The Manchester Museum is hosting Breed: The British and their Dogs, an exhibition that tells the history of the British Isles through the eyes of dogs and their owners.
Breed reveals the enduring and affectionate relationship between the British people and their dogs and explores the very beginnings of pedigree dog breeding in Britain.
The free exhibition – which runs from October 6 to April 14 – focuses on six pedigree dogs: bloodhound, borzoi, bulldog, collie, Irish wolfhound and Pekingese. Each breed highlights something unique about British history and culture and the connection between human and dog, from the bloodhound’s role tracking down Jack the Ripper to the patriotic spirit the bulldog embodied during WWII.
This exhibition has been developed with The University of Manchester’s Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine and supported by the AHRC.
There are a number of talks over the next few weeks to which everyone is welcome.
‘The Animal Estate’ 25 Years On – Friday 5 October – 1-2pm, The Manchester Museum
In 1986 Professor Ritvo published The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age, a book that broke new ground in Victorian Studies and stimulated the development of Animal Studies as an area of research and teaching. In this lecture, Profesor Ritvo reflects on her work and its impact in the last quarter century. This lecture is part of the programme of events linked to Manchester Museum’s new exhibition Breed: The British and Their Dogs. There will be an opportunity to visit the Exhibition after the lecture.
Professor Ritvo’s visit and lecture is supported by an AHRC Project Grant – The Dog Fancy and Fancy Dogs in Victorian Britain held in CHSTM.
Manchester Dogs – Saturday 13 October, 1.30-2.30pm
The story of three types of canine associated with Manchester and its region: street dogs, Manchester terriers and the Lyme Hall mastiffs.
In the nineteenth century the city was the rabies capital of the country because of the sheer number and condition of the curs that roamed the streets. Drastic measures were enacted to control the menace and those bitten turned to local herbalists rather than the medical profession who regarded the human form of the disease – hydrophobia – as untreatable.
The Manchester terrier was, allegedly, the creation of John Hulme, bringing together the ratting skills of the terrier and the speed of the whippet, though the dog was first known as ‘the Black and Tan’. The breed was famous for providing Queen Victoria’s Royal ratter – Jack Black, but also infamous because of the many disputes within the dog fancy over its form.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the Lyme Hall mastiff was one of the largest breeds in the country and its history could traced to fifteenth century. Some mastiff fanciers regarded it as having ‘the purest and most valuable strain of mastiff blood in the kingdom’, though others said it had become degenerate due to inbreeding. We will never know who was right, as in 1914 the dogs remaining at Lyme Park were all destroyed as being too expensive to keep when the country was at war.
The talk is given by Professor Michael Worboys from The University of Manchester.
What a dog might tell us: on photography, perfectibility, and the aesthetics of breed, with artist Jo Longhurst – Tuesday 23 October, 6-8pm
For several years Jo worked with eminent British Whippet breeders, photographing their dogs by bloodline, exploring their quest for the perfect dog. In this illustrated talk, Jo will discuss the making of The Refusal, the resulting body of work which foregrounds the intimate relationship between human and dog. Her works include photographs, stereoscopic installations and projections, video and performance.
Posted on behalf of Anna Bunney, Manchester Museum
Visit the Manchester Museum website for more Breed: The British and their Dogs events.
Visit the MEN article on the Breed: The British and their Dogs exhibition.