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Ministry of the day disassociated themselves from the acts of the Jamaica authorities, to whom they sent orders not to repeat the experiment. I have little doubt that the evil and libellous reputation that has clung about our British bloodhounds dates from that period, when the kingdom was much exercised about the Jamaica affair.
As a matter of fact the bloodhound, so far from being a savage dog, is a singularly even-tempered one, with a natural instinct for hunting man rather than beast, but without a sinister purpose unless it is encouraged to sinister action. It will never hurt a man whom it overtakes unless it is itself attacked, though it will probably “bay” him, which may be defined as bringing him to a standstill in the chase. Whilst most dogs will track the footsteps of their master, or of some one familiar to them, the bloodhound is the only dog who will follow those of an entire stranger. The development of this peculiar natural instinct by training leads to great perfection, but there are limitations, and very great limitations. One of the commonest errors is to suppose that any bloodhound can track a man over pavements trodden by many pedestrians : such a task is impossible, except in the case of an exceptionally clever and trained hound. On the other hand, the bloodhound can unerringly follow a trail laid in the country, provided the scent is fresh. Cases have been known where the hound successfully followed a trail more than twelve hours old, but, in modern bloodhound trials, one to one and a half hours is the time usually allowed between starting the hunted man and slipping the hounds. The hunt is after the “clean boot,”—that is to say, neither blood nor any other foreign substance is rubbed on the sole of the fugitive's boot. How acute and wonderful
is the delicacy of the hound's scenting powers may be gathered from the statement, made by Mr. Brough, that it has to follow the natural scent of the man laid through his boots. That, with such a shield between him and mother earth, a man should lay a scent at all seems incredible ; but on a good scenting day, and good scentcarrying ground, hounds have been known to run hard fifty yards or more to the leeward of the line taken. When hunted singly a hound often runs mute, but in
a pack they give tongue, and the bay of a bloodhound is by common consent the most glorious canine music there is. Hounds have been known to be so enchanted with their own efforts as to sit down every now and then and pour forth solos.
It is probable that the modern bloodhound is a much faster animal than those of olden days. With the establishment of dog shows it came into the hands of the enthusiast, and has not only been considerably improved by breeding, as may be gathered from a
comparison between the illustrations of modern dogs with Reinagle's bloodhound, an outline sketch of which is given, but experts believe that each succeeding generation of trained hounds will become more proficient than the last one. Mr. Edwin Brough has expressed an opinion that the breed would probably have become extinct but for dog shows, as before their day it was very scarce, and only kept up by a few old families from sentiment, and a disinclination to part from old tradition. It still remains a rare breed, but it is fortunate in having a rare good body of enthusiasts interested in it. The Kennel Club Show of 1903 saw a most remarkable bench of the hounds brought together, there being forty specimens collected, as against eleven in 1902, and seventeen in 1901. Mrs. Oliphant, from her famous Chatley kennel, showed a pack of eleven, Mr. H. C. Hodson a pack of ten, the championship going to the former's Ch. Chatley Blazer. In May of the same year, at the inaugural meet of the Bloodhound Hunt Club, at which thirty hounds were entered, Chatley Blazer, hunted by Mrs. Oliphant, chased his man four miles in twenty minutes, whilst Chatley Worker accomplished nearly five miles in twenty-two minutes, including two checks. The trials took place on Salisbury Plain, the hounds in most cases hunting their men along high-roads, tracks, and footpaths, foiled by the troops (who were out at manœuvres) as well as by sheep and spectators, and most of the dogs found their men under the hour, and two of them in threequarters of an hour. Over eighty miles of trails were hunted in the three days.
As I am writing these lines there is a correspondence taking place in the press on the practicability of employing bloodhounds to track down dock thieves at night, after the gates are closed, and Captain Coke, the head
of the Milwall Dock Police, has applied to the Association of Bloodhound Breeders for a young hound. In which connection Mr. Croxton - Smith has made the following observations, which happen to be very à propos to my subject :
"If only a few constables are on duty, and the hound is put on the proper line, he should be able to carry it and find his man. I think there is a very reasonable chance of a bloodhound being able to track a man through the docks. My own hounds have hunted over waste ground near London, over which men have been walking, and have carried the line quite satisfactorily, although it has been foiled in a number of places. They have even carried to within fifty yards of a public road before going on to another piece of ground. I should say that a young hound that has had about seven to eight months' training would considerably astonish the dock thieves. You can train a bloodhound to be a good guard as well as to hunt, and although he is not by nature a ferocious animal, he has the same instincts for guarding his master as any dog or hound possesses. The great value of a bloodhound for this work is that he hunts a stranger even better than some one whom he knows. In an ordinary case the bloodhound does not hurt the man whom he has hunted, but it would be quite an easy matter to train a bloodhound to prevent his prey from escaping. The success of a bloodhound's work at the docks would depend a good deal upon scenting conditions, and that is a factor which we don't properly understand at present."
Mr. Brough has published a long description of his method of training bloodhounds to hunt. He advocates beginning when they are very young-say three or four months old, and never allowing them to hunt anything
but the clean boot. At first it is best to let them run some one they know, but after that it does not matter how often the runner is changed. The puppies should be caressed and much made of, and allowed to see the man depart in the first instance, but the latter should get out of their sight as quickly as possible, and then run two hundred yards, up-wind, on grass land, and hide himself. The puppies are then set on his trail, encouraged, and rewarded according to their endeavours and merits. Everything should be made as easy as possible at first, the difficulties being increased little by little, as they take to the task. This can be done by having the line crossed by others, by carrying it on to a high-road, and lengthening the distance. The runner should carry a bundle of sticks with him, with a piece of white paper stuck in a cleft at one end, and plant one of these wherever he takes a turn, so as to afford a guide of the course to the trainer. The whelps will soon take to the work, learn to cast for themselves or try back if they overrun the line, and should never receive any assistance so long as they continue working on their own account.
Turning now to the notes of my contributors, I cannot do better than begin with a description by Mrs. Charles Chapman of
AN IDEAL BLOODHOUND. -- This grand hound of noble lineage, whose ancestors saw the oldest families that England can boast of rise from obscurity, still strikes terror in the rustic's breast, and sends his women and children hastening to the shelter of their cottages. Useless it is to tell them of his courteous disposition, kindly manners, or lofty indifference to any one who is not of his own household. The fiction of ages enshrouds him with stories of blood-curdling propensities.
Grand in repose is he, with his wrinkled forehead and deepset eye, his expression troubled and careworn, his full, deep muzzle and long pendant ears, impressing the notion of his