From Medieval Dogs
Jump to: navigation, search

#trans_rusticThe fourth Section of this discourse. Dogges of a course kind seruing for many necessary vses called in Latine Canes rustici, and first of the shepherds dogge called in Latine Canis Pastoralis. 22 The first kinde, namely the shepherds hounde is very necessarye and profitable for the auoyding of harmes and inconueniences which may come to men by the meanes of beastes. The second sort serue to succour against the snares and attemptes of mischiefous men. Our shepherdes dogge is not huge, vaste, and bigge, but of an indifferent stature and growth, because it hath not to deale with the bloudthyrsty wolf, sythence there be none in England, which happy and fortunate benefite is to be ascribed to the puisaunt Prince Edgar, who to thintent yt the whole countrey myght be euacuated and quite cleered from wolfes, charged & commaunded the welshemẽ (who were pestered with these butcherly beastes aboue measure) to paye him yearely tribute which was (note the wisedome of the King) three hundred Wolfes. Some there be which write that Ludwall Prince of Wales paide yeerely to King Edgar three hundred wolfes in the name of an exaction (as we haue sayd before.) And that by the meanes hereof, within the compasse and tearme of foure yeares, none of those noysome, and pestilent Beastes were left in the coastes of England and Wales. This Edgarwore the Crowne royall, and bare the Scepter imperiall of this kingdome, about the yeere of our Lorde, nyne hundred fifty, nyne. Synce which time we reede that no Wolfe hath bene seene in England, bred within the bounds and borders of this countrey, mary there have bene diuers brought ouer from beyonde the seas, for greedynesse of gaine and to make money, for gasing and gaping, staring, and standing to see them, being a straunge beast, rare, and seldom seene in England. But to returne to our shepherds dogge. This dogge either at the hearing of his masters voyce, or at the wagging and whisteling in his fist, or at his shrill and horse hissing bringeth the wandring weathers and straying sheepe, into the selfe same place where his masters will and wishe is to haue thẽ, wherby the shepherd reapeth this benefite, namely, that with litle labour and no toyle or mouing of his feete he may rule and guide his flocke, according to his owne desire, either to haue them go forward, or to stand still, or to drawe backward, or to turne this way, or to take that way. For it is not in Englande, as it is in Fraunce, as it is in Flaunders, as it is in Syria, as it in Tartaria, where the sheepe follow the shepherd, for heere in our country the sheepherd followeth the sheepe. And somtimes the straying sheepe, when no dogge runneth before them, nor goeth about & beside them, gather themselues together in a flocke, when they heere the sheepherd whistle in his fist, for feare of the Dogge (as I imagine) remembring this (if vnreasonable creatures may be reported to haue memory) that the Dogge commonly runneth out at his masters warrant which is his whistle. This haue we oftentimes diligently marcked in taking our journey from towne to towne, when wee haue hard a sheepherd whistle we haue rayned in our horse and stoode styll a space, to see the proofe and triall of this matter. Furthermore with this dogge doth the sheepherd take sheepe for ye slaughter, and to be 25#trans_page25healed if they be sicke, no hurt or harme in the world done to the simple creature. ‘De Canibus Britannicus’ Dr Johannes Caius, England, Latin 1570, (‘Of English dogges’) English 1576 -[[1]]

One way we could do it... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y07at1bU89Q

Master Gerald Goodwine's notes from the translation of Jean de Brie's Le Bon Berger (1379), translated by Carleton W. Carroll and Lois Hawley Wilson:

Pg 63. In this cabin (with wheels) the shepherd rests at night and can retreat there from the rain, and dogs are there who stand guard for the ewes against there enemies.

Pg 97. In addition to all these things already mentioned, the shepherd should take along and gird on a scrip (satchel or bag for provisions) in which to put bread for himself and his dog.

Pg 99. A nine-foot-long cord, called a leash, must be attached to the scrip. It should be doubled back to the tip of the sack and in the middle have a bit of leather with a small wooden pin to fasten the dog and to unleash him, sensing him quickly and with dispatch after the wolves and other evil animals wishing to harm ewes. The shepherd's dog should be a large mastiff, strong and broad-shouldered, with a big head, and he should have around his neck a collar armed with studs of sharp iron or of long sharp nails with flat heads. Some have collars with thin hinged plates of iron to withstand wolves in the field or thieves if some should come in the night to the sheepfold where the ewes are penned. In addition, because of the collar's armor, the mastiff is more courageous and emboldened and will not be strangled by wolves, for with it he has greater protection against them. This mastiff follows the shepherd and is good company when he eats his bread even though the dog is on guard duty, for someone may be a friend at the spending who is not one when defending is to be done. When the shepherd has a good mastiff, loyal and brave, it is very beneficial for the tending of sheep.

Note: Chapter 8: About the Shepherds Life and the Things that Concern Him, Contains the complete list of the layers of cloths and tools that the shepherd was to carry on his person and in many cases how it was to be made. (Just in case you would want to dress as a shepherd)-I'm up for a cooperative effort!

Pg. 137. In August the shepherd should rise early as before and should breakfast of soup with water or whey and should not carry bread in his scrip except for his dog.

Pg. 165. Concerning the Shepherd's Dog: With the shepherd's dog' at the beginning it is necessary to instruct it to go stop the ewes. The shepherd should cut open the ear of one ewe and make the blood run from it to let his dog smell it two or three times and then it will never grab a ewe except by the ear. So that the dog will willingly follow the shepherd, he should oil and rub his jaws and two forefeet with bacon rind and handle it often until it may become well trained. When the dog lies down in the field, the shepherd should cross his feet for him. If he has not learned to do it himself when it has been done two or three times for him, then he should be sent on his way, for he is not worthy of being with the shepherd and the sheep.

Some Questions: Jean de Brie's mastiff is apparently a guard dog but his final comments suggest he might also be a gathering and herding dog. Now I wish to do more research on the mastiff. I have the opinion that the shepherd follows the sheep in France rather than leading them. (This suggested by the comment about the dog being used to stop the ewes as well as suggesting the first step in training [beyond a good solid “Down”] was to go around and ahead of the sheep to halt their forward progress. This would indeed be the first step in training a herding dog.) The 4-wheeled cabin is but little more described other than to imply goes with the shepherd into the field for temporary shelter. He makes no mention of what or who pulled it. Was it a horse? If light enough, it could have been pulled by a dog but it appears the dog was leashed to his waist so this is unexceptionable for use as carting dog documentation but as speculation for the lifestyle it could have been.. The sheep were supposed to be moved at a leisurely pace so maybe the shepherd had to pull it himself. That certainly would have kept the pace a leisurely one.

Brie, Jean , Carleton W. Carroll, and Lois H. Wilson. The Medieval Shepherd: Jean De Brie's Le Bon Berger (1379). Tempe, Ariz: ACMRS Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2012. Print.