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The Greyhound

The Greyhound is the oldest and most conservative of all dogs, and
his type has altered singularly little during the seven thousand years
in which he is known to have been cherished for his speed, and kept
by men for running down the gazelle or coursing the hare. The earliest
references to him are far back in the primitive ages, long before
he was beautifully depicted by Assyrian artists, straining at the
leash or racing after his prey across the desert sands. The Egyptians
loved him and appreciated him centuries before the pyramids were
built. In those days he wore a feathered tail, and his ears were heavy
with a silken fringe of hair. His type was that of the modern Arabian
Slughi, who is the direct and unaltered descendant of the ancient
hound. The glorious King Solomon referred to him (Proverbs xxx. 31)
as being one of the four things which go well and are comely in
going--a lion, which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away
from any; a Greyhound; an he goat also; and a king against whom there
is no rising up.

That the Greyhound is comely in going, as well as in repose, was
recognised very early by the Greeks, whose artists were fond of
introducing this graceful animal as an ornament in their decorative
workmanship. In their metal work, their carvings in ivory and stone,
and more particularly as parts in the designs on their terra-cotta
oil bottles, wine coolers, and other vases, the Greyhound is
frequently to be seen, sometimes following the hare, and always in
remarkably characteristic attitudes. Usually these Greek Greyhounds
are represented with prick ears, but occasionally the true rose ear
is shown.

All writings in connection with Greyhounds point to the high
estimation in which the dog has always been held. Dr. Caius, when
referring to the name, says The Greyhound hath his name of this word
gre; which word soundeth gradus in Latin, in Englishe degree, because
among all dogges these are the most principall, occupying the chiefest
place, and being simply and absolutely the best of the gentle kinde
of Houndes.

It was not until the reign of Queen Elizabeth that coursing in England
was conducted under established rules. These were drawn up by the then
Duke of Norfolk. The sport quickly grew in favour, and continued to
increase in popularity until the first coursing club was established
at Swaffham in 1776. Then in 1780 the Ashdown Park Meeting came into
existence. The Newmarket Meeting in 1805 was the next fixture that
was inaugurated, and this now remains with the champion stakes as
its most important event. Afterwards came the Amesbury Meeting in
1822, but Amesbury, like Ashdown, although for many years one of the
most celebrated institutions of the description, has fallen from its
high estate. Three years later came the Altcar Club. But it was not
until eleven years after this period that the Waterloo Cup was
instituted (in 1836), to win which is the highest ambition of
followers of the leash.

At the present time the run for the Waterloo Cup, which at the
commencement was an eight dog stake, is composed of sixty-four
nominations, the entry fee for which is P25. The winner takes P500,
and the cup, value P100, presented by the Earl of Sefton, the runner
up P200, the third and fourth P50 each, four dogs P36 each, eight
dogs P20 each, and sixteen dogs P10 each. The thirty-two dogs beaten
in the first round of the Cup compete for the Waterloo Purse, value
P215, and the sixteen dogs run out in the second round for the
Waterloo Plate, value P145. The winner in each case taking P75, and
the runner up P30, the remainder being divided amongst the most
forward runners in the respective stakes. The Waterloo Cup holds the
same position in coursing circles as the Derby does in horse racing.

The National Coursing Club was established in 1858, when a stud book
was commenced, and a code of laws drawn up for the regulation of
coursing meetings. This is recognised in Australia and other parts
of the world where coursing meetings are held. The Stud Book, of which
Mr. W. F. Lamonby is the keeper, contains particulars of all the
best-known Greyhounds in the United Kingdom, and a dog is not allowed
to compete at any of the large meetings held under Coursing Club rules
unless it has been duly entered with its pedigree complete. In fact,
the National Coursing Club is more particular in connection with the
pedigrees of Greyhounds being correctly given, than the Kennel Club
is about dogs that are exhibited; and that is saying a great deal.
It holds the same position in coursing matters as the Jockey Club
does in racing. It is in fact, the supreme authority on all matters
connected with coursing.

Various opinions have been advanced as to the best size and weight
for a Greyhound. Like horses, Greyhounds run in all forms, and there
is no doubt that a really good big one will always have an advantage
over the little ones; but it is so difficult to find the former, and
most of the chief winners of the Waterloo Cup have been comparatively
small. Coomassie was the smallest Greyhound that ever won the blue
ribbon of the leash; she drew the scale at 42 lbs., and was credited
with the win of the Cup on two occasions. Bab at the Bowster, who
is considered by many good judges to have been the best bitch that
ever ran, was 2 lbs. more; she won the Cup once, and many other
stakes, as she was run all over the country and was not kept for the
big event. Master McGrath was a small dog, and only weighed 53 lbs.,
but he won the Waterloo Cup three times. Fullerton, who was a much
bigger dog, and was four times declared the winner of the Cup, was
56 lbs. in weight.

There are very few Greyhounds that have won the Waterloo Cup more
than once, but Cerito was credited with it three times, namely, in
1850, 1852, and 1853, when it was a thirty-two dog stake. Canaradzo,
Bit of Fashion, Miss Glendine, Herschel, Thoughtless Beauty, and
Fabulous Fortune, are probably some of the best Greyhounds that ever
ran besides those already alluded to. Bit of Fashion was the dam of
Fullerton, who shares with Master McGrath the reputation of being
the two best Greyhounds that ever ran. But Master McGrath came first.
During his remarkable career in public he won thirty-six courses out
of thirty-seven, the only time that he was defeated being the 1870
at his third attempt to win the Waterloo Cup, and the flag went up
in favour of Mr. Trevor's Lady Lyons. He, however, retrieved his good
fortune the following year, when he again ran through the stake.

Fullerton, who, when he won all his honours, was the property of
Colonel North, was bred by Mr. James Dent in Northumberland. Colonel
North gave 850 guineas for him, which was then stated to be the
highest price ever paid for a Greyhound. He ran five times altogether
for the Waterloo Cup, and was declared the winner on four occasions.
The first time was in 1889, when he divided with his kennel companion
Troughend. Then he won the Cup outright the three following years.
In 1893, however, after having been put to the stud, at which he
proved a failure, he was again trained for the Cup, but age had begun
to tell its tale, and after winning one course he was beaten by Mr.
Keating's Full Captain, in the second. This was one of the two
occasions upon which out of thirty-three courses he failed to raise
the flag. On the other he was beaten by Mr. Gladstone's Greengage,
when running the deciding course at Haydock Park.

It appears like descending from the sublime to the ridiculous to
mention the Greyhound as a show dog, after the many brilliant
performances that have been recorded of him in the leash, but there
are many dogs elegant in outline with fine muscular development that
are to be seen in the judging ring. Mr. George Raper's Roasting Hot
is one of the most prominent winners of the day; he is a fawn and
white, as handsome as a peacock and, moreover, is a good dog in the
field. On one occasion after competing successfully at the Kennel
Club Show at the Crystal Palace, he was taken to a coursing meeting
where he won the stake in which he was entered. A brace of very
beautiful bitches are Mr. F. Eyer's Dorset Girl and Miss W. Easton's
Okeford Queen.

Although, as a rule, the most consistent winners in the leash have
not been noted for their good looks, there have been exceptions in
which the opposite has been the case. Fullerton was a good-looking
dog, if not quite up to the form required in the show ring. Mr.
Harding Cox has had several specimens that could run well and win
prizes as show dogs, and the same may be said of Miss Maud May's fine
kennel of Greyhounds in the North of England. In the South of England
Mrs. A. Dewe keeps a number of longtails that when not winning prizes
at the Crystal Palace and elsewhere are running at Plumpton and other
meetings in Sussex.

The following is the standard by which Greyhounds should be judged.

* * * * *

HEAD--Long and narrow, slightly wider in skull, allowing for
plenty of brain room; lips tight, without any flew, and eyes
bright and intelligent and dark in colour. EARS--Small and fine
in texture, and semi-pricked. TEETH--Very strong and level, and not
decayed or cankered. NECK--Lengthy, without any throatiness, but
muscular. SHOULDERS--Placed well back in the body, and fairly
muscular, without being loaded. FORE-LEGS--Perfectly straight, set
well into the shoulders, with strong pasterns and toes set well up
and close together. BODY--Chest very deep, with fairly well-sprung
ribs; muscular back and loins, and well cut up in the flanks.
HIND-QUARTERS--Wide and well let down, with hocks well bent and close
to the ground, with very muscular haunches, showing great propelling
power, and tail long and fine and tapering with a slight upward curve.
COAT--Fairly fine in texture. WEIGHT--The ideal weight of a dog is
from 60 pounds to 65 pounds, of a bitch from 55 pounds to 60 pounds.

Next: The Whippet

Previous: The Borzoi Or Russian Wolfhound

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