The reign of Queen Victoria spanned some sixty-four years and saw tremendous
changes within England and across the globe. Victoria ascended the throne during
an expansionary and optimistic period. By the end of her reign, the Empire upon
which the sun never set was slowly receding into shadow and a society once based
on land and the wealth of the privileged few had changed to reflect a new society
based more in the cities than the beautiful stately homes of rural England.
One can only conjecture as to whether this population shift from the country
to the city left in people a longing for nature and the gentler forms of human
endeavor. There can be no doubt, however, that the English people, led by their
much esteemed Queen Victoria, found comfort from the daily toils of Victorian
England by returning home to their favorite pet, the dog.
In addition to its role as a pet, the dog continued to be used in the sporting
field, and in the latter half of the nineteenth century the purebred dog was
exhibited in the increasingly popular dog shows. Breeds which had been popular
in eighteenth century Britain such as the Foxhound, the Greyhound, and the Mastiff
continued to flourish. Pointers, Setters and Spaniels also continued to be popular
in the field, but they were soon appropriated -- as were the vast majority of
breeds -- by the quickly developing world of the dog show.
The dog, once essential in hunting and farming societies, now became an animal
to be exhibited, and the finer points of his anatomy compared with others of
his type. While dog shows increased in number and people were attracted to breeding
purebred dogs for show, many in the countryside continued to use the dog for