Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Carriage Dog (NY Times, 1900)

The Carriage Dog,
From The Cornhill.

It is commonly believed that the spotted carriage dogs, once so frequently kept in in England, were about the most useless creatures of the dog kind, maintained only for show and fashion. This is a mistake. They were used at a time when a traveling carriage carried, besides its owner, a large amount of valuable property, and the dogs watched the carriage at night when the owners were sleeping at country inns. We feel that we owe an apology to the race of carriage dogs. They are not useless even now, but, on the contrary, very useful animals, and no one appreciates them more than the coachmen of whose horses they are the inseparable companions. The coachman of the late Prince Batthyani told the writer that these dogs were the best of aids in training spirited young carriage horses. The horse constantly looked out for the dog as it ran by its side, paid attention to it, and was so much engaged in thinking of its stable companion the dog, that it was far less nervous, fidgety, and shy than when taken out alone. One of his dogs was, in his phrase, the "pride of the park." Some readers may remember this dog. It used to place itself exactly beneath the pole chains when the carriage was driven out, and trotting fast, would maintain its place there to an inch either in the park or in the streets in the crowd of a London season. In the stables, which were large, the carriage dog always had one favorite horse which he slept with. But when the stud was sent into the country by road, he mounted guard at the door of the inn stables at night, and sometimes refused to let the indigenous ostlers and groom enter or to go near the rugs and harness.

-- The New York Times, November 18, 1900 (c) NY Times

No comments: