[SCA-AS] Links: Medieval/Renaissance Dogs

Lis liontamr at ptd.net
Fri Sep 19 00:38:27 CDT 2003

Greetings all.

As I write, Legolas is licking my toes, and Samwise is laid out on the bed,
snoring to beat the band. My dogs are happy to be in from the weather as
Hurricane Isabel beats on the door. While I own some very rare mixed breed
dogs, I hope you will enjoy this week's Links list that focuses on pedigree
medieval and renaissance dog breeds of many types. I am sure there will be
something for the dog-lover to find interesting. If you do not see your
favorite breed, please visit some of the sites anyway, as each has quite a
list of links to offer and may lead to your breed's specific information.

As always, please forward this list where it will find an interest, but
remember that not everyone likes multiple copies of huge messages, nor does
everyone find dogs adorable and fascinating (hard as that is to believe :).
So please be judicious in the places you send the list.

One of the outcomes of forwarding this email list weekly is that I get to be
on a lot of people's address books. While I normally wouldn't mind, it seems
that a lot of people have become infected with SoBig, a virus that seems to
delight in using MY address, gleaned from folk's address books, to send
bogus messages to other people containing attachments that are spreading the
virus. When the messages bounce, I receive the bounce replies. I was quite
surprised to get my computer up and running last week from a power problem,
after a week's absence, to find that I had over 20 bounces from messages I
hadn't sent. PLEASE CLEAN YOUR COMPUTER OF VIRUS regularly with updated
programs and definitions. If you cannot, we may have to re-evaluate the way
that this list is replicated and sent in cyberspace. If you have
suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them. Reply directly to me, not to the
list, since I do not read all the lists where THIS list appears.

Good luck, and hug your dogs for me


Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon

Greyhound History in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
(Site Excerpt) Greyhounds nearly became extinct during times of famine in
the Middle Ages. They were saved by clergymen who protected them and bred
them for the nobility. From this point on, they came to be considered the
dogs of the aristocracy. In the tenth century, King Howel of Wales made
killing a greyhound punishable by death. King Canute of England established
the Forest Laws in 1014, reserving large areas of the country for hunting by
the nobility. Only such persons could own greyhounds; any "meane person"
(commoner) caught owning a greyhound would be severely punished and the
dog's toes "lawed" (mutilated) to prevent it from hunting. The value of a
Greyhound exceeded that of a serf, and the punishment for causing death of a
Greyhound was equivalent to the punishment for murder.

Lure Coursing Information, Club's, Reading and Links
(Site Excerpt) Below, you'll find information on Coursing clubs not only
here in the United States, but in other countries as well. Along with places
to obtain coursing equipment, and some stories. None of the links are listed
in order of importance, but I'd like to suggest that you check out  the
American Sighthound Field Association site first if your new to the sport..

(Site Excerpt) What is hound coursing?
Coursing is an ancient and noble sport that allows one to witness the beauty
of a sight hound doing what it was bred for. In the Middle Ages, a rabbit
was released in a field and the hounds were then released after it.
Eventually rules were established, which in turn led to the modern day dog
track. In the SCA we use an artificial lure (generally a plastic bag)
attached to a string, run through a series of pulleys, and driven by a hand
crank or electric motor.

SCAtoday Houndcoursing Information Available
(Site Excerpt) Many breeds are eligible for coursing, in some Kingdoms any
breed is eligible as long as it follows the lure. The most popular breed
would be the greyhound and there are many that have been retired from the
track readily available from adoption groups. If you are interested in
getting involved with hound coursing, you will need to get in touch with
your Kingdom's Houndsmaster (some Kingdoms use other titles).

Rules of Renaissance Coursing
(Site Excerpt) First therefore it was ordered, that he which was chosen
Fewterer, or letter-loose of the Greyhounds, should receive the Greyhounds
match to run together into his Leash, as soon as he came into the field, and
to follow next to the Hare-finder till he came unto the former and no
horsemen nor Footman, on pain of disgrace, to go before them, or on either
side, but directly behind, the space of forty yards or thereabouts.

Adopt-a-greyhound.org's Grey Hound Historical Image Gallery

Noble Medieval Trackers
(Site Excerpt) The era of wild boar and stag in British history marked the
height of the Bloodhounds' popularity. Long before Bloodhounds were used to
track men, they were noblemen's hunting partners. Their job was to find the
boar or deer wherever they hid. Scent hounds, like the bloodhound, have long
flews (loose hanging parts of the upper lip) and long flapping ears
specifically designed to funnel and push air and scents toward the dogs'
olfactory system. The bloodhound has the special ability to follow a cold

Horses and Dogs in Northeastern Japan
(Site Excerpt---go to middle of article) Japanese dog breeds are separated
into two categories. One category includes breeds such as the Shiba, Kai and
Kishu, The other category includes breeds such as the Akita and Hokkaido.
The blood type of the latter group is different from that of former group.
The former group is the G-type, which is common with other Asian dog breeds.
The latter group is the A-type, which is generally common with European

Hunting in the Upper Class Society
(Site excerpt) As soon as the lord blew a series of notes on his horn,
several levriers (greyhounds) sprang towards the stag, causing it to bolt.
The hunting party and dogs sprinted after it, until it could be cornered.
Although the deer was wounded by the members of the hunting party, the kill
was usually carried out with lance or bow by the huntsman himself.

As Others See Me: Medieval realms: Britain 1066-1500 Images of King John
with dogs
(Site Excerpt) Image 1:King John and his dog
In the Middle Ages artists did not have our modern idea that a picture of a
person should be an accurate likeness of him or her. Pictures of people are
not therefore portraits but pictures of how they should look. King John
therefore wears a crown even though he seems to be relaxing with his dogs
and not carrying out official business. Like all the nobles of this time,
John was fond of hunting and these dogs may have been hunting dogs. The
picture shows John's affection for the animals - a pleasant side of his
nature. He has often been described elsewhere as one of the most evil kings
England ever had.

Stefan's Florilegium: Dogs
(Site Excerpt of messages on the subject) "There is a book on medieval
hunting called 'The Hawk & the
Hound' which has descriptions of (and primary source illustrations) of
both quilted armor and brigandine for canines."

 Medieval dogs in the street knew they were for the pot (Caution, this one
could be distressing to real doglovers)
(Site excerpt of Irish News Article on famine) The archaeologists point out
that, in a historical context, the consumption of dog flesh in western
Europe was generally related to times of extreme famine and warfare. During
the siege of Derry in 1688-89 the defenders are known to have eaten horses,
dogs, cats, rats and mice.

History of the Mastiff
(Site Excerpt) In a count of a Mesta in the year 1526 no less than 3.453.168
sheep were involved. Excluding approx. 40.000 shepherds and no less than
18.000 Spanish Mastiff for protection! Not counted in this were the shepherd
dogs who formed the inner circle around the sheep.

An English Springer History
(Site Excerpt) Dr. John Caius, a respected physician, gives a description of
the spaniel in his Treatise of Englishe Dogs published in 1576. This book
was the first work to attempt to list the British breeds by function.

Poodle History Project
(Site Excerpt) A comprehensive history of the Poodle does not exist. Neither
does this exist for the several other varieties of European water spaniel,
although evidence in art history indicates that these were a familiar sight
as early as the High Middle Ages. Prior to ca 1870 our knowledge is sketchy,
excepting certain brilliant examples. Meanwhile, we make do with a series of
fascinating sources, which are presented here as an annotated bibliography
in quasi-essay format, organized by function. We welcome receipt of
additional sources.

History of the Irish Wolfhound
(Site excerpt) The name Irish wolfhound is quite a recent one but the hound
itself goes back far into the mists of time. It is mentioned, as cu
(variously translated as hound, Irish hound, war dog, wolf dog, etc.) in
Irish laws, which predate Christianity, and in Irish literature which dates
from the 5th century or, in the case of the Sagas, from the old Irish
period - AD600-900. Only kings and the nobility were allowed to own the
great Irish hound, the numbers permitted depending on position. For example,
the Filid (the professional class of composers of sagas and other tales, who
were of the lesser nobility) were entitled to two hounds. There were plenty
of kings and nobles, as ancient Ireland was divided into fifths, each with a
king, and each fifth comprised numerous kingdoms (there were 150 kingdoms in
Ireland) each of which had a lesser king subject to the kings of the fifths.

Breeds, Breeders, History

Dog Breed Origins and Evolution

Molosserworld's Origins of the Molosser breed

(Site excerpt) The Pharaoh Hound is the oldest domesticated dog in recorded
history. Two hounds aredepicted hunting Gazelle on a circular disc which is
thought to have been part of a game. The date, around 4000 B.C.,
was certainly before the first dynasty. The origin of this hound in
prehistoric times has been the subject of research by many Egyptologists.
They conclude that if this race of dogs could have resulted from a mixture
of many kinds of wild canidae, it is quite natural that from time to time,
one of these elegant individuals would crop up with the elegant silhouette
of Canis Doerdelini, the beautiful limbs of the Canis Lupaster, & the long
nose, erect ears & gentle nature of the Pariah or Wandering Dog of Egypt.

Borzois.com A brief Borzoi Time Line
(Site Excerpt) Background : The presence of large hunts in Russia was an
activity of the nobility made possible by the long time existance of a
feudal society. The nobility had control of a large class of serfs in an
oppressive "master-slave relationship". The Russian feudal period lasted
much later than did similar feudal governments in the balance of Europe.
(General outline from Chadwick p 3)
1260 Reference to hare coursing dogs at court of Grand Duke of Novgorad
(Groshans p 9)
1516 Austrian Nobleman brings a Borzoi with him returning from failed
diplomatic mission to Moscow) (Groshans p 10)

Earth Dogs: Terrier History
(Site Excerpt) Time obscures their history. And with good reason. It was not
shouted from the treetops of Sherwood Forest; the poaching the terriers did
was enough to have their masters jailed or hung. The terrier was always the
dog of the common man, sharing his masters anonymity, helping to hunt his
food and protect his domain from predators and vermin. The first written
mention of terriers occurs in the Natural History by Pliny the Elder, during
the first century. When the Romans invaded Britain in 55 B.C., he records,
"they found much to their surprise, small dogs that would follow their
quarry to the ground." The Romans called these "workers in the earth",
terrarii from the Latin for earth, terra. Terriers are indigenous to the
British Isles. The earliest terriers were short-legged and most resemble the
descriptions of the ancient "prick-eared curs". The Old Scotch Terrier, now
extinct, is said to be the ancestor of all modern day short-legged terriers.

Harrier History
(Site Excerpt) Harriers have a long history in England with detailed records
of individual packs existing from 1260 to the present. In March of 1891, the
Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles was formed and published a
Stud Book. Harriers were at that time much more popular than Beagles. The
1891 - 1900 volumes list 107 registered packs of Harriers. They also began
to run the Peterborough Harrier and Beagle Show in 1892

Elkhound History
(Site Excerpt) The Norwegian Elkhound is a double coated, close coupled,
balanced, hardy gray hunting dog of moderate size, whose history goes back
over 5000 years to a time when dogs which closely resembled the modern
Norwegian Elkhound were canines whose hunting prowess was highly valued. The
Norwegian Elkhound evolved over a period of time into a type of dog which,
through a combination of physical and mental endowment, was able to perform
as an efficient hunter in the rugged environment of the Scandinavian
peninsula. The progenitors of the Norwegian Elkhound that we know today were
spitz type dogs, with prick ears, curled tail, thick double coat, bold
disposition, strong agile body and wolf-like independence. It was found by
mankind that this type of dog, which it is believed to have originated in
the area of Denmark, and was known as the Torvemosehunden or Swamp Dog was
the best hunter and they became the forerunners of the Northern breeds,
which included the Norwegian Elkhound.

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