Imagens das páginas

even without blood, he has always been selected for that purpose, whether the objects of pursuit were slaves, as in Cuba and America, or sheep-stealers, as in England.

At present there are, as far as I know, no true bloodhounds in this country for this purpose, or indeed for any other, as I believe the breed to be extinct; but several gentlemen possess hounds commonly called bloodhounds, though only partially resembling the veritable animal, and use them for hunting fallow-deer, especially those which are only wounded with the rifle, and not killed outright. This dog is also kept for his fine noble appearance, and as his temper is generally less uncertain than the genuine old bloodhound, and his taste for blood not so great, though still sometimes beyond all control, he is not unfitted to be the constant companion of man, but must always be regarded with some degree of suspicion.

Mr. Grantley Berkeley has long been celebrated for his breed of bloodhounds, and the performances of his dog “Druid ” have been before the public so often as not to require recapitulation here. According to his authority the following are the distinctive marks, which should make their appearance even when the dog has one only of his parents thorough-bred :-Height from 24 to 25 or even 26 inches : peculiarly long and narrow forehead; ears from 8 to 9, and even 10, inches long; lips loose and hanging; throat also loose, and roomy in the skin ; deep in the brisket, round in the ribs, loins broad and muscular, legs and feet straight and good, muscular thighs, and fine tapering and gracefully waving stern; colour black-tan, or deep and reddish

fawn (no white should be shown but on just the tip of the stern); the tongue loud, long, deep, and melodious; and the temper courageous and irascible, but remarkably forgiving, and immensely susceptible of kindness. Nevertheless, we have reason to believe that Mr. Berkeley, on more than one occasion, has had to run from “ Druid ” when his blood was up. (See Frontispiece for portrait of “Druid.")

According to Mr. Apperley, the Duke of Bedford possessed some fine specimens of the modern bloodhound fifteen years ago, and the Lords Yarborough and Fitzwilliam were also famous; the latter nobleman's “Bellman” being as well known for stud purposes as Mr. Osbaldiston's “Furrier" among foxhounds. He observes, with great probability of correctness, that the bloodhound is identical with the old southern harehound, now almost extinct in England, both being remarkable for adhering to the scent of the animal on which they are first laid. Mr. Jennings of London also possesses a fine breed of the bloodhound.


The old English true staghound, which is now nearly if not quite extinct, resembles the bloodhound, but has a lighter cross, probably with the greyhound, and therefore somewhat approaches to the modern lurcher in formation of body, with the head of a southern hound. I believe there were till very lately sume of these, nearly thorough-bred, in the pack of the Devon and Somerset staghounds,

but even they were more or less crossed with the foxhound. Like the bloodhound and old southern hound, this dog has the peculiarity of keeping to the hunted deer, which is not the case with the fashionable staghound of the day. There is some difficulty, however, in getting at a true description of the old staghound, and as it can only be valuable to the antiquarian, I shall not attempt anything further.

The staghound at present used in Her Majesty's and Baron Rothschild's kennels is merely a larger, and therefore faster, draft of the foxhound of the day. The dogs are about 24 or 25 inches high, and the bitches 22 to 23. They have broad short heads, straight hind legs, well-furnished thighs, full ears, which are not required to be rounded so much as the foxhound's, inasmuch as they do nothing in covert, and sterns feathered like the ordinary foxhound. The endurance of the staghound is very considerable, though from his extra size and weight he cannot compete in this respect with the foxhound of 23 inches; but as he is not required to hunt a second fox, and has not often more than a few miles of road work in going to the meet, he is not wanted to be so capable of long-continued exertion. Even in Somersetshire, where wild red deer are hunted, the staghound is not employed to “unharbour” them, and slow hounds which are nearly pure bloodhounds are used for the purpose.

It is unnecessary, therefore, to describe this hound more minutely, as, by reference to the foxhound, his shape, colour, &c., will be easily ascertained, and the size is given above.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The modern foxhound is one of the most wonderful animals in creation, which is probably owing to the great pains that have been bestowed upon him for the last two or three centuries. Numerous instances have occurred where eight or ten thousand a year have been spent for a long time together upon a fox-hunting establishment, and therefore, when this outlay has been united

* Bred by J. J. Farquharson, Esq., by Lord Fitzhardinge's " Hermit,” out of the Puckeridge “Venus."


with the great judgment which has been displayed in the most celebrated kennels of the present century, it can scarcely occasion surprise that the combination has resulted in the most complete

In breeding cattle and sheep one man has in more than one instance, during his single life, effected a complete revolution in the animal he was engaged in improving; and therefore, when a number of gentlemen combine for one purpose, and spare neither time, money, nor trouble, we ought to expect the fulfilment of their wishes. In no department of rural sports has so much been written as on fox-hunting, and this not only of late years, but for the last three centuries, during which Markham, Somerville, and Beckford may be instanced as examples of truthful as well as clever writing on the subject. Beckford, who wrote in the latter part of the last century, his first letter being dated 1779, is, however, the father of the modern school, and, with slight exceptions, the hound described by him is still that selected by our best masters, though perhaps they carry out his principles to a greater extent than he ever expected they would go. Much has been written, it is true, since his time, but I am not aware that any one has deviated from his description without doing wrong, and therefore, as I like to give credit where credit is due, I shall extract his description entire, as contained in his third letter to his friend.

“You desire to know what kind of hound I would recommend. As you mention not for any particular chase or country, I understand you generally; and shall answer that I most approve of hounds of the middle size. I believe all animals of that description are strongest, and best able to endure fatigue. In the height as

« AnteriorContinuar »