Taplin

Taplin's description of waterfowling with a Water Dog, for down (1803)

"'In towns near the Northern Coast there are numbers who support their families by an industry but little comprehended by those in the more genial parts of the country. Along the shore, cliffs and precipices from the tremendous rocks are favorable to the propagation of Soland Geese, Sea gulls and Wild Fowl of every description. Amidst these cliffs, huts are constructed with sod, so as to form when finished, as seeming part of the rock itself. In eash hut is a shelf for provisions and ammunition, as well as three circular openings of four inches to the right, the left, and the center to observe the approach of the fowl, and the discharge of the gun when they are within shot. Remote from every human association, accompanied only by his faithful dog, the hunter takes his seat at dawn. Knowing that every prospect of his day's success depends more upon the favor of the elements and his dog, than any endeavours of his own. As this business partakes of profit more than pleasure, all the smaller tribe are permitted to pass his observatory unmolested. The Garnet or Soland Goose, and the larger kind of Gull are his objectives: the former corresponds in size with the tame Goose, except the wings are larger, being at full growth six feet over. The guns in use are seldom shorter than six feet in the barrel, and with swan shot are distructive to a great distance.

"'Upon the discharge of the gun,the sagacious animal instantly sallies forth, and rushes with incredible fortitude over every obstacle; for whether the bird falls dead amidst the infinite recesses of these rocks, or being wounded falls into the water at a considerable distance from land, it is the habit of this dog never to recede until he has brought the object of his mission to the hand of his master. It would seem that the completion of this must be absolutely impossible, and that the difficulties the patient perservering animal has to encounter, and often repeat in a short space of time could never be surmounted. For after he has reached the bird, whether amid the rocks or in the sea, he cannot, when loaded with a bird of this weight and power, return by the same track, but must explore the most difficult and dangerous accesses before he can obtain his destination to which he is sure to return, although by means so circuitous as to exceed human credibility. Then as Water Fowl are more timid than any other this Water Dog must be as sensible as his master, and so truly obedient as to regulate his proceedings in the field by hand rather by words; yet he must be more tenacious in his courage and ardor of pursuit than dogs whose enjoyment of field sports afford only pleasure.

"'On fortunate days the juvenile assistants convey the Fowl to the family four or five miles away where all are employed in collecting down from the birds as fast as they arrive. These pickings so industriously collected are disposed of weekly to whole sale dealers, and from there to the inland parts of the Kingdom. This is the principal contribution to the annually increasing infinity of feather beds, down pillows, and other articles of domestic refinement.'" [William Taplin] The sportsman's cabinet; or, a correct delineation of the various dogs used in the sports of the field....Consisting of a series of engravings...from original paintings, taken from life...to which is added a scientific disquisition...by a "Veteran Sportsman" (pseud.). (London: 1803-4), 2 vols. As quoted in "Origin and History of the Poodle", by Hayes Blake Hoyt, The Poodle Showcase, December, 1964, p. 29.

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