Varro, On Agriculture

LCL 283: 396-397

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Marcus Terentius Varro

cum sciam mulorum gregem, cum pasceretur et eo venisset lupus, ultro mulos circumfluxisse et ungulis caedendo eum occidisse, et tauros solere diversos adsistere clunibus continuatos et cornibus facile propulsare lupos. Quare de canibus quoniam genera duo, unum venaticum et pertinet ad feras bestias silvestres, alterum quod custodiae causa paratur et pertinet ad pastorem, dicam de eo ad formam artis expositam in novem partes.

3Primum aetate idonea parandi, quod catuli et vetuli neque sibi neque ovibus sunt praesidio et feris bestiis non numquam praedae. Facie debent esse formosi, magnitudine ampla, oculis nigrantibus aut ravis, naribus congruentibus, labris subnigris aut rubicundis neque resimis superioribus nec pendulis subtus, mento suppresso et ex eo enatis duobus dentibus dextra et sinistra paulo eminulis, superioribus 4directis potius quam brocchis, acutos quos habeant labro tectos, capitibus et auriculis magnis ac flaccis, crassis cervicibus ac collo, internodis articulorum longis, cruribus rectis et potius varis quam vatiis, pedibus magnis et latis, qui ingredienti ei displodantur, digitis discretis, unguibus duris ac curvis, solo ne ut corneo ne nimium duro, sed ut fermentato ac molli; a feminibus summis corpore suppresso, spina neque eminula neque curva, cauda crassa; latrato gravi, hiatu magno, colore potissimum albo, quod in tenebris facilius agnoscuntur, specie 5leonina. Praeterea feminas volunt esse mammosas


On Agriculture, II

a herd of mules was feeding and a wolf came upon them, the animals actually whirled about and kicked him to death; that bulls often stand facing different ways, with their hind-quarters touching, and easily drive off wolves with their horns. As there are, then, two sorts of dogs—the hunting-dog suited to chase the beasts of the forest, and the other which is procured as a watch-dog and is of importance to the shepherd—I shall speak of the latter under nine divisions, according to the scientific division which has been set forth.1

“In the first place, they should be procured of the proper age, as puppies and dogs over age are of no value for guarding either themselves or sheep, and sometimes fall a prey to wild beasts. They should be comely in face, of good size, with eyes either darkish or yellowish, symmetrical nostrils, lips blackish or reddish, the upper lip neither raised too high nor drooping low, stubby jaw with two fangs projecting somewhat from it on the right and left, the upper straight rather than curved, their sharp teeth covered by the lip, large head, large and drooping ears, thick shoulders and neck, the thighs and shanks long, legs straight and rather bowed in than out, large, wide paws which spread as he walks, the toes separated, the claws hard and curving, the sole of the foot not horny or too hard, but rather spongy, as it were, and soft; with the body tapering at the top of the thigh, the backbone neither projecting nor swayed, tail thick; with a deep bark, wide gape, preferably white in colour, so that they may the more readily be distinguished in the dark; and of a leonine appearance.2 Bitches, in addition, should have well formed dugs with teats of equal size.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.varro-agriculture.1934