National Geographic : 1944 Sep
Other Working Dogs and the Wild Species By STANLEY P. YOUNG Senior Biologist, Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Department of the Interior With Illustrationsfrom Paintingsby Walter A. Weber This is the last of a series of seven articles descriptive of the world's principal breeds of dogs as recognized by the American Kennel Club. Illustrationsfor the series, reproduced from 120 original paintings by Edward Herbert Miner, 17 paintings by Walter A. Weber, and 16 natural color photographs by Staff Photographer Willard R. Culver, show 108 breeds in full color.* A FUZZY little black-haired dog, evi dently a soldier's pet lost in a great city, kept running after every service man he saw. For three days an elderly apart ment-house doorman watched over him, catch ing him and holding him in his arms to com fort him after each disappointment. "At my age the strain is beginning to tell," said the old man. "If this little guy weren't such a sad case, I'd have given up long ago." There spoke the typical dog lover. Though less valuable economically than several other domesticated animals, the dog, whose ancient ancestor was a wolf, is in 4 class by itself as man's most intimate dumb companion. The Wolf, Symbol of Superstitious Fear Even the Wolf (Plate VII) plays a promi nent role in the drama of civilization. From the werewolf of folklore and the "wicked wolf" of the fairy tale to the "big, bad wolf" of a Disney animated cartoon, it has been a fascinating symbol of superstitious fear and villainy. Four United States sailors about to go over seas wrote recently to a western game and fish department, "Would it be possible for one of your members to send us four wolf teeth for good-luck pieces? We have great faith in wolves' teeth and believe they could bring us luck in ventures to come." Our Army has a Timber Wolf Division (the 104th), with some of its top-notch men known as "Wolf Scouts" because they have shown in physical tests the wolf traits of courage, tenacity, and fighting ability. Although the dog has been associated with man since the beginning of recorded history, it was not classified and described scientifically until 1758. The famed Swedish naturalist, Carl von Linne, 186 years ago, gave it the Latin name Canis familiaris (dog belonging to a household or family). Despite later popularity of the dog, most Biblical references, with the exception of that concerning Lazarus, are contemptuous. Saint Paul said, "Beware of dogs." It may have been the bad reputation of the dog during Biblical times which gave rise to such expres sions as "dog in the manger," "leads a dog's life," "gone to the dogs," "dog that bites the hand that feeds it," etc. "Love Me, Love My Dog" The great conciliator, Edmund Burke, said, "Dogs are indeed the most social, affectionate, and amiable animals of the whole brute crea tion; but love approaches much nearer to con tempt than is commonly imagined; and ac cordingly, though we caress dogs, we borrow from them an appellation of the most despi cable kind, when we employ terms of re proach; and this appellation is the common mark of the last vileness and contempt in every language." Though its closely related progenitor, the wolf, has been despised, persecuted, hunted, trapped, and poisoned through the ages, the dog nevertheless is held higher today in the affection of mankind than any other dumb creature. The dog enthusiast says, "Love me, love my dog." His visitor, however, may think, "How much more pleasant a call here would be if the dog could be put outside with all his ticks, mange, falling hair, and fleas!" Household Pet Cousin to the Wolf Zoologists generally agree that our house hold pet developed from the Eurasian wolf. The dog is classified as a carnivore, an animal feeding on flesh, and as such is in the same group with the wolves, coyotes, foxes, jackals, dingoes and other wild dogs of the world. Criti cal study of fossil remains indicates the exist ence some 40 million years ago of a small carnivore possessing a long, rather slender * Previous articles in this series in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE are: "Man's Oldest Ally, the Dog," February, 1936; "Field Dogs in Action," January, 1937; "Hark to the Hounds," October, 1937; "Working Dogs of the World," December, 1941; "Non-sporting Dogs," No vember, 1943; "Toy Dogs, Pets of Kings and Com moners," April, 1944, all by Freeman Lloyd.