Thomas Thacker.

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The farmers, in most cases, cared little about the pnppy making a
good greyhound, and if it had new milk, it was such as the farmer^s
wife said, when his landlord sent a puppy for them to keep, with
orders to give it new milk; "aye,'' said she, when the servant
was gone, " it shall ?iave nerv milk, but I tliink there will be a
blue cast with it, for if the milk be not blue from being skimmed
a time or two, there will be a blue cast on my countenance." In
this way those sent to the farmers were kept chiefly upon whey,
and thin miserable looking things they were ; those at the butchers
or innkeepers were thick and coarse in their frame.

Now there was not much difference in the system of feeding and
training when old enough to course, between these two friends,
except with the bad rearer, when he found one of his puppies run
better than his others, was never satisfied till he had seen him run
again and again, day after day, till he was quite stale and cunning ;
while the other gentleman reserved his best for particular occa-
sions, and made common hacks of his second raters. But the
test of these different modes of rearing was seen independent of one
running them too much, and the other not so ; I have repeatedly
seen them run together when tlie puppies were first entered to
hare, and have seen the new milk system most decidedly beat the
other nine times out of ten. The superiority of the new milk sys-
tem is also proved by the bad rearer's own admission, though he
could not conceive the cause of it, and by the answer given to him
by his factotum manager of his greyhounds. " How is it," said he.

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to his lackey, ** that Mr. always beats me with greyhounds

of my own breeding, against my own of the same litter ?" ** Why,''
said the other, '^ he chooses them with good backs.''

It wonld raise a smile on the countenance of any experienced
breeder to talk of discriminating between good or bad backs when
whelps are only two months old ; and if such could be done, why
did not tliis wiseacre choose good backed ones for his master ?
The fact, however, was, that this would*be knowing-one could see
when they were old enough to run, that the other gentleman's dogs
had better backs than his master's dogs had, which was solely
owing to the better system of rearing, and this simpleton had ob*
servation enough about him to notice that they had better backs,
but not intellect enough to divine the cause of it. Those reared
with plenty of good new milk, were long and strong on their backs,
plenty of liberty, good loins, and were ribbed outwards, speedy and
stout good runners. WhUe the others were short in their backs,
nipped up in their loins, flat sided, and bad runners generally.

The last litter but one, three reared on plenty of milk were all
very speedy and good runners ; the others, reared on the other
system, were all bad ones ; the last litter they had together, there
were but four whelps, two of which died soon after leaving their
dam. I went, by desire of the bad rearer, to look at the one he
kept, which he considered to be a very fine one ; and so it was, but
I found it pulling away at some raw horse flesh in the yard, and
the servant informed me that they fed it the same as they fed their
running dogs, witli flesh, cow-heel, cow-heel broth, and biscuits. I
saw it run when about eighteen months old, against one of the former
litter reared by the odier gentleman, but it scarcely ran half so fast ;
it had no length of frame, and could take no length of stride. The
fellow puppy, reared on the new milk system, is as smart a grey-
hound, and as good a runner as any courser need wish to have,
and many applications were made, but in vain, to purchase it

I could adduce a variety of other instances having a similar re-
sult ; but these are so closely in point, that it is unnecessary ; those
would-be coursers who deem new milk too valuable and expensive
to give to greyhound puppies, had better give up the pursuit altor

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gether, as they stand bot little cliance, with dogs of their own
breeding and rearing (which, by the way, is generally allowed to
be the greatest merit in the pursuit) of mounting the top of the
tree on coursing ground.

A high bred greyhound requires more forcing in his tender
age, than one of a cross or mongrel breed ; the former is by na-
ture very delicate when young, and forcing him with proper food
does not make him coarse and heavy, as it does the latter. I have
seen the latter sort when they have been well nurtured and forced, be-
come such ravenous and greedy feeders, of so robust a constitution,
that they grow, in simile, more like coach horses than race horses.

^* Some greyhounds,"^ says Arrian, ** eat voraciously, others with
delicacy. The latter mode of feeding indicates a dog of better
blood than the former. Good dogs are not bad feeders, but fond
of gruel or bread. This kind of farinaceous food is most strength-
ening to them, and there is no fear of their gorging themselves too
much with it When a dog is sick, administer the broth of fat
meat to him, or having roasted a bullock's liver over some hot
coals, and rubbed it abroad, sprinkle it like flour into the broth.
This is good also for puppies to strengthen their limbs, when they
are first weaned from milk. But milk is the best support for pup-
pies till the ninth month, and even longer; and is serviceable to
the sick and delicate, both as drink and aliment. Fasting, too, is
beneficial to a sick dog."" ^ The Cynosophium substitutes the lungs
for the liver of a bnllock, as nutriment for puppies when deprived
of milk:"" page 93.

Demetrius *^ recommends milk to be gradually added to bread
(the dog"s usual diet) when it is wislied to raise him in flesh, until
it becomes his only nutriment morning and evening. From this
he is to be again weaned, by the gradual abstraction of the milk,
when we desire to reduce him. In the former case he is not to
have his liberty; in the latter, he is to be daily exercised. A
second kind of nutritious food consists of oatmeal gruel with fat;
a third of bean flour, oil, and fat bacon. W beaten bread or
biscuit, with gruel from the fiurina of oats, is the best nutriment for
all hounds."^

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Markham says, ^'when you have a perfect and well shapt grey-
hound, your next rule is to apply yourselfe to the dyetting and
ordering of him, for the pleasure to which you keepe him, that
bringing him to the uttermost heiglit or strength of winde, you
may know the uttermost goodnesse that is within him, whicli dis-
orderly and foule keeping will conceale, and you lose a Jewell for
want of knowledge of the value. Dyetting then of greyhounds
consisteth in four especial things, viz. food, exercise, ayring, and
kennelling ; the first nourishing the body, the second the limbes,
the third the winde, and the last the spirits. Hounds readily sup-
port themselves with dry oat or wheat meaL Flour mixed with
oil and water, and flour beat up with milk.^ Arrian translated,
page 92. ^^ The kennelling of greyhounds,^^ says another author,
'^ is of great use, giving them spirit and nimbleness when let loose $
and the best way of managing a greyhound is, never to let him
stir out of the kennel, except at the times of feeding, exercise or

Arrian^s remark that ** milk is serviceable to the sick," is rather
problematical ; my foregoing remarks recommending milk to pup-
pies, was on the supposition that they are healthy ; but to those
which are nek, I conceive milk not to be so good food as some
others, although many persons give it in preference, as being the
most congenial at that age ; such an idea cannot arise from a know-
ledge of how milk acts on the stomach, or how the stomach acts
on milk ; gruel, or broth moderately thickened with bread, would
be preferable when sick tlian milk.

With respect to forcing puppies, foals, or the young of any ani-
mal, some imagine that you force them till they grow past their
strength, as very tall men or women often prove consumptive ;
this is an erroneous fancy. Those of weak or delicate constitu-
tions often grow very tall ; or those who do not take proper exer-
cise, but live indolently ; or even those from sickness who rest,
and lie down on or in the bed in the day time, frequently shoot
out, and grow very tall in the mean time ; while those young people
who have a sufficiency of good healtliy or strong exercise, if they
are naturally of a tall frame, or made more so by eating plentifully
of new milk when young, which conduces to stature, they take

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their strength up along with their stature. Forcing them with good
food^ and at the same time having plenty of good exercise, is the
forcing of the parts both externally and internally, which strengthens
and supports the stature more than forcing the stature itself; so is
the promoting tlieir future growth by extra exertion, promoting
the growth of those parts which support the stature, more than
promoting the actual growing in stature. Forcing tliem with
such food as is congenial to their age, aided by proper exercise,
cannot conduce towards weakness; on the contrary, the time
when forcing is of the greatest utility is precisely that time
when they are growing in stature ; for when arrived at their full
growth, more ordinary feeding will do for them, so that they have
tolerably plenty, and are not suffered to become very poor and lean ;
the latter is not profitable in any manner or shapes

Buffon^s beautiful theory of the growth and re-production is in
perfect accordance with what we see in the growth of animals,
and, indeed, explains more satisfactorily than any other author
I have read, the real cause of growing animals requiring to be fed
more frequently than those which are fully arrived at maturity ;
and what we also experience ourselves, compared with what we
experienced, with respect to hunger, when we were young.

When arrived at mature age, the body requires no more nutritive
particles to be diffused through it than supplies the perpetual waste
and renewal of what is always going off, as long as life continues;
the surplus from what we eat, more than the body requires to
replenish its regular waste, after undergoing its animalization and
becoming a part of ourselves, is thrown back into the seminal
reservoirs for re-production; the surplus organic particles thus
thrown into the seminal reservoirs are consequently in much
greater abundance at mature age than during growth, because
during growth they are required to increase the stature and bulk
of the body ; in addition to which, that growth being regularly
and constantly going on, a more frequent supply of nutritive par-
ticles is required, which causes a more frequent return of hunger,
and not only a desire, but a necessity, for eating more frequently.
Thus, we require to eat more frequently while growing in stature
and bulk also, than when arrived at full stature but not at

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matnritjy enlarging in bnlk^ but not increasing in statore; that la,
the filling up, furnishings and developing the whole strnctore to
perfection ; and in the latter stage, we require to eat more fre-
quently than when that structure is perfected, which Bnffon con-
siders in man is not till near thirty years of age, although in
women at about twenty years of age, because her structure is
smaller than that of man. In this way, when arrived at full
stature, but not at maturity, from eating more frequently, and
altogether, more in quantity, we have more stimulus and ardour,
and abundance of seminal fluid, but that fluid not supplied by
such abundance of organic living particles.

In Buffon^s various experiments, his examination of the foetus in
rabbits, bitches, chicks in eggs under incubation, at the several
different stages of their growth, he proves that the foetus grows in
similar proportion to what the animal grows after its birth; and
alike in both cases, when near the time of its full stature, either
as an animal, or the foetus of one, they shoot out, and grow faster,
in the same space of time, than at the more early stages of their
growth ; thus man, in the last year before he attains his full
stature, grows more rapidly than at any former period of his
growth, and in the same manner with animab. We know, from
almost daily observation, that where young people are pre-disposed
for consumption, that disposition manifests itself more generally
at this period of their age, than at any former period. We aldo
know that strong and healthy young people have more frequent
hunger, and desire to eat greater quantities at this period than at
any other, either before or afterwards; at this period, nature
requires more support than at any other period in particular; and
to be restrained from eating, or insufficiently supplied with food
at this period, will very much endanger even those who are not
previously pre-disposed for consumption, to become consumptive.
At this period they should abo have plenty of strong exercise, as
that will rather check the growth in stature than otherwise, and
will strengthen the parts the better to support what growth in
stature does take place, and the additional food they eat at that
p^iod will support them in that stronger exercise. It is the same
with animals intended for labour as witli man in this respect ; and
this is the time more precisely than any other, when a growing

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greyhoand puppy should have an increased quantity of animal food
given to him, in small quantities at a time^ but given frequently;
and to have liberty to run about in the day, with any inducement
you can adopt for him to gallop and race about, a moderate time
before each feeding ; the most probable method for that purpose
is, to shut him up in his kennel for an hour or two after he is
fed, which wiU assist the digestion of his food, after which his
liberty is a greater novelty to him, and pleased with it lie will
delight himself with acummering about, as Gervase Markham
terms it, and exert all his powers for awhile, which is of infinite
service in strengthening all his parts.

If you feed puppies with household bread crusts or biscuits,
they should be well soaked in the broth or milk in which they eat
it before they are allowed to feed ; for if not well soaked, when it
getd into their warm and moist stomachs, it swells very much,
and makes them more full and uncomfortable than when previ-
ously soaked. If you make bread purposely for them, it is quite
as well to be of equal portions of wlieat, barley, and oatmeal,
giving a greater variety of nutriment ; and in bread or thickening
their broth, the meal should be of sound quality, whether coarse
or fine ; I have known puppies very much injured by thickening
their broth or porridge with unsound meal or from damaged corn,
which some people, when they unfortunately have such on hand,
will feed them with, tliiuking it good enough for them ; but if
tliey set any value on the puppies, it is only penny wise and pound
foolish to do so, as they look 50 per cent worse in a very few days
after feeding upon such food.

Unsound or putrid flesh is very hurtful to puppies ; and if you
give them good flesh it should be in small quantities at a time,
not now and then a belly full of flesh, as the common term in use is,
and also in practice a conunon custom ; where they have much flesh
at a time, it should be when they feed generally, or most days, on
flesh ; in such case they should have free access to the whey tub,
to carry off in their urine any excess or superfluity from so much
solid food ; and on this account, if you quarter tliem with butchers,
it is much better to do so in a village than in a large town ; for
although the butcher may not dairy, or make cheese to have a


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supply of whey himself^ he has greater opportunity of having that
accommodation from a neighbour ; they have also fresher air, and
generally more liberty to take their own natural exercise. The
butcher should, however, have the puppy on such terms as will
induce him to obey your orders not to take him out to course,
which many have a great proneness to do, and thus what you would
gain by country quarters, you lose by the puppies^ too great metUal
acquirements, in being made cunning rogues before they arrive
at the age of maturity, and are for ever afterwards worthless,
except for the purpose of killing hares.

It is a singular circumstance that one man should rear many
puppies, one at a time in succession, tliat have proved themselves
first raters. Two or three before old Grasper were very superior to
greyhounds in general; then Grasper; afterwards Harold, and
next a son of Harold, who has never run in public, having un-
fortunately broken a leg, but is quite as fine a dog as Harold, and
some say finer; also a son of the broken-legged dog is promis-
ing to make as fine and good a dog as his progenitors. Good
new milk porridge, well thickened with wheat fiour, with occa-
sional bread, meat and bones, and free access to the whey tub,
has been their general diet till about a year old.

Arrian says, p. 132, ** As soon as the season arrives for taking
out your puppies, let them first be walked over such roads as are
rough ; for this exercise is conducive to forming and strengthen-
ing their feet.^ The formation and strengthening of their feet
require a much earlier attention than is here spoken of; as soon
as they can run about, they should have a good floor or yard to
play in, where there is no straw, as strawis a bad thing for making
their feet long and open where there is much of it ; and if you let
their feet get open, which they soon will do if confined to be
upon straw, you can never recover a good round cat-like foot after-
wards. Their toe nails should be occasionally pared, which makes
tlieir nails stronger.

Some coursers will let their puppies have their fiill liberty
throughout the day, conceiving that tliey cannot have too much
exercise, such as they take of their own accord ; and this to a


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certain degree is right But when they are at liberty the whole
day, it is no novelty to them, and they do not frolic and frisk
abonty and race with each other, as when they are confined a por-
tion of the day ; they do not exert themselves so as to keep
gradually strengthening their parts, and extending their powers,
and stretching their inoscular fibre, which promotes their growth,
each succeeding week, as more confinement, and their liberty
a greater novelty to them, would induce them to do¬ї They may
undei^ as great a portion of exercise with two or three hours^
confinement in the middle of the day as if at liberty the whole
day, and that exercise of a more beneficial quality, conducing to
a gradual but greater extension of their powers and muscular
strength* This, however, should not be attempted while their
limbs are in too gristly a state, but as they become more bony
and firm. Care, however, should be taken when they are at
liberty out of doors all day, tliat tliey should also have liberty to
go in again when inclined to do, and especially in cold weather ;
for no benefit whatever can be derived to so fine and delicate an
animal, so partial to warmth as they by nature are, from sitting
shivering and chilling out of doors for hours together, as nothing is
more likely to check their growth, and make them spiritless
when once in doors and not inclined to go out again.

Some coursers hold it objectionable for two greyhound puppies
to be brought up together, as tliey run round each other in their
play, meet and dodge, and so forth, which has a tendency to learn
them to lurch ; but this cannot well be avoided without losing the
benefit of exercising and exerting their growing powers ; yet with
their liberty all day, when they do play it is generally in that
manner ; while with some confinement in the day, when at liberty
they are more prone in their play to race wider distances, and
have less meeting and dodging about, thus giving better exercise
with less danger of learning them craft ; if you begin tliis when
six or eight months^ old, tliere is no danger of injuring their limbs.
You may confine them part of one day in a week for a week or two,
then part of two days in a week, and so on ; the more tliey get
used to racing, the fonder and more eager they will be to do so.

I know a very high bred dog, which was well fed when a whelp with
new milk, but running away from quarters, and being twice lost

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in that way, bis owner had him home, where he had not the con*
venience of a secure yard to let him ran aboat in, but was confined
in a small kennel, except when his owner had opportunity of taking
him out for an hour or two, which he did most days, and some-
times more than once each day, so that from four or five months^
old he had not near so much exercise as he ought to have had ;
he is lengthy and good in his back and general shape, but so
sadly straitened and confined in his chest, that his runniug is not
what might be expected from so fine and high bred a whelp.

Being confined in his chest, consequently not having sufficient room
for the action of his respiratory organs, he is so much sooner distressed
for wind ; while hanng plenty of liberty, and running freely about
when young, have a tendency to make Ids chest expand, giving
more room for the action of his lungs, and also strengthen the
muscles of the lungs, which require strengthening equally with
those of the limbs. If you could induce puppies, when first let out
in a morning, to have a short race up a hill, and as they get older
increase the distance they run, it would have a very beneficial
effect in expanding their chests.

A timber fence between two crofts, or in the middle of a long
yard, about a yard high for young puppies, and made higher as
they grow older, secured so that they cannot creep under or
through it, and something similar between their bed and that part
of the kennel where they are fed, for them to leap over to get to
their food, not only learns them early to top fences when wanted
to course, but the act of leaping over assists in stretcliiug their
muscular fibre, and strengthening their parts very much. They
should not be small low gates in a confined kennel yard,
such as I have seen, merely to learn puppies to top fences, which
constitutes only an apology for exertion, and suitable enough for
cats to hop over ; they should have room for length of run, and
to Jl^ over the fence, not to hop over, to be the beneficial exertion
required for the purpose.

Quartering the puppies out one at a house amongst the farmen
or butchers in the country, is certainly much better than having
tliem in the kennel at home, especially where you have many of

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tbem ; for in the latter case, they neither get so mnch or so good
exercise, nor so much variety of food, which is very desirable ; nor
do they come in for so mnch bone, which is indispensable to their
strength and conrage, as a part of their food. On the other hand,
if yon quarter them with farmers, it is equally desirable that it
should be where there are very few hares; in such case, the
puppy going out with the plough boys and men, it gets very good
and proper sort of exercise in the fields, and plenty of it ; but if
there are many hares, it will be utterly ruined for any chance of
winning cups, or distinguishing itself at a public coursing meet-
ing, any other way than as a cunning rogue, that excels in crafti-
ness, in which some are indeed most excellent But the mischief
does not end here ; so much exercise of their mental faculties
strengthens them to such a degree, that it affects their offspring,
and gives rise to the common observation that they are a crafty
sort I have not the smallest doubt that many greyhounds are
considered to be of this sort, which are of as true greyhound
blood as any greyhound we have, and from no other cause than
their progenitors' too great exercise of this faculty by being
coursed often when too young ; and I know nothing in a grey-
hound so desirable to be avoided, or so difficult to steer clear of,

Online LibraryThomas ThackerThe courser's companion → online text (page 29 of 46)