Tuesday, 2 November 2010

A bit of history

The history of the domestic dog was first chronicled in English in the 15th century.
Dame Juliana Berners (Barnes or Bernes) ,in her treatise on hunting in the Boke of St. Albans, which was first published in 1486 by a schoolmaster at St. Albans, gave what was the first list of recognised breeds to be printed in English. The classification was very limited, but it served to illustrate the importance attached even at that time to certain breeds of dogs and their purpose which have to this day retained their original nomenclature.
Dame Juliana's book was very popular.
A complete classification of dogs was published in 1570. It was called De Canibus Britannicus and was written in Latin by Dr Johannes Caius who was the physician to Queen Elizabeth I and the founder of Caius College Cambridge ( Gonville and Caius College ). It was first translated into English in 1576.
The book is divided into sections and is the first modern reference which classifies the dog’s purpose. The hunting of “beasts”, the hunting of fowl, finding game on water, finding game on land, retrieving, poaching, lapdog, scent hound, bloodhound. Section four is devoted to farm dogs and especially the Shepherd’s Dogge or Canis Pastoralis. In Bewick’s History of Quadrupeds, published in 1790, there is a woodcut of the shepherd’s dog. It bears a strong resemblance to the Border Collie of today. See picture.

4 comments:

Angus said...

Agree there is a keen similarity to a border collie. But what in heavens name is that figure lurking in the background ? A Scotsman ?

Eurodog said...

Angus, perhaps.
Look at the figure again and you will see a tiny border collie at his side.

Winchester whisperer said...

Did they allow lapdogs at Caius?

Eurodog said...

WW, that would be nice!