This is part 3 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Cibaria fere eadem sunt utrique generi praebenda. nam si tam laxa rura sunt, ut sustineant pecorum greges, omnis sine discrimine hordeacea farina cum sero commode pascit. sin autem surculo consitus ager sine pascuo est, farreo vel triticeo pane satiandi sunt, admixto tamen liquore coctae fabae, sed tepido, nam fervens rabiem creat. huic quadripedi neque feminae neque mari nisi post annum permittenda venus est, quae si teneris conceditur, carpit et corpus et vires animosque degenerat. primus effetae partus amovendus est, quoniam tiruncula nec recte nutrit et educatio totius habitus aufert incrementum. mares iuveniliter usque in annos decem progenerant, post id tempus ineundis feminis non videntur habiles, quoniam seniorum pigra suboles existit. feminae concipiunt usque in annos novem nec sunt utiles post decimum. catulos sex mensibus primis, dum corroborentur, emitti non oportet nisi ad matrem lusus ac lasciviae causa. postea catenis per diem continendi et noctibus solvendi, nec umquam eos, quorum generosam volumus indolem conservare, patiemur alienae nutricis uberibus educari, quoniam semper et lac et spiritus maternus longe magis ingenii atque incrementa corporis auget. quod si et feta lacte deficitur, caprinum maxime conveniet praeberi catulis, dum fiant mensum quattuor. nominibus autem non longissimis appellandi sunt, quo celerius quisque vocatus exaudiat, nec tamen brevioribus quam quae duabus syllabis enuntiantur, sicuti Graecum est Σκύλαξ, Latinum Ferox, Graecum Λάκων, Latinum Celer; vel femina, ut sunt Graeca Σπουδή, Ἀλκή, Ῥώμη; Latina Lupa, Cerva, Tigris. catulorum caudas post diem quadragensimum, quam sint editi, sic castrare conveniet. nervus est, qui per articulos spinae prorepit usque ad ultimam partem caudae; is mordicus conprehensus et aliquatenus eductus abrumpitur, quo facto neque in longitudinem cauda foedum capit incrementum, et, ut plurimi pastores adfirmant, rabies arcetur, letifer morbus huic generi.
(Columella, De Re Rustica 7.12.10-14)

Practically the same food should be given to both types of dog. If the farm is extensive enough to support herds of cattle, barley-flour with whey is a suitable food for all dogs without distinction; but if the land is closely planted with young shoots and affords no pasture, they must be given their fill of bread made from emmer or wheaten flour, mixed, however, with the liquid of boiled beans, which must be lukewarm, for, if it is boiling, it causes madness. Neither dogs nor bitches must be allowed to have sexual intercourse until they are a year old; for if they are allowed to do so when they are quite young, it enfeebles their bodies and their strength, and causes them to degenerate mentally. The first puppies which a bitch produces must be taken from her, because at the first attempt she does not nourish them properly and the rearing of them hinders her general bodily growth. Dogs procreate vigorously up to ten years of age, but beyond that they do not seem suitable for covering bitches, for the offspring of an elderly dog turns out to be slow and lazy. Bitches conceive up to nine years of age, but are not serviceable after the tenth year. Puppies should not be allowed to run loose during the first six months, until they are grown strong, except to join their mother in sport and play; later they should be kept on the chain during the day and let loose at night. We should never allow those whose noble qualities we wish to preserve, to be brought up at the dugs of any strange bitch, since its mother’s milk and spirit always does much more to foster the growth of their minds and bodies. But if a bitch which has a litter is deficient in milk, it will be best to provide goats’ milk for the puppies until they are four months old. Dogs should be called by names which are not very long, so that each may obey more quickly when he is called, but they should not have shorter names than those which are pronounced in two syllables,” such as the Greek Σκύλαξ (puppy) and the Latin Ferox (savage), the Greek Λάκων (Spartan) and the Latin Celer (speedy) or, for a bitch, the Greek Σπουδή (zeal), Ἀλκή (Valour), Ῥώμη (strength) or the Latin Lupa (she-wolf), Cerva (hind) and Tigris (tigress). It will be found best to cut the tails of puppies forty days after birth in the following manner: there is a nerve, which passes along through the joints of the spine down to the extremity of the tail; this is taken between the teeth and drawn out a little way and then broken. As a result, the tail never grows to an ugly length and (so many shepherds declare) rabies, a disease which is fatal to this animal, is prevented. (tr. Edward S. Forster & Edward H. Heffner)



This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

Mores autem neque mitissimi nec rursus truces atque crudeles, quod illi furem quoque adulantur, hi etiam domesticos invadunt. satis est severos esse nec blandos, ut non numquam etiam conservos iratius intuantur, semper excandescant in exteros. maxime autem debent in custodia vigilantes conspici nec erronei, sed adsidui et circumspecti magis quam temerarii. nam illi, nisi quod certum conpererunt, non indicant, hi vano strepitu et falsa suspicione concitantur. haec idcirco memoranda credidi, quia non natura tantum, sed etiam disciplina mores facit, ut et, cum emendi potestas fuerit, eius modi probemus et, cum educabimus domi natos, talibus institutis formemus. nec multum refert, an villatici corporibus graves et parum veloces sint; plus enim comminus et in gradu quam eminus et in spatioso cursu facere debent. nam semper circa septa et intra aedificium consistunt, immo ne longius quidem recedere debent satisque pulchre funguntur officio, si et advenientem sagaciter odorantur et latratu conterrent nec patiuntur propius accedere vel constantius adpropinquantem violenter invadunt. primum est enim non adtemptari, secundum est lacessitum fortiter et perseveranter vindicari. atque haec de domesticis custodibus, illa de pastoralibus. pecuarius canis neque tam strigosus aut pernix debet esse, quam qui dammas cervosque et velocissima sectantur animalia, nec tam obesus aut gravis quam villae horreique custos; sed et robustus nihilo minus et aliquatenus promptus ac strenuus, quoniam et ad rixam pugnamque nec minus ad cursum conparatur, cum et lupi repellere insidias et raptorem ferum consequi fugientem praedamque excutere atque auferre debeat. quare status eius longior productiorque ad hos casus magis habilis est quam brevis aut etiam quadratus, quoniam, ut dixi, non numquam necessitas exigit celeritate bestiam consectandi. ceteri artus similes membris villatici canis aeque probantur.
(Columella, De Re Rustica 7.12.5-9)

In character they should neither be very mild nor, on the other hand, savage and cruel; if they are mild, they fawn on everyone, including the thief; if they are fierce they attack even the people of the house. It is enough that they should be stern but not fawning, so that they sometimes look even upon their companions in servitude with a somewhat wrathful eye, while they always blaze with anger against strangers. Above all they should be seen to be vigilant in their watch and not given to wandering, but diligent and cautious rather than rash; for the cautious do not give the alarm unless they have discovered something for certain, whereas the rash are aroused by any vain noise and groundless suspicion. I have thought it necessary to mention these points, because it is not nature alone but education as well which forms character, so that, when there is an opportunity of buying a dog, we may choose one with these qualities and that when we are going to train dogs which have been born at home, we may bring them up on such principles as these. It does not matter much if farm-yard dogs are heavily built and lack speed, since they have to function rather at close quarters and where they are posted than at a distance and over a wide area; for they should always remain round the enclosures and within the buildings, indeed they ought never go out farther from home and can perfectly well carry out their duties by cleverly scenting out anyone who approaches and frightening him by barking and not allowing him to come any nearer, or, if he insists on approaching, they violently attack him. Their first duty is not to allow themselves to be attacked, their second duty to defend themselves with courage and pertinacity if they are provoked. So much for the dogs which guard the house; our next subject is sheep-dogs. A dog which is to guard cattle ought not to be as lean and swift of foot as one which pursues deer and stags and the swiftest animals, nor so fat and heavily built as the dog which guards the farm and granary, but he must, nevertheless, be strong and to a certain extent prompt to act and vigorous, since the purpose for which he is acquired is to pick quarrels and to fight and also to move quickly, since he has to repel the stealthy lurking of the wolf and to follow the wild beast as he escapes with his prey and make him drop it and to bring it back again. Therefore a dog of a rather long, slim build is better able to deal with these emergencies than one which is short or even squarely built, since, as I have said, sometimes the necessity of pursuing a wild beast with speed demands this. The other joints in sheep-dogs if they resemble the limbs of farm-yard dogs meet with equal approval. (tr. Edward S. Forster & Edward H. Heffner)



This is part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.

Nunc ut exordio priore sum pollicitus, de mutis custodibus loquar, quamquam falso canis dicitur mutus custos. nam quis hominum clarius aut tanta vociferatione bestiam vel furem praedicat quam iste latratu, quis famulus amantior domini, quis fidelior comes, quis custos incorruptior, quis excubitor inveniri potest vigilantior, quis denique ultor aut vindex constantior? quare vel in primis hoc animal mercari tuerique debet agricola, quod et villam et fructus familiamque et pecora custodit. eius autem parandi tuendique triplex ratio est. namque unum genus adversus hominum insidias eligitur et id villam quaeque iuncta sunt villae custodit, at alterum propellendis iniuriis hominum ac ferarum et id observat domi stabulum, foris pecora pascentia; tertium venandi gratia conparatur idque non solum nihil agricolam iuvat, sed et avocat desidemque ab opere suo reddit. de villatico igitur et pastorali dicendum est, nam venaticus nihil pertinet ad nostram professionem. villae custos eligendus est amplissimi corporis, vasti latratus canorique, prius ut auditu maleficum, deinde etiam conspectu terreat et tamen non numquam nec visus quidem horribili fremitu suo fuget insidiantem. sit autem coloris unius, isque magis eligitur albus in pastorali, niger in villatico, nam varius in neutro est laudabilis. pastor album probat, quoniam est ferae dissimilis, magnoque opus interdum discrimine est in propulsandis lupis sub obscuro mane vel etiam crepusculo, ne pro bestia canem feriat. villaticus, qui hominum maleficiis opponitur, sive luce clara fur advenit, terribilior niger conspicitur, sive noctu, ne conspiciatur quidem propter umbrae similitudinem, quam ob rem tectus tenebris canis tutiorem adcessum habet ad insidiantem. probatur quadratus potius quam longus aut brevis, capite tam magno, ut corporis videatur pars maxima, deiectis et propendentibus auribus, nigris vel glaucis oculis acri lumine radiantibus, amplo villosoque pectore, latis armis, cruribus crassis et hirtis, cauda brevi, vestigiorum articulis et unguibus amplissimis, qui Graece δράκες appellantur. hic erit villatici status praecipue laudandus.
(Columella, De Re Rustica 7.12.1-4)

Now, as I promised in the earlier part of my treatise, I will speak of the dumb guardians of the flocks, though it is wrong to speak of the dog as a dumb guardian ; for what human being more clearly or so vociferously gives warning of the presence of a wild beast or of a thief as does the dog by its barking? What servant is more attached to his master than is a dog? What companion more faithful? What guardian more incorruptible ? What more wakeful night-watchman can be found? Lastly, what more steadfast avenger or defender ? To buy and keep a dog ought, therefore, to be among the first things which a farmer does, because it is the guardian of the farm, its produce, the household and the cattle. There are three different reasons for procuring and keeping a dog. One type of dog is chosen to oppose the plots of human beings and watches over the farm and all its appurtenances; a second kind for repelling the attacks of men and wild beasts and keeping an eye at home on the stables and abroad on the flocks as they feed; the third kind is acquired for the purposes of the chase, and not only does not help the farmer but actually lures him away from his work and makes him lazy about it. We must, therefore, speak of the farm-yard dog and the sheep-dog; for the sporting hound has nothing to do with the art which we profess. As guardian of the farm a dog should be chosen which is of ample bulk with a loud and sonorous bark in order that it may terrify the malefactor, first because he hears it and then because he sees it; indeed, sometimes without being even seen it puts to flight the crafty plotter merely by the terror which its growling inspires. It should be the same colour all over, white being the colour which should rather be chosen for a sheep-dog and black for a farm-yard dog; for a dog of varied colouring is not to be recommended for either purpose. The shepherd prefers a white dog because it is unlike a wild beast, and sometimes a plain means of distinction is required in the dogs when one is driving off wolves in the obscurity of early morning or even at dusk, lest one strike a dog instead of a wild beast. The farmyard dog, which is pitted against the wicked wiles of men, if the thief approaches in the clear light of day, has a more alarming appearance if it is black, whereas at night it is not even seen because it resembles the shadow and so, under the cover of darkness, the dog can approach the crafty thief in greater security. A squarely built dog is preferred to one which is long or short, and it should have a head so large as to appear to form the largest part of it; it should have ears which droop and hang down, eyes black or grey, sparkling with rays of bright light, a broad and shaggy chest, wide shoulders, thick, rough legs and a short tail; the joints of its feet and its claws, which the Greeks call drakes, should be very large. Such are the points which will meet with most approval in all farm-yard dogs. (tr. Edward S. Forster & Edward H. Heffner)