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History of Animals   


period, when eight months old, some before they reach six months. In a
general way one may put it that they do so when they are out of
puppyhood. The bitch squats down when she voids urine; it is a rare
exception that she lifts the leg to do so. The bitch bears twelve pups
at the most, but usually five or six; occasionally a bitch will bear
one only. The bitch of the Laconian breed generally bears eight. The
two sexes have intercourse with each other at all periods of life. A
very remarkable phenomenon is observed in the case of the Laconian
hound: in other words, he is found to be more vigorous in commerce
with the female after being hard-worked than when allowed to live
idle.
The dog of the Laconian breed lives ten years, and the bitch
twelve. The bitch of other breeds usually lives for fourteen or
fifteen years, but some live to twenty; and for this reason certain
critics consider that Homer did well in representing the dog of
Ulysses as having died in his twentieth year. With the Laconian hound,
owing to the hardships to which the male is put, he is less long-lived
than the female; with other breeds the distinction as to longevity
is not very apparent, though as a general rule the male is the
longer-lived.
The dog sheds no teeth except the so-called 'canines'; these a dog
of either sex sheds when four months old. As they shed these only,
many people are in doubt as to the fact, and some people, owing to
their shedding but two and its being hard to hit upon the time when
they do so, fancy that the animal sheds no teeth at all; others, after
observing the shedding of two, come to the conclusion that the
creature sheds the rest in due turn. Men discern the age of a dog by
inspection of its teeth; with young dogs the teeth are white and sharp
pointed, with old dogs black and blunted.
21

The bull impregnates the cow at a single mount, and mounts with
such vigour as to weigh down the cow; if his effort be unsuccessful,
the cow must be allowed an interval of twenty days before being
again submitted. Bulls of mature age decline to mount the same cow
several times on one day, except, by the way, at considerable
intervals. Young bulls by reason of their vigour are enabled to
mount the same cow several times in one day, and a good many cows
besides. The bull is the least salacious of male animals.... The
victor among the bulls is the one that mounts the females; when he
gets exhausted by his amorous efforts, his beaten antagonist sets on
him and very often gets the better of the conflict. The bull and the
cow are about a year old when it is possible for them to have commerce
with chance of offspring: as a rule, however, they are about twenty
months old, but it is universally allowed that they are capable in
this respect at the age of two years. The cow goes with calf for
nine months, and she calves in the tenth month; some maintain that
they go in calf for ten months, to the very day. A calf delivered
before the times here specified is an abortion and never lives,
however little premature its birth may have been, as its hooves are
weak and imperfect. The cow as a rule bears but one calf, very
seldom two; she submits to the bull and bears as long as she lives.
Cows live for about fifteen years, and the bulls too, if they
have been castrated; but some live for twenty years or even more, if
their bodily constitutions be sound. The herdsmen tame the castrated
bulls, and give them an office in the herd analogous to the office
of the bell-wether in a flock; and these bulls live to an
exceptionally advanced age, owing to their exemption from hardship and
to their browsing on pasture of good quality. The bull is in fullest
vigour when five years old, which leads the critics to commend Homer
for applying to the bull the epithets of 'five-year-old', or 'of
nine seasons', which epithets are alike in meaning. The ox sheds his
teeth at the age of two years, not all together but just as the
horse sheds his. When the animal suffers from podagra it does not shed

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