Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/620

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as in the eternal abode of Dives; nay, they multiply, for the Khamr bitch, like other poor mothers, is generally overblessed with progeny; six youngsters a year is said to be the minimum. A sausage-maker would probably decline to invest in Khamr dogs; the word leanness does not begin to describe their physical condition; strappedness would be more to the purpose, if an Arkansas adjective admits of

PSM V22 D620 Wild dogs of syria.jpg
Fig. 7.—Wild Dogs.

that suffix—skin and sinews tightly strapped over a frame-work of bones. I saw their relatives in Dalmatia, and often wondered that they did not rattle when they ran; but Dalmatia is still a country of vineyards and sand-rabbits, while the Syrian desert has ceased to produce thorn-berries. Without moisture not even a curse can bear fruit. Where food is plenty, wind and weather seem to modify the physique of a tramp animal. Most wild dogs are bushy-tailed, gaunt, and fox-headed, and for some occult reason almost invariably black-muzzled. It is their clan-mark: judging from the snout alone, few naturalists would be able to distinguish a tramp-dog from the pampa cur, the Khamr hound, the dog-wolf (Canis anthus), or the Abu Hossein (Canis lupaster). It does not improve their appearance; in connection with their wolfish eyes, it reminds one too much of a hyena-head.

The question whether there are any untamable animals requires a nearer definition of the somewhat ambiguous adjective. Untamable, in the sense of undomesticable, I believe there are none. With the proviso of a guarantee against socage-duty or a change of their natural habits, few animals would decline the hospitality of the homo sapiens,