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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. G. R. Barr to George Cupples   [after 11 May 1868?]1

[Queries on Deerhounds (and dogs in general)

To J. G. R. Barr, Esqr. | Longsight House, | Longsight, | Manchester.

My Dear Sir,

Please append your reply to the following.

1. What is the average difference of size between the male and female Deerhound?]

from 12 to 2 inches when full grown

[(This is far too small a disproportion to give—as my other authority shows. G. C.)]2

[2. Is this amount of difference found in the case of Bloodhounds and Mastiffs?]

I have found it so in Bloodhounds of which, I have bred some hundreds.

[3. In litters of puppies (of any kind of dog) what is the proportion of males and females in respect of the numbers born?]

out of upwards of 117 litters, I bred, I find the average in favor of females.

[4. In case of copulation between Deerhound Dog and Bitch (or with other dogs) does the Dog or Bitch ever show any preference for an individual of the opposite sex?]

This I certainly find in almost every instance.3

CD annotations

0.3 My Dear … hundreds. 6.1] crossed blue crayon
9.1 4.... instance. 10.1] double scored red crayon; crossed blue crayon; ‘Preference’ added and del blue crayon
Top of letter: ‘Preference’ red crayon


The date is conjectured from the possibility that Barr was one of the people to whom Cupples had sent CD’s queries on dogs (see letter from George Cupples, 11–13 May 1868 and n. 3). Barr has written his replies on Cupples’s letter to him, evidently sent on or before 11 May 1868. This letter may have been enclosed with Cupples’s letter to CD of 13 July 1868, in which Cupples copied other answers to CD’s queries. Sections in square brackets are by Cupples.
See letters from George Cupples, 11–13 May 1868 and 13 July 1868. Cupples added this comment to Barr’s answer.
CD cited Barr’s remark in Descent 2: 272, but with reference to bloodhounds.


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


Sends replies on dogs – sexual differences and preferences.

Letter details

Letter no.
J. G. R. Barr
George Cupples
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 85: B27
Physical description
AL 1p †, †(by CD)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6527,” accessed on 19 January 2020,

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