April 27

Aristocratic & Common

Posted by lori . 7 Comments

The internet can be a dangerous thing.  Recently, Casper came across some information that he’s been “lording” over Freedom.  What do you think?

Greyhounds come in 18 official colors.  The great diversity in dog coat colors is almost entirely human-influenced.

One of the reasons for diversity in the greyhound coats may have come about through the Forest Laws.  The Forest Laws were a general term for old English restriction laws that were the prerogative of the king of England and allowed him to convert any portion of the country into a “forest,” designed as a hunting area for the monarch or the aristocracy (by invitation). The concept was introduced in the 11th century, and at the height of its practice in the late 12th and early 13th centuries, fully one-third of the land area of southern England was designated as royal forest. Forest law prescribed harsh punishment for anyone who committed any of a range of offenses within the forests.  Number 31 of the original Canute Laws, for example, states that:

“No meane person may keepe any greihounds, but freemen may keepe greihounds, so that their knees may be cut before the verderons of the forest, and without cutting of their knees also, if he does not abide 10 miles from the bounds of the forest. But if they doe come any nearer to the forest, they shall pay 12 pence for every mile; but if the greihound be found within the forest, the master or owner of the dog shall forfeit the dog and 10 shillings to the king.”

It is known that in England during the medieval period, lords and royalty keen to own greyhounds for sport, requested they be bred to color variants that made them easier to view and identify in pursuit of their quarry.  The lighter colors, patch-like markings and white appeared in the breed.  Commoners who could not own greyhounds, preferred hounds with coat colors that were not easily seen and that would help them subvert the laws.

I have spoken with Casper and let him know in no uncertain terms that those distinctions no longer exist, particularly in this house.  Casper gives me a sorrowful, princely look that seems to says, “If you want to be seen cavorting with that common, brindly hound and risk the wrath of the monarch, I tried to warn you.”

No more internet for Casper.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 at 3:00 am and is filed under Greyt Hounds (Greyhounds). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to " Aristocratic & Common"

  • Breeding fur color ain’t much different than today. Though it’s obvious I was bred fur my temperment.
    But da way da greyhound colors came about is fascinating! I thought you could always see a greyhound despite their color cuz they is so regal-looking.

    Poor Casper…da internet will cause trubles aaaaaall da time.

    PS: they talked weird back when you was a little girl in da 11th century.

    • lori says:

      Funny how you young pups view your moms. Casper thought Old English is what I spoke when I was a little girl too (and that I had a pet dino)! The internet isn’t the only thing that gets young doggies in to trouble.

  • MayzieMom says:

    Oooo…that was Most Interesting! I guess I’m a commoner doggie cuz I blend in with the background real good. And Brudder Ranger is an aristocrat. Hmmmm…somehow that doesn’t surprise me.

    Oh, and I luvs Freedom’s Most Beautiful brindle coat and the cute little splotch of brindle that Casper has over his eye!

    Wiggles & Wags,

  • houndstooth4 says:

    Oh, I think I rather like this concept! That would certainly elevate me to the princess status that I deserve over the other common brindle dogs here. It would put an end to all Blueberry’s bragging about being a special blue! I think I’m with Casper on this…

    Did Casper also know that Greyhounds with a little spot on the tops of their heads, called an Angel’s Kiss, were deemed special enough to be allowed inside church with their owners?


    • lori says:

      Bunny…Casper here. NO! I DID NOT KNOW THIS! This is wonderful, additional information. I’ve got to run before I’m discovered. I’m still banned from the internet. Thank you!

      Love, Casper

  • houndstooth4 says:

    Always glad to help a fellow hound, Casper!


    P.S. Tell your mom that I bet she’d love the book “Reign of the Greyound” by Cynthia Branigan if she can find it!

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