Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Yesterday's dogues



Many thanks to Ann Cardon for sending me these pictures from a 1901 edition of the Windsor Magazine - part of an article entitled "A Connoisseur in Curious Pets" featuring a Mr H C Brooke of Welling in Kent.

The colourful Mr Brooke, who trained as a vet in Berlin,  kept foxes, polecats, wolves, a dingo, snakes, a leopard and several breeds of dog - including these Dogue de Bordeaux.

"I introduced that ancient and historic breed the Dogue de Bordeaux into this country with the help of Mr G R Krehl," reveals Mr Brooke. "But as the breed has been killed by the anticropping regulations of the Kennel Club, I have given up benching these valuable speciments. I admire them immensely, as I consider, next to the Tibet mastiff, the dogue is the grandest breed of all. I tested them at baiting a bear, and I know what they can do. I have also tried the dogue at a bull with excellent results."

I had no idea they used to look like this - and, as is so often the case, I prefer the dogs of yesteryear.  The pictures above show a stocky, powerful, but more athletic-loooking dog compared to the squatter, increasingly-brachycepahlic, more wrinkled dog you more usually see today. Indeed, you'd be hard-pushed to believe they are the same breed.

Let's take a closer look:

Now...

...and then
Now...
...then..
To check how typical these dogs were, I had a look at Pietoro's wonderful Historical Dog Breed site and found this picture of "Turc",  one of the very first Dogues to be imported into the UK dating from 1897:


This dog looks more like today's dogs (although longer-legged) but Brooke's dog "Sans Peur" (top pic) was a Champion (clearly shown, despite Brooke's irritation with the ban on ear-cropping - introduced in England in 1899).

I was particularly struck by the early dogs' nostrils... huge great pipes on all the dogs in the historical pix (and in old breed books, too).  And that, at least, would be a good thing to see in more of today's Dogues who often have stenotic nares that compromise breathing/temperature control on warm days, as I caused some uproar by mentioning in a blog about Dogues at Crufts four months ago.
Stenotic nares...

....wide open nostrils
I note that the KC's Breedwatch still doesn't list stenotic nares as an area of concern for the Dogue de Bordeaux. It would be good to see this added.

Mr Brooke, incidentally, was  keen dueller. "I have been and still am a great believer in the duel.... My own nose has been cut off and my skull splintered; the loss of several teeth from a cut is common but death is very rare. I have, however, seen death on the spot in the case of a sabre duel."

Now how about that as a way to settle those Facebook squabbles?

40 comments:

  1. When considering the Champions from the early days of showing we need to take into account the level of the competition. According to the early Crufts catalogues some breeds which today would have a couple of hundred entries would have only 2 or 3 entrants. Gaining a show title wasn't always terribly difficult!

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    1. Yes, we're all aware that the stronger the 'competition' got the more extreme the dogs became. That's kind of the entire point of PDE.

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    2. No, Pai, it means that the early dogs might be unsuitable for purpose but the only ones available!

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    3. Yes, all the early dogs are garbage because they don't look like the modern winning type.

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    4. The modern ones are pretty rubbish too!

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  2. Why does the modern Dogue's back slope quite sharply from the hindquarters to the withers? What is the supposed purpose of this conformation? I'd be interested to hear what a canine physiotherapist would say about potential spinal/neck/shoulder problems due to this.

    The back slopes somewhat in the old photos, but at least back then people were likely ignorant of the possible discomfort it caused the dog. Dogue breeders can't hide behind this ignorance now.

    Stenotic nares should definitely be a cause for concern in any breed and until it's penalised, many breeders won't breed away from it.

    All I can think of when I see those kinds of dogs is their slobber!

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  3. Is there still a working Dogue population, and if so how do they compare to those above? Anybody know?

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    1. I don't think there are really, but this page has a photo of Personal Protection Trial champion Dogue from 1949 and an example of a 'throwback' Dogue:

      http://midgardkennels.wordpress.com/1156-2/

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    2. Most hunters I know who have looked into/tried the breed consider them to be as much of a working breed nowadays as the Bulldog :(

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  4. Tidbits about dogues:

    I think the Beast of Gevaudan was a wolf-crossed with a dogue-type mastiff.

    The ear cropping ban in the UK in the 1890's prevented the dogue from becoming popular.

    And the first dogues imported to the US were brought over to bait bears and other large animals. One of them died while fighting a jaguar in San Franscisco.

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  5. Is stenotic nares hereditary

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  6. Pity so many who spout on about animal welfare on here from the mainland Europe and in the USA, dont spare thought for those poor creature mutilated by having their ears cropped, for no reason other than a appearance thing. In the UK this cruel thing has been banned for over 100 years thank goodness,its pity those like that terrier blog man sort their own countries barbaric treatments of animals, before he has another rant at happy healthy dogs who are alos shown, but also has ears as Mother Nature intended!!

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  7. http://oldtymebulldogs.webs.com/wddrury.htm

    some interesting information about dogues of the past

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  8. I find it fascinating how people, especially back when taking photos was a more significant thing, people kept taking ones of crappy examples of breeds and publishing them in books and such as 'typical examples'.

    And those same people, who couldn't tell a good example from a bad, were the same ones breeding the dogs and drafting the standards and educating judges for their kennel clubs!

    We're not supposed to criticize the style of many breeds today because 'that would be changing a 100+ year old type of dog!' but then when proven that the 100 year old (or less) dog barely resembles the modern type it becomes 'Well, the dogs back then were generally crap, and now we've changed them for the better!'

    Either breeders are preserving a historic type of animal (and by preserving history their choices can't be criticized because they're following ancient standards of type) or they believe past dogs were crap and have changed them into something superior and new (and therefore they're not preserving history, but modernizing an inferior type).

    Yet I find most breeders defend their claims of superior right to a breed because they are doing it for 'loftier goals' than those dirty inferior 'pet breeders' who don't care about history or improvement. So the only options are that show breeders are superior because they preserve history or else they're superior because they strive to 'improve' the dogs they breed in every way.

    So if their 'improvements' fail the test of scientific standards, then changing the breed/standard to support healthier type should not be complained about. If people claim they're 'improving' their breed and science says otherwise, they can't glom onto the 'we're preserving a historic type' excuse to defend why they don't want to modify the breed.

    Otherwise they're admitting the only modifications to a breed that they consider valid are whatever subjective aesthetic changes and exaggerations that enable more popularity in the show ring.

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  9. I always enjoy looking through old books on dogs. With a very few exceptions I find the dogs of 100+ years ago look better, less exaggerated animals.

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  10. Dear Jemima. Do you know how the breeding of dogs and the health issues etc. is in Scandinavia versus in GB? Are the breeding regulations, breed criteria in shows or the health issues better in Norway/Sweden/Finland?

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    1. I would say that they are, at least in Sweden! Still much more that could be even better but a step in the right direction.

      An example, to be able to register puppies in my bred both parents need to have the hips X-rayed and scored grade A or grade B, and they have to participate in a mental test to get "known mental status". Without those two tests you can't register the puppy.

      To be able to compete for CC in shows, my breed needs to have proven working ability.

      There are different rules for different breed, and still to many breeds have no demands of health tests, but quit many have. It could be hips, elbows, eyes and Cavalier King Charles need heart scan for example.

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    2. Maria D do they still allow the mutilation of cropped ears in Sweden too?

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    3. Cropping ears hasn't been allowed for, I don't know maybe 40 years. The law against cropping tails is from 1989 if I remember correctly.

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    4. But you can still show dogs with cropped ears in Sweden cant you?

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    5. Yes and no.
      If the dog is born before 1 january 2008, and is born in a country where it is legal to cropp ears or dock tails you may show it. If the dog is born in a country where it isn't legal, you can't show.

      If the dog is born after 1 january 2008 it is not allowed in shows at all no matter if it is legal cropped/docked or not. And that includes dogs that got it's tail docked by a vet because of an injury.

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  11. Brooke owned Turc as well, prior to importing Sans Peur and the others. There was a huge amount of controversy over what a Dogue De Bordeaux was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There were a variety of more uniform regional types, referred to as Bordeaux, Toulouse and Parien and a huge variety of crosses between these and other breeds - mastiffs, bulldogs, great dames etc. It was more a case of picking out a uniform type that existed rather than creating one. There are dogs of similar head type and construction to today's Dogue existed over a hundred years ago. Tunis vom Romerfeld, born in 1906,is indistinguishable to a modern DDB, right down to the nostrils - http://s1217.photobucket.com/albums/dd393/snoringbear/DDB/?action=view&current=IMG_0991.jpg There are also dogs predating all those shown above in both photos and illustration with the greater undershot, shorter muzzled and narrower nostrils. There were two people at this time who put together their standards for the DDB. The first Megnin, the editor of L'Elevage magazine championed the type Brooke had having previously and publically lambasted Turc as being a Bouledogue de Bordeaux or Doguin and terrible example of a true DDB. Megnin then helped source Brooke's later Dogues, by modern definition these dogs would be the Toulouse type. Kunstler followed with his interpretation, picking his preferred type which is essentially the dog in it's form today. His standard still forms the basis on which the modern one is written. When the dogue population was decimated by WW2, reconstructing them was done in accordance with Kunstler's standard.

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    1. That's very interesting info. Interesting to see how many breed types were determined basically by politics or committee. When there were no breed clubs, every little area had its own "type" of many breeds. And if you look at enough pictures you can see ones that are similar to today's and ones that are not, and both might have been winning dogs in their day. I know with Corgis you can find old pictures of dogs with more leg and others that were just as short-legged as the modern show type. With English Bulldogs you can find very heavy bow-legged ones and ones built more like a modern APBT. Obviously one type had to win out and in several breeds the more extreme type won out.

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  12. Excellent! A comment from someone with facts and evidence, rather than opinion and spin! Thank you - you're the breath of reason. :)

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    1. Yes, it was a great reply. My thanks, too.

      Jemima

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    2. I'm impressed by your honesty, Jemima, because that post proves that your whole piece was based on a lie.

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    3. I think you need to look up the definition of "lie" Anon. The historical info from Anon qualifies my post. It is always great to get good info like that and it was appreciated.

      Jemima

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    4. The historical info post from Anon shows that the premise that the DDB has changed so dramatically is based on photos of another breed!

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    5. ?? I suggest reading that again, nowwhere does it say that the pics are of a differnt breed, it says their was several differnt TYPES of DDB(common in many breeds) each with its own standard, there was a type like those pictured, and a type similer to the modern DDB, the standard for the modern type won out over the other type when the breed was remade after WW2.

      people disparging the "other" types isnt not any more uncommon now then it was then lol, look at Akita's, in their case 2 types won out(there was 4 I believe) and even today each side dispages the other as not being "true" Akita's, despite both being orignal legimate Akita's lol

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    6. Jemima's article is based on the supposition that the early DdB were markedly different to the modern ones. One glance at the linked photo of the dog born in 1906 (http://s1217.photobucket.com/albums/dd393/snoringbear/DDB/?action=view&current=IMG_0991.jpg) shows clearly that is false.

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    7. Unless we're able to get in a time machine and go back to 1863 when the name Dogue de Bordeaux was first coined and observe that type of dog over the following decades, we will never know what the correct Dogue de Bordeaux looked like. I don't think anyone is right or wrong whether it is myself, Jemima, Meginin or Kunstler. We only have a fairly sketchy history of the modern breed to look back on. Even when you look back at history, there are brindle dogs and those which are clearly (English) Mastiffs labelled and shown as DDB in the late 19th century. My point with Tunis was that a particular type has not changed in over a century. His resemblance to a modern dogue is remarkable, he looks no different to my own dogues.

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  13. Looks like they have managed to improve the breed from ugly to hideous. Good job show breeders. /

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  14. Somewhat off topic, but I just found this article(http://www.revmedvet.com/artdes-us.php?id=1562) which shows that breeders(from the French KC) prioritise morphology over health.(see table 4 and section titled "selection goals")

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  15. They use to kind of look like a napoleon mastiff.. from what I see.

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  16. What's the reason to compare two pieces of shit, which one is smaller? This is one of many breeds, where you can say confidently about any dog, that it is deformed and diseased, even without looking at the dog, because diseases are in standards.
    (Actually, there is an exception - G. Shepherd, it's early standard didn't contain any deformity, it was introduced later.)

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  17. Matus like you choice of language your logic that "because diseases are in standards" show just how little you know about dogs. Its only a modern concept ie the designer dogs, that dogs have been bred to look a certain way as these have no fuction to perform. All breeds had a function and thats whyteh standards where written to ensure they could fullfill that function. As for diseases they either have been brought in by another breed or dog or have occured from a mutation and have nothing to do with the standard, I suggest given you level of language ability you take up some further education classes to improve you choice of words and you IQ.

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    1. Matus is from the Ukraine, which you would have known had you checked their profile. English is unlikely to be their first language.

      You owe Matus an apology.

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    2. Jess the chice of bad langaue is just that a CHOICE be that person 1st 2nd or 3rd language. If however you think their choice of langauge is acceptable or can be excused I think that shows more about what you think is accepatble which probably give balance to some of your previous posts.

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  18. So many topics in the blog and items in both movies about history.
    What is the reason of these topics, what they prove?
    What if the same breeds retain the same phisical/morphological condition for hundreeds or any thousands of years? Was it right then?

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