BREEDING AND WHELPING 317
consigned to the oblivion of the lethal chamber, where the thoroughbred seldom finds its way. And if as many as 500 undesirables are destroyed every week at one such institution, 'tis clear that the ill-bred mongrel must soon altogether disappear. But the chief factor in the general improvement of our canine population is due to the steadily growing care and pride which are bestowed upon the dog, and to the scientific skill with which he is being bred.
Admitting that the dogs seen at our best contemporary shows are superlative examples of scientific selection, one has yet to acknowledge that the process of breeding for show points has its disadvantages, and that, in the sporting and pastoral varieties more especially, utility is apt to be sacrificed to ornament and type, and stamina to fancy qualities not always relative to the animal's capacities as a worker. The standards of perfection and scales of points laid down by the specialist clubs are usually admirable guides to the uninitiated, but they are often unreasonably arbitrary in their insistence upon certain details of form-generally in the neighbourhood of the head-while they leave the qualities of type and character to look after themselves or to be totally ignored.
It is necessary to assure the beginner in breeding that points are essentially of far less moment than type and a good constitution. The one thing necessary in the cultivation of the dog is to bear in mind the purpose for which he is supposed to be employed, and to aim at adapting or conserving his physique to the best fulfilment of that purpose, remembering that the Greyhound has tucked-up loins to give elasticity and bend to the body in running, that a Terrier is kept small to enable him the better to enter an earth, that a Bulldog is massive and undershot for encounters in the bullring, that the Collie's ears are erected to assist him in hearing sounds from afar, as those of the Bloodhound are pendant, the more readily to detect sounds coming to him along the ground while his head is bent to the trail. Nature has been discriminate in her adaptations of animal forms, and the most perfect