On the shepherds dogge, from Of Englishe Dogges by Johannes Caius

From pages 23 through 25 in Of Englishe Dogges, the diversities, the names, the natures, and the properties., by Johannes Caius. Printed at London, 1576 (this excerpt taken from a reprint by Denlinger of an 1880 edition printed in London by A. Bradley).

The fourth Section of this discourse

Dogges of a Course Kind serving for many Necessary uses, called in Latine Canes Rustici, and first of the shepherds dogge, called in Latine Canis Pastoralis.
Dogges of { The shepherds dogge } These two are
the courser The mastive or the principall.
sort are Bandogge.

The first kinde, namely the shepherds hounde is very necessarye and profitable for the avoyding of harmes and inconveniences which may come to men by the means of beastes. The second sort serve to succour against the snares and attemptes of mischiefous men. Our shepherdes dogge is not huge, vaste, and bigge, but of an indifferent stature and growth, because it hath not to deale with the bloudthyrsty wolf, sythence there be none in England, which happy and fortunate benefite is to be ascribed to the puisaunt Prince Edgar, who to thintent ye the whole countrey myght be evacuated and quite clered from wolfes, charged & commaunded the welshemë (who were pestered with these butcherly beastes above measure) to paye him yearely tribute which was (note the wisedome of the King) three hundred Wolfes. Some there be which write that Ludwall Prince of Wales paide yeerly to King Edgar three hundred wolves in the name of an exaction (as we have sayd before.) And that by the meanes hereof, within the compasse and tearme of foure yeares none of those noysome, and pestilent Beastes were left in the coastes of England and Wales. This Edgar wore the Crown royall, and bare the Scepter imperiall of this kingdome, about the yeare of our Lorde nyne hundred fifty, nyne. Synce which time we reede that no Wolfe hath bene seene in England, bred within the bounds and borders of this countrey, mary there have bene divers brought over from beyonde the seas, for greedynesse of gaine and to make money, for gasing and gaping, staring, and standing to see them, being a straunge beast, rare, and seldom seene in England. But to returne to our shepherds dogge. This dogge either at the hearing of his masters voyce, or at the wagging and whisteling in his fist, or at his shrill and horse hissing bringeth the wandring weathers and straying sheepe, into the selfe same place where his masters will and wishe, is to have thë, wherby the shepherd reapeth this benefite, namely, that with litle labour and no toyle or moving of his feete he may rule and guide his flocke, according to his owne desire, either to have them go forward, or to stand still, or to drawe backward, or to turne this way, or to take that way. For it is not in Englande, as it is in Fraunce, as it is in Flaunders, as it is in Syria, as it in Tartaria, where the sheepe follow the shepherd, for heere in our country the sheepherd followeth the sheepe. And sometimes the straying sheepe, when no dogge runneth before them, nor goeth about & beside them, gather themselves together in a flocke, when they heere the sheepherd whistle in his fist, for feare of the Dogge (as I imagine) remembring this (if unreasonable creatures may be reported to have memory) that the Dogge commonly runneth out at his masters warrant which is his whistle. This have we oftentimes diligently marcked in taking our journey from towne to towne, when wee have hard a sheepherd whistle we have rayned in our horse and stoode styll a space, to see the proofe and triall of this matter. Furthermore with this dogge doth the sheepherd take sheepe for ye slaughter, and to be healed if they be sicke, no hurt or harme in the world done to the simple creature.

Back to list of articles.

Back to website table of contents.