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Misleading Information About Irish Wolfdog Deerhound history
The Scientific Proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society, Volume 2 1880
On the recent and extinct Irish Mammals Mr A Leith Adams
(Article compiled by Steve Tillotson, January 2013)


This is an article which exemplefies how some 19th century writers manipulated earlier writings to make them "fit" their agenda and opinions. In his book "The History Of The Irish Wolfdog" Edmund Hogan wrote the following--

"PARAGRAPH 149. In October, 1878, Mr A Leith Adams had a paper in the Scientific Proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society, P 66 "On recent and Extinct Irish Mammals" He says "The formidable Irish wolf dog appears to have been, from time immemorial, the companion of the warrior, and used in hunting the boar, deer, and especially the wolf. It seems of the same race as the Scotch rough-haired deerhound, as appears (1) from the evidence of the Dublin Penny Journal. (2) from the skulls of the Crannoge, near Dunshaughlin. These skulls are figured and referred to by Sir W Wilde etc....."

*******Hogan's extract includes" (1) from the evidence of the Dublin Penny Journal". But Hogan doesn't expand upon or clarify this "evidence" mentioned by Mr Leith. Readers familiar with articles on the Irish Wolfhound as published in the Dublin Penny Journal will be aware that the most well known, oft referenced article is H D Richardsons article, which is hardly an objective or scientific paper, it is a paper in support of the Richardsononions theory on the origins of the Wolf Hound and Deerhound which have been disputed by many others, including Hickman, Ash, Dalzeil, Watson etc.

Herebelow is verbatim Mr A Leith Adams' article referenced by Hogan. I leave it up to readers to make their own interpretation rather than colour the picture by imposing an opinion on it in advance.

The Scientific Proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society, Volume 2 1880
On the recent and extinct Irish Mammals
Mr A Leith Adams


The Irish Wolf Dog. The formidable dog under this name seems to have been used in Ireland from time immemorial up to the decline and extinction of the wolf. It was evidently the companion of the warrior in battle; and was used also in hunting the boar, deer, and especially the wolf. From the evidence furnished in an **elaborate article on this dog, if it would seem that the animal belonged to the same race as the Scotch rough-haired Deer-hound, and that view is further supported by skulls discovered in a crannoge

** Trans. Roy. Irish Acad., vol. xxvi. p. 228. Irish Penny Magazine, Vol. I.

near Dunshaughlin, county Meath. The same are figured and referred to by Sir William Wilde, and enumerated in the Catalogue of Antiquities of the Royal Irish Academy* These crania (6) are now in the Museum of Science and Art, Imtthe largest recorded by Wilde is not in the collection. Four of the specimens evidently belonged to the same breed, whilst the fifth, stained black as if from bog deposit or charcoal, represents a shorter-muzzled hound, and possibly of a mixed breed. I have compared the foregoing with crania of wolves and deer hounds, and also with a very large skull in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, of a thoroughbred German boar hound, three years old, whose height was 32 inches at the shoulder.

As regards dimensions, the largest Irish skull (Plate V.) exceeds that of the German hound as follows:—

Irish, Germta, Inchci. Inchea.
Length of Skull, .... 10 9
Breadth of Forehead, . . .3.3 3
Length of Snout, . . . .4.5 4.3
Breadth of Palate at the first true molar, . 2.8 2.6

The sagittal and lambdoidal ridges are far more prominent in the Irish than in the German skull, showing thereby more extensive muscular attachments. The snout is somewhat broader in the German cranium, and the molars are larger and more wolflike in the Irish, whose canines are robust and very like the same teeth in the wolf. Indeed the Irish skulls are searcely to be differentiated osteologically from those of the wolf: the variability, however, in size between the adult specimens, is greater than would ordinarily appear in the latter, and the muzzles are considerably stouter. Judging, therefore, from the larger specimen referred to by Wilde—who gives the length of the cranium as 11 inches, of which is one inch more than the above, it will appear that these two crania must have belonged to truly noble hounds, of a breed similar to the Scotch hound, although much larger than the ordinary individuals met with now-a-days. Two of the crania show fractures of the brain case, and, in addition, one displays, on the muzzle, a partially healed up incisive wound by some sharp instrument.

* Proc Boy. Irish Ac, Vol. 1. and Vol. VII., and Catalogue page 222. t Proc Roy. Irish Ac, vol. VII., page 194.
Scien. Proc. R.D.S., Vor.. n., Pt. I. FJ


IWT Editor Note - You have above the "original" words by Mr A Leith Adams. Did you notice the reference (** Trans. Roy. Irish Acad., vol. xxvi. p. 228. Irish Penny Magazine, Vol. I) in his article? You may not be surprised to learn that this "evidence" as Hogan calls it is in fact H D Richardsons article as mentioned above. I have no doubt that Mr A Leith Adams referenced the H D Richardson article in all good faith. Whether Hogan deserves similar good faith trust, or, whether Hogan merely exploited the writings of another author, (whilst failing to point out that the "evidence" contained in Mr A Leith Adams article was in fact the very document that is a primary source and reference for Hogans book) to introduce "evidence" disguised as a fresh authoratative reference by Mr A Leith Adams I will leave the readers to conclude. Readers can read more about the Richardsonians "theory" on breed origins here and of the connection with Hogan to the Richardsonian camp.



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About Dogs from the Crannoges of Ireland. S. Studer, 1893

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