made a great pet of, and was nearly always his constant companion. Not having another dog, he taught her to retrieve, which she would do perfectly both by land and water. For the ordinary prairie chicken and willow grouse work she became very perfect, and was so untiring that she would frequently accompany him on his rides of sixty to eighty miles, ranging the prairies for long distances while his horse pursued his even course along "the trail." The writer always carried a gun strapped to the saddle in a thick cover, and his saddle-bags were often full of game when he arrived at his destination.

One evening he was returning home after a long, wearying ride, and it was just getting dusk when he missed the dog. He whistled for some time and was getting uneasy, when she appeared, in a great hurry. He was riding on, when she ran in front of the horse, and stood pointing dead at him. He pulled up and said, " What's up, old girl? Go on and tell me." She raced back in great glee, and, pointing at intervals to let him keep up, went back along the trail for a quarter of a mile, and then going into some bush on the right, stood like a statue. He was off in a moment, got a right and left at a lot of chickens, marked the rest down, luckily on the road home, and got six more of them to single points. Ever after that she never failed to carry out the plan that she had invented and had found so successful. She would range away a mile or more out of sight as her master was travelling, suddenly appear, in a great hurry, and then lead him back to some game she had found and left in order to fetch him. She would do more than this. Prairie chicken very frequently lie in belts of a willow called cotton-wood, and it is very difficult, if one is alone, to get a shot at them. This dog, after making a point in a place of this sort, would turn round, sit down, and look at her master; having thus indicated what to expect, she would make a wide circuit in the wood and get in front of the birds, which usually run away from a dog, quietly and calmly like turkeys, she would head them, "round them up" when they required it, and, pointing and drawing, would drive them quietly out exactly to the spot where her master was concealed. She very often got the whole lot thus into the open, and then would stand and look round for him; thus, of course, it was easy to get one's shot and very often to mark the covey down again. It did not, however, much matter about this latter, as if she once knew the direction which birds had taken, she was bound to find them again if you would let her, as she would go on hunting for miles in wide circles till she did.

She got cleverer and cleverer at this game as time went on, until at last she became the most "killing" dog to shoot to that it was possible to have.

The following incident in her career corroborated to a great extent a favourite theory that the writer has long held—viz. that when a dog's intellect is cultivated, he is fully capable, if no obstacle is put in his way, of the further cultivation of it himself almost to any extent.

One day the writer was out shooting with this bitch, accompanied by one friend, in a very hard frost. There was hardly any scent of course, but she managed, with very great caution, to find several grouse at short distances. We had just arrived at the corner of a copse of willows, at the bottom of which was a river. Belle, who was soberly trotting a few yards in front of us, suddenly stopped, pointed for a second towards the wood, then looked round, and scurried away down the outside as fast as she could go. Without a word being spoken, we drew behind a tree and waited. We saw the bitch disappear in the wood close to the river, and then there was silence for a few minutes. Of course we thought that she was after her old dodge of driving grouse to the gun. By-and-by there was a mighty crashing in the interior of the copse, accompanied, to our utter bewilderment, by a furious barking, and then within five yards of us there emerged two deer, with Belle close behind them. We were, alas ! only charged with shot, so we contented ourselves with shooting at one only, and our four barrels stopped him in a few hundred yards.

Here is another instance of intelligent reasoning. The writer was shooting alone with a Setter and a Retriever on a Cornish moor, when a woodcock rose in a bit of brush. It was an awkward shot between the trees, and he went on apparently unhurt. Now, there was a narrow belt of thin wood on the left hand and a marsh below, and the Setter took the two in her range. The writer noticed that she stopped for a moment at one place in the brushwood, but thought nothing of it. A couple of hundred yards or so farther she pointed a snipe, which was killed. As the Retriever was coming up with it, the Setter looked at the writer from her down charge with a most quizzical gaze, and then got up and ran back as hard as she could pelt. The old Retriever, standing still with the snipe in her mouth, looked at her with wonder. Away she went out of sight, and in a few seconds came tearing back, spit a woodcock out at the writer's feet with awful disgust, and then went on hunting. There seems to be no doubt that, seeing the Retriever bring the snipe made her think she ought to have done the same with the dead thing she had seen and left back in the brush, and that she at once proceeded to atone for the omission.

The following shows also a natural reasoning power in a Setter, even when it had not been cultivated. He was a Llewellin, and good, though not nearly as good as the generality of that strain—in fact, his education had been neglected: he had just been " broken," and nothing more. He did not seem to have any "gumption" about anything, would go down wind just as fast as up, and of course put up birds by the score. Whenever therefore the writer went into a field down wind, he always took him up till he got the full breeze in his face This was done for a few days, and the dog improved very much. One afternoon, having to beat a very long, narrow piece of roots, the writer would not take the trouble of going to the end, but went in down wind and let the dog go. He immediately went to the hedge and along it to the top of the field, and then beat it in perfect form back up wind, and after that he never failed to do the same thing.

As showing what extraordinary noses some of these Llewellins have, here are two instances of two different dogs, both on grouse. The first was a puppy in his first season, a tremendous galloper and carrying a very high head. The writer was beating a gently sloping open moor, on the left were three or four large hillocks, and on these and their surroundings the heather had been burned. The dog was ranging well ahead of the gun and taking quarters of about half a mile in length, when suddenly throwing up his head higher than one would have thought any dog could get it, he raced to the top of one of these bare hillocks and there stood like a tower. In front of him there was bare, burnt ground for at least a hundred yards. "Hare gone away, sur," said the keeper. "Hare be blowed!" was the writer's reply. Walking up to the dog, he drew him on and on and on, no tracks or signs of grouse being visible. Now he becomes perfectly rigid, and up gets a covey of about thirty under his nose. The keeper stepped the distance to where the dog first stood on the hillock, and it was 401yds. The birds, of course, might have run, but they certainly did not run those first hundred yards of bare ground, and the rest was very thick heather.

The second instance was also with a young dog, who had been well shot over for the first month on a Scotch moor. Grouse were now few and wild, and the writer wanted to get some photos of two of the dogs on point. A gun was carried just to encourage them. By-and-by one of them comes to a fine point, and (we, had had a very long walk to get it) he was photographed in due form. Now, it was rather a mean thing to do, but we wanted to save time, so a lead was put on the pointing dog, and the other behind him was enlarged. This also was a particularly good-nosed dog. He galloped on into the wind and never made a sign; after giving him several casts, he was taken up and the first again enlarged. Once more he at once made the point, and putting a handkerchief down to mark the place, the writer drew him on for 103yds., where lay a grouse stone dead and nearly cold that had been killed by a hawk.

There are some Setters, too, that have the extraordinary faculty of going up to game in a field without beating any other part of the said field. The most remarkable instance of this seen by the writer was as follows: We had been shooting a wild manor where birds were very scarce, and had beaten a certain turnip-field with good cover twice already, and killed several things in it. Immediately after leaving this field for the second time three single birds were marked back into it. The Llewellin bitch the writer was working was a well-known clipper, and it was not worth while to go to the end of the field to get the wind, so he let her go clean down wind. She went straight to the end of the field, threw up her head, galloped a hundred yards or so, and dropped. That was bird No. 1. Then in a straight line to the second and in like manner to the third. All three having been slain, she took one sniff of the wind, and then sauntered calmly up a drill and lay down to await us at the gate.

A whole volume might be filled with anecdotes such as these as to the intelligence, the genius, and general character of the Setter.

What a pity it seems that it is considered better " form " nowadays to stand shivering in a butt or under a hedge and slaying hecatombs of driven game than to watch the surpassing genius of the dog, exercised for our sake to provide us with real, genuine sport. Ah !" the old order" has passed away, never to return. "Sic transit gloria mundi!"



Whether the dog under consideration should be called the Blackand-tan or the Gordon Setter is a subject open to controversy; but of one thing there is no doubt, as the authentic records of breeders prove, that many of the best modern Black-and-tan Setters have a large commixture of that Gordon Castle blood which became in the early part of last century so famous as to stamp the varietal name of Gordon Setters on its possessors.

Whether the original colour was black-and-tan or black, white, and tan, is doubtful, and the question has been debated at great length in the Field and other periodicals, and it would be futile and quite impossible in such a brief monograph of this breed to reopen the question. Suffice it that the balance of opinion seems to favour the statement that the black, white, and tan was more greatly in evidence at this early date when the general body of sportsmen began to take more practical interest and greater care in the breeding of those animals which ministered to their sport.

Every practical breeder is well aware that, given a parti-coloured race to begin with, it is easy by elimination to produce what he wishes, not in colour only but also in structural change. Fashion has its cycles in dogs as in everything else, and in those early days, as it is now, it was not a difficult matter for one strong breeder to produce his own ideal, and by perseverance to induce many followers and believers. In this way one can explain how our numerous varieties of dogs have originated, and in our exhibitions of dogs at the present day we have examples of the original breed diverging in type and outward appearance to such an extent that none but an expert could possibly associate these various varieties with a common ancestor, and that of a comparatively recent date.

Admitting that the Black-and-tan Setter had a common ancestor with the English and Irish Setters, most probably from a setting Spaniel, as our earliest authorities seem unanimously to assert (Daniel, in his "Rural Sports" quotes from a document

« ForrigeFortsett »