Coursing and Racing Dogs

by Freeman Lloyd
published in the American Kennel Gazette, April 1931

If it be true, as many distinguished scientists believe, that the cradle of mankind was in the East (Asia), then it would be quite reasonable to be of an opinion that the coursing or swift-running dogs originally arrived from Asia into Northern Africa, and subsequently into Eastern and Western Europe in time to come to America by way of the Atlantic Ocean.

For it would be unlikely that a short-coated, leggy and non-powerful dog would be tolerated by early peoples of the Mongolian or Eskimo types who might have reached the northwestern points of the American continent by way of Northeastern Asia or the sea, now called Bering, which separates the two points.

Although the sled dog would be decidedly useful because of his strength and coat, the long dog of the greyhound or short, smooth-haired kind, would be entirely unfit for the perhaps prehistoric man, who first ventured on those expeditions into the unknown.

So far as the greyhounds are concerned, it is thought they must have come from the East, as parts and parcels of all conquering peoples who took great care, indeed pride, to possess the animals of the conquered, as well as the riches, ornaments, and women of their defeated enemies.

Retour de Chasse - Return from the ChaseThe pictures of the black slave of the Egyptian, known as the Return from the Chase, [click for pic] will prove that the greyhond dog was in Egypt at the period of the XVII Dynasty. The print was made from a painting or a fragment found in the Necropolis at Thebes, the Greek name for the ancient capital of Northern Egypt. In very ancient times the city lay on the east bank of the Nile, the Necropolis on the west. As it grew, however, although the Necropolis was still confined to the west bank, a vast city of temples, priests and Necropolis people, to which were added royal palaces and their accompaniments, covered the western shore as far back as the desert hills.

It will be borne in mind that our Egyptian greyhound (with slave) belonged to the XVII Dynasty, the reigning house that preceded the New Empire. For it was under the XVIII and XIX Dynasties that Thebes was at the height of its greatness. Conquering pharaohs brought home trains of prisoners and spoils; embassies came thither of strange people in every variety of costume and of every hue of skin, from Ethiopia, Puoni, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Libya, and the islands of the Mediterranean, bringing precious stones, rare animals, dogs, beautiful slaves, costly garments, vessels of gold and silver, while the ground shook with the movement of colossal architraves, statues and obelisks.

Even at this late and perhaps prosaic age - our own times - how beautiful and engaging it is to contemplate those processions of oriental magnificence which bowed before the proud pharaohs who received the gifts - among them those of the swiftest dogs in the East, the greyhounds speedy enough to overtake the fastest of gazelles.

As will be gathered, the hare also was considered a suitable animal for the long dog to course, and the length and size of the rodent's ears - in the Retour de Chasses picture - will appear surprisingly great, except to those who have seen the ears of the western mule-eared jack rabbit. But as we know, the greyhound has proved himself fast enough for any wild creature on four legs.

All ages have cried out for more speed. But it was before that mechanical age, that men - the prehistoric breeders of horses and dogs - called for the greatest of activities in those animals of the domesticated kinds used for the purpose of the chase. The wild canine, bird, and feline were moulded out of their savage states into half-tamed animals or birds that could be used to overtake the creatures - other animals or birds - which in their natural state provided the everyday provender of flesh for the predatory or destroying animals of the wolf (dog), hawk, or cat kinds.

And out of these utilitarian dogs, hawks, and coursing leopards, came the sports of mankind, the pleasure of prince and peasant, the diversions of hutning, hawking, and coursing antelopes with greyhounds, flying falcons, and probably the fastest running of all animals, the long-legged, small-headed and sinister appearing cheetahs of Asia and Northeastern Africa. Happily, I am fortunate to be able to furnish pictures that illustrate each of the amusements of coursing antelopes with greyhounds, hawks, and cheetahs. And here it can be written, these sports furnished the very highest of the perfection of the desires in the way of training predaceous animals and birds for the overcoming of other of the wilder creatures.

Men, by systems of training, have succeeded in getting other animals to provide food and sustenance for the human body. Here, indeed, is positive proof that man is the highest of the brute creation!

This subject of the swift and coursing dogs is an all engaging theme - one, moreover, that I would like to treat upon from the practical or observant points of view. I feel that the topic of the origin of these greyhounds or greyhound-like dogs is far, far beyond the limits of research. The origin of the greyhounds of the smooth- and rough-coated kinds, must be lost in the mists of antiquity. So I have to fall back on the pictures that portray the old sports or methods of taking game, and the experiences of others and one's self while hunting with greyhounds and hawks in different parts of the world.

continued >>>

Coursing and Racing Dogs
(Freeman Lloyd)

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Dogs of Today - the Russian Wolfhound or Borzoi

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Excerpt from Hutchinson's Encyclopedia

Excerpt from the Kennel Encyclopaedia

Freeman Lloyd on Borzoi

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RWCA's History (1930)

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the Russian Borzoi (excerpt from "Dogs From All Angles")

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the Russian Wolfhound or Borzoi
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Twentieth Century Dog - Borzoi Section

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