Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dogs in the Regency

I know, I said I would continue talking about work, and I will, but I have this problem. I need one of my characters to have a dog.

So give him a dog, you say, and move on.

But it can't be just any dog. It needs to be a big dog, and it needs to be appropriate to the Regency. Luckily, I took a workshop on regency dogs.

so I have ploughed through my photos and here are some of my choices:

The first is a lurcher, very ancient breed. The Lurcher was bred in Ireland and Great Britain by the Irish Gypsies and travellers in the 17th century. They were used for poaching rabbits, hares and other small creatures. The name Lurcher is a derived name from the Romani language word lur, which means thief. The travellers considered the short-haired Lurcher the most prized. The Lurcher is rarely seen outside of Ireland or Great Britain, and is still common in its native land.

This next one is a greyhound coursing for hares. These were used extensively in the Penisular to feed the officers, and for some relief from the stresses of war. I can't help that it happened. It is part of history. They are still nice dogs. Historically, these sight hounds were used primarily for hunting in the open where their keen eyesight is valuable. It is believed that they (or at least similarly-named dogs) were introduced to England in the 5th and 6th centuries BC from Celtic mainland Europe.

The name "greyhound" is generally believed to come from the Old English grighund. "Hund" is the antecedent of the modern "hound", but the meaning of "grig" is undetermined, other than in reference to dogs in Old English and Norse.

This last one is an English setter. The English Setter was originally bred to set or point upland game birds. From the best available information, it appears that the English Setter was a trained bird dog in England more than 400 years ago. There is evidence that the English Setter originated in crosses of the Spanish Pointer, large Water Spaniel, and Springer Spaniel, which combined to produce an excellent bird dog with a high degree of proficiency in finding and pointing game in open country.

If you had to choose one of these, which one would you pick? Or do you have another favorite from this era.

Oh and just for fun, here is our pound puppy Teaser. He is mostly Maltese. We don't exactly know how old he is because we rescued him from the local dog shelter. He has settled in very well and is now a very important member of our family.

Until next time -- Happy Rambles.


  1. I say lurcher. It looks like the best multi-purpose dog. I could also see an argument for the English setter, because people will automatically have a picture of it in their minds. The same is true of the greyhound, but since today they are just racing or fashion dogs, the connotations carry different weight than might be appropriate.

    Thanks for the lesson on dogs!

  2. Mary, thanks for dropping in. I love the lurcher. Did you ever watch Heartbeat? Alfred stole my heart. He is so wonderfully sweet, quite shaggy compared to this picture.

  3. Fabulous post. I am completely dotty over dogs, but aside from the pug, I had been wondering about the Regency era's preference for dogs. As always I love visiting your site.

  4. I have lots more dogs, but will save them for a rainy day. I am so glad you enjoyed.
    Michele Ann

  5. We had English Pointers, very smart good looking dogs, very high evergy! I would vote for the English Setter.

  6. Oh, I'm a new visitor to your site, thank you, I love reading your posts! You can find me at;

  7. Miss DaisyAnne
    Your garden grows very well, I can see I will want to spend a little time browsing over there