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places. As a matter of fact, too much attention and care cannot be given the poodle in the respect of tending and keeping his coat free from dirt, but he must not be combed or brushed, and the fingers must be used to separate the ringlets. Do not be afraid of soap and elbow grease, but beware of the first appearance of mange or skin disease. The latter is simply ruin to a poodle, at any rate for a time. Here, as in most other matters, prevention is far easier than cure. When the ringlets, where they are allowed to remain, grow to such an inordinate length as to be in the way of the dog, either so far as exercise or sight is concerned, they ought to be nicely tied up all round. Then the coat of the black poodle has to be dressed with some emollient, and nothing is better for this purpose than a mixture composed of a quarter of a pound of vaseline to half a pint of paraffin. This should be put into a suitable receptacle, which is to be placed in a heated oven and kept there until the concoction is thoroughly blended. It may be scented with any perfume fancy suggests, and must then be placed in a jar, kept covered, and applied when cold. This dressing, which will darken and brighten the coat of a black dog, is also suitable for brown poodles, as too much washing of the latter, transforms the dark chocolate shade into a somewhat mealy tint. Should the paraffin odour remain in the dog, an hour in the open air will soon remove any unpleasantness. The dressing should be applied about three times a week. White poodles require equal care in washing, and a great authority on the breed tells me there is nothing that keeps the coat whiter, and in better order, than Hudson's extract of soap, applied in the usual manner. In cases where neglect has caused the coat to become matted, it is best to cut off the unpleasant tags close to the skin. Particular attention, too, must be paid to cleaning the coat about and below the root of the tail. It should be frequently washed thereabouts—whenever it seems to be required. If these instructions are attended to and the poodle be given a little cooling medicine, such as Epsom salts or magnesia, in his food occasionally, he will not be found to harbour anything offensive about him, nor will the smell from his skin or coat be more objectionable than it is in an ordinary long-coated terrier or collie dog. Indeed, one admirer and connoisseur of the variety will have me believe that his favourite dog has not naturally any offensive smell whatever, and that where such is perceived, it arises solely through neglect.
Thus carefully have I entered into the management and keeping of the poodle as a house dog, because it is only used as such in this country, and because it is the dog above all others that, through neglect to its cleanliness, will become an eyesore, and offensive to its owner, when a little trouble will make it as pretty and as pleasant a dog as man or woman need desire. As to its intelligence and faithfulness, nothing further need be said by me.
Perhaps it may be fresh information to some who have kept poodles to know that this “wool" or “cords " can be used for manufacturing purposes, and although “poodle's wool " is not a mercantile commodity, the owner of a poodle can clip him, have the results made into yarn, and in due course converted into socks or similar articles of wear. One gentleman sent a sample of “poodle's wool” into Scotland, and forwarded me a specimen of the yarn spun from it. The dog from which it was taken yielded four pounds weight of wool, and many of the locks were eight inches in length and over, but the clipping was merely done in the first instance because the coat was falling off. As an old shepherd said when he was told of this, “Aye, aye, nea wonder sheep is sae cheap when these new-fangled dogs can grow four pound o' wool apiece.”
The sample of the yarn I saw was of a silky though rather hard texture, and the manufacturer called it “a very pretty wool;” the spinner said it was difficult to “teaze" because so badly matted, but he thought it likely to card and spin well. When made, the yarn is knitted into socks; the latter seem rather hard, and their wearer tells me, though they are “somewhat harsh and whiskery, they are calculated to create a healthy friction, and are well suited for a cold climate.”
One variety of poodle, or at any rate a cross bred poodle, is known as “the truffle dog,” although all truffle dogs are not poodles. “Stonehenge,” in his “ Dogs of the British Isles,” gives an illustration of a “truffle dog,” which appears to be a cross between a small curly-coated poodle and a terrier. These animals are trained for the purpose of finding truffles, an edible fungus that grows underground in some parts of this country. It is, however, commoner on the continent, in France, Italy, and elsewhere, where pigs are trained for the purpose of finding the dainty article. As a fact, almost all the truffles used in Great Britain are procured from the continent, though they are found in some localities of the south of England in considerable numbers, in Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorsetshire, Oxfordshire (Windsor Forest was once a notable place), and Kent, but no doubt it is produced in other situations where the land is of a chalky nature and where beech trees flourish. This peculiar fungus is said to be a connecting link between the animal and the vegetable kingdoms, as like the former it absorbs oxygen and throws off carbonic gas. Otherwise it is a vegetable pure and simple, but it is of most value for high-class cooking purposes. As an industry, the occupation of the trufflehunter is rapidly dying out. In Hampshire and elsewhere there are no young men springing up who seem inclined to follow in the steps of the old ones who have made a moderate living by gathering truffles for many years. This is especially notable in the Wiltshire villages, where a quarter of a century and more ago, families were supported by their heads who took trouble to train and keep their favourite strains of dog for the purpose. One of the chief truffle “hunters” at the time I write is Isaac Bray, of Winterslow, and he, now an old man, has followed the occupation for years. His dogs are well known, and there is always a demand for the puppies, which, before they are trained, are worth £2 or 43 each. Of course a properly trained dog is worth much more than that, and the owner of a really good one is