Pugnaces Britanniae

Pugnaces Britanniae

Postby sunnyAK on 1. December 2012, 06:50

Pugnaces Britanniae -the broad mouthed dogs of britain

This picture is pretty good to show the type these dogs were. Please read the text I have put on the picture. I don´t intend to say these dogs show the Pugnaces Britanniae, but indeed pretty much the type these dogs were, as the "bear hunting dogs" of europe, or in general big game hunters there, were of this type. With that said I would say the Pugnaces Britanniae were bear hunters/big game hunters.
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Appearance:
The references by Roman writers to the canes pugnaces of Roman Britain suggest a dog of a large and heavy type. Oppian says the fighting dog had light brown eyes, truncated muzzle, loose skin above the brows, a broad back, great stature, and muscular legs.

History:
The ancestors of the british Pugnaces came from Central-Asia, and the dogs were brought to Britain by Phoenician and other Eastern traders about 500 BC. Its primary ancestor is the original Asiatic Mastiff. (Assyrian / Central Asian Mastiffs)

The English used their Mastiffs later to guard their castles but they were also used by the Celts as war dogs and even by nomads to guard camps. In more modern times, Mastiffs were used as bull baiting and cattle herding dogs.

About the Pugnaces Britanniae, Gratius Falsius an ancient Roman author and historian wrote in the year 8 AD of a large exhibition of dog fights in the ancient Roman amphitheatres between the Pugnaces Britanniae from Britannia and the Molossus from Epirus. The exhibition reflected the wide-mouthed dogs from Britain were far superior to the ancient Greek Molossus.

“ Although the British dogs are distinguished neither by colour nor good anatomy, I could not find any particular faults with them. When grim work must be done, when special pluck is needed when Mars summons us to battle most extreme, then the powerful Molossus will please you less and the Athamanen dog cannot measure up to the skill of the British dog either. ”
— Gratius Falsius, 8 AD

The ancient Roman historian Strabo reported in 38 AD of large English dogs, which were bred in their homeland of Britannia to hunt dangerous game and as war dogs.

In 43 AD, the Roman conquest of Britain made Britannia a Roman province. At that time, in Britain there were giant, wide-mouthed dogs, which the Romans called Pugnaces Britanniae, that surpassed their Molossus dogs. A Procurator Cynegii, was stationed in Venta Belgarum and responsible for selecting these dogs, which were exported to Rome for contests in the amphitheatre and for integration into the military of ancient Rome as war dogs.

The 'Pugnaces' dogs of Roman Britain were specifically referred to by the Greek historian Arrian in 130 AD.

It is an undisputed fact that when the Romans invaded these islands they found the natives possessed of a fierce and powerful breed of dogs, which they used in war.
Some or even a lot of these dogs were sent to Rome for more brutal purposes, namely, to bait the bull and other animals for the amusement of the people in the amphitheatres. These were the "broad-mouthed dogs of Britain," differing, no doubt, very much from either the bulldog or the mastiff of to-day, but possessing the great strength and indomitable courage that distinguish both of these breeds, and which so eminently fitted their progenitors for the rough and hazardous sports for which they were used.

The ancient Roman poet Grattius (or Grattius Faliscus) wrote of British dogs, describing them as superior to the ancient Greek Molossus, saying:
"What if you choose to penetrate even among the Britons? How great your reward, how great your gain beyond any outlays! If you are not bent on looks and deceptive graces (this is the one defect of the British whelps), at any rate when serious work has come, when bravery must be shown, and the impetuous War-god calls in the utmost hazard, then you could not admire the renowned Molossians so much."

A Latin poet thus refers to them and their employment in the amphitheatres:
And British mastiffs break the brawny necks of bulls.
A feat which I imagine could not be literally performed by any dog then or now.

Although the majority of writers refer these fighting dogs to the mastiffs, there are others who think the dog so used by the Romans was the Irish wolfhound; and this view was cleverly argued by a writer in the "Field" in 1871, whose letters, signed "E. W. R.," were reproduced in "Dogs of the British Islands," and in these are given quotations showing that Irish dogs were used in the amphitheatres; but this does not show that English dogs were not; indeed, it is certain the sort from which our mastiffs and bulldogs are descended, were also similarly employed, and the writer I have referred to appears to me to be wrong when he quotes Oppian's description, "small in size, squat, lean, and shaggy, with blinking eyes and lacerating claws, but mostly prized for their scent in tracking where the foot has passed," against mastiffs having been so used, and asks, "does this description apply to either mastiff or bulldog?" The answer is evident. Oppian was not describing the dog used for bull-baiting, but the beagle, which the Romans so largely exported from Britain for hunting purposes.

"I do not for a moment think that wolfhound, bulldog, or mastiff, such as the names now cover, were represented at that date except in a rough typical way, and the descriptions handed down to us are far too meagre and widely-scattered to allow the changes that have taken place to be traced with any degree of accuracy, therefore much is necessarily left to conjecture. The great Buff on supposed the mastiff to be "a mongrel generated between the Irish wolfhound and the bulldog, but much larger, and more resembling the latter than the former." Practical dog breeders, with I think good reason, lean to an opposite conclusion - namely, that the Irish wolfhound was a combination of mastiff and greyhound blood; and in that or similar directions all attempts at the resuscitation of that lost variety must be made."¹

The English Mastiff is considered to be the closest descendant of the Pugnaces Britanniae. But also the EM almost was extinct after World War II and had to be recreated by using different breeds that had English Mastiff blood in their veins. I tend to say that a German Mastiff aka Great Dane x a true active big game hunting Bulldog/Bärenbeisser/Bullenbeisser is closer to the Pugnaces Britanniae of ancient times than a modern English Mastiff!
Regards
Andreas

list of sources:
¹(http://chestofbooks.com/animals/dogs/Br ... stiff.html)
>Fleig, D. (1996). Fighting Dog Breeds. (Pg. 26 - 27). Neptune, NJ: TFH Publications. ISBN 0-7938-0499-X
>Homan, M. (1999). A Complete History of Fighting Dogs. (Pg. 9). Howell Book House. ISBN 1-58245-128-1
>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogs_of_Roman_Britain
>http://chestofbooks.com/animals/dogs/British-Dogs/Chapter-VIII-The-Mastiff.html
>http://www.worldlingo.com/ma/enwiki/en/Pugnaces_Britanniae#History
sunnyAK
 
Posts: 57
Joined: 7. December 2011, 17:04

Re: Pugnaces Britanniae

Postby sunnyAK on 4. December 2012, 09:40

suliman wrote:very nicely done indeed... Bravo! you've said pretty much everthing :D

The term "pugnaces", Julius Caeser used when he referred those dogs that he had encountered in his journey to the English Isles. The Conquest of Julius Caesar of Britain in 51 AD , gives examples of “pugnaces Britaniae” arriving in Rome. The term pugnaces gives way to the modern day terminology of "Pugnacious" meaning "undershot bite"

I would however like to share some Old pics before the reconstruction occurred.
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A very cute picture
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One of the dogs I really Like
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sunnyAK
 
Posts: 57
Joined: 7. December 2011, 17:04

Re: Pugnaces Britanniae

Postby sunnyAK on 7. December 2012, 11:04

some more/other opinions:
Text by Ray Lane



The Romans found, not mastiff-like dogs in Britian, but coarse-haired, strong-headed, medium-sized 'fighting dogs'....As the distinguished historian Toynbee states (source: Animals in Roman Life and Art, 1973), such fighting dogs were much more of the Irish Wolfhound phenotype."
The Mastiffs, The Big Game Hunters, David Hanc0ck

By about 600BC, the Celts had crossed the Pyreenes into Spain and joined with the Iberians of Spain, the Celtiberians introduced cattle into the British Isels.

"Mastiffs of the Alaunt type were owned and bred by the Celtic clans and used in their warfare. Before 500BC the Celts were principally in southern Germany, but soon spread throughout western Europe and all the British Isles, their mastiffs and hounds by their sides."
The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World

The terms Alaunt/Alano derive from the Warrior Tribe of the Caucasus who had conqured their way to China, and some even fought for Rome even stantioned in the British Isles. The Alans were Pastoralists, and their dogs were used to defend their livestock and to fight in war. About 406AD, the Alans of the East had joined the Alans of the West and other Barbarian tribes to cause the Fall of Rome. While the Alans, being a vast tribe, settled in many parts of Europe, many had settled in France and Spain.

The term Mastiff was introduced to England in 1066 by the invading Normans of France who brought their large Alaunt type Mastiffs. The common color was red/brown like the modern Douge de Bordeaux, which traces its roots to war dogs and flock guardians that fought wolf and bear to defend the herds, and as entertainment in the Pits/Arenas.

"From Dr. Casius, physician in ordinary to Queen Elizabeth I, we learn from the year 1550: The Mastiff or 'ban-dog' is a coarse, very large dog with a broad, heavy head, ugly and quite keen, of heavy, ponderous form, and thus not too fast....This dog is also called 'Villatica,' because its job is to guard and protect farms..."
Fighting Dog Breeds, Dr Dieter Fleig

Thus, the English Mastiff was the guardian of farms and en vouge in the Pits/Arenas, as taught to them by the Norman Conqueres of France.

"Bullbaiting and bearbaiting in the Elizabethan era produced large dogs for these sports and later on the 100-120 pound animal gave way to a small, more agile breed of up to 90 pounds."
American Kennel Club

In 1556, King Philip II of Spain, who had married Marie Tudor, Queen of England, had opened trade. And, while Spain imported the larger Alaunt type Mastiffs of England into Spain and her colonies, including Cuba, which gave rise to the Cuban Mastiff (a Shepherd's Mastiff that fought in the Pits/Arenas), in England, the lighter Spanish Alano gave rise to the lighter Bandog (kept chainned to give chase to kill the wolf) and, eventually, the Bulldog.

"The Bandog is a variety of this fierce tribe, (the Bulldog and Mastiff) not often to be seen at present. It is lighter, smaller, more active and vigilant than the mastiff, but not so powerful, and its nose is smaller, (narrower), and possesses in some degree, the scent of the hound. Its hair is rough and generally of a yellowish grey, streaked with shades of a black or brown color. It does not invariably, like the preceeding kinds, attack its adversary in front, but frequently seizes cattle by the flank, it attacks with eagerness, and its bite is keen."
Bewick

"...scent of the hound" reminds us of the Cuban Bloodhound..."Its hair is rough" reminds us of the Wolfhound type of the medium size found in Britian of 55BC,..."and its nose is smaller, (narrower)," pre-dates the supposed Terrier crosses, but derives from the Lebrel of Spain. The Cuban connection of South USA, being only 90 miles from Florida, and the supplier of the Spanish forts clustered in old La Florida, gave the foundation of Bulldogs (APBT and farm Bulldogs used mainly as guardians) in South USA. The story of early American Bulldogs fighting packs of wild dogs, a common threat to farms and livestock, had long replaced the wolf. The APBT derives its fighting origins of killing wolves to defend the Pastoralists/Conqurers since ancient times. The farmer is a Pastoralist who still uses this ancient type war dog to defend his livestock and family.
The Lebrel of Spain, being of Sighthound type, can still be seen in Bulldogs, even in England, where even Crib and Rosa sported arched loins and a pencil tail. It must be noted, however, the Bulldog of England took on its own form, due to funtion of pinning the bull for entertainment. Such traits derived from crosses with the Staghound/Bulhound type Hunting Dogs used to catch wild cattle, which decend from the German bull-biters created after the Fall of Rome - and these were not war dogs, nor were they used for the kill. The Staffs of England still sport a short head from these crosses, while the UKC calls for a "Brick-Like" head for the APBT, that being enlongated like the original Spanish Alano still used to round up cattle and to kill the wolf. Of interest, the farm Bulldogs of South USA still used to fight preditor, sport courser hair, that differes from most APBT and American Bulldogs. This slightly courser hair should not be confused with the long hair culls of the Alpine Mastiff (long hair introduced by crosses of the Newfoundland), the Old English Mastiff, Bullmastiff, and Johnson American Bulldogs. Rather, the courser hair is similar to the real Spanish Alano still used by cattlemen in Spain.

The Bulldogs I have collected and breed are of the Wolfhound/Mastiff type used to kill predator and are therefore not especially suited to Catching/Holding. Instead, these Bulldogs are used like the original English Mastiff "to guard and protect farms " crossed with the Wolfhound type "Cuban Bloodhound" war dogs imported even after Spain withdrew from Florida in 1819. For, in 1839, Mr Smith of England wrote that the Cuban Mastiff was a reddish color and crossed with the Spanish cattle dogs of America. Thus, we see different sizes and types. This is more understandable when we account for all the other various imports of Spain, France, Italy, England, Ireland, etc., as South USA was a Melting Pot before the word was invented. And, war dogs had been crossed since ancient times.

As guardians of the family and livestock, no formal protection trainning is required or even desired. These old type Mastiff/Wolfhound type guardians are kept as loving family pets, with consideration to their past, as they will, when challenged by an intruder - fight - man or beast.

"Bordeaux Dogs that were trainned to fight were extremely dangerous opponents, but those kept as family dogs were of gentle character."
Fighting Dog Breeds, Dr Dieter Fleig

Trainning my dogs to fight will not be tolerated. Besides, the APBT is better suited to this task. My dogs are not of the Boarhound, Staghound, or Bulhound type, but are of the Wolfhound type used to kill preditors as a guard dog. Besides, the APBT, pound for pound, is better suited to this task. My dogs are not suited to PP/SCH testing or trainning, except for military purpose as they are bred to kill preditors - man or beast. Other breeds and strains are sold in different circles for such sports and are better suited to this task. Many Law Enforcement Athorities do use my dogs to defend their wives and children - especially from those they had arrested and were released into general population.
sunnyAK
 
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Re: Pugnaces Britanniae

Postby sunnyAK on 8. December 2012, 10:49

i guess a male deerhound (or irish wolfhound) x female cane corso, or any dog of this type, could come pretty close to this description.
in other words i guess the pugnaces britanniae were sighthound x "bärenbeisser" crosses. so a heavier type of boxer "danziger bärenbeissser" (this is why i mentioned the Cane Corso) x celtic type sighthound would be pretty close. in my opinion it is made up crap that romans found big heavy dogs like EMs when they invaded britain. come on, how should they have hunted big game with such dogs. :idea: i would even say they found medium sized/up to larger dogs, maybe with shorter muzzles, due to the "bärenbeisser" type dogs (or let´s call them bulldogs). but certainly no huge short coated mastiffs! ;) maybe the dogs they found were even coarse-haired, but with a broad muzzle/heavy head.
sunnyAK
 
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Joined: 7. December 2011, 17:04


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