THEIR RELATION TO MAN AND TO HIS ADVANCEMENT IN CIVILIZATION
NATHANIEL SOUTHGATE SHALER
DEAN OF THE LAWRENCE SCIENTIFIC SCHOOL OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY
NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 1908
COPYRIGHT, 1895, BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
PAGE INTRODUCTION, 1
Ancestry of the Domesticated Dogs.—Early Uses of the Animal: Variations induced by Civilization.—Shepherd-dogs: their Peculiarities; other Breeds.—Possible Intellectual Advances.—Evils of Specialized Breeding.—Likeness of Emotions of Dogs to those of Man: Comparison with other Domesticated Animals.—Modes of Expression of Emotions in Dogs.—Future Development of this Species.—Comparison of Dogs and Cats as regards Intelligence and Position in Relation to Man, 11
Value of the Strength of the Horse to Man.—Origin of the Horse.—Peculiar Advantage of the Solid Hoof.—Domestication of the Horse.—How begun.—Use as a Pack Animal.—For War.—Peculiar Advantages of the Animal for Use of Men.—Mental Peculiarities.—Variability of Body.—Spontaneous Variations due to Climate.—Variations of Breeds.—Effect of the Invention of Horseshoes.—Donkeys and Mules compared with Horse.—Especial Value of these Animals.—Diminishing Value of Horses in Modern Civilization.—Continued Need of their Service in War, 57
THE FLOCKS AND HERDS: BEASTS FOR BURDEN, FOOD, AND RAIMENT
Effect of this Group of Animals on Man.—First Subjugations.—Basis of Domesticability.—Horned Cattle.—Wool-bearing Animals.—Sheep and Goats.—Camels: their Limitation.—Elephants: Ancient History; Distribution; Intelligence; Use in the Arts; Need of True Domestication.—Pigs: their Peculiar Economic Value; Modern Varieties; Mental Qualities.—Relation of the Development of Domesticable Animals to the Time of Man's Appearance on the Earth, 103
Domestication of Animals mainly accomplished by the Aryan Race; Small Amount of Such Work by American Indians.—Barnyard Fowl: Mental Qualities; Habits of Combat.—Peacocks: their Limited Domestication.—Turkeys: their Origin; tending to revert to the Savage State.—Water Fowl: Limited Number of Species domesticated; Intellectual Qualities of this Group.—The Pigeon: Origin and History of Group; Marvels of Breeding.—Song Birds.—Hawks and Hawking.—Sympathetic Motive of Birds: their AEsthetic Sense; their Capacity for Enjoyment, 152
Relations of Men to Insect World.—But Few Species Useful to Man.—Little Trace of Domestication.—Honey-bees: their Origin; Reasons for no Selective Work; Habits of the Species.—Silkworms: Singular Importance to Man.—Intelligence of Species.—Cochineal Insect.—Spanish Flies.—Future of Man relative to Useful Insects, 190
THE RIGHTS OF ANIMALS
Recent Understanding as to the Rights of Animals; Nature of these Rights; their Origin in Sympathy.—Early State of Sympathetic Emotions.—Place of Statutes concerning Animal Rights.—Present and Future of Animal Rights.—Question of Vivisection.—Rights of Domesticated Animals to Proper Care; to Enjoyment.—Ends of the Breeder's Art.—Moral Position of the Hunter.—Probable Development of the Protecting Motive as applied to Animals, 204
THE PROBLEM OF DOMESTICATION
The Conditions of Domestication; Effects on Society; Share of the Races of Men in the Work.—Evils of Non-Intercourse with Domesticated Animals as in Cities; Remedies.—Scientific Position of Domestication; Future of the Art.—List of Species which may Advantageously be Domesticated.—Peculiar Value of the Birds and Mammals.—Importance of Groups which tenant High Latitudes.—Plan for Wilderness Reservations; Relation to National Parks.—Project for International System of Reservations.—Nature of Organic Provinces; Harm done to them by Civilized Men.—Way in which Reservations would Serve to Maintain Types of the Life of the Earth; how they may be Founded.—Summary and Conclusions, 218
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
PAGE FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS
AFRICAN ELEPHANT, Frontispiece
SHEEP-DOGS GUARDING A FLOCK AT NIGHT, 10
HOUNDS RUNNING A WILD BOAR, 53
ON ROTTEN ROW, HYDE PARK, LONDON, 63
CAVALRY HORSE, 71
A HURDLE JUMPER, 79
ENGLISH POLO PONIES, 89
WINNOWING GRAIN IN EGYPT, 111
THE HALT IN THE DESERT AT NIGHT—THE STORY TELLER, 121
CARRYING THE SUGAR CANE IN HARVEST—EGYPT, 125
FEEDING SILKWORMS WITH MULBERRY LEAVES IN JAPAN, 193
THE FARMER'S APIARY, 199
ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT
GREYHOUND AFTER "THE KILL," 13
ST. BERNARD, 15
SPANIEL RETRIEVING WILD DUCK, 17
FOX-HOUND AND PUPS, 25
POINTER RETRIEVING A FALLEN BIRD, 26
POINTER AND SETTER, FLUSHING GAME, 27
DUTCH DOGS USED IN HARNESS, 30
KING CHARLES SPANIEL, 33
THE POUNCE OF A TERRIER, 35
POMERANIAN OR "SPITZ," 38
A HUNTER, 60
HORSE OF A BULGARIAN MARAUDER, 67
MARE AND FOAL, 68
PLOUGH HORSES, FRANCE, 73
BELGIAN FISHERMAN'S HORSE, 76
HORSES FOR TOWING ON THE BEACH IN HOLLAND, 78
EXERCISING THE THOROUGHBREDS, 84
AN ARABIAN HORSE, 85
ARABIAN SPORTS, 86
SYRIAN HORSE, 92
IN THE CIRCUS, 96
DOMESTICATED BUFFALOES IN EGYPT, 104
CATTLE OF INDIA, 105
INDIAN BULLOCK AND WATER-CARRIER, 108
PLOUGHING IN SYRIA, 109
EGYPTIAN SHEEP, 114
BEDOUIN GOAT-HERD—PALESTINE, 116
THE GREAT CARAVAN ROAD—CENTRAL ASIA, 119
CAMELS FEEDING, 123
CAMELS ALONG THE SEA AT TWILIGHT, 127
AN INDIAN ELEPHANT, 134
THE ORIGINAL JUNGLE FOWL (Gallus bankiva) AND SOME OF HIS DOMESTIC DESCENDANTS, 153
HOUDIN, COCHINS, LEGHORNS, AND GAME, 158
BANTAMS, BRAHMA, AND DORKINGS, 160
CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ASIA, AFRICA, AND AMERICA—PEACOCKS, GUINEA-FOWL, AND TURKEY, 163
THE DOMESTICATED TURKEY, 165
THE LARGEST OF ALL POULTRY—THE OSTRICH, 168
AN EIDER COLONY, 170
TERNS AIDING A WOUNDED COMRADE, 171
SOME RECENT ADDITIONS TO THE POULTRY YARD, 173
THE ORIGINAL WILD ROCK DOVE (Columba livia) AND SOME OF ITS DOMESTIC DESCENDANTS, 175
TURTLE DOVES, 177
THE GIANT CROWNED PIGEON OF INDIA, 178
THE ENGLISH PHEASANT, 181
THE FALCONER'S FAVORITE—PEREGRINE FALCON, 184
THE BANDIT'S BROOD, 186
One of the effects of the modern advance in natural science has been greatly to increase the attention which is devoted to the influences that the conditions of diverse peoples have had upon their development. Man is no longer looked upon, as he was of old, as a being which had been imposed upon the earth in a sudden and arbitrary manner, set to rule the world into which he had been sent as a master. We now see him as one of the myriad species which has won its way by powers of mind out of darkness and the great struggle to the place of command. The way in which this creature, weak in body and exceedingly dependent on his surroundings, has in the modern geologic epoch come forth from the mass of the lower animals, is by far the most impressive and as yet the most unexplained phenomenon which the geologist has to consider. It is not likely that the marvellous advancement can be accounted for by any single cause; it is probably due, as are most of the great evolutions, to the concurrence of many influences; but among these which make for advance, we clearly have to reckon the animals and plants which man has learned to associate with his work of the household and the fields.
Although certain species of insects, particularly the ants, have the well-developed habit of subjugating certain creatures of their own family, man is the only vertebrate that has ever adopted the plan of domesticating a variety of animals and plants. The beginnings of this custom were made in a very remote time, and for long ages the profit which was thereby gained appears to have been but slight. Gradually, however, races, owing to their masterful quality and to the opportunities which were offered by the wild life about their dwelling places, obtained flocks and herds. In the group of continents commonly termed the old world, where there were several ancient primitive peoples of innate ability, and where there were many species of larger mammals which were well fitted for domestication, the advance in social development went on rapidly. In the new world, though the primitive races contained tribes of much ability, there was practically no chance for the people to add to their strength by the subjugation of beasts of burden, or to their food resources by the adoption of various animals which could be used for the needs of food or raiment. The advance of men when they have obtained valuable domesticated animals, and their failure to win a high station where the surrounding nature denied such opportunities, go far to prove the bearing of this accomplishment in the development of peoples.
A little consideration makes it evident to us that the advance of mankind above the original savage state is in several ways favored by the possession of domesticated animals. In the first place, each creature which is adopted into the household or the fields usually brings as its tribute a substantial contribution to the resources which tend to make the society commercially successful. When we consider the enlargements of resources and the diversification of industries which rest upon the adoption of any one of these animals—as, for instance, the horse—we see in a way what the possession of domesticated animals and plants really means, and are in a position to conceive, though at best but dimly, what the scores of these captive species have done for us. We recognize the fact that while, under almost any conditions, a certain manner of advance above the most primitive savagery is possible to a naturally able people, this on-going cannot lead any distance unless the folk have other help than their own weak bodies can give them. It is hardly too much to say that civilization has intimately depended on the subjugation of a great range of useful species.
It would be interesting to trace, if we could, what share the several domesticated animals have had in the development of the human races; but this task is not to be done. We can, however, discern that the Arab without the camel and the horse would not have found the place in history which he has filled, and that our own race could not have attained its place save for the aid which the horned cattle, sheep, and a host of other helpers which we have pressed into service, have afforded. These economic gains have to be judged in mass, they cannot be reckoned in detail. When we have made the best account of them we can, there remains another class of influences, the value of which, though evidently great, is yet harder to reckon; these arise from the education which has been attained through the care of these adopted creatures. Among savages the great need is a training in forethoughtfulness; all primitive peoples are like children, they live in the interests of the day; the cares of the seasons to come, or even of the morrow, are not for them. The possession of domesticated animals certainly did much to break up this old brutal way of life; it led to a higher sense of responsibility to the care of the household; it brought about systematic agriculture; it developed the art of war; it laid the foundations of wealth and commerce, and so set men well upon their upward way. Moreover, the use of domesticated animals of the better sort enabled the more vigorous and care-taking races to gain the strength which led to their advancement in power to a point where they were able to displace the lower and feebler tribes. In other words, the system of domestication has provided a method by which those peoples who were fitted to develop the qualities which make for civilization could advance; it has provided the opportunity for selection.
Of all the influences which have been exercised on man by the care of his flocks, herds, and droves, perhaps the most important is that which has arisen from the broader development of his sympathies. The savage may be defined as a man who cares only for his family and his tribe; the civilized man as one whose kindly interest extends to mankind and beyond to all sentient beings. In the development of this altruistic motive the care of the dependent species has evidently been most effective. We note that the peoples who have attained the first upward step in the association with domesticated animals are in their quality, so far as tested by literature and history, much above the mere savage. With the care of the flocks we find associated poetry, the first notes of higher religious motives, and a largeness of the sympathetic life which is favored by the nature of the occupation. Where the nomadic habits of the original shepherds pass into the more sedentary state of the soil tiller, the element of personal care and the affection and the consequent education of the sympathy were increased. Men had now to care for half a dozen or more kinds of animals; they had to learn their ways, in a manner to put themselves in their places and conceive their needs. Thus the life of a farmer is a continual lesson in the art of sympathy; with the result, certainly in part due to this cause, that there is no class of people from whom the brutal instincts of the ancient savage life which we all inherit have been so completely eradicated.
It is perhaps too much to attribute the advance of the agricultural classes of our civilized peoples, in all that serves to remove them from the brutality of their savage ancestors, altogether to the nature of their work—to the very large element of kindly care for which it calls, and which is the price of success in the occupation. Yet when we note the immediate way in which the people bred in cities, under circumstances of excitement are wont to behave like savages of the lower kind, showing in their conduct a lack of all sympathetic education, and contrast their behavior with that of their kinsmen from the fields—we see essential differences in character which cannot well be explained save by the diverse natures of the training which the men have received. Thus in the French Revolution, the baser, more inhuman deeds were not committed by the peasants, who had been the principal sufferers under the regime which was overthrown, but by the people of the great towns who had been less oppressed by the iniquities of the old system of government.
If it be true—as my personal experiences and observations lead me firmly to believe is the case—that man's contact with the domesticated animals has been and is ever to be one of the most effective means whereby his sympathetic, his civilized motives may be broadened and affirmed, there is clearly reason for giving to this side of life a larger share of attention than it has received. So far the presence of these lower creatures in our society has generally been accepted as a matter of course. Sentimentalists, after the fashion of Laurence Sterne, have dwelt upon the imaginary woes of the creatures. Associations of well-meaning people have endeavored to diminish the cruelty which people of the towns, rarely those bred on the soil, often inflict upon them. It seems, however, desirable that we should place this consideration upon a plane more fitting the knowledge of our time. It should be made plain, not only that the success of our civilization depends now as in the past on the cooperation which mankind has had from the domesticated animals, but also that the development of this relation is one of the most interesting features in all history. On through the ages of the geologic past comes this great procession of life, in the endless succession of species whose numbers in the aggregate are to be reckoned by the scores, if not by the hundreds of millions. Until this modern age, the throng goes forward blindly, groping its way towards the higher planes of life. At length certain of the more advanced forms attain to a measure of intellectual elevation. Still, for all this advance, the life is not organized so as to attain any large ends; no society arises from it.
Suddenly, in the last geological epoch, man, the descendant of a group which like all others had led the narrow life of the preparatory ages, appears upon the scene. At first, and in his lower human estate, his position was not noticeably higher than that of his kindred, but there was in him the seed of a great unlikeness, of very new things, in that his desires had an element of the unlimited which was to grow apace, and in time to make him greedy of on-going. As this innovating creature sought for agents of power in the wilderness about him, he blindly laid hands upon such of the fellow tenants of the wilds as might serve his immediate needs. This species, both animals and plants, endowed with the capacity for variation, the plasticity which is in general a characteristic of all organic forms, were early led by their new master, as of old they had been guided by the old organic laws. They changed according to his choice, abandoning their ancient ways for the novel paths of civilization. With this association of the higher forms of the earth under the leadership of man, there began an entirely new and unprecedented condition of the world's affairs. In place of the ancient law of nature there came the control of our species which had been, in a way, chosen to be the overlord of life.
At first, the number of species of animals and plants which man brought under his control was very limited; it was indeed confined to those which might readily be subjugated to meet immediate needs. Gradually, however, the list has been extended until it included thousands of forms, which, while they meet no need such as the savage recognizes, are gratifying to the taste or the ambitions of civilized peoples. These aesthetic devices, or those of necessity, are advancing so rapidly that each generation sees hundreds of new animal and plant species added to our living collections, so that our plant and animal gardens now contain a large share of the more attractive forms which are to be found in the various geographical realms. Our tilled fields yield perhaps a hundred times as many varieties of plants as they did in the earliest historic agriculture. The advance in the process of domestication is not so rapid as regards the animal kingdom as it is with the realm of plants, and this mainly for the reason that animals have a will of their own which has to be bent or broken to that of man. Still it goes on apace. We of to-day have at our command many times the number of sentient species contributive to our pleasure or profit that had been made captive at the beginning of our era. Naturally, in the early days of domestication, men brought under their control the greater number of the animals which gave promise of utility. As no new species of any economic importance have been created within the last geologic period, the field for the extension of economic domestication has of late been very limited. But the realm of sympathetic appreciation, unlike the economic, knows no definite bounds, and promises in time to bring all the more important organic forms under the care of the sympathetic and masterful being who has been chosen as the ruler of terrestrial life.
We thus see that the matter of domesticated animals is but a part of the larger problem which includes all that relates to man's destined mastery of the earth—a mastery which he is rapidly winning. It means that, in time, a large part of the life of this sphere is to be committed to his care, to survive or perish as he wills, to change at his bidding, to give, as other subjugated kinds have done, whatever of profit or pleasure they may contribute to his endless advancement. From this point of view our domesticated creatures should be presented to our people, with the purpose in mind of bringing them to see that the process of domestication has a far-reaching aspect, a dignity, we may fairly say a grandeur, that few human actions possess. If we can impress this view, it will be certain to awaken men to a larger sense of their responsibility for, and their duty by, the creatures which we have taken from their olden natural state into the social order. It will, at the same time, enlarge our conceptions of our own place in the order of this world.
In the following pages little effort has been made to present those facts concerning domesticated animals which would commonly be reckoned as scientific. The several essays which, in larger part, were separately printed in Scribner's Magazine, are intended for those persons who, while they may not care to approach the matter in the manner of the professional inquirer, are glad to have the results which naturalists have attained, so far as they may serve to extend knowledge of things which lie in the field of familiar experiences. To the text as it at first appeared, numerous additions have been made, and the concluding chapters, on the Rights of Animals, and on the Problem of Domestication, are new. In them an effort is made to direct attention to the importance of the problem of man's relation to the lower life which is about him, and which in the future far more than in the past is to be helped or hindered by his rule. Our life is made up of large problems; but there seem few that are greater than this, which concerns our duty by the creatures that share with us the blessings of existence, and over which we have come to rule.
Ancestry of the Domesticated Dogs.—Early Uses of the Animal: Variations induced by Civilization.—Shepherd-dogs: their Peculiarities; other Breeds.—Possible Intellectual Advances.—Evils of Specialized Breeding.—Likeness of Emotions of Dogs to those of Man: Comparison with other Domesticated Animals.—Modes of Expression of Emotions in Dogs.—Future Development of this Species.—Comparison of Dogs and Cats as regards Intelligence and Position in Relation to Man.
It is an interesting fact that the first creature which man won to domesticity was made captive and friend for the sake of companionship rather than for any grosser profit. The dog was, the world over, the first living possession of man beyond the limits of his own kindred. He has been so long separated from the primitive species whence he sprang that we cannot trace with any certainty his kinship with the creatures of the wilderness. Like his master he has become so artificialized that it is hard to conjecture what his original state may have been.
Naturalists are much divided in opinion in all that relates to the origin of our ancient and common domesticated animals; and this for the reason that the longer a creature has been subjected to the change-bringing conditions of our fields and households, the further it has departed from the parent stock. This difficulty is naturally the greatest in the case of the dogs, for the reason that they have been longer and more completely under the control of man than any other of the lower animals. Some students of the problem have inclined to the opinion that the dog is a descendant of the wolf; the whelps of this species, it is supposed, were captured by primitive men and brought under domestication. Savages, like children, are much given to bringing the young of wild animals to their homes; if the conditions are favorable they will care for these captives, even if the charge upon their resources is tolerably heavy. With most primitive people, however, life is so vagarious and starvation so recurrent that they are not apt to retain their pets long enough to establish domesticated forms. Thus, among our American Indians, though they show fondness for wild creatures as much as any other people, no species save the dog ever became permanently associated with their tribe. It is, however, possible, that in some sedentary group of savages the work of domesticating the ancestors of the dog, even if they were wolf-like, was accomplished.
The difficulty of this view is that even with the high measure of care which the conditions of civilization permit us to devote to the effort, it has been found impossible to educate captive wolves to the point where they show any affection for their masters, or are in the least degree useful in the arts of the household or the occupations of the chase. They are, in fact, indomitably fierce and utterly self-regarding. It seems unreasonable to believe that any savage would have found either pleasure or profit from an effort to tame any of the known species of wolves. Moreover, the fact that dogs show little or no tendency to revert to the form and habits of their brutal kindred, or to interbreed with them, is clearly against the supposition that there is any close relation between the creatures.
Yet other speculative inquirers have sought the origin of the dog through the admixture of the blood of several different species, the wolf and the jackal being, perhaps, the principal or the only components of the hybrid stock. Here, too, the evidence of nature is against the supposition. No one has ever succeeded in hybridizing the wolf and the jackal, nor do our dogs show any more tendency to revert to the jackal than to the wolf. They meet their tropical relative with as much animosity as is proper, or at least customary, in the intercourse of allied yet distinct species. In fact, all the indices by which we are able to carry back the history of other domesticated animals to their primitive or even extinct ancestry, fail in the case of the dog. When the stock is allowed to go as nearly wild as they can be induced to become, we do not find that they thereby approach to any known wild form. It therefore seems reasonable to betake ourselves to another basis for the natural history of the dog, which has not yet been made a matter of much inquiry, but which promises to afford us more substantial truth than the conjectures which we have just considered.
We should, in the first place, note the fact that the ancestors of our more important domesticated animals, those which have been longest in subjugation, have commonly disappeared from the wild state—the species, except for the cultivated forms, having gone into the irrecoverable past. This is the case with the wild kindred of our bulls, horses, sheep, and camels, there probably being none of the original wild species of these groups now living, except those which have been more or less completely subjugated by man, and then have returned to the wilderness. The fact is, that with any large mammal the domestication of the species tends to bring about the destruction of the remaining wild forms. If we go back in fancy to the time when the dog was taken in from the wilderness, we readily perceive how certainly the subjugated individuals would have mingled with their wild kindred, so that either the wild would have become tame or vice versa. The same incompatibility which exists between slavery and freedom in our own species in any given territory may be said to hold in the case of captive animals. It is particularly on this account that I am disposed to think that our races of dogs have been derived from one or more original species of truly canine ancestors, the wild forms of which have long since disappeared from the earth.
Although there are no species of wild dogs now in existence to which we can refer the origin of our household friends, there are several known to us only in their fossil state, from which they may possibly—indeed, we may say probably—have been derived. These creatures are, of course, represented only by their skeletons, and even these remains have only been found in an imperfect state of preservation. It is evident, however, that these extinct species, or at least certain of them, lived down to the time when man had come upon the earth, and was beginning to speculate on his surroundings for such company and help as he might win therefrom. It may interest the reader to know that a species of American dog existed in the Southern Appalachians down to a very recent time—recent, at least, in a geological sense. The remains of one of these animals were found by the writer in a cave in East Tennessee, near Cumberland Gap. From the fragments of the skeleton, Mr. J. A. Allen has described the species. The animal appears to have been of moderate size, and, from the position of the bones, it seems tolerably certain that it lived but a few centuries ago.
It is clearly a reasonable supposition that some of these primitive canine species may have been far more domesticable than the existing kindred of the dog—the wolves, foxes, jackals, or hyenas—differing from their fiercer kindred much as the zebras do from the wild asses, the one form being utterly undomesticable, and the other lending its back almost willingly to the burdens which man chooses to impose. It seems likely that this primitive species—perhaps more than one—whence the dog sprang was not a very vigorous or widespread form; else, as before remarked, a savage would have found it impossible to keep his half-tamed creatures from rejoining their wild kinsmen. Thus, if a man should in this day succeed in taming wolves, in a region where they were plenty, to the point where they began to abide his presence, or even to have some slight affection for him, the call of nature would be likely to lead them back to reunion with their kind.
It seems pretty certain that the first steps in the domestication of the dog must be attributed not to any distinct purpose of acquiring a useful companion, but to that vague instinct which leads children to make captives of any wild animals with which they come in contact. The fancy for pets is not only common to all mankind, civilized and savage alike, but is clearly exhibited in many of the mammals below the level of man. Almost every one has observed cases where dogs, cats, and horses have become attached to some creature of an alien species with which they have been by chance thrown in contact. The higher the grade of the intelligence, the more sympathetic with other life the animal is likely to become. Thus the elephants, whose natural endowments in the way of intelligence are perhaps superior to those of any other wild creatures, are, when brought into captivity, curiously prone to form attachments to human beings. Savages appear to make but little use of their dogs in hunting. In fact, those peculiar combinations of instinct and training which we find in our hounds, pointers, setters, and other dogs which have been bred to serve the purposes of sportsmen, have been acquired but slowly, and are of no value except where the search for game is carried on under what we may term civilized conditions. The dog of the savage is in all countries much like his master—a creature with few arts and unaccustomed to subdue his rude native impulses.
It seems most likely that for ages the principal use of the dog which dwelt about the camps of the primitive people was found in the reserve food supply which they afforded their thriftless masters. When the hunting was successful the poor brutes had a chance to wax fat, and even in times of scarcity they managed to pick up enough food to keep them alive. When their masters were brought to a state of famine they were doubtless accustomed, as are many savages at the present time, to eat a portion of their pack. In the early conditions of humanity there was no other beast which could be made to serve so well this simple need in the way of provender. The dog is, in fact, the only animal ever domesticated which can be trusted through his own affections alone to abide with his master in the endless changes of camp and the rapid movements of flight and chase which characterized men before their housed state began. In a certain curious way the use of dogs for food has served greatly to advance the development of these captives. When the savage was driven to feed upon his dogs he was naturally more willing to sacrifice the least intelligent and affectionate of them, delaying, to the point of extremity, the time when he would kill those which had endeared themselves to him. In this way for ages a careful though unintended process of selection was applied to these creatures, and to it we may fairly attribute, as many considerate naturalists have done, a large part of the intellectual—indeed, we may say moral—elevation to which they have attained.
When the place of the dog as the first and most intimate companion of man was affirmed in the rude way above described—when the savagery to which he was at first made free gradually enlarged to civilization, a number of special uses were found for the peculiar capacities of the creature. These varied in the different parts of the world, according to the peculiarities in the conditions of the masters. In high latitudes, where the ground is snow-covered during the winter season, dogs were used, as they are to this day, in dragging sleds. They were, indeed, perhaps the first animals which were harnessed to vehicles. When they were brought to serve this definite end, we may well believe that the stronger and more enduring individuals were spared in times of dearth for the reason that they were almost indispensable to their masters, and even the little forethought which we find among primitive peoples would lead to their preservation. Here again, doubtless, came in the process of unintended selection which has made the Esquimau sled-dog one of the most remarkable varieties of his kind.
Perhaps the most interesting of the early variations induced among dogs is that which has arisen from the pastoral habit. We do not know when this custom of keeping sheep in large flocks was first instituted, but it is evidently of exceeding antiquity, probably far older than the pyramids of Egypt. The custom could hardly have been instituted without help of the shepherd's mate, the sheep-dog. Although the creatures of this breed are probably in form very near to the original wild species whence our canines came, the variety has as regards its instincts been, by a process of education and selection, led very far away from the original stock.
The wild forefathers of this species were clearly natural born sheep-slayers, and the motive abides to this day in all the breeds which have the strength to assail our unresisting flocks. The spirit is so ingrained that even the most civilized of our house-dogs, which may for generations never have tasted blood and which show no disposition to attack the other animals of the barn-yard, cannot be trusted alone with sheep. When two or more of them are together the old instincts of the wild pack return, and they will slay with insensate brutality until they are fairly exhausted with their fury. Their behavior on such occasions reminds one of the actions of their masters when possessed with the blind rage of a mob. Yet in the shepherd-dog we find this ancestral motive, once a large part of the life of the creature, so overcome by education and selection that they will not only care for a flock with all the devotion which self-interest can lead the master to give to the task, but they will cheerfully undergo almost any measure of privation in order to protect their charges from harm. The annals of shepherd districts, especially those where winter snows fall deeply, as in Scotland, abound in anecdotes of a well-attested nature which show how profoundly the dogs which tend the flocks are imbued with the love of the animals committed to their care. This affection is more curious for the reason that it is never in any measure returned by the sheep. To them the custodian is ever a dreaded overseer. He seems to bring to them nothing but the memories of danger derived from the experience which their species acquired in far-away times.
It is very interesting to note the behavior of a young shepherd-dog when he is first brought in contact with a flock. It is easy to see that he has an amazingly keen interest in the sheep. He regards them with an attention which he gives to no other living things, except perhaps his master. Out of a litter of well-bred pups belonging to this variety, the greater part will at once assume a curatorial attitude toward a flock. They will show a disposition to keep them together, and will seize on an individual only in case he undertakes to break away. They will generally use no more force than is necessary to reduce the recalcitrant to order. They arrest him by catching hold of the leg or fleece, and rarely seize hold of the throat, which other dogs, led by their inherited instincts, are apt at once to assail. Very rarely does a shepherd-dog of good ancestry, even at the outset of his career, attack a sheep in a way which shows that the ancient proclivities have been revived in his spirit. Even then a little remonstrance, or at most a slight castigation, is pretty sure to turn him from his evil ways. If we could measure in some visible manner the psychic peculiarities of animals, we would be led to regard this great change in the instincts of the dog, which has been brought about by his use in herding, as perhaps the most momentous transformation which man has ever accomplished in any creature, including himself; for none of our own inherited savage traits are so completely sublated at the time of our birth as is this old and sometime dominant slaying motive in the shepherd-dog.
With the advancing differentiation of human occupations and amusements, our breeds of dogs have, by more or less deliberate selection, been developed until by form and instincts they fit a great variety of purposes. Some of these pertain to industrial work, but the greater portion are related to the sports or fancies of men. The turnspit was bred for its short legs and small, compact body, and was serviceable in those treadmills of the hearth which have long since passed out of use, but which were for centuries features in our kitchens.
The massive type of bull-dogs, characterized by heavy frames and an indomitable will, appears to have been brought about by a process of selection having for its unconscious end the development of a breed which should render the herdsman of horned cattle something like the assistance which the shepherd-dog gave to those who had charge of flocks. In the more primitive state of our bulls and cows the creatures were much wilder than at present, and were generally kept, not in enclosed pastures, but on unfenced ranges. In these conditions the care taken needed the help which the ancestors of our modern bull-dog afforded. The tasks which the animal was called on to perform were of a ruder nature than those which were allotted to the shepherd-dog. Their business was to conquer the unruly beast. They were taught to seize the muzzle, and by the pain they thus inflicted they could subdue even the fiercer small bulls of the ancient type of form. From this original use the cattle-dogs were turned to the brutal sport of bull-baiting, a rude diversion which was indulged in by our ancestors for centuries, and has only disappeared in our less cruel modern days. Bred for the bull-ring, these dogs acquired the formidable strength and ferocity under excitement which made their name a terror and their qualities a satirical embodiment of the ruder traits which characterized the British folk.
The training which instituted the breed of bull-dogs was evidently much less continuous and effective than that which developed the shepherding variety. The use for the creature in the care of herds has passed away. In the older parts of the world cattle are kept only in enclosures; and where, as on our frontier, they still range over unbounded fields, they are guarded by horsemen who do not need the assistance of dogs to control the movements of the herds. No longer serviceable either in economies or sports, the breed of true bull-dogs is rapidly disappearing. As we may often observe in other fields of development, the peculiarities of this breed are now under the control of fancy, and the blood is being led far away from its old characteristics. The bull-terrier and other varieties, which retain something of the form and of the solemn demeanor which characterized their ancestors, but which are too small to assail horned cattle, mark the vanishing stages of this great stock, which will soon be known only in memory. The history of this peculiar herd-dog shows us how marvellously pliant the body and mind of this species has become under the conditions of civilization. The rude process of unconscious selection, acting without steadfastness of purpose or rationally developed skill, serves to sway the qualities of the animal this way or that to meet the ever-changing requirements of use or fancy. A similar selection in the case of our horned cattle has within a few centuries converted the cows into mild-mannered and sedentary milk-making machines, and has deprived the bulls of the greater part of their ancient savage humor. Owing to this change in the quality of their associates in captivity the dogs have also been led into great variations. The same type of interaction may be traced again and again in the isolated part of the world enclosed within our fences, as well as in the free realm of the wildernesses. All the individuals in the great host of life affect each other as do the soldiers of a well-organized army in the movements of a battle.
The shepherd-dog, the turnspit, and the bull-dog are the three remarkable variations of the canine blood which were brought about by a process of training and selection unconsciously directed to the institution of breeds suited to special economic ends. The other varieties of dogs have been shaped more distinctly for purposes of amusement or for the indulgence of mere fancy. The several varieties of hounds, harriers, beagles, pointers, setters, terriers, etc., have been designed to meet a dozen or more variations in the conditions of the chase. The marvellously complete way in which special peculiarities have been developed in mind and body makes this field of domestic culture the most fascinating subject of inquiry to the naturalist. The ordinary fox-hound has had his inheritances determined so as to fit him for pursuing a small animal which can rarely be kept in view during its flight, and which can only be followed by the odor it leaves in its trail, so these creatures run almost altogether under guidance of their sense of smell. The stag-hound, on the other hand, pursues a relatively large animal which cannot well be followed by the nose, at least with any speed; they therefore trust almost altogether to vision in their chase. The packs which hunt otters have developed the swimming habit and an array of instincts which fit them especially for this peculiar sport. If space allowed we could note at least a dozen divisions of the group of hounds or chasing dogs, each of which has developed a peculiar assemblage of qualities, more or less precisely adapted to some particular game.
Perhaps the most special adaption which man has brought about in his domesticated animals is found in our pointers and setters. In these groups the dogs have been taught, in somewhat diverse ways, to indicate the presence of birds to the gunner. Although the modes of action of these two breeds are closely related, they are sufficiently distinct to meet certain differences of circumstances. The peculiarities of their actions, it should be noted, are altogether related to the qualities of our fowling-pieces. These have been in use, at least in the form where shot took the place of the single ball, for less than two centuries, and the peculiar training of our pointers and setters has been brought about in even less time. It seems likely, indeed, that it is the result of about a hundred and fifty years of teaching, combined with the selection which so effectively works upon all our domesticated creatures. It thus appears that this peculiar impress upon the habits of the hunting-dog is the result of somewhere near thirty generations of culture.
Although, as has been often suggested, the pointing or setting habit probably rests upon an original custom of pausing for a moment before leaping upon their prey, which was possibly characteristic of the wild dog, it seems to me unlikely that this is the case, for we do not find this habit of creeping on the prey among our more primitive forms of dogs nor the wild allied species as a marked feature. All the canine animals trust rather to furious chase than to the cautious form of assault by stealthy approach and a final spring upon their prey, as is the habit with the cat tribe. Granting this somewhat doubtful claim that the induced habits of these dogs which have been specially adapted to the fowling-piece rest upon an original and native instinct, the amount of specialization which has been attained in about thirty generations of care remains a very surprising feature, and affords one of the most instructive lessons as to the possibilities of animal culture.
It is an interesting fact that the variation of a spontaneous sort, which is now taking place in our pointers and setters, is considerable. It is, perhaps, more distinctly indicated here than in any other of the breeds which are characterized by peculiar qualities of mind. All those familiar with the behavior of these strains of dogs have observed the high measure of individuality which characterizes them. I have recently been informed by a friend, who is a hunter and a very observing naturalist, of one of these variations in the pointer's instinct, which may, by careful selection, possibly lead to a very useful change in the habits of the animal. Hunting the Virginia partridge in the tall grass on the sea-coast of Georgia, his dog found by experience that his master could not discern him when he was pointing birds, and that a yelp of impatience would put up the covey before the gun was ready for them. The sagacious dog, therefore, adopted the habit of backing away from the point where he first fixed himself, so that he, by barking, denoted the presence of the birds without giving them alarm. Although, in this first instance, the action is purely rational, and is indeed good evidence of singular discernment and contriving skill, it seems likely that by careful breeding it may be brought into the realm of pure instinct or inherited habit.
The great variation in habits which is taking place in those varieties of dogs which are immediately under the master's eye during all the process of the chase, is easily explained by the fact that these creatures are in a position to be immediately and constantly influenced during their most active, and therefore teachable state of mind, by the will of man. A pack of fox-hounds is, to a great extent, out of hand while engaged in the pursuit of their prey; but a pointer or setter, even when under extreme excitement, is almost completely mastered by the superior will. When we observe the extent to which human intelligence is affecting the qualities of our hunting-dogs, it is not surprising to note that, in almost every district where there are peculiar kinds of game, varieties of the dog are developing which are especially adapted to its pursuit. Thus, in the parts of North America where the raccoon abounds, a variety of hunting-dog is in process of development which has a singular assemblage of qualities which fit it for this peculiar form of the chase. Although as yet "coon-dogs" have not been cultivated for a sufficient time to acquire distinct physical characteristics, their habits exhibit a larger range of specialization than those of any other breed of sporting dogs.
In those parts of the Americas where peccaries are hunted, the dogs used in their pursuit have learned to beware of assaulting the pack which they have brought to bay, and instead of indulging in the instinct which leads them into that way of danger and of certain death, they circle round the assemblage, compelling them to show front on every side and so to remain stationary until the hunters come up. Perhaps a score of similar specializations in the modes of action of our dogs which are employed in the chase could be recited; but as they all lead us to one conclusion—which is to the effect that these creatures are, as far as their mental powers are concerned, like clay in the hands of the potter—we may pass them by for some considerations which appear to have escaped the attention of writers who have discussed the problems of canine intelligence.
The singular elasticity as regards both mental and physical qualities which the dog exhibits, may well be compared with the other conditions which we find in certain of our domesticated animals, as, for instance, in the horse, where the mind shows but slight changes, and where the body has proved far less plastic than among dogs. The readiness with which the proportions of the dog may, by the breeder's art, be made to vary, is probably due to the fact that the group to which this creature belongs is one of relatively modern institution. It has the plasticity which we note as a characteristic of many other newly-established forms. The flexibility of mind is a concomitant of the carnivorous habit where creatures obtain their prey by the chase. Such an occupation tends to develop agile minds as well as bodies, and where exercised as it doubtless was by the ancestry of the dog, in the manner of pack hunting, where many individuals share in the chase, it is well calculated to insure a certain free and outgoing quality of the mind.
So long as our dogs were employed in the labor or the organized recreations of man, the tendency of the association with the superior being was in a high measure educative. They were constantly submitted to a more or less critical but always effective selection which tended ever to develop a higher grade of intelligence. With the advance in the organization of society the dog is losing something of his utility, even in the way of sport. He is fast becoming a mere idle favorite, prized for unimportant peculiarities of form. The effort in the main is not now to make creatures which can help in the employments of man, but to breed for show alone, demanding no more intelligence than is necessary to make the animal a well-behaved denizen of a house. The result is the institution of a wonderful variety in the size, shape, and special peculiarities of different breeds with what appears to be a concomitant loss in their intelligence. We often hear it remarked by those who are familiar with dogs that the ordinary mongrels are more intelligent and more susceptible of high training than the carefully inbred varieties, which are more highly prized because they conform to some thoroughly artificial standard of form or coloring. This is what we should expect from all we know concerning the breeding. Where for generations the dog-fancier has selected for reproduction with reference to the trifling and often injurious features of shape he seeks to attain, he naturally and almost necessarily neglects to choose the creatures in regard to their mental peculiarities. The result is that the breed tends to fall back in these regards to below the level of the ordinary cur, who makes his place in the affections of his owner because he has attractive or useful qualities of mind. It appears to me, in a word, that our treatment of this noble animal, where he is bred for ornament, is in effect degrading.
Although the formation of our fancy breeds does not serve to advance the development of those intellectual features which are the most interesting part of our dogs, the experiments have served to show the amazing physical plasticity of this species under the conditions of long domestication. The range in size between a tiny spaniel, such as those which are bred in Chihuahua, in northern Mexico, and the great Danes or mastiffs of northern Europe, is, perhaps, the greatest which has ever been attained in any mammal. In some cases the larger individuals belonging to the mastiff breed probably weigh nearly thirty times as much as their smaller kinsmen. Great as are these variations, they are only in form and bulk. They involve none of those curious changes in the number of bones of the skeleton which we may trace among the domesticated pigeons. We therefore turn from these results of breeders' fancy to consider certain of the mental qualities of dogs which have not come in our way in our review of the history of its relations to man.
First of all, we may note the fact that the friendly relations which dogs have become accustomed to form with men vary exceedingly in their range and activity. Perhaps in no other regard does the dog exhibit such distinctly human characteristics as in the way in which he meets the individuals of the mastering species. The gamut of their social relations with men is almost exactly parallel with our own. With from one to a dozen persons a dog may maintain an attitude of almost equally complete sympathy and mutual understanding. He may be on terms of acquaintanceship in varied degrees of familiarity with a few score others with whom he comes in frequent contact. Toward the rest of mankind he maintains a position of more or less complete distrust, which with experience may attain the indifference which men commonly show toward perfect strangers. If we observe a dog going along a much-frequented street, we may note that his relations to the people are substantially those which the folk have to each other. He shows as they do a certain consideration for the individuals he encounters, gives them their due place, and yet holds to his own. It is particularly noticeable that he avoids all contact with the other passers—in fact a dog has to be much beside himself with rage or fear, or insane from disease, before he will break those bounds of personality which civilization has set up to guide the conduct of life.
The social culture of dogs appears to have gone to the point where they recognize the meaning of an introduction—at least as far as the sympathetic relations of that understanding are concerned. Almost any well-bred dog will submit to be presented by his master, or even by persons whom he knows but is not accustomed to obey, to a stranger to whom he has already exhibited some dislike. During the introduction he will submit to those formal exchanges of courtesy which he is accustomed to recognize as the indices of friendship. The impression of this understanding seems to be so permanent that on subsequent meetings the dog, though he may maintain his original dislike of the man who has been forced upon his acquaintance, will continue to treat him with a certain consideration, though it is often easy to see that it is a difficult matter for him to conform to the requirements of society. When we compare the conduct of dogs in these regards with the behavior of other animals, even highly domesticated forms, we perceive how marvellously successful has been man's unconscious effort to mould this creature on his own nature.
Another extremely human characteristic of our canine friends is shown in their susceptibility to ridicule. Faint traces of this quality are to be found in monkeys and perhaps even in the more intelligent horses, but nowhere else save in man, and hardly there, except in the more sensitive natures, do we find contempt, expressed in laughter of the kind which conveys that emotion, so keenly and painfully appreciated. With those dogs which are endowed with a large human quality, such as our various breeds of hounds, it is possible by laughing in their faces not only to quell their rage, but to drive them to a distance. They seem in a way to be put to shame and at the same time hopelessly puzzled as to the nature of their predicament. In this connection we may note the very human feature that after you have cowed a dog by insistent laughter you can never hope to make friends with him. A case of this kind is fresh in my experience. A year or two ago I was imprudent enough to laugh at a very intelligent dog in my neighborhood, he having unreasonably assailed me at my house-door, where he had been left for a long time to wait while his owner was within and had thereby been brought into an unhappy state of mind. Sympathizing with his situation, I preferred to laugh him out of his humor rather than to beat him with my stick. I regret I did not take the other alternative, for I made the poor brute my implacable enemy by my pretence of contempt for him. I am inclined to think that if I had beaten him the matter could have been arranged afterward in a friendly way.
Another very remarkable and I believe hitherto unnoticed likeness between the mind of dogs and that of man is found in the fact that these dumb beasts, unlike all other inferior animals, except, perhaps, some of the more intelligent species of monkeys, will learn lessons from isolated experiences. In this regard they are indeed quite as apt as the lower kinds of men. Thus a dog who has had an unsavory or painful experience with a skunk or a porcupine is apt to keep away from these creatures for a long time thereafter. Where, as is not infrequently the case, a cur takes to eating eggs, a single dose of tartar emetic concealed in an egg which is placed where he can readily find it, is apt to effect an immediate and complete reform. This ready learning from experience is almost the gist of our human quality—at least on the intellectual side of it.
Perhaps the greatest success to which man has attained in his education of the dog is to be found in the measure in which he has overcome the fierce rage which clearly characterized the ancestors of this creature when they first felt the mastering hand. The reader cannot understand the intensity of the rage motive in the carnivora unless he has studied some of these brutes in their wild state, where from the time in the remote ages when they first began to take on the qualities of their species they have survived and won success by the fury of their assault. In almost all our breeds of dogs this primal ferocity has been overlaid by the various motives of rationality, sympathy, and conventional demeanor, until one may live half a lifetime with well-bred dogs without a chance to see the demon which we have buried in their breasts, as we have in our own, beneath a host of civilizing influences. It is rare indeed in our day that a dog, unless insane, will bite a human being. The most of their assaults are pure bluster, mere pretence of fury, as is shown by the fact that if, carried away by their pretence, they are led to use their teeth, it is usually a mere sham assault, having no semblance of the effectiveness of true combat.
Something of the pristine fury of the primitive dogs may still be noted in a certain brutal variety of watch-dogs which are still to be found in parts of continental Europe. The best types of this breed which I have ever seen are to be found among the dogs which are kept to guard the quarries of Solenhofen, in Bavaria, whence come all the fine lithographic stones which are so extensively used in printing. These quarries are scattered over several square miles of untilled country, and the separate pits are to be numbered by the score. As much valuable stone is necessarily left over night in the quarries, their care is confined to packs of watch-dogs which are turned loose at night and appear as if by instinct to spend the hours of darkness in prowling over the territory. Such is their size and ferocity that it takes a sturdy beggar to face them. I remember inadvertently disturbing one of these brutes from sleep, in the strong cage where he was confined, and I have never beheld such a picture of blind fury as he exhibited. I had not come within twenty feet of him, and was merely moving past his place of confinement; yet he sprang to the grating and strove with his teeth to break his way through the bars. I thought the animal must be mad, but his keeper assured me that such was his ordinary state of mind and that the humor was common to all the breed; even the masters dwelt in fear of them. Ordinarily the only exhibitions of the innate ferocity of our dogs are to be seen in their combats with each other, when for a time the creatures return to their primitive state of mind. Even these occasional exhibitions of fury are not found among all breeds of dogs, and among many individuals even of the combative strains of blood the motive of battle appears to have quite passed away.
In antithesis to the old Ishmaelitic humor of our primitive dogs, man has developed a singular, sympathetic, and kindly motive in these creatures. From the point of view of the dog's education we must not set too much store by his affection for his master. This kind of devotion of one being to another is displayed elsewhere in the animal kingdom, though it is more common among birds than among mammals. We find traces of it in the greater part of our domesticated creatures or in those which we have individually adopted from the wilderness. It is a part of the great sympathetic motive, which, originating far down in the series of animals, increases as they gain in the scale of being, until it reaches the highest level it has yet attained in spiritually minded men. The eminent peculiarity in the case of a dog is that the very centre of his life is formed of the affections, which are evidently the same as those which rule the days of the most cultivated men. To him these elements of friendliness are absolutely necessary to a comfortable existence. If by chance he becomes separated from his master and the other people with whom he is familiar, his bereavement is intense; but in most cases, at the end of a day or two, he is compelled to form new bonds, and he sets about the task in an exceedingly human way. I dwell in a town where dogs abound and where the frequent coming and going of the people puts many of the creatures astray. Perhaps as often as once a week, almost always late in the evening, one of these unhappy lost ones seeks to make friends with me. His advances toward this end always begin by his dogging my footsteps at a little distance. If I do not repulse him he will come nearer until he has made sure of my attention. A friendly word will bring him to my hand; but his behavior is never effusive, as it would be if he had found his rightful owner, but mildly propitiative and with a touch of sadness. There is, it seems to me, no other feature in the life of the dog which tells so much as to his moral nature as his conduct under these unhappy circumstances.
In the long catalogue of human qualities which characterize our thoroughly domesticated dogs, we must not fail to take account of their sense of property. In this the creature differs from all other of our domesticated animals. It is a common characteristic of mammals, both in their wild and tame state, that they feel a motive of ownership in the food which they have captured or in the den which they have made their lair; but beyond these narrow personal limits we see no evidence of any sense of ownership in land or effects. We readily observe, however, that our household dogs not only know the chattels of their master and distinguish them from those of other people, but they also learn to recognize the bounds of their house-lot or even of a considerable farm. When a dog, even of a militant quality, enters on territory which he does not feel to belong to him, he is at once a very different creature as compared to his condition when he is on his own land. He treads warily and will accept without dispute an order to take himself off. A perception of this sort indicates an extraordinary amount of sympathy and discernment. It requires us to assume that the creature has a good sense of topography and that he observes closely the various acts, none of them perhaps very indicative, which go to show the limits of his master's claims.
Although the mental qualities of our highly domesticated dogs are singularly like those of their masters, the likeness going to the point that the household pet is apt to have acquired something of the general character of the people with whom he dwells, there are many suggestive differences arising from failures of development which are in the highest measure interesting to those who study the species. We note, in the first place, that although for ages in contact with the constructive work which occupies his masters, the dog shows no tendency whatever to essay any undertakings of this nature. He is quite alive to considerations of personal comfort and is particularly fond of a warm bed; yet, except for a few unverified stories, we may say that there is no evidence whatever to show that they ever try to improve their conditions by deliberately providing themselves with warm bedding. In no well-attested case has a dog shown any sense as to the nature of any mechanical contrivance. They will learn which way a door opens, and rarely if ever do they undiscerningly close it when it is slightly ajar and they wish to pass through the opening; but I have never been able to observe or obtain evidence to show that they would without teaching pull down a latch in the way in which a cat readily learns to do. Much as dogs have had to do with guns, they display no kind of interest in the arms except so far as they are tokens of sport to come. They connect the explosion with the capture of game, and will search for it in the direction toward which the barrel was pointed. I have not, however, been able to find that they know, as they might readily do, and as a crow would surely do, when the weapon was loaded and when empty. They show no interest in it, such as monkeys readily display toward any mechanical contrivance to which their attention has been directed. All these negative features indicate that the mechanical side of the canine mind is entirely undeveloped.
Although there is some evidence that the sense of number attains a measure of development in dogs, the ability to form mathematical conceptions of any kind appears to be very weak in this species. The fact that shepherd-dogs, in a way, keep an account of considerable flocks so that they will know when one is gone astray, can readily be explained on the supposition that they know their charges individually and not in sum. The absence of arithmetical capacity is, however, less important than the lack of mechanical sense, for the reason that such incapacity is also common in the lowest races of men. Although dogs, as before noted, quickly and clearly acquire a notion of property rights in all which pertains to their owner's holdings, they appear never to extend their sense of their own personal possessions beyond the original limit to which they had attained when the species was domesticated. The creature feels a sense of personal property in his food and in his sleeping-place, but appears not to extend his conception of individual rights beyond these primitively established limits.
All our well-bred household dogs quickly learn certain bodily habits which are necessary to make them acceptable members of a household. These habits are not well affirmed by inherited instinct, but the ease with which the instruction is acquired shows that they have become prone to submit to such regulations. Culture on this line rests upon a primal instinct, originating we know not how, which leads a number of wild animals to conceal their excrement. On the other hand, these creatures exhibit no sense of modesty, though that, in a more or less complete measure, is characteristic of all human tribes whatsoever.
As regards the memory, dogs appear to have a considerably greater measure of capacity than is observable in any other group of domesticated animals. There is no question that they can recall their associations with people from whom they have been separated for a year or more. Some trustworthy anecdotes appear to establish the fact that the recollections may endure for two or three years. I have observed an instance in which the memory seems perfectly clear after an interval of eighteen months, and this concerned a person who had been with the dog for a period of not more than four days. It is interesting to note the behavior of a dog when he has failed to recognize a person whom he has known well, but from whom he has been long separated. I have a shepherd-dog that has known me well, but the friendship is often interrupted by partings of some months' duration. When, after one of these absences, I appear to him in the distance, he comes furiously towards me, quite possessed by his enmity. At a certain point in his charge a doubt begins to beset him; he moderates his pace; his roaring bark passes into a whine; and as the full measure of his blunder is borne in upon him by my voice, he becomes the picture of shame. In his perplexity, he always finds relief in endeavoring with his paw to scrape a supposititious fly from the side of his nose. He then deals with what I suppose to be an equally imaginary flea; after he has thus gained a few seconds for readjustment, he welcomes me joyously. All this is so thoroughly human-like, that even the naturalist, the professional doubter, is forced to believe that the dog's mind works substantially as his own, and that the feelings connected with the action are essentially the same.
While in the case of the elephant and the pig, and in a less measure in several other of the lower animals, we have indices of as high or even higher intelligence than the dog, no other brute shows anything like the same measure of what we may term human quality. So far as the field of the emotions is concerned, we are driven to believe that it has been bred into the kind by the ages of intimate associations, supported by the selective process which has led people to preserve the individual of the species with which they found themselves the most in sympathy. I repeat the suggestion, and shall repeat it yet again, for the reason that just here—how effectively the reader's imagination will suggest—we find a basis for the hope that, with time and care, man may bring his subjects of the lower realm into a more intimate, affectionate, and helpful relation than is dreamed of by those who look upon them as mere brutes.
The most curious limitation which we find in dogs is as to the measure of expression to which they have attained. No one who has well considered the facts can doubt that our civilized varieties of this species have something like a hundred times as much which deserves utterance as their savage forefathers possessed. Yet the capacity for giving note to these thoughts or emotions has not gained anything like the proportion to the needs. It seems, however, that some gain in this direction has been made, and that much may be won hereafter in the way of further advance. Never having known the species whence our dogs came in its wild state, we are uncertain as to its modes of expression; but, observing the varieties of dogs which are kept by savages, it seems probable that the primitive canines used their voice only in howling or yelping; that is, as a continuous sound akin to the bellowings or other cries of the various wild mammals. It is characteristic of all these primitive forms of utterance that they are, to a great extent, involuntary, and that when the outcry is begun it continues in a mechanical manner, with no trace of modulation arising from the conditions of the moment. In other words, these actions resemble, in a way, sneezing or hiccoughing in human kind; actions which are stimulated by certain states of the body, but which are not at all under the control of the will. Howling or bellowing doubtless represents, in a measure, a state of mind as well as of body, but the action is of a general and uncontrolled kind.
The effect of advancing culture upon a dog has been gradually to decrease this ancient undifferentiated mode of expression afforded by howling and yelping, and to replace it by the much more speech-like bark. There is some doubt whether the dogs possessed by savages have the power of uttering the sharp, specialized note which is so characteristic of the civilized forms of their species. It is clear, however, that if they have the capacity of thus expressing themselves, they use it but rarely. On the other hand, our high-bred dogs have, to a great extent, lost the habit of expressing themselves in the ancient way. Many of our breeds appear to have become incapable of ululating. There is no doubt but this change in the mode of expression greatly increases the capacity of our dogs to set forth their states of mind. If we watch a high-bred dog, one with a wide range of sensibilities, which we may find in breeds which have long been closely associated with man, we may readily note five or six varieties of sound in the bark, each of which is clearly related to a certain state of mind. The bark of welcome, of fear, of rage, of doubt, and of pure fun, are almost always perfectly distinct to the educated ear, and this although the observer may not be acquainted with the creature; if he knows him well, he may be able to distinguish various other intonations—those which express impatience and even an element of sorrow. This last note verges toward the howl.
It does not seem to me that we should regard barking as a new and useful invention; there are, indeed, few such in the organic world. The sound appears to me to have been derived from the primitive habit of howling. If we hearken to this utterance we perceive that it is not an unbroken sound, but is somewhat intermittent. At either end of the prolonged sound we can often notice that it is divided into rather distinct yelps more or less completely separated from the other notes. The cries of a dog when beaten often exhibit the same peculiarity; so, too, the puppy, before he has attained skill in barking, will often prolong each utterance in a way which makes its relation to the ancient mode of expression tolerably clear. At the risk of being deemed fanciful, I venture to suggest that the bark is in effect a division of the howl into clearly separated notes, the change having come about as a similar alteration is effected in our own speech, by the increase in the intelligence which the creature is called upon to express. I conceive that while the primitive and massive emotions found satisfying utterance in the long-drawn notes, the more divided state of mind of the humanized successor has led to a change in its utterances. Although these modifications of speech, if such we may term them, have probably been developed on the basis of the dog's human relations, there is, it seems to me, good reason to believe that the diversities in note have come to have a distinct conventional value between the individuals of all the different breeds. Any one who closely observes these animals must have noticed the fact that the degree of attention they give to the utterances of their kindred varies in a way which indicates that they have great varieties of denotations. Some of the shades of the meaning which a dog's bark has to others of his species probably escape our less fine ears.
The creation of something like a language among our civilized dogs has naturally been accompanied by the development of an understanding of human speech. Although we cannot attach much importance to the mass of anecdote on this point, there is enough which is well attested—sufficient, indeed, which has come within the limits of my own observation—to make it clear that dogs, even without deliberate teaching, frequently acquire a tolerably clear understanding of a number of words and even of short phrases. They will catch these not only when given in distinct command, but when uttered in an ordinary tone, without any sign that they relate to their affairs. It is true that these understood words generally relate to some action which the dog is accustomed to perform, yet there are instances so well attested that they deserve credit, which seem to show that the creatures can get some sense of the drift of conversation even when it is carried on by persons with whom they are not familiar and does not clearly relate to their own affairs.
It should be observed that within the narrow limits of this essay little or no effort has been made to interpret the state of mind of dogs from the vast but rather untrustworthy mass of anecdote with which our books are filled. So large a part of this evidence is contaminated by prepossessions, and a yet larger part is so unverified in any scientific sense, that for purposes of sound inquiry it is worthless. It therefore seems best to limit ourselves, as has been done in this paper, to those general actions of the creatures which are matters of common knowledge and safely beyond question. From these indices we are able to determine a basis for some important conclusions. These are in effect as follows, viz.: Our domestic dog is derived from a species, one or more, akin to the wolf, the jackal, and the fox; to a group of animals not characterized by great native intelligence, but distinguished for their ferocity and their general untamableness. There is no reason to believe that the primitive dog had any more foundation for his great attainments than his obstinately savage kindred, except that he may have had a greater disposition to form an attachment to a master. We can hardly believe that he had any share of that marvellous sympathy with man and understanding of his motives which characterize the high-bred varieties of his species. All this vast transformation, which from a psychological point of view has carried the dog relatively as far up above his origin as civilization has lifted man above his lowest estate, has been due to human intercourse and the long and effective concomitant selection of good from bad. It is hardly too much to say that a large part of our human nature has been transferred into the descendants of this ancient wild beast. The sense of property, a great part of human affections, many of the attributes which constitute the gentleman, have been passed over to him.
In considering the effects arising from the intercourse of man with the dog, we should not overlook the development of human sympathy which has come about through this relation. The fact that the dog has been made by far the most sympathetic of the lower animals, is due to the affection which men for thousands of years have given to him. In his intercourse with this creature, man first learned to develop his altruistic motives beyond the limits of his own kind. With this extension of his affection must have begun the growth of that large motive, which is the most distinguishing feature of our modern life, which leads us to go forth in a loving manner to the living beings about us, not only to our flocks and herds but to the life of the unsubjugated realm as well. Thus, in a way, we may look upon the dog as affording the first steps on the path of culture which was to lift man from his primitive selfishness to the altruistic state to which he has attained.
Great as has been the work of man upon the dog—it deserves, indeed, to be ranked high among all the accomplishments of his culture—there is reason to believe that if he but go forward with understanding in the ways which have hitherto led him blindly to his success, the final result may be very much more perfect than that which has been attained. It is on this account that I feel it fit to make a strong protest against the system our breeders pursue. Except in the case of dogs used in sport and for herding sheep, the sole effort appears to be to create breeds which shall exhibit peculiarities of form which are mere extravagances, and move the real lover of this noble animal to indignation. In these preposterous and unseemly tasks no care is taken to continue the mental development on lines which have been established by long use. Still less is there any effort to essay the development of the intelligence in ways which are clearly open to us, and which afford possibilities of lifting this species to a yet nobler companionship with our own kind.
It seems worth while for our associations of dog fanciers to undertake to develop varieties of dogs solely with reference to the intellectual qualities of the animal. I venture to suggest that those who seek this end should select some of the primitive types of form, such as are found among the undifferentiated mass of the species, those which are improperly termed mongrels, and this for the reason that among these unselected creatures the intelligence is quicker and more varied than it is in the highly developed varieties. Under skilful trainers the successive generations bred in the experimental station should be subjected to tests which will indicate the measure of intellectual ability. The results already attained by the unconscious selection which man has applied serve to indicate that at the end of a century, and perhaps in much less time, we might develop an animal which in various ways would come to a closer intellectual relation with man than any other lower species has attained.
Cats deserve some mention for the reason, that, while they are the least essential, and on the whole the least interesting, of domesticated animals, they have had a certain place in civilization. They afford, moreover, a capital foil by which to set off the virtues of the dog. Nowhere else, indeed, among the creatures which are intimately associated with men, do we find two related forms which afford, along with a certain likeness, such great diversities of quality.
We know nothing as to the time when the cat first found its way to the associations of man. Presumably this period was much later than the advent of the dog into the human family. The presumption rests upon the fact that while the dog does not demand fixed residence as a condition of its fealty, but is at home wherever his master is, the cat is the creature of the domicile, caring more indeed for its dwelling-place than it ever does for the inmates thereof. In a word, the creature must have come to us after our forefathers gave up the nomadic life. Nevertheless, the association is very ancient; it has endured in Egypt at least for a term of several thousand years.
Among the curious features connected with the association of the cat with man, we may note that it is the only animal which has been tolerated, esteemed, and at times worshipped, without having a single distinctly valuable quality. It is, in a small way, serviceable in keeping down the excessive development of small rodents, which from the beginning have been the self-invited guests of man. As it is in a certain indifferent way sympathetic, and by its caresses appears to indicate affection, it has awakened a measure of sympathy which it hardly deserves. I have been unable to find any authentic instances which go to show the existence in cats of any real love for their masters.
In the matter of intelligence cats appear to rank almost as high as dogs. They are even quicker than their canine relatives in discerning the nature of man's artful contrivances; they readily acquire the habit of opening doors which are closed by means of a latch, even where it is necessary to combine the strong pull on the handle with the push that completes the operation. Feats of this sort are rarely if ever performed by dogs.
The most peculiar quality in the mind of cats is the intense way in which they cling to a well-known locality. Their memory of places, and affection for them, if we may so term it, is evidently far greater than that which they feel for people. Some years ago I had an interesting exhibition of this singular humor. A well-grown and thoroughly domesticated cat, one that seemed more than usually attached to people, was brought from my house in town to a place on the shore. When released, the creature seemed for some days to be nearly insane. It did not recognize any of its friends, it betook itself to the fields, and was with difficulty captured at the end of a week of roaming, during which it appeared to have had no food. Confined within one room, it gradually recovered its powers of mind, and began to take account of its friends. In the course of a month it seemed to be reconciled to its surroundings. Nine months after its first sojourn in the wilderness it was again brought from the town to the same place. On the second visit the creature was somewhat uneasy, but this passed away in a day or two. On a third visit, after a like interval, it seemed at once and entirely at home. Nevertheless, its habits while in the country differ very much from those it has in town. In its original domicile it insists on being about the table at meal-times. While in the country it does not care to be present; in fact, it appears to avoid associations with the household. It seems to me that this cat, after the manner of some men whose brains are diseased, now lives in two distinct states of consciousness, each relating to one of its places of abode.
The differences as regards affection for localities which is shown by cats and dogs are perhaps to be accounted for by an original and essential variation in the habits of life in their wild ancestors. Judging by the kindred of the species which are known to us in their wild state, we may fairly suppose that the dogs were of old accustomed to range over a wide field, having no fixed place of abode; the pack ranging, if the occasion served, for hundreds of miles in any direction. On the other hand, with the cats, it is characteristic of the species that they have lairs to which they resort, and a definite hunting ground in which they seek their food. They are, in a word, animals of very determined routine. As there has been no effort by breeding to change this feature, it has remained in all its old ingrained intensity.
As a consequence of the affection which cats have for particular places, they often return to the wilderness when by chance the homes in which they have been reared are abandoned. Thus in New England, in those sections of the district where many farmsteads have of late years been deserted, the cats have remained about their ancient haunts and have become entirely wild. In this State they are bred in such numbers that their presence is now a serious menace to the birds and other weaker creatures of the country. The behavior of these feralized animals differs somewhat from that of creatures which have never been tamed. They have not the same immediate fear of a man, but the least effort to approach them leads to their hasty flight.
While considering the inelastic quality which is exhibited by cats as compared with the dog, the naturalist notes with interest the fact that the former creature belongs to a family which has never been accustomed to any social life beyond the limits of the family. Moreover, all the cats have the habit of hunting in a solitary way, each for itself, in the achievement and in the result. It is otherwise with dogs. They belong to a group which hunts in packs. For ages they have been used to a communal life. Their minds have thus become accustomed to social intercourse; they are used to having their excitements of the chase in comradeship, and generally they are accustomed to the rough-and-tumble fraternity which we behold in a pack of wolves. It was long ago remarked that the really social animals are those which afford the only good material for subjugation. The difference between the cat and dog seems, in a way, to warrant this statement.
Although it is likely that many efforts have been made to domesticate the other larger felines, no distinct success has attended these experiments. A large Asiatic cat known as the chetah is somewhat used in hunting for sport, but the species has never been adopted in any definite way. In fact, with all the larger cats, including the lion, which is structurally a little apart from the other members of the group, the size and furious nature of the animal have made it impossible to begin the process of selection which has been the means whereby the wilderness motive has been replaced by that of the household in the case of all other domesticated beasts.
Value of the Strength of the Horse to Man.—Origin of the Horse.—Peculiar Advantage of the Solid Hoof.—Domestication of the Horse.—How begun.—Use as a Pack Animal.—For War.—Peculiar Advantages of the Animal for Use of Men.—Mental Peculiarities.—Variability of Body.—Spontaneous Variations due to Climate.—Variations of Breeds.—Effect of the Invention of Horseshoes.—Donkeys and Mules compared with Horse.—Especial Value of these Animals.—Diminishing Value of Horses in Modern Civilization.—Continued Need of their Service in War.
The largest economic problem which primitive people on their way upward towards civilization had unconsciously to face was that of obtaining some kind of strength which could be added to the power of their own weak limbs. For all his eminent capacities of body, man is not a strong animal, nor is he so built that he can apply the measure of strength that is in him to good advantage. There are scores if not hundreds of species with which he came in contact in his effort to dominate nature that are stronger, swifter, and better provided with natural weapons. With the first step upward, as in almost all the succeeding steps, the advance depended on securing more energy than that with which our kind was directly endowed. It is hardly too much to say that the progress of mankind beyond the savage state would probably never have been effected but for the bodily help which has been rendered by a few domesticated animals.
From the point of view of the student of domesticated animals the races of men may well be divided into those which have and those which have not the use of the horse. Although there are half a score of other animals which have done much for man, which have indeed stamped themselves upon his history, no other creature has been so inseparably associated with the great triumphs of our kind, whether won on the battle-field or in the arts of peace. So far as material comfort, or even wealth, is concerned, we of the northern realms and present age could, perhaps, better spare the horse from our present life than either sheep or horned cattle; but without this creature it is certain that our civilization would never have developed in anything like its present form. Lacking the help which the horse gives, it is almost certain that, even now, it could not be maintained.
We know the ancient natural history of the horse more completely than that of any other of our domesticated animals. We can trace the steps by which its singularly strong limbs and feet, on which rests its value to man, were formed in the great laboratory of geologic time. The story is so closely related to the interests of man that it will be well briefly to set it before the reader. In the first stages of the Tertiary period, in the age when we begin to trace the evolution of the suck-giving animals above the lowly grade in which the kangaroos and opossums belong, we find the ancestors of our mammalian series all characterized by rather weakly organized limbs fitted, as were those of their remoter kindred the marsupials, for tree climbing rather than for moving over the surface of the ground. The fact is, that all the creatures of this great clan acquired their properties of body in arboreal life, and with such relatively small and light bodies as were fitted for tree climbing. For this use the feet need to be loose-jointed, and so the system of five toes, each terminating in a sharp and strong nail or claw, became fixed in the inheritances. When, gaining strength and coming to possess a more important place in the world, these ancient tree-dwellers were able to occupy the ground which of old had been possessed by the great reptiles, the limbs that had served well for an arboreal life had to undergo many changes in order to fit them for progression in the new realm.