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Turning now to the contributions of my correspondents, I have received the following description of an “ideal” greyhound from Mr. James W. Bourne, well known in sporting literature as “ Brigadier," and the editor of the Greyhound Record :
It has always been, and no doubt always will be, a disputed point, what is the best size and weight for a greyhound; and the old saying that “a good big 'un must be better than a good little 'un” is no doubt correct to a certain extent. But often in trying to get size you lose quality, and a big, overgrown dog, although he will have a longer stride, cannot recover himself so quickly to repeat it as a smaller one. And I do not think it necessarily follows that the smaller dog, having to repeat his stroke oftener to cover the same ground, tires himself more than the bigger one. We have many instances of small dogs and bitches winning the best stakes — notably Master M'Grath, thrice winner of the Waterloo Cup,' who was only about 53 lbs. weight, whilst Coomassie, who won the cup twice and never suffered defeat, scaled only 42 lbs. Bab at the Bowster, winner of the Cup and many other good stakes, and perhaps the best bitch that was ever slipped, was about 44 lbs. Many more instances of good little ones could be given, but comparatively few of very good big dogs, though big bitches are, as a rule, more successful than big dogs. Selby was the heaviest dog that ever won the Waterloo Cup, he being, according to the Courser's Guide, 75 lbs. Fullerton was some ro lbs. lighter, and Miss Glendyne, who won the cup twice and the purse once, was 55 lbs.
My ideal of a greyhound for coursing should weigh from 60 to 62 lbs., or, if a bitch, 56 lbs. or a trifle over. The great essential is to have a good forequarter; perfect in head, neck, and shoulders, which should be oblique and muscular; well-muscled along the back, especially near the shoulder blades ; good strong loins ; well-sprung ribs with depth of chest ; straight and strong fore legs with strong feet, but the toes should be close together, and the joints well up, a flat or sprawling foot being very objectionable ; plenty of propelling power, and well-bent hocks behind. But the hindquarters are not so essential as the fore-as however well they may be developed behind, dogs never seem to have speed unless the forequarters are perfect.
The following are the critical comments and general
notes I have received on the type of the breed as it exists to-day :
MR. HARDING Cox.-The show and running types are very level, and require little to improve them. On the show-bench there is a tendency to pay too much respect to size, and amongst running greyhounds there is often too great a lack of bone and depth of brisket. Staying power is too often sacrificed to points of speed. There have been several Standards of Points drawn up, but there is little variation in these compilations. One very generally recognised is in the coursing volume of the Badmington Library, and as I was the author of it, I naturally agree with it. I love the greyhound for its antiquity and constancy to type ; for its great beauty of balance, its striking symmetry, its exemplification of a perfect piece of living speed machinery, and its highbred quality; and lastly, for the fascinating and exhilarating sport it affords in the coursing field.
MR. JAMES W. BOURNE (“Brigadier").-I am satisfied with type as far as greyhounds bred for public coursing. Those bred for the show-bench are more or less useless except for exhibiting, and more likely to deteriorate than improve the breed. In the values of points I do not think sufficient is given for the back, and too much to head and neck, and perhaps quarters. I should apportion them as follows :- Head and neck, 10; chest, barrel, and shoulders, 25; back, 20; quarters and loin, 25 ; legs and feet, 20—total, 1oo. To the true sportsman the delight in a greyhound is to see it turning and working a hare, and doing this in an artistic manner, losing as little ground as possible each time the hare doubles to avoid her pursuers ; and it is always a satisfaction to see a good hare ultimately escape. This cleverness in working makes the sport very different to whippet racing, where speed is the only essential of the animal will go straight up the course. The satisfaction to the pot-hunter is, of course, in seeing the hare killed. But I, for one, agree with Arrian, who, eighteen hundred years ago, wrote: “ Coursers—such at least as are true sportsmen-do not take their dogs out for the sake of catching a hare, but for the contest or sport of coursing, and are glad if the hare meets with an escape. If they see her fly to any thin brake for concealment, though they see her trembling and in the utmost distress, they will call off their dogs, and more particularly so when they have run well.”
Miss MAUD MAY.-I think much has been done to try and improve the breed of greyhounds, but do we get the staying power of fifty years ago ? The point values ought to be-Head and neck, 15; back and loins, 15; quarters, 15; legs and feet, 20; chest and barrel, 10; shoulders, 10; symmetry, 15—total, 100. I delight in greyhounds as being the most courageous and most graceful of all dogs, and, when kindly treated, the most affectionate companions. The fascination exists in trying to get one sufficiently good-looking to beat all others on the show-bench, or fast enough to outstrip all others on the coursing field. Coursing with greyhounds has always been a favourite sport with ladies. Perhaps one of the most enthusiastic votaries of the sport was the lady whom Goodlake mentions in his work on coursing, published in 1828, who resided near Ashdown Park. She scarcely passed a day in the season without coursing on the downs the whole of the morning, sometimes walking a distance of 25 or 30 miles. A portion of the epitaph on her tomb, written by herself, runs as follows:
Reader, if ever sport to thee was dear,
This harebrained heroine did deride! MRS. A. DEWÉ.--I am not satisfied with show-bench type. The present greyhound, often fancied in the ring, would be useless for the purpose for which it was intended---namely, coursing ; although, of course, many excellent dogs are shown, and seem to have improved during the last year or two very much. I am dealing with the greyhound as one of our oldest sporting dogs, as well as a show one. It would be absolutely impossible for some of the greyhounds much fancied at the present time in the ring, with poor quarters, wheel (not arched) backs, flat sides with no heart room, and no muscle at the shoulder, to get to the end of a small, much less a big stake. Their long necks would not help them, for, as a matter of fact, some of the finest killers ever seen have had short necks. In studying the breed of a dog we should look for its aim, and not at “fancy type” (which we in the greyhound world do not recognise), set up by people who in all probability know nothing of the sport, and care less. I have always been very fond of greyhounds from my youth, and have bred them largely for twenty-one years with fair success. I have found them most interesting from a sporting point of view--very faithful, intelligent companions, and splendid watch-dogs.