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On the shepherds dogge, from Of English Dogs:
The diversities, the names, the natures, and the properties

by Johannes Caius

(Written in Latin and drawne into Englishe by Abraham Fleming.)
Note: This book was recently printed by Vintage Dog Books 2005
from the book of 1880 by A. Bradley, London
The publisher noted this text was photocopied at the British Museum.

A very small portion of the text states:

"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 here in our country the sheepherd followeth the sheepe." "... .that the Dogge commonly runneth out at his masters warrant which is his whistle."

The Caius Letters

Dr. Conrad Gesner wrote to Dr. Johannes Caius, an English physician, asking Dr. Caius for a description of British dogs. Dr. Gesner wanted to include Dr. Caius' descriptions in an updated work on natural history. Dr. Caius (1533-1603), physician-in-chief to Queen Elizabeth I, responded to Gesner's request by writing a letter in Latin describing different types of dogs in Britain, but that letter went unpublished.

Dr. Caius followed up five years after his first letter to Gesner by sending another letter. The information in the second letter was used by Dr. Gesner. The second letter was also published as a small book in 1570. The significance of this book is that it was the first book devoted entirely to the subject of dogs.It was published under the title De Canibus Britannicis (shortened title). Later, Caius' book was translated by his assistant, Abraham Fleming, to English, and again published in the year 1576 under the name Of English Dogs (shortened titled). Caius categorized the dogs into classifications, one of which was the "shepherd's dogge."

Caius' drawings sent to Gesner were reproduced in Ash's books Dogs: Their History and Development (1927), and The Practical Dog Book (1931). What is puzzling is that Ash, in his 1927 book, stated all the drawings appearing on Plate 31 were "probably sketches by Dr. Caius" except #3 (same as #7 below). For No. 3, he used the explanation of: 'Hispanorum acquatice canes commendantur apud Caium.' 'Water Spainel' in England. (Cirino, 1653)." Ash was referring to Andreas Cirino, who published a derivative of De Natura et Solertia Canum, in 1653.

In the 1931 book, Ash identified figures (#4 and #7) from Plate 1. In that description, Ash wrote:

"The Water dog or Water Spagnelle. The dog before being clipped (7), and the dog clipped (4). Two of Dr. Caius' illustrations of British dogs. The hair is left on the chest to protect the lungs."

Notice on the #4 drawing there is a beard and there is a representation of a semi-lengthy tail.

Perhaps Ash learned after the publication of his 1927 book that this image (#7) was also sketched by Caius, not by Cirino, and made a correction. However, it is the use of the word "probably" before the words "sketches by Dr. Caius" that can be troubling to one looking for definitive explanations. Also, in the 1927 book, Ash wrote his opinion on Cirino's work stating

"It is merely a repetition of previous authors, and though some of the woodcuts are copies from earlier works, some of them are new and original...."

It seems as though one is dealing with a number of questions.


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