigree, that have attained to some notoriety here, by their general conformation and length of skull and muzzle, give substantial support to that view.
The Pyrenean Wolfhound appears at our shows in the class for any breed of foreign dog not specially classified in the schedule, which many foreign breeds, from their great popularity, now are. From the specimens awarded prizes as good representatives of the breed, it is evident no very clear idea of their special characteristics prevails with the judges, for dogs very different from each other have won. Well-known prize-winners have been Captain S. M. Thomas's Bilboa (K.C.S.B. 18,328), Miss A. Bodley's Congleton Bruno (K.C.S.B. 15,689), and Mr. R. Todd's Derwent Jumbo (K.C.S.B. 17,286)—all Crystal Palace winners; these were particoloured dogs—white, lemon, fawn, and black or tawny in parts. Colour, however, is not very material, as the variety is met with in practically every colour in which the Domestic dog is found.
The origin and history of the Scotch Collie as a distinct breed are still unsolved questions. There are no solid facts to base even a theory upon, and, as in the case of many other dogs, we are left to conjecture.
Professor Low, in "Domesticated Animals of the British Islands," says that the Terrier of the Highlands was anciently the shepherd's dog; and the Rev. Dr. Alexander Stewart says that the Collie is "the old indigenous dog of the British Islands," and claims for it the honour of being at once the Deerhound, Otter-hound, Sealdog, Terrier, and shepherd's dog of the Scottish Gaels. Fingal's dog Bran, he says, was "just an exceptionally strong and intelligent Collie; nor would it be easy to persuade me that the faithful Argus of Ulysses, in far-off Ithaca, three thousand years ago, was other than a genuine Collie of the same breed as the Fingalians more than a thousand years afterwards in the hunting-grounds of mediaeval Scotland and Ireland," who therefore, of course, are to be considered as identical with the Collie of to-day.
If we take Dr. Stewart's opinions as seriously meant, we can only reflect that the learned doctor, like many other worthy men, shows national predilection. Enlarged currency was given to Dr. Stewart's views by the substance of his contribution appearing afterwards as a leader in the Daily News, and that again being reproduced by the Fanciers' Gazette. If Professor Low is correct, the "ancient shepherds" of the Highlands exhibited less judgment than they are proverbially credited with when they resorted to Terriers to look after their flocks, especially as, according to Dr. Stewart, they possessed the real Simon Pure Collie.
The more likely theory with regard to the Collie's origin is that the dog is the result of selection carried on through a long series of years. There has been an attempt made by writers to circumscribe the national character of this dog by calling him the Highland Collie, as though he were peculiar to the North of Scotland. There appears to be even less justification for this than for calling the Old English Black-and-tan Terrier the Manchester Terrier, for