National Geographic : 1936 Feb
MAN'S OLDEST ALLY, THE DOG* Since Cave-Dweller Days This Faithful Friend Has Shared the Work, Exploration, and Sport of Humankind BY FREEMAN LLOYD IF THE dog, in his centuries-long associa tion with man, had never saved a life, rounded up a flock of sheep, helped track down meat, or pulled a polar sledge, this oldest friend of the human race would still have given full payment for his room and board. From that ancient partnership the man has benefited fully as much as the animal. By throwing in his lot with his caveman neighbors, the dog of prehistoric ages did much to give his two-legged ally dominance over the beasts and helped speed human progress. Without dogs the geographical poles could not have been reached until the era of discovery by airplanes; and even today, says Admiral Byrd, "dogs are the infantry of polar exploration." Dogs do the shopping in the Azores, pull carts in Newfoundland, Quebec, Belgium, The Netherlands, and elsewhere; they guide the blind in city streets; in countless ways, in many parts of the earth, they are help ing to do the work of the world (see illus tration, page 250). Yet man's biggest gain from the relation ship cannot be measured in terms of labor done. The companionship and affection of a good dog are priceless, and often the four footed party of the second part can set its friend and overlord an excellent example in conduct and character. What man could not observe with profit the dignity and for bearance of a fine Great Dane, slow to anger though a peerless fighter? Wherever man has traveled, his dogs have gone with him. Most surprising of all, perhaps, is the world-wide sense of fraternity among the millions all over the earth who have in com mon a love of dogs. They "speak the same language"; all gaps are bridged; introduc tions are not needed. Compliment a stranger on his dog and he becomes your * With this article THE GEOGRAPHIC begins a notable series of dogs of the world, with paintings by Edward Herbert Miner. The next article and color plates will appear in an early issue. friend for life. "Love me, love my dog," is no idle platitude. It has been my privilege to judge dogs under the auspices of the kennel clubs of four continents. In Australia, South Africa, Europe, and America I have made hundreds of friendships, wholly through dogs. At the important dog shows all sorts of people meet and talk together on a common plane. In rank and station the owners vary as greatly as do the dogs themselves, which range from the tiny toy breeds weighing only a pound or two and capable of being tucked away and hidden in a lady's hand bag, to lordly Saint Bernards, Great Danes, and mastiffs which may outweigh the aver age man. In the London show, Lady Thus and So may be seen in animated conversation with a fish porter from Billingsgate, each with a Toy Bulldog tucked under one arm. It is only a little dog, but it is big enough to bridge the wide gulf between Billings gate and Belgravia-or even Buckingham Palace. QUEEN VICTORIA'S DOGS "COMMUTED" WHEN THEY WERE EXHIBITED Queen Victoria was a lover of dogs, par ticularly the Scottish breeds, including col lies and Skye Terriers (see page 271). Never would the Queen allow her dogs to sleep a single night away from home. Once when the Queen's dogs were being exhibited in London, I commented to Her Majesty's kennelman, a worthy Scotsman, on what I think I called "such nonsense." "Aye," said he, "but what are ye goin' to do when Her Majesty herself says ye're to do it?" Needless to say, the royal canines con tinued to attend that dog show as com muters. When King Edward VII died, a small white dog was led along behind the gun carriage on which the body was borne. It was the Monarch's pet Wire-haired Fox Terrier. On the collar were the words, "I am Caesar, the King's Dog."