Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

SO)

even more so than the harrier, but hunting in the same style, with the same tendency to dwell on the scent. In size they may be described as averaging about 12 or 14 inches. (See portrait.)

The rough beagle is apparently a cross between the above little hound and the rough terrier, though by many people he is supposed to be a distinct breed, and as much so as the Welsh harrier, which he resembles in all but size. His origin is, however, lost in obscurity, and can only be conjectured. One chief reason why I have supposed him to arise from the above cross is, that he has lost in great measure the beagle tongue, and squeaks like the terrier, though not quite so much as that dog. He has, however, the full ear of the smooth beagle, or nearly as great a development of that organ, but the nose is clothed with the stiff whisker of the rough terrier, and the body generally has the same rough and wiry hair. It is maintained by some people that he has obtained this from the deerhound through the southern hound, but his dwarf size renders it more probable that it is derived from the terrier, which breed, however, very probably is descended from the deerhound, as indeed I believe is the case with nearly all our hounds. The size of this beagle varies greatly, the average being perhaps about 14 inches.

The dwarf or rabbit beagle is a very small and delicate little hound, but with an excellent nose, and much faster than he looks. Some sportsmen have carried their predilection for small dogs to such an extent, as to use a pack of these beagles which might be carried about in the shooting pockets of the men ; and in this way have confined their duties to the hunting alone, so that they were not tired in trailing along the road from the kennel to the hunting

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors]

field and back again. The average height of these may be taken at 10 inches, but their bodies are disproportionately lengthened. Patience and perseverance are still more necessary in these hounds than in their larger brethren, and without them they soon lose their hare, as they must be content to hunt her at a pace with which a man can readily keep up on foot, horses being quite out of place with such a diminutive pack.

. * This beautiful little bitch, presented to Mrs. Chapman of Cheltenham by Lord Gifford, is by Mr. Barker's “Ruler,” out of his “Bluebell.” Height, 12, inches.

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

No hound which is now kept in Great Britain resembles the southern hound so much as this, the difference being only in the rough wiry coat, which has been obtained by careful breeding, to enable them to resist the ill effects of the rough weather which the breed have to encounter, whether in the chase of the hare, for which they were originally employed in Wales, or for that of the otter, to which they are now almost exclusively restricted. If, therefore, the reader turns to the description of the southern hound, and adds to it a rough wiry coat with a profusion of rough whisker, he will at once understand the form and nature of the otterhound, alias the Welsh harrier. It is a moot point, whether this roughness is obtained by crossing, or whether it is attributable to careful selection only ; but I am inclined to think that as the full melodious note of the hound is retained, there is no cross of the terrier or of the deerhound, which two breeds divide between them the credit of bestowing their coats upon the otterhound. Anyhow it is a distinct breed in the present day; and, with the shape I have described, it unites all the characteristics of the old southern hound, in dwelling on the scent, in delicacy of nose, and in want of dash. Whether the power of swimming has been obtained by any cross with the water-spaniel is also a disputed point, but as I do not believe in any peculiar swimming power inherent in that breed, I am not inclined to attribute that of the otterhound to a cross with it, especially as the foxhound swims equally well.

As these hounds have to compete with a very savage and hardbiting animal, they must of necessity be fearless and hardy; and as for their specific purposes those which are not so have been rejected, it happens that the breed has become unusually savage, and that they are constantly fighting in kennel. Indeed, instances are common enough of more than half being destroyed in a single night, in the bloody fight which has been commenced by perhaps a single couple, but soon ending in a general scrimmage. No dog bites more savagely, and, unlike the bulldog, the hold is not firmly retained, but the teeth are torn out with great force the instant the hold is taken. The usual height of the otterhound is from 22 to 25 inches in the dogs, the bitches being somewhat lower.

THE TERRIER.

The terrier as used for hunting is a strong useful little dog, with great endurance and courage, and with nearly as good a nose as the beagle or harrier. From his superior courage when crossed with the bulldog, as most vermin-terriers are, he has generally been kept for killing vermin whose bite would deter the spaniel or the beagle, but would only render the terrier more determined in his pursuit of them. Hence, he is the constant attendant on the rat-catcher, and is highly useful to the gamekeeper, as well as to the farmer who is annoyed with rats and mice. Formerly it was the custom to add a couple of terriers to every pack of foxhounds, so as to be ready to aid in bolting the fox when he runs into a drain, or goes to ground in any easily accessible earth ; the stoutness of the terrier enabling him, by steadily following on the track, to reach the scene of operations before it would be possible to obtain any other assistance. This aid, however, in consequence of the increased speed of our hounds, is now dispensed with, and the old fox-terrier is out of date, or is only kept for the purpose of destroying ground vermin, such as the rat or the weasel, or as a companion to man, for which purpose his fidelity and tractability make him peculiarly fitted. Terriers are now usually divided into eight kinds :-1st, The old English terrier ; 2nd, The Scotch ; 3rd, The Dandie Dinmont; 4th, The Skye; 5th, The Fox Terrier ; 6th, The Bedlington; 7th, The Halifax Blue Tan; and 8th, The Modern Toy Terriers of various kinds.

The English Terrier is a smooth-haired dog, weighing from about

« AnteriorContinuar »