the Ancient, Oriental
lands, and generally among the early Mongolians, the dog remained
and neglected for centuries, prowling in packs, gaunt and wolf-like, as
it prowls to-day through the streets and under the walls of every
city. No attempt was made to allure it into human companionship or to
it into docility. It is not until we come to examine the records of the
higher civilisations of Assyria and Egypt that we discover any distinct
varieties of canine form.
two such, a Greyhound and a Mastiff, the latter described in the
as "the chained-up, mouth-opening dog"; that is to say, it was used as
a watch-dog; and several varieties are referred to in the cuneiform
preserved in the British Museum. The Egyptian monuments of about 3000
present many forms of the domestic dog, and there can be no doubt that
among the ancient Egyptians it was as completely a companion of man, as
much a favourite in the house, and a help in the chase, as it is among
ourselves at present.
the city of Cynopolis
it was reverenced next to the sacred jackal, and on the death of a dog
the members of the household to which he had belonged carefully shaved
their whole bodies, and religiously abstained from using the food, of
kind, which happened to be in the house at the time.
the distinct breeds
kept in Egypt there was a massive wolf-dog, a large, heavily-built
with drooping ears and a pointed head, at least two varieties of
used for hunting the gazelle, and a small breed of terrier or Turnspit,
with short, crooked legs. This last appears to have been regarded as an
especial household pet, for it was admitted into the living rooms and
as a companion for walks out of doors. It was furnished with a collar
leaves, or of leather, or precious metal wrought into the form of
and when it died it was embalmed. Every town throughout Egypt had its
of interment for canine mummies.
dog was not greatly appreciated
in Palestine, and in both the Old and New Testaments it is commonly
of with scorn and contempt as an "unclean beast." Even the familiar
to the Sheepdog in the Book of Job--"_But now they that are younger
I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to set with
the dogs of my flock_"--is not without a suggestion of contempt, and it
is significant that the only biblical allusion to the dog as a
companion of man occurs in the apocryphal Book of Tobit (v. 16), "_So
went forth both, and the young man's dog with them_."
Phoenicians, too, were
unquestionably lovers of the dog, quick to recognise the points of
breeds. In their colony in Carthage, during the reign of Sardanapalus,
they had already possessed themselves of the Assyrian Mastiff, which
probably exported to far-off Britain, as they are said to have exported
the Water Spaniel to Ireland and to Spain.
pagan Greeks and Romans
had a kindlier feeling for dumb animals than had the Jews. Their
like their horses, were selected with discrimination, bred with care,
held in high esteem, receiving pet names; and the literatures of Greece
and Rome contain many tributes to the courage, obedience, sagacity, and
affectionate fidelity of the dog.