Sunday, 21 September 2008
Bloodlines and Breeding - Archibald Pelago
From David Brian Plummer's (born 11th September) - The Jack Russell Terrier:
Let the reader dismiss the the view that these bulldogs were the wheezing asthmatic travesties we see today, born of Caesarian sections and gasping for life and breath through deformed nostrils and nasal passages. The bull dog of which I speak was the real McCoy- a savage creature to man and beast alike, fast moving and with a spirit of endurance that has never been equalled. Around about 1209 William Earl Warren saw two bulls fight for a cow and the crowd urging a pack of cur dogs on to the antagonists. Such was the feeling of the Earl that he decided a mad bull should be provided for the dogs to bait every year, some six weeks before Christmas. The sport caught on. Dogs against bulls , with dogs being gored to death and bulls shaking tenacious dogs which held the bulls nostrils between their jaws, and the contest stopping only when the bull was so torn and maimed that it collapsed in its own gore and entrails. So popular was this carnage that there were many ready to breed a suitable dog for the combat - a very devil in canine form, fast furious and ferocious. The English Bulldog was created.
No dog was ever more the epitome of courage than this bulldog, and stories are legion and to their tenacity and dauntless disposition. They not only fought bulls, bears were also baited- though to even the contest the bears were blinded with hot irons. Even a lion was baited by these formidable creatures which hung on even though disemboweled. Even this pales beside the contest staged in the Midlands. A famous bulldog called Physic had killed many dogs and been in on many baits. This dog was matched against a most peculiar adversary- a man. A dwarf called Brummy was pitted against Physic- for had not Brummy qualified for such a contest by eating a cat alive. Droves attended the fight which ended when Brummy strangled Physic to death- after Physic had chewed off half of the dwarfs face.
London made full use of the bulldog against exotic quarry. During the 1800's Jack Eystropp whose pub must have echoed with the ghostly screams of bulls and bears became the owner of a 20lb Barbary Ape called Jacco Maccaco. This ape chained by the neck to a dolls house leaped in and out of its lodgings be-labouring the dogs baiting it, with club teeth and claws. It was inevitable that sooner of later a dog would disembowel poor Jacko, but many bulldogs bit the dust before the ape was slain. By 1800 the sport of bull baiting had become illegal not because of the brutal cruelty involved but because of the rowdy crowds it attracted. As I have stated it was this ancient bulldog blood that was used to give the necessary fire to the working terrier.
...Yet another dog had to enter into the ancestry of the working terrier to ameliorate the hardness of the bull and terrier blood...