Since all the kingdoms of nature must appear in an international exhibition, the Esplanade des Invalidés was largely enclosed and arranged to receive in turn the representatives of the horse and donkey species, the bovine species, the ovine species, the porcine species, the farmyard birds and the canine species; various competitions took place in three stages.
We will quickly sketch the physiognomy of these various exhibitions; let us start with the most noble conquest of man, that is to say, the horse.
The horse exhibition was very well attended and became from its opening the rendezvous of the whole international high-life.
The muzhiks in national costume who were looking after the horses of Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia, one of the greatest breeders in Europe, were watched with great curiosity.
The Belgian horses stood out for their solidity; our Breton and Norman breeds found many admirers and buyers.
Finally came the admirable English thoroughbreds, with their solemn-looking, impassive grooms.
Then came the Hungarian horses, whose praise is no longer due. The costume of their guards was very picturesque: Spanish-style hat, large shirt falling to the knees with large hanging sleeves, almost as long as the shirt, red waistcoat, black tie fringed with gold and large boots armed with enormous spurs.
In the annexes on the right, the asinine breed was represented; we saw there superb baudets and mules of an inappreciable breed.
The second competition, which took place from 7 to 18 June, included 1,700 bovine animals, of which 386 were from abroad; 825 sheep, of which 242 were from abroad; 381 pigs, of which 127 were from abroad; and 2,668 barnyard animals, broken down as follows 1,461 roosters and hens, 91 turkeys, 49 geese, 133 ducks, 18 guinea fowls, 518 pigeons and nearly 400 rabbits.
Dividing the exhibitors by nationality, there were: France, 461; Great Britain, 147, of which H. M. the Queen and H. E. the Queen of England, 147. M. the Queen and H. The only Portuguese exhibitor was Mr. Gagliardini, director of the farm-school of Cintra.
The competition was very successful. The Durham breed, a short-horned breed for slaughter, was greatly admired, with specimens being sold for 100,000 francs, followed by the Durham-Manceau breed, the result of crosses with the Manche breed.
The Hereford breed, an English breed, very developed body, short legs, long hair, pure red or shaded, with a white face, was represented by only one of these animals, which the Queen of England had sent; a few representatives of the Sussex and Devon breeds, and finally the Aberdeen and Angus breeds, such is the balance of England.
Our Charolais, our Nivernais, our Parthenais, our Garonnais, our Comtois, our Limousins, were justly admired. There were some remarkable types there.
As far as the dairy breed is concerned, this competition proved that we could compete with our Norman, Breton, etc. breeds abroad.
For the sheep breed, the struggle was limited to England and France, and the merit seemed to be equally shared between the two countries.
We do not see anything special to say about pigs or backyard dwellers, and we come to the dog.
The dog is man's friend, a friend who is not always lucky "all the same," as the song goes. The dog has seen all classes of society flock to his kennels and lavish him with the most flattering consideration.
The first category included guard dogs, sheepdogs, etc.; the second, hunting dogs; the third, pointing dogs; the fourth, greyhounds; the fifth, luxury and flat dogs; and the sixth, various dogs, exotic and others.
In this last category were classified the dogs of China and Polynesia, etc.; but how many species were unfortunately missed and therefore only appeared on paper!
Two St. Bernard dogs, Loulou and Minka, who shared the public's attention with some superb Newfoundlanders, were much in evidence.
Among the small species, we noticed a small dwarf terrier dog, black and tan. He was as big as a fist.
He was either lovely or ugly, depending on your taste.
©Les Merveilles de l'Exposition de 1878