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akbash, anatolian, kangal, boz kangal, malakli...
 
Tonedog
1091 days ago · post is hidden ( show post ) · 0 people like this ·
1091 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
"Those that are mastiff like, are mastiff like because people have crossed them with mastiffs, and often to produce fighting dogs or personal guardians/pets rather than livestock guardians" Id have to say you nailed it with this sentiment. The most sought after in Military work was the CO and Sar, and it is undeniable what is in there that makes them different. Think of it like this, an EB is a bastard of a dog but a cripple, give it a capable body and you now have a capable bastard. Same with most mastiffs, their bodies betray them. So cross them with dogs that are very wolfy in build to clean them up and add a bit of sharpness to their inherint aggression, and you then get monsters of old once again. Atleast that's how I think of it.
1091 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
No doubt you are right, too many great dogs descend from "ruined mastiffs" to argue.
1091 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
And those great ones get recognition for being amazing examples of XYZ breed, instead of being exactly what they are, a reawakened mastiff. There is a reason Mastiffe's were bred to be cripples, so the Mastiff we own today is an animal we CAN own in todays society.
1091 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
Have you ever seen the pictures of the EM x Great Pyr? Should answer your question beyond a doubt.
1091 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[QUOTE]And those great ones get recognition for being amazing examples of XYZ breed[/QUOTE] Well thankfully not in australia, we'll just call them "mastiff crosses", because we for the most part can't be bothered making up silly breed names (with one notable exception who makes up enough for the whole continent). I don't think they need to be crossed to a wolfy dog btw, they can be crossed with just about anything, even crossed together as long as they're worked hard, culled hard and selected for their ability to perform. Here an outstanding neo x bm, two "ruined breeds", but someone forgot to tell this serious working boardog.
1091 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
Check your inbox, I sent you a couple interesting pictures. I agree, it doesn't have to be wolfy, sleeper genes can be abeautiful thing.
1091 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
Some more ruined mastiffs, bless their tender fragile hearts- Ruined dane x ruined bm, surprised it can stand up- Ruined wolfhound x ruined BM, what chance do they have? Ruined ebt x ruined wolfhound
1091 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
That egghead cross is badass. Aussie pig dogs deserve a much higher reputation than they get, atleast over here. I saw 1 litter, 7 parent breeds, and all looked like that dog just above the bullterrier cross. I love the mad scientisting you guys do down there, and I love that you're not trying to make up bs histories and breeds of it. Its how the AB came to be. Some of this, little of that, more of those and bam your basic type. Keep them pictures coming.
1091 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
I don't know... I mean, the angulation on some of those... LOL Couldn't help myself. Should be a cool thread. Will contribute later.
1091 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote] That egghead cross is badass.[/QUOTE] Agreed. [QUOTE] Aussie pig dogs deserve a much higher reputation than they get, atleast over here .... I love that you're not trying to make up bs histories and breeds of it.[/QUOTE] You just explained why they don't have a higher reputation. Bs histories and breed names is how dogs get a reputation. That's what all that is for, whipping up hype, "selling" dogs to the public. No one much is marketting these aussie pig dog mutts, they're just working them and selling them amongst themselves for 50 bucks or so, and so no one has built up a reputation for them, no one much is trying to sell them to the public, so they haven't been "bought" by the public. Unlike say, dogo argentinos for example- well marketted and hyped- there's been a campaign to convince people they're the bees knees, and it worked. So now according to the public they're THE boardogs, and no way some scatterbred mutt would be comparable at all. Did you not hear the spiel? It was so convincing and epic. Funny thing is without a doubt there is more evidence on the net of aussie mutts actually working than every hyped up exotic breed in every field of work combined. But for some reason this doesn't get the reputation, you need some salesmen spinning BS on your behalf to get a reputation, and a clear identifiable breed name people can cling onto. The irony there being that real dog-workers don't do this crap, they don't care about dogs they care about catching pigs, or protecting livestock or whatever. The people who spin BS and establish reputations for breeds, usually by definition aren't so interested in the work (if at all), but rather in hyping and selling their dogs, and so their dogs actually aren't working dogs at all, but dogs produced for the purpose of being sold. The dogs destined to get the biggest bestest reputations are actually the least likely to be genuine working dogs, and real working dogs are the least likely to have someone spinning BS and developing an impressive reputation for them. [QUOTE] I love the mad scientisting you guys do down there... Its how the AB came to be. [/quote] It's how everything came to be. It's actually the traditional way working dogs are bred. Aussie boar hunters are just old-fashioned, not visionairies trying out some new weird experiment. They're just behind the times and missed the memo on the importance of fabricating "breeds". All it is, is they have dogs kicking around, and they allow them to either prove themselves to be useful, or not. And they breed the useful ones together, and their dogs are just the natural result of that. When asked what they are they simply do their best to recollect what breeds some of the original dogs that proved themselves useful looked like, and call their dogs a cross between those. Letting the dogs available to you have a crack at what you wanted them to do, and breeding best to best, is the way working dogs were bred for thousands of years. The way they've always been bred. The mad scientists I think are everyone else, trying to create breeds like frankenstein, I just don't think that's how it works and I sense these people often struggle to achieve the results they want. While quite honestly some of the dumbest human beings on the planet just accidentally produce outstanding boardogs by following the traditional methodology. wolf [QUOTE]I don't know... I mean, the angulation on some of those... LOL Couldn't help myself.[/QUOTE] Oh god, don't get me started, lol. Am surprised I've not gotten a more violent reaction to what I propose in the OP from people here? Not that I said it to be annoying, I really think it might be true. Basically saying this is what LGDs are like- Dogs like ovcharkas, kangals and etc etc etc, all the cool LGDs basically, are simply dogs like the above, crossed with mastiffs and bullbreeds, and to the detriment of their performance in LGD work, but maybe to the benefit of their aptitude in dodgey backyard fights and their suitability as pets/personal guardians. I think this is why LGds are like mastiffs, not because they're really related at the core but because, most of the cool hyped up ones are LGD/mastiff hybrids. The ones that just guard sheep and don't get sh!t spun about them, just are built for their role, are not mastiff like at all. This is surely not a popular opinion, but would love to hear from people why they think I'm wrong.
1091 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote1320514162=Tonedog] [/quote1320514162] I never thought I'd say this, but I [u]really[/u] like this one. LOL What a cool combo.
1091 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote1320514392=Tonedog] Am surprised I've not gotten a more violent reaction to what I propose in the OP from people here? Not that I said it to be annoying, I really think it might be true. Dogs like ovcharkas, kangals and etc etc etc, all the cool LGDs basically, are simply dogs like the above, crossed with mastiffs and bullbreeds, and to the detriment of their performance in LGD work, but maybe to the benefit of their aptitude in dodgey backyard fights and their suitability as pets/personal guardians. I think this is why LGds are like mastiffs, not because they're really related at the core but because, most of the cool hyped up ones are LGD/mastiff hybrids. The ones that just guard sheep and don't get sh!t spun about them, just are built for their role, are not mastiff like at all. This is surely not a popular opinion, but would love to hear from people why they think I'm wrong. [/quote1320514392] Hm, let me start with that I don't even know if I agree or disagree with your premise. Are Shars LGDs on steroids because of mastiff blood? Most certainly not, they've been like that for a long time. I would say that "LGD" breeds as you have in mind are just watered down variants of these eastern LGDs. In short, this kick ass ingredient in eastern LGDs developed more or less on its own, due to a harsh selective regime. Now, do people cross mastiffs into Shars or COs or Kangals to develop the ultimate fighter? Yes, probably. Those hybrids, as you say, are then used for "jobs" other than livestock guarding. I just don't know if that's really necessary to hype up the breed. I also don't know if weak examples of LGDs are an indicator that the tough examples must be crosses. That would be like stating that the APBT must be crossed because the show AmStaff is worthless. It's just different selective criteria in most cases. No?
1091 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote] Are Shars LGDs on steroids because of mastiff blood? Most certainly not, they've been like that for a long time.[/QUOTE] How confident are you of that really? Honest question, you may have good reasons to be very certain. I don't, at the moment. [QUOTE]I would say that "LGD" breeds as you have in mind are just watered down variants of these eastern LGDs. In short, this kick ass ingredient in eastern LGDs developed more or less on its own, due to a harsh selective regime. [/QUOTE] This is the common assumption. But actually lgd breeds like the kuvasz are not watered down versions of the cool LGDs. They could be watered down all they like it would still show in their genes that they're related to mastiffs. Some LGDs obviously are related to mastiffs, but then also obviously related to the LGDs which aren't related to mastiffs. So it's a bit of a puzzle to work out how this could make sense, UNLESS these "mastiffy" LGDs are LGD x mastiff hybrids. That LGDs weren't initially mastiff like, some strains have been influenced by mastiffs and this has made them mastiff like. Maybe this hybridisation occurred in 1910, maybe it occurred in 1770, maybe it occurred in ancient rome or ancient greece, I dunno. But instead of what I used to think, and what a lot of people think, that mastiffs and LGDs share a common foundation (usually that mastiffs descend from LGDs), and that this is the reason they are similar, the evidence seems to suggest instead they were separate strains whose paths crossed at some point. Resulting in some hybrid strains, but strains still exist that are not hybrids, and infact they seem to be getting the work in the LGD world more so than the hybrids (not because they are tougher or meaner or more formidable, but because they have good LGD qualities- mostly attentiveness, alertness, reserved intelligence/caution, etc etc- qualities outlined by ray coppinger in his LGD study). I basically don't think the kuvasz and similar dogs are "watered down", I think LGDs by nature don't need to be and aren't supposed to be more than that, the job simply doesn't call for it and so LGDs didn't naturally evolve to be more formidable than that. What people have since done is start using their guesswork to assume an LGD would be better if it was more formidable, and so they've artificially crossed in mastiffs and also bred for size and ferocity and even fighting ability, making the dogs fight and etc. But then these creations have had very little influence on the real LGD world, limitted success, mostly just persist as impressive pets and second rate fighting dogs. Real lgds are mostly still the less mastiffy ones. [QUOTE]I also don't know if weak examples of LGDs are an indicator that the tough examples must be crosses. That would be like stating that the APBT must be crossed because the show AmStaff is worthless. It's just different selective criteria in most cases. No?[/QUOTE] I don't think the "weak" lgds are worthless, quite the contrary, they're the ones that seem to actually be working as livestock guardians. These formidable and powerful LGDs are the ones I'm scratching my head about. They're touted as being the ancient real deal, but I'm wondering if that's the exact opposite of the truth. That they're new, and not the real deal. Modern artificial fabrications designed to be formidable and tough and mean and etc, but for no real reason, just so turks and serbs and russians and whatever else can impress their buddies with their badass dog and maybe have it beat up their buddies dog. These dogs might even find work with the military or whatever, they probably can turn out to be great guard and pp dogs. Seems to be the case. What doesn't seem to be the case is a dominance of the livestock guarding bracket, and I see lots of excuses and criticisms and fairy tales as to why that is. Ones I've been convinced about in the past, but am starting to question. Maybe in this case, the simplest explanation is the correct one. LGDs in their true form (ie the dogs that evolved to meet the demands of livestock guarding) are just like the akbash and kuvasz and etc, that's the form that follows the function of livestock guarding. All the impressive LGDs have just been fabricated by people to be impressive, with the use of outcrossing to mastiffs and bullbreeds and selecting for size, aggressiveness and fighting ability and etc. The amstaff and apbt are still genetically identical. I doubt kangals and ovcharkas and etc are genetically identical to the akbash and kuvasz and etc. I'd wager they have obvious mastiff influence as well as ties to the kuvasz, which would support my theory. All this said, the shar could be an exception for all I know. A strain of real LGD that evolved to be more formidable, maybe, I don't know. What I'm saying seems more so very clear for dogs like kangals and ovcharkas. In my mind shars are on the fence at the moment.
1090 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
Very good post. I support your decision to reserve judgment on the Shar for the time being.
1090 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote1320538845=Tonedog] [quote] Are Shars LGDs on steroids because of mastiff blood? Most certainly not, they've been like that for a long time.[/QUOTE] How confident are you of that really? Honest question, you may have good reasons to be very certain. I don't, at the moment. [/quote1320538845] Very confident. Generally speaking, corpulent LGDs with an attitude existed in this particular region for a long time. If anything, Shars were more vicious when I was a child. My grand father had dogs that weren't for touching - for anyone. That was the norm back then. My dad as a child could freely play with dogs, he couldn't go near Shars. Everyone back then knew that Shars are naturally very sharp. I remember hiking as a child in a larger group with my parents, some relatives and friends. As we came across a herd of sheep, I remember very serious dogs marching by, slowly crossing the dirt road with the livestock. Everyone kept their sweet distance and the dogs and livestock of course had the right of way. This wasn't just LGDs walking by, I'm sure everyone in that group stopped breathing for a moment. If one compares various countries and their respective LGD populations, it often comes down to localized selective regimes. The question to ask is how harsh an environment has to be to necessitate a substantial portion of ferociousness in LGDs. What happens if average LGDs get eaten consistently in a particular region? What happens (longterm) in regions where average LGDs totally suffice to keep the lambs safe (and warm)? Over time the local selective pressures decide the differences in phenotype or temp. The Scandinavians didn't become blond and blue eyed because the vikings wanted to show off their women to their neighbors. It just made more selective sense to let the pigment go. An no, I am not implying Scandinavians are watered down humans. lol Most regions in Western Europe haven't had a high prevalence of predators for centuries. Ordinary LGDs would be just fine there. Other regions however are infested with predators to this day (You can still buy wolf-furs in Skopje's Old Bazaar for cheap). That will have consequences on the LGD pool. As Ray Coppinger stated, the "cull"-rate in transhumance in that region is phenomenal, only the toughest dogs make it. The life on a farm in Southern France on the other hand is very different. All of this gotta affect the base line in an LGD population. In Shars, mastiff blood does not have a positive result. It changes the dog to its core. In recent years, people presumably do it anyway for fighting purposes, but that ain't a Shar anymore. And it shows. I won't speak for Kangals or CO's, mainly because others know much more about their breed history than I do. Dan
1090 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
Good post, more perspective is always welcome. Plus, I always love seeing that Neo statue. [quote1320542476=Astibus] In Shars, mastiff blood does not have a positive result. It changes the dog to its core. In recent years, people presumably do it anyway for fighting purposes, but that ain't a Shar anymore. And it shows. [/quote1320542476] The reason why western mastiffs tend to destroy Shar genetics has quite a bit to do with the mountain mastiff heritage the Shar already has at its core. It's doubling up on the mastiff internally while still passing externally. The only good thing about it, if we allow to characterize it as such - is the combat aspect. The dogs will not be braver than Shars. But they will dance like Fred Astaire. Also, if "recent years" in your sentence above stand for "from late 1980's onward", we're on the same page. Regardless of what the show world was up to, the dancing community was redesigning the breed all along.
1090 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote1320545628=Wolf] I always love seeing that Neo statue. [/quote1320545628] Just to clarify (for others), I am not implying that this dog is synonymous with a Shar, but whatever type of actual molosser it was, it was obviously there for a long time. And it must have come from somewhere, right? "Mountain mastiff"? Likely. "Modern (British) mastiff"? Not so much. BTW, it does have a mane, so it's likely been sheared. [quote1320545628=Wolf] [quote1320542476=Astibus] In Shars, mastiff blood does not have a positive result. It changes the dog to its core. In recent years, people presumably do it anyway for fighting purposes [/quote1320542476] Also, if "recent years" in your sentence above stand for "from late 1980's onward", we're on the same page. [/quote1320545628] Wow, time sure flies. So yeah, I would have guessed somewhere around 1991 or soon after, but late 1980s will certainly work.
1090 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
astibus- [quote] Very confident. Generally speaking, corpulent LGDs with an attitude existed in this particular region for a long time.[/QUOTE] I don't get what the picture is for. It's safe to say that dog is representing no breed from today, but rather a mongrel from then. And who even knows what the mongrel was used for? What kind of dog it was. Is there any indication given with the statue? [QUOTE]If anything, Shars were more vicious when I was a child. My grand father had dogs that weren't for touching - for anyone. That was the norm back then. My dad as a child could freely play with dogs, he couldn't go near Shars. Everyone back then knew that Shars are naturally very sharp. I remember hiking as a child in a larger group with my parents, some relatives and friends. As we came across a herd of sheep, I remember very serious dogs marching by, slowly crossing the dirt road with the livestock. Everyone kept their sweet distance and the dogs and livestock of course had the right of way. This wasn't just LGDs walking by, I'm sure everyone in that group stopped breathing for a moment. [/QUOTE] That's actually a pretty cool story, made very easy to visualise. Real working dog encounters as a child still stand out in my memory as well. For me in rural queensland australia it was invariably pig dogs. Experiences like these undoubtedly planted the seeds for the passions we exhibit (and at times struggle to conceal) today. But I'm not sure how lgds of old being sharp and vicious is at odds with my argument. I guess I may have mentioned how the modern mastiff mixes have been bred to be aggressive, but I didn't mean real LGDs weren't aggressive, I just meant the modern mixes weren't bred for much else. I'd actually suspect they're naturally less aggressive than real LGDs, a) because mastiffs just are, and b) because these mastiff-infused LGD monsters are typically living in close proximity to people and civilisation. It seems usually just being the pet or fighting dog of some guy in a tracksuit. LGDs live out in remote areas with sheep in the wilderness, so yeah they can get away with being much more sharp and vicious and indeed it would even be favoured naturally. [QUOTE]If one compares various countries and their respective LGD populations, it often comes down to localized selective regimes. The question to ask is how harsh an environment has to be to necessitate a substantial portion of ferociousness in LGDs. What happens if average LGDs get eaten consistently in a particular region? What happens (longterm) in regions where average LGDs totally suffice to keep the lambs safe (and warm)? Over time the local selective pressures decide the differences in phenotype or temp. The Scandinavians didn't become blond and blue eyed because the vikings wanted to show off their women to their neighbors. It just made more selective sense to let the pigment go. An no, I am not implying Scandinavians are watered down humans. lol Most regions in Western Europe haven't had a high prevalence of predators for centuries. Ordinary LGDs would be just fine there. Other regions however are infested with predators to this day (You can still buy wolf-furs in Skopje's Old Bazaar for cheap). That will have consequences on the LGD pool. As Ray Coppinger stated, the "cull"-rate in transhumance in that region is phenomenal, only the toughest dogs make it. The life on a farm in Southern France on the other hand is very different. All of this gotta affect the base line in an LGD population. [/QUOTE] I understand all this and agree, amongst the "true lgds" there's gonna be some variation and some will have relatively soft lifestyles in lovely idealic fairly safe meadows. The pyrenees seems a tad softer than the akbash for example, and I don't think this is explained with any outcrossing but rather just the natural result of adapting to differing environments and conditions. The thing is with some "LGDs" I don't think I'm looking at adaptations to harsher conditions, but rather simple outcrossing to western mastiffs and artificial selection for bigness and impressiveness. I base this on seeing that they look a lot like mastiffs, and the fact that I rarely if ever see them actually working as serious LGDs anywhere, harsh conditions or otherwise. Their similarity to western mastiffs is strange given that other LGDs are not related to mastiffs, I mean they must be related to the other LGDs, they're still fairly similar to them and are apparently supposed to perform the same function. But they also look like western/mastiffs and bullbreeds, and indeed even are used in dog fights like western bull/mastiff types often are. So they're related to both, but then those both aren't related to one another, so then the only logical answer is they're a hybrid of both types, and not a "predecessor" (which is what I used to think). [QUOTE]In Shars, mastiff blood does not have a positive result. It changes the dog to its core. In recent years, people presumably do it anyway for fighting purposes, but that ain't a Shar anymore. And it shows. [/quote] Shars are intriguing because they're not very big, and don't look very mastiffy, I don't feel like they're being bred to be dick-extensions for guys in full-tracksuits, and I have seen them mentioned in serious LGD studies as actually working as LGDs, and not only in their country of origin. All this would seem to group them with genuine successful functional LGDs, I guess then the question I'm inclined to ask is how formidable are they really? Since for most genuine LGDs being actually combatively formidable doesn't seem to be a huge concern. But from what I've been reading you and others say about shars they definitely are exceedingly formidable. I'm not inclined to disbelieve you but I am inclined to wonder why this would be? I don't know if harsh conditions can really explain it. Perhaps the fact they've been called upon for other tasks like wolf said. Anyway, I am open to the idea the shar is a genuine LGD, but a super badass version. It's possible. I think my theory in general stands up pretty well anyway, so far.
1090 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote1320554741=Tonedog] don't get what the picture is for. It's safe to say that dog is representing no breed from today, but rather a mongrel from then. And who even knows what the mongrel was used for? What kind of dog it was. Is there any indication given with the statue? [/quote1320554741] Consider it a quick-shot attempt at attesting an "independent" evolutionary path. This statue is located at the British Museum and depicts a Molossian Hound. The Hellenic era sculpture is dated back to the 2nd century BC. The point I was trying to make is that powerful dogs with a vicious attitude existed in this region for a long time, without the influence of modern mastiffs. Please note that this dog has a full mane, so it is safe to assume that the dog was sheared. Not terribly important though. [quote1320554741=Tonedog] The thing is with some "LGDs" I don't think I'm looking at adaptations to harsher conditions, but rather simple outcrossing to western mastiffs and artificial selection for bigness and impressiveness. I base this on seeing that they look a lot like mastiffs, and the fact that I rarely if ever see them actually working as serious LGDs anywhere, harsh conditions or otherwise. Their similarity to western mastiffs is strange given that other LGDs are not related to mastiffs, I mean they must be related to the other LGDs, they're still fairly similar to them and are apparently supposed to perform the same function. But they also look like western/mastiffs and bullbreeds, and indeed even are used in dog fights like western bull/mastiff types often are. [/quote1320554741] Oh, I won't argue with that. My argument relating to varying selective regimes sure wasn't meant to dismiss this view as incorrect. I only meant to explain why say LGDs in the Pyrenees are weaker in their "kick" than Shars for example. Nothing more. [quote1320554741=Tonedog] Shars are intriguing because they're not very big, and don't look very mastiffy, I don't feel like they're being bred to be dick-extensions for guys in full-tracksuits, and I have seen them mentioned in serious LGD studies as actually working as LGDs, and not only in their country of origin. All this would seem to group them with genuine successful functional LGDs, I guess then the question I'm inclined to ask is how formidable are they really? Since for most genuine LGDs being actually combatively formidable doesn't seem to be a huge concern. But from what I've been reading you and others say about shars they definitely are exceedingly formidable. I'm not inclined to disbelieve you but I am inclined to wonder why this would be? I don't know if harsh conditions can really explain it. Perhaps the fact they've been called upon for other tasks like wolf said. Anyway, I am open to the idea the shar is a genuine LGD, but a super badass version. [/quote1320554741] I'd say it is both. In the mountains, working Shars are exceedingly formidable, because they basically come across as wild animals. Picture yourself being approached by a group of wolves (but without that skittish shyness of wolves) .... or perhaps lions, something like that, you get the idea. They seem unpredictable and every moment you feel like you're completely at their mercy. No tail wagging, just a serious stare. I've been there many times, somehow it never helped to focus on the thought that I sure must have seen bigger dogs in civilization. On the other hand, yes, Shars have (always) been used as war dogs and extensively as fighters, as they were the poor peasants' cavalry. So over time naturally something must have stuck, right? The result I think is a breed that can handle tremendous pressure and can dish out like you'd never expect from an "LGD". So Wolf's statement is absolutely correct, Shars have traditionally been used for much more than guarding sheep. And regarding you mentioning their slightly "smaller" size, Shars are still big dogs, they just aren't very tall. And of course they didn't follow the more recent trend in large dog breeds, where even big apparently isn't big enough anymore. These days you better breed 160-200lbs behemoths to keep up with the Jones'es dog; who cares if they can still perform anything ... or even breathe for 20 minutes straight without getting exhausted. Shars are big dogs, but they are still capable of LGD-ing. And how many large "kick-ass" breeds today can say that with absolute confidence - and also prove it.
1090 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
What if the hybrid between the molosser and the alaunt is what everyone's been talking about for centuries and not one or the other?
1090 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
Intriguing idea. So lemme ask you then, what would be a representative descendant of the alaunt these days? (I actually really don't know)
1089 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote] Consider it a quick-shot attempt at attesting an "independent" evolutionary path. This statue is located at the British Museum and depicts a Molossian Hound. The Hellenic era sculpture is dated back to the 2nd century BC. The point I was trying to make is that powerful dogs with a vicious attitude existed in this region for a long time, without the influence of modern mastiffs. Please note that this dog has a full mane, so it is safe to assume that the dog was sheared. Not terribly important though.[/QUOTE] I'm curious, does the statue have "molossian hound" carved on it anywhere (or the other-language equivalent)? Hound implies hunting dog, mollosian implies from the molossi people, who were known to have outstanding sheep dogs, but ordinary hounds. Doesn't look like "an ordinary hound". Indeed looks more like a molossian sheepdog. Conversely, "molossian hound" could be a name the romans coined for their own dogs, referencing their origins of hybridising molossian sheepdogs with their own hounds (or maybe even alaunts- which were "par force" hounds). This statue may not have molossian hound carved on it anywhere, but I'd still lean towards it either being a molossian sheepdog, or molossian sheepdog x alaunt like wolf said (or something basically to that effect). Maybe the molossian sheepdog itself was already a kuvasz/akbash/pyrenees/maremma type x alaunt type dog before the romans even encountered it? Maybe the shar is a "true lgd x alaunt type" dog at it's foundations, but from a crossing done a long time ago, and the hybridisation was made for functional reasons. While some of these modern monster LGDs are recently created using similar foundations, but not used for anything much, and bred instead for impressive conformation and maybe a bit of a willingness to fight and guard. Just thinking aloud. [quote]Oh, I won't argue with that. My argument relating to varying selective regimes sure wasn't meant to dismiss this view as incorrect. I only meant to explain why say LGDs in the Pyrenees are weaker in their "kick" than Shars for example. Nothing more. [/QUOTE] Fair enough, we can agree there. [QUOTE]I'd say it is both. In the mountains, working Shars are exceedingly formidable, because they basically come across as wild animals. Picture yourself being approached by a group of wolves (but without that skittish shyness of wolves) .... or perhaps lions, something like that, you get the idea. They seem unpredictable and every moment you feel like you're completely at their mercy. No tail wagging, just a serious stare. I've been there many times, somehow it never helped to focus on the thought that I sure must have seen bigger dogs in civilization. On the other hand, yes, Shars have (always) been used as war dogs and extensively as fighters, as they were the poor peasants' cavalry. So over time naturally something must have stuck, right? The result I think is a breed that can handle tremendous pressure and can dish out like you'd never expect from an "LGD". So Wolf's statement is absolutely correct, Shars have traditionally been used for much more than guarding sheep.[/QUOTE] And this could explain why maybe, way back 2000 + years ago, their ancestors were crossed out to alaunt type gripping dogs. While true pure LGDs only used to guard sheep stayed rather like the kuvasz/akbash/maremma type of dog, and today show no genetic suggestion of a relationship with mastiff/alaunt/gripping dog/bandog/bull/whatever types. [QUOTE]And regarding you mentioning their slightly "smaller" size, Shars are still big dogs, they just aren't very tall. And of course they didn't follow the more recent trend in large dog breeds, where even big apparently isn't big enough anymore. These days you better breed 160-200lbs behemoths to keep up with the Jones'es dog; who cares if they can still perform anything ... or even breathe for 20 minutes straight without getting exhausted. Shars are big dogs, but they are still capable of LGD-ing. And how many large "kick-ass" breeds today can say that with absolute confidence - and also prove it. [/QUOTE] If you knew me you'd know my noting that they aren't soo big is actually a compliment. A positive observation that bodes well for them if they're to "win me over" and convince me they're built to actually function and perform. Sources I've read suggest 55 kgs is the normal upper limit for real shars, and I often bandy that 55 kgs figure around as the max weight for a functional dogs (with rare, very tall exceptions). So for me their size being generally under 55 kgs means their "stories" check out at least in that department, unlike the 200 lbs behemoths.
1089 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote1320626556=Astibus] Intriguing idea. So lemme ask you then, what would be a representative descendant of the alaunt these days? (I actually really don't know) [/quote1320626556] I'd be inclined to say "mongrel aussie pig dogs", but others would probably say spanish alanos or dogo argentinos.
1089 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote1320633912=Tonedog] [quote] Consider it a quick-shot attempt at attesting an "independent" evolutionary path. This statue is located at the British Museum and depicts a Molossian Hound.[/QUOTE] I'm curious, does the statue have "molossian hound" carved on it anywhere (or the other-language equivalent)? [/quote1320633912] Good point. I think the "molossian hound" is the title as it refers back to what the Romans called it. I personally never took the term hound in this context literally, i.e. depicting a hunting dog. It obviously ain't one. What always puzzled me is that noone wondered about the obvious mane on that thing. With closer observation (i.e. chest and front legs) one can safely assume anatomical correctness of the statue. That period of time was known anyway for their precise anatomical depictions. But I digress. I don't know about alaunt (I actually don't), but I would bet money that there's "sheepdog" in that dog. [quote1320633912=Tonedog] This statue may not have molossian hound carved on it anywhere, but I'd still lean towards it either being a molossian sheepdog, or molossian sheepdog x alaunt like wolf said (or something basically to that effect). [/quote1320633912] No argument there. [quote1320633912=Tonedog] [QUOTE]I'd say it is both. In the mountains, working Shars are exceedingly formidable, because they basically come across as wild animals. [..] On the other hand, yes, Shars have (always) been used as war dogs and extensively as fighters, as they were the poor peasants' cavalry. [..] So Wolf's statement is absolutely correct, Shars have traditionally been used for much more than guarding sheep.[/QUOTE] And this could explain why maybe, way back 2000 + years ago, their ancestors were crossed out to alaunt type gripping dogs. [/quote1320633912] Could very well be. All I know is they do kick ass, and that region "always" had a unique gene pool. My dad told me when I was a kid that in the 1950s (and later) the Soviets really wanted to get their hand on those dogs. This was back in the early 80s or so. As I said, the Yugos always knew that they had something unique there. I remember that I wanted to take a pup with me to Germany in the late 70s, and my father's very good friend, who happened to be the veterinary director of the entire region couldn't help us out. It took several years more before I actually owned a Shar in Germany. [quote1320633912=Tonedog] [QUOTE]Shars are still big dogs, they just aren't very tall.[/QUOTE] If you knew me you'd know my noting that they aren't soo big is actually a compliment. A positive observation that bodes well for them if they're to "win me over" and convince me they're built to actually function and perform. Sources I've read suggest 55 kgs is the normal upper limit for real shars, and I often bandy that 55 kgs figure around as the max weight for a functional dogs (with rare, very tall exceptions). So for me their size being generally under 55 kgs means their "stories" check out at least in that department, unlike the 200 lbs behemoths. [/quote1320633912] Oh, I didn't take it in an offensive way. I just wanted to clarify why I consider Shars big dogs. GSDs are medium size (at least correct ones) and Shars are big dogs. And I personally don't care for giant breeds. On another note, what's with all the color talk about alaunts? Is that a myth, romanticized "showie" talk? Or absolute necessity and staple in alaunt descendents?
1089 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote] Good point. I think the "molossian hound" is the title as it refers back to what the Romans called it. I personally never took the term hound in this context literally, i.e. depicting a hunting dog. It obviously ain't one.[/QUOTE] Well I don't know about that, it COULD be one. A specialised role player used to subdue dangerous animals after running hounds and scenting hounds had slowed it down and bayed it up. Not saying it is, just that it perhaps could be with that build. I agree it looks more sheep doggy though. The romans definitely would have had dogs used on hunts to subdue dangerous unruly animals, they were bigger on catching dangerous animals (and alive) than any other culture in history. Only practical way to do that is with gripping dogs playing a major critical role. They also "incriminatingly" left a lot of "big game subjugation" dog breeds in their wake, not to mention suggestions they had dogs they used to tackle opposing cavalries horses in war. No doubt in my mind they were big on gripping dogs, but whether that's one of them in the statue is another question entirely. They undoubtedly had lots of different types of dogs, they were an immense multicultural civilisation with lots of roles for lots of different dog types, the foundations of which they sourced from far and wide. This could have been anything, but I agree with you it seems sheepdoggy, meaning it either was a livestock guardian, or some kind of livestock guardian infused mutt hybrid of types for some other purpose (eg war dog). [QUOTE] What always puzzled me is that noone wondered about the obvious mane on that thing. With closer observation (i.e. chest and front legs) one can safely assume anatomical correctness of the statue. That period of time was known anyway for their precise anatomical depictions.[/QUOTE] You think it must be shorn? It couldn't just have a mane? I think it's kind of cool to imagine they might have had mutts that developed manes to protect them from throat injuries in combative situations, but maybe you're right and it's more likely the rest of it's fur was shorn short. [QUOTE] But I digress. I don't know about alaunt (I actually don't), but I would bet money that there's "sheepdog" in that dog.[/QUOTE] I'm inclined to agree. [QUOTE]On another note, what's with all the color talk about alaunts? Is that a myth, romanticized "showie" talk? Or absolute necessity and staple in alaunt descendents? [/QUOTE] News to me that there is talk of that, would be intrigued to hear if someone else has more to say on that?
1089 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote]On another note, what's with all the color talk about alaunts? Is that a myth, romanticized "showie" talk? Or absolute necessity and staple in alaunt descendents? [/quote] You mean the white thing? It's just a leftover from bloodsports (hunting included), valued primarily for the ease of finding and tending to the wounds, but another big part was seeing the blood on white dogs instead of not getting the same fix from a darker dog getting shredded. Now, it's pretty clear that all kinds of colourings existed and continue to exist in various alaunt-esque breeds and bandogs, but just like with everything else, trends decide traditions. Darker dogs were preferred for guarding duties in general, although details such as colour (or even type) surely weren't at the top of the priority list for the majority of keepers.
1089 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
They have their certain colours, but really they seem more varied than say a sarplaninac right? I mean certain breeds have had certain colours favoured, but this is just "showie" BS. As a group the "alaunt descendents", if you want to call them that, are black, blue, all shades of brindle, fawn, red, tan any of these colours with white, white or white with patches of any of the aforementioned colours. It's a pretty wide variety really. Although there is a notable leaning towards predominantly white I suppose, and maybe more so in the past.
1088 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote1320732910=Tonedog] You think it must be shorn? It couldn't just have a mane? I think it's kind of cool to imagine they might have had mutts that developed manes to protect them from throat injuries in combative situations, but maybe you're right and it's more likely the rest of it's fur was shorn short. [/quote1320732910] I will risk ridicule here and tell ya that I believe it was a short-coated dog with a mane, no grooming whatsoever. Dense, flat coat with a mane and no feathering on the legs and butt. It can happen, I've seen it with my own eyes and I believe that statue to be of a specific "breed" from the greater "molossian" family, one which certainly played a part in the genesis of both the proto-Shar and the southern-wave "alaunt" branch. Whether that "breed" was an ancient hybrid or an ancient source for both is fun to think about, but its statue has been and will continue to be used as an illustration for everything from a Neo to an EM and anything you can think of in between, regardless of how much squinting might be necessary to "see" the similarities, so it doesn't even matter. After seeing the thing in person and experiencing certain truths subsequently, I'm pretty confident in my understanding of this "hound" thing. One more thing, just as an aside. It should be noted that in many old texts "erect/pricked" stands for cropped. Also, it's easy to assume that dogs represented in art had naturally pricked ears if we forget artistic license and its application to something like cropped ears, depending on the time period. Just something to keep in the back of one's mind.
1088 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote1320775398=Tonedog] astibus- [quote] Very confident. Generally speaking, corpulent LGDs with an attitude existed in this particular region for a long time.[/QUOTE] I don't get what the picture is for. It's safe to say that dog is representing no breed from today, but rather a mongrel from then. And who even knows what the mongrel was used for? What kind of dog it was. Is there any indication given with the statue? [/quote1320775398] It's safe to say that dog is representing no breed from today? ...look this dog, he belongs to a breed currently bred in Italy (not Mastino Napoletano and not Cane Corso): [br][img:width=500&height=640]{e_FILE}public/1320776172_18924_FT83437_mastino_01.jpg">
1088 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
If not a Mastino Napoletano and not Cane Corso, then what breed are you referring to?
1088 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
Cane da Presa Italiano Meridionale? Has as much to do with the statue as the NM and the CC. Zilch.
1088 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
Yes! Were used both breeds but dogs have been selected with two criteria only, health and character and physical attributes suited to the work like centuries ago. In fact, there are some CPM "heavier" and other "lighter", but all athletic and with great character! PS: Cane da Presa Meridionale
1088 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
If any mastiff "breed" from today has anything to do with that statue, then they all do. They all share a common ancestor from after that (or around that time, but yeah probably later). ESPECIALLY if they're in the same area, are you really saying some obscure cane de presa meridionale descends from that statue's "muse", but cane corsos and neos don't? Obviously that dog is very very very closely related to neos and ccs, I'd be inclined to say it's a neo or cc cross personally. It also should be noted there's no reason to look to italy when you think of roman dogs, rome wasn't italy, it was most of europe and part of asia and part of north africa. All dogs in that area likely descend in part from "roman" dogs. Italy is just another part of rome. Also dogs from everywhere the spanish and british colonised descend from roman dogs as well by extension. A fila brasileiro is as roman as a neo mastiff, an american bulldog is as roman as a cane corso, a bully kutta is as roman as a "cane de presa meridionale".
1088 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 

[quote1320789860=CANISDIRUS] [quote1320775398=Tonedog] astibus- [quote] Very confident. Generally speaking, corpulent LGDs with an attitude existed in this particular region for a long time.[/QUOTE]

 

I don't get what the picture is for. It's safe to say that dog is representing no breed from today, but rather a mongrel from then. And who even knows what the mongrel was used for? What kind of dog it was. Is there any indication given with the statue? [/quote1320775398]

 

 It's safe to say that dog is representing no breed from today? ...look this dog, he belongs to a breed currently bred in Italy (not Mastino Napoletano and not Cane Corso): [br][img:width=500&height=640]{e_FILE}public/1320776172_18924_FT83437_mastino_01.jpg"> [/quote1320789860] Where's the mane? Has anyone ever seen a shortcoated mastiff with a long mane? I am wondering if that is genetically even 'possible' in canines? (genuine questions).

1088 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote1320791806=Tonedog] If any mastiff "breed" from today has anything to do with that statue, then they all do. They all share a common ancestor from after that (or around that time, but yeah probably later). ESPECIALLY if they're in the same area, are you really saying some obscure cane de presa meridionale descends from that statue's "muse", but cane corsos and neos don't? Obviously that dog is very very very closely related to neos and ccs, I'd be inclined to say it's a neo or cc cross personally. [/quote1320791806] Yup. The "meridionale" stuff is the 3rd option, leftover stock from the CDP which birthed Corsi and Mastini, as well as the majority of the "breed" being rooted in '90s bandogs from the original Molosso Mediteraneo effort. Not that it matters one way or the other, they're no closer to the statue than the CC or the NM. Or Boxer and the DDB. It's all wishful squinting.
1087 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
All I see is a Korean Dosa.
1087 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote1320860847=Tonedog] If any mastiff "breed" from today has anything to do with that statue, then they all do. They all share a common ancestor from after that (or around that time, but yeah probably later). ESPECIALLY if they're in the same area, are you really saying some obscure cane de presa meridionale descends from that statue's "muse", but cane corsos and neos don't? Obviously that dog is very very very closely related to neos and ccs, I'd be inclined to say it's a neo or cc cross personally. It also should be noted there's no reason to look to italy when you think of roman dogs, rome wasn't italy, it was most of europe and part of asia and part of north africa. All dogs in that area likely descend in part from "roman" dogs. Italy is just another part of rome. Also dogs from everywhere the spanish and british colonised descend from roman dogs as well by extension. A fila brasileiro is as roman as a neo mastiff, an american bulldog is as roman as a cane corso, a bully kutta is as roman as a "cane de presa meridionale". [/quote1320860847] Cane Corso and Mastino Napoletano don't exist in the past, was one dog only! The modern breeders after '80 have separated into two kinds of dog in that lighter and heavier for marketing. Some men have searched in rural areas of southern Italy dogs that still had the characteristics of rusticity, without selecting dogs based on size. The Bandog are dogs crossings without criteria! CPM is not a simple cross between CC and MN, the blood lines are studied for health and character and a dog can be admitted to the project only after being examined by the group of competent people. Your argument that all dogs are close to the old Roman Molossian in equal way is wrong, very wrong! Those in the Mediterranean are similar to those in the Mediterranean, ok, but the others are the result of many other intersections ...and especially the character to guard of the ancient dogs is simply a dream today!
1087 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
Who knows how well the ancient dogs guarded? No source ever really insisted that guarding was their main role. If that medalion whatever isn't largely influenced by apbt I know nothing. I'd be pretty confident in saying it's less pure than the neo and cc, but I can believe it's much better, it looks it. And it may well be bred like you describe- only the best health and character and etc, then all the more reason to be certain it's a mutt.
1087 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote1320873376=CANISDIRUS] Cane Corso and Mastino Napoletano don't exist in the past, was one dog only! [/quote1320873376] Not true. First there were many and then there were two.
1081 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
To get this back on topic somewhat, perhaps a history refresher course is in order, if I may be so condescending. Of course I may, it's me. Let's just cover the Molossian thing first... The word stands for mountain-sized greatness of a mountain dweller, be it hunting, fighting or knitting sweaters, whatever - it's rustically grand. Molossians were people and molossian dogs were their pooches. Molosser should trigger thought of "mountain" immediately, that's why I nitpicked about the FCI definitions and common usage deviations, equating giant Pugs with "molossian" dogs etc. The reason why I've gotten the reputation as a pusher of mountain mastiff malarkey is because that's what a molossos is - a hillbilly giant. Man or beast. The dogs under the name were mountain dogs of the mountain people. I wasn't pushing LGDs, I was pushing [u]molossers[/u]. Here's the skinny: Molossus was Achilles' grandson, right? So this Molossus fella steals Cerberus, the big black 3-headed helldragon, see? He was hiding the dog in a cave so Hercules wouldn't find him, as it was Hercules who had kidnapped the dog from Hades initially for some very important reason, surely. Anymyth, our boy Molossus manages to get a litter out of Cerberus and a sheepdog bitch, using the puppies as the foundation for the original Molossus' dog. So, a dude named Molossus had a dog. Molossia? Founded by descendants of our friend Molossus, the original stud-stealing bandogger. Molossia existed and now it doesn't. Hasn't been a thing in quite some time. There's something it has been at any point in history. A mountainous area full of roughnecks and big scary dogs. They had something special in 'em and that's all there is to it, really. Whether it was Cerberus blood or some Sylvan fantasy or whatever isn't even important. They had dogs which were desired by others, simple as that. People are too stuck on the "they" part, since everyone would like to be descended from something whose contribution to history can be claimed ownership over, but the "they" is whoever lived in the region and not any silly "relevant" nation. The only reliable "they" in the story are the Romans and THEY sure as sh*t wanted them some Molossian dogs. And it's not like Molossians were the only ones with good dogs during their glory days. What we call "ancient Greece" was chock full of all kinds of "breeds" and tribes of "dogmen", many of which left better documentation in their wake than any pre-Roman molosser thing. All of those other families could've potentially been even more interesting to research in comparison, but then again, perhaps their "branding" wasn't strong enough. If it made such a lasting impression on the Romans, the molossian thing must've been the bomb. What else? Oh yeah, this can never be repeated enough - Alexander didn't own any Molossian dogs. He dug the hounds from the east. The famous one, Pertio or something (I'm getting old), was a little Indian dog, never recorded as anything else. Apart from his mommy supposedly being descended from that same Cerberus-stealing dude, the Great's got zilch to do with Molossians, btw. Most of the nonsense of animal baiting dogs in his keep skips over the part about Alexander's rule being one which instituted animal protection laws and punished abusers of dogs. Everywhere he went. He never received any "albanian" dogs he used for killing elephants, either. Most of what's nowadays parroted about old Al was concocted in the last 3 centuries. Same goes for the Molosser. The point is, Romans could've called them anything, but they specifically maintained their Molossian name. Not because they were some furry hound that existed just anywhere, but because they were from Molossia where their reputation had already been established and investigated by the Romans. So yes, the Romans brought a big gripping sheepdog from the mountains in southern Balkans to the "Boot" and perpetuated those Molossian genetics for much longer than the original Molossians existed on this planet. The Molossian dog was the foundation for the "molossoid" family, if you will, but other types of dogs were even more influential in those subsequent genetics. P.S. Molossoid as a term has done more damage than good as it leads folks to confuse a geographical notion with a convoluted biological definition. And a great majority of "molossoid breeds" got nothing to do with Molossia or Molossian dogs. Unless it is to strictly distinguish mountain dogs and shepherd's mastiffs "in honour" of the Molossian dogs, it's a flustercluck of a barrier in learning.
1079 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
Good interesting post. The full quote by aristotle about molossian dogs (which I've only just bothered to look at) seems to suggest they had hounds for the chase (sighthounds), a sheep dog for bravely facing the attacks of wild animals (lgds - and one which was notably bigger and superior to it's contemparies) and then themselves, even before the romans, were hybridising these two types for "hard labour". I would hazard a guess that this hybrid worked as a gripping dog and maybe herder/drover? [QUOTE]Of the Molossian breed of dogs, such as are employed in the chase are pretty much the same as those elsewhere; but sheep-dogs of this breed are superior to the others in size, and in the courage with which they face the attacks of wild animals. Dogs that are born of a mixed breed between these two kinds are remarkable for courage and endurance of hard labour. [/QUOTE] [URL]http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/history_anim.9.ix.html[/URL] I would guess the romans favoured the molossian hybrid really, since they didn't want them to guard sheep. Perhaps the "molossian hound" name would suggest as much as well. I figured while I was at it, I'd have a deeper look at the other popular quote by the poet grattius- [QUOTE]"What if you choose to penetrate even among the Britons? How great your reward, how great your gain beyond any outlays! If you are not bent on looks and deceptive graces (this is the one defect of the British whelps), at any rate when serious work has come, when bravery must be shown, and the impetuous War-god calls in the utmost hazard, then you could not admire the renowned Molossians so much."[/QUOTE] It's actually, I've jujst discovered, part of a very large description of all the dogs romans were aware of at that time. Pretty damn interesting in fact- [QUOTE]But why do we traverse these wide rounds amidst small details? The foremost care is that of dogs;31 no other care comes before that throughout the whole system of hunting, whether you energetically pursue the untamed quarry with bare force or use skill to manage the conflict. Dogs belong to a p167thousand lands32 and they each have characteristics derived from their origin. The Median dog, though undisciplined, is a great fighter, and great glory exalts the far-distant Celtic dogs. Those of the Geloni,33 on the other hand, shirk a combat and dislike fighting, but they have wise instincts: the Persian is quick in both respects.34 Some rear Chinese35 dogs, a breed of unmanageable ferocity; but the Lycaonians, on the other hand, are easy-tempered and big in limb. The Hyrcanian dog, however, is not content with all the energy belonging to his stock: the females of their own will seek unions with wild beasts in the woods: Venus grants them meetings and joins them in the alliance of love. Then the savage paramour wanders safely amid the pens of tame cattle, and the bitch, freely daring to approach the formidable tiger, produces offspring of nobler blood. The whelp, however, has headlong courage: you will find him a‑hunting in the very yard and growing at the expense of much of the cattle's blood. Still you should rear him: whatever enormities he has placed to his charge at home, he will obliterate them as a mighty combatant on gaining the forest. But that same Umbrian dog which has tracked wild beasts flees from facing them. Would that with his fidelity and shrewdness in scent he could have corresponding courage and corresponding will-power in the conflict! What if you visit the straits of the Morini, tide-swept by a wayward sea, and choose to penetrate even among the Britons?36 p169O how great your reward, how great your gain beyond any outlays! If you are not bent on looks and deceptive graces (this is the one defect of the British whelps), at any rate when serious work has come, when bravery must be shown, and the impetuous War-god calls in the utmost hazard, then you could not admire the renowned Molossians37 so much. With these last38 cunning Athamania compares her breeds; as also do Azorus, Pherae and the furtive Acarnanian: just as the men of Acarnania steal secretly into battle, so does the bitch surprise her foes without a sound. But any bitch of Aetolian pedigree rouses with her yelps the boars which she does not yet see — a mischievous service, whether it is that fear makes these savage sounds break out or excessive eagerness speeds on uselessly. And yet you must not despise that breed as useless in all the accomplishments of the chase; they are marvellously quick, marvellously efficient in scent; besides, there is no toil to which they yield defeated. Consequently, I shall cross the advantages of different breeds:— one day an Umbrian mother will give to the unskilled Gallic pups39 a smart disposition: p171puppies of a Gelonian mother have drawn spirit from a Hyrcanian sire;40 and Calydonia,41 good only at pointless barking, will lose the defect when improved by a sire from Molossis. In truth, the offspring cull the best from all the excellence of the parents, and kindly nature attends them. But if in any wise a light sort of hunting captivates you, if your taste is to hunt the timid antelope or to follow the intricate tracks of the smaller hare, then you should choose Petronian42 dogs (such is their reputation) and swift Sycambrians43 and the Vertraha44 coloured with yellow spots — swifter than thought or a winged bird it runs, pressing hard on the beasts it has found, though less likely to find them when they lie hidden; this last is the well-assured glory of the Petronians. If only the latter could restrain their transports until the completion of their sport, if they could affect not to be aware of their prey and approach without barking, they would be assured all the honour which you dogs of the metagon45 breed now hold: as it is, in the forest ineffectual spirit means loss. But you metagontes have no ignoble pedigree or home. p173Sparta,46 by common report, and Crete47 alike claim you as their own nurslings. But, Glympic48 hound, you were the first to wear leash on high-poised neck and he that followed you in the forest was the Boeotian Hagnon, Hagnon son of Astylos, Hagnon, to whom our abundant gratitude shall bear witness as pre-eminent in our practice of the chase. He saw where the easier road lay to a calling as yet nervously timorous and owing to its newness scarce established: he brought together no band of followers or implements in long array: his single metagon was taken as his guard, as the high promise of the longed-for spoil; it roams across the fields which are the haunts of beasts, over the wells and through the lurking-places frequented by them. 'Tis the work of early dawn then, while the dog is picking out the trail as yet unspoiled by another animal's scent, if there is any confusion of tracks in that place whereby he is thrown off, he runs an outside course in a wider circle and, at last discovering beyond mistake the footprints coming out, pounces on the track like the fourfold team, the pride of Thessaly, which is launched forth on the Corinthian race-course, stirred by ancestral glory and by hopes covetous of the first prize. But lest loss be the outcome of excessive zeal, the dog's p175duties are regulated: he must not assail his foe with barking;49 he must not seize on some trivial prey or on signs of a nearer catch and so blindly lose the fruit of his first activities. When, however, better fortune already attends the outlay of toil, and the sought-for lair of the wild beasts is near, he must both know his enemies are hidden and prove this by signs: either he shows his new-won pleasure by lightly wagging the tail, or, digging in his own footprints with the nails of his paws, he gnaws the soil and sniffs the air with nostril raised high. And yet to prevent the first signs from misleading the dog in his keenness, the hunter bids him run all about the inner space encircled by rough ground and nose the paths by which the beasts come and go; then, if it happens that the first expectation has failed him in the place,50 he turns again to his task in wide coursings; but, if the scent was right, he will make for the first trail again as the quarry has not crossed the circle. Therefore, when full success has arrived with its proper issue, the dog must come as comrade to share the prey and must recognise his own reward: thus let it be a delight to have given ungrudging service to the work. [/QUOTE] My attempt to interpret is as follows- Median(celtic?) dogs are great fighters, but undisciplined- probably big game hunting dogs. Geloni dogs have wise instincts and dislike fighting- probably primitive pariahs or spitz type dogs. The persian dogs were both good fighters and had wise instincts, maybe a primitive early type of mastiff retaining some independence but used for combative pursuits?? Chinese dogs were unmanageably ferocious- maybe along the lines of tibetan mastiffs, ferocious because they were independent and somewhat neglected guard dogs. Lycaonian dogs were easy tempered, and big in limb- interestingly sound like modern mastiffs. Hyrcanian dogs were sluts, lol. And apparently had sex with tigers. The offspring had headlong courage. I'd suspect maybe they didn't breed with tigers (call it a hunch), but instead just were bastard dogs that would attack the livestock sometimes and the tiger breeding was used to explain it. They were forgiven sometimes for attacking livestock here and there because they were very good at combating wild animals. I'd guess this is a livestock guardian (a dodgey one), but "gaining the forest" could also imply it was a hunting dog. Hard to interpret this one for me. Umbrian dogs seem quite obviously like scenthounds. Great at tracking animals, bad at facing them. He fantasises about how good it would be if their combativeness lived up to their ability to find. British dogs it seemed looked like shit, but were outstandingly brave, more so than perhaps any other dog encountered by the romans, even their beloved and renowned molossian dogs. They unmistakabley sound like gripping dogs to me, could almost be describing pitbulls (obviously aren't but are perhaps describing the dogs which made bulldogs the way they are). Petronian and sycambrian dogs were obviously sighthounds, excellent for chasing antelope and hare but unable to find hiding animals. And it interestingly goes on to say the best results in general come from crossing these dogs together. No doubt this is what the romans did to produce their dogs (for war or whatever else). Named them molossian I think because molossian dogs were the first great dog they had, one they inheritted from the greeks more so than discovered, and it provided the foundation for their dogs, which they simply added to over the next many centuries. I think too it would have been the molossian sheepdog/hound hybrid that they initially favoured, and then yeah just continued to outcross their "molossian" dogs with dogs from far and wide and really benefited from this. In a way I would say the only dogs that should be called molossers, are dogs that descend from this roman soup of dogs, that started with the molossian mountain dog base. Other mountain LGDs, related to the molossian sheep dog but not descending from it, really shouldn't be considered molossers for any reason that I can see? Just as an aside- It's fascinating that this author implies the search for dogs was almost the main motivation for why romans spread out searching far and wide. [QUOTE]But why do we traverse these wide rounds amidst small details? The foremost care is that of dogs;31 no other care comes before that throughout the whole system of hunting, whether you energetically pursue the untamed quarry with bare force or use skill to manage the conflict.[/QUOTE] Basically this says dogs are the most important thing to romans, whether used for hunting wild animals or managing domestic ones. Feeding themselves obviously is the top priority and dogs are the way they excelled at doing this to a degree where they could support a great civilisation.
1078 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
Good post - Thanks Tonedog. History is such fascinating read when written with a romantic flair.
1078 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 

Thanks poseidon. On another forum I've analysed the text further line by line, I'll just copy and paste it here. I welcome critiques and corrections, don't claim to be totally correct, it's just my best attempt at interpretation- ___________________________ A small excerpt from this text has been mentioned here and there, explaining how the dogs of britain impressed the romans, but the whole text is much more interesting. I've only just now looked through it. Really a great insight not only into the notable dogs on the roman radar, but into the romans themselves.

 

It's not the easiest thing to read, translated from another language and time, but I am going to post it line by line with my attempt to interpret what is being said. It should be prefaced with an understanding that the dog the roman's had before they branched out every where, was the molossian hound they inheritted from the greeks. Grattius doesn't specifically describe the molossian, you can tell it's because it's just so well known to everyone at the time he wrote the text, he merely mentions it briefly as "the renowned molossian" when comparing it to another dog. So first things first an understanding of what the molossian was is necessary. For that we go back to ancient greece where Aristotle himself gives a description-

[QUOTE]Of the Molossian breed of dogs, such as are employed in the chase are pretty much the same as those elsewhere; but sheep-dogs of this breed are superior to the others in size, and in the courage with which they face the attacks of wild animals. Dogs that are born of a mixed breed between these two kinds are remarkable for courage and endurance of hard labour.[/QUOTE]

 

http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/history_anim.9.ix.html Now, molossians were a people that lived in the mountains of greece. When he says "this breed" he's not referring to a breed of dogs (there was no such thing back then), but rather just the dogs that belong to the molossian people, and he describes 3 types- a hound for the chase (I'd suggest a primitive sighthound with some scenting ability, along the lines of an ibizan), a sheepdog (lgd), and a hybrid of these 2 types. The hound for the chase was nothing special according to aristotle, just like hounds from everywhere else, but the sheepdog of the molossian people was unusually large and powerful compared to sheep dogs of other peoples that the greeks knew about, and more courageous and adept when warding off wild predators.

 

Crossing the two types, made a dog useful for hard labour, which I would suggest was herding/droving and catching/gripping. Probably extending to hunting and in militaristic endeavours. Ancient greece favoured these molossian dogs, I'd suggest the hybrid, for purposes of war and agriculture and on the hunt. When rome took over they merely inheritted this useful dog, it's uses, and it's name that referenced it's origins with the molossian people. Rome from the start had "molossian hounds", dogs with origins going back to the molossian people, that had since been bred and used by greek civilisation for agriculture, hunting and war. That's what they started with. However, ancient rome didn't sit on the molossian dog, they explored far and wide and obtained dogs from everywhere, as grattius explains.

 

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Grattius/Cynegeticon*.html#ref38

 

[QUOTE]But why do we traverse these wide rounds amidst small details? The foremost care is that of dogs;31 no other care comes before that throughout the whole system of hunting, whether you energetically pursue the untamed quarry with bare force or use skill to manage the conflict. Dogs belong to a p167thousand lands32 and they each have characteristics derived from their origin.

 

This is a very big statement to start with, and very telling. It actually suggests the main reason rome did spread out in the way it did, was to get dogs. This seems weird to us today, but you have to understand this was the start of big civilisation, and big civilisation relied on food. You cram all people together in close proximity with out their own large territory to hunt and gather on, they need to be fed. Someone has to be out hunting and gathering well beyond their own needs to support the civilisation. "No other care comes before that throughout the whole system of hunting, whether you energetically pursue the untamed quarry with bare force or use skill to manage the conflict". At this stage the farming of domestic animals is so young it's just seen as a variety of hunting, "using skill to manage the conflict". He's saying dogs make hunting and agriculture possible, so they're the most important thing to ancient rome. It makes sense for an early civilisation, it needs a lot of food to be supported, and there is no intensive commercial farming or anything of that nature, even the domestic animals are still semi-wild at this stage, and there's no fancy machinery or anything. What is required essentially is excessively effective hunting, of wild animals and semi-wild domestic animals. Outstanding dogs are the key to making this possible, and the romans took the subject of good dogs very seriously, and searched far and wide for different tribes and societies to see what kind of dogs were being produced by them, what the different dogs of their world had to offer.

 

[QUOTE]The Median dog, though undisciplined, is a great fighter, and great glory exalts the far-distant Celtic dogs. [/QUOTE]

 

Here he says the dogs of the celts are glorified and well known for their fighting ability. The celts kept large mean multipurpose dogs, used in tribal conflicts and to hunt dangerous animals. Often people think of the wolfhound when they think of celtic dogs, but this is really kind of simple minded based only on the celt/irish link. They were definitely not like wolfhounds in nature, however were large hairy predatory dogs. I guess if you imagine a more compact strong wolfhound, that does not have the sighthound temperament, maybe you're approaching the dog of the celts kind of. Really we no longer have an equivalent, but as we find out later, they did contribute qualities to roman-descended dogs.

 

[QUOTE]Those of the Geloni,33 on the other hand, shirk a combat and dislike fighting, but they have wise instincts[/QUOTE]

 

The gelonians inhabitted what is now southern russia, ukraine, romania and kazakhstan. He describes their dogs quite clearly (to me) as being primitive pariahs. Shirk at combat and dislike fighting, with wise instincts. Obviously near-wild dogs, probably not adapted for much, not well taken care of to allow for specialisation in any utilisation in particular, maintaining wise instincts because they still had to worry about their own survival.

 

[QUOTE]the Persian is quick in both respects.[/QUOTE]

 

Both a fighter, and wise in instincts. Indicating a primitive mastiff, still having to take care of itself and avoid being reckless, but with some leaning towards combativeness. Could be a war dog descended from livestock guardians perhaps.

 

[QUOTE]Some rear Chinese35 dogs, a breed of unmanageable ferocity;[/QUOTE]

 

He's saying some people (romans) like to keep chinese dogs. And he says they have unmanageable ferocity. We now know animals have unmanageable ferocity because of how they're raised more than because of it being in-built. But it's likely the chinese dogs were quite independent, they still are. And perhaps were typically neglected guard dogs like the tibetan mastiff, which would have explained the reputation for unmanageable ferocity, the seeds of which would have been planted when the romans first encountered them on their home soil, and one they then cultivated through word of mouth. Probably treating the dogs like unmanageable beasts and shackling and tethering them, causing them to indeed become ferocious unmanageable beasts. A self-fullfilling prophecy of sorts.

 

[QUOTE]but the Lycaonians, on the other hand, are easy-tempered and big in limb.[/QUOTE]

 

Lycaonia was anatolia, modern turkey. This is an interesting description because it could be describing modern mastiffs. Big heavy boned laid back dogs. Is it describing the malakli? I don't know, but it's certainly not describing the akbash. Sheep dogs of turkey were probably completely overlooked, and the dog of the people that they used for guarding/fighting or whatever was focussed on. Chances are the dog he's talking about (like all of these dogs) is really extinct, but a tiny splash of it lives on in the descendents of roman dogs. Or maybe not so tiny, they certainly seem to have inheritted it's pleasant nature.

 

[QUOTE]The Hyrcanian dog, however, is not content with all the energy belonging to his stock: the females of their own will seek unions with wild beasts in the woods: Venus grants them meetings and joins them in the alliance of love. Then the savage paramour wanders safely amid the pens of tame cattle, and the bitch, freely daring to approach the formidable tiger, produces offspring of nobler blood. The whelp, however, has headlong courage: you will find him a‑hunting in the very yard and growing at the expense of much of the cattle's blood. Still you should rear him: whatever enormities he has placed to his charge at home, he will obliterate them as a mighty combatant on gaining the forest.[/QUOTE]

 

This one is kind of crazy obviously, shows how ignorant people were back then, but there is still information to glean from the author's perception. First of all, hyrcania was iran and turkmenistan. Obviously these dogs did not breed with tigers, but one can try to speculate on why this legend might have arose. It suggests the hyrcanian dogs were notorious for having a habit of attacking their own livestock, but then so good at warding off other predators they could be forgiven. This is a pretty strong clue as to why the tales of unholy unions with tigers would come about, just to justify the misbehaviour of the dog, give them a reason to accept it. It's possible they didn't even feed the dogs properly, and letting them eat the odd sheep or whatever was the most practical way to leave them out guarding them.

 

Then make up a story as to why their dogs eat the sheep. All in all it suggests a livestock guarding dog, that is very effective at defending livestock (when it isn't eating it). Also it should be noted the term "cattle" needn't be taken literally. Cattle used to be a generic term for all livestock, it's recently been used only for, well, cattle. I suspect these were sheep dogs. At this time dogs were not guarding cattle. They were used to hunt semi-wild cattle. This one could be interpretted in other ways, I'm not too sure about it. A mighty combatant gaining the forest could imply a hunting dog, and then the rest could be looked at differently. I don't know, but I lean towards sheep-guarding dog.

 

[QUOTE]But that same Umbrian dog which has tracked wild beasts flees from facing them. Would that with his fidelity and shrewdness in scent he could have corresponding courage and corresponding will-power in the conflict! [/QUOTE]

 

Umbria is actually in italy itself, here he's quite clearly describing a specialised scenthound, and bemoaning the fact it's courage and will-power in combative situations doesn't match it's ability to track by scent. Still typical of scenthounds today.

 

[QUOTE]What if you visit the straits of the Morini, tide-swept by a wayward sea, and choose to penetrate even among the Britons?36 p169O how great your reward, how great your gain beyond any outlays! If you are not bent on looks and deceptive graces (this is the one defect of the British whelps), at any rate when serious work has come, when bravery must be shown, and the impetuous War-god calls in the utmost hazard, then you could not admire the renowned Molossians37 so much.[/QUOTE]

 

This is the famous exerpt from this text, used sometimes to talk exclusively about british mastiff breeds which is kind of dumb because every combative dog in the roman empire would have been influenced by these dogs to differing degrees once they were encountered. They were known to be exported out of britain and around rome with great frequency. Anyway, the "strait of morini" is the place of the shortest distance between france and england, favoured by roman boats. Grattius says if you cross it and look in britain you'll find some outstanding courageous combat-oriented dogs.

 

Grattius unmistakably notes they stand out as especially courageous and useful for combative pursuits. Even more so than the renowned molossian dogs the romans and greeks had prized for centuries, and pressumably more so than all the other dogs he's talking about. He says their only problem is they don't look good, I'd suggest they were straggly scruffy relatives of the celtic fighting/hunting dogs, now more advanced and specialised for combative engagements, primarily with big game.

 

More intense drives and reckless commitment and determination to close-quarter engagements than any other dog at the time had developed. It seems we're seeing the dawning of the notorious bullbreed mentality- long before bullbreeds arose, but they later arose thanks to heavy influence from this dog and inheritted qualities from it. It's likely that terriers inheritted their nature from these dogs as well. "Deceptive graces" I'm not sure what he means there. I guess it means a dog that pretends to be graceful when not in action. Like sighthounds and mastiffs both are very deceptively pleasant and gracious around the house, and then turn on when needed.

 

Perhaps saying the british dogs were more crass and hard headed in temperament 24/7, so if you like deceptive grace they're no good. Perhaps somewhat like a bull terrier (and indeed bull terriers may have inheritted this nature from them, both bulls and terriers. The british dog split into bulls and terriers, and then got mashed back together to produce a similar animal to the common ancestor much later). I know I like "deceptive grace", so some romans would have as well, but he says you can't go past them for serious combative duties. Especially in war. Very much sounds like a bullbreed, and is most probably the landrace responsible for the emergence of the bullbreed's characteristics. While also being responsible for a significant hardening up of lots of mastiff type dogs across the roman empire.

 

[QUOTE]With these last38 cunning Athamania compares her breeds; as also do Azorus, Pherae and the furtive Acarnanian: just as the men of Acarnania steal secretly into battle, so does the bitch surprise her foes without a sound.[/QUOTE]

 

Here he talks about various greek and macedonian people and their dogs, saying they're basically comparable to molossians (which is a big compliment-implies a lot combative ability), and notes that they enter into combat silently. It suggests dogs in the basic greek area are good and similar, remembering aristotle's description of the molossian dogs- hounds (probably sight), lgds and hybrids used for serious work.

 

[QUOTE]But any bitch of Aetolian pedigree rouses with her yelps the boars which she does not yet see — a mischievous service, whether it is that fear makes these savage sounds break out or excessive eagerness speeds on uselessly. And yet you must not despise that breed as useless in all the accomplishments of the chase; they are marvellously quick, marvellously efficient in scent; besides, there is no toil to which they yield defeated.[/QUOTE]

 

With a notable exception. The dogs of the aetolian people (also greek) are different to these other greek dogs (molossians and etc), in that they're noisey, and quite obviously a totally different kind of dog (although can't blame him for not understanding this). Indeed they're clearly scenthounds. Fast determined rough scenthounds by the description. Perhaps comparable to a modern plotthound.

 

[QUOTE]Consequently, I shall cross the advantages of different breeds:— one day an Umbrian mother will give to the unskilled Gallic pups39 a smart disposition: p171 puppies of a Gelonian mother have drawn spirit from a Hyrcanian sire;40 and Calydonia,41 good only at pointless barking, will lose the defect when improved by a sire from Molossis. In truth, the offspring cull the best from all the excellence of the parents, and kindly nature attends them.[/QUOTE]

 

Here quite interestingly grattius explains the learned benefits of hybridising these different dog types. So shortly after discovering the variety of dogs in eurasia, the romans learned the value in "mongrelisation", and promptly got to mixing them all up for working purposes. And indeed if you hark back to the first line about the importance of finding dogs from far and wide for roman society, you could say this was the key to their success- the large genetic pool they opened up by exploring far and wide and obtaining dogs from wherever they went. They were able to produce outstanding working mongrels, improving their hunting and farming to extreme levels, allowing for an enormous civilisation to flourish. "In truth, the offspring cull the best from all the excellence of the parents, and kindly nature attends them", a reality still understood by those who work dogs today. Amazing that someone from thousands of years ago understood that the hybridisation provided the potential for various outstanding attributes, and then nature whittled it into the perfect package.

 

[QUOTE]But if in any wise a light sort of hunting captivates you, if your taste is to hunt the timid antelope or to follow the intricate tracks of the smaller hare, then you should choose Petronian42 dogs (such is their reputation) and swift Sycambrians43 and the Vertraha44 coloured with yellow spots — swifter than thought or a winged bird it runs, pressing hard on the beasts it has found, though less likely to find them when they lie hidden; this last is the well-assured glory of the Petronians.[/QUOTE]

 

Here he notes the exception. If you want to hunt timid fast animals like antelope and hare, you need to stick with specialised types, giving the examples of the petronian (possibly italian?) scenthound, or the sycambrian sighthound (actually belonging to a germanic people. The sighthound can't find them when they're hidden, for that the scenthounds show their aptitude. Basically though he's saying here is where you'd avoid mongrelising types too much, and this rings true today. If you want to catch antelope or hare today you can't use a mix of all different types, you really need to stick to a "purish" sighthound, or you could run them to exhaustion with a scenthound. But yeah he's saying for the specific endeavour of hunting very very fast game you don't mix up all the types to be found, but otherwise mixing is ideal.

 

[QUOTE]If only the latter could restrain their transports until the completion of their sport, if they could affect not to be aware of their prey and approach without barking, they would be assured all the honour which you dogs of the metagon45 breed now hold: as it is, in the forest ineffectual spirit means loss. [/QUOTE]

 

Here he complains about noisey petronian scenthounds giving themselves away by barking and how this results in losing prey. Lots of people still have this issue with scenthounds today, myself included, but those who use them obviously know how to use them effectively, and are perhaps more patient to follow a trail for longer. Grattius clearly doesn't like scenthounds.

[QUOTE]But you metagontes have no ignoble pedigree or home. p173Sparta,46 by common report, and Crete47 alike claim you as their own nurslings. But, Glympic48 hound, you were the first to wear leash on high-poised neck and he that followed you in the forest was the Boeotian Hagnon, Hagnon son of Astylos, Hagnon, to whom our abundant gratitude shall bear witness as pre-eminent in our practice of the chase. He saw where the easier road lay to a calling as yet nervously timorous and owing to its newness scarce established: he brought together no band of followers or implements in long array: his single metagon was taken as his guard, as the high promise of the longed-for spoil; it roams across the fields which are the haunts of beasts, over the wells and through the lurking-places frequented by them.

 

'Tis the work of early dawn then, while the dog is picking out the trail as yet unspoiled by another animal's scent, if there is any confusion of tracks in that place whereby he is thrown off, he runs an outside course in a wider circle and, at last discovering beyond mistake the footprints coming out, pounces on the track like the fourfold team, the pride of Thessaly, which is launched forth on the Corinthian race-course, stirred by ancestral glory and by hopes covetous of the first prize. But lest loss be the outcome of excessive zeal, the dog's p175duties are regulated: he must not assail his foe with barking;49 he must not seize on some trivial prey or on signs of a nearer catch and so blindly lose the fruit of his first activities. When, however, better fortune already attends the outlay of toil, and the sought-for lair of the wild beasts is near, he must both know his enemies are hidden and prove this by signs: either he shows his new-won pleasure by lightly wagging the tail, or, digging in his own footprints with the nails of his paws, he gnaws the soil and sniffs the air with nostril raised high.

 

And yet to prevent the first signs from misleading the dog in his keenness, the hunter bids him run all about the inner space encircled by rough ground and nose the paths by which the beasts come and go; then, if it happens that the first expectation has failed him in the place,50 he turns again to his task in wide coursings; but, if the scent was right, he will make for the first trail again as the quarry has not crossed the circle. Therefore, when full success has arrived with its proper issue, the dog must come as comrade to share the prey and must recognise his own reward: thus let it be a delight to have given ungrudging service to the work. [/QUOTE]

 

Except for those of the "metagontes" it seems, which he describes as very cunning and smart silent finders. I can't work out who or where the metagontes or metagon are, although they sound like a somewhat wild tribe that live near sparta and crete, with both these places claiming them.

 

Anyway yes it seems they had very wiley scenting dogs, perhaps not even scenthounds but rather a primitive pariah that was very cunning. All in all though what the romans did was find different dogs all over the place, and then experiment with crossing and working them.

 

Really what modern civilisations do when they produce dogs for work, and it seems they had similar types to work with back then, for the most part, although they weren't yet accustomed to splitting them into types, merely noting a difference between the dogs of people from this area vs the dogs of people from that area.

1078 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
You got it. Apart from your view that there were no breeds back then, pretty much ditto. My own view of the terrier family is that it goes back to small Eurasian spitz type herding/hunting dogs mongrelizing with various Celtic gamedogs and then being selected specifically for ground work in the Isles, making the resulting terrier family a proper British one. What those "Celtic" dogs were is a matter of belief and, with that said, I'm inclined to think that following their migration routes will illustrate the answer. As they moved along, they picked up various types, crossbred the living daylights out of 'em and kept only the hardiest mutts and kept on going. By the time they "settled", the Celts had a massive genepool of inbred specialized strains ready to hybridize with anything on four legs. Also, the Tibetan "mastiff's" baseline genealogy is rooted in the Chow, at its core the "aboriginal" TM is a chow/sheepdog hybrid. Chinese kept various types as thoroughbred, but the "mastiff" wasn't one of them, as it was a simple country dragon, based on "thoroughbred" spitz/hound/LGD chain dogs, remarkable only for its ferocity it manifests in crossed form. Once the Brits and Euros got a hold of the "Tibetan" thing, its historical importance exploded into the books. Distant Asia was too exotic and mysterious for details getting in the way. There's a whole caste thing going on there too, but that's too fractal for encyclopedias. The fact that very few historians understand the complexities involved with Asian history doesn't help in clearing matters up, in tandem with the plain old commercial benefits to the modern-day Asians maintaining the myths. But yeah, no doubt the Chinese from the time period covered in your example had gnarly dogs with no practical use to a "close quarters" society. Multitudes of tribes that arose and fell throughout Eurasia could lay claim to the various "Tibetan" and "Persian" dogs which were inherited by the next in line and the one after that and so on. Even if we were to assume that the dogs survived and were maintained by each new culture, they would evolve into either an improved or ruined version of themselves by the time the next empire was ready to take a swing at them. Just due to what work would be used to justify feeding them, meaning that depending on the culture and its liberties/restrains in regard to dog activities, the "breeds" would continue in name only. And we wouldn't even be talking about the same animals. The molossian thing you seem to have a good grasp of, so I don't have much to add, perhaps only to share that some of your recent realizations played a part in my own categorization of Molossers into the 3 groups some 2 decades ago. It might not be perfect and it obviously dismisses the FCI grouping methods altogether, but it provides a platform which, once understood, may be used to further clarify and categorize breeds, types and families, with better informed perspectives and independent reasoning. Mountain dogs can be divided into non-molossian and molossian-rooted ones, the 2nd category can be subchambered into post-Roman and post-British suites and the 3rd thing is what it says it is, mostly there to ridicule modern understanding of history and point out the silliness of "kennel club" mentality. On the Anatolian issue as it relates to the time period you're referring to, I wouldn't waste time on the Malakli/Kangal stuff or even Turkey, for that matter. That territory has had many tenants through history. Also, the Hyrcanian thing is perpetually misunderstood, but perhaps it's for the better. Language is tricky. The Persian element? Persian dogs were like Roman dogs in that they existed in specialized strains and as multipurpose mongrels, so it's generally unwise to picture a specific modern equivalent "breed" when using such vague labels, as you know. It was an empire which did the same thing the Romans did, including the canine side of things. As you've understood it yourself, this is just something empires did. Many civilizations were built on dogs in a way, I've always found it reassuringly fascinating as I tend to respect them as sensible. Freeballed estimate says that there are around 10 empires forgotten for every single one that is remembered. Some were tiny and some were vast, but they all matter to the past. Holy sweetleaf, that rhymed. What I'm trying to say, not that you're not realizing it yourself, is that inheritors of empires tended to oversimplify matters for political reasons, sometimes out of sheer ignorance and otherwise due to trends. That's how a conglomeration of tribes becomes a nation with a single, almost never fair enough common name and "their" culture gets classified as such 'n' such according to whatever currently valid criteria, simply depending on whose rule their descendants are made to suffer. Their culture also includes dogs, obviously. The point is - history is full of misrepresentations. While it's convenient to "box" things up, history is actually very fluid. But to avoid another tangent, I'll just say that, in my view, the Romans not only inherited dogs from various territories, but had also picked up their animal husbandry skills from all kinds of breed (yes, breed) fanatics and the ever-present "bandoggers" found throughout the empire. And we have to keep in mind that when we say Romans, we're talking about all kinds of people who had nothing in common with each other apart from being something called "Roman", and that the Roman empire wasn't the "Boot" only, with a ridiculous territory encompassing a bunch of differently-degreed native populations with pre-existing cultures and geographical circumstances shaping their way of life. So, Roman dogs weren't the same throughout the empire, many strains were completely unrelated to each other and there wasn't a unified Roman breed of dog, regardless of how bad would breeders of molosser breeds like that to had been the case. The whole Roman molosser hype started relatively recently, at the expense of both the historical honesty and, perhaps even more sadly, at the expense of the Alaunt family and understanding of its place in the Molosser story.
1078 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote1321604399=Tonedog] I always thought LGDs were somewhat mastiff like due to sharing a common ancestor with the mastiff, but I'm really starting to rethink this. [/quote1321604399] And to circle it back to the LGD thing, we ought to make a distinction between mastiff and mastiff, as in pre-Roman and post-Roman, as well as post-British which would cover the modern side of things. It was Xerxes who brought mastiffs to Greece and as such, those mastiffs existed long before we had our own variety in the west. So in that sense, eastern LGDs certainly do represent a distilled old mastiff heritage, some more than others, but the effect of the "pre-mastiff" mastiff on the mountain LGD nucleus had surely been fundamentally profound. Now, because the "LGD" label covers a stupidly broad range of "breeds", it is assumed that they're equal in terms of genetics, which is silly. Western-European LGDs had zero pre-Roman mastiff blood, and in many cases it wasn't until the post-British mastiff blood was introduced that there was any "mastiff" involved at all. So LGDs are and aren't related to mastiffs. Of all kinds and time periods. Your understanding of the Mastiff's role on the modern "LGD breeds" is clearly sufficient enough to help you see through the romance. Whereas some old mastiffs were assimilated into sheepdogs, others went into hunting types. That's where they split off enough that by the time they're ready to "come out", the respective mastiffoids will differ from one another depending on "host" family. So while the hunting/baiting side of things is the nucleus of the modern mastiff as inherited from Rome, so is the guarding/shepherding side its equal in preserving the mastiff as inherited from Greece/Persia. And on the subject of Rome, something to keep in mind is the matter of what followed its collapse. What trends took over and what social repercussions followed? Anthropocentric view of the world brought on by new trends shifted the focus from actively participating in the refinement of usable Nature's creatures to making most animal breeders, especially dogmen, all but disappear for centuries, leaving food-animals as the only worthwhile endeavor. It's difficult to wrap one's mind around just how berserk that cultural shift was and how it disrupted our evolution. Them were some hard times. And they [u]lasted[/u]. Anyone who didn't want to fit in had the choice of becoming an outlaw, a herdsman or a monk. And it is those 3 groups of people which had preserved any and all continuity with the great breeds from before. All over the world, these 3 groups have done the same thing. Not only were they breeding dogs of known lineage, they oftentimes sat on treasures of historical writings and occult peds. Just like the eastern Euros hid their mastiffs in their LGDs centuries earlier, so did the heathen western herdsmen. They weren't hiding the same mastiff lineage, but they were doing the same thing. As circumstances allowed, they'd allow specialization for butcher's dogs and various stock-controllers, exposing "relatives" to one another and so on, until another trend, like let's say - the railroad, completely derails the comeback and leaves a bunch of "breeds" in its wake. And such. P.S. Obviously, hunting lines of hound dogs kept by the aristocracy may have distant origins, but they ain't the mastiffs we're talkin'bout, so my apologies to the fans of the noble cur.
1078 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
Great posts and thanks for posting them, they deserve more time than I can give them right now, so I'll just say I think I'm just gradually exposing for myself what you probably exposed for yourself quite a while ago, so I guess it could be seen as me "re-inventing the wheel" but I'll remain a bit more optimistic and see it as a "two heads better than one" scenario. Two heads coming to understand the same basic reality, perhaps can flesh it out better and "spread the education" more thoroughly than either could alone.
1078 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
Oh of course, and I didn't mean to come across as "over it" as it might read. It's always good to go back and re-interrogate certain views, because there's usually something new that can be noticed with each pass, even if only to confirm one's perspective and resolve. Every old discussion should lead to a new investigation, so if people benefit from finding different ways of stating both the obvious and not so obvious, all the better. That's what it's all about.
1078 days ago · 0 people like this ·
 
[quote1321620668=Tonedog] Except for those of the "metagontes" it seems, which he describes as very cunning and smart silent finders. I can't work out who or where the metagontes or metagon are, although they sound like a somewhat wild tribe that live near sparta and crete, with both these places claiming them. Anyway yes it seems they had very wiley scenting dogs, perhaps not even scenthounds but rather a primitive pariah that was very cunning. [/quote1321620668] Bandog. Purposeful crossbreed to be kept on lead until needed. That's what a Metagon is. Specialized strains kept thoroughbred by metagon keepers, all descended from a mythical hybrid animal and perpetuated through a series of outcrosses and ridiculously tight inbreedings, particularly valued as silent trackers. Hunting, fighting, guarding etc varieties, all under the same "breed" group and handful of names, Metagon being one of the remembered ones in Greece. Hope that helps. P.S. The Suliot Boarhound was a pure metagon, as an example.
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