In the early periods of their history the Greeks depended too much on their nets to capture game, and it was not until later times that they pursued their prey with dogs, and then not with greyhounds, which run by sight, but with beagles, the dwarf hound which is still very popular.
On the 4th of May 1898 a sub-committee of the Kennel Club decided that the following breeds should be classified as "toy dogs": - Black and tan terriers (under 7 lb), bull terriers (under 8 lb), griffons, Italian greyhounds, Japanese, Maltese, Pekingese, poodles (under 15 in.), pugs, toy spaniels, Yorkshire terriers and Pomeranians.
Excepting for greyhounds, however, high prices are rarely offered for sporting dogs, 300 guineas for the pointer "Coronation" and 200 guineas for the retriever "High Legh Blarney" being the best reported prices for gun dogs during the last few years.
No scientific classification of the breeds of dogs is at present possible, but whilst the division already given into "sporting" and "non-sporting" is of some practical value, for descriptive purposes it is convenient to make a division into the six groups: - wolfdogs, greyhounds, spaniels, hounds, mastiffs and terriers.
Greyhounds have been bred from time immemorial in Eastern Europe and Western Asia, while unmistakable representatives are figured on the monuments of ancient Egypt.
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