The Kennel Gazette, March 1916

Irish Wolfhounds in Tierra del Fuego

We have been privileged to peruse a letter which Mr. J. Sidney Turner has recently received from his son, Mr. Alfred Turner, dated from Buenos Aires, Argentine Republic. Its contents are so interesting and so amusing that we have obtained permission to make a few extracts for the benefit of our readers:-

"I met a Mr. ***** the other day, who was formerly the manager of a huge sheep farming company in Tierra del Fuego, and I only wish you could have been there to join in the very interesting conversation about dogs.

"He told me that some time ago the island was infested by a nondescript breed of wild dog, which he though must have originated many years ago from dogs escaped from ships or rescued from wrecks, which at that time got taken care of by the Indians, but eventually ran wild over the island. They created great havoc among the sheep, and high fences were built for miles to keep them out. ***** could not descirbe them to me, but said they were all different, with the hound type predominating, but may have crossed with indigenous wild types. He tried all means to exterminate them, poison not being much good, and even went to Chili and procured six dogs with the worst mange possible to imagine, so that he might spread it amongst the wild dogs. His idea was to catch a wild dog and put it among the mangy customers until he had got it bad, and then let him return to spread it among his pals. Dirty trick, what!

"Anyhow, three of the mangy ones succumbed on board on the voyage down to Tierra del Fuego, and the remainder were landed in a dying condition, but he took care of them and fed them up with the result that they no only recovered, but the mange entirely disappeared. Awful sell, wasn't it?

***** next thought of sending hom to purchase some real Irish Wolfhounds, and ordered six, two dogs and four bitches, I believe. They duly arrived with pedigrees and a bill for £400, which hurt old ***** worse than the mange. At first they were no good, as the ground was too rough for their feet, and after going a mile or two they would lie down and cry like children to be taken home, so they had to be trained to the strange condition, and after a bit proved a great success. They ran down the wild dogs like anything and at them up regardless of sex, which seemed to me rather curious and unsporting. He says the Irish Wolfhounds were huge heavy dogs, bigger and heavier than Borzois. I believe the old true breed is extinct. Dogs seem to have played quite an important part in the War. I like those French police dogs, they have such jolly, intelligent and sympathetic faces, and are so full of life. Real man's companions through thick and thin, fair or foul weather pals....."

It is a curious coincidence that when this letter was read at the Kennel Club the member was present who actually exported the Irish Wolfhounds referred to by Mr. Alfred Turner.

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