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.

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