In Germany the female Spitz-dog is said to receive the fox more readily than will other dogs; a female Australian Dingo in England attracted the wild male foxes. But these differences in the sexual instinct and attractive power of the various breeds may be wholly due to their descent from distinct species. In Paraguay the horses have much freedom, and an excellent observer (16/4. Rengger 'Saugethiere von Paraguay' s. 336.) believes that the native horses of the same colour and size prefer associating with each other, and that the horses which have been imported from Entre Rios and Banda Oriental into Paraguay likewise prefer associating together. In Circassia six sub-races of the horse have received distinct names; and a native proprietor of rank (16/5. See a memoir by MM. Lherbette and De Quatrefages in 'Bull. Soc. d'Acclimat.' tome 8 July 1861 page 312.) asserts that horses of three of these races, whilst living a free life, almost always refuse to mingle and cross, and will even attack one another.

It has been observed, in a district stocked with heavy Lincolnshire and light Norfolk sheep, that both kinds; though bred together, when turned out, "in a short time separate to a sheep;" the Lincolnshires drawing off to the rich soil, and the Norfolks to their own dry light soil; and as long as there is plenty of grass, "the two breeds keep themselves as distinct as rooks and pigeons." In this case different habits of life tend to keep the races distinct. On one of the Faroe islands, not more than half a mile in diameter, the half-wild native black sheep are said not to have readily mixed with the imported white sheep. It is a more curious fact that the semi-monstrous ancon sheep of modern origin "have been observed to keep together, separating themselves from the rest of the flock, when put into enclosures with other sheep." (16/6. For the Norfolk sheep see Marshall 'Rural Economy of Norfolk' volume 2 page 136. See Rev. L. Landt 'Description of Faroe' page 66. For the ancon sheep see 'Phil. Transact.' 1813 page 90.) With respect to fallow-deer, which live in a semi-domesticated condition, Mr. Bennett (16/7. White 'Nat. Hist. of Selbourne' edited by Bennett page 39. With respect to the origin of the dark-coloured deer see 'Some Account of English Deer Parks' by E.P. Shirley, Esq.) states that the dark and pale coloured herds, which have long been kept together in the Forest of Dean, in High Meadow Woods, and in the New Forest, have never been known to mingle: the dark-coloured deer, it may be added, are believed to have been first brought by James I. from Norway, on account of their greater hardiness. I imported from the island of Porto Santo two of the feral rabbits, which differ, as described in the fourth chapter, from common rabbits; both proved to be males, and, though they lived during some years in the Zoological Gardens, the superintendent, Mr. Bartlett, in vain endeavoured to make them breed with various tame kinds; but whether this refusal to breed was due to any change in the instinct, or simply to their extreme wildness, or whether confinement had rendered them sterile, as often occurs, cannot be determined.

Whilst matching for the sake of experiment many of the most distinct breeds of pigeons, it frequently appeared to me that the birds, though faithful to their marriage vow, retained some desire after their own kind. Accordingly I asked Mr. Wicking, who has kept a larger stock of various breeds together than any man in England, whether he thought that they would prefer pairing with their own kind, supposing that there were males and females enough of each; and he without hesitation answered that he was convinced that this was the case. It has often been noticed that the dovecote pigeon seems to have an actual aversion towards the several fancy breeds (16/8. 'The Dovecote' by the Rev. E.S. Dixon page 155; Bechstein 'Naturgesch. Deutschlands' b. 4 1795 page 17.) yet all have certainly sprung from a common progenitor. The Rev. W.D. Fox informs me that his flocks of white and common Chinese geese kept distinct.

The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication V2 Page 53

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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