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loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

oxherder dog

From 1840's The Natural History of Dogs, a work of typically 19th-century deep inquiry and quirky interpretation, here's a variant of the canine race "The Matin Dog, Canis laniarius."  (No, I hadn't heard of it either.) This dog has the specialized fortitude to wrangle oxen in the water, as so:
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The Drover, or Cattle-dog of Cuba and Terra Firma
, in America, we have seen in great numbers, and they perform a service which those of their tribe in Europe are scarcely fit for. We have often witnessed, when vessels with live stock arrive in our West India colonies, and the oxen are hoisted out by a sling passed round the base of their horns, the great assistance they afford to bring them to land. 
For, when the ox first suspended by the head is lowered, and allowed to fall into the water, men generally swim and guide it by the horns; but, at other times, this service is performed by one or two dogs, who, catching the bewildered animal by the ears, one on each side, force it to swim in the direction of the landing place, and instantly release their hold when they feel it touches the ground; for then the beast naturally walks up to the shore.
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You may read of this marvel on page 154 in Volume 2.
The natural history of dogs: canidae or genus canis of authors; including also the genera hyaena and proteles, Volume 2, Charles Hamilton Smith, Sir William Jardine (W.H. Lizars, 1840).

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