14 October 2010

The White Horse of Uffington could be a dog

Challenging the traditional description of the Oxfordshire landmark, retired vet Olaf Swarbrick asks whether the "beautiful, stylised" figure might instead be a dog such as a greyhound or wolfhound...

Swarbrick says: "Looking at it again, it seems that it is not a horse at all: the tail and head are wrong for a horse and more suggestive of a dog. It appears more like a large hound at full stretch. I thought it may be a greyhound, but an anthropologist suggests it is a wolfhound, which (assuming it is not a horse) makes more sense."
Addendum: A closer view of the chalk-lined trench, courtesy of reader Doc Rock:


  1. Considering that local legend says the hill that the chalk drawing is on is where St. George slew the dragon, I find it much more believable to be a dragon than a dog.



  2. It looks like a cat to me.

    /cat person

  3. i grew up near there - loads of people thought it could be a dragon. wolves and lynx roamed the country in thsoe days so it could be one of those too.

    wolf hounds had spiritual significance as the chief god in saxon pantheon had two

  4. Local legend also says it's a horse. So by Occam's Razor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor ), I'd vote for horse. I visited it about twelve years ago. It IS different from the many other white horses of England, most of which are conventionally rendered and face left instead of right. While it is on "Dragon Hill," it is also right near Wayland's Smithy. Here are some close up shots around the horse's head:

  5. Whooops, make that 19 or 20 years ago I visited.

  6. My first thought, before I knew it was called Dragon hill, was that it was a dragon. That explains the head and the extra long tail.


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