Cynographia britanica


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Sydenham Edwards’ book originally appeared with coloured engravings, which, alas, this version lacks. There are copies of engravings, but they are in black and white, and have sometimes lost detail. Even so, it’s a delight to be able to read a work on British dogs that was begun in 1800, brought out in six instalments, the last being dated 1805.

Edwards covers Newfoundland dogs, beagles, spaniels, bull-dogs, terriers, shepherds´dogs, drovers´dogs, blood-hounds, dingoes, Pomeranians, Danish dogs, pointers and mastiffs. He covered dogs found in Britain, rather than dogs originating here. Edwards gives an account of the introduction of Spanish pointers, though he’s unsure of where Danish dogs came from. He tells us that already Danes were being bred for colour – he mentions a Harlequin Dane.

Despite the frustration of the poorly reproduced illustrations, this is an accessible insight into an early stage of the history of dog breeds.