The Cur Dog by Bewick

The Cur Dog

From pages 286 through 287 in A General History of Quadrupeds, by Thomas Bewick. Printed at Newcastle upon Tyne, 1790.

The Cur Dog is a trusty and useful servant to the farmer and grazier; and, although it is not taken notice of by naturalists as a distinct race, yet it is now so generally used, especially in the North of England, and such great attention is paid in breeding it, that we cannot help considering it as a permanent kind. They are chiefly employed in driving cattle; in which way they are extremely useful. They are larger, stronger, and fiercer than the Shepherd's Dog; and their hair is smoother and shorter. They are mostly black and white colour. Their ears are half-pricked; and many of them are whelped with short tails, which seem as if they had been cut: These are called Self-tailed Dogs. They bite very keenly; and as they always make their attack at the heels, the cattle have no defence against them: In this way they are more than a match for a Bull, which they quickly compel to run. Their sagacity is uncommonly great. They know their master's fields, and are singularly attentive to the cattle that are in them: A good Dog watches, goes his rounds; and, if any strange cattle should happen to appear amongst the herd, although unbidden, he quickly flies at them, and with keen bites obliges them to depart.

Similar to the Cur, is that which is commonly used in driving cattle to slaughter; and as these Dogs have frequently to go long journies, great strength, as well as swiftness, is required for that purpose: They are therefore generally of a mixed kind; and unite in them the several qualities of the Shepherd's Dog, the Cur, the Mastiff, and the Greyhound. Thus, by a judicious mixture of diffeent kinds, the services of the Dog are rendered still more various and extensive, and the great purposes of domestic utility are more fully answered.

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