Friday, May 26, 2006


"The typical Thornywood nightdog should be no less than 80 pounds and if it be 100 lbs fit and agile, all the better. It should be dark with a clean close coat with little in the way of markings for easy concealment at night. It should fear no man, or group of men, no matter how sinister their intention. It should be able to face whip or cudgel and shot gun with equal enthusiasm and show no shyness or fear of the aforementioned. Once engaged with its tormentor it should grip like a vice and fight like a lion and never relinquish its hold of its own accord, even if it comes to serious mischief and takes its death. In my charge he should be obedient and faithful. In my home or in his kennel he should be quiet and good tempered. There is no better or hardier dog than a good nightdog."
~Burton of Thornywood Kennels

"the mastyve or bandogge is vaste, huge, stubborne, ougly and eager, of a hevy, and burthenous body, and therefore but of little swiftnesse, terrible and frightful to beholde, and more fearce and fell than any Arcadian curre."
~described by John Caius

"The time when Screech-owls cry,
and Bandogges howle,
And spirits walke, and Ghosts breake up their graces."

~Act I, Scene IV of William Shakespeare's King Henry VI

"This island of England breeds very valiant creatures;
Their mastiffs are of unmatchable courage."
~Henry V by William Shakespeare

"And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge, ...
Shall in these confines, with a
Monarch's voice,
Cry, 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war."
~Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

"Of the molossian breeds of dogs, such as are employed in the chase are much the same as those elsewhere; but the sheepdogs of this breed are superior to the others in size, and in the courage with which they face attacks of wild animals."
~Aristotle's History of Animals c. 247 BC (revised Oxford translation ed. Jonathan Barnes, 1984)

"He seems to be fully aware of the impression which his large size makes on every stranger; and, in the night especially, he watches the abode his master with the completest vigilance."
~William Youatt, on the Mastiff, in the Dog (1854)

" is better to have a very large animal, whose growls alone are somewhat terrifying, and whose size is bound to impose respect. At the same time, growling is not sufficient; the dog must be able and willing at any time to 'go in' at a nod from his master, and he must take take his death, if necessary, when called to protect him."
~'Training a Keeper's Night Dog' from Dog Breaking by Wildfowler (1915)

"As fierce as a bandog that has newly broken his chain."
~Sir George Etherege

"He was usually spoken of as the bandog of Burgundy, or the Alsation Mastiff."

"A mastiff pass'd inflam'd with ire
His eyeballs shot indigant fire."
~John Gay's IX Fable

"While master goes throughout,
See shutters fast, the mastiff's out."
~Summer Eve by Kirk White

"He hath two Barons...the Keepers of the Mastiff Dogs...there are 2,000 men who are each in charge of one or more great mastiffs..."
~Marco Polo, when visiting the court of Kubla Khan in 1298.

"Our english men (to th' intent that theyr dogges might be the more fell and fearce) assist nature with arte, use, and custome, for they teach theyr dogges to baite the beare, to baite the bull and other such like cruell and bloudy beastes (appointing an overseer of the game) without any collar to defend theyr throtes, and oftentimes they traine them up in fighting and wrestling with a man having for the safegarde of his lyfe, eyther a Pikestaffe, a clubbe, or a sworde and by using them to such exercises as these, theyr dogges become more sturdy and strong."
~A Short Treatise of Englishe Dogges by John Caius, 1565

"The first dog I could call my own was a black one, of a cross between the bull and the mastiff... His name was 'Grumbo'... I saw the back of one of the men, his figure stationary, his hands held high above his head, and Grumbo, my faithful, sagacious dog, a yard in front of him, barring his path, couched like a lion in the act to spring, his eyes, not his teeth, fixed on the fellow's throat. The menace sufficed, he stood in terror...and in this position I presently seized him by the collar."
~From Recollections-Poachers by Grantley Berkeley, (1850)

Many of these quotes taken from these books:

The Mastiffs
The Big Game Hunters
Their History, Development and Future
By Colonel David Hancock MBE

A Complete History of Fighting Dogs
By Mike Homan

Fighting Dog Breeds
By Dr. Dieter Fleig

Rock of Dunamase

"Near to Stradbally stands the Rock of Dunamase, surmounted by a ruined castle that was known to the Ancient Greeks and included Ptolemy in his famous world map of 140 A.D. As befits its age and spooky nature, there's a banshee here too, as well as one of the more terrifying but lesser known Irish ghouls, a hell-hound. The hound is a huge mastiff called bandog, jet black in color with flaming breath. He is there to guard the treasure buried at the heart of the hill and so far he's been successful. Nobody's ever found it."

Bandog Limericks

A bandog strikes fear with its howls
And when guarding its post,
fiercely growls. If ones challenging you,
Do you know what to do? Hey, you may
lose control of your bowels.

We was planning to nick this gent's purse
When my colleague runs off with a curse.
"We better get clear, coz the bandog is here,
and we'll end up in Newgate or worse."

~In this limerick, bandog is old London slang
for the bailiffs, before Sir Robert Peel
introduced the police force (Peelers).
Newgate was the main prison, and theft
was a hanging crime till the mid 19th century.

He kills Culan's bandog, then sees
A fine chance to advance and appease:
Take its place and its name!
Now Cu Chulainn has fame
As a guardsman. Too bad he caught fleas.

~Cu Chulainn, an important figure of Irish legend,

Was given his name (Which means the "Hound of Culann")
In commemoration of his killing a prized watchdog and
to stand guard in its place until he could find
A worthy replacement.
He was originally named Setanta.