Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Heugervein Wall Dog

Heugervein Wall Dog 
The Heugervein Wall Dog was first bred in 1650 by William Emitt (sometimes spelled Emmitt), groundskeeper of Heugervein Castle, who sought a dog capable of keeping badger out of the castle's Ha-ha.

The problem was that most dogs capable of tackling badger on their own were also capable of worrying the sheep and deer fenced out by the Ha-ha.

The solution was the Heugervein Wall Dog which has proven a popular, if rare, breed among those estate properties bounded by Ha-has and which still have sizable populations of sheep .


Ha-has, of course, were cut and fill ditches and rises sided by stone walls. Their purpose, in the era of Landskip Architecture, was to allow a land owner to view the sweeping vistas of his estate unencumbered by stone walls, but at the same time to prevent sheep and cattle from grazing too close to the main house and its expensive, landscaped (and often imported) flora.

Badger are a constant problem with all Ha-has, as the ditch tends to hold small pools of water, while the nearby land rise, and the wall itself, is often bone dry -- a perfect spot for rabbit warrens, fox dens and, of course, badger settes.

Writing in 1712 Architect John James translates from Dezallier d'Argenville's La theorie et la pratique du jardinage (1709):
"Grills of iron are very necessary ornaments in the lines of walks, to extend the view, and to show the country to advantage. At present we frequently make thorough views, called Ah, Ah, which are openings in the walls, without grills, to the very level of the walks, with a large and deep ditch at the foot of them, lined on both sides to sustain the earth, and prevent the getting over; which surprises the eye upon coming near it, and makes one laugh, Ha! Ha! from where it takes its name. This sort of opening is haha, on some occasions, to be preferred, for that it does not at all interrupt the prospect, as the bars of a grill do."
There is some debate as to whether the Heugervein Wall Dog is derived in part, or entirely, from the dogs first mentioned by Jacques du Fouilloux, in 1560, in his book La Vernarie (The Art of Hunting). 

As you can seen below, the type is very similar to the Heugervein Wall Dog, underscoring the ancient nature of the breed and its long association with royalty, hunting, and landed estates.


One of the most famous admirers
or the Heugervein Wall Dog was John Brown, paramour of Queen Victoria, who brought two couples of the dogs to protect a series of Ha-has at Balmoral Castle.

8 comments:

Jemima Harrison said...

Oh how amazing... I thought they'd died out!

John Watts said...

Ha Ha.

DancesWithSandyBottom said...

Someone's short stubby little leg is being pulled. Ha-ha.

Mary Pang said...

Ha, I had to check the comments to see if this was real

PBurns said...

I see people think I am pulling their leg. Moi? I sure you I am not. This breed's history and health are as solid as any found in the kennel club. Do you also doubt the existence of the North American Pocket Lurcher, the Genesee Valley Beaver Dog, or the Kill Devil Terrier? I can produce the dogs! These breeds are every bit as real as other breeds not found in the kennel club: the Paterdale Terrier, the James Pocket Terrier, the Guthrie Terrier, the Bergamasko, the Lakenois, the Shiri Mimi, and the Scarlet Point Terrier.

geonni banner said...

Tall tale about a short dog...

Rick said...

Ah ha!

Rusty Boyd said...

Pit/Staffy x Daschund.
ha ha.
I dont believe in breeds.
Just types with different strains in the type.
KC accept any kind of pure breeding weirdo as long s it makes money and someone with a good imagination can create a history.
Fools are easy parted from their money.
Stuff them.