[This excerpt describes a number of regional breeds of greyhound. These are now either extinct or formed the foundation of the modern racing greyhound used for track-racing and not for bloodsports. In passing, it mentions that hares were farmed - covert-bred - for coursing.]


This variety stands at the head of the list as the provable root of all our modern subdivisions It is well known that the greyhound has been used in public at Newmarket longer than elsewhere, and that the greyhounds running there, being considered as of superior quality, have been eagerly sought after throughout the length and breadth of the land. Pedigrees almost always end in some dog or bitch said to have come from a kennel celebrated at Newmarket; showing either that this breed was superior to all others, or else that it was supposed to be so. The characteristics, therefore, of this dog are really those which are generally most highly prized, as shown by the avidity which has always been displayed to obtain the breed, which, until lately, was very difficult to procure. In the days of Lord Orford and Lord Rivers, no money could procure the best blood of their kennels, and their inferior drafts only were obtained, and often these were not to be had without great difficulty and favouritism. Since the time, however, of Lord Rivers' final sale, when his blood became generally dispersed, Captain Daintree first began the system of throwing open his best blood to the public at a fixed price; and his King Cob, with Mr. Fyson's Fantail, were advertised at £5 5s, as is now so commonly done. The consequence has been, that any person who can procure a bitch, and has the command of five or ten guineas, is enabled to obtain as good blood as the highest nobleman in the land, and can compete on favourable terms in any company of coursers, at least as far as his breed of greyhounds is concerned.

The characteristics of the true Newmarket greyhound are, therefore, those of the most racing-like dog, and are the result of a long selection from successful parents for many years past, over ground which is not so severe as to hold pace in abeyance, nor yet so confined as to make pace the only criterion. This was formerly more true of the ground at Newmarket than at present, as its character has been much altered by the encroachments of the railway upon the best part of it. The Newmarket greyhound, then, is a racing-like, speedy animal, yet possessed of as much stoutness as possible, in combination with high speed. HJs head and neck are of the most approved form, but perhaps a little too elegant and light to be thoroughly efficient - that Is to say, that, according to my ideas, there is scarcely sufficient room for a brain of volume enough to form a good centre of the nervous system. The chest is very deep, and of good volume, though often rather flat-sided; back scarcely so stout as it should be, thighs and hocks extremely well bent, and strong shoulders very slanting, light, yet muscular, and very moveable; fore-legs straight, and feet good, In action these dogs are very light and fast gallopers; and being generally of good size, they are able to beat most others to the hare. They are seldom very first-rate workers, being too large and fast to compete with slower and smaller dogs; but many of them have extraordinary powers of coming round with their hares, considering their speed and size. In effecting this purpose, most fast dogs of this breed turn by running a segment of a circle, without stopping themselves and starting afresh; and in doing this, they maintain their high speed In a wonderful manner; but this mode of working requires a very fast and racing hare to show Itself; for with a short-running or weak hare, these round-turning dogs are all abroad, and seem unable and even unwilling to exert themselves. But with a fast hare they show themselves to great perfection; and if they let in a closer worker, they go by him in the stretches again and again. In moderately-short courses, therefore, with fast hares, they beat everything not so fast as themselves; but in severe courses with hares which will not allow themselves to be killed, they exhaust their powers by their efforts, and then often suffer defeat by a dog which would perhaps never have reached the hare in question but for them.

This is one of the lotteries of coursing which makes the certainty of success so much more difficult in that pursuit than in any other; for as you can never tell beforehand either the length of the course or the nature of the hare, it is quite impossible to be always prepared to meet the exact difficulties which will have to be surmounted. The only thing therefore to be done, is to select the dog which will succeed in the greatest proportion of events out of a given number; and then, I think, the Newmarket variety, as above described, will always bear the prize. I do not mean that dogs such as now are used at Newmarket, but such as are descended from the best blood of those kennels which were victorious in the palmy days of that celebrated locality. The most successful of these, as sires, have been of late years Captain Daintree's King Cob, Mr. Fyson's Foremost and Figaro, both sons of his celebrated bitch, Frederica; Sir B. Smyth's Sherwood, Lord Stradbroke's Mariner, and Mr. Dobede's Defiance and Doron. From one or other of these celebrated dogs most of our present fast greyhounds in the south are descended, and many also In the north; and though In speed their stock are certainly rivalled, and perhaps even excelled in cleverness by some of the Yorkshire greyhounds, yet they are, in my opinion, stouter than those dogs, and on the whole superior to them.

They have been so intermixed with extraneous blood, that in the present day few pure Newmarket greyhounds are open to the public; the following being, as far as know, the only advertised Stallions of that breed, namely: Field-Marshal, Desperate, Damson, and Forerunner, by Figaro, out of Defiance bitches - Mirage, another of his sons (brother to Mockingbird) - Bourdeaux, also by Figaro, out of Cloak - Foremost, Jun., by Foremost - Esquire, Exchequer, and Jester, out of a Fantail-bitch -and Kentish Fire, out of Knab, by King Cob - Barrister and Dunkeld, by Doron - Steam Engine and Electric in Essex - and Mr. Harris' Baron, by Lincolnshire Marquis, but of blood bred purposely for Newmarket, The variously-crossed public stallions are so numerous as almost to prevent their enumeration; but they will more properly come under consideration after the exanimation of the breeds with which they are amalgamated. The Newmarket greyhounds are used in the counties of Essex, Surrey, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk. Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, and Lincolnshire,

The flats of Lancashire which are used for coursing are nearly all reclaimed land composed of perfectly level plains intersected by ditches; the soil ls peaty, and the greater part of it is cultivated by the plough; hence, the greyhounds for this country must be large and strong; and as the ditches which Intersect the fields, for the purpose of draining them, are rather numerous, they must be possessed of sufficient tact and cleverness to avoid mistakes at those impediments to the course, The soil is very dead and non-elastic, from the presence of the peat either at the surface or close beneath it; and the gallop, which is the most telling on It, is rather a longer one than that which is the best suited to sound turf or a sandy soil. From the absence of hills, also, the faculty of climbing them is not called into play, and consequently there is no necessity for that formation which enables the greyhound to surmount then. Speed, therefore, is the chief element of success, and in the soft soil of the reclaimed land many a dog is able to stop himself, who would be a very wide runner on the downs of Wiltshire, the sound land of Yorkshire, or the lowlands of Scotland. It must not, however, be supposed that stoutness is not required on this kind of ground, for, on the contrary, it will be seen by those who attend the Lytham and Altcar meetings, that many of the courses are of great length and severity; and, on account of the want of elasticity in the soil, they are of a most distressing character, Indeed, when a good Lytham hare is able to get away from a brace of greyhounds, she leads them such a dance us is seldom witnessed elsewhere, because, having often no home, she is obliged to persevere till she shakes them entirely off by running them to a standstill. Nevertheless, greyhounds run through more seasons in that country than elsewhere, because they are seldom lamed, there being no flints or fences to do any damage; and as nothing makes a dog cunning so soon as the running him when in pain, so the absence of this condition ensures his going on without the appearance of any lurching propensity.

With all these advantages to bis favour, it has resulted that the Lancashire greyhound has not been improved to the same extent as his Newmarket rival; just as we often see the best natural soils in the worst state of artificial cultivation, so the greyhound which has the easiest task, and is the least tried by adverse circumstances, is really a worse animal in the long run than his more hardly-used antagonist. In shape and make the Lancashire greyhound very nearly resembles the Newmarket dog, but does not show such high breeding in any of those points which are considered signs of that quality; the head is not so lean, and the jaw is coarser; there is even less development of brain than in the Newmarket greyhound, and the neck is shorter and thicker, though still long enough for the purposes to which it is applied. In general-size he is, perhaps, a little above the standard of Newmarket, some of the most celebrated dogs having been 28 Inches high and 70 lbs in weigh; as, for instance, Tyrant, Emperor, Earwig, Priam, and Sandy.

Most of the Lancashire dogs have a very long stride, and I am inclined to believe that this is a very important feature in their conformation, since, from the nature of the soil, it is not well adapted for those quick short strokes which are often successful on sound and short turf. Nevertheless, a good Newmarket greyhound, when used to the ditches, has generally succeeded in carrying off the Lancashire prizes, and that blood has latterly been extensively introduced by the Altcar and Lytham coursers. When, however, a really good specimen of the auld Lancashire greyhound has made an appearance there, nothing has been able to come near it; and the wonderful performances of Cerito will long be remembered in that neighbourhood. This bitch was entirely of Lancashire blood, and was exactly suited to the ground she won her triumphs on. Her stride was enormous, and consequently she was not successful upon hard ground like that of Amesbury and Market Weighton. But, putting her exceptional case on one side, during the last 12 years in which the Newmarket blood has been so much tried at the Waterloo-cup meeting, greyhounds of the true Lancashire breed have been victorious four times, whilst the true Newmarket have succeeded twice. Again, a cross of that breed with the Scotch has won the much-coveted prize once, in the person of Hughie Graham; against the same feat on the part of the combination of Newmarket and Lancashire in Sackcloth, and the Lancashire and Scotch in Judge; so that it stands thus - Lancashire, 7; Newmarket, 2; Lancashire and Scotch, 1; Lancashire and Newmarket, 1; and Newmarket and Scotch, 1: total, 12. In the runners-up during the same period, there were however only four Lancashire dogs and one Newmarket, the remaining seven being made up of five single specimens of the various crosses and two Scotch greyhounds, Larriston und Scotland Yet. It will thus be seen that the former great superiority of this breed on its own ground has not been maintained of late, and that others have had, with the single exception of Cerito, quite as good a chance during the last eight years. Still, the Lancashire blood is more fitted for Its own plains than for other and more hilly countries, and consequently it is not often that its votaries are tempted to try their luck elsewhere, Sometimes, however, a good dog of this breed is successful on other ground, and the running of Sackcloth in Wiltshire will not soon be forgotten. It may be said that he is partly Newmarket, and certainly such is the case; but Lancashire can lay claim to three-fourths of the honour, he being only one-fourth Newmarket blood.

Most of the Lancashire greyhounds are descended from very old blood, that is to say, blood which has been bred in-and-in, though not too closely, yet in the same families; and the consequence is that it tells very much in those dogs of which it composes a part. In this respect it resembles the Newmarket, and when the two are combined It is difficult to say which will predominate, though, as far as my observation goes, I am inclined to think that the Lancashire has the superiority in persistence. The chief public Lancashire stallions are now - Sefton, by Scythian, out of Syren; Syntax, by Marquis, out of Synecdoche; Port, brother to Mr. Borron's Bluelight, a very successful stallion, but only used in private by that gentleman; Pirate; Marquis, son of Marquis and Syren; Leander, Juggler, and Columbus. Many good dogs of part Lancashire blood are in existence, and some are used for stud purposes. Those crossed with the Newmarket are - Sackcloth, already descrbed; Ranter, uniting the blood of Figaro, Bugle, and Marquis, with the Nottingham Violet; War Eagle and Wrestler; Jingo, brother to Staymaker; Haymaker, by the last-named dog; Clown, by Emperor, out of Mistley; and last, though not least, Mr. Brown's Bedlamite, which unites the Newmarket with the Nottingham blood; for, as this last is more nearly allied to Lancashire than any other, It may be considered as identical with it.

The scene of the struggles of this greyhound is different, again, from either of those already described. being of a most varied character; sometimes the fine turf of Malton or Huggate is the ground selected; next, perhaps, the flinty and sandy hills of Market Weighton will be run over; and, finally, the rougher and stronger soil of Burneston. The length of course is not often very great, because the hares are most of them covert-bred, and are only driven out for the occasion of the meeting; they, therefore, lie near their homes, and seldom afford too long a contest. From these causes it results, that while speed is still the most sought after, cleverness is the next in importance to the Yorkshire courser, and stoutness is less thought of than is the casa where the courses are more severe. The Yorkshire greyhound, therefore, is characterized by speed as great as that of Newmarket or Lancashire, coupled with a degree of cleverness rarely seen elsewhere; but, at the same time, sullied by a softness and tendency to lurch greater than is often met with further south. They are also of great size, but are rather coarse in their shapes, seldom having any appearance of blood, but looking ragged-hipped and useful, rather than level or elegant. No greyhound can beat them when in the humour, and the performances of Charles XII. and his descendants, among which are his nephew and grand-nephews, Velox, Rattler, and Assault, will make this blood remarkable for pace and cleverness,

This breed may be said to extend to the borders of Scotland, where it becomes intermixed with that blood. The chief public stallions are - Velox now very old, and his sons Assault, Rattler, and Wellington, in which there is a cross of the bulldog, through Raimes' Rattler; Croton Oil, Admiral, Beverlac, and Young Cedric, which are not quite pure, but as much so as most greyhounds; and Dutchman and his son Black Cap, brother to Restless. The cross with the Lancashire is shown In Juggler, by Worcester Marquis, and that with the Newmarket in Mr. Bagge's Trafalgar, who unites the blood of King Cob, Minerva, and Defiance, with that of Charles XII. and the Lincolnshire Marquis strain; also, in Sam and Tout, showing nearly the same combinations.

This variety is composed of more varied strains than either of those I have already described, and is really now generally more English than Scotch. Thus, if we examine the pedigrees of its most successful stallions it will be found that they almost all go back to a denizen of one or other of the English kennels. Mr. Sharpe's Monarch, the most remarkable perhaps of their stud-dogs, is almost wholly English; and Lord Eglinton's Waterloo was half English, being a son of Mr. De Burgh's Exotic, an importation from the south. Lord Eglinton's Rufus, also, was in great measure of Lancashire blood, being a grandson of Ball's Bugle. But Dr. Brown's doge, Sport and Chance, were, I believe, of pure Scotch blood; and Mr. A. Graham's rough breed, though much crossed with the blood of Bugle, were otherwise entirely Scotch. All these various sorts differ with one another in many most essential particulars, and certainly they might be split up Into sections quite as easily as the Newmarket, Lancashire, and Yorkshire greyhound, which resemble one another quite as much as the descendants of Mr. Sharpe's Monarch, Mr. A. Graham's rough breed, or Dr. Brown's Sport. But still, though differing in some points, they all partake of some characteristics in common, not the least of which is their early maturity. Puppy stakes have long been a prominent feature in the Scotch courser's card, and consequently he has bred a good deal for that purpose. Now, to ensure early maturity, there must be not only a frame which is rapidly set and furnished, but there should be a disposition to acquire tact and cleverness without much practice; of which there cannot be any great amount in the case of puppies engaged to appear in those public stakes that are run In October and November. From these causes it has resulted, that speed coming first, as it ought always to do in the estimate, early maturity and tact have next been considered in the scale; and the sire whose puppies have come out victorious in the produce-stakes, has been overwhelmed with applications for his services.

These peculiarities have been very apparent in the Jason's, the Heather-jock's, and Mr, A. Graham's blood; while the descendants of Waterloo and Sport, with many others of the old Scotch blood, have not stood that test so well, and have consequently been rejected. The Jasons are particularly remarkable for early maturity in working power, often seeming to run their second or third hares as cleverly as they ever do after long experience. This is also the case with the Heather-jocks, as shown in Rufus and his sister Blackbird, and in Haphazard and his son the Nutman. Quickness and cleverness is their forte, together with a great degree of hardihood of constitution and power of bearing punishment, though often coupled with an uncertainty of temper, for which there is no accounting, Their power of stopping themselves, and getting away from their turns, is quite distinct from the Newmarket sweep; and though they are nearly, if not quite as fast as those dogs, they are greatly their superiors with a short-running or bad hare. With a very fast one they do not seem to me to be able to sustain so well the prolonged racing pace, either from a want of courage or of wind, or both perhaps; but when it comes to a continuance of severe work, few dogs can come up to them.

The stock of Sport more nearly resembles the Yorkshire strains in every respect; while the rough breed of Mr. A. Graham must have a separate consideration, There are now few public stallions of pure Scotch blood; but the following, I believe, strictly come within that designation, viz. - Wigan, Stanley, Larriston, Eccletechan (of doubtful blood, but said to be a grandson of Waterloo), Jamie Forest, and Blue Baron. Hughie Graham and Bonnie Scotland combine the Scotch and Newmarket, as do also Vraye Foy and the Curler, Puzzle'em, and the Nipper - all four sons of Sir Jas. Boswell''s Jason. Motley and Martinet, again, combine the Scotch, Yorkshire, and Newmarket; and Japhet and Fugleman unite the two former with the Emperor and Bugle blood, which has been so successful on all kinds of ground.

Of this breed, in its pristine purity, I know nothing; but I have seen some of the greyhounds largely crossed with the blood, and exhibiting all the roughness of the original strain. Their speed seems great, but, as far as I have seen, not quite first class. It is, therefore, chiefly as a means of improving the southern breeds that it has been used, and with a considerable degree of success, All those which I have met with of this blood have been light in the loin, and apparently deficient in power there. This, however, is said to be accidental, and that the best specimens were remarkably good in that point. The characteristics of this breed are great size and good speed, with considerable working power, but some little deficiency of quickness They are not very fast from their turns, but with a straight-backed hare they show well, and are able to lie well down, running the line of the hare, and bending with her without much apparent distress or trouble at the turns.

They resemble the deerhound in external form, but differ in their power of stooping; the latter always carrying their heads high, whilst the former drop it well between their fore-legs. They are very hardy, and capable of sustaining any amount of punishment, and on that account are well calculated for crossing with the more delicate south-country breeds; but, as these are now much more accustomed to bear cold and hardships than they formerly were, the use of the rough greyhound has been a good deal superseded, and it Is consequently neglected by most of the Scotch breeders. Mr. A. Graham, however, still adheres to this cross; and an opportunity will soon be afforded again of testing its value. Mr. Ridgway has also used it lately with success, having bred a very good litter of puppies by Motley out of Holyrood, one of Mr. A. Graham's blood. In addition to these, many of the Lancashire and Cheshire breeders have adopted a somewhat similar strain in Mr. Moore's Derwentwater, who is descended from Mr. A Graham's Gilbertfield; and in the south the celebrated Mockingbird has been put to Mathematics, a grandson of Mr. A. Graham's rough bitch Mavourneen. The result of this cross is a very beautiful litter of large racing-like greyhounds, and {f their performances are equal to their looks, they will do much for the reputation of this much neglected variety of the animal we are now considering.

Lastly, as the most distinct variety, I shall describe the Wiltshire greyhound, which is intended for a peculiar hare, and a down-country; and, when well marked and of pure old blood, he is a very different animal from the five already described. The downs of Berkshire and Wiltshire are well known to most coursers, but to those who have never seen them I must observe, that they are composed of an undulating plain of fine turf mixed with light arable land, which is, however, cultivated without fences of any description. There is, consequently, no let or hindrance to hare, dogs, or horses; and not only do the greyhounds run their courses without risk of being thrown out by any kind of fence, but the judge ls able to see the whole of the work from end to end. Hence, stoutness here has full play, and many a course is won by the slow and small, but lasting dog, who has never made a point of merit in the first half of the course. But as long as the judge is called upon to decide by estimating the value of points according to the present fixed rules, so long must this be the case; and, as the lesser of two evils, the principle must be carefully supported. Stoutness is no doubt a very fine quality, but without pace it is, in my opinion, of little value; and though I despise the soft brute which shuts up in three or four hundred yards, I have no greater affection for the slow one which could not come near him during the time he was at work. Neither is to my taste, though each will often win a stake in consequence of a run of luck favouring his particular efforts.

The pure old Wiltshire greyhound was formerly bred exclusively for the extraordinary hares which are generally met with at Amesbury and the Marlborough Downs, or sometimes, though not so often, at Ashdown Park. These hares are generally fast, but they also have the power of throwing out even the best worker in a style quite different to the Lancashire and Yorkshire variety. Hence, the Wiltshire dog has been bred especially strong and stout-hearted, to cope with them, and with as much speed in addition as could be obtained. Stoutness, however, was the grand characteristic, and true running also, as essential to a continuance of those exertions after punishment which all coursers desire. It is well known that those greyhounds which do not naturally run the line of the hare much sooner take to “cheek” her than those which adhere to her line, and ran only at her scut; and hence it was found by experience that a true runner lasted much longer over the Wiltshire Downs, where he often is severely punished, both by excessive length of courses, and also by the sharp flints so common there. Such is the general style of the true Wiltshire greyhound; and when examined more closely, it will be seen that he is not of very great speed, but that his power of stopping himself and getting away from his turns is the remarkable feature in his characteristics. These dogs, when once they get to a short-running hare, are glued to her scut, and no ordinary dog can put them out again; hence they often, after losing a turn or two, get In and make a dozen wrenches before they allow another point to be made. In the meantime the faster dog is becoming savage; and when he has a chance he cuts his own throat by picking up his hare with a rush - thus deciding the course against himself.

The Wiltshire greyhound is very often a small, stout, and terrier-like dog; but many of the best old Wiltshire breed were of larger size; as for instance, Billy-go-by-‘em, who, if not bred from Wiltshire strains, was used entirely for that country, and has left some good descendants to carry on the peculiarly true style in which he excelled. Wiltshire Marquis himself was a small dog, and so were most of his stock; but some were of good size, and when crossed with the Newmarket blood in Royalist and Figheldean, they showed good size and pace, together with the same true and close running already described. As far as I know, there are no true Wiltshire greyhound stallions, for the breed has become nearly extinct as public performers; but numerous crosses are open to selection, as with the Newmarket In Forward, the Czar, Factotum, Lablache, and Fire-office; and with the Lancashire also in Neville, though his Wiltshire blood was that of Mr. Goodlake's Gracchus, who was more calculated and Intended for Newmarket than for Amesbury or Ashdown; and also with the Scotch in Lopez and Egypt

Such are the varieties of the greyhound. The next thing to consider is the selection from them of the individuals to form the foundation of the breeding-stud.


CHAPTER X. PECULIAR CHARACTERISTICS OF VARIOUS STALLIONS; Greyhounds divided into Newmarket - Wiltshire - Lancashire, Scotch, and Yorkshire Varieties. – Descriptions and examples of each.

[Brief excerpts only to show developments since the 1857 work.]

In accordance with general custom, more than with any real division at present existing, I shall consider the greyhound as consisting of five leading varieties; though they have been so much intermixed for many years past, that scarcely any pedigree can be considered as strictly local. These four classes are

1. The NEWMARKET, including the greyhounds used in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, and part of Lincolnshire.
2. The WILTSHIRE dog, confined chiefly to Wiltshire, Berkshire, Dorsetshire, and the Cotswold Hills.
3. The LANCASHIRE, extending over the whole of the Midland counties of England; and
4. The Scotch greyhound, which is sufficiently described by his name.
5. The YORKSHIRE, or NORTH OF ENGLAND, also defined in the same way.

The YORKSHIRE greyhound must be alluded to as a distinct breed, though, like the others I have mentioned, he is now nearly extinct.

The Scotch Greyhound was brought to great perfection by Dr. Brown, Lord Eglinton, Mr. A. Graham, Mr. Sharpe, Sir Jas. Boswell, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Jardine, and Mr. Gibson. It can scarcely be considered as a distinct variety, for its sub-varieties are as numerous as the names of the above gentlemen.



vBulletin analytics