British Dogs – Their Varieties, History, Characteristics, Breeding, Management and Exhibition


 Click on the cover above to go to this book at

This book is a copy of a work which originally appeared in 1879.  Dalziel is the main author, though he has been helped by ‘eminent fanciers’.  As this mention of ‘fanciers’ implies, he’s more interested in the world of show dogs than how dogs lived and worked, so there’s a lot about the appearance of dogs, and little about anything else.  This in itself tells you how much attitudes to dogs had changed during the nineteenth century.

Dalziel’s work has obvious limitations, but it is essential reading for anyone interested in how dog breeds evolved. At the start of the century, dogs were bred mainly for work, whereas by 1879, ‘breed’ was used in the same way as we use the term today, and dog shows had become dominant in defining what a breed was.  People who want to return a breed to its ‘roots’ need to go further back than the late nineteenth centure to trace the origins of breeds, but Dalziel gives an interesting snapshot of breeds in development.