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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Cupples   11–13 May 1868

The Cottage | Guard Bridge | St Andrews | N.B.

May 11 / 68.

Dear Sir,

I felt highly honoured by your letter in reply to my offer of trivial service, and at the same time greatly gratified by its kind tone.1

I had observed with much regret the reference in your preface to impaired health, and am sorry to find that this still continues. Having myself been more or less an invalid for twelve years, and a recluse (accidentally rendered lame for life,) I can the better enter into the loss which the world as well as yourself must sustain from this.2

There is all the more reason for the suggestion that portions of your observation-work might be, as it were, “given out” to those willing servitors of all sorts whom you would find glad to do their little part in looking out around them for this purpose. It seems so to happen that Zoology is the most patent of all departments of science, whether to understand or observe in.

I am glad to say that I can give distinct answers so far to your queries. In addition to this I have written to three or four correspondents of the very best-qualified kind in regard to such statistics (including Mr McNeill, Scrope’s authority—and the head-forester in the Breadalbane Forest, who has been forty years among red deer and Highland dogs.)3

1. “Inequality of size of the male and female Scotch Deerhound”? This runs from 2 to even 5 and 6 inches in shoulder-height—the female generally not exceeding 26 inches, the male rising even at the present day to 33. A single case of 30 inches height in the female is recorded in authentic pedigrees, and is thought astonishing.4 The suggestion as to “selection of size having possibly been applied to one sex more than the other” strikes me as well worth consideration. The breed having been so very long devoted to the sole purpose of coursing after the red-deer stag—males, too, being both preferred and comparatively free for the purpose. As to the proportions in other (large) breeds of dogs (feral also) I shall inquire. Moreover, whether the fact can be traced far back? (The names of celebrated Celtic dogs are almost invariably those of males.)5

2. A female deerhound now in my Kennel, which has 3 times had pups, has on each occasion shown a most decided and marked preference for one out of four deerhound dogs, free beside her—he being the largest and handsomest, though all were about their prime, and more or less capable. This favoured dog was at the same time the least eager of the four.6 Much depends on the actions of the female.

3. The last remark applies of course in deciding which is to succeed, among the males. I believe the favoured dog would always have succeeded, if left to himself by the breeder. Generally speaking, when dogs are free to run about, strength, speed, and chance together, must decide the result.

3. “Have you met with any careful statement as to the proportions of the sexes born?” No—not having looked for it hitherto. My own experience has been independently leading me to the impression that there are more females born. This even before the occurrences of the last few days—viz. A deerhound bitch has lately pupped for the first time—4 pups, all bitches. Yesterday I had a letter from an English gentleman, a distinguished breeder of the same dogs—he says, “My bitch has pupped to the Irish Wolfhound (one of the last remaining of that race), only 3, all bitches.”7 Tonight I look for a litter from another bitch, and shall note the proportions. This same bitch has had two previous litters—one of 4 female and 1 male—another of 4 male and 3 females. (I shall note her new litter in this parenthesis, when they are born—4 males—3 females.) But I had forgot 1 bitch which I destroyed in the 2d. litter—so that out of 3 litters, this bitch has had a majority of 1 female in 19 pups. I notice that it is generally in a bitch’s first litter that the majority of females has been decided, so far as I know hitherto.8 During twelve years breeding, my experience of the puppies has been that the females exceeded the males in number—also that there are fewer deaths among them, if left to themselves while sucking and getting over distemper &c. The female is more forward and quick, as a pup—grows faster, gets to her size 6 months sooner, is more cunning, and as a rule, no dog ever attacks her. I am disposed to think she is less liable to infections, when in her “periods” or suckling her young. I have often wished to know whether hydrophobia ever originates with a bitch.—

The whole of the above relates to pure Deerhounds, and to deerhounds crossed distantly from the bloodhound, the Russian greyhound, the Russian retriever, and Old Irish greyhound. In connection, however, I give the case of a black-and-tan English terrier which I knew well. She formed an early attachment to a retriever, doing her best to have progeny from him—but failing, she ever afterwards refused dogs of her own size, taking refuge at home when pursued by them—and died a virgin. She repeatedly showed milk from her teats.9

I saw the other day a young greyhound bitch, which had never had pups, suckling the pups of a Scotch terrier—who had been quite displaced, and came in modestly at the moment, to look on.

Another little incident I may give by the way, of Canaries. I had just got your letter, when my wife told me she had been seeing an old bootmaker in St Andrew’s, a great breeder of canaries.10 He pointed out to her four young birds, two yellow, and two grey—calling attention to the circumstance that the pairs of the same colour always sat, perched, or took their position in the nest together, side by side. If this is of any consequence, I can get all the facts.

In regard to dogs of any sort—cattle—red-deer, &c—I have various opportunities for procuring answers to any queries, and should do so with care and interest.

I may now venture to add a notion or two on the point as to character being (externally) influenced by the maternal imagination. It was rash on my part to express myself as a believer in this. I might rather have called myself a true sceptic on the point—in the sense of having come to believe neither way.11 Formerly I believed the contrary—viz. that it was a mere “devout imagination” among women, who are strongly credulous about it. But I am told—1.—Of the case of my own father-in-law,12 whose one hand was crooked-in and partially powerless (or, rather, partially beyond voluntary control)—from the (alleged) cause of his mother having seen a paralytic with a similar peculiarity, seated frequently in her view. His was a peculiar case, as he was otherwise a strong man, his pedigree being easily traceable on both sides, by the paternal side to the old Douglas family, in which he was a near representative of the Earls of Morton—his father being a Major at Gibraltar, and himself born an officer. (according to a now obsolete rule of the Service.).13 2. Of a woman in a neighbouring village here, whom I have seen, and whose child is understood to have been born an idiot in consequence of her unexpectedly seeing an idiot child in a friend’s house. 3. 4. & 5. Of other cases, of birthmarks among relatives of my wife— at all events curious incidents, whether superstitious or not.

I am not presuming to argue a point on which my knowledge is comparatively that of a mere child—indeed I am a partizan neither way—I only want to bring it forward to your notice, supposing it rather to tally with your views than otherwise. And as to the question whether it is consistent with law in other departments of nature—let Jacob’s cattle be mythical, perhaps a Jewish reflection on the patriarch’s character14—even admitting that grey rabbits are prevalent because of Natural Selection alone15—yet what of the alleged variability of colour in the chameleon according to juxtaposition— the white colour of Alpine hares, ptarmigans, ermines &c—and the form and colour of leaf-insects &c.? It has often occurred to me that the grey or red tints of many feral animals—the heathery grey of the Deerhound—might partly be influenced by a tendency to assimilate with localities through instinct? Is there not a strong disposition throughout life to this Assimilation (centripetal force), corresponding to the Variations (centrifugal force)—somewhat as astronomically there is one law appearing to take opposite directions? I hazard all this in defence of the female imagination and its self-asserted sensibilities— the passivity in nature, let me suppose, as distinguished from activity?

Pray do not let my voluminous zeal deprive me of your patience on the one hand, or on the other give you the least trouble to answer out of courtesy. When I avail myself of your kind willingness to inform me for my Monograph, I shall do so specially and in a brief form—and hope to be allowed to send a copy of the book when it appears, months hence.16 If you would care to have a Deerhound puppy of the best strain, I should have great pleasure in selecting and rearing one for you this season. I detain this letter another day in order to give statistics of the new litter—putting in meanwhile as a postscript some additional notes on Deerhounds.

Believe me, Dear Sir, | with all respect | yours very truly | George Cupples

Charles Darwin, Esqr.

[Enclosure 1]

Additional Memoranda on Deerhounds.

I find that the period of gestation can vary by at least a couple of days under or over the 63.

The purer the breed of Deerhounds, I think the fewer the puppies are likely to be—not at all from degeneracy, as marked by loss of size or quality, but the reverse. The larger the breed, the fewer the pups.

Distemper is a terrible foe to them.

I never heard of hydrophobia in Deerhounds.

The colours are now two—fawn, of various shades—grey of various shades—distinct in the individuals, and uniform, except as a slight brindle, or by black “points”. Originally, grey of various shades would seem to have been the colour—but the existence of white marks can be traced into antiquity.

The difference of size in the two sexes—2 to even 5 inches height—seems immense, as an inch implies no trifle in itself to the other dimensions.

I forgot to mention above, about the two colours, that I have discovered that they are in some cases convertible—i.e. The fawn dog, at some period of its adult life, may in a short time become dark iron grey all over—with the fawn, no doubt, below. I have seen this in all stages.

There is a strong disposition to scrape and burrow in loose ground, or even in anything softer than pavement—and this particularly among the females.

The descriptions of the St Domingo feral dogs might be taken everyway for those of Scotch Deerhounds—in character as well as appearance.17

Cases of pups in one litter from two different fathers seem not uncommon   I notice that the female tends to be determined to some extent by custom, in favour of dogs she knows and has been associating with—her shyness & timidity are apt to affect her against strange dogs, so that at least some time is required to overcome this obstacle. The male, on the contrary, seems rather inclined the other way—is more eager towards a fresh entrant, a distant scent, or a new form.18

Mayhew’s19 experience confessedly refers to small dogs, fancy dogs, and ordinary sporting dogs—he disclaims knowledge of hounds.

A cross-bred bitch often has as many as 15 puppies at a litter.

I have said nothing of preferences by the Male towards the Female.— but shall keep it in view.

I had last night a (most annoying) proof of the force of Natural Selection, as running counter to Artificial. The 4 female pups, 12-days old, were of pure breed, from large-sized parents—the feeding had been most careful—and as 4 is a small number to be born, I meant to keep them all, expecting the very largest and strongest pups attainable as yet. The bitch must have littered 2 or 3 days before her time. One puppy was obviously smaller than the rest, though absolutely large—larger than usual—nothing wrong with it—all apparently well for 11 days. That night I heard the bitch restless and complaining, but unfortunately thought nothing of it at the time. Next day one pup seemed lying separate from the others— I examined all—saw nothing wrong—did not identify it as being the small one. At night I had to take the small one away—we did all we could for it—but it died quietly in the night. The comparative size and strength of the three others had been too much for it—loss of food and of warmth had been fatal to it, without any absolute defect, and certainly no want of milk in the mother, as 4 pups are a trifle. This I conceive to illustrate what must go on among wolves and wild dogs.

The old Highland chiefs, & modern noblemen also, doubtless thinned out their litters most relentlessly—to which was added, their jealousy and stinginess as to diffusing their breeds. This helped to degenerate in the end. But perhaps it may have tended to develope the size of the dog—even the disproportion of the bitch?

[Enclosure 2]

May 13th.

On Deerhounds | size of Male & Female

I yesterday received a reply from Mr McNeill20 of Colonsay (brother of Lord Colonsay21 & Sir John Mc.Neill). He says:—

“—My remarks (in Scrope’s book)22 as to the difference of size between the male and female in Deerhounds has been derived from my own observations tested by experience— I have made it a rule to weigh all the puppies, in the numerous litters I have reared, every month till they reached their full growth.

The result in general terms is that I consider a dog of 80 lbs in training a full-sized dog, and a bitch of 65 lbs a large bitch—showing a disparity of at least 15 lbs in weight. This is as nearly as I can give it, a fair average of the difference. Unless to try their speed and courage, Bitches are seldom slipped at deer, for they have not the weight and strength to bring down a fullgrown stag.23

I am not aware that in any other species of Dog this difference is so great. It does not seem to be so in the common Greyhound, or in the Setter or Bulldog. It is strange that it should be so, yet we see it in some wild animals, tho’ not in others; for instance in the Capercailzie and Black-cock, but not in the wild-duck or goose. While in birds of prey, such as the Eagle and Hawk the female is invariably the larger—which seems to be a provision of nature, as the female has to kill and bring the food for the oung.

Should Mr Darwin desire any further information on this or any other subject regarding any of those animals whose habits I have studied, I shall be most happy to furnish it.

I remain, Dear Sir | Yours faithfy. | (signed) Archd. McNeill.”

The largest Deerhounds must have weighed in old times nearly 150 lbs or more

I may add that Mr McNeill’s breeds have not been of the largest size—but he has recorded to me cases of his dogs much above 100 lbs weight even in running condition. A large wolf weighs about 100 lbs.

[Enclosure 3]

Extract from “Dogs: their Management” by Edward Mayhew M.R.C.V.S. Editor of

“Blaine’s Veterinary Art.” page 187–192. 2d Edition. Routledge. 186424

In reference to sexual differences sexual inclinations &c

“Little gentlemen are said to incline towards what are termed fine women; and many persons will remember the caricature, in which a strapping Life-guards-man was depicted, stooping to salute a lady who scarcely reached the top of his boots. The like admiration for bulk appears to be entertained by the members of the canine race. Small curs are much disposed to bestow their affections upon huge Newfoundlands; and diminutive bitches, if followed by a host of suitors, will give the preference to the largest of the group. All descriptions of dogs will freely have intercourse with one another; and as these animals are of such various proportions, the female is frequently unable to give birth to the progeny of a gigantic sire. Care consequently should be taken to provide suitable males when pups are desired; and in all cases the dog should be smaller than the bitch. It is not, however, a sufficient precaution that the dog be of less size; for it, or the bitch herself, may be the dwarf of a large stock, and being so may be capable of getting or gestating offspring as huge as the race from which either of them sprung. It is possible, therefore, for a small dog to be quite as dangerous as one of great weight; and I knew an animal of this kind which has been the caus of many deaths on that account. The animal alluded to was the property of a gentleman (now deceased) who had long graced the bench. The dog was a handsome Scotch terrier; and being small, it was frequently solicited as a stock-dog. It was, however, very deceptive; for a bitch twice its own size could with difficulty survive the consequences of its embraces. It is a diminutive example of a naturally large race; and in its offspring there is a disposition to return to the original size. Therefore, not only must the dog be small, but, if possible, it must have been derived from a small stock. The giant’s dwarf may beget a giant; and how frequently do parents of short stature have children who can at maturity look literally over their heads! Certainly more important however than the size of the dog, is the magnitude of the stock whence the bitch is derived. A full-sized pug bitch, whose portrait is given beneath, had connexion with a setter dog. She was sent to me to be delivered; but with little assistance the affair was accomplished. A small mongrel bitch, but a great favourite with its 〈master, broke loose during his absence, and had connexion with a dog at least four times its size. The animal was brought to me to ascertain what could be done, her death being expected when the nine weeks expired. At the proper period, however, she brought forth〉25 four pups without any assistance. On the opposite side, numerous instances might be quoted: but, on this topic, enough has been said to warn the reader that the dog, however small, should not be permitted to approach the bitch whose mother was large, or whose brothers and sisters stand much higher than herself. Let the reader look at the two portraits that follow. They are evidently of one and the same family. They both had a common progenitor. The beagle is the blood-hound, only of a smaller size; and often these beautiful diminutive creatures suffer in parturition, or throw pups whose size takes from them all value. However, for the chance of security, if for no more tangible object, let the dog, in every instance, be smaller than the bitch; and let it also have no disease; but be in perfect health, strong and lively.26

The bitch, for breeding, should be rather long in the back; and it is scarcely possible for her to be made too wide in the hind-quarters. She should be strong, and rather large than small of her breed; and where a diminution of size is desired, it is better to obtain it through the father than the mother. When the last method is adopted there is no danger of the bitch bearing pups of gigantic proportions, and which she may not be capable of bringing forth. The breed, also, should be as pure as possible; for there is a disposition in these animals to throw back, as it is termed; that is, supposing a bitch to be of spaniel breed, to that degree which allows of no cross being detected; nevertheless if there should be a stain of cur or terrier in her pedigree, one or more of every litter she bears may prominently exhibit it. It is often long before this natural proof of a degraded family can be entirely eradicated; and it is very common for persons to express surprise at the pups born resembling neither of the parents they derived from.

Another caution not to be neglected is, to keep the bitch from all communication with dogs it is wished her progeny should in no way resemble. A low-bred playmate may not appear to be of much consequence; and the proprietor may imagine, if actual connexion is provided against, no further precaution can be required. The females of the canine race, how〈ever, are able to bestow their affections; and tender recollections are as potent over them as they are known to be in other cases, where higher animals are concerned. Bitches are not always prudent in their loves, but are apt to fling themselves away on curs of low degree. If reared with a companion of vulgar appearance, there often springs up between the pair a devotion which no time can afterwards subdue. The passion, for such it really is, becomes of a more than romantic endurance. The loved one’s image grows to be so impressed upon the mind—so much so, that all〉27 the fruits of the body afterwards bear its likeness. There may have been no intercourse between the pair, but to animals of her breed, the bitch may, contrary to her longings, have been devoted: and yet, in the offspring she brings forth the object of her affections will be represented. This, however, is very likely to be the case, when the first male accepted is by accident or neglect of impure origin. There have been several well-marked cases illustrative of this fact, and probably many which have never been properly observed. The peculiarity of a high-bred bitch bringing forth a blemished litter, would be set down to her throwing back; but perhaps a fair proportion of the cases thus accounted for, might with justice be attributed to the mental influence which has been pointed out.28

The animal has then “heat”, or œstrum, upon her, and her system is generally excited. She is more lively, and should any other dogs be with her, she indulges in a variety of coquettish antics. Her attitudes when thus excited are very picturesque, and the beauty of the animal is never exhibited to greater advantage. A lively grace animates her whole frame; and she is now the creature a painter should study, or a poet describe. She will not immediately accept the male, whose passion she evidently practises all her arts to excite. For a few days, perhaps, a romping courtship may go forward before union is actually permitted.”

If I recollect rightly, some of the best facts in dog-breeding are to be found in the Manual on dogs by “Stonehenge” (Editor of the Field) pubd., I think, by Routledge— I refer only to the portion on Greyhounds.29

Mayhew is a minute but conceited and crotchety writer— I had not read the passages I have had copied for you, till on happening to look into the book, I was surprised by their coincidence with my own impressions in some respects.

CD annotations

1.1 I felt … of males.) 5.11] crossed blue crayon
5.1 1.... astonishing. 5.4] scored blue crayon
5.4 The suggestion … males.) 5.11] scored blue crayon
5.7 males, … purpose. 5.8] underl blue crayon
6.1 2.... capable. 6.4] double scored blue crayon; ‘Preference’ in margin, blue crayon
6.4 This favoured … female. 6.5] double scored blue crayon
7.1 3.... result. 7.4] crossed blue crayon
8.15 there are fewer … &c. 8.17] scored blue crayon
8.17 The female … her. 8.18] scored blue crayon
9.4 She … teats. 9.7] scored blue crayon; ‘Preference’ added in margin; crossed ink
10.1 I saw … look on. 10.3] crossed blue crayon
12.1 In regard … Deerhounds 15.8] crossed blue crayon
Verso of p. 3: ‘George Cupples’ ink; ‘Polygamy terriers’ ink, del ink; ‘Preference’ blue crayon.
Top of letter: ‘(1’ blue crayon
Enclosure 1
1.1 I find … antiquity. 5.4] crossed blue crayon
6.1 The difference … dimensions. 6.2] scored blue crayon
7.1 I forgot … appearance. 9.2] crossed blue crayon
10.1 Cases of pups] ‘5/’ top of page, blue crayon
10.1 I notice … associating with 10.3] double scored blue crayon
10.2 female] ‘Preference’ above, blue crayon
10.5 The male … hounds. 11.2] double scored blue crayon
13.1 I have … bitch? 15.4] crossed blue crayon
Enclosure 2
1.1 I … 150 lbs. 7.1] crossed blue crayon
3.1 The result … stag. 3.5] double scored blue crayon
Top of enclosure: ‘Size of Dogs’ blue crayon; ‘6’ blue crayon, circled blue crayon
Verso of enclosure: ‘Case like goat, ie characters selected with advancing age. in one sex alone; but no doubt started with aboriginal inequality as in feral canine animals.— It must have been formerly, when commoner that finest males were preserved, & less care paid to size of ♀.—’30 ink; crossed blue crayon
Enclosure 3
1.5 Small curs … group 1.7] enclosed in square brackets, blue crayon
1.5 Small curs … sire. 1.9] scored blue crayon; ‘over’ added blue crayon
2.8 that is … from. 2.13] scored blue crayon; scoring deleted blue crayon
3.2 A low-bred … required. 3.4] scored blue crayon; scoring deleted blue crayon
3.4 The females 3.5] after opening square bracket blue crayon
4.1 The animal … advantage. 4.4] scored blue crayon
4.1 œstrum] underl blue crayon
4.2 indulges … variety of 4.3] underl blue crayon
Top of enclosure: ‘Preference &c | 7’ blue crayon
Verso of enclosure: ‘Preference’ blue crayon; ‘Lucas very good *11. [interl] 〈    〉’| ‘Walker’31 pencil; ‘Extract from Mayhe[w]’; ‘Much about Preference in 〈    〉 Mr Cupples Letters’ ink


CD’s letter to Cupples has not been found. See letter from George Cupples, 1 May 1868. At the American Philosophical Society there is an envelope addressed to Cupples in Emma Darwin’s hand, postmarked at Bromley ‘MY 6 68’.
Cupples was suffering from the after-effects of a disease of the hip-joint that he contracted in 1857 or before (Cupples 1894, pp. 310, 326).
Cupples refers to Archibald McNeill and William Scrope (see letter from George Cupples, 1 May 1868 and n. 5). The head-forester of Breadalbane Forest was Peter Robertson (letter from George Cupples, 13 July 1868). His other correspondents were probably John Wright (see letter from George Cupples, 26 May 1868) and J. G. R. Barr (see letter from J. G. R. Barr to George Cupples [after 11 May 1868?]).
Cupples continued to write to CD about the sizes of male and female deerhounds. CD gave figures in Descent 2: 261, but used those sent by Cupples in his letter of 11 March 1869 (Correspondence vol. 17).
CD cited Cupples for this information in Descent 2: 262.
CD reported this case in Descent 2: 271.
For some of Cupples’s English deerhound-breeding correspondents, see Cupples 1894, pp. 58–9.
In the phrase ‘4 male and 3 females’, Cupples has written the ‘3’ in red over a crossed-out ‘2’. ‘—4 males—3 females’ is also written in red, as is, ‘But I had forgot … hitherto.’
CD reported this case in Descent 2: 271.
Cupples’s wife was Anne Jane Cupples. The bootmaker has not been identified.
Archibald Douglas.
Douglas’s parents have not been identified. The earls of Morton had the family name Douglas (Burke’s peerage). Until 1871, commissions in the British army were usually purchased, although there were a varying number of non-purchase commissions available, which could be granted to the sons of officers. However, commissions were not supposed to be given or sold to persons under sixteen. (Houlding 1981, p. 103, Holmes 2001, pp. 157–63.)
See Gen. 31:32–41. Jacob had agreed with Laban that Jacob would have all the speckled or spotted progeny born among Laban’s flocks, members of the flock that were themselves speckled or spotted having first been removed to a distance. Jacob put speckled rods before the eyes of the animals when they mated, with the result that they bore speckled progeny.
CD discussed the vulnerability of white rabbits and other white animals to predators in Variation 2: 229–30.
CD mentioned Charles Hamilton Smith’s discussion of the feral dogs of San Domingo in Variation 1: 28.
CD cited Cupples for the information about female dogs’ preference for familiar male dogs, and male dogs’ preference for unfamiliar female dogs in Descent 2: 271. The paragraph including information on preference (‘Cases of pups … new form.’) was on a slip of paper glued to the top of this page of the enclosure, which would otherwise have begun with this paragraph.
Edward Mayhew.
Archibald McNeill.
Duncan McNeill.
McNeill refers to William Scrope’s Art of deer stalking (Scrope 1838). See letter from George Cupples, 1 May 1868 and n. 5.
CD cited McNeill on this point in Descent 2: 262.
Mayhew’s Dogs: their management was first published by Routledge in 1854. There is no record of a second edition or of an 1864 reprint. Cupples may refer to the 1858 reprint, which was the first after 1854 (Mayhew 1858). Cupples also refers to Blaine 1854.
This section was excised from the enclosure and has been supplied from Mayhew 1858, pp. 188–9; it is the reverse of the first part of the next missing section (see n. 27, below).
The remainder of this paragraph and the one following were omitted from Cupples’s transcription.
This section was excised from the letter and has been supplied from Mayhew 1858, p. 191. CD quoted this section in Descent 2: 270.
A paragraph was omitted from the transcription at this point. On the effects of maternal imagination, see also the letter from George Cupples, 1 May 1868 and n. 6.
‘Stonehenge’ was the pseudonym of John Henry Walsh, editor of the Field. Cupples may refer to his The dog in health and disease, which was published by Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts (J. H. Walsh 1859): chapter 2, ‘Domesticated dogs hunting chiefly by the eye, and killing their game for man’s use’, is principally about greyhounds. Walsh also wrote a book on the greyhound (J. H. Walsh 1853).
CD hypothesised that characteristics transmitted to only one sex were developed late in life. See, for the application of this hypothesis to goats and deer-hounds, Descent 1: 293 and 2: 260.
Lucas: probably Prosper Lucas (see Descent 2: 272). Walker: probably Alexander Walker; CD read his book on intermarriage (Walker 1838) in 1839 (Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV, 119: 5a) and noted his citation of Delabere Pritchett Blaine (ibid., 119: 7v; see n. 25, above).


Blaine, Delabere Pritchett. 1854. Blaine’s Outlines of the veterinary art, or, A treatise on the anatomy, physiology, and curative treatment of the diseases of the horse, and subordinately, of those of neat cattle and sheep. 6th edition, revised and edited by Edward Mayhew. London: Longman, Brown, and Co.

Burke’s peerage: A genealogical and heraldic dictionary of the peerage and baronetage of the United Kingdom. Burke’s peerage and baronetage. 1st– edition. London: Henry Colburn [and others]. 1826–.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Cupples, George. 1894. Scotch deer-hounds and their masters. With a biographical sketch of the author by James Hutchison Stirling. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

Holmes, Richard. 2001. Redcoat. The British soldier in the age of horse and musket. London: Harper Collins Publishers.

Houlding, J. A. 1981. Fit for service: the training of the British army, 1715–95. Oxford: Clarendon Press

Mayhew, Edward. 1858. Dogs: their management. Being a new plan of treating the animal, based upon a consideration of his natural treatment. London: George Routledge & Co.

Scrope, William. 1838. The art of deer-stalking; illustrated by a narrative of a few days’ sport in the forest of Atholl, with some account of the nature and habits of red deer, and a short description of the Scotch forests; legends; superstitions; stories of poachers and freebooters, &c. &c. London: John Murray.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.

Walsh, John Henry (‘Stonehenge’). 1853. The greyhound: being a treatise on the art of breeding, rearing, and training greyhounds for public running; their diseases and treatment; containing also rules for the management of coursing meetings and for the decision of courses . London: Longmans, Brown, Green, and Longmans.

Walsh, John Henry (‘Stonehenge’). 1859. The dog in health and disease. London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts.


Answers CD’s queries on difference in size of male and female Scottish deerhounds; female preference for larger males; details about ratio of sexes born. Quotes from letter of Archibald McNeill on difference in size of male and female Scotch deerhounds.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Cupples
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Guard Bridge
Source of text
DAR 83: 119–20, DAR 83: 121–6, DAR 85: B28
Physical description
6pp †, encl 3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6169,” accessed on 21 April 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16