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Not one of our British dogs has had such justice done to him by writers on canine matters as the greyhound. He has always been popular, and, being probably the oldest of his race, no doubt quite deserves all that has been said and written of him. So far back as the second century, Arrian gives us a long and painstaking work on coursing, which, in 1831 was admirably translated from the original Greek into English by George Dansey. In 1853 that great authority on the greyhound, "Stone-henge," produced his excellent and reliable work, and I fancy the latter will survive as the best of all for very many years to come.
Whether, in the first instance, our earliest dogs hunted by sight or scent I am not going to attempt to decide here. Both forms of "venerie" may have been followed at the same period; the deer and the hare hunted by sight, the wolf, stag, or other beast, by scent. The earliest coursers, dating back to what may be called the uncivilised period of our history, were assisted by nets, and then by bows and arrows, in taking the game, for at that period there were few cultivated stretches of land, free from forest, of sufficient extent to allow the long courses common at the present day. However that may be, greyhounds pretty much of the shape and form they are found now were known prior to King Canute's time, when no one of less degree than a "gentle-man" - possibly a freeholder - was permitted to keep greyhounds.
Mr. Gardner Wilkinson, in his great work on Egypt, gives copies from the Egyptian monuments of dogs used in coursing being taken to the ground in slips, and loosened therefrom in the modern manner, and no pains were spared to properly train the hounds for this sport. Two of these are similar to our greyhounds, though perhaps shorter on the legs, two are more like our modern pointer or foxhound, others resemble a Borzoi or Russian wolfhound, whilst a fourth type is like a big coarse, smooth-coated Irish wolfhound. These were the hounds kept at the time of the Pharoahs. Centuries before the Christian era Xenophon had used greyhounds for coursing which had been sent by the Romans from Britain, and Ovid describes the "greedy Grewnde coursing the silly hare in fields without covert."
In the British Museum there is a fine old sculpture of two greyhounds fondling each other, and this was taken from the ruins of Antoninus, near Rome. In Dansey's translation of Arrian there is an excellent engraving of this beautiful work, and other sculptures of even an earlier period are to be found, in which the greyhound type of dog is predominant. Confined however, to the "gentleman," coursing could not become very popular, especially when even he "was not allowed to take his greyhound within two miles of a royal forest unless two of its toes were cut off." Even so late as 1853 each greyhound had a tax to pay of 22s. each, whilst other dogs, maybe of equal value, could be kept at a charge by the State of from 15s. 4d. to 8s. 2d. each.
However, still keeping to old times, we find our old sporting sovereign King John, receiving, in 1203, "two leashes of greyhounds," amongst other valuables, in return for the renewal of a grant to a certain right, and the same monarch repeatedly took greyhounds in lieu of money where fines or penalties had been incurred and forfeitures to the Crown became due. Two of these are on record, one being "five hundred marks, ten horses, and ten leashes of greyhounds;" the other "one swift running horse and six greyhounds." Thus early, we read of a brace (two) and a leash (three) of greyhounds, when ordinary hounds were known in "couples." It has been said, though there is no proof in support of the assertion, that the "Isle of Dogs," some four miles from the city of London, obtained its name from the fact that certain of our monarchs had kennels of greyhounds and other dogs there.
In the times of the earlier King Edward, Kent must have had some notoriety for the excellence of its greyhounds, for, according to Blount's "Ancient Tenures," the land owners in the manor of Setene (Sittingbourne) were compelled to lend their greyhounds, when the King went to Gascony "so long as a pair of shoes of 4d. price would last."
The erudite Froissart tells the following story of Richard II. which, maybe, redounds as little to the credit of the wretched sovereign as to the dog; for the one proved grossly superstitious and the other exhibited a degree of faithlessness that one does not expect to find in a hound. The king had a favourite greyhound called Mithe, his constant attendant, and so attached to his master that it would follow no one else. One day Henry, Duke of Lancaster and the king were talking together, when suddenly Mithe left his royal master and commenced to fawn upon the duke, whining and showing such pleasure as he had never before done to a stranger or even to a guest. Lancaster expressed his astonishment at the behaviour of the greyhound, but the king said, "Cousin, this bodeth great good for you, as it is an evil sign for me. That greyhound acknowledged you here this day as King of England, as ye shall be, and I shall be deposed. Mithe knows this naturally, so take him; he will follow you and forsake me." And the story concludes that ever after the dog forsook the weak and vacillating Richard II., became the companion of his "cousin," and, in the end, affairs turned out as the king had prognosticated.
Henry VIII. was fond of coursing, and records are extant of his losing money therein by bets, which he made with Sir William Pickering, Lord Rochford, and others. The Royal coursing meetings sometimes took place in Eltham Park. There appears to be a peculiar fatality attending these royal attachments to the greyhound; for we have Charles I. with one as a companion. "Methinks," said he to Sir Philip Warwick, "I hear my dog scratching at the door. Let in Gipsy."Whereupon Sir Philip, who opened the door and let in the monarch's favourite, took the boldness to say: "Sire, I perceive you love the greyhound better than you do a spaniel?" "Yes," replied the King, "for they equally love their masters, and yet the hound does not flatter them so much." This unfortunate monarch met his death on the scaffold.
But let us leave such a troublous period, and at once enter upon that epoch in the history of the greyhound when he was used much in the same fashion as he is to-day. In Elizabeth's reign the first rules and regulations as to coursing were drawn up at the instance of the Duke of Norfolk, and they are very similar to those of the present day. That dog which led to the hare, won, if no other points were made; the hare had to have twelve score (?) yards law; two wrenches stood for one turn; a go-by was equal to two turns. If a dog that led and beat his opponent stood still in the field, and refused to go further he lost the course; if, by accident, a dog was run over in his course, the trial was void, and he who did the mischief had to make reparation. There were other regulations likewise, but this short summary will show how closely they approach the rules in force at the present time.
In 1776, the Earl of Orford established the Swaffham (Norfolk) Coursing Club, the earliest of its kind, and contemporary writers tell us this was the turning point in the popularity of the sport. In 1798, the club numbered twenty-four members, there being one vacancy, and in addition there were the lady patroness, the Marchioness of Townsend; vice patroness, Countess of Cholmondeley; assistant vice patroness, Mrs. Coke, and one honorary member, the Earl of Montraith. Following Swaffham in 1780 the Ashdown Park Meeting was established by Lord Craven, Lord Sefton, and Lord Ashbrook, and this exists at the present time, and is by far the oldest established coursing meeting we possess. The Altcar Club, established in 1825, and the Ridgway Club, in 1828, still amongst the leading meetings of the year, are well supported, and appear to have a. long and useful existence in front of them. Swaffham was resuscitated on more than one occasion, and in 1892, and ever since, meetings have been held there. Other old fixtures that may be mentioned were Malton, in 1781; Louth, 1806; Newmarket, 1805; Midlothian, 1811; Ardrossan, established a few years later, and, although there is no specific date given, Mr. W. F. Lamonby, the keeper of the "Stud Book" believes that the Biggar meeting was in existence prior to the present •century, but like many other of the early gatherings, it has long been discontinued.
Mention has already been made of Lord Orford, a nobleman of great sporting proclivities, and of unusual eccentricities. If reliance can be placed upon the "Sportsman's Cabinet," published in 1803, and I believe there is nothing to the contrary, it contains some particulars of greyhound coursing just prior to that date that may be of interest. His lordship's bitch Czarina is said to have won forty-seven matches without being beaten. She had no puppies until about thirteen years old, when she gave birth to eight, all of which lived and coursed. The last match that Czarina ran took place when her owner, confined to the house, was supposed to be watched by an attendant. However, just as the two greyhounds were slipped, Lord Orford, looking wild as he was, and ill, came on to the field riding his piebald pony, and no one could restrain him from his anxiety to view the course and gallop after the dogs to see his favourite bitch win, which she did. The trial was barely over when Lord Orford fell from his pony, and, pitching on his head, expired almost immediately.
Afterwards his greyhounds were sold, and Czarina with the pick of the kennel purchased by Colonel Thornton, at prices ranging from thirty guineas to fifty guineas apiece. These appear to be pitiful sums when compared with the 850 guineas Fullerton produced in the sale ring in 1888, and, though the matches run by Czarina cannot be compared with the work done by the late Colonel North's crack, both having, comparatively speaking, a similar record, the two may be placed side by side.
Major Topham's pure white dog Snowball, up to the close of last century, was said to be the best greyhound yet produced, and was a cross between the Norfolk and Yorkshire strains, each equally fashionable at that time. Snowball won ten pieces of plate and forty matches, and his owner accepted every challenge that was made for him to run, irrespective of the kind of country, rough hills, abounding with fences, or otherwise. Whether the greyhounds of that day had greater staying powers than those of the present time, or were not so handy with their teeth, or the hares were stronger, we know not, but Snowball's chief performance was in a course "extending over four miles without a turn, including a hill half a mile (sic) in height, twice ascended." He is said to have won this trial with his sister, whom he beat, killing the hare close to Flexton. A dog like Master McGrath would have saved himself such a long trial by reason of his extraordinary skill with his teeth. Now, a greyhound must not only be fast, but a "good killer," to prove of extraordinary merit. Courses of four miles, "up and down a high hill twice," would quite preclude any modern greyhound getting to the end of a stake, when perhaps he might have four or five courses to run before being returned the winner. Major, a brother to Snowball, and both out of Czarina already mentioned, was said to be the faster of the two, but without the stamina of his brother; still he was successful in his matches, which at that time were much more common than they are now, when coursing meetings are more numerous.
The latter quickly attained the position they hold at the present day, for they afforded capital sport to the million at a minimum cost; they were the means of producing first-class dogs, and as now a man to keep a greyhound need not of necessity be a "gentleman," or of extraordinary means, coursing obtained a hold on the public second only to those gatherings which took place on the racecourse. Even at this time, say about 1850. the licence to keep a greyhound cost more than it did for any other dog, viz., 12s. 6d. This was an arrangement that the growing liberality of our Government soon abolished, and after various changes a greyhound has to pay but the 7s. 6d. duty, just the same as though he were a mongrel terrier. I do not know that anyone objects to this, or has hitherto looked upon the equalisation of the dog licence as specially dishonourable to those of the canine race which can lay claim to an ancient lineage.
Although a few years ago an attempt at a change in the general arrangements and conduct of coursing meetings was made by certain private companies, who gave large prizes, and arranged stakes for which the entry fee was £25, and of which more later on, they did not shake the popularity of our great gathering - that known as the Waterloo, and run over the flats at Altcar, not far from Liverpool.
No doubt this Waterloo meeting, which was established in 1836, and has been continued yearly ever since, is the most popular one of the kind ever held - the chief prize is valued at £500, the stake being made up of entrance fees by sixty-four subscribers at £25 each. A portion of the money goes to two minor stakes, the "Plate" and the "Purse," competed for by dogs beaten in the two early rounds of the Cup. It must be stated, however, that during the first year the Waterloo Cup was an eight-dog stake; in 1837 sixteen dogs ran, and from 1838 to 1856 thirty-two dogs competed. From the latter date till now the arrangements have been as they are at present. Here, as a rule, the best dogs in England, Ireland, and Scotland compete, and for an owner of greyhounds to win "the Cup" is an honour as high as that achieved by a racing man who wins "the Derby" - the Waterloo Cup is the blue ribbon of the leash. It may be said that there is actually no cup, but the winner of the honour, in addition to the stake already mentioned, receives a silver collar which he retains until the meeting following the one at which he won the stake.
Going back not many years there are met with such well-known names as Cerito, winner of the Waterloo Cup three times when a thirty-two dog stake; Hughie Graham, Larriston, Judge, King Lear, Captain Spencer's handsome dog Sunbeam, Mr. Blackstock's Maid of the Mill, Canaradzo, Cardinal York, Sea Rock, Roaring Meg, Chloe, Mr. G. Carruthers' Meg, Brigadier, Lobelia, Sea Cove, Bit of Fashion, Miss Glendyne, Greater Scot, Herschel, Mr. Pilkington's Burnaby; Bab at the Bowster, Pretender, Chameleon, Muriel, Peasant Boy, Gallant Foe, with Coomassie (only 44½lb. weight), the smallest greyhound that ever won the "Cup," and she did so twice. Of course there were other great greyhounds, but the blood of those above, or of many of them, will be found in the pedigrees of the most successful dogs of the present day.
The advent of Lord Lurgan's Master McGrath, as a puppy, in 1868, caused a great sensation. He was a rather coarse animal in appearance, but he could gallop faster than any dog he ever met, and was extremely "handy" with his teeth, i.e., he usually struck and held his hare after the first wrench or two. Thus he invariably made his courses short, while his subsequent opponents were consequently handicapped by longer trials. This son of Dervock and Lady Sarah, who was bred by Mr. Charles Galway, of Waterford, ran unchallenged through the Cup that year, and in 1869; in 1870 he was beaten by Lady Lyons (Mr. Trevor's, but running in Colonel Goodlake's nomination). The following year he succeeded in leading and beating every dog he came against, and had the honour of winning three Waterloo Cups out of four times trying - a feat which everyone thought would never be equalled.
Master McGrath was feted; he was taken to Windsor and introduced to the Queen, money would not buy him, and he died quietly in his kennels, in Ireland, at Brownlow House, near Lurgan in December, 1871. So popular were the victories of the great Irish dog with the people generally, that it was said the advent of another Master McGrath would do more to suppress sedition in Ireland than any Land Act or Home Rule Bill any Government might offer. This celebrated greyhound was black, with a few white marks on him; he weighed only 54lb., and, as already stated, was considered to be actually invincible in the work that he had done, winning in public thirty-six courses out of thirty-seven in which he competed.
But there was the Irish dog's equal, indeed, more than his equal, to come, and in 1888 Mr. James Dent, a Northumberland courser, who had already proved very successful with his kennel, had a puppy by Greentick - Bit of Fashion, by his favourite Paris by Ptarmigan - Gallant Foe; Paris was of the same litter as Princess Dagmar, who won the Waterloo Cup in 1881. This puppy, Fullerton, believed to be exceptional in speed and cleverness, before competing in the Waterloo Cup, was purchased by Colonel North (who died in 1896), at that time entering heartily into the sport of greyhound coursing. Eight hundred and fifty guineas was the sum given for the puppy, the highest price, stated publicly, ever paid for a greyhound, though privately, it has been said, much higher sums have been obtained.
A statement appeared that one of Colonel North's dogs, Young Fullerton by Greentick - Bit of Fashion,, and not sired by the dog his name would imply, had been sold by auction for 1050 guineas. This was incorrect, as the dog was not sold, and still remains in Colonel North's family. Fullerton's trials were so good that he started second favourite for the Waterloo Cup in 1889, and, as the great Irish dog had done a few years before, fairly spread-eagled all comers, and ultimately divided with his kennel companion Troughend. In 1890 Fullerton won outright; he did likewise in 1891, and being kept back for the following season's Waterloo, notwithstanding an indifferent trial that he had run in public, started once more a warm favourite and eventually won his fourth great victory.
But Fullerton's historical career was not yet ended. Placed at stud his list was speedily filled at the unprecedented fee of forty guineas, his worldwide reputation being indicated from the fact that several nominations were received by cablegram from the United States. He failed as a sire, so was again put in training and reserved to appear once more on Altcar's plain for the Waterloo Cup in 1893. No greyhound of his age, which was now six years, by those best able to judge was considered to have the remotest chance of running through such a stake without defeat. Still Fullerton was so popular with the public that he again started a very great favourite. How he struggled through his first course and was beaten in his second by Mr P. B. Keating's Full Captain - running in the nomination of Captain M'Calmont - is now a matter of history, and so, almost ignominiously, did the great greyhound close his career on the coursing field. He had placed stakes to the value of £1910 to the credit of his owner.
More misfortunes than the great one at Waterloo awaited Fullerton, for in March of the same year he was lost near London, and not recovered for some days, when he was found wandering about in a half starved condition by a walking postman. The grand old dog was taken to Eltham, Colonel North's residence, and there led a happy life until the death of his gallant owner early in 1896. Later he was presented to his breeder Mr. E. Dent, is still the favourite at Short Flatt Tower, and late in the same year was on view at one of the local dog shows in Northumberland. Shortly afterwards, "Vindex," the coursing correspondent of the Sportsman, told us that Fullerton, when having a ramble, came across a hare, which he chased and killed, running his course as truly and well as a puppy would have done. In all, this extraordinary greyhound ran thirty-three courses in public and only sustained two defeats, they being in the final of the puppy stakes at Haydock Park, where, after being hard run, he was beaten by Greengage, owned by Mr. Gladstone, and, as above stated, in the second round of the Waterloo Cup by Full Captain. Fullerton, a brindled dog, with a little white on him, scaled about 651b. weight when in training, and he, with Master McGrath, form the subject of the illustration immediately preceding this chapter. I need hardly draw attention to the great difference in build and general formation of the two best greyhounds that ever ran.
It is rather difficult to compare the respective merits of these two great greyhounds, which I have mentioned at considerable length because of their unsurpassed excellence. The Irish dog was certainly the better killer; maybe not quite so fast as the Northumbrian dog, who in his 1892 Waterloo also exhibited determination and gameness that must stamp him in that particular as second to none - nor did he lack the latter quality when defeated the following year. As an old dog Fullerton did not go quite so well as when in his prime, but he was as keen as ever, if not quite so perfect in covering his game. The year of Fullerton's defeat was a rather peculiar one so far as the Waterloo Cup was concerned, for the winner proved to be Count Stroganorf's Texture, a bitch that had been purchased at Rymill's Repository for 110 guineas, when she went into the possession of her fortunate owner, who is a Russian nobleman. Thus, low prices do not always mean inferior merit, and in the same season Ruby Red, who won at Carmichael, had been purchased just before for 13 guineas.
Mr. Russel's Red Rover and Rosary, who were successful at the same gathering, had been included in a London sale, and, not reaching their reserve of thirty pounds, returned to their old kennels, where they soon far more than paid for their keep.
There was another extraordinary dog, or rather bitch, that flourished between the years 1867 - 1870, by many good judges considered even superior to Lord Lurgan's and Colonel North's great dogs; but she was not, though her courses were run on a greater variety of ground than were those of either of the "cracks" already mentioned. Both were, it may be said, "bottled" up for the great meetings. But Mr. Blanchard's red or fawn bitch Bab at the Bowster, by Boanerges - Mischief, when brought out went in reality as well at Altcar as she did at the Scottish National, where she won the Douglas Cup on two occasions. She also ran second for the Waterloo Cup, won the Great Scaris-brick Cup twice, and during the three years she was to the fore had sixty-two courses to her credit and losing but five. "Bab" was a handsome animal, weight 471b., though perhaps not quite as speedy as Fullerton and Master McGrath, was quite their equal in cleverness, and well deserves her place here, for no other greyhound won so many courses in public. One celebrated performance of hers may be noted. This was at the Brigg meeting, in the Elsham Cup. Mr. Blanchard's bitch had a terrific course when running a bye, and after the trial had ended the hare got on to the railway line, and here she was run along the hard and rough "permanent way" for at least a mile before puss was killed. Although Bab at the Bowster was much exhausted when taken up, she divided the Cup next day. Some of these Lincolnshire hares were very strong, and, like those of Stranraer, Ridgway, and a few other places, often enough ran their pursuers to a standstill. Very different from those at our "inclosed meetings"!
It will be seen from what has been written that not one of this leash of celebrated greyhounds was of exceptional size. The late Colonel North's dog is the biggest of the lot. It is seldom indeed that the over-sized dog, even one so big as Fullerton, is good; he may be fast enough, but, as a rule, is awkward and ungainly when next the hare, and cannot turn in such little space as the smaller dog, who nicks in, keeps close on the scut of puss, and wins the course. Still, here, as elsewhere, a good big one will beat an equally good little one, the difficulty being to find a good big one. At the Altcar meeting in November, 1896, Mr. Leonard Pilkington ran two puppies, between which there was an extraordinary disparity in size, Pontarlier scaling 721b. and Pescara just half that weight. Both ran well, and are, undoubtedly, high-class greyhounds.
About twelve years ago, inclosed meetings for greyhounds were inaugurated, and I believe, during the time the most important ones continued, they seldom flourished. Considerable harm was done by them to the sport of coursing. They were g te-money meetings, run in inclosures, with hares that might have been turned down "the night before the race," for anything publicly known to the contrary. Puss was sent through an opening, near to which the slipper stood; he let her get away, then slipped his dogs. The hare had, perhaps, a distance of 800 yards to go before she reached a refuge, into which her pursuers could not enter. Usually she escaped; before doing so she might be turned a few times, but a very fast hare could reach the covert without being turned or wrenched by either dog. A thousand-pound stake was to be won at one meeting, at Kempton Park, not far from London. Big prizes were also provided at Haydock Park near Liverpool, where they did their best to breed their own hares, and at Gosforth, near Newcastle. However, with the exception of that at Witham, not one of them has proved pecuniarily successful, and it and the Massereene Park (Ireland) gathering are the most important of the survivors. They are, however, not encouraged by the older class of coursing men, who consider them too much like the rabbit coursing with terriers and whippets, so popular in the North of England, and affording more a test of pace than of the actual all-round merits of a greyhound.
The pedigree of the greyhound has for many years had considerable attention. The National Coursing Club, established in 1858, rules all matters appertaining thereto; and no dog can win a prize at any coursing meeting that has not been duly registered in the "Greyhound Stud Book," which costs a few shillings only, and those of "unknown pedigree" cannot compete at all.
The Council of the National Coursing Club is decided by election, those minor clubs with over twenty members each having the privilege of being represented in what may be called the coursing parliament. In 1895-6 there were forty-one members of the council.
Although a well-known coursing authority, named Thacker, started a coursing calendar about 1840-1, the present calendar was not commenced until 1857, "Stonehenge" being its first editor, and succeeding him, and until 1891, "Robin Hood" (Mr. C. M. Browne) "occupied the chair." At his death the duty devolved upon Mr. B. C. Evelegh. of the Field, writing as "Allan-a-dale." The first keeper of the "Greyhound Stud Book" was Mr. D. Brown, well known as "Maida" in the columns of Belt's Life and the Field for many years. During eleven years Mr. Brown most ably conducted the registration affairs of the National Coursing Club, and his retirement, on the grounds of ill-health, is a distinct loss to the "Stud Book." Mr. W. F. Lamonby, also on the coursing staff of the Field, is, as I write, keeper of the "Greyhound Stud Book." For a great many years Mr. Lamonby has been, and still is, well known by his contributions written over the name of "Skiddaw."
The recent publication of the Coursing Calendar contained reports and particulars of fifty - nine meetings for the season 1894-5. From this the extent of the sport may be judged, though some years ago its popularity appeared to be seriously threatened by legislation that gave a tenant the peculiar privilege to kill ground game on the land he farmed, irrespective of agreement to the contrary with his landlord. Though hares are scarcer in some parts than they were, the sport has not, in reality, suffered very much, nor with the support it receives on all hands, is it likely to do so in the near future.
And more recent legislation, affording hares a certain close time, during which they are not to be sold, may be the means of reviving some meetings that had already become defunct.
The greyhound as a "show dog" is a failure, rather than otherwise. With few exceptions, the best animals in the field have not possessed that beautiful shape and elegance of contour that is attractive in the ring. Master McGrath was as ugly a dog to look at, from this point of view, as could be imagined; Fullerton is better, but his appearance is by no means taking. Mr. J. H. Salter has had one or two good dogs in the field that could win on the bench, though Mr. T. Ashton's Jenny Jones was, perhaps, the most notable exception to the general rule, she having been so consistent a performer as to be heavily backed for the Waterloo Cup of 1888. This, however, she failed to win, though running into the last four, when she was beaten by Herschel, a dog of great reputation in the field, and, later, at stud. As a bench bitch she was about as good as anything of her day, which has been proved under many good judges. She died in 1894. In December, 1891, Mr. H. T. Clarke, of Abingdon, made what I fancy is a record, for his black dog, Carhampton, then over three years old, won second prize at Birmingham show, and the following week ran through a nine-dog stake at the Cliffe Coursing Meeting. A most unusual occurrence, for a greyhound in condition to run is not in a fit state to compete successfully on the show bench. Another "bench winner" and good performer was Mr. H. C. While's Maney Starlight, who was first at Birmingham in 1894-5, and won a stake at Newport, Salop, early in 1896. Her sister Scandia was also a good-looking bitch, and clever likewise, she taking part in the Waterloo Cup in 1895.
Bab at the Bowster was handsome enough for exhibitions - very much the stamp of Jenny Jones, - and Lauderdale, who for a long time, when shown by Mr. T. Sharpies, was perfection in shape and form, and a fast dog too, but it was said, "his heart was in the wrong place." The best show of greyhounds is usually to be seen at Darlington at the end of July, and the committee there have usually a "coursing" man to judge them.
Allusion has been made to Fullerton competing in the Waterloo Cup in his fifth season. Another old runner is Mr. J. McConnochie's Maut, who, when seven years old, ran a capital course at the Mid-Annandale Meeting in October, 1896, being unfortunate in being beaten in the second round through the hare favouring her opponent. As a rule a dog in his second season is at his best, and it is exceptional to find one running on with any great degree of success until his fourth season.
At the present time, the spring of 1897, there are a number of particularly strong kennels of greyhounds, and none more so than that of Messrs G. F. and C. J. F. Fawcett, of Lancashire, who, during the past few years, have been peculiarly successful - as a rule with dogs of their own breeding. In 1895 they ran second in the Waterloo Cup with Fortuna Favente, Mr. Pilkington's Thoughtless Beauty being the winner; but the following year they won the trophy outright with Fabulous Fortune. In 1891 the same kennel ran up with Faster and Faster, and achieved a similar position in 1892 with Fitz Fife. In addition, they have won at all the leading meetings, and are likely for some time to come to hold a leading hand in the sport of coursing.
Mr. Leonard Pilkington, St. Helen's, is almost equally successful, he winning the Waterloo Cup in 1888 with Burnaby, and in 1895 with Thoughtless Beauty, which was, however, run in the nomination of Mr. Carruthers. In 1886 his very fast and clever bitch, Penelope II., was runner up for the cup. In his kennel there are dogs and puppies of sufficient quality to lead one to believe that his successes have not yet been exhausted. The expenses of keeping a kennel of greyhounds are very high, and, although many of the stakes to be won are valuable, coursing can only be considered an expensive amusement, and we fancy that neither Messrs. Fawcett or Mr. Pilking-ton, with all their successes, have made it pay. In one season - 1885-6 - the latter won in stakes about £1900, and this included the Kempton Park £ 1000 stake, which was placed to the credit of the St. Helen's courser by means of his dog Phoebus. In 1894 the same owner's stakes amounted to £1100, but in the following year they did not reach £800. But the expenses of training, railway fares, etc, would, doubtless, far more than swallow up such sums, large though they seem. I should not be at all surprised to find Mr. Pilkington's total of £1900 for the season a record one, notwithstanding the recent triumphs of Messrs. Fawcett.
In Scotland, Sir W. Anstruther, Sir R. Jardine, Mr. J. Russel, Mr. W. Patterson, and others,, hold first-class dogs in their kennels. Ireland as coursers has Mr. G. J. Alexander, Mr. F. Watson, Mr. Swinburne, Captain Archdale, Mr. R. M. Douglas, and many others, most of whom have had or will have greyhounds which can hold their own anywhere. Gallant little Wales is not without her representatives, of whom the Marquis of Anglesea and Mr. T. Jenkins, Carmarthen, may perhaps be at the head. From Russia we have had Count Stroganoff competing successfully with hounds trained and bred in this country. Other leading kennels are those of Lord Masham, Yorkshire; Hon. O. C. Molyneux, Windsor; Mr. W. H. Smith, Kidderminster; Mr. J. Trevor, Lichfield; Sir T. Brocklebank, Lancashire; Dr. J. H. Salter, Essex; Mr. R. F. Gladstone, Lancashire; Colonel Holmes, Essex; Mr. J. Quihampton, Hants; Mr. F. E. C. Dobson, Durham; Messrs. Smith, Suffolk; Sir W. Ingram, M.P., Kent; Sir Humphrey de Trafford, Lancashire; Mr. H. Brocklebank, Lancashire; Mr. G. Bell Irving, Sussex; Mr. W. Paterson, Dumfries; Mr. R. Paterson, Biggar; Mr. H. Hardy, Cheshire; Mr. R. V. Mather, Lancashire; Mr. M. G. Hale, Suffolk; Mr. T. P. Hale, Suffolk; Mr. F. Waters, Lancashire; Mr. T. Graham, Cumberland; Mr. Hamar Bass, M.P., Derby; Mr. J. Haywood, Sussex; Mr. C. E. Marfleet, Lincoln; and Messrs Reilly, Cambridgeshire.
The following are the points and description of the greyhound as compiled by "Stonehenge," and adopted generally by all coursing men at the present day.
The head should be fairly large between the ears, the jaw lean, but by no means weak, as, if it were so, he would not be able to hold his game, and there should be little or no development of the nasal sinuses; the eye full, bright, and penetrating, a good eye is a sine qua non; ears small, and folding down when at rest, but raised in semi-prick fashion when animated; teeth strong and the mouth level (many of the show greyhounds are overshot, which gives the dog an extra long and smartly cut jaw); neck fairly long and a trifle arched rather than otherwise.
The shoulders must be well placed, as oblique as possible; the chest fairly deep, and as wide as may be consistent with speed. A "narrow-fronted," shallow-chested greyhound is no use. There should be good length from the elbow to the knee, compared with that from the knee to the ground. Feet hard and close, not so round and cat-like as in the foxhound, and with the toes well defined or well developed.
The loins strong and broad; back powerful, and, in the speediest and best dogs, slightly arched.
Hind quarters very muscular; stifles strong and well bent - a straight stifled dog cannot gallop; hind legs well turned and shapely, and, as in all speedy animals, somewhat long, looking by their curve even longer than they actually are; the tail is generally fine and nicely curved, but some strains carry more hair than others.
Colours vary - blacks, brindles, reds, fawns, blues, or slates, and these colours mixed with white. One hue is as good as another, though white is considered indicative of a certain amount of weakness - still there have been good dogs almost pure white, Snowball, Scotland Yet, and Canaradzo to wit.
In disposition the greyhound is, as a rule, kindly and amiable; dogs in high training are apt to be unreliable, and during exercise may fight and seriously injure each other.
The following are the points: -
Head and eyes .........
Chest and fore quarters
Loin and back ribs ...
Hind quarters .........
Grand total, 100.
Weights vary, and, as already stated, a competitor at a meeting in 1896 had two puppies running, one of which weighed 721b., the other but 361b., and yet both went fast and approached the end of stakes. The smallest bitch to win the Waterloo Cup was Coomassie, who scaled 441b., and we doubt if a heavier dog than Fullerton, who weighed 661b., ever won the great prize. Thus, a greyhound may weigh anything between 361b. and 75 1b.
The points of the course are as follows:- Speed: which shall be estimated as one, two, or three points, according to the degree of superiority shown. The go-by: Two points, or, if passed in the outer circle, three points. The turn : one point. The wrench: half a point. The kill: two points, or, in a descending scale, in proportion to the degree of merit displayed in that kill, which may be of no value. The trip, or unsuccessful effort to kill, or where a greyhound flecks the hare and cannot hold her, one point. There are also penalties for refusing to fence; where a dog, from his own defect, refuses to follow the hare at which he is slipped; and where he stands still.
Of course, in dealing with a trial between two greyhounds, very much rests with the judge, and there is no doubt that the two judges of the generation are Mr. G. Warwick, who officiated at Waterloo for thirteen consecutive years, and his successor, Mr. James Hedley, who, since Mr. Warwick's retirement, has done duty at the same meeting for twenty-three years without a break. Almost as much depends upon the slipper, and after the celebrated Tom Raper, who died in 1893, and who was par excellence in his line for a quarter of a century, T. Wilkinson followed him, and now T. Bootiman is the leading exponent of this arduous and difficult department of greyhound coursing.
A good many greyhounds have from time to time been shipped to America and to many of our colonies, but coursing of late has not made any great headway outside Great Britain. In Australia at one time it seemed progressive; there was a "Waterloo Cup" run for, and at great expense hares were imported from this country, the trials taking place in enclosed grounds. I believe a great deal of money was expended in promoting the sport, which, although of a high class, was ultimately allowed to lapse. As a fact, the Colonists did the thing so well at the commencement that their Waterloo Cup was worth as much as ours, and they had Mr. G. Warwick, our crack judge at that time, over to officiate at the inaugural meeting, which took place in 1874, and at other meetings which took place later on. However, the importation of greyhounds was beneficial, inasmuch as their crosses enabled the colonists to produce a strong, heavily-made, fleet-footed dog, very useful in kangaroo hunting; indeed, a variety of the canine race which is perhaps of more use than any other in the Antipodes.
Although greyhound coursing has never made great headway on the Continent, meetings of a semiprivate nature are periodically held in France, at which one of our best English judges, Mr. Brice, officiates. He has also been invited to St. Petersburg and Moscow for a similar purpose, and there he has had his duties varied by being asked to give his opinion on the trials of Russian hounds, Borzoi, when slipped to the common wolf of the country. It need scarcely be stated here that in Russia the sport of coursing is only participated in by the princes and nobles, with which that country abounds, and whose wealth is prodigious.
"A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs Of Great Britain And Ireland. (Sporting Division)", by Rawdon Briggs Lee