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by Mr. F. Lowe, who a few years ago spent some time in Russia, will give an idea of the extent of the kennels of the Borzoi hounds, and the value placed upon them in their native country. He says: "In the south of Russia, from which I have just returned, I had the good fortune to be the guest of a keen and well-known sportsman, Mr. Kalmoutzky, who, since coming into the inheritance of a magnificent property of something like twenty square miles, has built kennels which I should say are not surpassed in any country—being very large in size, and as near to perfection in detail as can well be imagined. The lodging houses, numbering three, are benched on two sides, and at each end there is a room for a man; three kennelmen being allowed for each kennel, two of them on duty night and day. This gives nine kennelmen to the kennels and, with five other officials, the number of men employed on it are fourteen. It is necessary to have men in attendance at all times, as the wolfhounds are very quarrelsome, and terrible fighters. Each kennel has a large yard of more than threequarters of an acre. In addition to the above, there are commodious kennels for puppies (and these buildings are heated with hot air), cooking houses, and a hospital. There is telephone communication from all the kennels to Mr. Kalmoutzky's house, and he expects everything to be in readiness for a hunt in ten minutes from the time he sends his orders.
"In the kennels above described can be seen perhaps the finest pack of wolfhounds in the world, numbering twenty-two couples. They form a magnificent collection, their owner having spared no expense in getting the best to be found in Russia, and of the oldest blood. Some of them have cost ^300 each; and the estimated worth of the pack is considerably over ^5000.
"A perfect wolfhound must run up to a wolf, collar him by the neck just under the ear, and, with the two animals rolling over, the hound must never lose his hold, or the wolf would turn round and snap him through the leg. Three of these hounds hold the biggest wolf powerless; so that the men can dismount from their horses and muzzle the wolf to take him alive.
"The biggest Scotch deerhounds have been tried, but found wanting; they will not hold long enough. And to show how tenacious is the grip of the Russian hounds, they are sometimes suffocated by the very effort of holding. Some of them stand 32m at the shoulder, are enormously deep through the girth, and their length and power of jaw are something remarkable. They have a roach back, very long, muscular quarters, and capital legs and feet. In coat they are very profuse, of a soft, silky texture, but somewhat open.
"I took the journey to Russia with eleven couples of foxhounds, as additions for Mr. Kalmoutzky's pack. I had cases made to hold two hounds, so that I had eleven of these big packages, which went as my personal luggage, the weight being a ton and a quarter. It took me exactly seven days to get to my destination, from Dover via Paris, Vienna, and Jassy; and I was met in right regal state, as there was a carriage and four for myself, another for Mr. Kalmoutzky's steward, and five waggons, each drawn by four horses, for the hounds, with seven chasseurs to take charge of them.
"We had nearly forty miles to drive; and the hardy little Russian horses did this at a hard gallop, over plains, with no roads, and there were no changes. We were just under four hours doing this wild journey; and my good friend and host, who did not expect me to arrive so early, had gone out on a wolf-seeking expedition; but on his return, the first thing, after a most hearty welcome, was to inspect the kennel, with which I was, of course, greatly delighted. He would not show me the wolfhounds at this moment, as that inspection was reserved until after dinner, when they were all brought into his study, one by one, and their exploits separately recorded. Noble looking fellows they are; and by their immense size and powerful frames, of much the same formation as our English greyhound, they are admirably adapted to course big game. They look quiet, but the least movement excites them; and in leading them even through the hall, from the study, there was very nearly a battle royal or two. The Russian chasseurs, though, beat any men I have ever seen in handling a hound; and their influence, apparently all by kindness, is extraordinary. I noticed that even the puppies at play made for the same spot in trying to pull each other down— namely, by the side of the neck under the ear; and this mode of attack seems instinctively born in them. The wolf's running is perfectly straight, and if he attacks it is straight ahead; he will only turn if caught in a manner to do so; and a dog laying hold of him over the back or hind quarters would be terribly punished. The clever wolfhound never gets hurt, no matter whether he or the wolf attacks first; and some singular trials of this sort have taken place.
"Recently, a very big wolf, that had been captured with much difficulty, was matched against any two hounds in Russia. The challenge was accepted, and the wolf placed in a huge box in an open space. The moment the trap was pulled the wolf stood and faced the spectators; on the hounds being slipped on him he attacked them; but they avoided his rush, and pinned him so cleverly that the wolf was muzzled and carried off without the least difficulty; whereupon an enormous price was paid for one of the hounds.
"The Russian style of hunting would not meet all our English views of sport; but there is doubtless a deal of excitement about it Mr. Kalmoutzky's domain is entirely on a plain, with scarcely any woodlands at all. It is all like a "sea of grass," the going being as good as on Newmarket Heath, with here and there the land turned up in cultivation, but looking much like patches in the vast expanse; so also did the reed beds of 300 or 400 acres each, and these are the coverts for the wolves and foxes. These reed beds are mostly eight or nine miles apart, so English foxhunters could see what a gallop could be had here; better than Dartmoor or Exmoor, as the turf is perfect, no rough ground, and the hills little more than undulations.
"Special hunts would have been arranged on my behalf, but, alas ! like our own frozen-out sportsmen, I had to be disappointed, as frost and snow interfered. However, one morning I was given an insight into wolf coursing, by one that had been previously