James Hobson ( twitter @about1816)
I sampled ninety-eight DOG LOST advertisements in the British Newspapers between 1811 and 1820, partly so you don’t have too (even if you wanted to) and partly because I enjoy the small details of Regency life, including dogs and their names.
I know what question you are asking!
The winner with 3 votes from 80 is NELSON. There were two, ROVERS, PRINCES, HECTORS and two dogs called CARLOS ( all different dogs, although some people advertise in more than one newspaper so I had to be careful!) . There were two BLUCHERs after 1815, showing a healthy respect for the vital Prussian contribution at Waterloo.
As well as discovering the most famous name was Nelson, I also discovered new colours.‘ Liver’ was a colour. I only every saw the word ‘brown’ used twice. Two greyhounds were ‘blue’ ; some dogs were ‘lemon’
What else do the names tell you about Regency society? Well, it’s hard to be definitive, but here we go. The names were quite ambitious; we do have Ben, Bob, Tom and Sam, but these were often farmers’ dogs; but some from classical literature, some from current affairs, and some clearly designed to show the character of the dog. We can all see Wasp the terrier in our imagination, and for than matter Smooch the brown curly setter, stolen when a puppy.
A number(c 25) of the advertisements do not mention the dog’s name at all. This is normally because they had a collar with the name of the owner on, or a very detailed description of the dog and its character was given. It’s hard to say if the named dogs also had collars, but from the amount of time spent describing collars, it suggests that they might have been a novelty. All of the advertisements used the expression ‘he answers to the name of x’ and never ‘his name is x’. Perhaps this shows a lack of sentimental anthropomorphism; people seemed to understand that dogs were responding the sound only and did not know their name.
Those who believe that their dog ran away usually say so-five percent say this explicitly. The vast majority know that their dog has either been stolen, or that somebody is holding on to it for the reward. The advertisement therefore have a dual function – a reward for the dog, no questions asked, AND a warning that failure to hand over the dog after the notification would led to a prosecution. This would have to be a private prosecution- the state only paid the bills for murder and treason trials. You would have to be rich to advertise for a lost dog.
If an exact sum of money was offered, it would normally be a guinea or half guinea, usually via a third party or with the offer of a third party to avoid the social embarrassment of meeting the person whose dog you stole both theirs and yours. Sometimes there is a promise of a handsome reward, or that the finder will be handsomely rewarded, which suggests that there would have to be some more negotiation. My guess is that, if no fixed sum was mentioned, and then it would be unwise to bring the dog along to the first meeting.
What breeds of dog did people lose, and were prepared to pay for to get back?. It’s very limited. They are mostly Pointers, Setters, Newfoundlands and Greyhounds, with the occasional coach dogs, mostly Dalmatians. There are few cross-breeds; the reason why may need investigation. Perhaps such dogs were not owned by people who could afford to advertise in newspapers.
Below are a list of 50 dogs, with their breeds and names, with the reward and whether the finders were also threatened with the law. All advertisements are 1810- 1820
- TIPPO a pug (unusually)- five shillings reward
- DASH- a small stout cocker –two pounds reward
- TRURO – a setter from CORNWALL, of course- ‘handsome reward’
- BUZZ- a terrier- one pound ; no incentive offered
- CAPTAIN- a mastiff – half guinea
- PRINCE- a spaniel- ‘handsomely rewarded’ or ‘ the full force of the law’ if you hold on to him
- PRINCE- a Danish coach dog- one guinea.
- FANNY- a pointer bitch June 1816 one pound reward or ‘full force of the law’
- THUNDER – ‘of very little use to anybody but the owner’ Newfoundland, One pound or the law
- RAG- a water dog – half a guinea.
- A greyhound called BLUEMAN, handsome reward.
- A mastiff called TYGER, half a guinea or the law.
- FOP, a cocker/ king Charles cross, ‘found of putting his head in the banisters to see if anybody is following him –handsome reward.
- NERO- a brown pointer – ‘well rewarded’.
- CARLO- a lemon and white English Setter – shall be rewarded or the law.
- Another white Setter called CARLO, ‘with curled hair’ half a guinea or the law August 1819
- A leopard-spotted dog ( A Dalmatian) by the name of LEOPARD, half a guinea or the law
- BRUSHER, a pointer with remarkably long ears, half a guinea or the law
- HECTOR, a fine Greyhound, ‘his face grey with age, feet much broken from running’ two pounds.
- PERO, a remarkably handsome, yet fat Pointer, yellow and white, handsomely rewarded.
- DRIVER, a bloodhound, with a small blemish on each elbow- one guinea and reasonable expenses
- GELERT, a Greyhound, one guinea or the law.
- A tick- marked white setter called TOPPER, one guinea or the law.
- BRAZEN, a blue mottled beagle bitch. Half a guinea
- A water dog appropriately called DIVER, half a guinea
- DASH, a ‘stout yet handsome’ Spaniel . Handsome rewarded
- At the port at Newcastle, PILOT, a white setter. Sept 19, one guinea or the law
- MARY, ‘a bitch of the French breed’, dirty liver coloured ears. Five shillings only; that’s Mary missing forever.
- A white greyhound called DART, owned by Mr Grimes, a man with no imagination -one guinea
- Another greyhound, a grey one that was lame in a back leg due to running, yet still called COMET -well rewarded or the law
- BEVENE, a White Setter with one black ear; a massive five guineas or the same to whoever informs on the robbers.
- A Spotted Coach Dog ( Dalmatian) called BLUCHER, with an even bigger spot on his head than elsewhere-handsomely rewarded or the law.
- Another one named after a war hero- NELSON, yellow and white greyhound, handsomely rewarded or the law.
- A black Greyhound- SMOKER- reward ‘available'( not handsome or even ‘well’)
- A red and white BEAGLE who obviously likes a drink, TOPER, handsome reward
- A white pointer, one brown ear, called CRAB, one guinea or the law
- JUPE, a large ‘rough dog’, half a guinea
39 A white and liver coloured dog called CATO, a pointer, half a guinea or the law
40 VIXEN is a cross terrier/ pug, brown and fat and worth half a guinea if returned, or the law if not
42- A large water dog with two names BLUNDER or POSTASH (the latter is its French name). It ‘can beg, walk upright, shake hands’; despite that, the reward is half a guinea
43 SABO, a large liver called Setter, who twitches because he has distemper, five guineas to the ‘finder’ or for anybody who informs on the kidnappers.
44 A Greyhound, unusually described as ‘brown’ called DUSTER. Handsome reward or the law.
45 A sandy and white spaniel called ROVER , worth a guinea to the owner. ‘No greater reward will be offered’.
46 A seventeen inch high hound dog called, democratically, PRESIDENT ; handsomely rewarded or the law.
47 SMOOCH, a brown curly dog of the Russian Setter Breed. ‘The dog had not been broke in, nor shot prior to his having been stolen.’
48 A Pointer called BOB, with a ‘fine stern’ –reasonable expenses.
49 Another pointer called BEN- it has a broken hind leg- handsome/law.
50 A black greyhound, called CLINKER, who followed a gentlemen home. Expenses only, as it is implied that a gentleman would not take reward.
TOPPER (Setter) BRUSH ( Terrier) PONTO ( Spaniel) PRIM ( a shock dog, whatever that is) ROVER again ( another Spaniel) another BLUCHER ( a Setter) LION (a Newfoundland) GROUSE ( a Pointer) another NELSON ( Dalmatian) GROG ( a Pointer) another BOB ( another Pointer) DANGER ( a red Setter) SAM ( a white Pointer) WASP ( a Terrier) another HECTOR ( Newfoundland) TOM ( a white Setter) Harman ( Terrier) SANCHO (Pointer)
And finally, from the Saunders News Letter 1817.
My two books on the Georgian/ Victorian Era .