I cannot express too strongly my obligations to the many persons who have assisted me, and who, I am convinced, would be equally willing to assist others in any scientific investigation.)
DOMESTIC DOGS AND CATS.
ANCIENT VARIETIES OF THE DOG. RESEMBLANCE OF DOMESTIC DOGS IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES TO NATIVE CANINE SPECIES. ANIMALS NOT ACQUAINTED WITH MAN AT FIRST FEARLESS. DOGS RESEMBLING WOLVES AND JACKALS. HABIT OF BARKING ACQUIRED AND LOST. FERAL DOGS. TAN-COLOURED EYE-SPOTS. PERIOD OF GESTATION. OFFENSIVE ODOUR. FERTILITY OF THE RACES WHEN CROSSED. DIFFERENCES IN THE SEVERAL RACES IN PART DUE TO DESCENT FROM DISTINCT SPECIES. DIFFERENCES IN THE SKULL AND TEETH. DIFFERENCES IN THE BODY, IN CONSTITUTION. FEW IMPORTANT DIFFERENCES HAVE BEEN FIXED BY SELECTION. DIRECT ACTION OF CLIMATE. WATER-DOGS WITH PALMATED FEET. HISTORY OF THE CHANGES WHICH CERTAIN ENGLISH RACES OF THE DOG HAVE GRADUALLY UNDERGONE THROUGH SELECTION. EXTINCTION OF THE LESS IMPROVED SUB-BREEDS.
CATS, CROSSED WITH SEVERAL SPECIES. DIFFERENT BREEDS FOUND ONLY IN SEPARATED COUNTRIES. DIRECT EFFECTS OF THE CONDITIONS OF LIFE. FERAL CATS. INDIVIDUAL VARIABILITY.
The first and chief point of interest in this chapter is, whether the numerous domesticated varieties of the dog have descended from a single wild species, or from several. Some authors believe that all have descended from the wolf, or from the jackal, or from an unknown and extinct species. Others again believe, and this of late has been the favourite tenet, that they have descended from several species, extinct and recent, more or less commingled together. We shall probably never be able to ascertain their origin with certainty. Palaeontology (1/1. Owen 'British Fossil Mammals' pages 123 to 133. Pictet 'Traite de Pal.' 1853 tome 1 page 202. De Blainville in his 'Osteographie, Canidae' page 142 has largely discussed the whole subject, and concludes that the extinct parent of all domesticated dogs came nearest to the wolf in organisation, and to the jackal in habits. See also Boyd Dawkins, 'Cave Hunting' 1874 page 131 etc. and his other publications. Jeitteles has discussed in great detail the character of the breeds of pre-historic dogs: 'Die vorgeschichtlichen Alterthumer der Stadt Olmutz' II. Theil, 1872 page 44 to end.) does not throw much light on the question, owing, on the one hand, to the close similarity of the skulls of extinct as well as living wolves and jackals, and owing, on the other hand, to the great dissimilarity of the skulls of the several breeds of the domestic dogs. It seems, however, that remains have been found in the later tertiary deposits more like those of a large dog than of a wolf, which favours the belief of De Blainville that our dogs are the descendants of a single extinct species. On the other hand, some authors go so far as to assert that every chief domestic breed must have had its wild prototype. This latter view is extremely improbable: it allows nothing for variation; it passes over the almost monstrous character of some of the breeds; and it almost necessarily assumes that a large number of species have become extinct since man domesticated the dog; whereas we plainly see that wild members of the dog-family are extirpated by human agency with much difficulty; even so recently as 1710 the wolf existed in so small an island as Ireland.
The reasons which have led various authors to infer that our dogs have descended from more than one wild species are as follows. (1/2. Pallas, I believe, originated this doctrine in 'Act. Acad. St. Petersburgh' 1780 Part 2. Ehrenberg has advocated it, as may be seen in De Blainville's 'Osteographie' page 79. It has been carried to an extreme extent by Col. Hamilton Smith in the 'Naturalist Library' volumes 9 and 10. Mr. W.C. Martin adopts it in his excellent 'History of the Dog' 1845; as does Dr. Morton, as well as Nott and Gliddon, in the United States. Prof. Low, in his 'Domesticated Animals' 1845 page 666, comes to this same conclusion. No one has argued on this side with more clearness and force than the late James Wilson, of Edinburgh, in various papers read before the Highland Agricultural and Wernerian Societies.