Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thigh of hare, foot of cat

Stories and art of medieval European hunts feature greyhounds of all sizes, including very large hounds described as "rough-coated greyhounds."

The 1300s definitive guide to hunting, Livre de Chasse by Gaston Phoebus, shows different kinds of hunting dogs: 
Note the large "rough-coated greyhound," top left, and compare with the smaller greyhounds, at center.

Livre de Chasse and another Middle Ages work, Le Roman de d├ęduis, describe the ideal hunting greyhound: 
"Muzzle of wolf, haunch of lion, neck of swan ... eye of sparrowhawk, ear of snake ...
"He had a shoulder like the roe's;
His flank was like the woodland doe's;
Loin of stag; tail of rat;
Thigh of hare and foot of cat."
(From The Art of Medieval Hunting: The Hound and the Hawk, 2003, Castle Books, copyright John Cummins)

Compare with the American Kennel Club breed standard for the Irish Wolfhound which emphasizes that Wolfhounds are a "rough-coated greyhound-like breed." And it's only about 700 years later!

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