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The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication by Charles Darwin

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might have recourse to history:" he then refers to a document dated 1685
bearing on this subject, and adds that the pure Irish setter shows no signs
of a cross with the pointer, which some authors suspect has been the case
with the English setter. The bulldog is an English breed, and as I hear
from Mr. G.R. Jesse (1/85. Author of 'Researches into the History of the
British Dog.), seems to have originated from the mastiff since the time of
Shakspeare; but certainly existed in 1631, as shown by Prestwick Eaton's
letters. There can be no doubt that the fancy bulldogs of the present day,
now that they are not used for bull-baiting, have become greatly reduced in
size, without any express intention on the part of the breeder. Our
pointers are certainly descended from a Spanish breed, as even their
present names, Don, Ponto, Carlos, etc., show; it is said that they were
not known in England before the Revolution in 1688 (1/86. See Col. Hamilton
Smith on the antiquity of the Pointer, in 'Nat. Lib.' volume 10 page 196.);
but the breed since its introduction has been much modified, for Mr.
Borrow, who is a sportsman and knows Spain intimately well, informs me that
he has not seen in that country any breed "corresponding in figure with the
English pointer; but there are genuine pointers near Xeres which have been
imported by English gentlemen." A nearly parallel case is offered by the
Newfoundland dog, which was certainly brought into England from that
country, but which has since been so much modified that, as several writers
have observed, it does not now closely resemble any existing native dog in
Newfoundland. (1/87. The Newfoundland dog is believed to have originated
from a cross between the Esquimaux dog and a large French hound. See Dr.
Hodgkin 'British Assoc.' 1844; Bechstein 'Naturgesch. Deutschland' b. 1 s.
574; 'Nat. Lib.' volume 10 page 132; also Mr. Jukes 'Excursion in and about

These several cases of slow and gradual changes in our English dogs possess
some interest; for though the changes have generally, but not invariably,
been caused by one or two crosses with a distinct breed, yet we may feel
sure, from the well-known extreme variability of crossed breeds, that
rigorous and long-continued selection must have been practised, in order to
improve them in a definite manner. As soon as any strain or family became
slightly improved or better adapted to alter circumstances, it would tend
to supplant the older and less improved strains. For instance, as soon as
the old foxhound was improved by a cross with the greyhound, or by simple
selection, and assumed its present character--and the change was probably
desired owing to the increased fleetness of our hunters--it rapidly spread
throughout the country, and is now everywhere nearly uniform. But the
process of improvement is still going on for every one tries to improve his
strain by occasionally procuring dogs from the best kennels. Through this
process of gradual substitution the old English hound has been lost; and so
it has been with the Irish wolf-dog, the old English bulldog, and several
other breeds, such as the alaunt, as I am informed by Mr. Jesse. But the
extinction of former breeds is apparently aided by another cause; for
whenever a breed is kept in scanty numbers, as at present with the
bloodhound, it is reared with some difficulty, apparently from the evil
effects of long-continued close interbreeding. As several breeds of the dog
have been slightly but sensibly modified within so short a period as the
last one or two centuries, by the selection of the best individuals,
modified in many cases by crosses with other breeds; and as we shall
hereafter see that the breeding of dogs was attended to in ancient times,
as it still is by savages, we may conclude that we have in selection, even
if only occasionally practised, a potent means of modification.


Cats have been domesticated in the East from an ancient period; Mr. Blyth
informs me that they are mentioned in a Sanskrit writing 2000 years old,
and in Egypt their antiquity is known to be even greater, as shown by
monumental drawings and their mummied bodies. These mummies, according to
De Blainville (1/88. De Blainville 'Osteographie, Felis' page 65 on the
character of F. caligulata; pages 85, 89, 90, 175, on the other mummied
species. He quotes Ehrenberg on F. maniculata being mummied.), who has
particularly studied the subject, belong to no less than three species,
namely, F. caligulata, bubastes, and chaus. The two former species are said
to be still found, both wild and domesticated, in parts of Egypt. F.
caligulata presents a difference in the first inferior milk molar tooth, as
compared with the domestic cats of Europe, which makes De Blainville
conclude that it is not one of the parent-forms of our cats. Several
naturalists, as Pallas, Temminck, Blyth, believe that domestic cats are the
descendants of several species commingled: it is certain that cats cross
readily with various wild species, and it would appear that the character
of the domestic breeds has, at least in some cases, been thus affected. Sir
W. Jardine has no doubt that, "in the north of Scotland, there has been
occasional crossing with our native species (F. sylvestris), and that the
result of these crosses has been kept in our houses. I have seen," he adds,
"many cats very closely resembling the wild cat, and one or two that could
scarcely be distinguished from it." Mr. Blyth (1/89. Asiatic Soc. of
Calcutta; Curator's Report, August 1856. The passage from Sir W. Jardine is
quoted from this Report. Mr. Blyth, who has especially attended to the wild
and domestic cats of India, has given in this Report a very interesting
discussion on their origin.) remarks on this passage, "but such cats are
never seen in the southern parts of England; still, as compared with any
Indian tame cat, the affinity of the ordinary British cat to F. sylvestris
is manifest; and due I suspect to frequent intermixture at a time when the
tame cat was first introduced into Britain and continued rare, while the
wild species was far more abundant than at present." In Hungary, Jeitteles
(1/90. 'Fauna Hungariae Sup.' 1862 s. 12.) was assured on trustworthy
authority that a wild male cat crossed with a female domestic cat, and that
the hybrids long lived in a domesticated state. In Algiers the domestic cat
has crossed with the wild cat (F. lybica) of that country. (1/91. Isid.
Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire 'Hist. Nat. Gen.' tome 3 page 177.) In South Africa
as Mr. E. Layard informs me, the domestic cat intermingles freely with the
wild F. caffra; he has seen a pair of hybrids which were quite tame and
particularly attached to the lady who brought them up; and Mr. Fry has
found that these hybrids are fertile. In India the domestic cat, according
to Mr. Blyth, has crossed with four Indian species. With respect to one of
these species, F. chaus, an excellent observer, Sir W. Elliot, informs me
that he once killed, near Madras, a wild brood, which were evidently
hybrids from the domestic cat; these young animals had a thick lynx-like
tail and the broad brown bar on the inside of the forearm characteristic of
F. chaus. Sir W. Elliot adds that he has often observed this same mark on
the forearms of domestic cats in India. Mr. Blyth states that domestic cats
coloured nearly like F. chaus, but not resembling that species in shape,
abound in Bengal; he adds, "such a colouration is utterly unknown in
European cats, and the proper tabby markings (pale streaks on a black
ground, peculiarly and symmetrically disposed), so common in English cats,
are never seen in those of India." Dr. D. Short has assured Mr. Blyth
(1/92. 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.' 1863 page 184.) that, at Hansi, hybrids between
the common cat and F. ornata (or torquata) occur, "and that many of the
domestic cats of that part of India were undistinguishable from the wild F.
ornata." Azara states, but only on the authority of the inhabitants, that
in Paraguay the cat has crossed with two native species. From these several
cases we see that in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, the common cat,
which lives a freer life than most other domesticated animals, has crossed
with various wild species; and that in some instances the crossing has been
sufficiently frequent to affect the character of the breed.

Whether domestic cats have descended from several distinct species, or have
only been modified by occasional crosses, their fertility, as far as is
known, is unimpaired. The large Angora or Persian cat is the most distinct
in structure and habits of all the domestic breeds; and is believed by
Pallas, but on no distinct evidence, to be descended from the F. manul of
middle Asia; and I am assured by Mr. Blyth that the Angora cat breeds
freely with Indian cats, which, as we have already seen, have apparently
been much crossed with F. chaus. In England half-bred Angora cats are
perfectly fertile with one another.

Within the same country we do not meet with distinct races of the cat, as
we do of dogs and of most other domestic animals; though the cats of the
same country present a considerable amount of fluctuating variability. The
explanation obviously is that, from their nocturnal and rambling habits,
indiscriminate crossing cannot without much trouble be prevented. Selection
cannot be brought into play to produce distinct breeds, or to keep those
distinct which have been imported from foreign lands. On the other hand, in
islands and in countries completely separated from each other, we meet with
breeds more or less distinct; and these cases are worth giving, showing
that the scarcity of distinct races in the same country is not caused by a
deficiency of variability in the animal. The tailless cats of the Isle of
Man are said to differ from common cats not only in the want of a tail, but
in the greater length of their hind legs, in the size of their heads, and
in habits. The Creole cat of Antigua, as I am informed by Mr. Nicholson, is
smaller, and has a more elongated head, than the British cat. In Ceylon, as
Mr. Thwaites writes to me, every one at first notices the different
appearance of the native cat from the English animal; it is of small size,
with closely lying hairs; its head is small, with a receding forehead; but
the ears are large and sharp; altogether it has what is there called a
"low-caste" appearance. Rengger (1/93. 'Saugethiere von Paraguay' 1830 s.
212.) says that the domestic cat, which has been bred for 300 years in
Paraguay, presents a striking difference from the European cat; it is
smaller by a fourth, has a more lanky body, its hair is short, shining,
scanty and lies close, especially on the tail: he adds that the change has
been less at Ascension, the capital of Paraguay, owing to the continual
crossing with newly imported cats; and this fact well illustrates the
importance of separation. The conditions of life in Paraguay appear not to
be highly favourable to the cat, for, though they have run half-wild, they
do not become thoroughly feral, like so many other European animals. In
another part of South America, according to Roulin (1/94. 'Mem. presentes
par divers Savans: Acad. Roy. des Sciences' tome 6 page 346. Gomara first
noticed this fact in 1554.), the introduced cat has lost the habit of
uttering its hideous nocturnal howl. The Rev. W.D. Fox purchased a cat in
Portsmouth, which he was told came from the coast of Guinea; its skin was
black and wrinkled, fur bluish-grey and short, its ears rather bare, legs
long, and whole aspect peculiar. This "negro" cat was fertile with common
cats. On the opposite coast of Africa, at Mombas, Captain Owen, R.N. (1/95.
'Narrative of Voyages' volume 2 page 180.) states that all the cats are
covered with short stiff hair instead of fur: he gives a curious account of
a cat from Algoa Bay, which had been kept for some time on board and could
be identified with certainty; this animal was left for only eight weeks at
Mombas, but during that short period it "underwent a complete
metamorphosis, having parted with its sandy-coloured fur." A cat from the
Cape of Good Hope has been described by Desmarest as remarkable from a red
stripe extending along the whole length of its back. Throughout an immense
area, namely, the Malayan archipelago, Siam, Pegu, and Burmah, all the cats
have truncated tails about half the proper length (1/96. J. Crawfurd
'Descript. Dict. of the Indian Islands' page 255. The Madagascar cat is
said to have a twisted tail; see Desmarest in 'Encyclop. Nat. Mamm.' 1820
page 233, for some of the other breeds.), often with a sort of knot at the
end. In the Caroline archipelago the cats have very long legs, and are of a
reddish-yellow colour. (1/97. Admiral Lutke's Voyage volume 3 page 308.) In
China a breed has drooping ears. At Tobolsk, according to Gmelin, there is
a red-coloured breed. In Asia, also, we find the well-known Angora or
Persian breed.

The domestic cat has run wild in several countries, and everywhere assumes,
as far as can be judged by the short recorded descriptions, a uniform
character. Near Maldonado, in La Plata, I shot one which seemed perfectly
wild; it was carefully examined by Mr. Waterhouse (1/98. 'Zoology of the
Voyage of the Beagle, Mammalia' page 20. Dieffenbach 'Travels in New
Zealand' volume 2 page 185. Ch. St. John 'Wild Sports of the Highlands'
1846 page 40.), who found nothing remarkable in it, excepting its great
size. In New Zealand according to Dieffenbach, the feral cats assume a
streaky grey colour like that of wild cats; and this is the case with the
half-wild cats of the Scotch Highlands.

We have seen that distant countries possess distinct domestic races of the
cat. The differences may be in part due to descent from several aboriginal
species, or at least to crosses with them. In some cases, as in Paraguay,
Mombas, and Antigua, the differences seem due to the direct action of
different conditions of life. In other cases some slight effect may
possibly be attributed to natural selection, as cats in many cases have
largely to support themselves and to escape diverse dangers. But man, owing
to the difficulty of pairing cats, has done nothing by methodical
selection; and probably very little by unintentional selection; though in
each litter he generally saves the prettiest, and values most a good breed
of mouse- or rat-catchers. Those cats which have a strong tendency to prowl
after game, generally get destroyed by traps. As cats are so much petted, a
breed bearing the same relation to other cats, that lapdogs bear to larger
dogs, would have been much valued; and if selection could have been
applied, we should certainly have had many breeds in each long-civilised
country, for there is plenty of variability to work upon.

We see in this country considerable diversity in size, some in the
proportions of the body, and extreme variability in colouring. I have only
lately attended to this subject, but have already heard of some singular
cases of variation; one of a cat born in the West Indies toothless, and
remaining so all its life. Mr. Tegetmeier has shown me the skull of a
female cat with its canines so much developed that they protruded uncovered
beyond the lips; the tooth with the fang being .95, and the part projecting
from the gum .6 of an inch in length. I have heard of several families of
six-toed cats, in one of which the peculiarity had been transmitted for at
least three generations. The tail varies greatly in length; I have seen a
cat which always carried its tail flat on its back when pleased. The ears
vary in shape, and certain strains, in England, inherit a pencil-like tuft
of hairs, above a quarter of an inch in length, on the tips of their ears;
and this same peculiarity, according to Mr. Blyth, characterises some cats
in India. The great variability in the length of the tail and the lynx-like
tufts of hairs on the ears are apparently analogous to differences in
certain wild species of the genus. A much more important difference,
according to Daubenton (1/99. Quoted by Isid. Geoffroy 'Hist. Nat. Gen.'
tome 3 page 427.), is that the intestines of domestic cats are wider, and a
third longer, than in wild cats of the same size; and this apparently has
been by their less strictly carnivorous diet.





The history of the Horse is lost in antiquity. Remains of this animal in a
domesticated condition have been found in the Swiss lake-dwellings,
belonging to the Neolithic period. (2/1. Rutimeyer 'Fauna der Pfahlbauten'
1861 s. 122.) At the present time the number of breeds is great, as may be
seen by consulting any treatise on the Horse. (2/2. See 'Youatt on the
Horse': J. Lawrence on the Horse 1829; W.C.L. Martin 'History of the Horse'
1845: Col. H. Smith in 'Nat. Library, Horses' 1841 volume 12: Prof. Veith
'Die naturgesch. Haussaugethiere' 1856.) Looking only to the native ponies
of Great Britain, those of the Shetland Isles, Wales, the New Forest, and
Devonshire are distinguishable; and so it is, amongst other instances, with
each separate island in the great Malay archipelago. (2/3. Crawfurd
'Descript. Dict. of Indian Islands' 1856 page 153. "There are many
different breeds, every island having at least one peculiar to it." Thus in
Sumatra there are at least two breeds; in Achin and Batubara one; in Java
several breeds; one in Bali, Lomboc, Sumbawa (one of the best breeds),
Tambora, Bima, Gunung-api, Celebes, Sumba, and Philippines. Other breeds
are specified by Zollinger in the 'Journal of the Indian Archipelago'
volume 5 page 343 etc.) Some of the breeds present great differences in
size, shape of ears, length of mane, proportions of the body, form of the
withers and hind quarters, and especially in the head. Compare the race-
horse, dray-horse, and a Shetland pony in size, configuration, and
disposition; and see how much greater the difference is than between the
seven or eight other living species of the genus Equus.

Of individual variations not known to characterise particular breeds, and
not great or injurious enough to be called monstrosities, I have not
collected many cases. Mr. G. Brown, of the Cirencester Agricultural
College, who has particularly attended to the dentition of our domestic
animals, writes to me that he has "several times noticed eight permanent
incisors instead of six in the jaw." Male horses only should have canines,
but they are occasionally found in the mare, though a small size. (2/4.
'The Horse' etc. by John Lawrence 1829 page 14.) The number of ribs on each
side is properly eighteen, but Youatt (2/5. 'The Veterinary' London volume
5 page 543.) asserts that not unfrequently there are nineteen, the
additional one being always the posterior rib. It is a remarkable fact that
the ancient Indian horse is said in the Rig-Veda to have only seventeen
ribs; and M. Pietrement (2/6. 'Memoire sur les chevaux a trente-quatre
cotes' 1871.), who has called attention to this subject, gives various
reasons for placing full trust in this statement, more especially as during
former times the Hindoos carefully counted the bones of animals. I have
seen several notices of variations in the bones of the leg; thus Mr. Price
(2/7. 'Proc. Veterinary Assoc.' in 'The Veterinary' volume 13 page 42.)
speaks of an additional bone in the hock, and of certain abnormal
appearances between the tibia and astragalus, as quite common in Irish
horses, and not due to disease. Horses have often been observed, according
to M. Gaudry (2/8. 'Bulletin de la Soc. Geolog.' tome 22 1866 page 22.), to
possess a trapezium and a rudiment of a fifth metacarpal bone, so that "one
sees appearing by monstrosity, in the foot of the horse, structures which
normally exist in the foot of the Hipparion,"--an allied and extinct
animal. In various countries horn-like projections have been observed on
the frontal bones of the horse: in one case described by Mr. Percival they
arose about two inches above the orbital processes, and were "very like
those in a calf from five to six months old," being from half to three-
quarters of an inch in length. (2/9. Mr. Percival of the Enniskillen
Dragoons in 'The Veterinary' volume 1 page 224: see Azara, 'Des Quadrupedes
du Paraguay' tome 2 page 313. The French translator of Azara refers to
other cases mentioned by Huzard as having occurred in Spain.) Azara has
described two cases in South America in which the projections were between
three and four inches in length: other instances have occurred in Spain.

That there has been much inherited variation in the horse cannot be
doubted, when we reflect on the number of the breeds existing throughout
the world or even within the same country, and when we know that they have
largely increased in number since the earliest known records. (2/10.
Godron, 'De l'Espece' tome 1 page 378.) Even in so fleeting a character as
colour, Hofacker (2/11. 'Ueber die Eigenschaften' etc. 1828 s. 10.) found
that, out of 216 cases in which horses of the same colour were paired, only
eleven pairs produced foals of a quite different colour. As Professor Low
(2/12. 'Domesticated Animals of the British Islands' pages 527, 532. In all
the veterinary treatises and papers which I have read, the writers insist
in the strongest terms on the inheritance by the horse of all good and bad
tendencies and qualities. Perhaps the principle of inheritance is not
really stronger in the horse than in any other animal; but, from its value,
the tendency has been more carefully observed.) has remarked, the English
race-horse offers the best possible evidence of inheritance. The pedigree
of a race-horse is of more value in judging of its probable success than
its appearance: "King Herod" gained in prizes 201,505 pounds sterling, and
begot 497 winners; "Eclipse" begot 334 winners.

Whether the whole amount of difference between the various breeds has
arisen under domestication is doubtful. From the fertility of the most
distinct breeds (2/13. Andrew Knight crossed breeds so different in size as
a dray-horse and Norwegian pony: see A. Walker on 'Intermarriage' 1838 page
205.) when crossed, naturalists have generally looked at all the breeds as
having descended from a single species. Few will agree with Colonel H.
Smith, who believes that they have descended from no less than five
primitive and differently coloured stocks. (2/14. 'Nat. Library, Horses'
volume 12 page 208.) But as several species and varieties of the horse
existed (2/15. Gervais 'Hist. Nat. Mamm.' tome 2 page 143. Owen 'British
Fossil Mammals' page 383.) during the later tertiary periods, and as
Rutimeyer found differences in the size and form of the skull in the
earliest known domesticated horses (2/16. 'Kenntniss der fossilen Pferde'
1863 s. 131.), we ought not to feel sure that all our breeds are descended
from a single species. The savages of North and South America easily
reclaim the feral horses, so that there is no improbability in savages in
various quarters of the world having domesticated more than one native
species or natural race. M. Sanson (2/17. 'Comptes rendus' 1866 page 485
and 'Journal de l'Anat. et de la Phys.' Mai 1868.) thinks that he has
proved that two distinct species have been domesticated, one in the East,
and one in North Africa; and that these differed in the number of their
lumbar vertebra and in various other parts; but M. Sanson seems to believe
that osteological characters are subject to very little variation, which is
certainly a mistake. At present no aboriginal or truly wild horse is
positively known to exist; for it is commonly believed that the wild horses
of the East are escaped domestic animals. (2/18. Mr. W.C.L. Martin, 'The
Horse' 1845 page 34, in arguing against the belief that the wild Eastern
horses are merely feral, has remarked on the improbability of man in
ancient times having extirpated a species in a region where it can now
exist in numbers.) If therefore our domestic breeds are descended from
several species or natural races, all have become extinct in the wild

With respect to the causes of the modifications which horses have
undergone, the conditions of life seem to produce a considerable direct
effect. Mr. D. Forbes, who has had excellent opportunities of comparing the
horses of Spain with those of South America, informs me that the horses of
Chile, which have lived under nearly the same conditions as their
progenitors in Andalusia, remain unaltered, whilst the Pampas horses and
the Puno horses are considerably modified. There can be no doubt that
horses become greatly reduced in size and altered in appearance by living
on mountains and islands; and this apparently is due to want of nutritious
or varied food. Every one knows how small and rugged the ponies are on the
Northern islands and on the mountains of Europe. Corsica and Sardinia have
their native ponies; and there were (2/19. 'Transact. Maryland Academy'
volume 1 part 1 page 28.), or still are, on some islands on the coast of
Virginia, ponies like those of the Shetland Islands, which are believed to
have originated through exposure to unfavourable conditions. The Puno
ponies, which inhabit the lofty regions of the Cordillera, are, as I hear
from Mr. D. Forbes, strange little creatures, very unlike their Spanish
progenitors. Further south, in the Falkland Islands, the offspring of the
horses imported in 1764 have already so much deteriorated in size (2/20.
Mr. Mackinnon 'The Falkland Islands' page 25. The average height of the
Falkland horses is said to be 14 hands 2 inches. See also my 'Journal of
Researches.') and strength that they are unfitted for catching wild cattle
with the lasso; so that fresh horses have to be brought for this purpose
from La Plata at a great expense. The reduced size of the horses bred on
both southern and northern islands, and on several mountain-chains, can
hardly have been caused by the cold, as a similar reduction has occurred on
the Virginian and Mediterranean islands. The horse can withstand intense
cold, for wild troops live on the plains of Siberia under lat. 56 deg,
(2/21. Pallas 'Act. Acad. St. Petersburgh' 1777 part 2 page 265. With
respect to the tarpans scraping away the snow see Col. Hamilton Smith in
'Nat. Lib.' volume 12 page 165.) and aboriginally the horses must have
inhabited countries annually covered with snow, for he long retains the
instinct of scraping it away to get at the herbage beneath. The wild
tarpans in the East have this instinct; and so it is, as I am informed by
Admiral Sulivan, with the horses recently and formerly introduced into the
Falkland Islands from La Plata, some of which have run wild; this latter
fact is remarkable, as the progenitors of these horses could not have
followed this instinct during many generations in La Plata. On the other
hand, the wild cattle of the Falklands never scrape away the snow, and
perish when the ground is long covered. In the northern parts of America
the horses descended from those introduced by the Spanish conquerors of
Mexico, have the same habit, as have the native bisons, but not so the
cattle introduced from Europe. (2/22. Franklin 'Narrative' volume 1 page 87
note by Sir J. Richardson.)

The horse can flourish under intense heat as well as under intense cold,
for he is known to come to the highest perfection, though not attaining a
large size, in Arabia and northern Africa. Much humidity is apparently more
injurious to the horse than heat or cold. In the Falkland Islands, horses
suffer much from the dampness; and this circumstance may perhaps partly
account for the singular fact that to the eastward of the Bay of Bengal
(2/23. Mr. J.H. Moor 'Notices of the Indian Archipelago' Singapore 1837
page 189. A pony from Java was sent ('Athenaeum' 1842 page 718) to the
Queen only 28 inches in height. For the Loo Choo Islands, see Beechey
'Voyage' 4th. edition volume 1 page 499.), over an enormous and humid area,
in Ava, Pegu, Siam, the Malayan archipelago, the Loo Choo Islands, and a
large part of China, no full-sized horse is found. When we advance as far
eastward as Japan, the horse reacquires his full size. (2/24. J. Crawfurd,
'History of the Horse' 'Journal of Royal United Service Institution' volume

With most of our domesticated animals, some breeds are kept on account of
their curiosity or beauty; but the horse is valued almost solely for its
utility. Hence semi-monstrous breeds are not preserved; and probably all
the existing breeds have been slowly formed either by the direct action of
the conditions of life, or through the selection of individual differences.
No doubt semi-monstrous breeds might have been formed: thus Mr. Waterton
records (2/25. 'Essays on Natural History' 2nd series page 161.) the case
of a mare which produced successively three foals without tails; so that a
tailless race might have been formed like the tailless races of dogs and
cats. A Russian breed of horses is said to have curled hair, and Azara
(2/26. 'Quadrupedes du Paraguay' tome 2 page 333. Dr. Canfield informs me
that a breed with curly hair was formed by selection at Los Angeles in
North America.) relates that in Paraguay horses are occasionally born, but
are generally destroyed, with hair like that on the head of a negro; and
this peculiarity is transmitted even to half-breeds: it is a curious case
of correlation that such horses have short manes and tails, and their hoofs
are of a peculiar shape like those of a mule.

It is scarcely possible to doubt that the long-continued selection of
qualities serviceable to man has been the chief agent in the formation of
the several breeds of the horse. Look at a dray-horse, and see how well
adapted he is to draw heavy weights, and how unlike in appearance to any
allied wild animal. The English race-horse is known to be derived from the
commingled blood of Arabs, Turks, and Barbs; but selection, which was
carried on during very early times in England (2/27. See the evidence on
this head in 'Land and Water' May 2, 1868.), together with training, have
made him a very different animal from his parent-stocks. As a writer in
India, who evidently knows the pure Arab well, asks, who now, "looking at
our present breed of race-horses, could have conceived that they were the
result of the union of the Arab horse and African mare?" The improvement is
so marked that in running for the Goodwood Cup "the first descendants of
Arabian, Turkish, and Persian horses, are allowed a discount of 18 pounds
weight; and when both parents are of these countries a discount of 36
pounds (2/28. Prof. Low 'Domesticated Animals' page 546. With respect to
the writer in India see 'India Sporting Review' volume 2 page 181. As
Lawrence has remarked ('The Horse' page 9), "perhaps no instance has ever
occurred of a three-part bred horse (i.e. a horse, one of whose
grandparents was of impure blood) saving his distance in running two miles
with thoroughbred racers." Some few instances are on record of seven-eights
racers having been successful.) It is notorious that the Arabs have long
been as careful about the pedigree of their horses as we are, and this
implies great and continued care in breeding. Seeing what has been done in
England by careful breeding, can we doubt that the Arabs must likewise have
produced during the course of centuries a marked effect on the qualities of
their horses? But we may go much farther back in time, for in the Bible we
hear of studs carefully kept for breeding, and of horses imported at high
prices from various countries. (2/29. Prof. Gervais 'Hist. Nat. Mamm.' tome
2 page 144 has collected many facts on this head. For instance Solomon (1
Kings x. 28) bought horses in Egypt at a high price.) We may therefore
conclude that, whether or not the various existing breeds of the horse have
proceeded from one or more aboriginal stocks, yet that a great amount of
change has resulted from the direct action of the conditions of life, and
probably a still greater amount from the long-continued selection by man of
slight individual differences.

With several domesticated quadrupeds and birds, certain coloured marks are
either strongly inherited or tend to reappear after having been lost for a
long time. As this subject will hereafter be seen to be of importance, I
will give a full account of the colouring of horses. All English breeds,
however unlike in size and appearance, and several of those in India and
the Malay archipelago, present a similar range and diversity of colour. The
English race-horse, however, is said (2/30. 'The Field' July 13, 1861 page
42.) never to be dun-coloured; but as dun and cream-coloured horses are
considered by the Arabs as worthless, "and fit only for Jews to ride"
(2/31. E. Vernon Harcourt 'Sporting in Algeria' page 26.), these tints may
have been removed by long-continued selection. Horses of every colour, and
of such widely different kinds as dray-horses, cobs, and ponies, are all
occasionally dappled (2/32. I state this from my own observations made
during several years on the colours of horses. I have seen cream-coloured,
light-dun and mouse-dun horses dappled, which I mention because it has been
stated (Martin 'History of the Horse' page 134) that duns are never
dappled. Martin (page 205) refers to dappled asses. In the 'Farrier'
(London 1828 pages 453, 455) there are some good remarks on the dappling of
horses; and likewise in Col. Hamilton Smith on 'The Horse.'), in the same
manner as is so conspicuous with grey horses. This fact does not throw any
clear light on the colouring of the aboriginal horse, but is a case of
analogous variation, for even asses are sometimes dappled, and I have seen,
in the British Museum, a hybrid from the ass and zebra dappled on its
hinder quarters. By the expression analogous variation (and it is one that
I shall often have occasion to use) I mean a variation occurring in a
species or variety which resembles a normal character in another and
distinct species or variety. Analogous variations may arise, as will be
explained in a future chapter, from two or more forms with a similar
constitution having been exposed to similar conditions,--or from one of two
forms having reacquired through reversion a character inherited by the
other form from their common progenitor,--or from both forms having
reverted to the same ancestral character. We shall immediately see that
horses occasionally exhibit a tendency to become striped over a large part
of their bodies; and as we know that in the varieties of the domestic cat
and in several feline species stripes readily pass into spots and cloudy
marks--even the cubs of the uniformly-coloured lion being spotted with dark
marks on a lighter ground--we may suspect that the dappling of the horse,
which has been noticed by some authors with surprise, is a modification or
vestige of a tendency to become striped.

(FIGURE 1. DUN DEVONSHIRE PONY, with shoulder, spinal, and leg stripes.)

[This tendency in the horse to become striped is in several respects an
interesting fact. Horses of all colours, of the most diverse breeds, in
various parts of the world, often have a dark stripe extending along the
spine, from the mane to the tail; but this is so common that I need enter
into no particulars. (2/33. Some details are given in 'The Farrier' 1828
pages 452, 455. One of the smallest ponies I ever saw, of the colour of a
mouse, had a conspicuous spinal stripe. A small Indian chestnut pony had
the same stripe, as had a remarkably heavy chestnut cart-horse. Race-horses
often have the spinal stripe.) Occasionally horses are transversely barred
on the legs, chiefly on the under side; and more rarely they have a
distinct stripe on the shoulder, like that on the shoulder of the ass, or a
broad dark patch representing a stripe. Before entering on any details I
must premise that the term dun-coloured is vague, and includes three groups
of colours, viz., that between cream-colour and reddish-brown, which
graduates into light-bay or light-chestnut--this, I believe is often called
fallow-dun; secondly, leaden or slate-colour or mouse-dun, which graduates
into an ash-colour; and, lastly, dark-dun, between brown and black. In
England I have examined a rather large, lightly-built, fallow-dun
Devonshire pony (Figure 1), with a conspicuous stripe along the back, with
light transverse stripes on the under sides of its front legs, and with
four parallel stripes on each shoulder. Of these four stripes the posterior
one was very minute and faint; the anterior one, on the other hand, was
long and broad, but interrupted in the middle, and truncated at its lower
extremity, with the anterior angle produced into a long tapering point. I
mention this latter fact because the shoulder-stripe of the ass
occasionally presents exactly the same appearance. I have had an outline
and description sent to me of a small, purely-bred, light fallow-dun Welch
pony, with a spinal stripe, a single transverse stripe on each leg, and
three shoulder-stripes; the posterior stripe corresponding with that on the
shoulder of the ass was the longest, whilst the two anterior parallel
stripes, arising from the mane, decreased in length, in a reversed manner
as compared with the shoulder-stripes on the above-described Devonshire
pony. I have seen a bright fallow-dun cob, with its front legs transversely
barred on the under sides in the most conspicuous manner; also a dark-
leaden mouse-coloured pony with similar leg stripes, but much less
conspicuous; also a bright fallow-dun colt, fully three-parts thoroughbred,
with very plain transverse stripes on the legs; also a chestnut-dun cart-
horse with a conspicuous spinal stripe, with distinct traces of shoulder-
stripes, but none on the legs; I could add other cases. My son made a
sketch for me of a large, heavy, Belgian cart-horse, of a fallow-dun, with
a conspicuous spinal stripe, traces of leg-stripes, and with two parallel
(three inches apart) stripes about seven or eight inches in length on both
shoulders. I have seen another rather light cart-horse, of a dirty dark
cream-colour, with striped legs, and on one shoulder a large ill-defined
dark cloudy patch, and on the opposite shoulder two parallel faint stripes.
All the cases yet mentioned are duns of various tints; but Mr. W.W. Edwards
has seen a nearly thoroughbred chestnut horse which had the spinal stripe,
and distinct bars on the legs; and I have seen two bay carriage-horses with
black spinal stripes; one of these horses had on each shoulder a light
shoulder-stripe, and the other had a broad back ill-defined stripe, running
obliquely half-way down each shoulder; neither had leg-stripes.

The most interesting case which I have met with occurred in a colt of my
own breeding. A bay mare (descended from a dark-brown Flemish mare by a
light grey Turcoman horse) was put to Hercules, a thoroughbred dark bay,
whose sire (Kingston) and dam were both bays. The colt ultimately turned
out brown; but when only a fortnight old it was a dirty bay, shaded with
mouse-grey, and in parts with a yellowish tint: it had only a trace of the
spinal stripe, with a few obscure transverse bars on the legs; but almost
the whole body was marked with very narrow dark stripes, in most parts so
obscure as to be visible only in certain lights, like the stripes which may
be seen on black kittens. These stripes were distinct on the hind-quarters,
where they diverged from the spine, and pointed a little forwards; many of
them as they diverged became a little branched, exactly in the same manner
as in some zebrine species. The stripes were plainest on the forehead
between the ears, where they formed a set of pointed arches, one under the
other, decreasing in size downwards towards the muzzle; exactly similar
marks may be seen on the forehead of the quagga and Burchell's zebra. When
this foal was two or three months old all the stripes entirely disappeared.
I have seen similar marks on the forehead of a fully grown, fallow-dun,
cob-like horse, having a conspicuous spinal stripe, and with its front legs
well barred.

In Norway the colour of the native horse or pony is dun, varying from
almost cream-colour to dark-mouse dun; and an animal is not considered
purely bred unless it has the spinal and leg-stripes. (2/34. I have
received information, through the kindness of the Consul-General, Mr. J.R.
Crowe, from Prof. Boeck, Rasck, and Esmarck, on the colours of the
Norwegian ponies. See also 'The Field' 1861 page 431.) My son estimated
that about a third of the ponies which he saw there had striped legs; he
counted seven stripes on the fore-legs and two on the hind-legs of one
pony; only a few of them exhibited traces of shoulder stripes; but I have
heard of a cob imported from Norway which had the shoulder as well as the
other stripes well developed. Colonel H. Smith (2/35. Col. Hamilton Smith
'Nat. Lib.' volume 12 page 275.) alludes to dun-horses with the spinal
stripe in the Sierras of Spain; and the horses originally derived from
Spain, in some parts of South America, are now duns. Sir W. Elliot informs
me that he inspected a herd of 300 South American horses imported into
Madras, and many of these had transverse stripes on the legs and short
shoulder-stripes; the most strongly marked individual, of which a coloured
drawing was sent me, was a mouse-dun, with the shoulder-stripes slightly

In the North-Western parts of India striped horses of more than one breed
are apparently commoner than in any other part of the world; and I have
received information respecting them from several officers, especially from
Colonel Poole, Colonel Curtis, Major Campbell, Brigadier St. John, and
others. The Kattywar horses are often fifteen or sixteen hands in height,
and are well but lightly built. They are of all colours, but the several
kinds of duns prevail; and these are so generally striped, that a horse
without stripes is not considered pure. Colonel Poole believes that all the
duns have the spinal stripe, the leg-stripes are generally present, and he
thinks that about half the horses have the shoulder-stripe; this stripe is
sometimes double or treble on both shoulders. Colonel Poole has often seen
stripes on the cheeks and sides of the nose. He has seen stripes on the
grey and bay Kattywars when first foaled, but they soon faded away. I have
received other accounts of cream-coloured, bay, brown, and grey Kattywar
horses being striped. Eastward of India, the Shan (north of Burmah) ponies,
as I am informed by Mr. Blyth, have spinal, leg, and shoulder stripes. Sir
W. Elliot informs me that he saw two bay Pegu ponies with leg-stripes.
Burmese and Javanese ponies are frequently dun-coloured, and have the three
kinds of stripes, "in the same degree as in England." (2/36. Mr. G. Clark
in 'Annal and Mag. of Nat. History' 2nd series volume 2 1848 page 363. Mr.
Wallace informs me that he saw in Java a dun and clay-coloured horse with
spinal and leg stripes.) Mr. Swinhoe informs me that he examined two light-
dun ponies of two Chinese breeds, viz., those of Shanghai and Amoy; both
had the spinal stripe, and the latter an indistinct shoulder-stripe.

We thus see that in all parts of the world breeds of the horse as different
as possible, when of a dun-colour (including under this term a wide range
of tint from cream to dusty black), and rarely when almost white tinged
with yellow, grey, bay, and chestnut, have the several above-specified
stripes. Horses which are of a yellow colour with white mane and tail, and
which are sometimes called duns, I have never seen with stripes. (2/37. See
also on this point 'The Field' July 27, 1861 page 91.)

From reasons which will be apparent in the chapter on Reversion, I have
endeavoured, but with poor success, to discover whether duns, which are so
much oftener striped than other coloured horses, are ever produced from the
crossing of two horses, neither of which are duns. Most persons to whom I
have applied believe that one parent must be dun; and it is generally
asserted that, when this is the case, the dun-colour and the stripes are
strongly inherited. (2/38. 'The Field' 1861 pages 431, 493, 545.) One case,
however, has fallen under my own observation of a foal from a black mare by
a bay horse, which when fully grown was a dark fallow-dun and had a narrow
but plain spinal stripe. Hofacker (2/39. 'Ueber die Eigenschaften' etc.
1828 s. 13, 14.) gives two instances of mouse-duns (Mausrapp) being
produced from two parents of different colours and neither duns.

The stripes of all kinds are generally plainer in the foal than in the
adult horse, being commonly lost at the first shedding of the hair. (2/40.
Von Nathusius 'Vortrage uber Viehzucht' 1872 135.) Colonel Poole believes
that "the stripes in the Kattywar breed are plainest when the colt is first
foaled; they then become less and less distinct till after the first coat
is shed, when they come out as strongly as before; but certainly often fade
away as the age of the horse increases." Two other accounts confirm this
fading of the stripes in old horses in India. One writer, on the other
hand, states that colts are often born without stripes, but that they
appear as the colt grows older. Three authorities affirm that in Norway the
stripes are less plain in the foal than in the adult. In the case described
by me of the young foal which was narrowly striped over nearly all its
body, there was no doubt about the early and complete disappearance of the
stripes. Mr. W.W. Edwards examined for me twenty-two foals of race-horses,
and twelve had the spinal stripe more or less plain; this fact, and some
other accounts which I have received, lead me to believe that the spinal
stripe often disappears in the English race-horse when old. With natural
species, the young often exhibit characters which disappear at maturity.]

The stripes are variable in colour, but are always darker than the rest of
the body. They do not by any means always coexist on the different parts of
the body: the legs may be striped without any shoulder-stripe, or the
converse case, which is rarer, may occur; but I have never heard of either
shoulder or leg-stripes without the spinal stripe. The latter is by far the
commonest of all the stripes, as might have been expected, as it
characterises the other seven or eight species of the genus. It is
remarkable that so trifling a character as the shoulder-stripe being double
or triple should occur in such different breeds as Welch and Devonshire
ponies, the Shan pony, heavy cart-horses, light South American horses, and
the lanky Kattywar breed. Colonel Hamilton Smith believes that one of his
five supposed primitive stocks was dun-coloured and striped; and that the
stripes in all the other breeds result from ancient crosses with this one
primitive dun; but it is extremely improbable that different breeds living
in such distant quarters of the world should all have been crossed with any
one aboriginally distinct stock. Nor have we any reason to believe that the
effects of a cross at a very remote period would be propagated for so many
generations as is implied on this view.

With respect to the primitive colour of the horse having been dun, Colonel
Hamilton Smith (2/41. 'Nat. Library' volume 12 1841 pages 109, 156 to 163,
280, 281. Cream-colour, passing into Isabella (i.e. the colour of the dirty
linen of Queen Isabella), seems to have been common in ancient times. See
also Pallas's account of the wild horses of the East, who speaks of dun and
brown as the prevalent colours. In the Icelandic sagas, which were
committed to writing in the twelfth century, dun-coloured horses with a
black spinal stripe are mentioned; see Dasent's translation volume 1 page
169.) has collected a large body of evidence showing that this tint was
common in the East as far back as the time of Alexander, and that the wild
horses of Western Asia and Eastern Europe now are, or recently were, of
various shades of dun. It seems that not very long ago a wild breed of dun-
coloured horses with a spinal stripe was preserved in the royal parks in
Prussia. I hear from Hungary that the inhabitants of that country look at
the duns with a spinal stripe as the aboriginal stock, and so it is in
Norway. Dun-coloured ponies are not rare in the mountainous parts of
Devonshire, Wales, and Scotland, where the aboriginal breed would have the
best chance of being preserved. In South America in the time of Azara, when
the horse had been feral for about 250 years, 90 out of 100 horses were
"bai-chatains," and the remaining ten were "zains," that is brown; not more
than one in 2000 being black. In North America the feral horses show a
strong tendency to become roans of various shades; but in certain parts, as
I hear from Dr. Canfield, they are mostly duns and striped. (2/42. Azara
'Quadrupedes du Paraguay' tome 2 page 307. In North America Catlin (volume
2 page 57) describes the wild horses, believed to have descended from the
Spanish horses of Mexico, as of all colours, black, grey, roan, and roan
pied with sorrel. F. Michaux 'Travels in North America' English translation
page 235, describes two wild horses from Mexico as roan. In the Falkland
Islands, where the horse has been feral only between 60 and 70 years, I was
told that roans and iron-greys were the prevalent colours. These several
facts show that horses do not soon revert to any uniform colour.)

In the following chapters on the Pigeon we shall see that a blue bird is
occasionally produced by pure breeds of various colours and that when this
occurs certain black marks invariably appear on the wings and tail; so
again, when variously coloured breeds are crossed, blue birds with the same
black marks are frequently produced. We shall further see that these facts
are explained by, and afford strong evidence in favour of, the view that
all the breeds are descended from the rock-pigeon, or Columba livia, which
is thus coloured and marked. But the appearance of the stripes on the
various breeds of the horse, when of a dun colour, does not afford nearly
such good evidence of their descent from a single primitive stock as in the
case of the pigeon: because no horse certainly wild is known as a standard
of comparison; because the stripes when they appear are variable in
character; because there is far from sufficient evidence that the crossing
of distinct breeds produces stripes, and lastly, because all the species of
the genus Equus have the spinal stripe, and several species have shoulder
and leg stripes. Nevertheless the similarity in the most distinct breeds in
their general range of colour, in their dappling, and in the occasional
appearance, especially in duns, of leg-stripes and of double or triple
shoulder-stripes, taken together, indicate the probability of the descent
of all the existing races from a single, dun-coloured, more or less
striped, primitive stock, to which our horses occasionally revert.


Four species of Asses, besides three zebras, have been described by
naturalists. There is now little doubt that our domesticated animal is
descended from the Equus taeniopus of Abyssinia. (2/43. Dr. Sclater in
'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.' 1862 page 164. Dr. Hartmann says ('Annalen der Landw.'
b. 44 page 222) that this animal in its wild state is not always striped
across the legs.) The ass is sometimes advanced as an instance of an animal
domesticated, as we know by the Old Testament, from an ancient period,
which has varied only in a very slight degree. But this is by no means
strictly true; for in Syria alone there are four breeds (2/44. W.C. Martin
'History of the Horse' 1845 page 207.); first, a light and graceful animal,
with an agreeable gait, used by ladies; secondly, an Arab breed reserved
exclusively for the saddle; thirdly, a stouter animal used for ploughing
and various purposes; and lastly, the large Damascus breed, with a
peculiarly long body and ears. In the South of France also there are
several breeds, and one of extraordinary size, some individuals being as
tall as full-sized horses. Although the ass in England is by no means
uniform in appearance, distinct breeds have not been formed. This may
probably be accounted for by the animal being kept chiefly by poor persons,
who do not rear large numbers, nor carefully match and select the young.
For, as we shall see in a future chapter, the ass can with ease be greatly
improved in size and strength by careful selection, combined no doubt with
good food; and we may infer that all its other characters would be equally
amenable to selection. The small size of the ass in England and Northern
Europe is apparently due far more to want of care in breeding than to cold;
for in Western India, where the ass is used as a beast of burden by some of
the lower castes, it is not much larger than a Newfoundland dog, "being
generally not more than from twenty to thirty inches high." (2/45. Col.
Sykes Cat. of Mammalia 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.' July 12, 1831. Williamson
'Oriental Field Sports' volume 2 quoted by Martin page 206.)

The ass varies greatly in colour; and its legs, especially the fore-legs,
both in England and other countries--for instance, in China--are
occasionally barred more plainly than those of dun-coloured horses.
Thirteen or fourteen transverse stripes have been counted on both the fore
and hind legs. With the horse the occasional appearance of leg-stripes was
accounted for by reversion to a supposed parent-form, and in the case of
the ass we may confidently believe in this explanation, as E. taeniopus is
known to be barred, though only in a slight degree, and not quite
invariably. The stripes are believed to occur most frequently and to be
plainest on the legs of the domestic ass during early youth (2/46. Blyth in
'Charlesworth's Mag. of Nat. Hist.' vol 4 1840 page 83. I have also been
assured by a breeder that this is the case.), as likewise occurs with the
horse. The shoulder-stripe, which is so eminently characteristic of the
species, is nevertheless variable in breadth, length, and manner of
termination. I have measured one four times as broad as another, and some
more than twice as long as others. In one light-grey ass the shoulder-
stripe was only six inches in length, and as thin as a piece of string; and
in another animal of the same colour there was only a dusky shade
representing a stripe. I have heard of three white asses, not albinoes,
with no trace of shoulder or spinal stripes (2/47. One case is given by
Martin 'The Horse' page 205.); and I have seen nine other asses with no
shoulder-stripe, and some of them had no spinal stripe. Three of the nine
were light-greys, one a dark-grey, another grey passing into reddish-roan,
and the others were brown, two being tinted on parts of their bodies with a
reddish or bay shade. If therefore grey and reddish-brown asses had been
steadily selected and bred from, the shoulder stripe would probably have
been lost almost as generally and completely as in the case of the horse.

The shoulder stripe on the ass is sometimes double, and Mr. Blyth has seen
even three or four parallel stripes. (2/48. 'Journal As. Soc. of Bengal'
volume 28 1860 page 231. Martin on the Horse page 205.) I have observed in
ten cases shoulder-stripes abruptly truncated at the lower end, with the
anterior angle produced into a tapering point, precisely as in the above
dun Devonshire pony. I have seen three cases of the terminal portion
abruptly and angularly bent; and have seen and heard of four cases of a
distinct though slight forking of the stripe. In Syria, Dr. Hooker and his
party observed for me no less than five similar instances of the shoulder-
stripe plainly bifurcating over the fore leg. In the common mule it
likewise sometimes bifurcates. When I first noticed the forking and angular
bending of the shoulder-stripe, I had seen enough of the stripes in the
various equine species to feel convinced that even a character so
unimportant as this had a distinct meaning, and was thus led to attend to
the subject. I now find that in the E. burchellii and quagga, the stripe
which corresponds with the shoulder-stripe of the ass, as well as some of
the stripes on the neck, bifurcate, and that some of those near the
shoulder have their extremities bent angularly backwards. The bifurcation
and angular bending of the stripes on the shoulders apparently are
connected with the nearly upright stripes on the sides of the body and neck
changing their direction and becoming transverse on the legs. Finally, we
see that the presence of shoulder, leg, and spinal stripes in the horse,--
their occasional absence in the ass,--the occurrence of double and triple
shoulder-stripes in both animals, and the similar manner in which these
stripes terminate downwards,--are all cases of analogous variation in the
horse and ass. These cases are probably not due to similar conditions
acting on similar constitutions, but to a partial reversion in colour to
the common progenitor of the genus. We shall hereafter return to this
subject, and discuss it more fully.







The breeds of the pig have recently been more closely studied, though much
still remains to be done, than those of almost any other domesticated
animal. This has been effected by Hermann von Nathusius in two admirable
works, especially in the later one on the Skulls of the several races, and
by Rutimeyer in his celebrated Fauna of the ancient Swiss lake-dwellings.
(3/1. Hermann von Nathusius 'Die Racen des Schweines' Berlin 1860; and
'Vorstudien fur Geschichte' etc. 'Schweineschadel' Berlin 1864. Rutimeyer
'Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten' Basel 1861.) Nathusius has shown that all the
known breeds may be divided into two great groups: one resembling in all
important respects and no doubt descended from the common wild boar; so
that this may be called the Sus scrofa group. The other group differs in
several important and constant osteological characters; its wild parent-
form is unknown; the name given to it by Nathusius, according to the law of
priority, is Sus indicus, of Pallas. This name must now be followed, though
an unfortunate one, as the wild aboriginal does not inhabit India, and the
best-known domesticated breeds have been imported from Siam and China.

First for the Sus scrofa breeds, or those resembling the common wild boar.
These still exist, according to Nathusius ('Schweineschadel' s. 75), in
various parts of central and northern Europe; formerly every kingdom (3/2.
Nathusius 'Die Racen des Schweines' Berlin 1860. An excellent appendix is
given with references to published and trustworthy drawings of the breeds
of each country), and almost every province in Britain, possessed its own
native breed; but these are now everywhere rapidly disappearing, being
replaced by improved breeds crossed with the S. indicus form. The skull in
the breeds of the S. scrofa type resembles, in all important respects, that
of the European wild boar; but it has become ('Schweineschadel' s. 63-68)
higher and broader relatively to its length; and the hinder part is more
upright. The differences, however, are all variable in degree. The breeds
which thus resemble S. scrofa in their essential skull characters differ
conspicuously from each other in other respects, as in the length of the
ears and legs, curvature of the ribs, colour, hairiness, size and
proportions of the body.

The wild Sus scrofa has a wide range, namely, Europe, North Africa, as
identified by osteological characters by Rutimeyer, and Hindostan, as
similarly identified by Nathusius. But the wild boars inhabiting these
several countries differ so much from each other in external characters,
that they have been ranked by some naturalists as specifically distinct.
Even within Hindostan these animals, according to Mr. Blyth, form very
distinct races in the different districts; in the N. Western provinces, as
I am informed by the Rev. R. Everest, the boar never exceeds 36 inches in
height, whilst in Bengal one has been measured 44 inches in height. In
Europe, Northern Africa, and Hindostan, domestic pigs have been known to
cross with the wild native species (3/3. For Europe see Bechstein
'Naturgesch. Deutschlands' 1801 b. 1 s. 505. Several accounts have been
published on the fertility of the offspring from wild and tame swine. See
Burdach 'Physiology' and Godron 'De l'Espece' tome 1 page 370. For Africa
'Bull. de la Soc. d'Acclimat.' tome 4 page 389. For India see Nathusius
'Schweineschadel' s. 148.); and in Hindostan an accurate observer (3/4. Sir
W. Elliot Catalogue of Mammalia 'Madras Journal of Lit. and Science' volume
10 page 219.), Sir Walter Elliot, after describing the differences between
wild Indian and wild German boars, remarks that "the same differences are
perceptible in the domesticated individuals of the two countries." We may
therefore conclude that the breeds of the Sus scrofa type are descended
from, or have been modified by crossing with, forms which may be ranked as
geographical races, but which, according to some naturalists, ought to be
ranked as distinct species.

Pigs of the Sus indicus type are best known to Englishmen under the form of
the Chinese breed. The skull of S. indicus, as described by Nathusius,
differs from that of S. scrofa in several minor respects, as in its greater
breadth and in some details in the teeth; but chiefly in the shortness of
the lachrymal bones, in the greater width of the fore part of the palate-
bones, and in the divergence of the premolar teeth. It deserves especial
notice that these latter characters are not gained, even in the least
degree, by the domesticated forms of S. scrofa. After reading the remarks
and descriptions given by Nathusius, it seems to me to be merely playing
with words to doubt whether S. indicus ought to be ranked as a species; for
the above-specified differences are more strongly marked than any that can
be pointed out between, for instance, the fox and the wolf, or the ass and
the horse. As already stated, S. indicus is not known in a wild state; but
its domesticated forms, according to Nathusius, come near to S. vittatus of
Java and some allied species. A pig found wild in the Aru islands
('Schweineschadel' s. 169) is apparently identical with S. indicus; but it
is doubtful whether this is a truly native animal. The domesticated breeds
of China, Cochin-China, and Siam belong to this type. The Roman or
Neapolitan breed, the Andalusian, the Hungarian, and the "Krause" swine of
Nathusius, inhabiting south-eastern Europe and Turkey, and having fine
curly hair, and the small Swiss "Bundtnerschwein" of Rutimeyer, all agree
in their more important skull-characters with S. indicus, and, as is
supposed, have all been largely crossed with this form. Pigs of this type
have existed during a long period on the shores of the Mediterranean, for a
figure ('Schweineschadel' s. 142) closely resembling the existing
Neapolitan pig was found in the buried city of Herculaneum.

Rutimeyer has made the remarkable discovery that there lived
contemporaneously in Switzerland, during the Neolithic period, two
domesticated forms, the S. scrofa, and the S. scrofa palustris or
Torfschwein. Rutimeyer perceived that the latter approached the Eastern
breeds, and, according to Nathusius, it certainly belongs to the S. indicus
group; but Rutimeyer has subsequently shown that it differs in some well-
marked characters. This author was formerly convinced that his Torfschwein
existed as a wild animal during the first part of the Stone period, and was
domesticated during a later part of the same period. (3/5. 'Pfahlbauten' s.
163 et passim.) Nathusius, whilst he fully admits the curious fact first
observed by Rutimeyer, that the bones of domesticated and wild animals can
be distinguished by their different aspect, yet, from special difficulties
in the case of the bones of the pig ('Schweineschadel' s. 147), is not
convinced of the truth of the above conclusion; and Rutimeyer himself seems
now to feel some doubt. Other naturalists have also argued strongly on the
same side as Nathusius. (3/6. See J.W. Schutz' interesting essay 'Zur
Kenntniss des Torfschweins' 1868. This author believes that the Torfschwein
is descended from a distinct species, the S. sennariensis of Central

Several breeds, differing in the proportions of the body, in the length of
the ears, in the nature of the hair, in colour, etc., come under the S.
indicus type. Nor is this surprising, considering how ancient the
domestication of this form has been both in Europe and in China. In this
latter country the date is believed by an eminent Chinese scholar (3/7.
Stan. Julien quoted by de Blainville 'Osteographie' page 163.) to go back
at least 4900 years from the present time. This same scholar alludes to the
existence of many local varieties of the pig in China; and at the present
time the Chinese take extraordinary pains in feeding and tending their
pigs, not even allowing them to walk from place to place. (3/8. Richardson
'Pigs, their Origin' etc. page 26.) Hence these pigs, as Nathusius has
remarked (3/9. 'Die Racen des Schweines' s. 47, 64.), display in an eminent
degree the characters of a highly-cultivated race, and hence, no doubt,
their high value in the improvement of our European breeds. Nathusius makes
a remarkable statement ('Schweineschadel' s. 138), that the infusion of the
1/32nd, or even of the 1/64th, part of the blood of S. indicus into a breed
of S. scrofa, is sufficient plainly to modify the skull of the latter
species. This singular fact may perhaps be accounted for by several of the
chief distinctive characters of S. indicus, such as the shortness of the
lachrymal bones, etc., being common to several species of the genus; for in
crosses characters which are common to many species apparently tend to be
prepotent over those appertaining to only a few species.

(FIGURE 2. HEAD OF JAPAN OR MASKED PIG. (Copied from Mr. Bartlett's paper
in 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.' 1861 page 263.))

The Japan pig (S. pliciceps of Gray), which was formerly exhibited in the
Zoological Gardens, has an extraordinary appearance from its short head,
broad forehead and nose, great fleshy ears, and deeply furrowed skin.
Figure 2 is copied from that given by Mr. Bartlett. (3/10. 'Proc. Zoolog.
Soc.' 1861 page 263.) Not only is the face furrowed, but thick folds of
skin, which are harder than the other parts, almost like the plates on the
Indian rhinoceros, hang about the shoulders and rump. It is coloured black,
with white feet, and breeds true. That it has long been domesticated there
can be little doubt; and this might have been inferred even from the fact
that its young are not longitudinally striped; for this is a character
common to all the species included within the genus Sus and the allied
genera whilst in their natural state. (3/11. Sclater in 'Proc. Zoolog.
Soc.' February 26, 1861.) Dr. Gray (3/12. 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.' 1862 page
13. The skull has since been described much more fully by Professor Lucae
in a very interesting essay, 'Der Schadel des Maskenschweines' 1870. He
confirms the conclusion of von Nathusius on the relationship of this kind
of pig.) has described the skull of this animal, which he ranks not only as
a distinct species, but places it in a distinct section of the genus.
Nathusius, however, after his careful study of the whole group, states
positively ('Schweineschadel' s. 153-158). that the skull in all essential
characters closely resembles that of the short-eared Chinese breed of the
S. indicus type. Hence Nathusius considers the Japan pig as only a
domesticated variety of S. indicus: if this really be the case, it is a
wonderful instance of the amount of modification which can be effected
under domestication.

Formerly there existed in the central islands of the Pacific Ocean a
singular breed of pigs. These are described by the Rev. D. Tyerman and G.
Bennett (3/13. 'Journal of Voyages and Travels from 1821 to 1829' volume 1
page 300.) as of small size, hump-backed, with a disproportionately long
head, with short ears turned backwards, with a bushy tail not more than two
inches in length, placed as if it grew from the back. Within half a century
after the introduction of European and Chinese pigs into these islands, the
native breed, according to the above authors, became almost completely lost
by being repeatedly crossed with them. Secluded islands, as might have been
expected, seem favourable for the production or retention of peculiar
breeds; thus, in the Orkney Islands, the hogs have been described as very
small, with erect and sharp ears, and "with an appearance altogether
different from the hogs brought from the south." (3/14. Rev. G. Low 'Fauna
Orcadensis' page 10. See also Dr. Hibbert's account of the pig of the
Shetland Islands.)

Seeing how different the Chinese pigs, belonging to the Sus indicus type,
are in their osteological characters and in external appearance from the
pigs of the S. scrofa type, so that they must be considered specifically
distinct, it is a fact well deserving attention, that Chinese and common
pigs have been repeatedly crossed in various manners, with unimpaired
fertility. One great breeder who had used pure Chinese pigs assured me that
the fertility of the half-breeds inter se and of their recrossed progeny
was actually increased; and this is the general belief of agriculturists.
Again, the Japan pig or S. pliciceps of Gray is so distinct in appearance
from all common pigs, that it stretches one's belief to the utmost to admit
that it is simply a domestic variety; yet this breed has been found
perfectly fertile with the Berkshire breed; and Mr. Eyton informs me that
he paired a half-bred brother and sister and found them quite fertile

(FIGURE 3. HEAD OF WILD BOAR, AND OF "GOLDEN DAYS," a pig of the Yorkshire
Large Breed; the latter from a photograph. (Copied from Sidney's edition of
'The Pig' by Youatt.))

The modification of the skull in the most highly cultivated races is
wonderful. To appreciate the amount of change, Nathusius' work, with its
excellent figures, should be studied. The whole of the exterior in all its
parts has been altered: the hinder surface, instead of sloping backwards,
is directed forwards, entailing many changes in other parts; the front of
the head is deeply concave; the orbits have a different shape; the auditory
meatus has a different direction and shape; the incisors of the upper and
lower jaws do not touch each other, and they stand in both jaws beyond the
plane of the molars; the canines of the upper jaw stand in front of those
of the lower jaw, and this is a remarkable anomaly: the articular surfaces
of the occipital condyles are so greatly changed in shape, that, as
Nathusius remarks (s. 133), no naturalist, seeing this important part of
the skull by itself, would suppose that it belonged to the genus Sus. These
and various other modifications, as Nathusius observes, can hardly be
considered as monstrosities, for they are not injurious, and are strictly
inherited. The whole head is much shortened; thus, whilst in common breeds
its length to that of the body is as 1 to 6, in the "cultur-racen" the
proportion is as 1 to 9, and even recently as 1 to 11. (3/15. 'Die Racen
des Schweines' s. 70.) Figure 3 (3/16. These woodcuts are copied from
engravings given in Mr. S. Sidney's excellent edition of 'The Pig' by
Youatt 1860. See pages 1, 16, 19.) of the head of a wild boar and of a sow
from a photograph of the Yorkshire Large Breed, may aid in showing how
greatly the head in a highly cultivated race has been modified and

Nathusius has well discussed the causes of the remarkable changes in the
skull and shape of the body which the highly cultivated races have
undergone. These modifications occur chiefly in the pure and crossed races
of the S. indicus type; but their commencement may be clearly detected in
the slightly improved breeds of the S. scrofa type. (3/17.
'Schweineschadel' s. 74, 135.) Nathusius states positively (s. 99, 103), as
the result of common experience and of his experiments, that rich and
abundant food, given during youth, tends by some direct action to make the
head broader and shorter; and that poor food works a contrary result. He
lays much stress on the fact that all wild and semi-domesticated pigs, in
ploughing up the ground with their muzzles, have,
whilst young, to exert the powerful muscles fixed to the hinder part of the
head. In highly cultivated races this habit is no longer followed, and
consequently the back of the skull becomes modified in shape, entailing
other changes in other parts. There can hardly be a doubt that so great a
change in habits would affect the skull; but it seems rather doubtful how
far this will account for the greatly reduced length of the skull and for
its concave front. It is well known (Nathusius himself advancing many
cases, s. 104) that there is a strong tendency in many domestic animals--in
bull- and pug-dogs, in the niata cattle, in sheep, in Polish fowls, short-
faced tumbler pigeons, and in one variety of the carp--for the bones of the
face to become greatly shortened. In the case of the dog, as H. Muller has
shown, this seems caused by an abnormal state of the primordial cartilage.
We may, however, readily admit that abundant and rich food supplied during
many generations would give an inherited tendency to increased size of
body, and that, from disuse, the limbs would become finer and shorter.
(3/18. Nathusius 'Die Racen des Schweines' s. 71.) We shall in a future
chapter see also that the skull and limbs are apparently in some manner
correlated, so that any change in the one tends to affect the other.

Nathusius has remarked, and the observation is an interesting one, that the
peculiar form of the skull and body in the most highly cultivated races is
not characteristic of any one race, but is common to all when improved up
to the same standard. Thus the large-bodied, long-eared, English breeds
with a convex back, and the small-bodied, short-eared, Chinese breeds with
a concave back, when bred to the same state of perfection, nearly resemble
each other in the form of the head and body. This result, it appears, is
partly due to similar causes of change acting on the several races, and
partly to man breeding the pig for one sole purpose, namely, for the
greatest amount of flesh and fat; so that selection has always tended
towards one and the same end. With most domestic animals the result of
selection has been divergence of character, here it has been convergence.
(3/19. 'Die Racen des Schweines' s. 47. 'Schweineschadel' s. 104. Compare
also the figures of the old Irish and the improved Irish breeds in
Richardson on 'The Pig' 1847.)

The nature of the food supplied during many generations has apparently
affected the length of the intestines; for, according to Cuvier (3/20.
Quoted by Isid. Geoffroy 'Hist. Nat. Gen.' tome 3 page 441.), their length
to that of the body in the wild boar is as 9 to 1,--in the common domestic
boar as 13.5 to 1,--and in the Siam breed as 16 to 1. In this latter breed
the greater length may be due either to descent from a distinct species or
to more ancient domestication. The number of mammae vary, as does the
period of gestation. The latest authority says (3/21. S. Sidney 'The Pig'
page 61.) that "the period averages from 17 to 20 weeks," but I think there
must be some error in this statement: in M. Tessier's observations on 25
sows it varied from 109 to 123 days. The Rev. W.D. Fox has given me ten
carefully recorded cases with well-bred pigs, in which the period varied
from 101 to 116 days. According to Nathusius the period is shortest in the
races which come early to maturity; but the course of their development
does not appear to be actually shortened, for the young animal is born,
judging from the state of the skull, less fully developed, or in a more
embryonic condition (3/22. 'Schweineschadel' s. 2, 20.) than in the case of
common swine. In the highly cultivated and early matured races the teeth,
also, are developed earlier.

The difference in the number of the vertebrae and ribs in different kinds
of pigs, as observed by Mr. Eyton (3/23. 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.' 1837 page 23.
I have not given the caudal vertebrae, as Mr. Eyton says some might
possibly have been lost. I have added together the dorsal and lumbar
vertebrae, owing to Prof. Owen's remarks ('Journal Linn. Soc.' volume 2
page 28) on the difference between dorsal and lumbar vertebrae depending
only on the development of the ribs. Nevertheless the difference in the
number of the ribs in pigs deserves notice. M. Sanson gives the number of
lumbar vertebrae in various pigs; 'Comptes Rendus' 93 page 843.), and as
given in the following table, has often been quoted. The African sow
probably belongs to the S. scrofa type; and Mr. Eyton informs me that,
since the publication of this paper, cross-bred animals from the African
and English races were found by Lord Hill to be perfectly fertile.



Dorsal 15. Lumbar 6. Dorsal plus Lumbar 21. Sacral 5. Total 26.


Dorsal 13. Lumbar 6. Dorsal plus Lumbar 19. Sacral 5. Total 24.


Dorsal 15. Lumbar 4. Dorsal plus Lumbar 19. Sacral 4. Total 23.


Dorsal 14. Lumbar 5. Dorsal plus Lumbar 19. Sacral 4. Total 23.


Dorsal 14. Lumbar 5. Dorsal plus Lumbar 19. Sacral 4. Total 23.

Some semi-monstrous breeds deserve notice. From the time of Aristotle to
the present time solid-hoofed swine have occasionally been observed in
various parts of the world. Although this peculiarity is strongly
inherited, it is hardly probable that all the animals with solid hoofs have
descended from the same parents; it is more probable that the same
peculiarity has reappeared at various times and places. Dr. Struthers has
lately described and figured (3/24. 'Edinburgh New Philosoph. Journal'
April 1863. See also De Blainville 'Osteographie' page 128 for various
authorities on this subject.) the structure of the feet; in both front and
hind feet the distal phalanges of the two greater toes are represented by a
single, great, hoof-bearing phalanx; and in the front feet, the middle
phalanges are represented by a bone which is single towards the lower end,
but bears two separate articulations towards the upper end. From other
accounts it appears that an intermediate toe is likewise sometimes

(FIGURE 4. OLD IRISH PIG, with jaw appendages. (Copied from H.D. Richardson
on Pigs.))

Another curious anomaly is offered by the appendages, described by M.
Eudes-Deslongchamps as often characterizing the Normandy pigs. These
appendages are always attached to the same spot, to the corners of the jaw;
they are cylindrical, about three inches in length, covered with bristles,
and with a pencil of bristles rising out of a sinus on one side: they have
a cartilaginous centre, with two small longitudinal muscles they occur
either symmetrically on both sides of the face or on one side alone.
Richardson figures them on the gaunt old "Irish Greyhound pig;" and
Nathusius states that they occasionally appear in all the long eared races,
but are not strictly inherited, for they occur or fail in animals of the
same litter. (3/25. Eudes-Deslongchamps 'Memoires de la Soc. Linn. de
Normandie' volume 7 1842 page 41. Richardson 'Pigs, their Origin, etc.'
1847 page 30. Nathusius 'Die Racen des Schweines' 1863 s. 54.) As no wild
pigs are known to have analogous appendages, we have at present no reason
to suppose that their appearance is due to reversion; and if this be so, we
are forced to admit that a somewhat complex, though apparently useless,
structure may be suddenly developed without the aid of selection.

It is a remarkable fact that the boars of all domesticated breeds have much
shorter tusks than wild boars. Many facts show that with many animals the
state of the hair is much affected by exposure to, or protection from,
climate; and as we see that the state of the hair and teeth are correlated
in Turkish dogs (other analogous facts will be hereafter given), may we not
venture to surmise that the reduction of the tusks in the domestic boar is
related to his coat of bristles being diminished from living under shelter?
On the other hand, as we shall immediately see, the tusks and bristles
reappear with feral boars, which are no longer protected from the weather.
It is not surprising that the tusks should be more affected than the other
teeth; as parts developed to serve as secondary sexual characters are
always liable to much variation.

It is a well-known fact that the young of wild European and Indian pigs
(3/26. D. Johnson 'Sketches of Indian Field Sports' page 272. Mr. Crawfurd
informs me that the same fact holds good with the wild pigs of the Malay
peninsula.), for the first six months, are longitudinally banded with
light-coloured stripes. This character generally disappears under
domestication. The Turkish domestic pigs, however, have striped young, as
have those of Westphalia, "whatever may be their hue" (3/27. For Turkish
pigs see Desmarest 'Mammalogie' 1820 page 391. For those of Westphalia see
Richardson 'Pigs, their Origin, etc.' 1847 page 41.); whether these latter
pigs belong to the same curly-haired race as the Turkish swine, I do not
know. The pigs which have run wild in Jamaica and the semi-feral pigs of
New Granada, both those which are black and those which are black with a
white band across the stomach, often extending over the back, have resumed
this aboriginal character and produce longitudinally-striped young. This is
likewise the case, at least occasionally, with the neglected pigs in the
Zambesi settlement on the coast of Africa. (3/28. With respect to the
several foregoing and following statements on feral pigs see Roulin in
'Mem. presentes par divers Savans a l'Acad.' etc. Paris tome 6 1835 page
326. It should be observed that his account does not apply to truly feral
pigs; but to pigs long introduced into the country and living in a half-
wild state. For the truly feral pigs of Jamaica see Gosse 'Sojourn in
Jamaica' 1851 page 386; and Col Hamilton Smith in 'Nat. Library' volume 9
page 93. With respect to Africa see Livingstone 'Expedition to the Zambesi'
1865 page 153. The most precise statement with respect to the tusks of the
West Indian feral boars is by P. Labat quoted by Roulin; but this author
attributes the state of these pigs to descent from a domestic stock which
he saw in Spain. Admiral Sulivan, R.N., had ample opportunities of
observing the wild pigs on Eagle Islet in the Falklands; and he informs me
that they resembled wild boars with bristly ridged backs and large tusks.
The pigs which have run wild in the province of Buenos Ayres (Rengger
'Saugethiere' s. 331) have not reverted to the wild type. De Blainville
'Osteographie' page 132 refers to two skulls of domestic pigs sent from
Patagonia by Al. d'Orbigny, and he states that they have the occipital
elevation of the wild European boar, but that the head altogether is "plus
courte et plus ramassee." He refers also to the skin of a feral pig from
North America, and says "il ressemble tout a fait a un petit sanglier, mais
il est presque tout noir, et peut-etre un peu plus ramasse dans ses

The common belief that all domesticated animals, when they run wild, revert
completely to the character of their parent-stock, is chiefly founded, as
far as I can discover, on feral pigs. But even in this case the belief is
not grounded on sufficient evidence; for the two main types, namely, S.
scrofa and indicus, have not been distinguished. The young, as we have just
seen, reacquire their longitudinal stripes, and the boars invariably
reassume their tusks. They revert also in the general shape of their
bodies, and in the length of their legs and muzzles, to the state of the
wild animal, as might have been expected from the amount of exercise which
they are compelled to take in search of food. In Jamaica the feral pigs do
not acquire the full size of the European wild boar, "never attaining a
greater height than 20 inches at the shoulder." In various countries they
reassume their original bristly covering, but in different degrees,
dependent on the climate; thus, according to Roulin, the semi-feral pigs in
the hot valleys of New Granada are very scantily clothed; whereas, on the
Paramos, at the height of 7000 to 8000 feet, they acquire a thick covering
of wool lying under the bristles, like that on the truly wild pigs of
France. These pigs on the Paramos are small and stunted. The wild boar of
India is said to have the bristles at the end of its tail arranged like the
plumes of an arrow, whilst the European boar has a simple tuft; and it is a
curious fact that many, but not all, of the feral pigs in Jamaica, derived
from a Spanish stock, have a plumed tail. (3/29. Gosse 'Jamaica' page 386
with a quotation from Williamson 'Oriental Field Sports.' Also Col.
Hamilton Smith in 'Naturalist Library' volume 9 page 94.) With respect to
colour, feral pigs generally revert to that of the wild boar; but in
certain parts of S. America, as we have seen, some of the semi-feral pigs
have a curious white band across their stomachs; and in certain other hot
places the pigs are red, and this colour has likewise occasionally been
observed in the feral pigs of Jamaica. From these several facts we see that
with pigs when feral there is a strong tendency to revert to the wild type;
but that this tendency is largely governed by the nature of the climate,
amount of exercise, and other causes of change to which they have been

The last point worth notice is that we have unusually good evidence of
breeds of pigs now keeping perfectly true, which have been formed by the
crossing of several distinct breeds. The Improved Essex pigs, for instance,
breed very true; but there is no doubt that they largely owe their present
excellent qualities to crosses originally made by Lord Western with the
Neapolitan race, and to subsequent crosses with the Berkshire breed (this
also having been improved by Neapolitan crosses), and likewise, probably,
with the Sussex breed. (3/30. S. Sidney's edition of 'Youatt on the Pig'
1860 pages 7, 26, 27, 29, 30.) In breeds thus formed by complex crosses,
the most careful and unremitting selection during many generations has been
found to be indispensable. Chiefly in consequence of so much crossing, some
well-known breeds have undergone rapid changes; thus, according to
Nathusius (3/31. 'Schweineschadel' s 140.), the Berkshire breed of 1780 is
quite different from that of 1810; and, since this latter period, at least
two distinct forms have borne the same name.


Domestic cattle are certainly the descendants of more than one wild form,
in the same manner as has been shown to be the case with our dogs and pigs.
Naturalists have generally made two main divisions of cattle: the humped
kinds inhabiting tropical countries, called in India Zebus, to which the
specific name of Bos indicus has been given; and the common non-humped
cattle, generally included under the name of Bos taurus. The humped cattle
were domesticated, as may be seen on the Egyptian monuments, at least as
early as the twelfth dynasty, that is 2100 B.C. They differ from common
cattle in various osteological characters, even in a greater degree,
according to Rutimeyer (3/32. 'Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten' 1861 s. 109, 149,
222. See also Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire in 'Mem. du Mus. d'Hist. Nat.' tome 10
page 172; and his son Isidore in 'Hist. Nat. Gen.' tome 3 page 69. Vasey in
his 'Delineations of the Ox Tribe' 1851 page 127, says the zebu has four,
and common ox five, sacral vertebrae. Mr. Hodgson found the ribs either
thirteen or fourteen in number; see a note in 'Indian Field' 1858 page 62.)
than do the fossil and prehistoric European species, namely, Bos
primigenius and longifrons, from each other. They differ, also, as Mr.
Blyth (3/33. 'The Indian Field' 1858 page 74 where Mr. Blyth gives his
authorities with respect to the feral humped cattle. Pickering also in his
'Races of Man' 1850 page 274 notices the peculiar grunt-like character of
the voice of the humped cattle.), who has particularly attended to this
subject, remarks, in general configuration, in the shape of their ears, in
the point where the dewlap commences, in the typical curvature of their
horns, in their manner of carrying their heads when at rest, in their
ordinary variations of colour, especially in the frequent presence of
"nilgau-like markings on their feet," and "in the one being born with teeth
protruding through the jaws, and the other not so." They have different
habits, and their voice is entirely different. The humped cattle in India
"seldom seek shade, and never go into the water and there stand knee-deep,
like the cattle of Europe." They have run wild in parts of Oude and
Rohilcund, and can maintain themselves in a region infested by tigers. They
have given rise to many races differing greatly in size, in the presence of
one or two humps, in length of horns, and other respects. Mr. Blyth sums up
emphatically that the humped and humpless cattle must be considered as
distinct species. When we consider the number of points in external
structure and habits, independently of important osteological differences,
in which they differ from each other; and that many of these points are not
likely to have been affected by domestication, there can hardly be a doubt,
notwithstanding the adverse opinion of some naturalists, that the humped
and non-humped cattle must be ranked as specifically distinct.

The European breeds of humpless cattle are numerous. Professor Low
enumerates 19 British breeds, only a few of which are identical with those
on the Continent. Even the small Channel islands of Guernsey, Jersey, and
Alderney possess their own sub-breeds (3/34. Mr. H.E. Marquand in 'The
Times' June 23, 1856.); and these again differ from the cattle of the other
British islands, such as Anglesea, and the western isles of Scotland.
Desmarest, who paid attention to the subject, describes 15 French races,
excluding sub-varieties and those imported from other countries. In other
parts of Europe there are several distinct races, such as the pale-coloured
Hungarian cattle, with their light and free step, and enormous horns
sometimes measuring above five feet from tip to tip (3/35. Vasey
'Delineations of the Ox-Tribe' page 124. Brace 'Hungary' 1851 page 94. The
Hungarian cattle descend according to Rutimeyer 'Zahmen Europ. Rindes' 1866
s. 13 from Bos primigenius.): the Podolian cattle also are remarkable from
the height of their fore-quarters. In the most recent work on Cattle (3/36.
Moll and Gayot 'La Connaissance Gen. du Boeuf' Paris 1860. Fig. 82 is that
of the Podolian breed.), engravings are given of fifty-five European
breeds; it is, however, probable that several of these differ very little
from each other, or are merely synonyms. It must not be supposed that
numerous breeds of cattle exist only in long-civilised countries, for we
shall presently see that several kinds are kept by the savages of Southern

[With respect to the parentage of the several European breeds, we already
know much from Nilsson's Memoir (3/37. A translation appeared in three
parts in the 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.' 2nd series volume 4 1849.),
and more especially from Rutimeyer's works and those of Boyd Dawkins. Two
or three species or forms of Bos, closely allied to still living domestic
races, have been found in the more recent tertiary deposits or amongst
prehistoric remains in Europe. Following Rutimeyer, we have:-

Bos primigenius.

This magnificent, well known species was domesticated in Switzerland during
the Neolithic period; even at this early period it varied a little, having
apparently been crossed with other races. Some of the larger races on the
Continent, as the Friesland, etc., and the Pembroke race in England,
closely resemble in essential structure B. primigenius, and no doubt are
its descendants. This is likewise the opinion of Nilsson. Bos primigenius
existed as a wild animal in Caesar's time, and is now semi-wild, though
much degenerated in size, in the park of Chillingham; for I am informed by
Professor Rutimeyer, to whom Lord Tankerville sent a skull, that the
Chillingham cattle are less altered from the true primigenius type than any
other known breed. (3/38. See also Rutimeyer 'Beitrage pal. Gesch. der
Wiederkauer' Basel 1865 s. 54.)

Bos trochoceros.

This form is not included in the three species above mentioned, for it is
now considered by Rutimeyer to be the female of an early domesticated form
of B. primigenius, and as the progenitor of his frontosus race. I may add
that specific names have been given to four other fossil oxen, now believed
to be identical with B. primigenius. (3/39. Pictet 'Palaeontologie' tome 1
page 365 2nd edition. With respect to B. trochoceros see Rutimeyer 'Zahmen
Europ. Rindes' 1866 s. 26.)

Bos longifrons (or brachyceros) of Owen.

This very distinct species was of small size, and had a short body with
fine legs. According to Boyd Dawkins (3/40. W. Boyd Dawkins on the British
Fossil Oxen 'Journal of the Geolog. Soc.' August 1867 page 182. Also 'Proc.
Phil. Soc. of Manchester' November 14, 1871 and 'Cave Hunting' 1875 page
27, 138.) it was introduced as a domesticated animal into Britain at a very
early period, and supplied food to the Roman legionaries. (3/41. 'British
Pleistocene Mammalia' by W.B. Dawkins and W.A. Sandford 1866 page 15.) Some
remains have been found in Ireland in certain crannoges, of which the dates
are believed to be from 843-933 A.D. (3/42. W.R. Wilde 'An Essay on the
Animal Remains, etc. Royal Irish Academy' 1860 page 29. Also 'Proc. of R.
Irish Academy' 1858 page 48.) It was also the commonest form in a
domesticated condition in Switzerland during the earliest part of the
Neolithic period. Professor Owen (3/43. 'Lecture: Royal Institution of G.
Britain' May 2, 1856 page 4. 'British Fossil Mammals' page 513.) thinks it
probable that the Welsh and Highland cattle are descended from this form;
as likewise is the case, according to Rutimeyer, with some of the existing
Swiss breeds. These latter are of different shades of colour from light-
grey to blackish-brown, with a lighter stripe along the spine, but they
have no pure white marks. The cattle of North Wales and the Highlands, on
the other hand, are generally black or dark-coloured.

Bos frontosus of Nilsson.

This species is allied to B. longifrons, and, according to the high
authority of Mr. Boyd Dawkins, is identical with it, but in the opinion of
some judges is distinct. Both co-existed in Scania during the same late
geological period (3/44. Nilsson in 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.' 1849
volume 4 page 354.), and both have been found in the Irish crannoges.
(3/45. See W.R. Wilde ut supra; and Mr. Blyth in 'Proc. Irish Academy'
March 5, 1864.) Nilsson believes that his B. frontosus may be the parent of
the mountain cattle of Norway, which have a high protuberance on the skull
between the base of the horns. As Professor Owen and others believe that
the Scotch Highland cattle are descended from his B. longifrons, it is
worth notice that a capable judge (3/46. Laing 'Tour in Norway' page 110.)
has remarked that he saw no cattle in Norway like the Highland breed, but
that they more nearly resembled the Devonshire breed.]

On the whole we may conclude, more especially from the researches of Boyd
Dawkins, that European cattle are descended from two species; and there is
no improbability in this fact, for the genus Bos readily yields to
domestication. Besides these two species and the zebu, the yak, the gayal,
and the arni (3/47. Isid. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire 'Hist. Nat. Gen.' tome 3,
96.) (not to mention the buffalo or genus Bubalus) have been domesticated;
making altogether six species of Bos. The zebu and the two European species
are now extinct in a wild state. Although certain races of cattle were
domesticated at a very ancient period in Europe, it does not follow that
they were first domesticated here. Those who place much reliance on
philology argue that they were imported from the East. (3/48. Idem tome 3
pages 82, 91.) It is probable that they originally inhabited a temperate or
cold climate, but not a land long covered with snow; for our cattle, as we
have seen in the chapter on Horses, have not the instinct of scraping away
the snow to get at the herbage beneath. No one could behold the magnificent
wild bulls on the bleak Falkland Islands in the southern hemisphere, and
doubt about the climate being admirably suited to them. Azara has remarked
that in the temperate regions of La Plata the cows conceive when two years
old, whilst in the much hotter country of Paraguay they do not conceive
till three years old; "from which fact," as he adds, "one may conclude that
cattle do not succeed so well in warm countries." (3/49. 'Quadrupedes du
Paraguay' tome 2 page 360.)

Bos primigenius and longifrons have been ranked by nearly all
palaeontologists as distinct species; and it would not be reasonable to
take a different view simply because their domesticated descendants now
intercross with the utmost freedom. All the European breeds have so often
been crossed both intentionally and unintentionally, that, if any sterility
had ensued from such unions, it would certainly have been detected. As
zebus inhabit a distant and much hotter region, and as they differ in so
many characters from our European cattle, I have taken pains to ascertain
whether the two forms are fertile when crossed. The late Lord Powis
imported some zebus and crossed them with common cattle in Shropshire; and
I was assured by his steward that the cross-bred animals were perfectly
fertile with both parent-stocks. Mr. Blyth informs me that in India
hybrids, with various proportions of either blood, are quite fertile; and
this can hardly fail to be known, for in some districts (3/50. Walther 'Das
Rindvieh' 1817 s. 30.) the two species are allowed to breed freely
together. Most of the cattle which were first introduced into Tasmania were
humped, so that at one time thousands of crossed animals existed there; and
Mr. B. O'Neile Wilson, M.A., writes to me from Tasmania that he has never
heard of any sterility having been observed. He himself formerly possessed
a herd of such crossed cattle, and all were perfectly fertile; so much so,
that he cannot remember even a single cow failing to calve. These several
facts afford an important confirmation of the Pallasian doctrine that the
descendants of species which when first domesticated would if crossed have
been in all probability in some degree sterile, become perfectly fertile
after a long course of domestication. In a future chapter we shall see that
this doctrine throws some light on the difficult subject of Hybridism.

I have alluded to the cattle in Chillingham Park, which, according to
Rutimeyer, have been very little changed from the Bos primigenius type.
This park is so ancient that it is referred to in a record of the year
1220. The cattle in their instincts and habits are truly wild. They are
white, with the inside of the ears reddish-brown, eyes rimmed with black,
muzzles brown, hoofs black, and horns white tipped with black. Within a
period of thirty-three years about a dozen calves were born with "brown and
blue spots upon the cheeks or necks; but these, together with any defective
animals, were always destroyed." According to Bewick, about the year 1770
some calves appeared with black ears; but these were also destroyed by the
keeper, and black ears have not since reappeared. The wild white cattle in
the Duke of Hamilton's park, where I have heard of the birth of a black
calf, are said by Lord Tankerville to be inferior to those at Chillingham.
The cattle kept until the year 1780 by the Duke of Queensberry, but now
extinct, had their ears, muzzle, and orbits of the eyes black. Those which
have existed from time immemorial at Chartley, closely resemble the cattle
at Chillingham, but are larger, "with some small difference in the colour
of the ears." "They frequently tend to become entirely black; and a
singular superstition prevails in the vicinity that, when a black calf is
born, some calamity impends over the noble house of Ferrers. All the black
calves are destroyed." The cattle at Burton Constable in Yorkshire, now
extinct, had ears, muzzle, and the tip of the tail black. Those at
Gisburne, also in Yorkshire, are said by Bewick to have been sometimes
without dark muzzles, with the inside alone of the ears brown; and they are
elsewhere said to have been low in stature and hornless. (3/51. I am much
indebted to the present Earl of Tankerville for information about his wild
cattle; and for the skull which was sent to Prof. Rutimeyer. The fullest
account of the Chillingham cattle is given by Mr. Hindmarsh, together with
a letter by the late Lord Tankerville, in 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.'
volume 2 1839 page 274. See Bewick 'Quadrupeds' 2nd edition 1791 page 35
note. With respect to those of the Duke of Queensberry see Pennant 'Tour in
Scotland' page 109. For those of Chartley, see Low 'Domesticated Animals of
Britain' 1845 page 238. For those of Gisburne see Bewick 'Quadrupeds' and
'Encyclop. of Rural Sports' page 101.)

The several above-specified differences in the park-cattle, slight though
they be, are worth recording, as they show that animals living nearly in a
state of nature, and exposed to nearly uniform conditions, if not allowed
to roam freely and to cross with other herds, do not keep as uniform as
truly wild animals. For the preservation of a uniform character, even
within the same park, a certain degree of selection--that is, the
destruction of the dark-coloured calves--is apparently necessary.

Boyd Dawkins believes that the park-cattle are descended from anciently
domesticated, and not truly wild animals; and from the occasional
appearance of dark-coloured calves, it is improbable that the aboriginal
Bos primigenius was white. It is curious what a strong, though not
invariable, tendency there is in wild or escaped cattle to become white
with coloured ears, under widely different conditions of life. If the old
writers Boethius and Leslie (3/52. Boethius was born in 1470; 'Annals and
Mag. of Nat. Hist.' volume 2 1839 page 281; and volume 4 1849 page 424.)
can be trusted, the wild cattle of Scotland were white and furnished with a
great mane; but the colour of their ears is not mentioned. In Wales (3/53.
'Youatt on Cattle' 1834 page 48: See also page 242, on shorthorn cattle.
Bell in his 'British Quadrupeds' page 423 states that, after long attending
to the subject, he has found that white cattle invariably have coloured
ears.), during the tenth century, some of the cattle are described as being
white with red ears. Four hundred cattle thus coloured were sent to King
John; and an early record speaks of a hundred cattle with red ears having
been demanded as a compensation for some offence, but, if the cattle were
of a dark or black colour, 150 were to be presented. The black cattle of
North Wales apparently belong, as we have seen, to the small longifrons
type: and as the alternative was offered of either 150 dark cattle, or 100
white cattle with red ears, we may presume that the latter were the larger
beasts, and probably belonged to the primigenius type. Youatt has remarked
that at the present day, whenever cattle of the shorthorn breed are white,
the extremities of their ears are more or less tinged with red.

The cattle which have run wild on the Pampas, in Texas, and in two parts of
Africa, have become of a nearly uniform dark brownish-red. (3/54. Azara
'Quadrupedes du Paraguay' tome 2 page 361. Azara quotes Buffon for the
feral cattle of Africa. For Texas see 'Times' February 18, 1846.) On the
Ladrone Islands, in the Pacific Ocean, immense herds of cattle, which were
wild in the year 1741, are described as "milk-white, except their ears,
which are generally black." (3/55. Anson's Voyage. See Kerr and Porter
'Collection' volume 12 page 103.) The Falkland Islands, situated far south,
with all the conditions of life as different as it is possible to conceive
from those of the Ladrones, offer a more interesting case. Cattle have run
wild there during eighty or ninety years; and in the southern districts the
animals are mostly white, with their feet, or whole heads, or only their
ears black; but my informant, Admiral Sulivan (3/56. See also Mr.
Mackinnon's pamphlet on the Falkland Islands, page 24.), who long resided
on these islands, does not believe that they are ever purely white. So that
in these two archipelagos we see that the cattle tend to become white with
coloured ears. In other parts of the Falkland Islands other colours
prevail: near Port Pleasant brown is the common tint; round Mount Usborn,
about half the animals in some of the herds were lead- or mouse-coloured,
which elsewhere is an unusual tint. These latter cattle, though generally
inhabiting high land, breed about a month earlier than the other cattle;
and this circumstance would aid in keeping them distinct and in
perpetuating a peculiar colour. It is worth recalling to mind that blue or
lead-coloured marks have occasionally appeared on the white cattle of
Chillingham. So plainly different were the colours of the wild herds in
different parts of the Falkland Islands, that in hunting them, as Admiral
Sulivan informs me, white spots in one district, and dark spots in another
district, were always looked out for on the distant hills. In the
intermediate districts, intermediate colours prevailed. Whatever the cause
may be, this tendency in the wild cattle of the Falkland Islands, which are
all descended from a few brought from La Plata, to break up into herds of
three different colours, is an interesting fact.

Returning to the several British breeds, the conspicuous difference in
general appearance between Shorthorns, Longhorns (now rarely seen),
Herefords, Highland cattle, Alderneys, etc., must be familiar to every one.
A part of this difference may be attributed to descent from primordially
distinct species; but we may feel sure that there has been a considerable
amount of variation. Even during the Neolithic period, the domestic cattle
were to a certain extent variable. Within recent times most of the breeds
have been modified by careful and methodical selection. How strongly the
characters thus acquired are inherited, may be inferred from the prices
realised by the improved breeds; even at the first sale of Colling's
Shorthorns, eleven bulls reached an average of 214 pounds, and lately
Shorthorn bulls have been sold for a thousand guineas, and have been
exported to all quarters of the world.

Some constitutional differences may be here noticed. The Shorthorns arrive
at maturity far earlier than the wilder breeds, such as those of Wales or
the Highlands. This fact has been shown in an interesting manner by Mr.
Simonds (3/57. 'The Age of the Ox, Sheep, Pig' etc. by Prof. James Simonds,
published by order of the Royal Agricult. Soc.) who has given a table of
the average period of their dentition, which proves that there is a
difference of no less than six months in the appearance of the permanent
incisors. The period of gestation, from observations made by Tessier on
1131 cows, varies to the extent of eighty-one days; and what is more
interesting, M. Lefour affirms "that the period of gestation is longer in
the large German cattle than in the smaller breeds." (3/58. 'Ann. Agricult.
France' April 1837 as quoted in 'The Veterinary' volume 12 page 725. I
quote Tessier's observations from 'Youatt on Cattle' page 527.) With
respect to the period of conception, it seems certain that Alderney and
Zetland cows often become pregnant earlier than other breeds. (3/59. 'The
Veterinary' volume 8 page 681 and volume 10 page 268. Low 'Domest. Animals,
etc.' page 297.) Lastly, as four fully developed mammae is a generic
character in the genus Bos (3/60. Mr. Ogleby in 'Proc. Zoolog. Soc.' 1836
page 138, and 1840 page 4. Quatrefages quotes Philippi 'Revue des Cours
Scientifiques' February 12, 1688 page 657, that the cattle of Piacentino
have thirteen dorsal vertebrae and ribs in the place of the ordinary number
of twelve.), it is worth notice that with our domestic cows the two
rudimentary mammae often become fairly well developed and yield milk.

As numerous breeds are generally found only in long-civilised countries, it
may be well to show that in some countries inhabited by barbarous races,
who are frequently at war with each other, and therefore have little free
communication, several distinct breeds of cattle now exist or formerly
existed. At the Cape of Good Hope Leguat observed, in the year 1720, three
kinds. (3/61. Leguat's Voyage quoted by Vasey in his 'Delineations of the
Ox-tribe' page 132.) At the present day various travellers have noticed the
differences in the breeds in Southern Africa. Sir Andrew Smith several
years ago remarked to me that the cattle possessed by the different tribes
of Caffres, though living near each other under the same latitude and in
the same kind of country, yet differed, and he expressed much surprise at
the fact. Mr. Andersson has described (3/62. 'Travels in South Africa'
pages 317, 336.) the Damara, Bechuana, and Namaqua cattle; and he informs
me in a letter that the cattle north of Lake Ngami are likewise different,
as Mr. Galton has heard is also the case with the cattle of Benguela. The
Namaqua cattle in size and shape nearly resemble European cattle, and have
short stout horns and large hoofs. The Damara cattle are very peculiar,
being big-boned, with slender legs, and small hard feet; their tails are
adorned with a tuft of long bushy hair nearly touching the ground, and
their horns are extraordinarily large. The Bechuana cattle have even larger
horns, and there is now a skull in London with the two horns 8 ft. 8 1/4
in. long, as measured in a straight line from tip to tip, and no less than
13 ft. 5 in. as measured along their curvature! Mr. Andersson in his letter
to me says that, though he will not venture to describe the differences
between the breeds belonging to the many different sub-tribes, yet such
certainly exist, as shown by the wonderful facility with which the natives
discriminate them.

That many breeds of cattle have originated through variation, independently
of descent from distinct species, we may infer from what we see in South
America, where the genus Bos was not endemic, and where the cattle which
now exist in such vast numbers are the descendants of a few imported from
Spain and Portugal. In Columbia, Roulin (3/63. 'Mem. de 1'Institut present.
par divers Savans' tome 6 1835 page 333. For Brazil see 'Comptes Rendus'
June 15, 1846. See Azara 'Quadrupedes du Paraguay' tome 2 pages 359, 361.)
describes two peculiar breeds, namely, pelones, with extremely thin and
fine hair, and calongos, absolutely naked. According to Castelnau there are
two races in Brazil, one like European cattle, the other different, with
remarkable horns. In Paraguay, Azara describes a breed which certainly
originated in S. America, called chivos, "because they have straight
vertical horns, conical, and very large at the base." He likewise describes
a dwarf race in Corrientes, with short legs and a body larger than usual.
Cattle without horns, and others with reversed hair, have also originated
in Paraguay.

Another monstrous breed, called niatas or natas, of which I saw two small
herds on the northern bank of the Plata, is so remarkable as to deserve a
fuller description. This breed bears the same relation to other breeds, as
bull or pug dogs do to other dogs, or as improved pigs, according to H. von
Nathusius, do to common pigs. (3/64. 'Schweineschadel' 1864 s. 104.
Nathusius states that the form of skull characteristic in the niata cattle
occasionally appears in European cattle; but he is mistaken, as we shall
hereafter see, in supposing that these cattle do not form a distinct race.
Prof. Wyman, of Cambridge, United States, informs me that the common cod-
fish presents a similar monstrosity, called by the fishermen "bull-dog
cod." Prof. Wyman also concluded, after making numerous inquiries in La
Plata, that the niata cattle transmit their peculiarities or form a race.)
Rutimeyer believes that these cattle belong to the primigenius type. (3/65
'Ueber Art des zahmen Europ. Rindes' 1866 s. 28.) The forehead is very
short and broad, with the nasal end of the skull, together with the whole
plane of the upper molar-teeth, curved upwards. The lower jaw projects
beyond the upper, and has a corresponding upward curvature. It is an
interesting fact that an almost similar confirmation characterizes, as I am
informed by Dr. Falconer, the extinct and gigantic Sivatherium of India,
and is not known in any other ruminant. The upper lip is much drawn back,
the nostrils are seated high up and are widely open, the eyes project
outwards, and the horns are large. In walking the head is carried low, and
the neck is short. The hind legs appear to be longer, compared with the
front legs, than is usual. The exposed incisor teeth, the short head and
upturned nostrils, give these cattle the most ludicrous, self-confident air
of defiance. The skull which I presented to the College of Surgeons has
been thus described by Professor Owen (3/66. 'Descriptive Cat. of Ost.
Collect. of College of Surgeons' 1853 page 624. Vasey in his 'Delineations
of the Ox-tribe' has given a figure of this skull; and I sent a photograph
of it to Prof. Rutimeyer.) "It is remarkable from the stunted development
of the nasals, premaxillaries, and fore-part of the lower jaw, which is
unusually curved upwards to come into contact with the premaxillaries. The
nasal bones are about one-third the ordinary length, but retain almost
their normal breadth. The triangular vacuity is left between them, the
frontal and lachrymal, which latter bone articulates with the premaxillary,
and thus excludes the maxillary from any junction with the nasal." So that
even the connexion of some of the bones is changed. Other differences might
be added: thus the plane of the condyles is somewhat modified, and the
terminal edge of the premaxillaries forms an arch. In fact, on comparison
with the skull of a common ox, scarcely a single bone presents the same
exact shape, and the whole skull has a wonderfully different appearance.

The first brief published notice of this race was by Azara, between the
years 1783-96; but Don F. Muniz, of Luxan, who has kindly collected
information for me, states that about 1760 these cattle were kept as
curiosities near Buenos Ayres. Their origin is not positively known, but
they must have originated subsequently to the year 1552, when cattle were
first introduced. Senor Muniz informs me that the breed is believed to have
originated with the Indians southward of the Plata. Even to this day those
reared near the Plata show their less civilised nature in being fiercer
than common cattle, and in the cow, if visited too often, easily deserting
her first calf. The breed is very true, and a niata bull and cow invariably
produce niata calves. The breed has already lasted at least a century. A
niata bull crossed with a common cow, and the reverse cross, yield
offspring having an intermediate character, but with the niata character
strongly displayed. According to Senor Muniz, there is the clearest
evidence, contrary to the common belief of agriculturists in analogous
cases, that the niata cow when crossed with a common bull transmits her
peculiarities more strongly than does the niata bull when crossed with a
common cow. When the pasture is tolerably long, these cattle feed as well
as common cattle with their tongue and palate; but during the great
droughts, when so many animals perish on the Pampas, the niata breed lies
under a great disadvantage, and would, if not attended to, become extinct;
for the common cattle, like horses, are able to keep alive by browsing with
their lips on the twigs of trees and on reeds: this the niatas cannot so
well do, as their lips do not join, and hence they are found to perish
before the common cattle. This strikes me as a good illustration of how
little we are able to judge from the ordinary habits of an animal, on what
circumstances, occurring only at long intervals of time, its rarity or
extinction may depend. It shows us, also, how natural selection would have
determined the rejection of the niata modification had it arisen in a state
of nature.

Having described the semi-monstrous niata breed, I may allude to a white
bull, said to have been brought from Africa, which was exhibited in London
in 1829, and which has been well figured by Mr. Harvey. (3/67. Loudon's
'Magazine of Nat. Hist.' volume 1 1829 page 113. Separate figures are given
of the animal, its hoofs, eye, and dewlap.) It had a hump, and was
furnished with a mane. The dewlap was peculiar, being divided between its
fore-legs into parallel divisions. Its lateral hoofs were annually shed,
and grew to the length of five or six inches. The eye was very peculiar,
being remarkably prominent, and "resembled a cup and ball, thus enabling
the animal to see on all sides with equal ease; the pupil was small and
oval, or rather a parallelogram with the ends cut off, and lying
transversely across the ball." A new and strange breed might probably have
been formed by careful breeding and selection from this animal.

I have often speculated on the probable causes through which each separate
district in Great Britain came to possess in former times its own peculiar
breed of cattle; and the question is, perhaps, even more perplexing in the
case of Southern Africa. We now know that the differences may be in part
attributed to descent from distinct species; but this cause is far from
sufficient. Have the slight differences in climate and in the nature of the
pasture, in the different districts of Britain, directly induced
corresponding differences in the cattle? We have seen that the semi-wild
cattle in the several British parks are not identical in colouring or size,
and that some degree of selection has been requisite to keep them true. It
is almost certain that abundant food given during many generations directly
affects the size of a breed. (3/68. Low 'Domesticated Animals of the
British Isles' page 264.) That climate directly affects the thickness of
the skin and the hair is likewise certain: thus Roulin asserts (69 'Mem. de
l'Institut present. Par divers Savans' tome 6 1835 page 332.) that the
hides of the feral cattle on the hot Llanos "are always much less heavy
than those of the cattle raised on the high platform of Bogota; and that
these hides yield in weight and in thickness of hair to those of the cattle
which have run wild on the lofty Paramos." The same difference has been
observed in the hides of the cattle reared on the bleak Falkland Islands
and on the temperate Pampas. Low has remarked (3/70. Idem pages 304, 368
etc.) that the cattle which inhabit the more humid parts of Britain have
longer hair and thicker skins than other British cattle. When we compare
highly improved stall-fed cattle with the wilder breeds, or compare
mountain and lowland breeds, we cannot doubt that an active life, leading
to the free use of the limbs and lungs, affects the shape and proportions
of the whole body. It is probable that some breeds, such as the semi-
monstrous niata cattle, and some peculiarities, such as being hornless,
etc., have appeared suddenly owing to what we may call in our ignorance
spontaneous variation; but even in this case a rude kind of selection is
necessary, and the animals thus characterised must be at least partially
separated from others. This degree of care, however, has sometimes been
taken even in little-civilised districts, where we should least have
expected it, as in the case of the niata, chivo, and hornless cattle in S.

That methodical selection has done wonders within a recent period in
modifying our cattle, no one doubts. During the process of methodical
selection it has occasionally happened that deviations of structure, more
strongly pronounced than mere individual differences, yet by no means
deserving to be called monstrosities, have been taken advantage of: thus
the famous Longhorn Bull, Shakespeare, though of the pure Canley stock,
"scarcely inherited a single point of the long-horned breed, his horns
excepted (3/71. 'Youatt on Cattle' page 193. A full account of this bull is
taken from Marshall.); yet in the hands of Mr. Fowler, this bull greatly
improved his race. We have also reason to believe that selection, carried
on so far unconsciously that there was at no one time any distinct
intention to improve or change the breed, has in the course of time
modified most of our cattle; for by this process, aided by more abundant
food, all the lowland British breeds have increased greatly in size and in
early maturity since the reign of Henry VII. (3/72. 'Youatt on Cattle' page
116. Lord Spencer has written on this same subject.) It should never be
forgotten that many animals have to be annually slaughtered; so that each
owner must determine which shall be killed and which preserved for
breeding. In every district, as Youatt has remarked, there is a prejudice
in favour of the native breed; so that animals possessing qualities,
whatever they may be, which are most valued in each district, will be
oftenest preserved; and this unmethodical selection assuredly will in the
long run affect the character of the whole breed. But it may be asked, can
this rude kind of selection have been practised by barbarians such as those
of southern Africa? In a future chapter on Selection we shall see that this
has certainly occurred to some extent. Therefore, looking to the origin of
the many breeds of cattle which formerly inhabited the several districts of
Britain, I conclude that, although slight differences in the nature of the
climate, food, etc., as well as changed habits of life, aided by
correlation of growth, and the occasional appearance from unknown causes of
considerable deviations of structure, have all probably played their parts;
yet that the occasional preservation in each district of those individual
animals which were most valued by each owner has perhaps been even more
effective in the production of the several British breeds. As soon as two
or more breeds were formed in any district, or when new breeds descended
from distinct species were introduced, their crossing, especially if aided
by some selection, will have multiplied the number and modified the
characters of the older breeds.


I shall treat this subject briefly. Most authors look at our domestic sheep
as descended from several distinct species. Mr. Blyth, who has carefully
attended to the subject, believes that fourteen wild species now exist, but
"that not one of them can be identified as the progenitor of any one of the
interminable domestic races." M. Gervais thinks that there are six species
of Ovis (3/73. Blyth on the genus Ovis in 'Annals and Mag. of Nat. History'
volume 7 1841 page 261. With respect to the parentage of the breeds see Mr.
Blyth's excellent articles in 'Land and Water' 1867 pages 134, 156. Gervais
'Hist. Nat. des Mammiferes' 1855 tome 2 page 191.) but that our domestic
sheep form a distinct genus, now completely extinct. A German naturalist
(3/74. Dr. L. Fitzinger 'Ueber die Racen des Zahmen Schafes' 1860 s. 86.)
believes that our sheep descend from ten aboriginally distinct species, of
which only one is still living in a wild state! Another ingenious observer
(3/75. J. Anderson 'Recreations in Agriculture and Natural History' volume
2 page 264.), though not a naturalist, with a bold defiance of everything
known on geographical distribution, infers that the sheep of Great Britain
alone are the descendants of eleven endemic British forms! Under such a
hopeless state of doubt it would be useless for my purpose to give a
detailed account of the several breeds; but a few remarks may be added.

Sheep have been domesticated from a very ancient period. Rutimeyer (3/76.
'Pfahlbauten' s. 127, 193.) found in the Swiss lake-dwellings the remains
of a small breed, with thin tall legs, and horns like those of a goat, thus
differing somewhat from any kind now known. Almost every country has its
own peculiar breed; and many countries have several breeds differing
greatly from each other. One of the most strongly marked races is an
Eastern one with a long tail, including, according to Pallas, twenty
vertebrae, and so loaded with fat that it is sometimes placed on a truck,
which is dragged about by the living animal. These sheep, though ranked by
Fitzinger as a distinct aboriginal form, bear in their drooping ears the
stamp of long domestication. This is likewise the case with those sheep
which have two great masses of fat on the rump, with the tail in a
rudimentary condition. The Angola variety of the long-tailed race has
curious masses of fat on the back of the head and beneath the jaws. (3/77.
'Youatt on Sheep' page 120.) Mr. Hodgson in an admirable paper (3/78.
'Journal of the Asiatic Soc. of Bengal' volume 16 pages 1007, 1016.) on the
sheep of the Himalaya infers from the distribution of the several races,
"that this caudal augmentation in most of its phases is an instance of
degeneracy in these pre-eminently Alpine animals." The horns present an
endless diversity in character; being not rarely absent, especially in the
female sex, or, on the other hand, amounting to four or even eight in
number. The horns, when numerous, arise from a crest on the frontal bone,
which is elevated in a peculiar manner. It is remarkable that multiplicity
of horns "is generally accompanied by great length and coarseness of the
fleece." (3/79. 'Youatt on Sheep' pages 142-169.) This correlation,
however, is far from being general; for instance, I am informed by Mr. D.
Forbes, that the Spanish sheep in Chile resemble, in fleece and in all
other characters, their parent merino-race, except that instead of a pair
they generally bear four horns. The existence of a pair of mammae is a
generic character in the genus Ovis as well as in several allied forms;
nevertheless, as Mr. Hodgson has remarked, "this character is not
absolutely constant even among the true and proper sheep: for I have more
than once met with Cagias (a sub-Himalayan domestic race) possessed of four
teats." (3/80. 'Journal Asiat. Soc. of Bengal' volume 16 1847 page 1015.)
This case is the more remarkable as, when any part or organ is present in
reduced number in comparison with the same part in allied groups, it
usually is subject to little variation. The presence of interdigital pits
has likewise been considered as a generic distinction in sheep; but Isidore
Geoffroy (3/81. 'Hist. Nat. Gen.' tome 3 page 435.) has shown that these
pits or pouches are absent in some breeds.

In sheep there is a strong tendency for characters, which have apparently
been acquired under domestication, to become attached either exclusively to
the male sex, or to be more highly developed in this than in the other sex.
Thus in many breeds the horns are deficient in the ewe, though this
likewise occurs occasionally with the female of the wild musmon. In the
rams of the Wallachian breed, "the horns spring almost perpendicularly from
the frontal bone, and then take a beautiful spiral form; in the ewes they
protrude nearly at right angles from the head, and then become twisted in a
singular manner." (3/82. 'Youatt on Sheep' page 138.) Mr. Hodgson states
that the extraordinarily arched nose or chaffron, which is so highly
developed in several foreign breeds, is characteristic of the ram alone,
and apparently is the result of domestication. (3/83. 'Journal Asiat. Soc.
of Bengal' volume 16 1847 pages 1015, 1016.) I hear from Mr. Blyth that the
accumulation of fat in the fat-tailed sheep of the plains of India is
greater in the male than in the female; and Fitzinger (3/84. 'Racen des
Zahmen Schafes' s. 77.) remarks that the mane in the African maned race is
far more developed in the ram than in the ewe.

Different races of sheep, like cattle, present constitutional differences.
Thus the improved breeds arrive at maturity at an early age, as has been
well shown by Mr. Simonds through their early average period of dentition.
The several races have become adapted to different kinds of pasture and
climate: for instance, no one can rear Leicester sheep on mountainous
regions, where Cheviots flourish. As Youatt has remarked, "In all the
different districts of Great Britain we find various breeds of sheep
beautifully adapted to the locality which they occupy. No one knows their
origin; they are indigenous to the soil, climate, pasturage, and the
locality on which they graze; they seem to have been formed for it and by
it." (3/85. 'Rural Economy of Norfolk' volume 2 page 136.) Marshall relates
(3/86. 'Youatt on Sheep' page 312. On same subject, see excellent remarks
in 'Gardener's Chronicle' 1858 page 868. For experiments in crossing
Cheviot sheep with Leicesters see Youatt page 325.) that a flock of heavy
Lincolnshire and light Norfolk sheep which had been bred together in a
large sheep-walk, part of which was low, rich, and moist, and another part
high and dry, with benty grass, when turned out, regularly separated from
each other; the heavy sheep drawing off to the rich soil, and the lighter
sheep to their own soil; so that "whilst there was plenty of grass the two
breeds kept themselves as distinct as rooks and pigeons." Numerous sheep
from various parts of the world have been brought during a long course of
years to the Zoological Gardens of London; but as Youatt, who attended the
animals as a veterinary surgeon, remarks, "few or none die of the rot, but
they are phthisical; not one of them from a torrid climate lasts out the
second year, and when they die their lungs are tuberculated." (3/87.
'Youatt on Sheep' note page 491.) There is very good evidence that English
breeds of sheep will not succeed in France. (3/88. M. Malingie-Nouel
'Journal R. Agricult. Soc.' volume 14 1853 page 214 translated and
therefore approved by a great authority, Mr. Pusey.) Even in certain parts
of England it has been found impossible to keep certain breeds of sheep;
thus on a farm on the banks of the Ouse, the Leicester sheep were so
rapidly destroyed by pleuritis (3/89. 'The Veterinary' volume 10 page 217.)

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