« ForrigeFortsett »
CHA PT E R XVIII.
PERHAPS I may be taken to task for introducing the above Chinese dog in a book purporting to deal with British modern varieties. However, the Chowchow is now so common amongst us, he has classes specially provided for him at our leading exhibitions, that he could not with any degree of satisfaction be passed entirely over. Mr. Moore shows by his pencil what the dog is like in the flesh as we have him here, but not as he is butchered and hung up for sale in his native country. Our Chow-chow—a native of the Celestial empire —is so called because he is used edibly, “chowchow” being a “pigeon English" expression for food. At home he is common for that purpose, is butchered in the usual fashion, and may be seen any day hanging up in the meat shops in Canton and elsewhere; and the flesh looks very nice and dainty too. As a fact, the Chinese do not give their dogs so much animal food as we give ours, feeding them A A
mostly on rice. They believe that the flesh of the dog possesses unusual medicinal properties, but what these properties are we barbarians here have yet to learn. Alongside these carcases of dogs may be seen the four paws of poor pussy, which, suitably cooked, are considered a great delicacy, and evidently as much esteemed by the Chinese as pigs' feet are by the English and the natives of other countries. It is strange somewhat that whilst only the paws of the cat are eaten, the whole of our friend the dog is converted into food. The restaurants in Canton and in other large centres mostly provide dog soup; other savoury stews and ragouts are concocted from his flesh, and I am told that such are by no means unpleasant, and form in a great measure the usual food of the middle classes. Mr. W. K. Taunton, who is the great authority in this country on foreign dogs, kindly forwards me the following notes — “In China are found several different breeds of dogs, many of which bear a very close resemblance and are probably identical with some of the breeds of other countries. As an instance, there can be little doubt the hairless dog of China is the same as the Mexican hairless dog, and the crested dogs bear a striking likeness to the dogs which have
lately been exhibited and described as African sand dogs. There are also small spaniels which, though differing in type from our present toy spaniels, are in all probability distantly related to them. “The variety of Chinese dogs which is best known in this country is the one most commonly to be met with in its native country. This is the edible dog, sometimes described as the wolf dog, but better known here as the Chow-chow. They are undoubtedly a very old breed, in many respects resembling the Esquimaux and the dogs of the Arctic regions, especially in the carriage of tail, ears, and general expression. Scientists would find it an interesting inquiry to determine whether the Chinese dogs are bred from the canine race of the Arctic regions and Northern Europe or vice versd. “Many of these dogs have a very keen scent, and in the north of China, where I imagine they are of a somewhat larger size than elsewhere, they are used in packs for hunting purposes. “The orthodox colours of the Chow-chow are jet black and dark red. I have, however, seen many good specimens of a lighter colour, and at one time I owned a black and tan dog which was an exceptionally typical specimen. Whether this colour was the result of crossing the black and red I do not know, but as I have been frequently asked my ex