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Major Richardsons Dalmatian/Deerhound Breeding
The Field naturalist's quarterly Gerald Rowley Leighton - 1902
(Compiled by Steve Tillotson February 2013)


IWT Editor notes: It was quite by chance I found the reference article below and it introduced a new word to my vocabulary "Telogony". So what is Telogony?

Telogony is a discredited, superstitious belief that offspring bred from one sire may also inherit characteristics from another sire to which the dam had been successfully bred on a previous occasion.

The short article below involving Major Richardson raises an important issue. That issue is the subject of "genetic inheritence". Gregor Mendel with his experiements with varieties of peas discovered genetics, but it wasnt until the early 20th century that the value and meaning of his experiements were appreciated, understood and further investigated. So back in Captain Grahams time, "knowledge" of genetic inheritence was the product of ignorance, guesses, opinions etc. I have been fairly critical of the 19th century (and earlier) writings by "Naturalists" because they also had no knowledge or understanding of genetic inheritence, yet, with all their non-knowledge they were very inclined to make statements about the origins of a breed. Their conclusions were largely based on ":phenotype" (what the dog looked like). If it had a heavy head and a fine houndy body, they might conclude that dog xxxx was the product of a cross between a mastiff and a greyhound for example. Also, they subscribed to the notion of "Telogony". Unfortunatley, such Naturalists didn't present their conclusions as a hypothosis, they wrote "with authority" and presented their theory as "facts". This is another reason why we have to be cautious in studying legacy writings on the origins of breeds.

Captain Graham and Major Richardson were assertive characters and they were both very adament that the Deerhound is a degenerated descendent of the Irish Wolfdog and they took exception with anyone who dared challenge them. G W Hickman didn't shy away from such a debate and his counter response to Graham and Richardsons claim is way more compelling than Graham and Richardsons contention. A contention by the way that they were unable to substantiate. Why do I mention this old argument between the Graham camp and the Hickman camp?

I mention it because Captain Graham also had views about coat (rough vs smooth) and colours of the Wolfdog/Wolfhound/Deerhound. And limited by his lack of knowledge of genetic inheritence he made statements of "fact", making the same error the Naturalists did. Some 150 years later, we, in the 21st century, not only know about genetic inheritence, we have the benefit of DNA studies on the inheritence of coat type and colour. This is as far as I can take these IWT editor notes at the current time (February 2013), but I will be undertaking a study, specific to the topic of coat and colour inheritence as part of the larger project of documenting the breeds history.

As regards the article below. The Deerhound/Dalmatian information is towards the end of the article, but I have included the several paragraphs that preceded it to give some context to the Deerhound/Dalmatian notes.

Here's the original article on the topic of Telogony and the Dalmatian/Deerhound breeding -


(Article from The Field naturalist's quarterly - Volume 1 - Page 65 Gerald Rowley Leighton - 1902)-

TELEGONY IN DOGS
By J. Cossar Ewart, M.D., F.R.S., University of Edinburgh.

The crude philosophic theories of the eighteenth century gradually gave place during the nineteenth to theories largely based on observation and experiment, with the result that we are now all saying the "age of science" has come and that the " scientific spirit is the spirit of the age." Though it is doubtless true the methods of to-day differ decidedly from the haphazard methods of former generations, it is also true that many of our beliefs are still reminiscent of the middle ages. This becomes especially evident when the views commonly held in regard to vital phenomena are taken into consideration.

We, as a rule, still cling to the doctrine of "the transmission of acquired characters "; like the patriarchs of old, we think the offspring are liable to be definitely influenced by "maternal impressions." Breeders commonly assume that certain characters are contributed by the male parent, while others are as certainly inherited from the female; and physicians as well as breeders are still largely prejudiced in favour of the doctrine of " infection," the "throwing back" to a previous mate of the dam. About the doctrine of "infection," or telegony, I propose to say something in this paper. As the subject is a large one, I shall deal only with the question, Does "throwing back" to a previous mate occur amongst dogs?

There is hardly any one interested in dogs who has not heard again and again of pups far more closely resembling a former mate of the dam—a mate, perchance, of a different breed — than their actual parents, and many fanciers firmly believe that this resemblance is due to the dam having been, in some mysterious way, more or less permanently influenced—" corrupted "—by a previous and generally unsought-for alliance. Moreover, many fanciers believe that this throwing back, instead of being a rare occurrence, is comparatively common.

Theoretically the offspring should, in their characters, be about intermediate between their parents and their remote ancestors. This, however, is seldom the case, more especially when the parents are unrelated or members of two perfectly distinct breeds. In other words, even in pure-breed stock there is often evidence of variation. Whenever the offspring obviously differ from the immediate parents, the breeder naturally endeavours to account for the difference—whether it be in form, colour, or disposition. Such differences, as recent experiments clearly prove, may be, amongst other things, due to throwing back to a more or less remote ancestor, or be quite new departures—i.e., due to variation in a direction new to the breed. It may very well happen that reversion to a remote ancestor may result in characters extremely suggestive of a previous mate, and that a previous mate belonging to a different strain may be more or less accurately mimicked by perfectly new departures. It hence follows that to be in a position to come to a conclusion as to any given variation one must have a very thorough knowledge of the remote as well as of the recent ancestors.

This is exactly the kind of knowledge all but unattainable in the case of any of our domestic animals, yet breeders and fanciers seldom hesitate to explain the variations they from time to time notice: in many cases, on very slender evidence, they rush to the conclusion that the differences in colour, make, &c, can only be accounted for by the doctrine of infection.

I doubt if there is any group in which it is more difficult to account for the variations so frequently met with than in the one under consideration. This is partly due to the fact that our dogs have in all probability had a multiple origin, — have sprung from several perfectly distinct wild varieties or species,—and partly to the fact that for centuries intercrossing has been, for one reason or another, repeatedly resorted to, or effected without the knowledge of the breeder. As it will be at once admitted that but few, if any, breeds can boast of centuries of unsullied pedigree, I need only refer here to the multiple origin of our dogs.

In dealing with the infection hypothesis, there are two very obvious lines of procedure—(1) by experiments, likely to give infection a chance of declaring itself, and (2) in the absence of positive experimental evidence of infection, to indicate that in the supposed cases of infection recorded some other explanation is equally, it may be more, feasible.

In evidence of the view that there is no such thing as infection, the late Sir Everett Millais, Bart, (an acknowledged authority on all matters relating to dog-breeding), may be quoted.

In 'Two Problems of Reproduction' Millais tells us "that in a breeding experience of nearly thirty years' standing, during which I have made all sorts of experiments with pure-bred dams and wild sires, and returned them afterwards to pure sires of their own breeds, I have never seen a case of telegony, nor has my breeding stock suffered." Continuing, Millais says, "I may further adduce the fact that I have made over fifty experiments for Prof. Romanes to induce a case of telegony in a variety of animals—dogs, ducks, hens, pigeons, &c.—and I have hopelessly failed, as has every single experimenter who has tried to produce the phenomenon. He further says, what is more to the point, that on making inquiries at home and abroad — on the Continent and in America — he heard of an enormous number of so-called cases of infection, but all such cases "would not bear a critical inspection for a moment." Yet Millais, like so many others, was unable to shake himself quite free from the telegony superstition. He had no difficulty in detecting flaws in the evidence submitted by the ordinary unscientific fancier, but he failed to see in a case that came under his own observation that the evidence in support of infection was equally faulty. This was the case of a fox-terrier which because of its spots was said to throw back to a Dalmatian—a previous mate of the terrier's dam. Millais says of this case, "I have not the slightest doubt that in this fox-terrier we have a perfectly authentic instance of telegony"; hence he came to the conclusion that infection did occur, but was "exceedingly rare, and therefore abnormal."

That the fox-terrier in question was spotted is not for a moment questioned, but that it owed its spots to a previous Dalmatian sire is more than doubtful. In the first place, when a Dalmatian is crossed the offspring are more liable to be marked with large blotches than small round spots; and in the second place, fox-terriers, like setters and certain other breeds in which there is neither an actual nor an imaginary (telegonous) Dalmatian in the ancestry, often enough present Dalmatian-like spots. Some years ago I crossed a sable-and-white collie with a Dalmatian. The three pups obtained in no way suggested the Dalmatian sire. The body colour was of a yellowish tint, and each pup was marked with four or five large reddish blotches such as commonly occur in foxhounds. Only once in half-bred Dalmatians did I obtain spots, and in this case they were small and indistinct. I may hence say of Millais' single instance of infection that (like the enormous number of so called cases brought under his notice) it does not bear "critical inspection for a moment."

Every year an immense number of telegony experiments (mostly unintentional) are made with dogs, and though, as a rule, no records of any value are kept, it would be possible to submit a large amount of evidence to show that, even when the circumstances are most favourable, "infection" has been conspicuous by its absence. I shall, however, only give the results of three experiments.

1. Hepsy, a black-brindled Scottish terrier by Kilgreggan out of Bannockburn Lady (two famous pure-bred terriers by "Champion" Dundee), had first of all a litter of pups to a curly-haired liver-and-white cocker-spaniel. These pups being of a brown-and-white colour, and decidedly spaniel-like in build, proved that Hepsy, though inbred, was capable of being influenced by a sire of a different strain. In due time Hepsy was mated with Roden, a purebred dog of her own breed. Gorst, the result of this union, was a typical black-brindled terrier with the small erect ears and wiry straight hair characteristic of the breed —i.e., there was nothing about Gorst suggestive of the soft wavy hair and large drooping ears of Hepsy's previous mate, the cocker-spaniel.

Hepsy, next mated with "Champion" Revival, produced Rustic Beauty, who was as true to the terrier type as her half-brother Gorst.

Rustic Beauty proved as free of infection as her mother. To Heather Prince she produced "Champion" Gair, and to another dog she gave birth to a daughter, which, mated with her half-brother Gair, yielded "Champion" Glory.

That the subsequent offspring of Hepsy were true to type is attested by the fact that Gorst, Gair, and Glory were all noted prize-winners.

A pure-breed Scottish deerhound, while in the possession of Professor A. E. Mettam, B.Sc. (now Principal of the Royal Veterinary College, Dublin), had first a litter of pups to a retriever. All these pups took more after the retriever sire than their deerhound dam. Subsequently the deerhound had pups to a pure-bred deerhound belonging to Harry Rawson, Esq., of Joppa, Mid-Lothian. These subsequent pups in no single point suggested the previous retriever mate.

After classifying the results of a number of experiments with dogs, I came to the conclusion that the spotted carriage or Dalmatian dog and the Scottish deerhound were well adapted for testing the truth of the infection doctrine. Of several experiments made, only one need be referred to. Mona, a Scottish deerhound bred by Major Richardson, was when two years old mated with a typical Dalmatian. The result was seven pups, one slender and of a grey colour, one brown with white markings, and five black with white markings. Some of the white patches in the brown and black specimens show faint irregular spots. After an interval of eight months the deerhound was put to Corrachan, a well-known deerhound sire belonging to Mr Rawson. On the 14th October 1901 five pups were born, two of which resemble the sire, two take after the dam, while one is lighter in colour than the dam. In no single point do they suggest the previous Dalmatian mate.

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