of their strains in the kennels, but among these several have deserted the hare for the carted stag.

I have received the following description of an “ideal” harrier, and notes, from Lord Decies, which will I am sure, be read with great interest :

LORD DECIES' IDEAL HARRIER.—My ideal barrier, if it could be bred, would be a 20 to 20%-inch hound, Belvoir tan colour, of foxhound type ; perhaps a bit shorter in the back and more cobby than the usually accepted foxhound stamp; with great bone, the straightest of legs, and the most cat-like feet ; deep in heart-room, well ribbed up, a dense coat and a good hound face and look-out. He must also be steady at his work, and full of perseverance, yet with any amount of drive and dash when necessary; and must have a good note and music, such as one found in the old-fashioned harriers. Of course this is my ideal hound, to follow on horseback, not on foot.

Lord Decies goes on to observe

I am satisfied that the stamp of the modern harrier, or dwarf foxhound, as he ought to be called, is very perfect and very symmetrical, and can hardly be improved on from a show point of view. At any Peterborough hound show you may see a lot of these beautiful little hounds, foxhound in colour, the fashionable Belvoir tan, on legs as straight as gun barrels, with the orthodox foxhound feet and joints. One of the best I have seen at Peterborough was Lord Hopetoun's Churlish. Many of the modern so-called harriers have no pure harrier blood in their veins, and are of the very finest foxhound strains in the country ; by process of time they have been manœuvred into a harrier Stud-Book, and we are told they are the harrier pure par excellence. This, of course, is an absolute mistake, if nothing worse ; these hounds should be called dwarf foxhounds, and the old-fashioned harriers should be called harriers. Amongst the small-sized modern harriers Mr. John Horsey has some charming hounds, and I have seen some exquisite little hounds exhibited by Mrs. Cheape.

The old-fashioned harrier is a grand hound, of various and curious colour, ranging from nearly pure white to black and tan, blue mottled, and all sorts of varieties of pied colours. This class of hound never stands on its feet like a dwarf foxhound, and it would not be typical of the breed if it did. I don't think I ever saw one that was not back at the knees, and I never saw

one with a foxhound foot ; they are nearly always long harefooted, but never with the twisted, arched toes seen on the modern dwarf foxhounds. Also they have not perfect necks and shoulders. They have, of course, no possible chance on the show-bench with small foxhounds, and ought to be classed separately. There are some very fine specimens in the Bexhill pack. The real oldfashioned harrier has the most lovely note and music, and can own the most delicate scent. Some of the hounds in the old bill packs in Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Wales can own the stale line of a fox or hare many hours after it has travelled past. Of course the old-fashioned hounds have not got the dash and speed of the dwarf foxhound, but they can work out a line, and kill a hare on a scent which the foxhound would perhaps not persevere with. On the other hand, they are an independent sort of a hound, which works best by itself, and not interfered with ; they won't stand riding at by a big field. Wherefore in a country well stocked with hares, and with fine large pastures to gallop over, the modern dwarf foxhound is most useful, as he is more likely to give a brilliant thirty or forty minutes' gallop and drive his hare straight away. It is most enjoyable for the owner of the old-fashioned harriers to watch and see his pack work out and hunt hares down ; but it is not so amusing for the field, who are burning for a gallop across country, and who don't know one hound from the other, and very likely care less. They want a gallop, and to suit their requirements the modern dwarf foxhound is far the most likely hound to please. He will race away if the scent is good, and go a cracker till he rolls puss over. I think you might almost term the modern harrier the Young Man's Hound, and the old harrier pure the Old Man's Hound; one serves youth best, the other delights age; one races, the other plods on with wonderful perseverance. I like the foxhounds myself, and cannot desert them ; I only wish they had more music, and were not so flash and over the line. But when they have a scent it makes up for all their weaknesses, and you get a gallop to remember. I prefer to call a spade a spade-that is, a harrier a harrier, and a foxhound a foxhound. I never can understand why a class for dwarf foxhounds is not started at Peterborough. I think it would fill very well, and bring out some good hounds. There are very few packs of pure old-fashioned harriers in existence at present. The Bexhill, the Penistone, Sir John Amory's, The Lyme (I believe now done away with), and a few others. Most of the packs in the country have now gone for the foxhound blood, and it is only a matter of time for the old

fashioned harrier to die completely out, and its place to be filled by the small foxhound.

As regards hound shows, when well managed they are capital institutions, but when, as is often the case, they are got up by people who don't understand them, they are most annoying and vexatious entertainments. I always think that a great mistake is made in making hunt servants wear hunt clothes, boots, and breeches in the summer at shows. The dress is quite out of keeping with the surroundings, and most unseasonable. The huntsmen look much better in their white kennel coats, and much more comfortable. Another point which is always overlooked is that it is much better to have two judging rings—one for dogs, and another for bitches. The different sexes will show themselves much better, and not drive their huntsman frantic in his endeavours to make them keep up their heads, and not slough about, snuffing in the grass or on the floor. Never have loose boards placed on the ground for the hounds to stand on and show their legs and feet; the hounds are always more or less afraid of them. The cost of a small piece of ground cemented or ashphalted for the purpose is slight, and much more satisfactory ; the hounds will trot fearlessly on to it, and show themselves much better. As regards judges, as a general rule it is most advisable to have, in addition to amateurs, a professional huntsman to assist in the judging. Some amateurs are very good, some are very bad, and some are hopeless. I have noticed the professionals make fewer mistakes, and weed out the bad ones from the ring at once, saving hours of time, and they are much quicker and more punctual.

MR. HAROLD TREMAYNE.—The question of what a harrier is can now be answered in a satisfactory manner ; but until the foundation of the Peterborough Show it is doubtful whether anything like a consensus of opinion could have been obtained. At the first Peterborough Show a very mixed crew indeed were forthcoming a couple of huge, blue-mottled hounds from the Penistone Hunt tying with a couple of the same sort from the Holcombe kennels. At that show there were also the ordinary harrier, pure bred foxhounds, and foxhound and harrier cross. As a matter of fact foxhound blood is predominant in the harrier. This is only natural ; and were it not that speed is of greater importance in the foxhound than in the harrier, there is no reason why the hound which hunts the fox should not hunt the hare, and vice versa. Many packs consist of dwarf foxhounds, the only difficulty being that when bred from they are apt to run too large in size. Harriers that are kept to their own game should not exceed 19 inches in height. Whilst it may be taken for granted that all harriers have a large amount of foxhound blood in them, the chief objection to the dwarf foxhound is that he has too much dash. When, in March 1891, the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles was formed, it was decided to form a Stud-Book for harriers. This was done, and every pack which chose to enter was permitted to do so. The modern harrier is after all but a creation of modern times ; and, whilst it is recognised as a distinct breed, the most jealous hare-hunter cannot fail to remember the debt owing to the foxhound, who in the

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

past—as he will in many cases in the future—sent his dwarf specimens to hunt the hare and his giant progeny to hunt

the stag.

The Standard of Points of the harrier conforms to that of the foxhound, and the same scale of point values is given by some authorities. The chief distinguishing characteristic is in the height, which should not exceed 19 inches, and may be as low as 16. The harrier is more cobby that the foxhound, rather thicker in the skull, and finer in the muzzle, whilst it

is not the custom to round the ears. The coat is sometimes longer than in the bigger breed, and the old-fashioned type is not immaculately straight in front, nor should it have cat feet, as Lord Decies points out.

My illustration is the reproduction in half-tone of an oil-painting by Mr. William Luker (jun.) of Record and Rakish, the property of Lord Decies, who describes them as a nice couple of hounds of the foxhound type of harrier, and their fault is that they are a trifle on the large size. They have not often been beaten when shown together as a couple at shows. Lord Decies adds : “ Messrs. Bowen and Taylor, joint-masters of the harriers at Bishop Hartford, have a beautiful little bitch, Produce, which can and has beaten Record and Rakish, and I can always enjoy seeing such a beautiful bitch win.”

« ForrigeFortsett »