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Darwin Correspondence Project

From William Waring   13 April 1874

Woodlands, | Chelsfield.

April 13th. 1874

My dear Sir,

Since I last wrote to you I have been much more in Cambridgeshire than Kent—though when in the former County, I had neither the opportunity or time to enter into Field Sports.—1

However I had a long conversation, on the subject of Greyhounds, with the Gentleman I mentioned in a former letter,2 as having been one—if not the most successful Public Courser, in the Neighbourhood of Newmarket.—

He entirely confirms the opinion I gave you.— He tells me, he never allowed a Bitch to rear more than six Puppies—and not so many, unless she was very healthy and strong—and that he invariably selected those Puppies for her to bring up, which at the time, appeared the healthiest and strongest, without the slightest consideration whether they were Males or Females—except in those extremely rare instances perhaps—when there might have been only one Male or one Female in the litter.— This Gentlemans Dining Table and Side Board are covered with Trophies of all kinds and descriptions, which his Greyhounds have won for him—and he is now in his Eightyfifth year, perfectly hale and hearty, and moves about the country nearly as well as I can myself—and he told me, he did not recollect a single instance of any Greyhound Bitch of his, having a single Male or Female Puppy, when the litter consisted of as many as five or six— and also that it was an equally rare instance, for a Bitch to have less than five Puppies.—3

I trust I have not caused you any inconvenience by not sending this information before—but I only returned from Cambridgeshire on Thurs-day Evening last—and it was only very recently that I had the opportunity of speaking to the Gentleman I have alluded to.—

I am | Yours very truly | Wm. Waring

Charles Darwin Esqre | Down

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Greyhounds | Sexes’ pencil


None of the existing letters from Waring to CD mention such a person.
CD was interested in whether the selective practices of dog breeders influenced the proportion of males and females born (see letter to William Waring, 12 January [1874], and letter from George Cupples, 3 February 1874).


On proportion of sexes in litters of greyhounds.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Waring
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 90: 44–5
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9407,” accessed on 12 December 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22